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Being fair to Miller


In your haste to trash my dad, Rep. George W. Miller Jr., in your endorsement issue [April 26], you failed to mention that in the '70s, he was a vocal (and lonely) supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment in North Carolina. He opposes the death penalty and has voted against it at every opportunity of which I am aware. He is the legislative "go-to" man for the environmentalists at the Eno River Association and elsewhere. He saved the N.C. Central University nursing school from the UNC Board of Governors' chopping block, and was awarded the Gov. Dan K. Moore Award for Highway Safety for his instrumental work in crafting legislation to make child safety seats mandatory and the William C. Lassiter First Amendment Award for his work in writing open meetings and public records access laws. He serves as co-chair of the commission studying facility needs of the UNC system and has been a tireless advocate for our public universities. He was instrumental in the development and support of Open/Net and UNC-TV. He ensures that our state mental health system is not forgotten amid the outstretched hands of special interests in Raleigh. He authored legislation creating a "nursing home bill of rights." He was an original supporter of the Regional Transportation Authority that studies alternative transportation issues. He is co-chair of the House Finance and Ethics Committees and was recently voted by his peers as the ninth most effective member of the General Assembly out of 120 members.

Knowing the role you aspire to fill in the Durham political spectrum, I can forgive you for refusing to acknowledge the need for practical, effective, hard-working realists in public service, but you should at least be fair.

I never thought Gov. George W. Bush's hypocritical stance toward casual drug use could ever be matched, but now it has--by Hal Crowther, who seems to believe that we should consider the drug war a loss ["Stoned out of our minds," May 10].

Crowther seems to hold the view that many held 30 years ago: We're all comfortable with the presence of marijuana and cocaine, so why don't we just legalize them? We're only hurting ourselves. He doesn't consider that those who fry their brains endanger those around them: Parenting and driving are two activities that require thinking.

At least Bush recognizes that drugs are a problem, even if he has the Clintonesque view that because he's a Boomer, the rules don't apply to him.

Not only did Boomers set an all-time high for illicit drug use as twentysomethings, but also, as they aged, for people in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Conversely, as Boomers left a given age group, that age group's drug use dropped. My generation's drug use doesn't come close to what theirs was when they were our age, so I consider that to be at least a little bit of progress.

However, we need to continue to fight the war on drugs. I just hope my Social Security taxes aren't going toward Boomers' drug habits as they retire. Does Crowther want Medicare to include "medical marijuana," too?

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