Back in the spring, at an April 30th "informational meeting," Port Canaveral CEO John Walsh claimed that the US Air Force had given him a list of "58 Reasons that Port Canaveral rail couldn't go through the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station."
Numerous times, Walsh had mentioned to this writer (when he was still talking to me) and others in the community — including former Port Commissioner Sue Ford and No Fill, No Kill organizer Capt. Alex Gorichky — that he would provide copies of the list.
But he never did.
Then other people started asking about.
And Walsh hemmed and hawed and failed to produce the document. Finally, after nearly a month of chasing it, we reached out to the 45th Space Wing and asked their public affairs chief about it. Here's what he had to say:
After receiving that response, my interest was piqued and I reached out again to Walsh, who denied my public records request on the grounds that the USAF had asked the port not to release any data they shared with them.
At least that story was partially true.
Sensing something was up, I reached back out to the 45th Space Wing, which was able to clear up some of the confusion:
- Up to that point, the USAF and CCAFS have never been asked about Port Canaveral rail being routed through CCAFS.
- John Walsh appeared to be referencing a PowerPoint presentation that was created in 2012, long before Walsh was named CEO. (That presentation is in PDF form at the bottom of this post.)
- CCAFS officials were puzzled as to why the CPA was referencing outdated material.
- The PowerPoint presentation was actually developed in regards to possible rail needs for commercial space exploration by Space X and others.
- The USAF and CCAFS didn't have an opinion on Port Canaveral's rail because they had never been asked — and therefore couldn't offer any opinion. And even if they had, they would have to develop a whole new report since the info contained in the document referenced by Walsh was nearly 3 years old.
- And this was the most interesting part: Even if you added all of the slides and the bullet points containing concerns together, they wouldn't total 58.
But because it was "official use only," I still hadn't been able to obtain a copy of the presentation in question.
And low and behold, the day John Walsh apologized to the community for referring to opponents of his embattled cargo rail plan as "Luddites, dogs and radicals," whose "own children can't make them happy," what should appear in my inbox?
A copy of the USAF PowerPoint, marked as unclassified, but pre-decisional and for official use only sent to tedlund.com by a source close to the situation:
When you delve into it, the document is 11 pages long, and only provides 20 specific concerns that the USAF had for its OWN PEOPLE — not for the CPA.
And, just lIke the 45th Space Wing said: "If you added up the slides and all of the concerns, they wouldn't even come close to 58."
It's 31 to be exact. What happened to the other 27?
Perhaps they haven't been declassified yet. Emails to Walsh as well as commissioners Allender, Weinberg, Evans, Deardoff and Justice on the subject were not returned as of late Thursday.
It's just another really good illustration of Walsh's "win at all costs" attitude to push this commercial rail project through despite public opposition. He's willing to stop at nothing — including concocting fictitious government documents — in order to get his way.
It's a pattern we've seen all too much of at Port Canaveral as of late and there seems to be a single common denominator here.
And unfortunately — for John Walsh at least — there seems to be only one inevitable solution to this troubling equation.