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Cedar Rapids Gazette Newspaper Archive: February 19, 1974 - Page 6

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - February 19, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                Patchwork peace keeps NATO on edge Editorial Page Tueidoy, February 19, 1974 Bargaining law needed A YEAR AGO Governor Raj- suggested to the legislature that it should enact a law setting up collective bargaining stan- dards for Iowa's public employes. The time was ripe, he said, for the controversial subject to be debat- ed rationally, intelligently and "without the pressure of a crisis" in relationships between Iowa's governmental employers and employes. We urged the legislature to follow the governor's advice then. The Iowa senate did by enactins a "no-strike" bill giving bargaining rights to some county, municipal and school dis- trict employes. The 1973 house, however, put off a confrontation on the matter until this year. The house will take up the senate bill Wednesday in what promises to be a stirring debate. Fortunately, the employer- employe relationship climate is much the same as last year that is, no crisis looms on the horizon. So even though indications are the debate will be heated, it should not reach the emotional pitch that might be the case if it were carried on in the midst of such a crisis. That is all to the good. The idea of setting up bargaining standards is to avoid such crises in the fu- ture. The intention is to give governmental employers the legislature, administrative departments at the state level, county supervisors, city councils and local school boards some guidelines to go by when a crisis appears inevitable. The senate bill that the house will debate will be peppered with amendments some offered in good faith to improve it and some offered with the idea of killing it. Our position is that the bill could be improved in several areas, but let us focus on only two here: 1. The bill contains a "final offer arbitration" section, which would reduce the authority the electorate gives to elected officials to make final decisions in their jurisdic- tions. If this section is to remain in the bill; the legislature should make it clear that no final offer may be considered if it calls, directly or indirectly, for the governmental employer to exceed legal spending limits. This seems to be implied in the senate bill. But it would be better to set out flatly and unequivocally what the limits are so there can be no question on that score. 2. The bill calls for creation of a new Public Employment Rela- tions Board (PERB) of three members, appointed by the governor, with approval of the senate, for overlapping six-year terms. The bill provides that the board chairman shall receive a salary equal to that of a district court judge currently a year and scheduled to go to a year on July 1. Each of the other two board members would be paid 90 percent of the chairman's salary. Two questions: Why tie the chairman's salary to that of a district court judge or to that of any other state official, for that matter? And why not pay all three board members the same salary? The answer to the second ques- tion is unclear. The answer to the first may be that this maneuver relieves the legislature of giving its attention to salaries of PERB members in the future. They will go up or down depend- ing on where the legislature sets the salaries of district court judges. To our knowledge there is no pay differential in the compensa- tion of members of other state boards or agencies. Why start a precedent along this line? Governor Ray's advice of a year ago is still sound. The time IS ripe to enact legal guidelines for bar- gaining between governmental employers and employes first making sure that those guidelines reflect the public interest above the interests of either the employer or employe. Price on freedom? rpHE ATTITUDE that "so long L as what I do doesn't hurt anybody else, what I do and how I treat ray own body is strictly my business" got a going-over Feb. 17 in comments on this page by columnist Bruce Biossat. Now it's that opinion's turn to take some lumps. Mainly taking issue with the opposition to compulsory safety measures such as motorcycle hel- mets and ignition-linked seatbelt fasteners. Biossat raised an of- ten-cited point in support of com- pulsion: When injuries or death befall people who have rejected those precautions, it does hurt other people by increasing the rates on If it is true that unhelmeted and belt-unfastened casualties demon- strably increase everybody's in- surance rates, the increase on each individual is mild at worst. (It also ups the casualty's in- surance, equally.) To legislate away personal- choice freedom in these matters because of an added expense is to put a price on freedom and to value money over anybody's liberty to take whatever self- directed risks he finds acceptable. Freedom is too fragile and too precious to sell for any size of premiums on casualty insurance. In cold reality, wisdom can't be legislated into anyone. Americans have every right to be as