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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - January 28, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Poll portends 'disaster' for Republicans I :l neW lierSOll i" Editorial Page Mondoy. January 28, 1974 By Louis Harris Th? Harm Survey Tlu-so latest results show little change fnun au earlier test run made last Meter-cheaters targeted IK TliK VOTK fur congress were held September. The Republicans have pick- this inontli instead of next Novein- up marginally :nul Hie Democrats ber. the Democrats would win nation- dropped three points. But the leuil FOR MORE than a year now, behind-the-scenes debate lias led to no conclusion on a question as to whether the quick-pay fine for overtime parking at meters in downtown Cedar Rapids should be raised from its level of 25 cents. Recent happenings suggest the matter should be settled soon, and that a boost al least to fill cents should be the answer. What raised the issue in the first place was increasing evidence that gamblers and cheaters were beating the system. More and more have learned that if yon put no money in a parking meter, take a chance on escaping a ticket during the first hour or so, then let the car sit another hour even if a ticket shows up, yon come out ahead: For 25 cents in an early- pay fine, you park for time that would have cost you 40 cents legi- timately at the hourly rate. These sharpy-tactics still per- sist. One strong body of thought among those concerned is that raising Ihe convenience fine from 25 cents at least to 50 would dis- courage this gamble, stimulate turnover and be fairer to good- faith parkers, still giving inad- vertent, close-call overtimers a break they deserve. (A flat penalty applies to later payers.) Those against a change say that cutting off the two-bit fine will irritate too many people and reduce their patronage downtown. Expressions from the public in a recent questionnaire conducted by the Greater Downtown Assn., however, tend to indicate that ad- verse feeling has been overes- timated and a fine-increase would be acceptable. Questioned on this point specifically, half the people want- ed the quick-pay quarter left unchanged. Half preferred an increase: half of those were willing to accept a first-hour fine of SI or instead of merely 50 cents. Evidence of no great fear or irritation over meter fines ap- peared in answers to another question, too. Only 7 percent of Un- people expressing concern with parking difficulties downtown listed "paying fines for overtime parking" as their No. 1 worry. In addition, city officials have calculated that for every 25-cent meter fine collected, the overhead costs the city 33 cents: It loses money every time one conies (and some still take the form of 25 pennies in a postage-due en- Officials also know that other cities charging 50 cents in Iowa include Waterloo, Ames, Burling- ton, Mason City, Fort Dodge, Oel- wein, Keokuk, Oskaloosa and Grundy Center. The group includes Davenport, Iowa City, Dubuque, Davenport, Sioux City and Council Bluffs. In Des Moines, it's a bite. wide by a landslide 50-32 percent margin. Such a division could give the Democrals in Ihe races for the house uf representatives as much as a 60-40 per- cent margin, larger than any since the Mis. This latest survey also tested Un- popular idea that incumbency will be a detriment in 1H74. regardless of political party. The theory goes that with politi- cians so unpopular these days, incumb- ent congressmen will meet with voter scorn anil even repudiation this Novem- ber. The facts show, however, that for every person prepared to vote against an incumbent, almost three limes as many would vote for a sitting con- gressman simply because he lias been in office. A majority of ti'2 percent, however, say that incumbency by itself will make no difference to them in deciding their HI7-I off-year election vote. Here is the trend of voter sentiinenl [or the house races as measured periodically in this question, the last time asked nf 1.157 likely voters between .Ian. 7 and 10: "In Ihe election this year for congress here in your district, if you had lo decide right now, would you vole for the Republican or Democratic candidate for January, 1974 September, 1973 June May 50 53 51 49 32 31 35 39 16 14 12 for the Democrats is still massive. There seems lo Ix- no doubt that the is in deep (rouble in the off-year elections as this key political year begins. Most harmful to the -Republican cause is the fact that HOT candidates are running behind in those areas which as recently us 1972 were viewed as the new heartland of a revived party. In the Smith, the Republicans trail by percent; in the small towns by 51- :ill percent; in rural areas by percent; among the 50-and-over age group by 45-39 percent; among union -members by 58-27 percent; among the income group by 53-2S percent; among Catholics by percent. These results portend nothing short of disaster fur what President Nixon once called his "new if it dues not close belween now and November. Similar Harris Survey results in the past have been