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  1. Bill Schoonover

    The PBY was purchased and transported by the members of the PBYMF with no federal tax dollars. The building used is on the historical register and since it was unoccupied prior to the PBYgroup moving in, the occupancy kept the building from being razed. The PBY group pays the utilities. The museum is not off limits to civilians. One needs only to go through the Torpedo Road Gate, tell the guard where you are going and you may proceed.

    Bill Schoonover

    1. Al Williams

      Thank you for your information. A few months ago I had some free time and decided to check out the PBY museum that had been advertised in the newspaper. I was stopped at the gate by the sentry. He asked for my military ID, which I don’t have at which time he tersely demanded my driver license, took it, instructed me to proceed a short distance, make a U-turn, and that he would return my driver license as I left. It was a terse exchange of words that didn’t inquire about my intended destination.

      For us non-military citizens it has become a mystery about way the Seaplane base has been on and off limits for civilian travel. I just did what I was told to do, and left. It pretty much ended my interest in the museum. How would you feel?

      I am not anti-military as some have characterized in their responses. We just think that there is a lot of unsaid things that need to be said in the face of all that is being said suggesting that we civilians are a bunch of freeloaders at the expense of the Navy’s presence.

      Yes, a lot of our information comes from scuttlebutt and reading our newspapers, but that’s what most of us have available and form or opinions on. Did you check out the link to the video on the military housing scandal? Do that. We know a lady whose son worked on that project here in Oak Harbor but quit out of disgust because of the crummy management, lousy craftsmanship, and substandard materials. We heard from a household mover employee how moving people into some of the units required scavenging items from other units to make them livable for the new tenants.

      I don’t think that anything I wrote is not true. My comments were not directed at individuals, it was at the management level. If nothing else, I hope my comments will stir up some conversation that would clear up and perhaps correct these grievances, which your response tends to do. Our county functions are hurting and deserve better than they are getting. Much of the same can be said for property tax payers.

  2. NoneYa

    Both of my parents are retired Navy. A lot of Navy workers don’t live on base (we never did), which mean a lot of Navy families pay property taxes. Yeah, we shop at the Comissary and the Navy Exchange but we also shop at Safeway and Walmart & all the stores off base too just as much, if not more. Stop acting like Navy families don’t contribute to taxes because we do.

  3. ZRA

    In the three years I was stationed at NAS Whidbey I can tell you for certain that I lived off base in private, non-military housing. I can count the number of times I used the Commissary on my two hands as I preferred Safeway. I ate at all the local restaurants, not at the base galley. And I also participated in community events such as Relay For Life. Now I am sure that there are some things that you can gripe about that are legitimate. But these things are not among them. The everyday sailors don’t make policy. We contribute to the community. And I would go as far as to say that perhaps you would have more military participation in the communities if those military families actually felt welcome in them. In all honesty, I was truly disappointed to discover such a military unfriendly town as Oak Harbor. And that goes for all people in Oak Harbor; rich, poor, young, old. All of you make the sailors there feel unwelcome. So perhaps one day the Navy will grant your wish and close down NAS Whidbey Island. It would be interesting to see what the effects on the town of Oak Harbor would be. But as far as I’m concerned you can keep your unfriendly town.

    1. JMR78

      The Ebey’s Reserve community is based in and around Coupeville, not Oak Harbor. It is unfortunate you feel strong negative emotions against the Oak Harbor community, which is, in fact, very military friendly. Some Coupeville community members have made their enmity toward the military known but I have found that Oak Harbor has been supportive, demonstrably so, of the military members, families and mission. Please do not consider Mr. Williams’ opinion as that of the Oak Harbor community. Coupeville and Oak Harbor are two separate towns on Whidbey Island (as Coupeville community members take great pains to make clear). I agree with you, however, regarding the tone of Mr. Williams’ letter; it appears he wishes to have the base closed and all military presence removed. As well, when someone with a vitriolic perspective views events and actions (“perpetrated” by military members and “the Navy Base”) he only sees ugly and negative. The military is composed of PEOPLE. And you were so right that these folks don’t create policy and that they contribute because they do! As a property owner in Oak Harbor, I definitely pay taxes and support our schools. AND I am a proud military member. PROUD to serve, Mr. Williams.

      1. Al Williams

        Dear ZMR78. I was just a humble interstate trucker. But I spent six years in the early 80’s as a household mover moving many military families all over this nation. For the next 18 years I hauled material including military vehicles, jet engines, and even classified stuff for our nation’s State Department. I’ve probably been on more military bases than the average career veteran including NASWI. I too served and didn’t make any more of a fortune doing it than your average GI. But I felt like I was contributing to our nation’s needs, made friends, earned a good reputation, and enjoyed doing it. Somehow that comes across as important as what makes you so proud.

    2. Al Williams

      There is something appropriate to your remarks that I failed to mention in my original letter or reply to Mr. schoonover. My wife and I are members of our local Power Squadron. The PS is a social and educational organization that promotes boating safety by presenting instructional classes in Rules on the Water, Seamanship, Marine Communications and Electronics, Engine maintenance, and nearly every subject important to safe boating including qualifications for state boating licenses. We are similar to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Many of our members are Navy veterans. No one would call us unpatriotic, sinister, devious, or threatening. Our classes are held wherever we can find adequate and convenient facilities at the lowest cost such as after hours at schools and colleges, churches, public buildings, private homes and garages, and even old warehouses.

      Last year some of our courses were being taught at the Seaplane base, that is until our non-veteran students were suddenly and unceremoniously denied access to the base and unable to complete their course. Instructors had to find other facilities and fortunately a local church came to the rescue. We were being treated like enemy.

