BLUEBEAR'S ECOBLOG NOW OUT OF BETA
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Military contractor Blackwater Worldwide has pulled plans to build a training facility near San Diego, CA, facing intense opposition by local activists. In December, “voters recalled five members of a local planning board who supported the project.” The proposal for “Blackwater West” included “11 firing ranges, a driving track and a helipad in a valley tucked into rocky desert mountains.”
A tiny town called Potrero just north of the border in California, an area ravaged by the recent wildfires, just stood up and resoundingly said no to another impending disaster: Blackwater moving to town. It was the nation’s first ever electoral vote on Blackwater and it was a massive people-powered grassroots victory over the mercenaries. Every “stop Blackwater” candidate won by at least 63% (results here). It was an an enormous statement to Blackwater: stay out, you are not the kind of neighbors we want in our community. It is also a blistering statement by a very conservative town to reject the Bush world view. Our nation is not better served by having a privatized Army and there is nothing pro-troop about supporting Blackwater.
Blackwater has been working this little town of 509 registered voters (which went for Bush over Kerry by 25.8%) hard. They deployed Brian Bonfiglio, a Vice-President at Blackwater out to San Diego County to regularly show up to town meetings in Potrero. They sent out propaganda mailers and generally tried to ingratiate themselves with residents of the community. In short, Blackwater has invested a great deal of resources into P.R. within Potrero and cares very much what the residents feel about the company. Naturally, Bonfiglio and Blackwater are trying to downplay this huge loss, even trying to claim that they couldn’t give a crap about the town.