- The Washington Times - Monday, January 29, 2001

Connerly, civil rights coalition back Gale Norton

I am writing to state my full and complete support, both in committee and on the Senate floor, for approval of the nomination of Gale Norton for Secretary of the Interior. Her views, record and achievements are well-known to me. The issues of water use, common sense resource stewardship and the intelligent application of good science coupled with environmental sensitivity are crucial, not only for my state, California, but for the nation. Mrs. Norton would bring such a balanced approach, which is needed now more than ever, because as the energy crisis in California which is not uniquely a California problem reminds us, environmental zealousness can contribute to a serious economic and quality-of-life downturn.
There have been some recent press reports regarding Mrs. Norton's 10th Amendment views within the context of American history, specifically the Civil War era. Mrs. Norton's remarks about the political and constitutional underpinnings of Southern secession have been completely taken out of context. To suggest that she is the least bit racially biased or bigoted, as some have recklessly charged, is irresponsible and ridiculous.
Given Mrs. Norton's history, proven abilities and record of accomplishment, I and the American Civil Rights Coalition (ACRC) wholeheartedly endorse her nomination. ACRC is a national grass-roots organization that works on the local, state and federal levels to support policies that move our country beyond "race." We join a broad coalition of Americans who firmly believe that Mrs. Norton will be an outstanding Secretary of the Interior and a first-rate public servant.

WARD CONNERLY
Chairman
American Civil Rights Coalition
Sacramento, Calif.

World Wildlife Fund takes moderate position on eliminating DDT use

In his Commentary column "When environmental protection costs lives" (Jan. 6), Steve Chapman repeats the myth that environmentalists wish to ban all use of DDT, despite its effectiveness in controlling malaria, because of the harm it can do to animal populations. In fact, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) supports reduced reliance on DDT, primarily because of the hazards it poses to humans when it is sprayed indoors.
Many countries, such as Mexico and Vietnam, have successfully controlled malaria while eliminating DDT. However, because South Africa was unsuccessful in moving from DDT, the WWF supports DDT's continued use there. The United Nations treaty mentioned by Mr. Chapman provides for DDT's continued use for malaria control, increased investments in and periodic evaluations of alternatives, and the ultimate elimination of DDT when countries are satisfied that the alternatives are workable. WWF endorses this prudent approach.

RICHARD A. LIROFF
Director
Alternatives to DDT Project
World Wildlife Fund
Washington

Filipino people, Supreme Court support new leader

Considering President Joseph "Erap" Estrada's allies controlled practically all mechanisms of the Philippine government, the people's last recourse was to take to the streets to express the popular will ("New Philippine leader gets off to shaky start," Jan. 24).
Peaceful civilian protests are as much a component of democracy in the Philippines as the conventional institutions. Filipinos took to the streets in millions. The heads of the various military services simply had no choice but to side with the Filipino people.
All sectors of society and departments of government having withdrawn support for Mr. Estrada, he was simply no longer able to govern. Under the succession process defined by our constitution, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed office as president. It was an act that had the full approval of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, the ultimate arbiter in such matters. The court ruled that "salus populi est suprema lex" the welfare of the people is the supreme law.
Moreover, in referring to Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo as "president" instead of "acting president" in his letter to the Senate president before he departed from the Office of the President, Mr. Estrada himself had recognized the ascendance to the presidency of his constitutional successor.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo brings hope for all Filipinos that her advocation of principles of good governance will redound to the benefit of all.

ARIEL Y. ABADILLA
Charge D' Affaires
Embassy of the Philippines
Washington

All delegates at UN summit will have best interests of children at heart

Your story "Pro-life groups feel shut out of U.N. summit" (Jan. 2) reports two contentions made by the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute about the landmark U.N. Special Session on Children that will take place this September. Both contentions are inaccurate and baseless.
First, the article contained the institute's accusation that at a planning meeting later this month UNICEF would push "pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rights planks." To the contrary, neither topic will be on the agenda of the special session, the sole purpose of which is to measure global progress on goals set at the 1990 World Summit for Children and to establish a fresh set of goals for the coming decade. (For the record, UNICEF does not provide support to abortion services of any kind, and it does not promote abortion as a family planning method.)
The article also contained the Catholic institute's accusation that UNICEF was singling out organizations with pro-life agendas with limits placed on the number of delegates that they may send to the special session and its planning conferences. This is also inaccurate. The limits apply to all non-governmental organizations that have registered for the U.N. conference irrespective of their size, mission, or special issues. The limits are necessary because of physical limitations of the general assembly hall, which must seat government delegations from around the world as well as representatives of 500 to 1,000 other organizations including many with pro-life agendas.
The purpose of September's conference the first General Assembly meeting dedicated solely to children and young people is to inspire governments and civil society groups to re-energize their commitment to the dignity, health and development of children everywhere. The idea that any group or caucus of groups will be "outnumbered" at this event is silly. Although the hundreds of organizations participating have widely varying missions, all have the best interests of children at heart and will enjoy full and equal opportunity to take part.
Your readers can learn more about it at www.unicef.org/specialsession

CAROL BELLAMY
Executive Director
UNICEF
New York

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