As a whole, D.C. Council has made great progress Re: "An agent of change for the D.C. Council," July 21 Jonetta Rose Barras' continuing diatribes against the D.C. Council would actually be better if she left out her obvious biases and actually knew how it worked. Many on the council, especially its chairman, have done more than any in recent history to do the right thing by city residents. However, as with Congress, oversight is not as simple as Barras makes it out to be.

With an executive like Mayor Adrian Fenty, who makes it a habit to be secretive and keep people in his administration from testifying at oversight hearings, you need to start investigations -- which clearly take more time.

Chairman Vincent Gray opened up budget negotiations to TV cameras, took his role in the confirmation process seriously, and took stands on ethics violations by the council's own members. I agree some of them should be replaced, but don't automatically slam the whole group, especially who have made great strides.

They should be congratulated, not constantly disparaged as Barras does in her apparent efforts to justify the missteps, lack of cooperation and cronyism of the mayor.

Peter D. Rosenstein

No-fly lists are part of a layered defense strategy Re: "A radical proposal for airline security," June 19 Steve Chapman argues that people on the no-fly list who are dangerous should be arrested and prosecuted, but "if they are not dangerous enough to arrest, they should have the same freedom to travel as anyone else."

This is flatly ridiculous. By his logic, if we knew that someone received al Qaeda training overseas but they were innocent of any crime in the United States, we would allow them to board an aircraft. The 9/11 hijackers, as well as shoe bomber Richard Reid and undie bomber Umar Abdulmutalla, exactly fit this description.

Chapman may be stupid enough to get on a plane with such people, but I sure don't want to. The no-fly list serves a useful purpose as part of a layered defense and should be maintained.

James Perry

Pool's cell tower raises safety concerns The Orange Hunt Swim Club has taken upon itself to contract with T-Mobil Communications to install a 100-foot-plus cell tower for 30 years on the grounds adjacent to the club's tennis courts.

While I'm sympathetic to the pool's need for cash, the forthcoming tower is ugly, will detract from the tranquility of the neighborhood, and raises health and real estate devaluation concerns for those of us surrounding the facility. Neither one of the decision makers live near the swim club.

None of the arguments that cell towers are benign can be directly supported by clear scientific results. The American Cancer Society's summary of "The Bottom Line" says that the industry is too young to have conducted adequate studies.

Most of the public is not aware that in 1996, Congress added language to the Telecommunications Act making it impossible to bring litigation against cell phone companies for health-related concerns, essentially eliminating any need for scientific research on the matter.

It's ironic that just months ago, members of the board participated in the "Relay for Life" at West Springfield High School and sponsored a Swimathon last summer at the club pool in behalf of neighbors stricken by cancer.

Marc Sieracki