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Snowmobiles Run Over Public Opinion

March 13, 2003

"Snowmobilers Riding High in Yellowstone" (March 9) fails to mention the heavy lobbying by the snowmobile industry, which donated large sums of money to the Republicans. Rep. Joseph Hoeffel (D-Pa.) laments that "it's going to take public outrage" to reverse the Bush administration's lifting of the ban on snowmobiles in the park.

Apparently, the fact that public opinion runs 4 to 1 against snowmobiles isn't enough outrage for President Bush. Nor is the opposition of the Environmental Protection Agency (under the hamstrung "leadership" of Christie Whitman). When there's money to be had, Bush has shown himself completely unwilling to listen to majority opinion unless it agrees with his own shortsighted views.

Mike Laskavy

Oak Park


As one who has cross-country skied in Yellowstone, I am angry at the Bush administration's reversal of President Clinton's proposals banning snowmobiles in the national park. In a country dominated by the internal-combustion engine, where so many are seemingly surgically attached to their engines and virtual slaves to Big Oil and Big Auto, it is apparently too much to ask (as a vast majority of Americans have) that there be places -- national parks -- that are managed according to a different value system, where the needs of Mother Nature, rather than the needs of man, prevail.

I am angry at arrogant snowmobilers who can't see beyond their own needs and who are limiting my access to a park where natural peace and quiet prevail. But mostly I am angry at the Bush administration, which once again has thrashed democracy as it sells out to big-money interests.

Philippe Vermeyen



In Voting, Quantity Is Not Quality

In "To Get More Voters, Make Voting Easier" ("Voices, March 8), Sam Goodstein offers ideas that he feels will increase the percentage of people who will cast votes in each election. Nowhere does he indicate that he thinks an honest vote is to be preferred, nor does he suggest that an informed vote is a good idea. Just lots of votes.

Goodstein would like to see absentee ballot applications mailed to everyone. Is he kidding? The possibilities for fraud are limitless, and [the extensive use of absentee ballots] would assure that the vote would be controlled by political action committees, labor unions, religious organizations and other agenda-driven groups with lots of money. This is the exact opposite of election reform. A free society will continue only as long as individual citizens inform themselves, register in plenty of time to verify their citizenship and then make the effort to vote.

George Ousley

Indian Wells


Safe Haven Laws

I have a question regarding "Few Babies Are Finding 'Safe Haven' " (March 10). How well is this law publicized in schools in the states that have passed safe haven laws? Is it a no-no to let the young women (and fathers-to-be) who are most involved with this problem be aware of a solution?

Sharon L. Hillbrant


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