Where Did The OLF Misinformation Begin?

Recently, Adm. David Anderson of the Navy conducted a radio interview in which he commented on the state of communications between the Navy and the local communities regarding the proposed outlying landing field.

I take issue with a number of his comments, as they are inaccurate and not based in fact.

The Admiral claims that, in the Navy’s effort to communicate directly with the communities involved in the debate over an OLF, “they will not come to meetings; they want their lawyer to be their mouthpiece.”

He quickly adds that “I can’t even get them to the table.”

Oh, really. The Navy contacted Southampton county’s administrator around Feb. 1 in an attempt to meet with the Board of Supervisors.

When the Navy was informed they could not legally meet in closed session, they cancelled the meeting, citing their desire not to take a punch on the chin or to have to take a bunch of hostile questions from residents.

On Feb. 25, a meeting regarding the OLF was held in Richmond between Anderson, representatives from Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, and Steven Mondul, deputy assistant to the Governor for Commonwealth Preparedness.

Representatives from Southampton, Surry and Sussex counties were not invited to attend, and administrative error was cited as the reason.

Since that time the Navy has made no other documented attempt to reach out to our community where they were not welcomed.

When the process of selecting potential sites was taking place, not a single locality was consulted. When the Navy held its scoping meetings in April and May, Anderson was nowhere to be found.

And as for our legal representation, none of the localities involved have directed Anderson, or any of his subordinates for that matter, that they must communicate only through our attorney.

In this same radio interview, Anderson expressed his concern that “there is so much misinformation out there.”

I would suggest the Admiral need not look too far when attempting to identify the source of so much misinformation.

Tony Clark is chairman of Virginians Against the Outlying Landing Field.

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