Someone in Congress finally has stepped forward to criticize Republican Representative Richard Pombo's misadventure in real estate. More specifically, his suggestion that some National Park Service properties be sold to offset revenues that will be lost if the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge isn't soon in the oil business.
John Lewis, the senior chief deputy Democratic Whip in the House of Representatives, shot off a letter to Pombo asking him to strike this proposal from a draft budget reconciliation bill. Lewis, who represents the 5th Congressional District in Georgia, took specific exception to Pombo's listing of the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site in Washington, D.C.
Lewis, you see, was the author of legislation directing the Park Service in 1991 to acquire the historic site, which "interprets the life and work of Mary McLeod Bethune and the organization she founded, the National Council of Negro Women."
Today, Lewis told Pombo, the "carriage house on the site houses the National Archives for Black Women's history. ... To sell this site is an insult to the Civil Rights Movement and the causes of freedom and democracy for which Mary McLeod Bethune worked."
In closing his letter, Lewis told Pombo that the sites he would sell off "are windows to our history and need to be protected and preserved, not sold off to make a profit. America is more than a place to seek wealth, but a place to celebrate and enjoy freedom and democracy and every national park contributes to this goal."
Now, if a few more members of Congress would take Lewis's lead.....
Finally, A Dem Speaks Out Against Pombo