The Sierra Club Hasn't Endorsed Any Candidate
"Why Al Gore has the greens seeing red" (Washington Outlook, Jan. 24) may mislead readers about the Sierra Club's activities in the Presidential race. The article excerpts a memo representing the individual views of a Sierra Club board member and blows it out of proportion. Contrary to the impression created, the Sierra Club has not yet taken a position or made an endorsement of any candidate running for President. In fact, the club's Political Committee has barely begun the democratic process it uses to make such an important decision. The club believes that both Vice-President Al Gore and Senator Bill Bradley have strong records protecting our air, water, and land.
The Sierra Club applauded Gore's announcement that as President he would halt new oil drilling off the California and Florida coasts. In contrast, it was President George Bush and then-Florida Commerce Secretary Jeb Bush who approved the Chevron leases for oil and gas exploration off the Florida coast.
Due to the similarity of Gore's and Bradley's records, and the need to fully solicit the views of club members, the club has not yet endorsed a candidate for President. In addition, it hopes that all of the Presidential candidates will address three pressing questions:
-- What binding, concrete emissions reductions would they advocate to fight global warming?
-- How would they fix international trade agreements and rules to enhance environmental protection worldwide?
-- What policies would they advocate to shift the U.S. to a 21st century economy that cuts dependence on natural-resource extraction and combustion?
Poll after poll indicates that Americans want a clean and safe environment. The next President will be responsible for fulfilling this strong public desire. The Sierra Club will undertake a thorough analysis before it makes this critical endorsement.
Flat Rock, N.C.Return to top
GM's Real Daddy Was William C. Durant
In "Is this baby built for cyberspace?" (Cover Story commentary, Jan. 24), John Byrne gives credit to Alfred P. Sloan for the "monumental acquisition and vertical integration" of General Motors Corp. in the 1920s. In fact, every automotive division of GM was developed and/or acquired by William Crapo Durant, starting with his collusion with then-famous race-car driver Barney Olds and the Oldsmobile Div.
During those early years, Durant, with uncanny insight, founded and built GM by acquiring or developing Buick, Cadillac, Pontiac, Body by Fisher (Fisher Brothers), Frigidaire, Delco, GM Trucks, GMAC, etc. Unfortunately, as great an entrepreneur as Durant was, he was a greater gambler, nearly bankrupting GM with his shortsighted competition to beat Henry Ford in the tractor business. The DuPonts, who were the major investors and major paint suppliers to GM, fired Durant as chairman, only to allow him to return after they were forced to merge GM with Durant's new industrial creation, Chevrolet.
Once again, Durant's gambling, entrepreneurial style caused fluctuating boom-and-bust cycles at GM, and Sloan was brought in to provide modern management techniques. Hence, Sloan is noted as the "father of modern management." Because of Durant's fantastic successes and equally significant failures, this important figure has been forgotten, while Sloan is remembered.
Dennis R. Nyren
Lake Forest, Ill.Return to top
Suddenly, 1984 Looks Like a Walk in the Park
While the title was catchy ("On the Web, it's 1984," Technology & You, Jan. 10), you may have forgotten that Winston (Orwell's protagonist) could sit privately at his desk in an alcove at home. We seem to have lost this option. I was startled enough to discover "e-mail capturing" at my place of employment, but to be suddenly barraged at home by e-mail and screen ads addressed to "James Z2 Fox" was even more bewildering. I discovered that I had incorrectly entered information on my computer profile. I further discovered I could review the "cookies" America Online Inc. and others were leaving on my hard drive. Resentment? You bet.
I am slowly moving into this cyberspace world. But to my dismay this electronic highway has no cops and an awful lot of highwaymen. The only saving grace to date is that I have not changed that error in the profile, so when I am hailed as "James Z2," I know it's the wolf and not Grandma!
Lodi, Calif.Return to top