Contrary to the statement in your Aug. 22 editorial, "Can Gore Reinvent Government?," federal employee unions are not "ready fight changes suggested by the Gore group." To the contrary, we, too, realize government functions could use a much-needed face-lift.
As representatives of 150,000 of this nation's federal workers, the National Federation of Federal Employees has played an important role in demonstrating the willingness of unions to work as full partners in restructuring the way our government serves its citizens.
However, we realize that none of the goals set forth by the group headed by Vice President Al Gore can be fully realized without a full and open assessment of the needs of all of the parties involved -- the Clinton administration, federal government management, rank-and-file federal workers and those whom we serve: the American people.
Your editorial omits one significant truth about federal employees: It was the Clinton/Gore team's promise of change that garnered many federal employee votes which, in turn, helped propel the duo into office. Instead of being "ready to fight changes," we have consistently welcomed them.
Robert S. Keener
The writer is national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees.
Too Many Chinese
In a letter (Aug. 14), Andrew Lee wrote about his experience interviewing illegal Chinese immigrants. One of the complaints he heard is one other Chinese immigrants have stated, that the one-child family policy is a terribly repressive feature of a repressive regime.
When a country with one-third of the arable land we have in the United States has a population of 1.1 billion, a strict policy is the only option left. This is what it comes to.
There is no way China can feed, house and employ 2 billion people. Critics of its draconian policy decision must realize that if any country fails to adopt a population policy that is not repressive, based upon incentives and disincentives, this is what
it comes to.
Carleton W. Brown
I am but a fledgling Fulghumite, having read only one of the author's books, but I must take exception to Ann Egerton's flagrant Aug. 12 review of Robert Fulghum's latest book.
It smacks more of smugness, arrogance and pontificating than does the hapless target of her diatribe. Hardly a critical piece. In a base, personal sense, it also smacks of jealousy.
Wake up, Ms. Egerton. Robert Fulghum's readers have already decided that he is indeed worthy of their high regard. I can only wonder what you may have had to say about Walden's famous resident, Henry David Thoreau. Talk about "rustic arrogance."
I strongly suggest that Ms. Egerton keep those feisty fists of hers clenched deeply into her pockets as her singular contribution to the lessening of the violence and sleaze so rampant in our society.
Dorothy E. Birrane
In his Aug. 23 column, Theo Lippman Jr. erroneously refers to Sen. Daniel Inouye as "a first generation Japanese-American."
My Webster's New World Dictionary defines first generation as "designating a naturalized, foreign born citizen of a country" or "sometimes, designating a native-born citizen of a country whose parents had immigrated into that country." These definitions do not apply to Senator Inouye, who was born in Hawaii in 1924.
According to Senator Inouye's autobiography, "Journey to Washington," his paternal grandparents immigrated to Hawaii in 1899 with a four-year-old son who became the father of the
future senator. In the same book, Mr. Inouye states that his mother was born in Hawaii in 1902.
Leon K. Walters
Your Aug. 19 front-page story about panhandlers and the homeless and other recent articles on the subject prompt us to ask the following: Wouldn't we all feel more comfortable if we had the "safety net" in place that has been promised by political leaders at least as far back as Ronald Reagan?
The "truly needy," as they have been designated, would receive specific services more appropriate than random coins from panhandling.
And those now asked to supply the coins could refuse in good conscience, knowing that all destitute people can be cared for.
Katherine R. Hollander
Sidney Hollander Jr.
The liberal media have been delighted to join in President Bill Clinton's blatant class warfare, assuring readers and viewers with every breath that the $241 billion in new taxes will come almost entirely from "the rich," who allegedly have not been paying "their fair share."
But the media went into the tank with Mr. Clinton to conceal the fact that 80 percent of his $255 billion in so-called "spending cuts" -- virtually all of which aren't cuts at all, but merely reductions in the rate of increase -- will occur in years after 1996. The $241 billion in new taxes, on the other hand, will be imposed retroactive to Jan. 1, 1993.
This makes Mr. Clinton the first president in history to raise tax rates before entering office and cut spending after leaving it.
The Democrats have the gall to pass $241 billion in new taxes, with all the negative consequences for many small businesses on which national prosperity depends, and make them retroactive to a date when neither Congress or the president had yet been sworn into office.
They brag about $255 billion in cuts when in reality all of the cuts are to be made in the sweet bye-and bye by Congresses not yet elected.
E9 Which do you think they really want -- cuts or taxes?
Maryland's Rockfish Efforts Pay Off
Capt. Jerry Lastfogel's Aug. 25 letter concerning rockfish outlines the viewpoint of some people, in particular charter boat captains, that Maryland is not getting its fair share of rockfish under the coast- wide management process.
Maryland has invested more on rockfish research and monitoring than any other state.
This has provided the state with a data base which allows it to take an independent and very sophisticated approach to rockfish management.
As a result, Maryland's catch has increased annually while most other states' catches have remained relatively static.
Maryland now harvests 28 percent of the total poundage of striped bass caught along the Atlantic coast, more than any other state.
In terms of numbers of fish, Maryland landed 47 percent last year, more than four times the next highest state.
Given these numbers, it is difficult to accept the argument that Maryland is not getting its fair share.
Fishermen in all states are impatient with the current restrictions. While Maryland charter boat captains point north and claim inequity, commercial fishermen in the neighboring states of Delaware and Virginia, whose catches have remained at 1990 levels, point to Maryland, where the commercial catch has increased seven-fold in the last three years.
There will always be perceived inequities between fishermen of different states. Historically this has put political pressure on states to maintain liberal fishing limits, leading to overfishing of the rockfish population.
This situation was only resolved when Congress passed the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act in 1984, which required states to comply with a coast-wide management plan for the species.
Since that time all states from Maine to North Carolina have complied with the plan. This interstate cooperation is the key to the recovery and the maintenance of healthy rockfish populations.
Maryland's rockfish restrictions are not frivolous. They represent new approach to managing fisheries, an approach that intentionally leaves fish behind to rebuild and sustain the population.
We have made a lot of progress toward rockfish restoration, as indicated by the record spawn reported for this year. Under the interstate plan, the fishery will be declared restored and the allowable fishing rate will be increased within a few years.
Maryland's fishermen have sacrificed too much over the last 10
years not to be patient a little while longer.
William J. Goldsborough
The writer is a senior scientist with Chesapeake Bay Foundation.