- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2000

Real 'diversity' upsets liberals

Does it ever occur to those Democrats consumed by racial and ethnic politics that it is condescending and dehumanizing when they denounce the Republican National Convention as an "illusion of inclusion" or call conservative minorities "pawns of the GOP?"

Is it not possible for minorities to have opinions other than those espoused at the Staples Center in Los Angeles?

The fraud of "diversity," hailed by contemporary liberals, is glaringly evident when minorities embrace disparate beliefs, particularly ones straying from the monolith of the left.

The notion that all minorities must think alike sounds ominously like an old racial slur. Isn't it sad and ironic that this bogeyman has reared its ugly head again under a different guise, this time by the very folks purporting to care about minorities?


Fullerton, Calif.

Radical environmentalism and Gore in the balance

Your coverage of Vice President Al Gore's campaign speech in which he compared his own travails with those of another author on issues of environmentalism, Rachel Carson neglected to add sufficient context to Mr. Gore's righteousness in the face of purportedly unfair criticism of his 1992 book, "Earth in the Balance" ("Gore likens his book's critics to those of Carson's classic," Aug. 13).

The reader should be permitted to judge the validity of such criticism, so I provide a small if representative sampling from Mr. Gore's book to objectively fill the void:

* Save trees, not people? "It seems an easy choice sacrifice the tree for a human life until one learns that three trees must be destroyed for each patient treated… . Suddenly we must confront some tough questions. How important are the medical needs of future generations?" (Page 119)

* Are his own brood of four children destroying our planet? "Any child born into the hugely consumptionist way of life so common in the industrial world will have an impact on the environment that is, on average, many times more destructive than that of a child born in the developing world." (Page 308)

For Exhibit 2, I offer highlights from a 1992 memo by Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Jonathan Sallet to the Clinton-Gore campaign that highlighted Mr. Gore's vulnerabilities from his extremist manifesto. Among the DNC's findings:

* "Al is a radical environmentalist who wants to change the very fabric of America."

* "[Mr. Gore] criticizes America for being America a place where people enjoy the benefits of an advanced standard of living."

* "[Mr. Gore] has no sense of proportion: He equates the failure to recycle aluminum cans with the Holocaust."

* "[Mr. Gore] believes that our civilization, itself, is evil (because it is, in his words, 'addicted to the consumption of the earth.')"

If Mr. Gore believes he is being unfairly treated for the views he expresses, he should address the individual criticisms, i.e., specifically defend the above-cited positions. So far, he hasn't.

Sweeping claims of moral superiority seem as disingenuous as that which he describes he faces.



Cooler Heads Coalition


Times off track on Metro article and editorial

I am writing to clarify one of the facts reported in The Washington Times concerning the costs and financing of the proposed New York Avenue Metrorail station. The Times reported ("Metro station cost tops estimate," Metropolitan, July 24), and editorialized ("The trouble with Metro," July 28) the so-called news that the costs of the proposed station had "ballooned" to $84 million. That characterization is both erroneous and misleading.

Let's briefly review the public statements made about this proposed new station since the innovative public-private financing plan was announced last year. On June 23, 1999, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams signed a memorandum of understanding with representatives of private landowners in the vicinity of the proposed station. The financing plan recommended that the District contribute $25 million in local funds, with the federal government contributing an additional $25 million. The mayor also agreed to propose legislation to create a special tax assessment district to raise another $25 million in private funds. It was envisioned at the time that the $75 million would become available in late 2000 to support the project schedule for design and construction.

Both Metro and the District knew that the $75 million was a general estimate, based solely on an early feasibility study and that additional preliminary engineering work would be needed to develop a firmer cost estimate. It was commonly understood then that the initial $75 million estimate did not include certain project costs such as land acquisition, permits, fees, financing or unforeseen conditions such as the need for rock excavation.

At the time of the initial announcement, Mr. Williams also pledged an additional $5 million to "jump start" further planning, preliminary engineering and environmental clearance activities. The city later provided $9 million, rather than $5 million, in order to accelerate its work. The $9 million which has already been transferred to Metro is funded with $8 million from the District's infrastructure fund and $1 million from the District's fiscal 2000 capital budget.

Earlier this year, Metro initiated a series of public education and outreach meetings. At a March 21 public forum, Metro explained that the refined cost estimate for the proposed station, based on the preliminary engineering work, was $84 million. This announcement had been discussed with all the financing partners and came as no surprise to anyone involved with this project. It only seemed to come as a surprise to The Times reporter when he happened to learn of it some four months later.

Since Metro has received $9 million of the $84 million needed for construction, we are now working with the city to secure the $75 million envisioned in the mayor's original financing plan. The mayor proposed, and the D.C. Council has approved, $25 million as the city's contribution. President Clinton has proposed, and Congress is considering, $25 million in federal funds. The mayor and the private landowners are in discussions concerning the special assessment district to fund the private-sector contribution.

The proposed New York Avenue station is unique and, indeed, historic. It will be the first station built beyond the original 103-mile Metrorail system and the first added into the existing operating railroad. To my knowledge, it is the only time in this country that the private sector has funded such a substantial portion of a new transit station.

Just as significantly, this new station will be a major contributor to the city's economic development goals for the New York Avenue corridor. It will pay for itself many times over since it will serve as a catalyst to create new jobs, maximize development potential and complement other community revitalization efforts in that area. It is projected that more than 5,000 new jobs and $1 billion in new investments will be generated in the New York Avenue corridor by the time the new station opens in 2004.

We owe it to the citizens of this region to move ahead with this critical project. We also need to be sure that every aspect of this project is reported fairly and accurately.



Board of Directors

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit



Who are the candidates?

After watching the Democratic National Convention on Monday night, I almost needed to ask who were the Democratic candidates for president and vice president since so little was said about Vice President Al Gore and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman. I almost thought President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton were hoping to win a "write-in vote" for themselves.


Nampa, Idaho

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