stupid as they wish and take whatever risks may hurt themselves alone, because to welcome risks from selling that right is dumber yet, and far more dangerous to all. By C.L. Sulzberger T EYDEN. Holland It is probably logical that an era for limited wars rather than total holocausts should also be known for limited peaces rather than utter international tranquility. Therefore, since America has managed to avoid disastrous showdowns with the oilier superpower, Russia, it should not be excoriated for inability to achieve a more wholesome diplomatic relationship than relative detente. Nowadays neither absolute war nor absolute peace has a habit of breaking out. The fact that Washington has at least reduced the degree of fighting in Viet- nam and withdrawn U.S. troops should be recognized and not obscured by the fact that extensive bloodshed still occurs. Likewise, although Israeli-Arab violence hasn't ended. Secretary Kis- singer did minimize its extent and start- ed the combatants along a road to settlement. There has actually been continual fighting around the earth since World war II ended. Yet the superpowers seem finally to have accepted the habit of standing off while helping their respec- tive clients without becoming directly involved. Brushfire war is the mode bloody but not earth-destroying and its diplomatic corollary seems to be brush- fire peace. People's forum Withhold To the Editor, I wonder if you are aware of some of the consequences of your recent article on the drug, dantrolene sodium (Associated Press from I work as a speech clinician in a facility for the physically handicapped and am acutely aware of the numbers of people who live in hope of some new "cure" for their condition. Your article was presented in a sensa- tional manner Gives Now Life to MS which draws attention and appears to be "the answer." Handicapped individuals or their families have called their doctors, only to find that most doctors haven't even heard of the drug. Those who have heard are not excited about it because they are aware of the drug's purpose and its limitations. who read the newspaper article, have to read between the lines of glowing promise to discover that the only ap- parent advantage of dantrolene sodium is that it is an anti-spastic drug which in many cases does not cause drowsiness. This is not necessarily all that is needed to "release the potential of thousands of people suffering from various crippling disorders and allow them to lead something approaching a normal life." To present the drug as such, is in my opinion, cruel and inhuman. It is my bias that such articles should be re- stricted to medical journals where they can be properly presented and interpret- ed. When a new drug has been tested and proven effective in any given area, the patient can learn about it from his doctor, not the newspaper. Catherine .Kauff man Iowa city- Deductions To the Editor: An article March by Frank Nye quoted Senator Curtis of Cherokee in explanation of a tax inequity in slate law. An editorial on the same subject ap- peared about the same time. The state allows deductions of 5 percent (or on gross income when deductions are not itemized, and the federal government By this 1 moan patchwork regional settlements designed to ease pressures and avoid major showdowns. The bullet- riddled Indo-China cease-fire, which represents neither war nor peace, is one aspect; slow groping for an Arab-Israeli solution is another. Western Europe is both fascinated and disturbed by this trend because it wonders how the apparent commitment by the United States and the Soviet Union not to make war affects its own position. Increasingly a pattern becomes clear showing that Washington and Moscow are determined to limit and stay out of conflicts even when their friends are in- volved. What many Europeans wonder is what would happen if an explosion occurred on this continent. Would it, despite West Europe's alliance to the U.S. and East Europe's alliance to the U.S.S.R., be limited to the European theater only because the superpowers had agreed that they could only confront each other in- directly? Were this indeed the case, some states- men forsee this region becoming an eventual "Middle East" despite binding treaty assurance of NATO (or, for that matter, the Warsaw pact.) Perhaps the most potentially explosive point today is the lengthy Sino-Soviet frontier on which the Russians maintain more than 40 divisions and where there is C.L. Sulzberger not yet even an ad hoc agreement between Moscow and Peking: But no serious disturbance there is looked for prior to a change in China's present ag- ing leadership. One restraining factor in the present relative relaxation is Russia's need to acquire Western above all American machinery and technology This requires Washington's goodwill and financial ac- cords impossible to obtain during times of political stress. Moreover, Moscow would like to reduce the cost of its large forces facing Europe in order to concentrate on China. Such a posture facilitates U.S desires to economize in NATO Europe by cutting its own garrison. Thus both arc edging toward