Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - February 16, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa ftapitU Editorial Page Sotufiiiy, 16, 1974 Citizen-safety in C. R.: High marks believable NO SOONER is Cedar Rapids' lofty safe-city status hotly disputed than out comes a book, "America's 50 Safest which lists Cedar Rapids No. 31, sandwiched snugly between tranquil La Crosse, Wis. (No. and placid Medford, Mass. (No. Though Author David Franke does not point out the fact, the Parlor City's position on the honor roll has significance beyond thirty-oneness: It is the top population town in the bunch, nosing out No. 34 Parma, Ohio (pop. i and No. 4? Independence, Mo. only other cities on the list. (All others are in the range; smaller towns are not covered.) What could make Frankc's work controversial in these parts is his methodology: He based rankings solely on Federal Bureau of Investigation crime statistics. which, of course, arc obtained from local police departments. As most of us here know already, the police department's reports to the FBI are held in suspicion by no less an authority than the Linn county attorney. Cutting in half the estimated value of. items reportedly stolen, eliminating bicycle thefts from reports, juggling of reports to log allegedly aggravated assaults as lesser data-doc- toring methods were cited by County Attorney Faches, who not- ed "there has been no criminal activity" in the filing of false reports. Should Cedar Rapids thus be purged from Author Franke's roster of safe places to live? Must the censor's scissors leave a puzzling gap between .published descriptions of No. 30 La Crosse and No. 32 Medford? Obviously not. The author's purpose is to tell readers about cities where "you can find a new home where you can take a walk at night without first reviewing your If ever a city fit that description. Cedar Rapids does. Short-lived report altering and other alleged improprieties aside, the local police force has con- tributed heavily to the low-danger environment. Clearly, no one planning to set- tle here will sign off merely because the likelihood of having a bike stolen is greater than police acknowledged circa Nor will potential newcomers be turned off by crime reporting practices common elsewhere. Those pur- portedly include reducing theft- loss totals from the insurance- claim level to a notch closer to reality, and reassessing the seriousness of certain assault cases notable marital fights which usually end up in civil court. While "America's 50 Safest Ci- ties" is no more reliable than the FBI data underpinning it, the work nonetheless seems accurate in separating nice places to live from heavily-pocked crime spots. Its validity, then, resembles that of an IQ drawn, perhaps, in distinguishing between scores a few points apart, but instructive in showing that high scores are distinctively op- posite low scores. Whatever Cedar Rapids' actual spot on the citizen-safety chart, it obviously is a more desirable locale than like-sized Peoria, 111. (No. or Ann Arbor, Mich. (No. Interestingly, all of Iowa's cities score relatively well in Franke's 393-city compila- tion, except Council Bluffs (No. Dubuque, 85th, is second to Cedar Rapids. Then come Wa- terloo, 89th; Sioux City, 100th; Davenport, 132nd; and Des Moines, 186th. Incidentally, Lakewood, Ohio, is first and Compton, Calif., last. Cicero, yes, No. 35, thanks largely to tough law enforcement in recent years. Each of the 50 top cities is described in prose gleaned largely from Chamber of Commerce reports, which, like police crime sheets, can land slightly out of kilter. Slowpost UCH ADO is being made over Lthe four-day delay in moving a court subpoena to the President from Los Angeles to Washington via the registered-mail route. Naturally, the Postal Service will take all the heat in this well- publicized snafu. But it's a bum rap, if you ask us. Rather than exposing the postal people's oc- casional want of efficiency, the delay has illuminated the equality foundation upon which this country was built. Where but in the United States can a top-priority subpoena receive the same handling as the lowliest scrap of junk mail? The Postal Service's investiga- tion Of the foul-up also may prove educational, pinpointing at last the location of Robin Hood's fabled barn. Chances arc Mr. Nixon's subpoena moved right around it. People's forum Lit up Tn the Kditnr. Because of our so-called fuel shortage we now experience darkness each morn- ing when we are waking up. I'm not sure what good tins is doing for I lie nation, let alone C'edar Rapids. Sure, the sun is out each day an hour later and we do not have to turn our ligbis on until or maybe li at night, but what about each morning? On my way to school each morning I notice a lot of households with lights on still as late as S. Why? Because mice people turn lights on they simply forget to turn them off when they leave the room or I he house. And since we have lo turn our lights on an hour earlier