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Cedar Rapids Gazette: Friday, February 22, 1974 - Page 6

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - February 22, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                Editorial Page Friday, febuxjcy 22, 1974 i I IT I onoopmg, under attack Right-on-red: Barreling ahead, safe to risky IN SCARCELY more time than it takes to tell of it. a bill has whisked through the Iowa senate (48-1) allowing right turns against red lights at all intersections ex- cept where prohibited by signs. The house then tacked on'a minor amendment (allowing left turns on red from one-way streets onto passed the measure (87-5) and fired it back to the senate. If reapproved by the senate and signed by the governor, the right- turn-on-red bill will overturn Iowa's three-year-old law which allows right turns against red signals only at posted intersec- tions. The idea, then, is to make right turns on red the taken-for-granted rule rather than the closely-moni- tored exception. Before law- makers cement this one into the state code, a second look is in order. While both the present law and the pending statute are aimed at expediting traffic, there are Mutt-and-Jeff differences in safety potential and cost to municipalities. Under the present setup, signs posted at right-on-red intersec- tions remind motorists that such turns may be made ONLY after stopping and checking for other cars or pedestrians in the turning radius. The new law would give drivers no such reminder, though identical rules would prevail. Some drivers are zipping past red lights full tilt even when warning signs are present. Does it not follow that the removal of restraints will invite a great deal more careless driving? Moreover, the theft of a no-turn sign from a restricted intersection could lead to tragic consequences. This has not been a problem in Iowa because the absence of a sign means no turn allowed. Certainly the apparent safety drawback deserves the legisla- ture's consideration. The cost- kicker in the proposed right-on- red law also merits review. If a city decides to exempt itself from the law, it must post no-turn signs at every traffic light. In Cedar Rapids the updating job would entail placing no-turn signs at the 70-plus intersections ad- judged unsafe for right-on-red movements. Estimated cost: That's not a princely sum, but totaled up border-to-border and coast-to-coast the cost of preserving driving sanity at dangerous intersections could be astronomical. National scope is mentioned here because the right-on-red-if- not-posted law seemingly is taking off on a California-to-Maine romp. Indeed, the system seems to have worked well in California not surprising since the unusually rigid pedestrian safety laws there have made Californians more crosswalk conscious than most drivers. That, however, does not nu-an the same right-turn law will work well in all the 16 states which have followed California's lead. Significantly, the National Council of Urban Traffic En- gineers vehemently opposes the so-called California system. Two years ago, the council conducted a survey showing that the right-on- red-when-posted system (as adopted here in 1971) was favored in 37 states. In deference to op- position, the National Highway Traffic Safety Council has withdrawn efforts to make the California system a national law. Nonetheless, Illinois, Minneso- ta and Nebraska have adopted the right-on-red-if-not-posted law, exerting pressures to conform in neighboring states, including Iowa. A vision comes of lemmings heading thoughtlessly out to sea. Desire for harmony aside, Iowa lawmakers should rethink this proposal to scrap a sensible, safety-oriented law in favor of a potentially risky one. The new bill's sponsors, Sen. William Gluba (D-Davenport) and Sen. George Kinley (D-Des have cited some valid supportive the state public safety depart- ment's report that the California system has not increased pedes- trian accidents in other states. We advise that they check among city traffic en- gineers-and state highway com- mission staff, for example. The right-on-red bill .shot through the statehouse so quickly that its op- ponents are just now realizing what happened. Aaron TANK AARON, heir apparent L to Babe Ruth's baseball homerun crown, has decided to sit out the Braves' opening series in Cincinnati, lest his record-tying and surpassing swats occur before the team returns home to Atlanta. How ironic to program Aaron's landmark homers to conform with special TV coverage and other at- tendant ballyhoo. This bow to exhibitionism ignores the fact that each of a team's 162 games is billed as a "National League championship game." Should the mediocre Braves suddenly become a pennant con- tender, they'll need Hammerin' Henry's bat in every game he is able to play. To lose a title because of Aaron's initial absten- tion would be the most colossal irony of all. Way with words m By Theodore M. Bernstein LABOR lingo. A term that has come into widespread use in the past half a dozen years is job action. Oddly enough, what it means is not job action, but rather job inaction. It refers lo what happens when workers, preferring not to go on strike, make their discontent felt by indulging in a slowdown or by holding union meetings during working hours or by enforcing to the letter rules that nor- mally get little attention. Job action is often carried out by workers who are not supposed lo strike either because the law forbids their doing so or because public necessity or convenience makes their doing so in- tolerable. Credit. The word credit, in both its noun and verb senses, has a variety of meanings ranging from the idea of belief or trust to the notion 'of a kind of score for the satisfactory completion of a course of study. A letter from "T.C." of Columbus, Ohio, asks about the common meaning underlying half a dozen uses of the word in business contexts, such as dividends .credited to an account, a deposit credited to a final bill .or a credit toward Hie reduction of a debt. In all these senses the basic idea is a feeling or the evidence of faith or con- fidence: in fact, the word comes from the Latin credere, to trust or believe. Another meaning of the word credit is to give deserved praise for .something. and this meaning sometimes leads a writer into error. For example, it is improper to say that "history credits Richard with the slaying of two young princes and other killings and