The Olympics is a very important event that occurs every four years. When it came down to the gold medal round, several female gymnasts were allowed to "do it again" when the vaulting horse was found to be at the illegal height of six inches too low. In this case, the effort did not change who won the gold medal, but it did make everyone feel good about the final results and that the process was fair. The Olympic administrators did not ignore the problem, but tried to fix the technicality the best they could. Although it was stressful and time consuming, each contestant had a fair and legal chance to get the most points possible.

The United States presidential election is a very important event that occurs every four years. When it comes down to who wins, the people in Palm Beach County deserve the right to "do it again," if it is determined that the ballot was found to be illegal and/or confusing to so many citizens that 19,000 ballots were double punched for the president and thrown away.

Additionally, Buchanan's 3,600 votes in that one county showed something indeed was seriously wrong with the ballot. In this case, it will make a difference in who wins the presidency. Although it is stressful and time consuming, our next president, whomever it is, deserves the right to know he had a fair and legal right to get the most points possible and that we tried to fix the technicalities the best we could.

In the long term, the outcome of the election, Bush or Gore, is far less important than assuring we have a fair and legal process. We owe that to the next president.

Please stand and fight for the people of Palm Beach County. Would you be mad if you had lost your vote due to some technicality, when it meant deciding the election? Keep hope alive.

& & Curtis Durrant

Spokane, Wash. & & & &

Readers of your recent commentary "Energy Crisis 2000" might want to consider the source. The author, M.A. Kaufman, is described as an "economic geologist." Having never heard this term before, I am not clear about just what an economic geologist does, but it would appear to be the exploitation of the Earth for profit. It is no big surprise, then, that Kaufman advocates the exploration and mining of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

But he fails to mention that the ANWR would only provide enough oil to fuel our energy needs for six months. Kaufman briefly mentions energy conservation and alternative energy sources, but only to downplay them as being inconsequential. In an absurd and twisted play on words, probably in an attempt to seem politically correct, he calls our energy policy "environmentally bankrupt," but only because we encourage other countries to explore for oil, while not exploring our own.

Let me get this straight: Kaufman laments the environmental destruction caused by oil drilling in other countries, but vehemently advocates oil drilling in our own country?

Drilling in Canada is "environmentally bankrupt," but drilling in ANWR is environmentally wise?

There seems to be a glaring lack of logic in this argument. So after ANWR, Mr. Kaufman, what is next? Do we keep on searching for new sources of oil until there are none left, wreaking havoc as we go?

As long as we are provided with cheap fuel, we will not conserve energy, develop viable alternatives, or reduce our raging consumption of goods. Perhaps the "high" prices of fuel these past few months have been a wake-up call to shake us out of our consumptive daze.

Continuing to use enormous quantities of fossil fuels for our rampant energy "needs" is the easy way out, but it is not a long term solution. Mr. Kaufman may think the current American energy policy is "economically absurd and suicidal," but continuing to exploit beautiful and sensitive areas in the name of economics is environmentally absurd and suicidal. Asking an "economic geologist" his thoughts on oil drilling is like asking a car salesman whether you can afford that new car. Consider the source.

& & Nancy Lill

Spokane, Wash. & & & &

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