Good meeting ends too soon

Published 8:22 am Friday, May 1, 2009

Officials with the U.S. Navy came to Bethlehem Baptist Church on Tuesday, made their case for why they needed a proposed Outlying Landing Field, and then took questions from the audience.

Unfortunately, they cut the question-and-answer session short. About an hour into fielding questions from concerned citizens, the Navy ended the discussion.

While the decision to stop there was regrettable, we applaud the Navy for coming to the church in the first place and putting itself front and center in a venue where the audience was overwhelmingly opposed to its plans for an OLF.

Navy officials could have hid behind closed doors in Hampton Roads and Washington, but they decided not too. They came out and to a place that was definitely not their “home turf.”

We would like to see the Navy have more of these meetings with the community, but also to have more time available for questions afterwards. Many people were upset that the meeting was called before they had the chance to ask their questions.

The Navy should recognize how emotional the OLF issue is, and provide more time for citizens at the next meeting. The discussion needs to continue.