Opinion: Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: Nov. 16, 2012

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Opinion,Letters to the Editor

Generals need refresher course in Army Values

Re: "General demoted for lavish travel, spending," Nov. 14

Even though the punishment is not severe enough and reeks of double standards (i.e. if a lower-ranking officer, NCO or soldier had done this, they would have been jailed and/or kicked out of the military), I would like to thank Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for his actions in the case of Gen. William Ward. At least someone in the DOD chain of command is concerned about holding people accountable.

Gen. Ward illegally spent tens of thousands of dollars, took his wife on global boondoggles, showed a total lack of professionalism and responsibility and trashed just about all seven Army Values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.

It is shameful that there are two very high-ranking Army generals who seem to be more concerned about Gen. Ward's retirement income than sending a message that this behavior will not be tolerated.

Someone at the Pentagon, please send the seven Army Values up the chain. Some leaders need refresher training.

Andy Reese

Alexandria

Va. should have built Express lanes itself

Re: "McDonnell opens $1.7b Beltway Express lanes," Nov. 14

It appears that Fluor-Transurban has done an excellent job of constructing the I-495 Express lanes project efficiently and on time.However, I remain opposed to these large public-private tolling partnerships for many reasons.There is the almost universal perception that the Commonwealth of Virginia got a great deal with this project and with a similar one on I-95.But to me, the numbers don't support that assessment.

The article stated that the total cost of the I-495 project was $1.7 billion and that Virginia kicked in $409 million.That sounds like great leverage until you find out that the developers only put up something like $350 million to $400 million in cash. The remainder is federally subsidized loans and private bonds. In other words, for another $400 million in cash plus bonds, the state could have done the whole thing itself.

While that would have been painful, Virginia would then have had this incredible toll revenue stream for decades, paying off the project and providing a source for future projects.Why do you think the private sector wants these partnerships, despite the many negative aspects on the operational side that will emerge?

This experiment will be very interesting to observe.Good luck!

Bob Hugman

Woodbridge

Cooperation is required to avoid 'fiscal cliff'

Re: "Obama believes 'balanced' means more spending, higher taxes," Editorial, Nov. 14

The mandate received by President Obama in the recent election for nonpartisan cooperation speaks volumes. Such cooperation between the two major parties is needed now more than ever in dealing with the looming "fiscal cliff" debacle.

We must be realistic and pragmatic. An obstructionist U.S. Congress, which was never "united" in the best of times, must put aside partisanship now. Which party, or president, wants to be blamed for a new economic depression?

It is past time that our politicians grow up and actually do something good for the nation rather than themselves.

Joe Hammell

Waynesboro, Pa.

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