- The Washington Times - Friday, January 12, 2001

D.C. 'taxation' tags are not call for statehood

In the Jan. 9 editorial, "President in overdrive," you have apparently confused the issue of D.C. statehood with the issue addressed by the D.C. license tag line: "Taxation Without Representation."

You also have made a factual error. The license tags do not read, "No Taxation Without Representation," which is a call to action. They read, "Taxation Without Representation," which is a simple fact.

These license tags do not address the statehood issue. They simply indicate that a population of U.S. citizens which is larger than the population of Wyoming are taxed by the federal government without being able to participate in that representative form of government in a manner consistent with the rest of the nation. The license tags do not presume or suggest that statehood is a remedy to this disenfranchisement; Congress has any number of options. All it must do is act.

It is likely far easier to establish congressional representation for these U.S. citizens than to establish a new state. Neither those who championed this change to the D.C. license tags nor those who understand the issues involved would consider this a "statehood slogan." It is an issue of fundamental rights.

One might be excused for this confusion, insofar as even President-elect George W. Bush has not quite gotten the issue clear. Mr. Bush, when asked about this issue, stated firmly that he opposes home rule. Does he mean that the U.S. citizens who live in the District should not be permitted self-determination? Or did he really mean that he was against statehood, since the city has had home rule for decades? Perhaps the answer to these questions and other facts might inform your future editorials.

For the sake of accuracy and to allow intelligent people to decide where they stand on the issue, I respectfully ask that you represent the facts.

In your editorial, you call President Clinton's motive for placing the tag on the presidential limousine "sabotage." You also refer to Mr. Clinton's "malicious sense of mischief." Were you actually projecting your own?

PAUL A. WILSON

Falls Church

Clinton potshot perpetuates misconception of election process

While speaking on Jan. 9 to several thousand Democratic supporters in Chicago, President Clinton said of the recent election, "By the time it was over, our candidate had won the popular vote, …"("Clinton questions legitimacy of Bush's election to presidency," Jan 11). Mr. Clinton's comment is misleading, because there was no national popular-vote contest to win or lose. Rather, there were 51 popular-vote contests, one for each of the 50 states and the District. President-elect George W. Bush won 30 of those popular-vote contests. Vice President Al Gore won only 21 of the popular-vote contests.

If our elections were decided by a national popular-vote contest, the campaign strategies for all of the candidates major parties and minor parties would be different, and the national popular-vote count would have been different.

RICHARD BOVERIE

West Palm Beach, Fla.

Maine senator affirms support of Ashcroft

In the Jan. 10 edition of your newspaper, you ran a table listed as a confidential assessment by the American Association of University Women of where senators stand on the nomination of former Sen. John Ashcroft to be attorney general. I was listed under the heading of "On the fence."

As a point of clarification, I have been an early and strong supporter of Mr. Ashcroft's nomination to be attorney general of the United States.

I personally met with Mr. Ashcroft last week and know him to be a man of great integrity. I have the utmost confidence that as attorney general, he will faithfully and vigorously enforce all of the laws of the United States.

I believe Mr. Ashcroft will be confirmed by the full Senate, and I believe he will be an excellent attorney general.

SEN. SUSAN M. COLLINS

Washington

Despite flaws, Department of Energy shouldn't fold

Paul Clark, in his Jan. 10 column advocating the end of the Department of Energy (DOE), offered solutions that will not solve anything ("DOE on arrival," Op-Ed).

Mr. Clark apparently wants to see the problem fixed but doesn't understand the problem. His claim that the DOE serves only three functions is an inadequate description of the agency and its interests, and he ignores the many wonderful accomplishments that have emerged throughout its history.

I do not take issue with the functions he lists, but the DOE serves many other national needs, as well. No short column can present a complete picture of the DOE complex, but brevity does not justify misleading the reader as to what the DOE does for this nation or what it encompasses.

The DOE has funded much scientific research throughout its existence that has made possible technological advancements that might never have happened otherwise. Research into synthetic fuels and alternative energy resources (solar, geothermal, etc.) have resulted in options that may become the backbone of the nation's energy supplies in future years. Investments in the national laboratory system have pushed medical technology to new highs.

The list of what has been accomplished by the DOE and its contractors is nearly endless.

As for the charges of lax security, the DOE is guilty, but no more so than the rest of the government.

Security concerns and funding to maintain secure national technical means information has been degraded horribly since the end of the Cold War. This is a national problem, not a problem of one agency.

As for the military having total charge of nuclear technology and the arsenal, there was a good reason for those stewardships to have been split between military and civilian agencies. Mr. Clark has evidently forgotten his history.

Congress believed that no one agency should have complete authority over such an awesome power as the atomic bomb. For similar reasons, it was mandated that two persons are required to launch any nuclear missile. This is simply "checks and balances," Mr. Clark the same reason that we have three branches of government.

I agree that the DOE has grown too big and bureaucratic in some aspects. It may need an intelligent trimming and the diversification of some of its tasks. But throwing out the "baby with the bath water" would cause significant harm to the advancement of scientific research, our nation's technological resources, and our security.

DAN HAGEDORN

Richland, Wash.

Black beret solution

There has been a great deal of controversy lately about the decision of the Army chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki,, to issue black berets to all Army personnel. With good reason, this act offends practically every Army Ranger who earned the honor to wear it ("A time to hold and a time to fold," David Hackworth, Jan. 8).

Why not save some dignity, improve morale, salvage Ranger pride and go with brown instead? That way, everyone is happy.

Staff Sgt. JAMES E. FLANDERS

Army Reserve

Slidell, La.


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