questioned on the grounds that the factor of incumbency has nut been taken into account. This theory claims that all politicians are in such disrepute that any sitting member of Ihe house of representatives, regardless of party, may be in trouble in the 1974 elections. And. since there will be more Democrats than Republicans up for re-election this year, the anti-incum- bent feeling might tend to neutralize po- tential GOP losses. Prisoners Accordingly the mood at city hall appears to be that a fine Pannlo'e fnrnm would be proper. The case for that s O'Um is persuasive. There is also a good case for going gently on the honest overtimers with a 50-cent break. But there is practically no case at all any more for sustaining temp- tations to gamble, and for cheat- ing honest parkers as a con- sequence, by failing to invoke at least a quick-pay minimum of 50 cents. Roadhogs To the Editor: to yesteryear My, how my heart bleeds for those poor fellows .in the county jail. Just why are they there in the first place? And when they break the law do they expect to live in a palace? ALL DOUBTS that radio drama more honest than blandishments was audibly delicious are put of TV and movies, to rout now that the "CBS Radio Mystery Theater" rides the late night airwaves. Doors never creak more ominously than when the listener, like the show's hero or heroine, can not see the stealthy stranger, butler, mad uncle or whoever the evildoer happens to be. One suspects that exhuming of old comedies, westerns and soap operas would furnish further proof: Jack Benny's vault-moat alligators were more toothsome and funnier than real 'gators; an unseen Tonto was nobler than his screen image, his masked friend infinitely more daring and resourceful; Ma's other life was sudsier heard than seen. Oldtime radio indeed took lis- teners as far as imaginations could propel them. But the medium offered more than par- ticipatory satisfaction, and today's nostalgic few broadcasts verify the memory: Adver- tisements for a radio shew were How many times have you been told a video or theater offering is a rollicking comedy or a breathless suspenser only to discover the theme' is unfunny or yawn- provoking? Radio shows of the 1930s and '40s tossed no such curves. If an escapist melodrama was promised, you could bet the un- seen actors and sound experts would deliver the goods just as claimed. As the Radio Mystery Theater now reminds, there is a refreshing similarity between a radio show ad and a nice succinct book jacket summary. Also in kinship with leisure reading, a good old-fashioned radio show beats the daylights out of Zsa Zsa Gabor's chitchat on one channel and "Love Slaves of the Amazon" on the other. Seems instead of around on their chairs it wouldn't hurt them to sweep and clean a little. Are they so much better than us taxpayers? Who Feeds them while they are sitting in (here taking life easy? And why do (hey think they need a banquet? Why did they wait until getting to jail to complain of their ailments and then insist on the county paying a doctor for them? Also I just can't understand how they dare sue the police department and claim they have been robbed, etc. That I don't believe. Seems to me if they were not babied and treated so well there would not be as many crimes repeated. Maybe a few had better read and practice obeying the law for a. change instead of trying to see how- far they can go with law-breaking, then growling how badly they are treated. I certainly don't think the policeman or sheriff's deputies get a fair break. If we expect them to do their work and protect us, why are so many criminals turned loose when the proof is there that they are guilty? Give our lawmen a chance. I. loo, believe Sheriff Grant is doing a good job. Maybe others had better try doing as well. Vurla La Kose Springvillc To the Editor: 1 was under the impression that the purpose of First avenue here in Cedar Rapids was to advance more traffic in less time, if the vehicles which aren't passing would get in the right lane, faster-moving vehicles could pass on the left. Many people drive side-by-side with another car, allowing no others to pass. It ought to be made known to the public that traffic would proceed much safer, and with fewer frayed tempers if this practice were followed more often. It would be for the good of the city if traffic moved faster. If radio announcers would urge and remind drivers to slay to the right when not passing, this would help loo. Chuck Fey 1435 Third avenue SE Snow him Conclusion fo the cable fable? TV nears turning point By Don Oakley rFflE COXTIN'UI.N'C, story that asks Ihe question, "Can a little idea from out of the sticks find happiness as the rival of Ihe big television may be reaching a climax. The idea, whose lime keeps coming but never quite seems to arrive, is cable television, or pay TV, which began by piping in clear television pictures lo folks whose reception was garbled by moun- tains or tall buildings or by their distance from the broadcast source. The climax is a decision expected .sunn from the Federal Communications Com- mission on whether