Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NORFOLK; Too Much Self-Pity

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NORFOLK; Too Much Self-Pity

Article excerpt

Memo to our friends in Norfolk, Va.:

Get over it.

Of course, it's going to hurt your economy when the Navy moves an aircraft carrier from your base to Mayport Naval Station.

But so what?

It wasn't politicians who decided to spread out the fleet. The Navy did that, because it wanted to avoid the Pearl Harbor syndrome - in which the entire Atlantic Coast fleet would be crippled by a single attack or hurricane.

It's unpleasant to lose jobs, of course, even when that is in the nation's interests.

But the incessant whining isn't becoming to a city like Norfolk, which has a fine reputation.

The low point may have been a recent Associated Press article.

UNSEEMLY COMMENTS

Norfolk business owners, the article reported, are "jittery" about "the threat" of losing 3,000 sailors - the crew of one carrier.

As the "news story" explained: "For businesses, the return of a carrier has been likened to a vacation cruise ship docking in the Bahamas and disembarking tourists eager to spend."

If one of the carriers goes elsewhere, the AP informed readers, a car dealership may make lower profits.

And a hair salon will have fewer customers - not just any salon, but one that gives military customers a 10 percent discount.

Wow.

Besides, one jittery Norfolk business owner was quoted as saying, " 'N' is for Navy, and 'N' is for Norfolk."

By the way, "M" is for military, and "M" is for Mayport.

Does that have anything to do with the merits of dispersing the fleet? Can't this discussion be conducted on a more intellectual level?

And why all of this talk about appealing all the way to President Barack Obama?

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD

Isn't it better to have the Navy run by military people, who know what it needs, rather than politicians trying to guess how best to be re-elected?

Other communities have lost military facilities ... and handled it quite differently.

Jacksonville, for example.

In 1993, it was announced that Cecil Field Naval Air Station would be closed.

That meant the loss of 8,500 military and civilian jobs in Jacksonville, a crushing economic blow. …

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