- The Washington Times - Monday, August 6, 2001

Opposition to the Confederate flag is pure American

Contrary to columnist Tom Knott, you do not have to be a mushy-headed liberal to see the harm the Confederate flag does to our country ("Virginia revisionists dishonor dead, disavow history," Metropolitan, Aug. 2). I am a white Republican from the South and am proud to be an American and a Texan. That flag, however, stands against my most cherished principles: that everyone deserves freedom and opportunity, that everyone should be judged by their work and that everyone is a child of God. The Confederate flag has no place on government property anywhere. Mr. Knott may call my opposition ethnocentric. I call it pure American.

Midland, Va.

Who let the dogs out?

I have known Patricia Tereskiewicz who is now sought by police in the disappearance of dogs she "reported as abused" for 20 some years ("Animal rights activists blamed for dog thefts" Metropolitan, Aug. 3). If she had anything to do with taking these dogs, they can only have been in dire need of rescuing, no matter what the owners now say, and Mrs. Tereskiewicz has my full personal support. John Brown was hanged for freeing the slaves; chained dogs are today's slaves and they need a champion. If the law allows "borderline neglect," then the law is flawed. Chaining should be outlawed in Maryland as it is in other jurisdictions.
Council members must help eliminate the problem. No one has to have a fenced yard, nice as that is, but if owners are too lazy to walk dogs properly and to house-train them so they can live indoors with the family, they have no business possessing them. Dogs should not be treated as cheap burglar alarms or living toys and decorations. They are social, intelligent, feeling beings who get lonely, crave love and attention and are frightened out in the yard during thunderstorms. Bicycles can be chained, not dogs.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Norfolk, Va.

Stumping against Silver Spring's steely markers

If only all caretakers of our historic natural resources would display as much devotion as Mount Vernon horticulturist Dean Norton and others who are working to preserve the last remaining trees planted by George Washington ("Buds gathered to clone trees cultivated by Washington," Metropolitan, Aug. 2).
Here in downtown Silver Spring, the Montgomery County government, in collaboration with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is turning over a portion of Jessup Blair Park to neighboring Montgomery College's Takoma Park campus to construct a pedestrian bridge and classroom building. In the process, a grove of 150- to 175-year-old oak trees will be felled.
Like the remaining Mount Vernon trees, living witnesses to the life and times of George Washington, Jessup Blair Park's trees were around to see our community's history events such as the encampment of Confederate troops in 1864 and the passing of the first steam engine on the bordering Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1873.
At least out at Mount Vernon, when Washington's trees drop their final leaves, genetic duplicates will be planted in their place to provide shade for future generations of visitors. In Silver Spring, when our trees are chain-sawed, they will be replaced by yet more asphalt, concrete and structural steel.

Silver Spring Historical Society
Silver Spring

Hunting for a humane solution to unwelcome wildlife

According to Outdoors columnist Gene Mueller, hunters and sportsmen's clubs are apoplectic over the creation of a non-lethal task force in Maryland ("Glendening's task force could shoot down hunters' rights," Aug. 1). The task force is exploring methods to help Maryland citizens resolve problems with wildlife and is recommending solutions, particularly in areas where hunting is not welcome, such as suburban neighborhoods. They are reviewing proven and experimental techniques to deal with animals such as beaver, geese and whitetail deer.
The Maryland non-lethal task force is the first task force of its kind anywhere in this country. We should be proud that our state is progressive enough to recognize that times are changing. Most citizens, when offered a choice, would prefer that wildlife be dealt with humanely rather than at the hands of a hunter. Hunters already keep the public out of wildlife management decisions, because their hunting licenses and taxes pay the salaries at state wildlife agencies such as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission has only one token anti-hunter, whose appointment caused as much of an uproar in the hunting community as the new non-lethal, task force has.
Hunters try to convince the public that they care about wildlife but that caring stops if it does not include an opportunity to kill. For too long the less than 4 percent of Maryland citizens who hunt have had a stranglehold on wildlife policies. Finally, the public is getting a voice.

National Director
The Fund for Animals
Silver Spring

Allow the aviation industry to wing it

While Commentary columnist Dorothy Robyn is certainly on-target in opposing airline "coordination" of flight schedules in an effort to reduce airport delays, her solution fails to attack the heart of aviation gridlock ("Flight delay repair that won't fly," Aug. 2). Congestion pricing of runways would certainly be an improvement over the status quo. But instead of relying on government bureaucrats to devise a formula to adequately charge for its services, the flying public would be better served if government (local or otherwise) got out of the business of owning and maintaining our nation's aviation infrastructure altogether.
Rather than continuing to hinder air traffic control and airport management with government inefficiency and inertia, these services should be privatized. Completely opening the aviation industry to market forces would give airport and air traffic control managers obvious incentives to expand services as necessary and price them accordingly. This may sound far-fetched in a nation where government owns nearly 100 percent of aviation infrastructure. However, Canada is among the 16 nations that have privatized their air traffic control services, and Great Britain and Argentina are just two of the many nations that have successfully privatized most of their airports.
Ms. Robyn is certainly on the right track in relying on market forces to improve our aviation system. Now we must move towards the destination that taxpayers and travelers deserve airports and air traffic driven by private industry and innovation instead of being grounded by the government.

Policy Associate
National Taxpayers Union

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