a brushfire peace accord where their major alliance systems meet, and accord based on SALT. European security negotiations, and talk of mutual force reductions. Nevertheless, behind this screen of good- will, the basic fact remains that Russia has approximately attained armed equality with America and seems to be forging gradually ahead. This fact, which disturbs many of Washington's NATO partners, lies ominously behind the quiescent period now prevailing. Moscow wants to convince NATO (here is no use spending more on defense since there is no need to rear the newly affable Russia, and anyway funds can better be invested in other fields. The West hopes a Russia spending relatively less on arms and more on comforts, will become com- mitted more to prosperity than revolu- tion. In certain areas this less truculent mood seems to have fostered increasing calm. Brezhnev lias been telling Castro to cool his guerilla operations on the Latin Amercan mainland. Likewise, (ho U.K. rapidly forgot its outrage over Moscow's rape Both giants avoided direct clashes in the Middle East last autumn. Yet because this formula doesn't spell out true peace but only avoids total war, many lands are concerned about where it could ultimately lead. Both Yugoslavia and China fear Soviet monkeyshincs when Tito and Mao depart the scene. And for its part Western Europe, whose very existence depends on the transatlantic ties, wonders increasingly how fully American com- mitments would be applied in a sudden, unexpected crisis. New York Times Service allows 15 percent (or as standard deductions. Many people are not fully aware of this inconsistency. This is of special interest to thousands of people in the income bracket who do hot itemize deductions. Thousands of people are overpaying state income taxes because of a law passed in 1955 that ties the state tax to the federal form. This seems reasonable, except 'since 1955 the federal government has doubled the deductions and state tax deductions remain the same. The Gazette editorial in 1973 stated: "Middle-class wage earners are paying an extra ?10-12 million in state income tax." The news account said: "Governor Ray's staff reports that no complaints have been received in his office." Senator Curtis explained the development of this law. Tax consultants are fully aware of the inequity, but they are not lawmakers. Middle-income citizens, it seems, should complain. People in this bracket and not itemizing deductions should let the law- makers know if they believe this law should be changed. R. Clark 1555 Eighth street: Marion Too saintly to swallow, perhaps Solzhenitsyn-worship may go overboard By William Safire WASHINGTON -1 am the first on my block to feel misgivings about Alexander Solzhenitsyn. When westerners of all persuasions outdo each other to embrace one man as their champion, a suspicion arises that the focus of all this adulation might be too true to be good. Liberals love Solzhenitsyn for the enemies he has made in the Soviet Union, for his genuine courage in challenging the status quo in that totalitarian state, and for proving that there really is a force of "world opinion" able to modify Soviet tactics in dealing with a leading dissident. Conservatives love him not only for as- serting the rights of the individual against government repression, but for reminding Americans that "godless communism" is alive and well in Mos- cow, and for helping hard-liners to show that Soviet talk of detente Is merely a ploy in a long-term strategy that seeks to enslave the rest of the world. Writers love him as the prime example of the journalist engage the dreamer of dreams about whom the phrase "movers and shakers" was originally applied, the novelist-cum-historian who helps to shape the consequences of the events he writes about. Solzhenitsyn even has a friend in the oval office of the White House. Despite his roiling of the international cultural waters, at a critical moment the out- spoken Russian condemned the atrocities of the North Vietnamese in Hue, a com- ment appreciated by an administration under attack for the atrocities at My Lai. With all that going for him, no wonder Solzhenitsyn has achieved the status of "most favored novelist." His willingness to suffer martyrdom, his skill at publicizing his own plight (as well as that of others who might not want such his status as Nolrel laureate, and his ability to express what has been happening in the Soviet Union firsthand, from the inside all that has added up to the of Solzhenitsyn, the creation of an unassailable hero. Now that he is out of the Soviet Union, William Safire however, his martyrdom shrewdly denied, cracks will appear in the pedestal we have built for him. Politicians who praise him now for his opposition to oppression may discover, to their dismay, that their chosen symbol does not share their admiration for democratic principles. I suspect we err in assuming his vision of representative! government to bo our own. lie may oven turn out to be a communist. Then the flip-flopping will begin: Ills literary works will be judged on merits other than the circumstances in