- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Follow-up questions for Sen. Daschle

I was struck by yesterday's letter from Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle ("Senator Daschle's 'misunderstood amendment'"), wherein he defends his effort to help his home state of South Dakota deal with the threat of forest fires by "legalizing" forest-management efforts largely opposed by environmental groups. Yet Mr. Daschle claims that his amendment is different because a consensus was reached by all the "stakeholders" including environmentalists for whom the hot-button words "logging" and "thinning" have sparked many a lawsuit before it was adopted.

The Washington Times is right to essentially ask Mr. Daschle, if it's good for South Dakota, then why isn't it good for America? Millions of acres have burned this year, and 14 firefighters have died fighting forest fires that might have been prevented or at least limited by the enactment of national legislation similar to Mr. Daschle's amendment to help South Dakota. If the formula for successful forest management is achieved by reaching consensus among "stakeholders," why isn't Mr. Daschle holding hearings and drafting legislation to take his South Dakota amendment national? (Or is the Daschle amendment mere political tokenism, agreed to by environmentalist groups comfortable sacrificing a few trees in South Dakota because their friend and ally wants to help his home state?)

Mr. Daschle is quick to criticize Republicans for failing to lead. He works against just about anything "Republican,"blaming President Bush for everything from the failure to get Osama bin Laden to the stock market's fall to global warming. Well, Mr. Daschle has a golden opportunity to show the nation just how strong a leader he can be. If he and his Democrat-controlled Senate know how to solve the forest-fire problem in America, why aren't they leading the charge?


North Olmsted, Ohio

President must accommodate veterans' 'concurrent receipt'

Oliver North is right ("It's about keeping promises," Commentary, Sunday). As Lt. Col. North and I discussed on his national radio show early last week, and as he pointed out in his column, President Bush would do well to ignore the Office of Management and Budget and honor his campaign promises to America's veterans.

It is unjust that military retirees with service-connected disabilities must sacrifice a dollar of their retirement pay from the Defense Department for every dollar that they receive in disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

A congressional conference committee must pass "concurrent receipt" legislation that would allow military retirees with service-connected disabilities to fully receive both hard-earned benefits. Then Mr. Bush should reflect upon his presidential campaign pledges, ignore the veto recommendation of his number crunchers and promptly sign such legislation.

The 2.8-million-member American Legion will fight for full "concurrent receipt" until it becomes the law of the land.


National commander

American Legion


Patriot raises unrealistic hopes

Gordon Prather's breathless account of the Patriot missile's success rate during the Gulf war is reminiscent of the U.S. Army's initial claim that 96 percent of the Iraqi Scuds had been intercepted ("Selling arrows to the Indians," Op-Ed, yesterday). Unfortunately, he does not mention that the Army later revised this figure down to 52 percent to 25 percent and that the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, concluded that there was strong evidence only that the Patriot had destroyed 9 percent of the Scuds.

The threat posed by short-range missiles is real. The advanced Patriot System (PAC-3) is a promising technology but still has significant technical hurdles to overcome. It does not serve the safety of our troops and allies to give an inflated view of its predecessor's performance.



Federation of American Scientists


A really swell place to live

Though I enjoyed the informative article "Co-housing's popularity on the upswing" (Friday Home Guide, July 26), I wish to correct one oversight.

Liberty Village in Frederick County, Md., is mentioned as "moving into the construction phase." In fact, Liberty Village "moved into" the development stage in 1997 and started construction in 1998. Residents have been living in Liberty Village for the past three years; 17 houses have been completed and are occupied, with residents from preschoolers to 96 years of age, from empty nesters and retirees to newlyweds and singles, every one of them enjoying the peacefulness that comes from living in Maryland's first co-housing community.

The residents manage their own community association, with all decisions including those concerning the budget, assessments and architectural review made by consensus.

There are no empty homes here. In fact, there never have been any vacant homes for sale, but we still have lots available, and we can build a home for anyone who wants to move into one of the most satisfying and energizing communities in Maryland.


Liberty Village, Md.

Booze flows freely but honestly in Adams Morgan

My comments are directed toward Friday's front-page story "D.C. bar owners complain of 'shakedown.'" As chairman of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee of the Adams Morgan Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC), I would like to clarify the process by which ABC-related matters come before the ANC.

All ABC-related resolutions come out of ABC Committee meetings or discussions among the three committee members and the ANC chairman. The commissioners accused of soliciting money from restaurant owners Eleanor Johnson and Jobi Jovanka did not attend any ABC Committee meetings, nor did they take part in any preliminary discussions by the ABC Committee members related to ABC matters. In short, they had no input into any license-renewal protests, voluntary agreements, inquiries directed to the ABC Board, etc. Additionally, while I am appalled at these allegations should they prove true, I wish to assure my neighbors and the ABC establishments affected that the votes of ANC Commissioners Johnson and Jovanka had no substantive effect on the outcome of any ABC-related matters.

I have been a part of the Adams Morgan scene since 1989 and count among my friends not just my neighbors, but many restaurant and bar owners who I am sure would attest to my fairness and good humor in dealing with ABC matters over the past two years in my capacity as ABC Committee chairman. I will not let scurrilous behavior tarnish the good work this ANC has done in encouraging business owners and neighbors to work together for the future of Adams Morgan.



Advisory Neighborhood Council 1C08


I would like to make a small but important correction to the article "2 accused of 'shakedown' can still vote on liquor licenses," Metro, Saturday).

I did not say that the Adams Morgan commissioners currently under investigation are "famous" (implying a conflict of interest) for their close relationships with neighborhood businesses, namely Cocktail Charities. This nonprofit organization does excellent work in and outside of the Adams Morgan community.

What I did tell The Washington Times' reporter is that the charges against Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners Eleanor Johnson and Jobi Jovanka are serious enough that they should either step down or recuse themselves from any liquor license votes. The allegations against them that they solicited money from bars if the bars wanted to retain their liquor licenses go against the heart of what Advisory Neighborhood commissioners are responsible for: upholding the public interest in a fair manner. Businesses cannot expect such treatment from these two individuals.


Past president (1992-98)

Adams Morgan Business and Professional Association


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