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Spaceport Debate Scheduled

I was recently told that Chairman Jimmy Starline is interested in a debate about Spaceport Camden between Steve Howard and me, but he claimed the County had been unsuccessful in arranging it. A public debate is long overdue, but they’ve never asked me to debate Howard.

So, to make a debate easy for Starline and Howard, I’ve rented the Camden Recreation Center Meeting Hall for 6:00 pm on Friday evening, March 20 for the debate. That’s the same venue that Camden and the FAA used to promote the spaceport in 2015 and 2018. I’ve extended an invitation to County Administrator and Spaceport Project Lead Steve Howard to debate the question, “Why Spend $1 More On Spaceport Camden?”

Camden has spent over $8 million in a futile 5-year attempt to convince the FAA, the US Navy, Georgia DNR, and Department of Interior that a commercial rocket spaceport can legally operate from Camden County. All Camden’s experts had to do was to prove a single, legal trajectory for any rocket. And although it’s critical to us, the FAA doesn’t even consider that the spaceport could bankrupt our County.

Steve Howard is the middle-man between the commissioners, paid consultants, lobbyists, and spin doctors that have failed to achieve their so-called “Mission Possible.” Deadline after deadline falls while more and more “experts” are hired. Spaceport spending exceeds $15,000 every week.

Mr. Howard and our Commissioners found it easy to build excitement for their idea by promising that thousands of space industry jobs would result. We do need more head-of-household jobs in Camden. So you’d have thought their oft-ballyhooed Spaceport Education and Workforce Subcommittee would have met at least once since 2018. Zero meetings and Zero space industry jobs have been created here.

Their promises and failures are not exposed to taxpayer scrutiny because they’ve cloaked the project in secrecy. Naïve optimism replaced sound decision-making. They’ve never demonstrated how our spaceport “investment” will benefit taxpayers.

Had the millions of dollars stayed in our pockets, we’d likely have spent them in Camden County instead of paying Washington lobbyists, Atlanta PR firms, and Texas “experts.” The JDA could have baited the hooks with a few millions that would bring other ExpressScripts-like businesses with hundreds of jobs to Camden. Perhaps they could have enticed several of the 1,200 Kings Bay supplier companies to relocate here. Or they could have kept business and homeowner property taxes lower. Instead, their plan’s devolved into hoping the FAA will approve and still untested small that’s exploded during 100% of its test launches.

Every promise about Spaceport Camden has been fiction.

Citizens deserve the opportunity to hear both sides of the spaceport debate. So now it’s scheduled, and all county residents are invited. Citizens expect Steve Howard to have the answers about spaceport success that have escaped all other commercial spaceports.

I hope Steve Howard shows up. I can’t imagine anything on his schedule that’s more important.

Friday, March 20, 6:00 pm. Camden County Recreation Center, 1050 Wildcat Drive, Kingsland

Steve Weinkle

Harrietts Bluff

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