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Letters to the editor

Monday, October 23, 2000

By failing to cover the Nader campaign, the PG fails its readers

Daily I search your paper for coverage on the most energizing campaign for president: Ralph Nader's. Daily I am disappointed.

For example, the Post-Gazette printed no report on a recent Nader New York rally. On Oct. 13, 15,000 people paid $20 each to pack into Madison Square Garden in New York City to hear Ralph Nader. He was preceded by leading activist citizens who spoke and sang about America's increasing failure to tend to the needs of its people, of our government's eager responsiveness to profit concerns of huge corporations, while the environment, children, families and wage-earners pay the price of the government's willful inattention to social needs.

Fifteen-thousand wildly cheered each speaker, fiercely chanted "Let Ralph debate!" and erupted into an incredibly enthusiastic, thunderous ovation for Mr. Nader's speech on the ills of corporate-driven government. Mr. Nader is breaking the mold of politics as usual.

Madison Square Garden was not a one-time event. Nader has attracted 10,000 or more in Portland, Seattle, Boston, Chicago and Minneapolis. Yet the Post-Gazette ignores his campaign day after day. What is the net effect of refusing to bring voters information on Mr. Nader's campaign? I assume it is the intended effect, to deprive voters of information on a highly intelligent candidate who has an amazing grasp of the many issues we Americans face and who has a wealth of experience in government.

He has succeeded in pushing for laws that protect consumers, workers, taxpayers and the environment, combat corporate abuse and increase citizen access for government. Moreover, he has accepted no political action committee contributions and no corporate soft money contributions. That means, unlike Gore and Bush, he is not beholden to corporations.

Voters deserve information on all the candidates. But they absolutely do not receive it from your paper. As Mr. Nader's ad says, without Nader in the debates (or the papers), the truth will come in last. For information on Nader, visit nader2000.org.

SARAH J. HAMBRICK
Hampton


Minds in a lockbox

Congratulations to Reg Henry for a great column Oct. 17, "Lockbox Holds the Key to City's Future." However, he forgot to mention that lockboxes already exist in our area. It is the majority of Pittsburgh city voters plus others in your reading area who constantly vote the straight Democratic ticket.

Regretfully, their brains and thinking have been locked up and the key thrown away. Heck, it took the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh to make the right decision and elect Jim Roddey as the first Allegheny County chief executive.

I am perplexed that these folks will completely close their minds to the excellence of a Bush/Cheney ticket, plus voting for Rick Santorum and other wonderful area Republicans. I doubt that they would even ponder splitting their ticket and voting for the best candidates, regardless of party. In fact, I have even voted in certain elections for third-party candidates plus other well-known Democrats (Harry Browne for president and Ken Krawchuk from the Libertarian Party in 1996/1998 come to mind!).

My challenge would be for all readers to permanently close these "lockboxes" and open their minds for real thinking.

RICHARD M. HAYS JR.
Mount Washington


The U.S. and Rwanda

During their second debate, Al Gore and George W. Bush had a lot to say about standing up to Saddam Hussein and the recently ousted Slobodan Milosevic. They clearly placed opposition to these two dictators within U.S. "strategic interests." The two candidates stumbled, however, when addressing a more shameful episode in recent U.S. foreign policy: the Rwandan genocide that cost the lives of 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu.

Bush stated that not sending troops into Rwanda was the correct choice. Gore, after suggesting that genocide might potentially justify intervention, argued that the United States lacked enough support from its allies to effectively intervene in Rwanda.

I will not dispute their contention that the United States cannot and should not exert its influence in response to every humanitarian crisis. However, in the case of Rwanda, the United States actively blocked the United Nations, via our veto power in the Security Council, from bolstering its underfunded peacekeeping operation. U.S. troops need not have participated in this mission, the Canadians and others were prepared to do so, just as we need not dominate missions in places like Sierra Leone and Congo. But we should never prevent the world community from stopping genocide.

DAVID MANEL
Squirrel Hill


The nerve of this guy

In the New York campaign for U.S. Senate , Republican Rick Lazio stated that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, gave new meaning to the word "chutzpah." George W. Bush trumps them all.

At least $3 trillion of the $5 trillion federal budget deficit was run up during the previous two Republican administrations, partly because of policies favoring the wealthy.

