- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 19, 2000

OSHA regulations will put stress on economy

I would like to add to your editorial coverage of the new Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations regarding repetitive stress injury ("Ergonomics schmergonomics," Nov. 15). While most coverage of the topic has focused on the cost of ergonomics and compliance directly borne by employers, little (if any) has addressed the broader economic implications of these regulations. If U.S. typists, warehouse workers, assemblers, etc. are precluded from working a normal full day by these regulations, U.S. employers either will have to double and triple staff positions, or more likely, will ship much of their repetitive work offshore. These new regulations further add to the burden of regulation that has stymied our ability to compete economically; in the long run, they will cost American jobs and productivity.


Newark, Del.

Chad scrutiny reveals nothing but voter error

Is it possible to determine, beyond the shadow of doubt, the intent of a voter by examining a punch card having a "hanging door chad," "swinging door chad," "tri-chad" or a "dimpled" or "pregnant" chad? The truth is, the intent of the voter simply cannot be determined by such evidence. All that these various ballot conditions verify is that the voter did not properly follow instructions while voting.

For example, if a voter were to decide at the last moment, just before puncturing the punch card, not to vote for a candidate he may have been leaning toward, and instead to vote for no candidate at all, such an action would very likely leave the punch card with a "dimpled" or "pregnant" chad.

In this case, to assume that the voter intended to select the candidate indicated by the "dimpled" or "pregnant" chad would be incorrect.


Seminole, Fla.

Candidates' rhetoric in need of fixing, not election process

Perhaps only 50 percent of eligible voters in America exercised their right to vote this year because many view the political system as replete with politicians and spin doctors who shamelessly play fast and loose with the truth. Voter cynicism and apathy result from the lack of candor demonstrated by politicians.

For example, during the battle for the presidency in Florida, both political parties have issued specious statements. Although both sides assure the public that their positions are accurate, an objective comparison of their comments to reality reveals that they have only the appearance of truth or genuineness.

Shouldn't we question the lucidity of former Secretary of State James Baker's statement that the vote recount in Florida is causing the stock market to act like a jittery squirrel, when at the very moment he was making that claim, all of the major indexes were showing healthy one-day gains? In addition, shouldn't we question the forthrightness of former Secretary of State Warren Christopher's claim that Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis' ruling provides a vehicle for the fair tabulation of the votes for all of the voters of Florida, when the vote recount is concentrated in only four of 67 counties?

We can debate the efficacy of the general election process and the Electoral College ad infinitum, but we will gain very little. It seems like a profound waste of time, when first and foremost, what American voters really need from the political system and politicians is the very definition of candor: unreserved, honest and sincere expression.

Without a move by our politicians toward plain speaking and honest expression, we're chasing our tails.



Wilson Bridge project no exception to wildlife laws

In an Oct. 16 District Forum article titled "Who cares about the eagle," Rep. George Radanovich, California Republican, charged that the Endangered Species Act was not being enforced fairly, implying that the Wilson Bridge reconstruction project was receiving special treatment more lenient treatment than is given to endangered and threatened species in California.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service thoroughly reviewed the Federal Highway Administration's proposed Woodrow Wilson Bridge project and authorized the take, or likely loss, of one bald eagle nest. The take was authorized in accordance with the Endangered Species Act, which requires that the take must not jeopardize the continued existence of the listed species. The service's opinion is that the loss of one nest out of the 6,104 nests of bald eagle pairs nationwide will not jeopardize the bald eagle's continued existence. Further, as the act requires, measures have been identified to minimize impacts on eagles. Specifically, habitat for bald eagles will be protected before any construction begins that may affect either nesting or wintering eagles. This includes a time-of-year restriction on construction activity to protect existing nesting activity. It also includes securing 32 acres of forested shoreline property adjacent to existing foraging areas.

Mr. Radanovich also inferred that protection of a federally threatened species (the valley elderberry longhorn beetle) delayed repair of a levee in California and somehow was responsible for the levee's failure.

The Arboga levee was delayed first when the local sponsor decided it wanted a more elaborate repair than that recommended by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The corps put the levee project out for bid in 1996, but it was delayed because of a protest by a disappointed bidder.

The state legislature held an oversight hearing on the 1997 levee break. Among its findings: The state and federal Endangered Species acts did not contribute to levee failure. No evidence was presented that showed levee failures could be attributed to the application of endangered-species or environmental-quality regulations.

The Endangered Species Act is not administered any differently in Washington than it is in California. The act is applied based on the same guidelines and policies nationwide. Through the years, the Endangered Species Act has evolved to allow new approaches for conservation. Amendments and administrative changes ensure a strong scientific basis for decisions on endangered species, facilitate large-scale planning to accommodate land use and wildlife habitat and promote innovative public/ private partnerships.



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Chesapeake Bay Field Office


Don't demonize Jesuits

I am disappointed in Paul Craig Roberts for his remark in the Nov. 14 Commentary article, "Crossing the Rubicon," that "The media are the Jesuits of the Democratic Party. The media believe that no choice other than Mr. Gore is a moral choice."

Recognizing that bigotry has no place in a civilized society, we have finally stopped using Jews to symbolize avarice. Isn't it about time that we quit associating Jesuits with deviousness and duplicity?

One prejudice is the mirror image of the other, and they inevitably bring to mind the fashionable (and appalling) bigotry of the British literati of the 1920's. What demons can we expect next to meet in your columns?



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