Friday, June 5, 2009

NOPE - Community Input Ignored by the Navy

Response to “Community involvement appreciated at Earle” by Howard Snow, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Facilities
Tuesday, June 2, 2009, Letter to the editor in the Asbury Park Press.

Claiming the public’s input was appreciated and a necessary part of the development of the Draft/Final Environmental Impact Statement and The Record of Decision documents regarding the Laurelwood Housing at Naval Weapons Station Earle; Deputy Assistant Secretary Howard Snow, is insulting the public. Unfortunately, the letter only proves the Navy cannot be trusted; it gives lip service to the democratic process, it fills costly documents with meaningless rhetoric, has little regard for public concerns, and continues with the wasteful expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

To insinuate the public misunderstood the term “unimpeded access” and assumed it meant, “open base” is another indication of the insufferable attitude of superiority the Navy has tried to hide behind a wall of community cooperation.

Monmouth county residents, legislative leaders, Neighbors Opposed to Privatization at Earle (NOPE) voiced their grave concerns regarding the Navy’s planned action to house civilians in the middle of NWS Earle at the Navy prescribed “Scoping” all comments were met with blank stares or undisguised bored tolerance.

Thirteen hundred concerned citizens took the time to participate in the comment period after the issuing of the Draft EIS only to have their concerns lumped together and dismissed with canned, irrelevantly vague responses.

A quantitative analysis was developed and alternative approaches to contract termination were suggested. In 2002 a $29m buyout offer was initiated by the developer, and was turned down by the Navy. Why? This stubborn resistance to acknowledge an error in judgment regarding a 1988 contract and the inability to adapt to a new post 9/11 world, begs one to question the motivation of those responsible for the safety of this country’s Naval facilities and personnel.

Hierarchal leadership is great in battle and in maintaining discipline; however, this type of leadership is archaic and ineffective when dealing with non-military issues, i.e. the Laurelwood housing issue.

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