Closing the marine terminal just another political tool

July 10th, 2019 by Ken

The race for Olympia Port Commission in the November election is between incumbent port commissioner Joe Downing and his challenger Helen Wheatley .

The race could also decide the future of the port’s Marine Terminal, the part of the port that ships exports and imports to and out of other countries, particularly in Asia. And the part of the port which creates the most controversy.

Critics of the port have complained for years that the marine terminal is a money loser. That it imports products that impact the environment, that supports military activities and is a vestige of old-style thinking.

Supporters of the marine terminal says it is now breaking even financially and will soon be in the black. That having a marine terminal is prestigious and an indication that Olympia is ready and open for business. Supporting the terminal are the longshoremen and their union and other pro-business groups which see a marine terminal is necessary if Olympia is retain its character as a working port.

Wheatley favors closing the marine terminal and is supported by E.J. Zita, the only current member of the Port of Olympia commission which favors closing the terminal. Downing has gone on record as supporting the terminal and is joined in that view by incumbent port commissioner Bill McGregor.

There is much more to the Port of Olympia than just the marine terminal. The port operates the Olympia Airport and has land and facilities in much of Thurston County. But the marine terminal is the most recognized difference between the two candidates running this year.

I favor closing the marine terminal, but that is not the only basis on which I will make a decision on who to vote for. We need diversity of backgrounds, diversity of opinions and diversity of skills and talents. Don’t use the marine terminal as your only reasons for voting for a candidate. Consider the big picture and know – Weyerhaeuser still has more than a decade left on its lease for its log dump. It will be quite a while and several new port commissioners before any serious action could possibly be taken to close down the marine terminal.

Until then its just another political tool to gain votes.

Posted in The Real News

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