in the morning, we are using up the energy that we are saving at night. This nationwide condition also affects the children going lo school. Although it really does not affect tiie people living in the Cedar Rapids area, it seems that every night on the nationwide news (here is a story about children walking to school with flashlights or (heir parents taking them to school, or the bus stop where they are to be picked up. So how are we, as a nation, saving energy by using this new system? The answer seems to be that there is no way possible that we are. In fact, the only good I can sec in this energy saving sys- tem is that every morning on the way to school I get to see a beautiful sunrise. Mary Feldhaus Washington avenue SE Seniors' bus To the editor: I would like to really thank all the folks who sent us Betty Crocker coupons so that we could get our bus fur the senior folks lo ride in to visit places. We senior folks are asking another great big favor that people keep on sending in coupons as before. Betty Crocker sends checks fur the amount these coupons come lo. Our treasurer, John McFatridge (2263 street will bank it all for when tin- bus needs gas, oil, tires, etc., or whatever else it might need. II is surprising how older folks brave I he weather to go on outings of the club lo get away from loneliness of small homes and to be with others. I used to love to go but I have two bud legs and can't get in the bus inn well and it's hard to get about even with crutches. The driver doesn't want me lo gel on the bus any more for fear .I'll fall; my hand might slip off the rod. Helen Kohl 131 lied Wing road SW Sex-crazed To the Editor: We were shocked beyond words lo see most of a page in The Gazette of Jan. '27 devoted to illegitimacy, premarital and extramarital intercourse, etc.. naming contraception or the avenue of abortion and talking so openly and brazenly about the unwed mother. These ideas are one of the main reasons our young people are doing all of these things, which are a disgrace lo behold. The adults are to blame. These sorts of discussions are crammed down their necks al school. Over half the reading material in the paper is on sex, rape, illegitimacy, the pill, abortion, etc. How can we expect our children or grandchildren to do anything else but experiment in these areas when we see and hear these things on the radio and especially on TV programs? And to think adults are showing Iriple-X movies as close as Marion. We need our heads examined. 1 think our youngsters are wiser in many ways than we adults. We are sick of hearing Ibis all Ihe time and reading about these things every day in local papers and our magazines. Just.think, we are the proud owners of massage houses in lliis town, obscene literature in our book stores, even in the grocery stores here, for little children 10 and 12 years old to read and see, and they do, too. The adults have gone sex-crazy. It seems strange; we used to have Insights To recommend certain things is worse than to practice them. William Nixon 'has nothing to lose1 Great spot for something rare: the truth By Jenkin Lloyd Jones SO COMPLETE is Rid ard Nixon's political disasler he ean.now afford to do what no U.S. President, with Ihe possible exception of George Washington, could ever He can tell us Ihe Irulh. He level wilh Hie American people about the slate (if Ihe nation and its status in the world. He can let us in on his Inmost worries. lie can speak his mind on those pres- sure groups which he may feel are doing disservice to America. He can violate all Ihe political taboos and blow Ihe whistle on any bloc of vnlers. For whether he is impeached or not, politically he is finished. He hasn't a thing to luse. Many Presidents who were ready to retire have been prevented from speaking their minds out of consideration lor their parties. Other parly members hoped for election or re-election, and Presidenls have felt an obligation mil lo rock their boats. Bui President Nixon is Ihe only President since George Washington who has no parly. Some Republicans are try- ing set themselves up for re-eleelion by Jenkin Lloyd Jones iintshouting the Democrats for his blood. Most of the rest are holding him at far arm's length and wishing he would vanish. He has mi fence-mending lo do because he has no fences. He is a wan- derer on a vast prairie. Richard Nixon doesn't seem to under- stand Ihis yd. He behaves like a man who is busy trying to i elrieve the situa- tion. The situation will not be retrieved. Even if idl the sorry mess of Water- gate Ihe burglaries, the bollixed tapes, Ihe illegal solicitation nf campaign funds, the token income lax should prove lo be sins of omission rather than commis- sion, his enemies intend In tear him lo pieces and his friends have fled. Even if congress cannot find the definilion of "high crimes and misdemeanors" sufficiently elastic lo Ihrow him nut of office, the damage has been done. The tragedy is that until and unless President Nixon realizes Ihis. he may pursue