pay TV should have the right lo bid for late-run Hollywood movies or live sports events such as a Super Bowl or World Series. These shows would then be offered to homes with ca- ble TV, either for a flat fee per show or per month. The over-lhe-air stations supported by advertising fear that they would begin losing largo numbers of viewers affluent enough or interested enough to afford pay TV. With audiences declining, ad- vertisers would start losing interest in sponsoring the big, expensive movies anil sports events now provided free to Ihe great mass of TV-watching families. Already, they point nut, we have seen heavyweight championship fighls disap- pear from free television, where the telecasts were paid for by advertisers. Instead, boxing fans must now purchase expensive tickets and go to a selected theater to see such attractions. A spokesman for the industry, Arthur R. Taylor, president of the Columbia Broadcasting System, states lhal he does not oppose pay television as a legitimate competitor if il operates independently of over-lhe-air television. But he argues that the programs which cable television now transmits over its wires to gain entry into the American household are not its own but those of free television. Cable TV does perform a valid service by giving heller reception to some areas, says Taylor, "bill Ihe local-origin programs they are telecasting lack any mass audience appeal and the systems would serve a belter purpose if they put on specialized attractions, which mosl of them don't." Don Oalcley The pay TV people counter that the only way cable TV can become profita- ble, and therefore be able In bring viewers extra channels and diversified programming, is lo offer lop movies and sports events and charge viewers to see them. And, of course, they cannot improve their programming unless they gel mure subscribers. Il is thus a real "chicken-and-egg" situation. According to at least one television critic, UI'I writer Rick DuBrow, Ihe commercial networks are waging a scare campaign. Anyway, he asks. "What is so free about a system that springs com- mercials on you every few minutes? Thai's a price, and Ihe public pays il as a captive consumer audience and in terms of mental distraction." Everyone agrees thai cable TV is an important technological advance. In Ihe future, if financially feasible, cable TV will be able lo bring 20, -III or even Hill additional channels into homes. This means, at least Iheiirelically, thai local special-interest groups could air their views on television, cnterlninmenl events appealing to limited audiences could be presented and even such benefits as shopping by television would hi! possible. The big hitch is money how II is all going In lie paid for, and by whom. To the Editor: In regard to the reading of "The Americans" lliat is played on KLWW and WMT radio several times a day, I am very impressed by this and feel it is the most truth we've heard in years. I sent to KLWW and got Iwo copies, kept one and sent one to Mr. Nixon. I wish everyone reading this would do the sa.me. H's very easy; all you have to do is send a self-addressed envelope tu.KLWW radio station. Cedar Rapids, and Mr. Nixon will receive his if yon send it to the White House, Washington, D. C. Maybe if he got enough copies he'd take time to read it and lake to heart what it says. I just wish more people felt as strongly about this as our fellow Canadian. Let's take some action in order lo gel some action. After all, it's for our better interest, isn't it? Mrs. Donald II. Labs Hiawatha Ignorance To the Editor: I cannot allow myself to go to bed tonight without writing a response lo Russell Baker's column .Ian. 21. Mr. Baker's first mistake was where he staled that lie knew he was being un- fair to Ihe insurance industry but "reasoned that the industry could put up with a little unfairness since they take in so much money and pay nothing out in return when the plumbing leaks." My firsl point is: I don't understand how Mr. Baker feels he has the "right" lo be un- fair and then make such a sarcastic issue of his reply, in an otherwise perfectly good newspaper. His second loistake was his display of his complete ignorance relevant lo in- surance. The I2lh, IHlh and Htli paragraphs in his sarcastic continuity give the impression thai homeowner policies do not cover damage caused by leakage of water from pipes. are five types of homeowner policies available, forms I, II, 111, IV and V. Two of these, III and V, cover thai lype of loss. Form III stales, "Coverage Is extended lo Include damage caused by accidental discharge, leakage, or overflow of water or sleniil from plumb- ing, henling, air conditioner systems or domestic appliance." Of course, I probably pay mure for my In this latest survey, a series ol projectivc questions were put to the cross-section dealing with this issue of incumbency. People were asked; "Now let me osk you oboul voling (or or ogoiml o mon who has held ollice ond is wining ogoir, for le election. For eoch slotensenl I read you. tell me il you tend to ogree
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