- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Unreasonable sanctions lifted from Azerbaijan

Thank you for your continual interest in Azerbaijan. In your Jan. 30 Embassy Row column, you correctly stress Azerbaijan's extensive cooperation with the United States both before and after the tragedy of September 11. However, your description of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act and its notoriously unfair and discriminatory sanctions imposed on Azerbaijan is somewhat misleading. It was passed by Congress in 1992 under pressure from the Armenian lobby when there was no Azerbaijani representation in the United States and long before current President Heydar Aliyev came to power in 1993. In fact, it was passed when Popular Front Party leader Abulfez Elchibey and, incidentally, party chairman Ali Kerimli and deputy chairman Asim Mollazade were in power.
Moreover, Section 907 has nothing to do with the domestic political situation in Azerbaijan and is in no way linked to the presidency of Mr. Aliyev. It was enacted because of "blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh," adding insult to the injury of Azerbaijan's suffering from Armenia's occupation. Needless to say, the reasoning behind 907 had no relation to reality on the ground.
As for the events of 1993, Mr. Aliyev saved the country by disrupting the coup-plotters' plans to derail Azerbaijan's independent development. He then was elected president in accordance with Azerbaijan's constitution.

ELIN SULEYMANOV
First secretary, press officer
Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Washington

Renewables best way to reduce OPEC dependence

Your Feb. 1 editorial "Phantoms in the energy debate" included a few phantoms of its own. Your supposition that the oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) would replace 30 years' worth of Saudi oil imports was based on the high estimate of 16 billion barrels of oil. There is a 1-in-20 chance that ANWR holds that much oil. The mean estimate is 10 billion barrels. That still is a large amount of oil, but of course, no amount of oil will ever provide for a sustainable oil-based economy. We should use our remaining oil to establish an efficient economy based on renewable energy.
America is fabulously wasteful in our energy use. Each American uses 459 gallons of gasoline each year, while Germany, Japan and China use only 140, 113 and 10 gallons per person respectively. To drain ANWR just to run a fleet of gas hogs a little longer would not serve the nation's interests.
You dismiss renewable energy because it only provides 9 percent of electricity generation. Yet only a few years ago, less than 9 percent of all families owned a computer. Wind-generating capacity grew by 39 percent in 1999 and solar power by 30 percent. A high growth rate can result quickly in real change, as the proliferation of computers demonstrates.
The best use for ANWR oil is for it to stay in the ground to prove to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that we aren't completely at its mercy, which we will be if we drain ANWR without first building a renewable-energy economy. To get to an efficient renewable-energy economy, we should shift taxes off of income and payroll and onto fossil fuels. This would give us all a financial incentive to invest in more efficient technology and adopt less oil-dependent lifestyles.

CARL HENN
Rockville

Founders didn't exclude women and blacks in Declaration

In the Jan. 28 story "No Founding Fathers? That's our new history," you report: "Some opponents said reciting [a passage from the Declaration of Independence] would do little to improve students' understanding of history. Others argued the passage which begins, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal' was insensitive to women and blacks. That phrase was written at a time when slavery was legal in the United States."
How could such a passage be found insensitive to blacks when, contrary to what you wrote, slavery was not legal in the United States? The United States, as a country, didn't exist when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Some states had slavery, some did not. Aside from the fact that in the semantics of the day "men" meant all humankind, many of our Founding Fathers were dead-set against slavery's being allowed in the new union. (If one reads the Federalist Papers and other founding documents, it's obvious that there were numerous contentious debates over that issue, and some historians believe we wouldn't have a union if the Southern states had not been not allowed to keep their slave-based economy intact. The issue festered for more than 60 years and culminated in our Civil War.) To imply that the signers of the Declaration did not include all free citizens of our country in that statement is disingenuous, at best. There were many free blacks to whom that statement would apply at the time the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Historical revisionism is one of the most insidious forms of tyranny and one that must be resisted at every turn.

MICHELLE M. MANNING
Hillsboro, Ore.

District residents want stricter parking enforcement

The D.C. Department of Public Works is hiring more employees for parking enforcement, as directed by the D.C. Council and at the specific request of the people of Washington ("The District's ticket scam," Editorials, Jan. 22).
Anyone who is familiar with this issue and follows the proceedings of the council knows that District residents repeatedly have petitioned elected officials to increase, not decrease, parking enforcement primarily in zoned residential areas. People who live in the city and pay for annual residential parking permits get pretty frustrated when they see vehicles with out-of-state plates parked in their neighborhoods for hours or days at a time.
Further, the only parking fines that have been increased since 2000 are those for blocking rush-hour lanes and snow-emergency routes legitimate public-safety concerns, wouldn't you agree?
As for parking meters, regulations are the same here as they are elsewhere. If you're still parked at that meter when the time expires, you're breaking the rules and eligible for a ticket. Sorry, there is no hidden agenda. Parking meters are used widely in parking controls designed to ensure access to parking opportunities for everyone by creating "turnover" at those spaces. Of course, we want people to come into the District to dine, shop and work. Meters offer short-term parking options. If your business requires more time than the meter allows, it probably is a good idea to consider alternatives, such as Metro or a parking garage.
By the way, the fine for parking at an expired meter in Washington is still $15 the same it has been for at least the past seven years. In Baltimore, the same violation gets you a $20 ticket. Across the river in Arlington, the expired-meter fine is $25, as it is in Boston. In Kansas City, it's $26.50. In New York City, if you overstay your time at a meter, you'll shell out $55. It is pretty simple: Follow the rules, and you'll avoid the fines.

LESLIE A. HOTALING
Director
D.C. Department of Public Works
Washington


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