The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 18, 2001 · Page 7
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 7

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Salina, Kansas
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Wednesday, April 18, 2001
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THE SALINA JOURNAL WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18,2001 M Tom Bell Editor & Publisher ii Opinions J - expressed on \_ this page are those of the identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (785) 827-6363 r • E-mail: > SJLetters® saljournal.com Quote of the day "Once scouting - fully opens its doors to all who desire the same experience tliat so fully enriched me as a young person, I will be liappy to reconsider a role on the advisory board." Steven Spielberg I announcing his :; resignation from a Boy Scouts of America advisory board to protest Scout policies excluding gays. OPINION Benefits ofduU THE ISSUE Salina City Commission THEARGUMBUT Boring is good T ^his is a pretty good time to be a Salina City Commissioner. City growth is steady. No major problems face elected officials and we are fortunate to have competent professional staff running things at city hall. Those are the conditions as newly elected Salina City Commissioner Deborah Divine takes office this week, joining four old hands that serve the city well as experienced commissioners. Those veterans include Alan Jilka, Larry Mathews, Kristin Seaton and Monte Shadwick. Divine replaces outgoing Commissioner Don Heath, who did not run for re-election. About the only things that could change this rosy picture is a sudden reversal in the local economy, a major change in city management, or, heaven forbid, a sudden desire on the part of commissioners to micro-manage city departments. Fortunately for Salina residents, no such upheavals are likely Instead, we should see a continuance of the status quo - a city commission that stays on a track of thoughtful discourse and steady leadership. Recent city commissioners followed such a path, pursuing well-thought-out public projects such as partial funding of the Fox Theatre restoration, street improvements to Ohio and Ninth streets and plans for a railroad overpass near the intersection of Ohio and Pacific streets. From a selfish perspective, however, such commissions make for routine news reports. There are no heated discussions or profanity in commission meetings, no crowds of angry public employees packing meeting rooms, no pickets, petitions or name calling. Instead, we have predictable meetings with predictable results. Oh, well. Given the choice, even a newspaper editor can see the benefits of duU over tumultuous. As far as the city's future is concerned, we are far better off with a commission that knows to hire professional management and to let them do their job. That makes for a calm and deliberative process. Boring? Maybe. But also much better for our community — Tom Bell Editor & Publisher THERE'S AN EASIER WAY TO SEND YOUR LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ... Send your opinions to the Journal Viewpoints page immediately, by e-mail. Thie new address is: SJLetters@saljournal.com. Please send plain text e-mall, not attachments. LETTERS TO THE JOURIVIAL SJLetters@saljournal.com Farmers will protect the environment Public policy is driven by public opinion. In the shaping of public opinion, perception is eyerything. If people perceive farmers and ranchers to be polluters who could care less j^l)out clean water and air, it is jb^cause environmental extremists have succeeded in promoting that perception. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of Kansans know better. They know that agricultural producers only hurt themselves if they ignore the environment. So whether it's enlightened self-interest or an innate sense of responsibility, when given the opportunity to dp something to improve the environment, the farmer will do just that. That's why so many agriculture organizations in Kansas support the compromise water quality bill that has been passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor. That's why the environmen- RO. Box 740, Salina, KS 67402 tal extremists will continue their misguided efforts to portray farmers and ranchers as polluters. It seems to me that if they're unwilling to offer concessions or support even a compromise, the extremists have some public perception problems of their own. — ALAN HEIGELE Longford You WIO-SAV YOU'RE SOKRY ^NSCONSTROE WAS AN ABJECT, 6RO/EUhl6 AMP m> NbU A6P^E To KEEP OtSSE JACKSON our OF IT. \ INl^tVUHMWEGET ANDACRGETOUSTCN ToY0UR"TTRESCy/€ HARMNI6UIN6 AM> LEcruRiN6 ASounr CHINESE AIRSPACE. AND NO JESSE JACKSON. \ SEETfW?' Soos» AS TRtV HEAR fAV NA^^e, ^HE^<STRA^GKTEHUP/ AMBASSA^iflRCJESSC STKN^DH' REAW/ & INAlU3FU5,i T LIBERTIES Hainan Noon, starring Gary W. Cooper W. never picked up the phone, but the truly cool have no need of the hot line W ASHINGTON — It was tense. On his first big international test, going mano a maho with the fearsome and mysterious Chinese dragon, could W. cut the mustard? Could he stand the heat and stay in the kitchen (where the mustard is)? But now that we've been vouchsafed the insiders' account of Hainan Noon, it is abundantly clear that the man is the man. W. never picked up the phone to Beijing. The truly cool have no need of the hot line. His bedazzled staffers report that he never blinked # and never broke a sweat. It only took the president three days to tell aides that it was time to find a solution to the crisis. Sang-froid City They were amazed at how his mind hardly wandered: Potus Focus. The president, they marveled, stayed one step back to come out ahead. He was the hidden hand, the unseen demiurge, the eye of the storm, the wind beneath our wings. He made Josiah Bartlet look like Bridget Jones. He set the tone and the parameters. His aides almost wept at his unslakable thirst for knowledge. "He really does seek information," • ABROAD AT HOME MAUREEN DOWD The New York Times Karen Hughes effused to Reuters. "He's very curious, and so he asked a lot of questions. He asked some detailed questions. Several times he asked, 'Do the members of the crew have Bibles?' 'Why don't they have Bibles?' 'Can we get them Bibles?' 