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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 19, 2008 at 4:00 PM

Obama’s team of rivals

The cronyism is served

President-elect Barack Obama’s choice of Arne Duncan for secretary of education is deeply disappointing [“Education secretary faces system in crisis,” Politics, Dec. 17]. While this selection may please the business community, it is the American people, and children especially, who should be served.

Duncan’s record as CEO is mixed at best. His pet project, called “Renaissance 2010,” was described by Chicago education activist Michael Klonsky as a blend of “more standardized testing, closing neighborhood schools, militarization, and the privatization of school management.”

This choice is all the more troubling considering that someone the caliber of pre-eminent educator Linda Darling-Hammond was available and already serving as an adviser to Obama.

In this light, selecting Duncan, a close friend of Obama’s, smells a bit like cronyism.

— Demian Godon, Seattle

Don’t forget

A story from the Los Angeles Times says that Steven Chu and Carol Browner are to be appointed so this new administration will get away from overlooking science in favor of politics [“Obama announces energy and environment team,” Politics, Dec. 15].

On her last day in office eight years ago, Browner (as head of the Environmental Protection Agency) had her hard drive scrubbed, as well as the backup tapes.

This was done despite an injunction by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., directing the EPA to preserve its records because of a lawsuit seeking to determine what special-interest groups influenced all of the last-minute environmental regulations issued by the former President Bill Clinton administration.

Remember those?

Three of her top aides also had the same thing done. The rerecording over the backup tapes also violated records-preservation practices.

The EPA was held in contempt of court for doing what they did. Browner had asserted that there was no work-related material on her office computer. This was not found credible.

— Richard Prout, Seattle

Comments | More in Barack Obama administration

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