      So Mr./Mrs. ZRA, the shoe is on the other foot and our Navy whom our taxes support is as unfriendly as anyone you complain of.

      1. ZRA

        I do not know, for sure why they were denied access… other than there were rumors of vandalism and shoplifting at the NEX. That is why they began checking IDs at the gates. Not because they were simply being unfriendly. But, I am also not defending this. I think you should have been allowed to at least finish your courses. But two wrongs don’t make a right either.

      2. Al Williams

        Thank you for your thoughts. Retired Navy people in the squadron looked into the matter and found that the decision came from higher than they had access to or ability to challenge. Our instructors did some hunting and found a church that would let them use their classrooms. This was a year or so ago now. We just decided to roll with the punches but it sure leaves a sour taste on your mouth when you realize that it is our own Navy who for years had the Seaplane Base entirely open to the public and now had either become insanely paranoid or just plain mean and nasty.

  4. Ken Jones

    Previous commentors corrected some of Al’s misconceptions. I’ll correct some others. I work across the street from the base hospital and get most of my health care there, so I can assure you it hasn’t been closed. I’m a Navy retiree and I’ve been a civil service employee of the Navy for nearly 14 years. Just like all of my local retired Navy friends, I’m a homeowner who pays property taxes and does plenty of shopping off-base. Incidentally, the base skeet range Mr. Williams mentioned has been closed for 10 years or more. I love being an Oak Harbor resident, jet noise and all.

  5. Heidi Oliphant

    Well I am a Navy Veteran, and I pay property taxes.. I did live in housing for a while, but for the most part, I rented and then purchased property… I do vote in Island County elections, but only as I am a Washington State and Island County Resident…would you deny me my right to vote? Not all Military personnel stationed here can vote here, you have to be a resident and most do not change there residency to there duty station. Yes my children did attend school here, put there was a subsidy that was given to the County and city to accommodate the higher influx of children that being a Navy town brings. I shop out in town, quite frequently, I am not hopping from bar to bar as this stereotyping individual would have you believe… I know several people who are not and have not been in the military that work on base. I am person who spent hundreds of hours volunteering at the local schools, in the help house, the boys and girls club and Relay For Life Etc!! Your insinuation that we are the leeches of the communicating is appalling. I give a lot of myself to this community, because I live here, I work here, and I support my community!!!

    Navy Veteran
    School Volunteer
    Relay For Life Team Captain
    Help House supporter
    Boys and Girls Club Supporter
    Disaster Relief Organizer
    Drug Education For Youth Mentor

  6. Admin

    As a brief reminder, it should be said that opinion letters posted on this blog are the thoughts of the person who wrote the opinion. Letters such as this are included as food for thought, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or beliefs of the CoER and its many individual members, who do not as a group pre-select blog content. In fact, given the nature of spirited debate within this diverse group, it is likely that no such letter could possibly represent all of CoER. Therefore, it is perfectly fine to disagree with someone’s posted letter, but we would caution against interpreting it as CoER opinion unless it is indicated to be so by members of the board.

  7. Anti Liberal

    By the way Mr. Williams, you can live tax free as well in military housing now since it is open to everyone. Enjoy. I will remain in Coupeville where I enjoy living off base and love that jet noise! You can count yourself lucky that my husband is defending the freedom of people such as yourself who don’t appreciate it AT ALL!

    1. citizensofthereserve
        This letter has been removed. It was off topic for the CoER.
    2. Al Williams

      Since my original letter was removed, let me reinsert the link to the story developed by former P.I. Reporter Eric Nalder who investigated the Military Housing Project scandal that you are talking so highly about. It is a 25 minute presentation well worth your thoughtful consideration.
      Then too, here’s a link to a letter to the editor of the Whidbey News-Times from a military person living in that project.
      Check these out and think it over.

  8. M. D. Anderson

    It is a fact that all your readers will not agree on all topics. I consider Al Williams unpublished letter a gem containing valuable insight. It is to the benefit of Whidbey Island residents to be aware of malfeasance committed by our government. Sweeping it under the rug will not lead to solutions. Readers have the option to dispute any issues they find objectionable. While it is just my opinion I would like to see Mr. Williams letter posted for everyone to read.

    1. Admin

      The reason the letter has been removed is that it is off topic for the goals of the Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve. It deals more with the Navy itself, the presence of the base in Oak Harbor, and so forth. CoER, as a group, is only dedicated toward the closure of the OLF. Its individual members will certainly disagree with each other on other topics concerning the Navy, and therefore it is best for us not to post a letter that might mislead the public as to the group’s purpose or the opinions of its members. We have no intent to discredit the letter, its writer, or its detractors, and thus we apologize to all concerned for any inconvenience.

      1. Al Williams

        Airport noise has historically been a contested issue when civilian population grows around them. On a national level, the trend has been that residential civilian interests eventually win and airports have had to mitigate the noise or move to more remote and rural locations. It happened in Denver many years ago, Los Angeles had the same problems and had to come up with mitigation strategies that I think included the purchase of land around the airport. Most military airports have been located in desert areas that are sparsely populated with people who benefit from their presence such as China Lake in California or Fallon, Nevada. That ameliorates the complaints. Even the base at Fallon is located miles from that small town. Due to the much greater noise that some smaller fighter type military planes emit, these planes are usually sequestered at these remote bases.

        Certainly this problem is not one the military does not anticipate and know will require mitigating measures on their part. I would think that if you want support for you efforts at OLF, you would likely find the local real estate business community to be a strong ally.

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