- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2005

A love of classic cars

The article “Classic cars not for daily drivers” (Nation, Wednesday) reveals a few problems in current legislation regarding these vehicles in Virginia. As the owner of a registered antique vehicle in Virginia, I have been issued four tickets in the past three years by Fairfax County police officers because the car wasn’t safety-inspected. I appealed and won each case.

The fact remains, though, that Virginia’s classic car law regarding limited usage is annoyingly ambiguous. The police officers deemed me to be overstepping the law of “limited usage” as I used my classic car on a daily basis, which is specifically mentioned in the law. This same law allows for “occasional pleasure driving no more than 250 miles from home.”

What “occasional” means, who knows, and I certainly wasn’t driving it more than 250 miles each day. Further, what right does a police officer, or the state for that matter, have to decide which outings in my car are pleasurable and which are not?

As most antique car owners I’m sure can attest, every time I get behind the wheel of my 1972 BMW, it’s a pleasure. Each judge who heard my appeals seemed to agree.

However, the ambiguity of the current law forces us owners who don’t have cars that would satisfy modern-day safety standards to exploit the loophole.

I’m not mad at the officers for ticketing me because I believe they thought they were enforcing the law correctly. I’m just upset at Virginia lawmakers who have instituted such a dubious law.



Not the old ‘Dukes’

Kudos to Ben Jones for his boldness to speak out against Hollywood’s sleazy remake of the “Dukes of Hazzard” (“Cooter puts up his ‘Dukes,’” Culture, yesterday).

I grew up watching “The Dukes of Hazzard” on TV. Actor John Schneider was my middle school crush, and I had a poster with him standing next to the General Lee on my bedroom wall.

I was very excited to take my 9-year-old son to see the remake; however, articles such as yours on Mr. Jones and Jessica Simpson’s unbelievably sleazy “eye candy” video made me decide that I absolutely will not take him to this movie. (Considering Hollywood these days, however, I’m not surprised.)

I have decided that we’ll purchase the TV series boxed set on DVD, grab some popcorn and watch the originals. Mr. Jones, I hope a residual check comes in the mail.



A better environmental treaty

Please allow me to add to James Glassman’s excellent analysis of how the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which the United States recently announced, has shown the Kyoto Protocol to be yesterday’s answer to yesterday’s assessment of tomorrow’s problem (“Way beyond Kyoto,” Commentary, Wednesday).

In short, various factors should leave us all wary of any interventionist meddling in markets, and, specifically, government attempts to pick technological winners. Yet the potential that this new agreement holds to reform the Kyoto debate and supplant such a regime as the operative post-2012 framework leaves me a strong cheerleader.

Yes, this pact is an alternative, as its critics bemoan, but not to Kyoto itself, a five-year agreement that nothing could drag Europe into abandoning, although it isn’t even complying. Also, contrary to green propaganda, having both Kyoto signatories and nonparticipants sign a new agreement is a symptom, not a determinant, of Kyoto’s failure.

This is an alternative to something that does not yet exist: a post-2012 agreement. (The current European Union negotiating posture, demanding even deeper rationing despite failure on the first go-round, ensures that such an agreement never will exist.)

The Asia-Pacific treaty occupies that field until something more attractive comes along for the 155 nations that have rejected Kyoto’s cuts. Finally, it is Kyoto’s death knell to all but the most intransigent because it accomplishes what Kyoto failed to do: It brings together the top emitters, prominently including the two major advanced economies (Australia and the United States) that refused to ratify and the two major developing economies that did ratify, but on the condition that they be exempt from any rationing (China and India).

Also important is the remarkably symbolic involvement of the host of the Kyoto talks, Japan, as a founding member.

To borrow the alarmists’ claim that is ritually, if absurdly, made about the science: “We have a consensus against greenhouse gas (energy) rationing, and the consensus is growing.”

Ultimately, President Bush has cleverly managed this issue to leave the sole outstanding question to be whether the increasingly isolated — dare I say unilateral? — European Union can accept a political loss and return to the table seeking practical responses to the challenge of potential anthropogenic climate change that are grounded in science and can be accepted widely.


Senior fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute


Closing Oceana

I read the article “Navy defends Oceana base” (Metropolitan, Tuesday) with mixed emotions. I’m a retired naval aviator who moved to Virginia Beach after I retired, primarily because of the large number of military facilities located there.

I left last year because, quite frankly, the city lacks much of interest and seems intent on destroying all that could make it a great place. Naval Air Station Oceana is a case in point.

For some reason, the city seems determined to build schools, shopping malls and housing as close to the base as possible and, even better, exactly under the approach patterns and landing patterns.

The primary tourist beach, hotels and shopping are directly under the entry pattern, and I believe two schools are under the same entry pattern. Two very large shopping malls and a commercial center are under the landing patterns — each of them has 50 or more stores, shops, businesses and restaurants.

Also, as mentioned, there is a very active group, Citizens Concerned About Jet Noise, which is to a large extent composed of now-retired naval pilots.

Despite all the problems, the city has continued to approve more and more housing and other construction in the areas most likely to be impacted in the event of a crash or accidental release of ordnance.

A further problem exists nearby at Fentress Field, which is used for field carrier landing practice (the practice required to bring pilots up to speed for carrier operations).

Fentress also has been surrounded by housing development, which is bringing howls from people who bought there unaware of the frequent required day and night practice. The complaints have been so bad that the Navy already is planning to build another practice field elsewhere.

The nice thing about Oceana is that a typical Navy pilot or maintenance technician can serve most, if not all, of his or her career there without the personal expense, disruption and cost to the taxpayer of frequent moves.

Nearly all training occurs in the community. Further, the school system is fairly good for children, and spouses have ample opportunity for college or employment.

It’s too bad, but closing the base seems to be destined. The incompetent mayor and city council seem to have wanted it to happen.



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