policies against his own .judgment policies thai could damage the country. Eor example, last year was lo be "Hie year of remember? It was to be Ihe year in which Ihe Nixon administra- tion would negotiate great disarmament treaties and hatch Hie egg of long-term peace. II didn't work out, of course. The deeper President Nixon fell into trouble with Watergate, Ihe more Ihe Russians stalled on the talks and Ihe more fractious our erstwhile Wesl European allies became. The danger now is thai in an effort lo show some accomplishment, President Nixon may overcompromise and increase Ihe hazard of a successful Russian arms blackmail Ihat could be disastrous lo human freedom everywhere. Or consider his comment in the Stale of Ihe Onion mcssnge that he would "break Ihe back" of the fuel crisis this year. Within ii week, mlmlnlslnillon officials were crawfishing and trying lo explain II away. It was not an honest statement. Was It born in his desperalion lo bring good news? Whatever may have been his personal lapses that led his administration into Watergate. Richard Nixon is a very smart and gutsy man. lie also has at his disposal a vast mass of information produced by overt and covert in- telligence. He is in a position to come lo conclusions of vital interest In the future of all Americans. What about inflation? Is the dollar doomed lo become worth a dime because politicians can't stand anything but the full employment of an overheated economy? Is a democracy foreordained lo deficit away the savings of ils people? Will young workers grow old lo find llieir social security paid off in piilalo chips? President Nixon's honest assessment plenty of subjects and news to print without dealing with personal problems and intimate affairs, and now every day it's sex. Pretty sad state of affairs, wouldn't you say? I think it pathetic you had to print such headlines in large, bold type fur our youngsters of every age lo read. I thought you had more discretion- than that. We are disappointed readers. People should be allowed privacy in these matters, not have them splattered all over one of Ihe front pages in a Sunday paper, especially when most of us have families. II. M. Hill 520 Eighth street SE I'Her honesty in such matters might be regarded as political suicide, but you can't kill what is already dead. Im- peachment or no. President Nixon's enemies have triumphed so decisively that lie can afford the luxury of candor, and America could use some candor. II wouldn't do him any good personally, at least probably not In his lifetime, hut historians years from now might find thai a forthright President Nixon ill this hour would make some of Ills would-be successors, now doing nlp-nps in deinagogncry, look like pygmies. Retain police To the Editor: The charge in a Gazette editorial some time ago of the police turning our city fathers into sleuths to get better wages for themselves is a Watergate. According to an article in the Feb. 1 Gazelle, headlined "City May Vote Vacations, Longevity for a former street department employe was rehired with back vacation and longevity pay. One paragraph quoted Mayor Canney as saying, "In granting the man his previously earned benefits, the council was fulfilling a commitment made by a previous council. The earned benefits were offered as an inducement lo gel the "man to return lo work for the cily and he received no benefits for the lime he was away from the city job. I Ihink it's important lo remember he did not seek re-employment with the city, the city sought him out on at least three oc- casions." How can the police, trying for better wages and benefits, turn our city fathers into "sleuths" when it appears to me, anyway someone or something else has already done that? Why can't our city' fathers work to keep present employes instead of "bribing" (inducing) quitters to return? My laxcs may have to be raised so my husband can receive belter wages and benefits. Yes, he's a cop, bul I'd rather pay taxes for human survival than for greenhouses. Evidently greenhouses and pretty flowers in the parks are more im- portant to the city fathers than decent wages for our policemen. How about the editorial referring to the police in this manner: "seems the only loping many of them get is lo Ihe refrigerator for another Does lhal writer know this to be a fact or just getting his'two cents' worth of dirt in? Lei's clean up Watergate, Cedar Rapids, from lop to bottom, whoever or whatever it may be. Press charges and prosecute where warranted. And let's give our police (and firemen ton) decent living wages to keep them with the city instead of having lo "induce" them to return months or years later. Evelyn Meyer 51121 Underwood avenue SW Subordinates Tn the Editor: On Feb. 8 after a Idler by Rogan II. Moore your editor's note quoted President Nixon's televised address on Watergate, April 30, 1073, assuming res- ponsibility of subordinates. Because of Ihis you defend Ihe news media in crucifying President Nixon, his family and belittling