- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 26, 2002

Maryland Democrats deserve Henson

Your "Henson a perfect fit for Maryland Dems" (Editorial, yesterday) hit the nail right on the head regarding the ploys, strategies and tactics of political consultant Julius Henson and the Democratic Party in Maryland.
Instead of wanting an open and honest debate on the issues, which would help the voters in Maryland better understand the positions of the candidates, Maryland Democrats would rather engage in ethnic slurs and scare tactics, which only result in a divided citizenry. By resorting to words such as "Nazi," "racist" or "extremist," Mr. Henson and the Maryland Democratic Party are doing a disservice to voters and sullying the reputation of good people for their own temporary gain.
Being a resident of the great state of Maryland, I would love to see the two candidates for governor, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., talk openly about their views regarding taxes, education, welfare reform and guns. Unfortunately, all I'm witnessing is Mr. Ehrlich doing this. All I'm seeing and hearing from the Democrats is the same old scare tactics and race-card demagoguery.
Mr. Henson and his political ally Rep. Al Wynn, Maryland Democrat, also should be ashamed of themselves regarding their tactics for turning out the black vote in Maryland. It's a shame they feel that the only way they can get blacks to come out and vote for Mrs. Townsend is by smearing Mr. Ehrlich's name and employing racial demagoguery. This is wrong and an insult to all blacks in Maryland who probably would be interested, just like everyone else, in knowing where Mr. Ehrlich and Mrs. Townsend stand on the issues.


D.C.'s budget gap cannot be papered over

Monday's editorial "Closing the D.C. budget gap" twice stated that I am "entertaining legislation that would place public potties around the city." The legislation referred to was, in fact, sent to the D.C. Council by Mayor Anthony A. Williams. I had nothing to do with it. It should have been made clear to the readers of The Washington Times that I was simply performing my oversight responsibility as chairman of the council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment by holding a public hearing on the mayor's bill, which included a number of street advertising schemes in addition to paid public potties. It was obvious from the hearing that I and the 20 or so public witnesses who testified found the mayor's bill to be dubious, to say the least. In fact, I suggested at the hearing that the mayor withdraw the bill, which he thus far has refused to do.
Now that this matter has been clarified, I do want to commend The Times for the basic premise of the editorial. I, too, share the concern that "fiefdom-building and bureaucratic waste" has occurred under the present mayor. Fattening the city payroll with consultants and upper-management types has been an unfortunate hallmark of this administration worse than in Mayor Marion Barry's worst years.

At-large member
D.C. Council

Compromised commentary?

I found Frank Gaffney's support for the V-22 Osprey aircraft (a hybrid airplane-helicopter) not very useful to the average newspaper reader ("The next Crusader," Commentary, Tuesday). Like many V-22 supporters, he provides much rhetoric and few hard technological facts. In a column for National Review, he made clear, "My area of expertise is policy, not technology." On the other hand, my expertise is not in policy. Rather, my expertise is that of a graduate aeronautical engineer, former military airplane pilot and helicopter pilot, flight test director and systems manager.
I wondered how Mr. Gaffney could present himself as a major advocate of the Osprey, which has a serious inherent design fault that has been reported and is generally known, yet about which the Defense Department, Bell and Boeing have kept mum. I turned to the Internet to learn more about Mr. Gaffney. Not to my surprise, I discovered that Boeing is one of the major corporate contributors to the organization of which he is president, the Center for Security Policy(CSP).
In addition, I learned that two of CSP's directors had been acting or past vice presidents of Boeing, which this year was rated one of the biggest spenders of lobbyist dollars some $7.8 million in 2000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. So it's now quite apparent why Rep. Curt Weldon, Republican of Pennsylvania, whose district includes Boeing's Osprey factory, was selected as the repeat performer at CSP's Tuesday round-table discussion of the V-22. After all, the round table is co-sponsored by CSP, which in turn is sponsored by Boeing. It seems plausible, then, that this round table was not a purely educational event but a sales show bent on convincing the Office of Management and Budget and the Defense Department of just how all of their livelihoods were connected.
Many of the phrases Mr. Gaffney has used to sell the Osprey in The Washington Times and elsewhere sound very much like the public relations hype of Boeing's Osprey literature. Now I think I know why Mr. Gaffney, a self-described technological nonexpert, is such an ardent supporter of the program.

U.S. Air Force (retired)
Lake of the Woods, Va.

Bordering on insanity

Please, please, no more articles like "'Coyotes' rob aliens, leave them stranded" (Nation, Tuesday), which have the unintended effect of garnering sympathy for criminals who sneak into our country in defiance of our laws.
There is a war going on at our border with Mexico. The Mexican army enters our territory riding shotgun for drug smugglers, shooting at our Border Patrol officers to give the smugglers a clear path. Border-zone properties are destroyed by thousands of illegal aliens who sneak through them in the cover of darkness. Cattle, sheep, guard dogs and chickens are slaughtered. Cattle water pipes are busted to get to the water, fences are knocked down. Homes are broken into and robbed.
In short, sob stories overcloud the criminal nature of the "stranded" aliens' dilemma, which only makes immigration control even more difficult.

Laguna Woods, Calif.

Jerry Seper's series of Page One articles on Mexican immigration is an outstanding example of journalism that warrants a Pulitzer Prize. As Mr. Seper's reportage suggests, America must find a way to control its southern border. Not only can our economy not sustain an endless flood of illegals, but many Mexicans sincerely believe they have annexed the United States, and that this country now belongs to them. I have been told just that by such immigrants here in Northern Virginia. Many have no wish to speak English, preferring their native tongue a preference U.S. authorities willingly accommodate.
Furthermore, the Mexican government's recent establishment of a Cabinet-level position to oversee the welfare of its illegals is profoundly disturbing. Has anyone ever heard about the Trojan horse? Well, one is galloping daily across our borders while Americans worry about immediate problems, such as the economy and war. What kind of myopia are we suffering?

Falls Church

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