Skip to comments.Base Closing OK With California City
Posted on 05/12/2005 10:35:44 AM PDT by SmithL
Concord -- As towns across the country nervously await word about which military bases the Pentagon wants to close, this San Francisco suburb is hardly on edge.
It'd be happy if the government included the Concord Naval Weapons Station on its list of proposed closures being released Friday.
In a letter to Navy officials, Mayor Laura Hoffmeister spoke of "tremendous benefits for the city of Concord and the Department of the Defense" if the 63-year-old installation is shuttered.
About 35 miles northeast of San Francisco, the base covers thousands of grassy acres that Concord officials believe is ideal for homes and businesses near an existing commuter rail station. A shortage of new homes in the San Francisco Bay area has contributed to the region's soaring real estate prices in recent years.
"We think we are the only city in the nation that's asking for their base to be closed," said Jim Forsberg, Concord's director of planning and economic development.
States are worried because losing a military installation could be a blow to the local economy and they're doing whatever they can to try to spare them. At least one state, Illinois, is threatening to go to court.
The Pentagon wants to close and downsize some of its 425 major U.S. domestic bases as well as smaller installations to save billions of dollars a year. The Concord base already has been drastically downsized since 1999, today employing only about 100.
The base, a division of Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach in Southern California, opened in World War II and was the site of tragedy on July 17, 1944. An explosion killed more than 300 men most of them black sailors who loaded munitions onto ships,...
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
If the sailors were not black, then it would not be a tragedy?
Don't worry, some environmental group will find an endangered bed lice in the grass and the land will not be able to be disturbed...
Once it's developed, their ain't no going back. God help us if great war comes in the future. We'll have to locate all the new bases in the middle of nowhere. We may be really screwed.
There's a herd of elk on the base. I wonder what they'll plan to do with them?
This is what disturbs me. These bases, once closed, are irreplaceable.
The logic is perverse. We rail against the Clinton cuts to the military, where our force was cut in half, and we have been left with a military that is sorely taxed to manage the occupation of one relatively small country of 25 million people.
But closing these bases means that we accept the Clinton-sized military as the right size.
We don't need these bases because our immediate military needs are reduced from Cold War and World War levels. But should we ever have to fight a serious war agaginst a serious enemy, we will find that we have closed the barn door and there is no getting back in. In the age of "not-in-my-back-yard" lawsuits and inflated property values, building new bases in the middle of a future conflict will be costly and painful.
Of course they want the base closed. You don't want to be occupied by a foreign army.
I don't agree that they are irreplaceable. However, I do think that instead of just giving these bases to the local governments, we should sell them to pay down the national debt.
If you'll think back you will remember that all the bases closed while Klinton was in office were scheduled for their closures way back in 1988.
It was set before he took office.
I don't doubt it. Bush senior had planned to cut the military by about half, himself, but the Gulf War intervened. I never get tired of blaming Clinton for things, and he has a lot to answer for. But there aren't any champions out there for a larger military in either party.
I'm impressed, at one level, by the quality of our military, they seem competent and well led, and woe be unto any enemy that crosses swords with them. But the fact remains that with only two relatively small conflicts to handle we are unable to handle them without mobilizing reserves and guardsmen; a high percentage of the guys facing bullets on the line are guard and reservists. I'm seeing reports of soldiers and marines who are on their third tour of duty in country, units that have returned home are remobilized and sent back. This, to my inexpert nose, smells like an undermanned force.
If North Korea were to collapse outward, if Pakistan were to implode and we suddenly had to go in after her nukes, for example, I don't see where the additional forces come from. Obviously there may be alternatives to US intervention in either case, but our strategy in such cases should not be dictated by a lack of soldiers.
Obviously, our more pressing needs are for bases near the action, in the middle east and central asia, but I am still awfully hinky about closing US bases that can't be replaced. Once they are gone, they're gone.
The base, a division of Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach in Southern California, opened in World War II and was the site of a mass muntiny ... most of them black sailors. Fifty were convicted at Court Martial.
Concord is in the middle of LIBERAL LAND - move everything down to San Diego - WE LOVE THE MILITARY HERE.
Concord is in the middle of blue country, but it's still a lot more real than most of the Bay Area. It also supports the military and the scouts.
The Naval Weapon Station is huge - many thousands of acres. We did a Cub Scout Day Camp several years ago, and it's a fantastic place. It has lots of wildlife, teeming marshes, as well as coastline. There's nothing left of Port Chicago but a few foundations.
The base itself is largely unused. Most of the bunkers are unusable due to crumbling and other effects of old age. The train tracks are too unsafe to use (even for people other than Brian Willson). There are only about a hundred people working on the whole base. It's not like the old days when this was the center of the universe for naval weapons on the west coast.
A decade ago, I lost my job (Government contractor - computer repair) when a lot of the bases were closed. It broke my heart when Mare Island Naval Shipyard was closed. They were super submarine builders there, and the people there deserved better. There isn't much of a military presence in Northern California anymore. I really hope Travis AFB is spared. However, the Weapons Station truly has a hard time justifying itself today. Yeah, San Diego may well be a better business choice, but not because of patriotism.
,,, home on the range ping.
Thanks for this. Our house is a stones throw away from this area. It has been left almost vacant for ages. It was very important in it's time, just like Nike missile sites, but times have changed. The area is ripe for development, but it does need to be the right mix. Just because there is a crush on for houses, doesn't mean that the place has to be filled with them. There needs to be the infrastructure to support it. I will be very interested in what actually happens with the area. Travis needs to stay open.
Looks like they got their wish?
,,, there's enoug town planning blunders to learn from. Let's hope you do get the right mix.
We will have to wait and see. Concord appears to be progressive and has a lot of vision- 10 year plans in place. They managed to balance their budget when Sacramento couldn't!