When I was in my 40's, I completed three writing courses/classes, etc...the Writer's Digest course; the National Writers Club course; and a creative writing class at the University of New Mexico. It took me about 18 months to complete at a cost of about $200 at the time. (there's no free lunch!)
During my courses, two of my instructors pointed out to me that I was too "conversational" with my writing. In other words...I was a blabber-mouth and I had to use less words to say the same thing. I had too much fat in my writing and I had to learn to use less words, or I was going to lose readers.
Both instructors gave me examples using my own words, as to how I could cut the excess words (fat) out of my writing. I was amazed at what they did, and how they did it! My writing instructors were right...I AM a blabber-mouth and I talk too much...and I write too much! I kept those examples, and tried to learn from them over the years. Today, (2010) every time I write an article, I have to remember to keep the gibberish and small talk down, and I'm getting better and better at it with practice and more practice, etc.
I now have over 170 articles in my portfolio, and you know the old saying, "practice makes perfect." There is no more important factor in keeping the words down to a minimum in writing, if when a person has to write a business letter, especially a complaint against a business, etc. Over the years, I've complained about 14 times to the Consumer Protection Division of the New Mexico Attorney General's office, and every time, I tried to keep the letters to one page...mostly getting to the point quickly with the minimum use of words!
And, this is what I was going to have to do, if I was going to write to the President of the United States...get to the point and cut all the fat out of the letter! People in high places don't have time for gibberish and puffery, etc. I knew I had to keep the letter to the President to one page...after all, there would be attachments included in the package and copies of the newspaper articles, which numbered about 10 additional pages.
Every writer knows, how there are times, when you sit down to write, the words just don't fall onto the page, and you struggle to make a sentence! But, there are times, which rarely happens, when the words just fall onto the page, like they were meant to be there and everything just goes so smoothly.
That's what happened with the letter to the President...everything with the letter went so smoothly! In writing all my articles, I usually write them about 3 or 4 times until I get them right...move the furniture around time after time. With the letter to the President, I wrote it one time and polished it and that was it...amazing!
I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a population of about 500,000. I read the Albuquerque Journal just about every day, and I've never heard about a fight that's been going on for ten years between the state of New Mexico and the Air Force! (federal government). It was unbeknownst to me that there has been a fuel-leak at Kirtland Air Force base, which is located just about a mile from me. What could have the Air Force done, to have cause a chemical dump, that will cost the taxpayers about 200 million dollars to clean up?
This is outrages and a threat to the drinking water of Albuquerque...it's unbelievable that this fight has been going on for over ten years! There have been three articles in the Albuquerque Journal in just six weeks on this subject! There must have been 'cover-up' during all this time. The reason this has been going on so long, is because of the evasiveness and foot-dragging of the Air Force. The Environment Department of New Mexico is demanding that the Air Force speed it up. Meanwhile, the Air Force is using every evasive trick in the book and stalling tactic to avoid responsiblity in the matter. The jet fuel (chemical dump) is located just off one of the runways, just east of the VA Medical Center, which is about a mile from where I live.
Many of you may remember the Love Canal chemical dump of the late 1970's, in which President Jimmy Carter had to get involved because of the incompetence of the city and state of New York. You'll see in the letter to the President, how I compare the two incidents.
The first newspaper article appeard on June 19, 2010; the second on July 8, 2010 and the third appeared on August 10, 2010. All of them pretty much the same...the evasiveness of the Air Force to clean up the mess! This has made me mad...so mad, in fact, that I had to write a letter to the President of the United States. The letter is as follows:
"President Barack Obama,
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D. C. 20005
Dear Mr. President:
You may or may not remember the horrors of the Love Canal tragedy back in the late 1970's. But, because of the incompetence of the city of Niagrara Falls and the incompetence of the state of New York...President Jimmy Carter had to intervene into the matter, and pulled over 250 families (of the over 1,000 families), from the Love Canal area! The Love Canal disaster was the first to get federal funds, as it was a man-made disaster, as opposed to a natural disaster.
I see the same thing happening here at another chemical dump in Albuquerque, New Mexico at Kirtland Air Force base. Regrettably, this pushing and shoving match between the state of New Mexico and the Air Force has gone on for over ten years! This could turn out to be another Love Canal...with much higher consequences, since the population of Albuquerque is now over 500,000 residents, etc.
This child-like fight between the state of New Mexico and the Air Force, has gone on for over ten years...with no end in sight...further endangering the citizens of Albuquerque! I don't appreciate the possibility of the residents, especially those living on and around the base...to be at risk of contamination of the drinking water, fire; explosion, etc., while the Air Force drags its ass with endless delays, etc. Should this chemical dump contaminate the drinking water; fire; explosion; this would be the highest form of negligence and foot-dragging displayed by the Air Force!
After you've read the enclosed newspaper articles (3) and the associated content, you can tell me if you and your wife and kids would like to live in this neighborhood...just one mile from this chemical dump!
With all the delaying tactics of the Air Force...will the government yawn all this away...until disaster strikes? You have to wonder...where is the governor in all this? Where are the two U.S. Senators in all this? Where is the Mayor of Albuquerque in all this? Where is the U.S. Representative (Dist. 1) in all this? Incompetence...at the city and state level at the Love Canal...that's why President Carter had to get involved!
The residents of the base and surrounding community shouldn't have to be placed at risk by the arrogant and foot-dragging Air Force...which is a disgrace! I think every New Mexican would agree with me, that the Air Force is no longer a good neighbor!
As Commander-in-Chief of all the military...I certainly hope you do the right thing, without getting politics involved. As you know, there are hundreds and thousands of chemical dumps in the United States, and one at Kirtland Air Force base. Could this be the making of another Love Canal? SHAME on the Air Force!
Thank you for your time.
END OF LETTER...
From: BaltimoreSun.com: (House probe chemical dumping) Congress looks at the Army's dumping of chemical weapons in the sea. Other countries and environmentalists want answers as well. Federal lawmakers are demanding the Army reveal everything it knows about where it dumped chemical weapons into the world's oceans, as well as provide proof the munitions won't leak and cause an environmental castastrophe! The Army dumped at least 64 million pounds of chemical weapons mostly mustard gas; and nerve gas from World War II until 1970.
From: ScientificAmerican.com: In 1972, the Clean Water Act outlawed unregulated chemical dumping and gave the EPA the authority to enforce the restrictions. As a result, U.S. water quality otherwise weakened or threatened by industry and municipalities improved. But, lest you think we're on the right track...read on. You see, the Clean Water Act allow federal protection of 'navigable' waters. But in a couple of Supreme Court decisions, the term 'navigable' was interpreted to exclude isolated waters and certain kinds of small streams and wetlands, even those that feed into larger watersheds, including, in many cases, fishing and drinking water sources. As a result of the high-court's ruling, there is now a growing and disturbing trend. More and more companies and industries have begun dumping chemical waste into small creeks and streams with impunity. Some 1500 cases of chemical dumping have reportedly been set aside by the EPA in the wake of the Supreme Court decisions.
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