Letters to the Editor

JBLM: Clear zone partnership should include targeted businesses

Re: “South Sound cities must clear path for JBLM” (editorial, 10-25).

Making a sacrifice “for the greater good of the community” always sounds like a good idea, but it feels different when you are the one being asked to make the sacrifice.

I agree that Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s economic contribution to our region cannot be overestimated, but properties in the base’s clear zone are more than just a collection of storage and industrial buildings. Small and family owned businesses are located there. I happen to be one of them, and being forced to sell or move our productive business (in order to turn it into vacant land) would be costly and would negatively affect the jobs of 45 people and their dependents.

That’s just my business; that number would be in the hundreds if not thousands if all clear zone businesses are included.

If any such effort is to be successful, it must be funded adequately to compensate property owners, remain transparent and provide a seat at the table for affected businesses. Those businesses, and the people whose jobs they provide, have much more to lose individually than the region as a whole, especially if treated unfairly.