Housing, traffic issues dominate Camp Foster-Camp Lester meeting
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Col. Russell Jones stood on the Kubasaki High School stage Wednesday, looked out at several dozen residents of camps Foster and Lester, and took responsibility for their woes.
“If you’re not happy, it’s my fault,” he said, addressing a campwide town meeting for the first time as camp commander.
Jones, who took over as the two camps’ “mayor” from Col. Adrienne Fraser Darling last month, presided over the two-hour meeting that covered a wide range of issues. A panel of officials from the local schools, Marine Corps Community Services, Army and Air Force Exchange Service and other base organizations were on hand to answer questions, but most of the 80 or so residents in the audience focused on housing and traffic issues.
The chief housing complaint concerned smoking in the apartment towers. Two residents complained about secondhand tobacco smoke that enters their apartments through air vents.
Col. Mark Losack of Facilities Engineering said smoking is allowed in private residences. The problem is that the towers have a common venting system and the smoke can enter through the bathrooms.
“The way to solve the problem is to close the bathroom door, turn the fan on and let it vent,” he said. “That’s about the best you can do.”
“But we have to sleep sometime,” one woman said. “Why do we have to deal with secondhand smoke? You can’t smoke at work, so why not ban it in base housing?”
“We’ll huddle up a team and take a look at it,” Losack said.
Jones also handled a Camp Lester resident’s complaint about noisy bosozoku gangs of motorcyclists and moped operators zipping along Highway 58 just outside the base late at night and into the early morning.
The bosozoku were banned from Highway 330 in Okinawa City this summer and since have moved to the portion of Highway 58 bordering camps Lester and Foster. “Why can’t they ban them on 58, too?” the woman asked.
Jones explained that Highway 330 was in a different jurisdiction, but he’d see about negotiating a similar crackdown on Highway 58.
Among other issues discussed Wednesday were:
¶ Making a three-way stop at the intersection of the new tunnel road behind the exchange and post office and the road to the AAFES shopette.
¶ The extensive changes in traffic patterns around Zukeran and Killian elementary schools and Kubasaki High School.
¶ A new campwide public address system that will be completed by mid-October. The system is for mass notification and warnings during camp emergencies and will allow for morning and evening colors, reveille and taps to be broadcast across Camp Foster.
¶ Making sure pet owners follow base rules; a woman complained that some neighborhood dogs are tethered outside unsupervised all day and pose hazards to passers-by.