'Would they like Bibles?'" She had never seen a man so indifferent to his own needs, so vigorously serving others. One day, the president got off a helicopter at the White House and barked, "Get me Condi." It was the bark of an engaged man, a big man, a man who puts his ego aside, who is unashamed of his reliance on others. The reporters who heard his aides' account of his need for Condi were plainly moved. This is the dependence of a truly independent man, a man who is prepared to leave the diplomacy to the diplomats and the interior decorating to the interior decorators. He even left troop movements to the brass. It seems his top command knew it did not need to consult him on such details as whether to send an aircraft carrier up the Chinese coast to flex some muscle. Blissed out Busbies confided to reporters doing ticktocks that W. "grilled" Condi about the contents of the letter of regret to Beijing and "peppered" his staff with questions about the crew. When you are in the steaming kitchen sweetening the hawks and cutting the mustard (why is it supposed to be hard to cut mustard?), you don't simply ask questions. You grill and you pepper. A man for all seasonings. He gave his underlings a free hand, checking in only on the points that partic­ ularly interested him: Are the crew members getting enough exercise? Do they have free weights? Are there treadmills for everyone? How about massages? Other presidents would not have let Colin Powell out of their sight during the crisis. This one needed to meet with him only twice. All through the China standoff, W.'s aides kept thinking about that Kevin Costner movie about the Cuban missile crisis, about JFK's 13 sleepless days when he saved the world. And when it was over, they gazed reverently at GWB and thought: He did it in 11! He was lucid, rested, steady rested, measured, curious and rested. Other presidents have to work all night or late into the night. This one can get the job done by working late into the evening. W. is not known for his linguistic precision. But his aides revealed with tremulous pride that he actually read and signed off on the drafts of letters to the Chinese written in highly specialized and nuanced diplomatic argot: Sorry? Very sorry? Very, very sorry with whipped cream and a cherry on top? The president's triumph was all the sweeter because he flew solo. He did not have the distracting advice of any China experts — or "panda buggers," as the Bush hawks like to call them — because he has none in his inner circle. Then there was the grandeur of the ending. Like Gary Cooper, W. left town when his work was done, flying off for a four-day weekend at the ranch. He did not hang around for applause or tarry for accolades. His presence here is so powerful that it does not require his presence here. ' Dealing with two George W. Bushes Does the president want to be known as someone who left the world a worse place? B OSTON — In bringing the imbroglio with China successfully to an end. President Bush displayed qualities that had not been evident since he entered the White House. He was measured, and sensitive to the other party's interests and political needs. It was in striking contrast to foreign policy moves that had U.S. allies talking worriedly about his unilateralism, arrogance, bullying. One was his sudden cancellation of talks with North Korea — to the embarrassment of the # South Korean president, Kim Dae-jung, who was visiting Washington at the time. Another was his disavowal of the Kyoto protocol on global warming, which shocked Europeans. Bush learned and adjusted during the China episode. After first brusquely demanding the return of the U.S. spy plane's crew, he moderated his tone. He paid no attention to right-wing calls for punitive action, which would have delayed the crew's return and harmed both Chinese and American interests. (After the crew was freed he spoke more critically of China: a gesture to the right.) The lesson of the episode should not have been lost on Bush. For all its power. ANTHONY LEWIS The New York Times the United States cannot just impose its will on the world. Unilateralism has limits, and costs. The interesting question now is whether Bush will think about applying that lesson in domestic affairs. For on a whole host of domestic policy issues he has sought to impose his will even more starkly Environmental policy is a signal example. Bush and his people have proposed radical policy changes in defiance of public feelings and of his own campaign promises. In a campaign speech in Miami last August, for instance. Bush said he would ask Congress to relieve developing countries of $100 million in debt in exchange for the protection of tropical forests. "These forests," he said, "affect the air we breathe, the food we eat, medicines that cure disease, and are home to more than half of earth's animal and plant species." But in the budget he announced this week, Bush allowed just $13 million for tropical forest conservation. And that money will not come from a direct appropriation but will be diverted from the Agency for International Development. Other policy changes made by the administration have outraged the most moderate of environmental organizations. The steps include disavowal of Bush's campaign promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and indications that the administration will allow road-building in now- protected areas of the national forests. The latest environmental move is notable for its sweeping character and slippery means. That is the Bush budget proposal that would undermine lawsuits to re- DOOISIESBURY quire the listing of particular animals and plants as endangered species. Instead of trying directly to amend the Endangered Species Act, the proposal would prohibit the expenditure of any funds to carry oUt court orders for listing — orders that up till now have forced most of the protective steps. Officials would be required to disregard court orders: a terrible proposition in a country that prides itself on adherence to law. Passing these and similar proposals would involve Bush in bloody battles. The somnolent Democrats could be aroused by the environment issues. Al Gore, who has disappeared without a trace, could reemerge. More important to BUsh, his suburban supporters who care about the environment could become disaffected. A certain logic, then, would counsel Bush to consult, consider the other side's interests and try to find mutual accommodations — on the pattern of the China episode. But there is a sharp difference in the situations. ; Bush came to office with no profound foreign policy commitments. But in domestic matters it is payback time for his supporters — the right, business, religious groups. And there is a sense of vengeance, of getting even for years of frustration over, say, developers' inability to gut the Endangered Species Act. And Bush's own ideology is involved, not only his supporters' wishes. But on environmental issues, above all, unilateral­ ism is dangerous to him. Does he want to be remembered as a president who knowingly left the world a worse place for his children and grandchildren? By G.B. TRUDEAO Faith Is renewed Dear Stranger, In one thoughtless action you have renewed my faith in the world. My son dropped his beloved, very loved, teddy bear at Wal- Mart and you had the goodness in your heart to turn it in to the customer service counter. I don't know you, and you don't know me or my IVi-year-old son, but you have touched my family and you are in my thoughts and prayers. — LISA SELF Charlotte, Tenn. l'PUK3T0 THANK NmJP&

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