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Editor:

I'd like to respond to Dana Silvernale's letter (Dec. 18) regarding Heidi Walters' article on Marsh Commons ("True Blues," Dec. 11), in which I was quoted. In referring to Greens and other third parties I was quoted as saying "They're people who are bad at math -- who made a choice to be disaffected rather than change the country themselves." That quote was part of a larger point about national elections and third parties. For Presidential, senate and house campaigns, in order to maximize one's impact on the country come election time one should choose the candidate closest to one's views that has a reasonable chance of winning. In a winner-take-all system like ours, any other tactic amounts to shooting oneself in the foot.

This fictional example scenario illustrates my point. Oct. 1, 1999: Ralph Nader endorses Al Gore, abandoning his quixotic quest for the White House while getting public assurances that Gore will put some Green party imperatives on to his first term agenda. Al Gore wins Florida handily and owes Nader and the Green party big-time. The Greens got 96,000 votes -- even with only 10 percent of that total going Dem, "hanging chad" is not part of the American lexicon, the Greens get a seat at the table, Iraq remains uninvaded, the EPA isn't eviscerated and it's even possible, though probably not likely, that someone in the SEC takes a look at the state of the US banking system. Did I mention that Greens got a seat at the table? That's what the party wants, right?

Regarding your complaints about the article, why did you choose to go after the Journal and Heidi Walters? Our dinner and my comments were reported accurately and given the cacophony at Marsh Commons dinners that was no small feat. Take issue with me, the one that went on record saying your party is bad at math.

Your complaint about "mainstream media" helps illustrate my point. The Green presidential candidate got less than .001 on the already diminutive Perot scale in the last cycle. Your party just doesn't have the numbers to get solid national coverage. (If it makes you feel better, the Libertarians have been ignored for decades and they got a .003 on the Perot scale.)

Bob Tucker, Arcata

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