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MARK ELVIS STAMP `RETURN TO SENDER' . . .

No, I haven't seen Elvis. But I did see red when I heard about the time, money, and initiative the bureaucracy at the Postal Service was investing in the promotion of an Elvis Presley Commemorative stamp.

So, on March 2, I wrote the U.S. Postmaster, Anthony Frank, to protest this decision in the strongest terms possible.Apparently, my letter has Elvis fans "All Shook Up." But the overwhelming outpouring of telephone calls and letters I received support my contention that this postage stamp scheme is inappropriate and out of order.

Let me explain my reasons. You can decide for yourself.

Every day, we get new evidence of the decline in standards and values of our young people.

Of course, the presidential candidates espouse "family values." And members of Congress push "family legislation."

We encourage parents, teachers and community leaders to teach children to say "No to Drugs," to teach them to avoid the dangers of alcohol and to treat women with respect.

How then can the Postal Service pay tribute to Elvis - a man who abused drugs, alcohol and women?

What is the lesson to our young people? We teach one set of values, but we honor and memorialize a man who lived by a contradictory standard.

Simply put, I do not want young people to conclude that the United States government condones Elvis Presley's personal behavior and sets him up as an admirable role model.

The Postal Service and the Citizen's Advisory Committee should reconsider this decision and act more responsibly when choosing stamp designs in the future.

Second, I took exception in my letter to the fact that the U.S. Postal Service, with its budget in the red, its overstaffed bureaucracy and its mismanaged operations, spent thousands of dollars on a star-studded television satellite uplink from Las Vegas to announce the "Elvis poll."

The press and public reaction to my letter was nothing short of amazing.

Within minutes of the letter's release, a story was running on the wire. Within hours radio and television stations across the nation were calling. Television camera crews camped in my office. Phone calls poured in from every corner of the country.

I had hit a raw nerve. Nine out of 10 calls stressed the same point. The callers could not believe the Postal Service's total disregard for the family values and the American taxpayer.

No, this is not a criticism of the men and woman who process and deliver our mail everyday. Those heroes of the mail route are burdened by the top-heavy bureaucracy that looms over their heads.

No, this is not a personal vendetta against Elvis. I actually enjoy his music.

In many ways, the Elvis stamp is symbolic of everything that is wrong in Washington today.

We give lip service to "family values" and preach about our intentions to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse. But our actions speak louder than our words.

The American taxpayers are saying to the Postal Service, and Washington, take your Elvis stamp and "return to sender."