A planned visit of three naval ships during this year’s Lakefair is in serious doubt because of concerns about providing security.

Most Olympia City Council members said Tuesday night that they would deny a request from Capital Lakefair for six to 10 police officers to provide security.

“It’s very doubtful the ships will visit if the council can’t devote the resources,” Lakefair president Teri Chmielewski said. She asked the council to vote on whether to provide the officers, who would provide security as tours were given on the ships. The council didn’t vote, but members spoke one by one, and all but Mayor Mark Foutch opposed the request outright.

“There’s going to be protests” if the ships arrive, Councilman TJ Johnson said. “Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are going to converge in Olympia.”

Foutch offered to help Lakefair by providing two officers.

“I would be willing to try to save the day if the day could be saved,” he said.

Lakefair officials invited the Everett-based USS Ingraham and two ships based in Victoria, British Columbia: the HMCS Saskatoon and the HMCS Whitehorse. Their visit was scheduled for July 20-23.

“Capital Lakefair invited these ships to town out of tradition and history,” Chmielewski said. “It was not my intention to glorify the war or make a political statement at any time.”

Twelve of the remaining 14 people at the meeting who signed up to speak on the subject opposed inviting the ships. They said residents don’t want them because they are emblems of war, that they are used as a military recruitment tool and that they will spark costly protests.

“There are better things to be spending the money on in the city of Olympia,” said Kerri Griffiths of Olympia.

Chmielewski said Thurston County Sheriff Dan Kimball has offered to staff the security detail.

Costly proposal

City Manager Steve Hall said the issue may be moot because he’s not sure he has the manpower to staff the event.

I don’t want people to think the ships are coming or not coming because of the city of Olympia,” he said.

SondraK, unapologetic Lympian Slayer SondraK, unapologetic Lympian Slayer
07/11 at 06:45 AM •
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