Thursday, October 1, 2009

Here's an idea: tours of NWS Earle for area townspeople

After a brief visit to the Seal Beach Daily blog, it appears the Navy recently opened the California base for a "media familiarization tour" for Internet-based news organizations. What does this have to do with NOPE or civilian housing at Weapons Station Earle, you might ask?

Well, it signals that it is perhaps time for NWS Earle to invite not bloggers or internet media, but rather the residents of the base's primary host towns of Colts Neck, Tinton Falls and Middletown - to tour the base, from portside to mainside - a "Citizens Familiarization Tour," if you will.

If the U.S. Navy can invite bloggers into Seal Beach to watch the offloading of a Naval ship and "tour a super-fortified weapons storage facility to see the Tomahawks stacked there," among other events, why shouldn't Earle's commander be secure enough to present to the area townspeople (by and large mortified about security breaches and hundreds of millions of dollars of financial ruin that will stem from proposed civilian housing at Earle) a picture of what goes on at the base, perhaps to allay our fears about a presumed 1,500 civilians or more renters setting up residence on the base as soon as September 2010?

Perhaps it has to do with the Navy's bent to keep a shroud of secrecy over what's really going on behind the scenes as Earle prepares to clear the way for the civilian access road to the homes by the April 30, 2010 deadline, much as it did in written regulatory documents that fell well short of compliance with federal guidelines. Or maybe it is to conceal the fact that the U.S. Inspector General already found Earle significantly lacking in its oversight of contract security guards that it hires (at a steep price) to help watch over the base.

Whatever the reason, if nothing else, one could argue that the U.S. Navy should be secure enough about its own security to let the townspeople surrounding NWS Earle to take a tour and perhaps dispel NOPE's contention that things will go awry with a new civilian town popping up within the bases perimeter fence line by the middle of next year.

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