Thursday, July 5, 2012

Attempt to Privatize Fort Worden State Park

The Attempt to Privatize Fort Worden State Park

In his July message to the Port Townsend community, tucked into our water bills this week, our mayor, David King, tries to promote the Fort Worden Public Development Authority (FWPDA) - the group that wants to take over the management of Fort Worden State Park here in Port Townsend. Many of us think that is a bad idea and that state parks should be owned and managed by the state.

For one thing the mayor points out that a PDA can issue bonds but he also says "the park can never be mortgaged". Really? Don't you need collateral to issue bonds just as with any other debt? When the bonds can't be paid what do the investors get? Wouldn't we in fact be mortgaging the park?

The mayor also claims that the park cannot be "hijacked by private interests" because it will always be under the authority of the City. (At best he is advocating that the state park be managed by the city.) But the next sentence is even worse where he points out that the PDA would be "insulated" from the political process. Is that just a positive spin on not being transparent? It's precisely because the park should be owned and managed openly by the state (not the city) and not "insulated" from the checks and balances of the political process that we oppose control and management by the FWPDA.

The mayor, well-intentioned though he may be, says that control by the FWPDA does not "privatize" the park - a word that he uses - as well as the wonderfully evocative "hijacked by private interests".  I think he has given us a great slogan:

You like the privatization of liquor? You'll love the privatization of of our state park.

Good for the 1% - not so good for the rest of us. More information at "" Or email us at ""