After seven years under Clinton, the situation has been successfully turned around to produce large budget surpluses. However, in contrast to Al Gore, Bush not only does not want to use much of the surplus to pay down the debt created largely by his Republican predecessors -- including his own father -- he wants to give most of it away to the wealthy.

Now that's chutzpah!

K. PERKINS
Squirrel Hill


You must vote Democratic

With the election closing in, I feel the need to state that I and others should vote Democratic, particularly for Al Gore and Ron Klink for Senate. Let me count the reasons.

1) The economy. We have the strongest economy in the history of the country. Does anyone remember the economy under the elder Bush?

2) Abortion. A vote for Bush is a vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade. I don't doubt that he would appoint Ken Starr to the Supreme Court.

3) Foreign policy. Who would you want to be president in a crisis: the current vice president or a man who is not exactly a world traveler?

4) Education. There is a reason that teachers support Gore and the Democratic Party.

5) The environment. Texas is most polluted state in the union. Let them keep their dirty air and water and their governor.

6) Medicare. People shouldn't have to choose between eating and taking medicine.

7) Social Security. I don't want my Social Security invested in a risky stock market. That was the whole point of the program in the first place.

Finally, this is an important year. Do we want to go back to large deficits and a recession or move forward with a strong economy? The choice is rather obvious.

JIM JACONETTA

Ingram

JIM JACONETTA
Ingram


The Palestinians' leaders

A. Michael Tarazi's commentary in the Oct. 15 Forum section ("Betrayed By a 'Peace Process' ") only reinforced my empathy for the Palestinian people. It has only been 52 short years since the Jewish people's national aspirations were realized after nearly 2,000 years of dispersion. However, I would ask Mr. Tarazi and other supporters of the Palestinian national effort to keep three things in mind.

As offensive as you may find Israeli Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon -- and with good reason -- Yasser Arafat is at least as distasteful to most Israelis and Jews. To us, he is still the face of terrorism. Yet, if you say he is your representative, we must put aside our animus and deal with him as our partner. You must find a way to do the same with Sharon, whom you have indirectly elevated in status through the violence of recent weeks.

It is clear that the residents of the Palestinian territories have not felt the dividends of the peace effort. However, as I look at the way in which the Palestinian Authority has spent the aid it has received -- on a police force, on TV and radio stations thath broadcast incitement, on luxury living accommodations for Mr. Arafat and his cadre of "leaders" -- I understand why the people on the street have felt no difference.

The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, came to Camp David and offered the Palestinian people statehood, shared autonomy over Jerusalem and, most important, peace. Palestinian statehood was a handshake away. Was it everything you wanted? No. However, it was also more than most Israelis would like to give up. It's called a compromise. Instead of acknowledging this offer as a historic step toward peace, Mr. Arafat walked away from Camp David without so much as a counterproposal.

As I watch events unfold in the Middle East, I feel badly for the Palestinians of Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron and Gaza. I feel badly because they have been misled and misrepresented for so long.

RABBI AVI FRIEDMAN
Point Breeze


Affluent South Side newcomers don't like train whistles? Boo hoo

As I read the Oct. 16 article "Train Whistles Annoy New South Siders," I became angry. These new folks have moved to the South Side because of its charm and unique qualities. Now they want to make changes.

The train whistles bother them. Why did they buy their $200,000-plus homes near the train tracks? These whistles are blown for a good reason.

What angers me even more is that our government officials are listening to them. They are going to consider moving the entrance to the park at 18th Street to 25th Street. This of course would cost money -- the structure of the park would have to be changed.

I find it very annoying that with hundreds of new people moving into the South Side, we still only have one major supermarket (Giant Eagle) to shop in -- and we have people worried about whistles. Could it be that the lifelong peon residents like me don't count anymore?

When a group of us old-timers ask about a new supermarket, we are told there is no room for one. There is also no room for any family restaurants, but we have plenty of bars -- and we worry about whistles.

Where is the priority? South Side now has a reputation as a place to drink.

Keep those whistles blowing. Maybe it will wake up our so-called South Side leaders to realize that South Side had its charm because of the people that lived there all their lives and called it home.

CAROL SCHMIDT
South Side




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