By David Anderson, Tillicum
No, it didn’t happen. But it could.
Camp Murray wants a new gate accessed through the residential streets of Tillicum. But Camp Murray is the crucial emergency life-line to the entire State of Washington serving as the home of the Emergency Operations Center. With the news out of the Pentagon September 29, 2011 of yet another terrorist-bombing plot defused, the potential of a scenario played out in Tillicum is no more far-fetched than the military’s failure to identify Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army-trained psychiatrist, who on Nov. 5, 2009, massacred 13 people at Fort Hood.
The Washington State Emergency Operations Plan requires the availability of facility and staffing, at a moment’s notice, to answer the call to emergencies and disasters anywhere in the state. But what if we are the disaster?
What if, because of lack of foresight, not to mention frivolous funding for a gate-move-of-convenience – the critically important access to I-5 that the Washington Military Department should have had, could have had, was instead just plain “had” by a homegrown terrorist – or worse?
And now The Tacoma News Tribune is reporting a “Let’s Make A Deal” pre-arrangement between Camp Murray and the City of Lakewood by which the National Guard will move its maintenance shop and employees from Camp Murray to JBLM in return for the city’s support in Murray’s gate-relocate.
Groundbreaking is September 29, 2011 for the $21 million facility.
“Groundbreaking” hardly serves to describe what this means to Tillicum residents – or what it should mean to the people of greater Lakewood for that matter. The public comment period on this gate relocation only ended this past Monday, Sept. 26. The required permit that Camp Murray needs to access their proposed new gate location has not been issued – yet.
But apparently a deal is a deal. Just not for Tillicum.
At least the TV game show version of “Let’s Make A Deal” included the audience – the public, the paying-public at that, as in taxpayers. Co-producer and host Monty Hall offered valuable prizes, or undesirable items – called “Zonks”. In this deal with Camp Murray, the Tillicum residents get “zonked” – speed-bumps, a roundabout, cut-through traffic, impacted property values. Camp Murray gets the prize – a new $21 million maintenance facility and a $4.7 million new gate.
Because Lakewood and Camp Murray have a deal.
But what about the three protest rallies? One-hundred people stepping up to the mic? Five-hundred-twenty signatures on a petition? Hundreds of pages of letters? All in protest of this “deal”?
Evidently, as in the game show where participants dressed in unusual, crazy, and foolish costumes in order to increase their chances of being selected, not only were we cut out of the deal, apparently we’ve been played for fools.