Two proponents of GPT filed extensive, detailed comments for Cherry Point to support their partisan position with regard to the Comp. Plan on Jan. 8, the last day to file comments with the Whatcom County Planning Commission.
The Whatcom Business Alliance filed a 23 page letter, signed by Tony Larson, explaining the crucial necessity for Cherry Point for high paying jobs. There was no mention of its environmental value or sensitivity, but extensive mention of charity generated by Cherry Point businesses. The comment refers to a study from Western Washington University’s Center for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) by Hal Hodges.
The Northwest Jobs Alliance filed a 6 page letter, again referencing the Hodges report and attempting to cement the need for Cherry Point jobs into the Comp. Plan chapters. “Recent events have brought to light the importance of industry to our County’s wage, tax, and philanthropic base. We attached to our July 24, 2015 submission a study and summary entitled employment at Cherry Point. We reiterate our belief that this factual information is critical to informing present and future decision-makers and we again ask that the study be included by reference in the “Economics” (Chapter 7) and “Cherry Point UGA” (Land Use, Chapter 2) sections of the Comprehensive Plan.” Again, no mention of the environmental issues or the marine reserve also located on the same site.
Equally concerning is the claim that nothing about this report is biased or an attempt at advocacy. Those more familiar with Hal Hodges might feel otherwise. But the real elephant is what can not be said.. this is all an attempt to ensure that the county will approve the SSA permit application for GPT. Because of the imposed silence due to a potential conflict in discussing a quasi-judicial matter, this requires proponents to voice concerns in much broader terms, without really getting to the heart of their advocacy.