An open letter to Rick Larsen

Greetings congressman,

I live in the 98239 Zip code and listened to the phone meeting Tuesday
evening. I operate a small business in Coupeville, my husband and I own 2
properties within the town limits, and I am inheriting my father’s home,
which is on the hiway, 1 mile north of OLF. He inherited that property from
his mother, who inherited it from her father, a son of one of the original
settler’s in central Whidbey.

The message you seemed to be giving about the OLF was confusing to me.
And it seems to be the same message I received from Navy representatives at
the scoping meeting I attended.

In summary, this is what I understand the message to be: “The Navy is
very interested in feedback from the community. They very much want to know
what our concerns are, and will seriously consider them. The noise level of
the Growlers cannot and will not be diminished. Flights will not be
diminished, and after completion of the EIS they will be increased
considerably. There is no possibility that flights will be limited or
discontinued. There is no possibility that the Growlers will practice
anywhere else. There is no possibility that the OLF will be closed.”

In summary, “We want to hear what you have to say, but it isn’t going to
change anything”. So this sounds to me that both you and the Navy are
talking out of both sides of your mouth. One side is saying we really want
to know what you think and feel. The other side is saying it doesn’t make
the slightest difference what you think or feel.

I know several people that can’t conduct business while the Growlers are
flying. I know several people that have lost business when the Growlers are
flying. I know of people who have moved away because they can’t live under
the flights, even to the point of abandoning their property. I know people
who have lost the sale of their property because the prospective buyer was
there when the Growlers flew over. I have friends who become physically ill
when the Growlers are flying. I know a man who has had to take several sick
days because his work requires alertness and quick responses, and he can’t
sleep when the Growlers are flying.

Property sales have dropped dramatically in Central Whidbey over the
last 5 years, while sales on S. Whidbey have rebounded dramatically. I am
about to inherit a property that I’m afraid I can’t live in, and I probably
can’t sell as it is in the crash zone and is directly under the flight
pattern. This represents almost all of my retirement security.

Coupeville depends on tourism and agriculture. Our tourist industry is
being destroyed, and agricultural workers can’t work in their fields when
the Growlers are flying. It looks to me, and to many of my neighbors, that
our community is going to disappear over the next few years.

That apparently doesn’t matter to you. We are a much smaller population
than the Oak Harbor community, and you seem to consider us expendable.. You
profess to be interested in creating jobs. But it seems that the only jobs
you are interested in in Island County are the jobs at WalMart and Home
Depot in Oak Harbor. You clearly aren’t concerned about the agricultural,
tourism and small business jobs in Central Whidbey. It’s puzzling, because
many of those Oak Harbor workers generally vote Republican.

My husband and I have been life long Democratic voters. My husband is
very active in the Democratic party, has been a precinct chairman., and has
worked on various campaigns. I’ve always voted for you, and supported you,
in the past, but neither of us are ever going to vote for you again. I’ve
never voted for a Republican, but I will in your next election.

Sincerely, Katlaina RAyne

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