Sunday, July 10, 2005

Bremerton Sun article on NPS comments

Friends of Historical Accuracy regarding the ethnic Japanese Evacuation of 1942

Today's Bremerton Sun has an article by Steve Gardner on comments received by NPS regarding the "internment memorial".

According to the Sun (which received the information from NPS) there was a total of 1,300 comments received. Of these 1,093 were accepted by the Park Service with the others thrown out.

It should be noted the comments had to request one of three NPS options, A,B or C with each option determining the degree of NPS involvement.

Demanding accurate historical content or that no memorial be built at all wasn't an option, hence the 207 comments the NPS chose to throw out.

(Admittedly, having not received the cooperation NPS provided to the Bremerton Sun I can't verify this yet. I project the vast majority of comments the NPS threw out are pro-historical accuracy.)

Of the 1,093 total NPS chose to include, we are told 1,050 are generally pro-reparations and 43 pro-historical accuracy.

This is being heralded as a big victory for the reparations movment.

But breaking down for islanders-only commenting, the total is 413 for and 10 against!

Only 423 islanders out of 22,000 people even bothered to comment?

That's not a victory for either side of the debate.

Kitsap County excluding Bainbridge generated only 67 comments!

Seattle writers included 186 comments.

We've asked the park service to let us review the comments minus names and addresses and they have balked. We followed proper NPS procedure in filing a FOIA request weeks ago. Obviously NPS didn't have a problem letting the Bremerton Sun have the comments.

At any rate, having the NPS managing the comments and excluding/including what they think is acceptable is akin to the fox guarding the henhouse. The result is not surprising.

Certainly, 423 islander comments out of 22,000 people is no victory except for community apathy.

Update: Steve Gardner of the Sun provides clarification in the comments section.


At July 11, 2005 3:50 PM, Anonymous Steven Gardner said...

As a point of clarification, the NPS did not "throw out" any responses. It was just that for my own counting purposes any letter that didn't make it clear which option they preferred was not included. So to be included as Option C support, the letter had to either include "Option C" specifically or state that the BI memorial should be a satellite of Minidoka. 1,050 did so. To be included as A, the writer either had to mention Option A or question the accuracy of the history being taught, because it was reasonable to assume that anyone who questions the common version wouldn't favor federal involvement in the memorial. The vast majority of letters I didn't count probably would have favored Option C, but since I couldn't be certain, I couldn't count them.

At July 11, 2005 4:11 PM, Blogger Friends of Historical Accuracy said...

Thank you for the clarification, Steve. Your stating the majority of uncounted comments would be supportive of Option C is accepted as I have not viewed the comments.

It would be interesting to know of the comments characterized as pro-reparations or pro-historical accuracy, how many have the appearence of an organized letter writing campaign (ie. form letter style)and how many seem to be individually written?

Also in your opinion, given the amount of publicity why were there so few letters received?

We had a link from Michelle Malkin's blog, which receives 55,000 visits a day.

It's hard to believe that given her book on the subject and her loyal daily readership, more did not send comments to NPS.


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