Letters to the editor
Contracting Out is Risky
With all that has happened, it boggles the mind that our "leaders" have
not awakened to the fact that contracting out so much federal work may be
risky, at best.
In my agency and in my department alone, more than one-third of the
workforce (40 out of 106 people) is contracted. How do we know that terrorist
informers are not among contractor employees who work on our bases, in our
agencies and next to career government employees?
Screening contractor employees, even those who work in nonsensitive
areas, hasn't been a priority, nor has it been done to any depth in the
past. The FBI just doesn't have the staff to check each contractor employee
to the extent needed to secure the safety of our information.
Just knowing the layout of our buildings and our bases is a bonus to
those wanting to do harm.
Think again, "leaders." Is this just another open door to our country's
Name withheld by request
Give Red-Light Cameras a Go
I read with great interest the article "Battle lines form over red-light
cameras" in the September issue of Government E-Business [also, "Seeing
red on cameras at lights," FCW, Aug. 13].
We worked with the Texas legislature to change the laws this session
to allow the cameras in Texas, but we were not successful this time.
Red-light cameras are a cost-effective way to prevent collisions, save lives,
reduce injuries, save money and increase voluntary compliance, which are
all goals of an effective traffic safety program in a community. Now, some
people want to cite privacy concerns. What privacy is being violated when
an OFFENDER is photographed on a public street? If you don't want to be
photographed, don't run the light!
Another criticism for the camera systems was that they cause an increase
in rear-end collisions. The real reason for a rear-end collision is failure
of the following driver to control his speed, and following too closely.
Busy intersections are difficult areas in which to enforce the law regarding
red lights. Many times, an officer in a car or on a motor.cycle attempting
to enforce the law creates a greater danger to the public than the harm
he is seeking to prevent.
There are some other issues raised in the article that require thought,
but the systems are beneficial and seem to have public support. The thorny
issues can be worked out, and it is time to do that.
Lufkin, Texas, Police Department
American Indians and 8(a)
Carl Peckinpaugh's column "8(a) nod for native groups" [FCW, Sept. 10]
is misleadingit does not make a distinction between businesses owned
by Native American tribal governments and those owned by Native American
He complains that the Small Business Administration has different contracting
requirementsone for businesses owned by nonprofit tribal governments
and Native Hawaiian organizations and another for small businesses owned
by minority individuals. The article reminds me of Donald Trump's laments
regarding the unfairness of tribally owned Indian casinos.
Mr. Peckinpaugh seems to doubt that certain minority groups are socially
and economically disadvantaged. According to the last published Indian Labor
Force Report (1999), the unemployment rate of the available labor force
living on or near Indian reservations was 43 percent. The rate for those
employed but below poverty guidelines was 33 percent. In 1999, the poverty
line was defined as a family of two with earned income of $10,850 or less;
for a family of four, $13,650 or less.
Tribal governments use the income generated from tribally owned business
to fund governmental programs, such as education, transportation, child
care, housing and elderly assistance and, on occasion, distribute payments
to tribal members.
Apparently, Mr. Peckinpaugh fails to see the value of tribal governments
becoming more self-sufficient and providing jobs on Indian reservations
where high unemployment is rampant.
Finally, the statement that "these and other special rules give 'native
American' companies a huge advantage over other 8(a) concerns" seems to
be an attempt to play the race card. Contrary to the false impression given
by Mr. Peckinpaugh, individual Native Americans do not enjoy special rules
to the disadvantage of black or Hispanic groups. Individual Native Americans
are treated the same as other minorities under 8(a).
Name withheld by request