the Republican parly in every way possible. The president of the Gazelle Company, too, is responsible for the acts of subor- dinates. Now then, let us assume a reporter burglarizes a business place. Would the president of The Gazette be asked to resign? My opinion would be no. Assuming ronpnnsibilillen of subor- dinates dues not make you guilty of. their illegal conduct. Everyone should read "The Strange Tilled World of Network News" by Ed- ward Jay Epstein In Ihe February Issue of Headers Digest. George Serovy Will Sovonloonlll slw'l SE 'Detente': misnomer By Anthony Lewi; BOSTON 111 l-cttlogriiil lasl April. I met a Soviet systems analyst. He was a clever and a supremely confident man who saw himself as an engineer nut only of computers but of human souls, lie foresaw Hie day of a now Soviet man. with lus psychological drives all chan- neled into "socially useful" aclivily. What about Alexander Solzhenilsyn, he was asked. There will be no problem in the future, he replied. People will be conditioned so Ihat there is no disruptive individualism in their makeup. There will be IKI more Solzhcnitsyns. Viewed in the light of that conversa- tion, the banishing "f Alexander Solzheiiitsyn is an extraordinary confes- sion of failure. II tells us tliaMhe Soviet government has no confidence in its professions of psychological transforma- tion or government by social consent. It still desperately fears the power of the individual spirit; in the end, it still relics on force. But it is not only for Russians that this event has deep significance. What is fas- cinating is to see, really to feel, how the exiling of one man means more to many people everywhere than (loos a world energy conference or some other super- ficially weightier matter. We live by symbols. For Americans, the Solxhenitsyn affair raises hard political questions. Is all nf Henry Kissinger's talk about detente with the Soviet Union a pious fraud? Might the reality be something even worse, a collaboration in repression? Should we now renounce the whole idea? The immediate effects of these last few years of better official Soviet-American relations have undoubtedly been repres- sive inside the U.S.S.R. Those of us who hoped for a gradual easing of the re- straints on political and artistic expres- sion have been bitterly disappointed by the brutal facts of arrests, intimidation, long sentences to labor camps, con- finement of dissidents in mental hospi- tals. Worse yet, from the viewpoint of American responsibility, lias been one's sense thai the very idea of detente lias lent legitimacy lo the Soviet regime as it Anthony Lewis carries nut repression. Or so at least it lias seemed lu the dissidents as if their oppressors were being supported by the country that was their last best hope. Detente has increasingly appeared to some as an arrangement between two insensitive regimes vastly different, to be sure, but alike in their overwhelming concern with self-preservation. There is something to those unhappy views. But they do not fairly appraise the long-run purpose, or the prospect, of better Soviet-American relations. It is true, for example, that Soviet security forces have made lighter inter- nal controls their price for agreeing to an easier foreign policy. They fear that relaxation abroad may have effects at home. They could be right.'At least wq cannot yet exclude the possibility that over time, say a decade, detente may encourage healthy changes in Soviet society? And there is a more immediate pur- pose in better Soviet-American relations. That is to reduce tensions between us; to reduce the clanger of nuclear war. Thai is an Him so vital to both sides that we really should not forget it in our distress at ideological brutality. Gains in arms control arc their own reward In short, the question to ask ourselves as we react In the news of Solzhenilsyn is what alternative there is to carrying on the attempt at more rational relations between our countries. Is it to engage in economic warfare, or actual military confrontation? Mow would that help anyone? The question answers itself. What, then, should we do? One thing is In drop all the rosy rhetoric about de- lente, the ad man's oversell. The next lime President Nixon talks about "a new structure of nonce" in the world, based on liis intimacy with Soviet leaders, we ought In recognize what this is. In fact, we would do well lo drop the word detente. It has mornl overtones wholly lacking in the arrangements of power between a Nixon and a Brezhnev What we have, at host, is a process for regularizing the continuing competition between our systems, The other essential is for our country to live up lo UK own ideals. An American who niton visits the Sovlot Union remarks Hint llm deepest dlsappolnttnor-l among the dissidents there hw been their feeling nf America turning cynical or being governed by cynlcnl men Wt can bent offer hopu In the roprcHHoil Ihero, an to nuraolyos, tiy living thn Idoai nf freedom wo profess. York limn Wvlc.