It's not unusual for Senate offices to receive hundreds, even thousands of postcards from constituents concerned about hot-button social, economic or environmental issues.
But the big box of postcards that arrived in the mail Wednesday from the Sierra Club addressed to Sen. Larry Craig's office was somewhat unusual. Five workers in the Idaho Republican's office methodically went through the box and counted 15,000 postcards from people all over the country.
Some were addressed to President Clinton and urged him to work to protect endangered species. Others, addressed to various lawmakers, urged support for a moratorium on road-building and logging in all national forests. The senators included "Sen. Torricel," presumably the junior senator from New Jersey, Robert G. Torricelli (D). But not one was addressed to Craig.
"We were pleased that the Sierra Club recognizes Sen. Craig as a friend of the environment," said aide Kelly Kerby, tongue planted in cheek. Craig and the enviro groups rarely see eye-to-eye.
Craig's folks want to share the cards with colleagues, but Kerby, in charge of constituent services, said her office is not going to repackage the cards and forward them. "Anybody, including people from Sen. Torricel's staff, can stop by and look," she said. "We think enough trees have been sacrificed."
A Few Conflicts on the White House Log
There's something about Bill Clinton that drives both his political friends and enemies to distraction. Now it's the timber industry folks' turn.
Last week, Clinton went to Reddish Knob Overlook, Va., to declare another 40 million acres of national forest land off-limits to logging, recreation and such. (Timber folks deride his chat as Clinton's Sermon on the Knob.)
Then two days later Clinton declared this week to be National Forest Products Week. In his official proclamation, he hailed the "generations of Americans [who] have earned their livelihood from the bounty of our forests. . . . I call upon all Americans to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities," Clinton said.
Industry folks were left to sputter about "mixed signals."
We'll Burn That Car When We Get to It
Also on the enviro front, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, campaigning in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Monday for the Republican presidential nomination, was asked what he thought about Houston passing Los Angeles as America's smoggiest city. Bush said he has cracked down on some corporate polluters, according to an account in the San Jose Mercury News, but added "the truth of the matter is the long-term solution for cities that rely upon automobiles is to have cleaner-burning fuel and better, cleaner-burning automobiles."
The worst part is when the dashboard starts smoking.
A Little More of the Seine
Moving offshore, President Clinton has tapped Alaska Lt. Gov. Frances Ann Ulmer to be a member of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission. Those are the fish that swim upstream to spawn and eventually end up on bagels. Despite the odd name, the commission, which includes members from Canada, Russia and Japan, deals with the highly charged issues surrounding international salmon fishing.
Gay Rights Advocate Quitting Government
Staying on the enviro theme, Bob Hattoy, the Interior Department's White House liaison until last week, is calling it a government career. Hattoy, an AIDS speaker at the 1992 Democratic convention and an enviro activist, took disability retirement. Hattoy, who has AIDS, had been ailing in recent months but says he's much improved. He's writing a book about being the "gay Forrest Gump in this administration"--detailing his adventures with Clinton, Pamela Harriman, George Stephanopoulos and other luminaries, and he's looking for a radio talk show gig.
Help the Gores Be Ghoulish
Last chance! Midnight tonight is the deadline for the Loop's Third Annual Gore Halloween Party Contest. Send suggestions for the perfect costume for Vice President Gore and Tipper Gore to In the Loop, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or e-mail to Loop@washpost.com.
Democratic, GOP Campaign Changes
On the campaign trail. . . . Signs are pointing to Chris Lehane, now press secretary in Gore's official office, to move over to become press secretary on the Gore campaign, replacing Kiki Moore. Still no word on a communications director.
Donnie Fowler, a veteran Democratic campaign operative and son of former Democratic National Committee Chairman Donald L. Fowler, who's been most recently at the Federal Communications Commission as a special projects aide to chairman William E. Kennard, is leaving to be national field director for the Gore campaign.
In the GOP, Susan Phalen, press secretary for Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Tex.), is moving to Austin to join the Bush campaign, focusing on radio in what looks to be a huge press operation that's taking shape.
Got the Wrong Gloria
Correction: That was Export-Import Bank counselor Gloria Cabe who arranged a two-week tour of Africa--complete with private jet--for bank Chairman James Harmon and four other bank officials.