- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Out with the new, in with the old

I commend Rep. George W. Gekas, Pennsylvania Republican, for introducing legislation to reduce the massive flow of legal immigrants into the country ("Gekas seeks curbs to legal immigrants," Nation, June 27). However, there is little to be gained by drafting laws for legal immigrants until the laws against illegal immigrants are enforced. The major draw for illegals to hop into our country is jobs. Without access to jobs that pay around ten times as much as similar work in Mexico, the flow of border jumpers would dry up. If we were to enforce laws that are on the books, we could end these jobs for illegals. If every new job applicant were checked for a legal Social Security number against a secure database, the hiring of illegal aliens would cease. This, more than any legislation, will do the most to solve our immigration problem.


Border Solution Task Force

San Diego

The senator who did not peg Pickering a racist

The Washington Times article "GOP says judicial choices wrongly called racist" (Nation, Thursday) painted an unfair and biased picture of a fund-raising letter that was sent to my supporters regarding federal appellate court nominee Charles Pickering. While the article misconstrued my letter as an attack on Mr. Pickering's character, in fact, my letter explained that I opposed Mr. Pickering's nomination because of his performance as a lower court judge.

To selectively excerpt two sentences from a four-page letter in the manner your reporters did is as misleading as saying the Declaration of Independence urged the Colonies to remain loyal to Britain because it contains the phrase "Governments long established should not be changed"

To set the record straight, here is the section of the letter cited in the article without deletions or distortions. I'll let your readers decide for themselves:

"There were moments when Charles Pickering did brave and thoughtful things which showed that he, like most of us, was trying to learn and make his corner of America more tolerant of race. Seated behind him and supporting his nomination was Charles Evers, brother of the slain civil rights leader Medger Evers.

"Back in Illinois one of Pickering's critics in Chicago said to me: 'He can change the sheets but he can't change who he is.'

"It is easy for those of us from the forgetful North to write off this white lawyer from the South as an unreconstructed racist. Easy, but wrong.

"I don't believe Charles Pickering is a racist.

"But the issue of his nomination had to do with more than resolving that question."


United States Senator (D-Ill.)


Kenya is not Africa's democratic heart of darkness

The June 24 article regarding Kenya's imminent democratic transition ("Kenya's Moi proves wily as 'professor of politics,'" World) suggests that President Daniel arap Moi seeks to impose his will on his party and extend his term of office for another year beyond December's scheduled elections.

Kenya has held elections every five years since its independence in 1963, even in the midst of immense turmoil in the region. The constitution of Kenya is clear in stating that the general elections will be held by December 2002. Mr. Moi has repeatedly stated that he does not intend to change this and has also indicated that he is not going to run for office in the coming elections. Indeed, he has been preparing his party for the transition from power.

The ruling Kenya African National Union party (KANU) cannot, therefore, on its own extend the term of parliament. Indeed, any amendment to the constitution requires a two-thirds majority, which the party does not possess, thus rendering such an allegation moot. In any case, KANU members have a democratic right as a political party to offer views on the political events in the country, since they are representatives of the people as well. It is, therefore, quite improper to deny the party its right to propose its views in the midst of a debate that occupies all Kenyans and that will result in a fresh political dispensation in the country.

It is completely ridiculous to suggest that Mr. Moi seeks to extend his term of office to celebrate his silver jubilee in office. He is not motivated by such extraneous symbolic considerations, but rather for the welfare of his people, whom he has served for 40 years. This is why he has publicly confirmed what the constitution unequivocally states. The unfortunate allegation that he rules his party with an iron fist and has caused the death of some individuals is truly absurd, uncalled for and wrong.

Political parties in Kenya are run on a democratic basis. We have a mature political system. Politicians move from one party to another. There continues to be a vibrant give-and-take in our political process and in the robust media, which any observer of Kenya can attest to. People within the KANU can openly criticize their party leader, and examples abound. Dissent within the party, as well as the polity, is normal.

Kenya has been a close and reliable ally of the United States since its 1963 independence through the vagaries of the Cold War and as we continue to fight the war against terrorism. We look forward to continuing these cordial relations between the government, the people of the United States and all Kenyans. I take this opportunity to wish all Americans a happy Fourth of July celebration.



Embassy of the Republic of Kenya


Locals not loco about Yucca

Your reporter apparently spent a few hours in a bar in Beatty, Nev., and concluded that people in rural Nevada overwhelmingly support the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump site ("Few in rural Nevada oppose Yucca nuclear dump site," Nation, Sunday). I don't know what he was drinking, but he should have understood that the boozy patrons of the establishment do not reflect the opinions and attitudes of the majority of rural Nevadans, even those in communities in the shadow of Yucca Mountain.

The state of Nevada and its university system have been surveying citizens about the Yucca Mountain dump project for about 15 years. There is not a single county in Nevada in which the majority of people support the project. Even in Nye County (host to Yucca Mountain), where the federal government has for years operated the Nevada Test Site and other nuclear-related activities, a clear majority opposes using Yucca Mountain to store nuclear waste.

Statewide survey results are even more striking. Opposition to the project has consistently run between 66 and 80 percent over the 15-year time frame, with the average being about 70 percent. An independent researcher hired by one of the state's leading newspapers a few years ago (Bruce Merrill of Arizona State University) called opposition to Yucca Mountain in Nevada the closest thing to a consensus you are likely to see on a public policy issue.

In short, your reporter should have gotten out of the bar and balanced his reporting with a shot of reality.



Planning Division

Office of the Governor

Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects

Carson City, Nev.

Shifting the blame

Editor's note: To clarify Mazin Qumsiyeh's Sunday letter ("Equal time for Palestinians"), Mr. Qumsiyeh blamed "U.S. support of Israeli colonization of Palestine" for the continuing violence in the Middle East, not the threat of terrorist violence against Americans.

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