Open communication

Published 9:01 am Wednesday, August 19, 2009

If politics was just, then both candidates for the governorship of our fine state would take 30 minutes to listen to the people who oppose the Navy putting an outlying landing field in Southampton County.

After all, aren’t Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds looking for votes? This area has its share of impassioned citizens who know how to step up to the ballot box to get their point across. And no group is more serious and organized now than the one opposing an OLF at any of the three Virginia sites suggested by the Navy.

Still, a sit-down meeting between either candidate and the group Virginians Against the Outlying Landing Field is looking more and more unlikely as they race toward Nov. 4.

VAOLF leader Tony Clark probably put it best when he talked to The Tidewater News last week about the issue.

“They don’t want to talk about this,” Clark said of both candidates. “These guys don’t want to talk about this issue because they know we’re getting a raw deal. Oceana (Naval Air Station) is one of those political third rails. You don’t want to be the guy running for statewide office that’s not all about keeping that cash cow right there in Tidewater.”

The fight, he went on to say, is financial for the candidates and personal for this small but vocal group who are fighting to retain their rural way of life.

Even the Navy has managed to hold short meetings about the OLF and has taken questions from concerned citizens. The candidates, on the other hand, have done little more than said “I’ll get back to you on that.”