- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 16, 2000

Mixed reviews on Sen. McCain's run for the presidency

With all due respect to Jack Kemp, Sen. John McCain is right on the money in opposing any across-the-board tax cut, regardless of whom it will benefit ("McCain's shining star dims," Jan. 11).

Our economy is in perhaps its most stable position in 20 years. Our population is satisfied beyond belief, our trade is lucrative, and our industry is productive. However, instead of tackling the huge problem of our multi-trillion-dollar debt, most Republicans and their candidates for president want to take a breather. Now, when everyone can afford it, our government should be examining whether or not we can take a hit with higher taxes. Instead of feeling good and stopping, we should be trimming our fat even further. We should be taking steps to assure that Americans in fifth grade are not cleaning up for foolishly greedy mistakes when they reach their 30s.

Mr. McCain may not be perfect, but he's honest. Furthermore, he's the first Republican in recent memory who looks as if he's willing to go beyond party lines to fix our country's problems.

JOHN WILT

Annapolis

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As I read Wesley Pruden's column regarding Sen. John McCain and his obvious pandering comments on the Confederate flag ("The wheels fly loose on McCain's wagon," Pruden on Politics, Jan. 11), I was sickened again by the inability of Mr. McCain to speak honestly to the people of South Carolina. A la President Clinton, he has tried to come down on all sides of the issue.

Please understand; I know that no presidential candidate can be correct on every issue or please everyone with his comments, but when Mr. McCain speaks in such a calculated and contrived manner, it is obvious even to the most casual observer of political events that he is not expressing his beliefs. Without some consistency and willingness to tell the truth as he sees it, we are left to speculate what his real beliefs are.

Mr. McCain needs to tell the truth if he has any hope of reaching the White House. Eight years with a prevaricator in the White House will have been more than enough for all of us.

JERRY WILHOITE

Huntsville, Ala.

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While I appreciate the service of Sen. John McCain during the Vietnam War, I am fed up with his sophistries about campaign finance reform. His chatter about corruption among members of his own party reminds one of Sen. Joseph McCarthy waving a sheet of paper in the early 1950s. If Mr. McCain is certain that corruption exists, let him provide real evidence. If things are so bad, let Mr. McCain name names and publicly confront the corrupted. Shouldn't the country know who these corrupt Republicans are?

Wild accusations are not becoming for someone who seeks the presidency of the United States.

B.J. ZAJAC

Philadelphia

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I was very disappointed to read your Jan. 10 editorial about Sen. McCain, "Hoisting John McCain."

As an independent voter in New Hampshire and a supporter of Mr. McCain's, I think you are expecting him to be God if you think he can reform all of our federal bureaucracy. It's amazing that he has gotten as much support as he has with all the corruption in Washington, and now the Bush status-quo Republicans are destroying Mr. McCain's chances of restoring honesty and dignity to our government.

You should be praising Mr. McCain and not expecting him to perform miracles.

JOAN B. ROGERS

Plaistow, N.H.

HUD secretary is building for better Indian housing

I read the Dec. 14 article "Housing project for Indians fizzles under Cuomo" with great disappointment. I was disappointed because the article misleads readers with factual inaccuracies and fails to tell whole story of the progress we have made in providing new homeownership opportunities on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The article wrongly adds to the hurt felt by American Indian tribes something the article falsely accuses the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo of doing.

As executive director of the nonprofit Oglala Sioux Tribal Partnership for Housing Inc. (OSTPH), I have been delegated responsibility by our eight-member board of directors to coordinate the partnership efforts in this major initiative at Pine Ridge. I feel compelled to respond to the article because all of the reporter's questions to me were directed at finding fault with HUD instead of reporting on our success and future challenges.

The Pine Ridge Building Summit is a pilot project to develop a national model for providing homeownership opportunities to American Indians. Choosing to work with reservations where the legacy of hundreds of years of oppression and neglect are alive was HUD's choice to do what is right, what is needed and what is hardest to do. On Pine Ridge, we needed 4,000 housing units to provide shelter to families who are on the waiting lists and often share their homes with three to four other families.

Beginning in March 1999, we created a nonprofit cooperation, the Oglala Sioux Partnership for Housing Inc., that provides home-buyer counseling to tribal families and acts as a one-stop mortgage center for financial lenders. In partnership with private mortgage lenders, we have qualified more than 20 first-time tribal families for 30-year mortgages guaranteed by the HUD Section 184 home loan program. Before the president's summit last year, HUD had guaranteed only one loan (you read that right, one loan) in its history at Pine Ridge. So, with the closing of 17 loans in six months, we already have dramatically increased the use of HUD Section 184 loan guarantees and demonstrated their use in providing affordable housing in Indian country.

The partnership has both acquired and built 20 new 1,280-square-foot three- and four-bedroom homes for the home buyers. We engaged local tribal contractors to assemble five homes constructed at our modular building facility in Kyle, S.D. We acquired 14 manufactured homes not trailers on foundations, as you reported each built to new energy standards, as part of HUD's Advanced Housing Technology Partnership. Finally, the U.S. Navy Seabees joined with us to build one home. All our homes have basements, which almost double the usable size of the structures.

Our first-time home buyers have established neighborhood homeownership associations to help one another in maintaining the homes. We are working with tribal families to continue the mortgage qualification process for next summer's building summit, where we anticipate providing another 20 to 30 homes. To achieve our long-term goal of creating 300 new homes will take several years, but we are making demonstrated progress through the collaborative efforts of HUD, the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and the commitment of our tribal leaders to provide tribal families with same opportunity to own their own homes that Americans throughout the rest of the nation are afforded.

In consultation with tribal leaders, the secretary has challenged us to set our goals too high because we all know that will force us to work much harder. If he's to be faulted for setting our goals too high, so be it. However, I wish The Times had called his initiative what it really is an honest effort to address an acute housing crisis on our reservation.

From what I have seen and known, HUD is committed to helping American Indians. Its efforts at Pine Ridge are nothing short of heroic. I ask all who share this concern to join us in this remarkable and noble effort to do what is right.

ROGER CAMPBELL

Executive director

Oglala Sioux Tribe Partnership for Housing Inc.

Pine Ridge, S.D.

Sweet bowl game

I am writing to thank you for the wonderful article reliving the wonderful Maryland Terrapins' victory over Tennessee in the 1953 Sugar Bowl ("A sweet time to remember the Terps' Sugar Bowl upset," Sports, Jan. 3).

As a 1950 engineering graduate from College Park, I was working at the time in Louisiana and was fortunate enough to obtain tickets for the game. The French Quarter in New Orleans was overrun with Tennessee orange and coonskin caps (remember Tennessee Sen. Estes Kefauver?) and raucous overconfidence on the eve of the big game. The next day, fans sat in stunned silence as the Terps dominated the game. What a wonderful, exciting day that was.

Thanks for the memory.

RICHARD G. GETSINGER

Trappe, Md.



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