- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2000

Reason for new Navy urinals is efficiency, not p.c.

Stuart Miller's "Davy Jones' Water Closet" (Op-Ed, Oct. 5) is so riddled with errors it almost seems superfluous to mention that it entirely misses the point of why the Navy is considering upgrades to bathrooms on our ships. Mr. Miller's biography says he "works on gender issues in Washington." Obsesses about gender issues would be more accurate; he seems to find them everywhere.

To correct each of Mr. Miller's mistakes would require more space than his original diatribe, so let me just hit the main ones.

First, the proposal to replace trouble-plagued urinals with cleaner, easier-to-maintain stainless-steel toilets did not come from Vice Adm. John B. Nathman. The proposed alteration was researched and assessed by engineers at the Naval Sea System Command and sent to the fleet for comment. Adm. Nathman's message the subject of so much overheated reporting was but one of several from senior leaders who are interested in reducing the amount of time and trouble it takes our highly skilled sailors to clean the bathrooms on our ships. Yes, that's right, we have to do it ourselves, so we care about making it easier.

Second, the cost of this conversion is actually $187,000, not $160,000, as Mr. Miller said, but that is the cost to install the complete bathroom decks, sinks, showers, mirrors the works as well as the stainless-steel toilets themselves. This compares to the $125,000 cost for the currently configured bathrooms with problem urinals, which require replacement every five years. The new design lasts at least 10 years, resulting in a cost avoidance of about $63,000 per bathroom, or about $375 million when implemented throughout the fleet.

Finally and most important, the impetus to consider this change had nothing to do with gender.

For decades, those who serve in Navy ships have known of the problems associated with shipboard urinals. They require frequent maintenance to prevent or correct clogging. Even when properly maintained, they are time-consuming to clean and are the source of near constant odors. The Navy is moving forward with this alteration to make shipboard life better for all our sailors.

While it is true that replacing urinals with toilets also will make it easier to re-designate berthing areas depending upon the number of women in a crew, this is a bonus, not a motivation.

Had Mr. Miller bothered to check, he would have known all this, and so would your readers.

S.R. PIETROPAOLI

Rear Admiral

Navy

Washington

Don't let Endangered Species Act fly only to west

It's about time. The Klamath Alliance for Resources & Environment applauds members of Congress from Western states who are pressing Eastern representatives to strictly enforce Endangered Species Act (ESA) rules in the proposal to expand the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Until the East experiences the mind-boggling inconsistencies of the ESA that have been inflicted upon the West, we'll not see meaningful curbs on its excesses.

To illustrate one: Irrigation water supplied to farmers in the Methow Valley of Washington was turned off by the National Marine Fisheries Service and Forest Service to save the salmon. Several farms dried up, and hard-working American families lost their farms and their futures. Later, someone walking in the woods came upon government agency personnel, in uniform, standing in streams full of salmon, clubbing them to death. The government workers said they were killing hatchery salmon to protect wild salmon genetics. Hatchery fish are bred from wild salmon. Luckily, the observer had a video camera to document this.

Why fund hatcheries with taxpayer funds, then kill the fish? More important, why were farms and farmers destroyed for nothing? The reason: Huge numbers of returning salmon threaten the power of the fisheries service and forest service to halt, with onerous regulations, legitimate resource activities, such as farming.

Eastern America needs a reality check to understand that this well-meant law has become a club used by an environmental movement run amok. It's all about power, not environmental protection.

Contact KARE, and we'll cite example after example of how the ESA is used to destroy, rather than protect. Perhaps being forced to endure the type of regulatory overkill on enlarging the Wilson Bridge that we endure on a daily basis on both private and public lands will result in meaningful discussion on ESA reform. Eastern America owes at least that to the Methow farmers whose lives were destroyed.

NANCY J. INGALSBEE

Executive director

Klamath Alliance for Resources & Environment (KARE)

Yreka, Calif.

Gore is king of 'Scamalot'

In The Washington Times and throughout the media, reporters, columnists and editorial writers are using scores of euphemisms in an effort to avoid the politically incorrect words "lies" and "lying" in reference to presidential candidate Al Gore.

Among the words being used are: embellishment, misstep, exaggeration, falsehood, stretch, manipulation, pretension, invention, tall tale, whopper, con, ruse, reach, artful dodge, parsing, gaffe, double talk, faux pas, inflating the facts, inaccuracy and spin.

The problem is that when all of these words are used interchangeably, none of them stick. It is like shooting birdshot at a barn from 100 feet away. The barn remains undamaged, and one cannot even tell where it was hit.

What is needed is a single word that takes the place of all or most of these euphemisms which is a bit softer than "lies" and a bit harsher than the powder-puff word "spins" but which, when used repeatedly like a sequence of rifle shots, will blow a hole right through the barn.

I suggest using the word "scam." Through his constant lying, Mr. Gore (and Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well) has participated in scam after scam in an avalanche of deceits that should collectively be labeled "Scamalot." In due course, this could lead to the lasting legacy label "The Decade of Scamalot."

Here is small sampling of Al Gore's scams the list of which seems to grow longer by the day:

• His I've always been pro-choice scam

• His "no controlling legal authority" phoning for dollars scam

• His Buddhist temple "community outreach" scam

• His I wrote the earned income tax credit scam

• His "our administration balanced the budget" scam

• His "We reformed welfare" (though twice vetoing reform bills) scam

• His "Texas has a budget deficit" scam

• His series of scams involving when and why he became anti-tobacco

• Attacking Hollywood publicly for "cultural pollution" while telling the attendees of a Hollywood fund-raiser that he will only "nudge" them

• His ongoing blame it all on Big Oil scam, meant to cover up the administration's failed oil policy

• His ongoing 100,000 missing vice-presidential e-mails scam

• His ongoing MediScare scam

• Claiming that he accompanied Federal Emergency Management Agency Director James Lee Witt to Texas to view the fires

As former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley complained to Al Gore during a Democratic presidential primary debate, "Why should we believe that you will tell the truth as president if you don't tell the truth as a candidate?"

A more plain-spoken Texas governor might do well to state the issue a bit more sharply: Mr. Gore, if you're scamming us now, we know darn well you will try to scam us in the future.

JIM GUIRARD

Washington

Gore and Bon Jovi?

Democrats always talk about the disadvantaged and the stark lines between rich and poor. But Vice President Al Gore's fund-raiser reveals it is just that talk ("Gore sees big contrast with Bush," Oct. 6). Your article states that those who contributed $1,000 got to drink by the pool, while those who paid $25,000 got to mingle with rock star Jon Bon Jovi and Mr. Gore. Mr. Bon Jovi stated that he wants the "me generation" to become the "we generation." If he wanted to set an example of that statement, he should have left anyone who paid, regardless of the amount, to mingle with him and the vice president. Talk about buying access.

How can these people be so blind to their double standard?

MATT CARNS

College Park

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