which they were written, and he will be re-evaluated more as u Mailer with a cause than a Dostoyevsky with an un- derstanding of character. Then some against-the-grain profilists may report him to be crabbier, more messianic and less beatific than is cus- tomarily associated with sainthood, and today's intellectual inspiration may become tomorrow's former hero, the old champ who turns into a tore. At least, that is what the Soviets hope will happen. We are playing right into their hands with a suspeasion of our cri- tical faculties (Solzhenitsyn's Nobel prize message was not in the same league with William with a worshipful media build-up (the newsmagazines this week are sure to pile on the and with the use of a hot new celebrity for our own purposes (watch the way Solzhenltsyn-mentioning will be used to spice up conversations and articles on other While on the inside as a dissident writer, Alexander Solzhenltsyn was a test for Soviet authoritarianism; on the out- side as a literary superstar, ho presents a test to the Western world for an unsen- timental consistency of conscience. Now Y.irK Tlmol Service Reaching people To the Editor: The Linn county jail has been found "adequate but by our city of- ficials. My question is, what purpose does the jail serve other than the physical separation of its inmates from society? On the positive side of the ledger you can say that there is a work-release program, and that is about all. Where are the counseling programs? Where can the men meet at their option for church services? Have you ever tried to talk and sing to people you cannot see? Could we not invest some money in courses designed to illuminate the minds of the misguided? I don't blame Sheriff Grant. I just think that we ought to take "booze" revenue and use it to help alcoholics. We ought to take money that is always available lor urban renewal, expressways, bigger and better roads nice modern liquor dis- pensaries and all the rest in the name of progress and use it on humanity. When will we learn that experience is not the best teacher? As the old saying goes, you can take a boy out of the country but you can't take the country out of the boy. To effect a lasting change from within takes the willingness of us all to appeal to the "inner and that takes something more than "adequacy and clean floors." Jesus said, "You are clean through the word." Richard M. Wallace 11350 avenue NW At home To the Editor: I have read a lot of pros and cons about nursing homes and private homes that take in the elderly. 1 grant that there are good ones and bad ones. But has it ever occurred to anyone to devote a little thought to the individuals who live in these homes or institutions? .lust because they are disabled in some way, that doesn't mean they are no longer human or don't want to live as normal a life as possible. They still want to be in a real home made of wood and In n bed that Is not a hospital bed, with four walls surrounding them that aren't cement, and floors that aren't cement. They also like a little color Instead of an Institu- tional look. Granted, there are some bad places, mid they should comply with the rules. Hut by making some of the private homes out as to nothing more than having a roof over their heads is unfair. I have women with me who were sick when they came but are not now. And I have women who have been in nursing homes; and they don't want to have to ever go back. I also have a lady who tells her family that she feels God has blessed her by bringing her here, and she would rather die than have to move. And after she goes to her own daughter's home she is so glad to come "back as this IS her home. As long as a single one of these women is still drawing a breath of life that God has given them, they will always be important to me. Navada Johnston 1614 Park avenue SE Destructive To the Editor: My husband and I would like to speak out against abortion. We believe abortion is wrong and totally immoral. The right to life is a God-given right. It is not for one human being to destroy the life of another, especially that of a child, even though the child is not yet born. An unborn child is not merely an ex- tension of his mother's body. He is an individual with as much right to a future as has his mother. An unwanted pregnancy lasts only nine months, after which the child may be put up for adoption. There are thousands of couples on waiting lists who would give all their love and affection to that child. While not pleasant, an unwanted preg- nancy in this day and age will certainly not destroy a young woman's life and fu- ture. An abortion will most definitely destroy a life, a young, innocent life. Mrs. L. G. lyengar Hiawatha mm. LETTERS Tho Gazelle's editorial page wel- comes readers' opinions, subjocl lo guidelines: Length limit; 400 wordi. One loiter per writer ovnry 30 dayi. All may bo condoniod ond odllod without thonging moaning. None publiihcd anonymouily, Wtllor't tolophono numbor (not printed) ihould follow nomo, addrou ond rnodoble handwrltlnn ilgnalum lo help authonllcoto. No poolry.   

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