crimes." Give credit onlv where credit is due. Word oddities. That awning-like structure over the entrance to the movie theater where they sometimes misspell the name of your favorite star is called a marquee. But somebody misspelled that name, loo. It came from the French marquise, which sounds like a plural and some people mistook to be a plural. They assumed tliat if the plural was a word pronounced markoes, the singular must lie one pronounced, markee. And Unit Is where mofquoo came from. Now York Tlmei Svnfflcolc Concern for privacy brings good results By James J. Kilpatrick WASHINGTON In a time of en- compassing statism. when govern- ment expands at every level, il is seldom that one hears good news about private people in their private lives. Hut cau- liously, tentatively, and with all the hedgehog reservations of an old editorial writer, I venture this thought: When it comes to the protection of our privacy, the news is getting belter. This wasn't true six or eight years ago. Then Hie credit reporting bureaus were running their secret empires wilt) all the arrogance anil power of I'arolingian kings. There was much talk of a federal "data bank." The computer salesmen, proud of their marvelous new toys, were promoting in- formation retrieval systems of fantastic efficiency. Educators, police, army in- telligence agents, and civil service examiners were accumulating dossiers on everyone above Hie age of five. The picture is far different today. The credit bureaus are operating under legislative restrictions that give the cus- tomer a fair shake. Army surveillance, we are assured, has been halted. The' most outrageous "personality inven- tories" have been dropped from federal employment examinations. Awareness is growing everywhere of the Orwellian capability of the computer. In the current issue of Intellectual Digest, Diar.v Divoky reports on the si- tuation in our schools. As far back as 1925, the Naiional Education Association was recommending that health, guidance, and psychological records be maintained on every pupil. In 1941, the influential American Council on Educa- tion developed record forms for evaluat- ing a child's behavior. By 1970, files were bulging with sub- jective entries: A fifth-grader was "un- naturally interested in a 12-year- old had "peculiar political ideas." And the maddening thing was that while parents were denied access to these dos- siers, any government agent could get at them. The situation today is far from perfect, but it improves. The Des Moines school board, for one example, has adopted regulations to guarantee parental access. James J. Kilpatrick People's forum To the Editor: Safety Commissioner Steinbeck is con- cerned over the necessity of spending S5.000 for new signs to comply with a change in the state's "right-turn-on-red" law. May I suggest this is a needless concern? What should be done is to eliminate the need for most of the new signs by realiz- ing that the vast majority of the 147 sig- nalized intersections should have "right turn on red" allowed as the state intends. There are very few intersections such turns should be restricted, and this should be viewed as a unique opportunity to correct the previous mistake of allow- ing them at only half of these intersec- tions. Two intersections coming immediately to mind are Nineteenth street at Mt. Vernon road and Twenty-seventh street at First avenue E. It is not only irritating but a waste of scarce gasoline and an increase in pollution to wait several minutes when a right turn could have been swiftly and safely made. In fact. Twenty-seventh street is so poorly sig- nalled that right turns can't be made onto First avenue even while First avenue traffic is turning left into Twenty-seventh street on a green arrow. Wails of five minutes and more for a green light on Twenty-seventh street are not uncommon. Let's save money and gasoline, speed traffic and reduce pollution. Don't erect new signs. Lei's "turn right on red." Herbert Eckerl 3224 Bevcr avenue SF, Helping people To (he Edilor: Cedar Kapids residents have once again responded wilh love and generosily this past year for (he worldwide humanitarian work sponsored by Seventh-day Adventisls. On Jan, 31, 1974, at I he close of our World Service Appeal, which began lust fall, lotal con- tributions wore This was an incrvu.sc of over last year's con- Senator Ervin Oregon and New Mexico have instituted stalewide safeguards. New Hampshire now prohibits school records that "reflect the political activities or beliefs of students." Slate and federal courts, strengthening First Amendment "rights of privacy." regularly are issuing protective decrees, As Ms. Divoky's report makes clear, the war goes on between the individual's privacy and the state's curiosity. California's record-keeping system for juveniles holds ominous possibilities for abuse. Florida's centralized computer banks .in> fearfully efficient on pupils from the ninth grade up. Iowa and Hawaii repor- tedly are installing similar systems. Generally speaking, hojtvever, an awareness is growing of the need for safeguards. Meanwhile, here in Washington, the justice department last week proposed rules that would impose strict limitations upon access to criminal information collected by state and local police and the FBI. Sen. Sam Ervin (D-N.C.) has in- troduced legislation that would go beyond these rules in providing criminal penalties for misuse of police records. The senator's bill has bipartisan support and probably will be approved. A word on the other side: While pro- tection of individual privacy is enor- mously important, it would be foolish needlessly to handicap police in national law enforcement efforts. The police are sufficiently handicapped as it is. In an increasingly mobile society, it makes sense for both lenders and borrowers to have convenient access to reasonable credit records. Data compiled by schools and hospitals, properly safeguarded, can save lives and provide genuine social benefits. The object ought not to be to cripple government, or to deny public agencies the technological tools they need. The object should be simply to keep Big Brother in his place. Washington Star Syndicate tributions. Cedar Rapids Seventh-day Adventist church members solicited gifts strictly on a volunteer basis. The funds gathered will be used to meet human needs wherever they exist. Whether the problem be in Iowa or Bangladesh, somebody is next door who cares. Emergencies of any kind present a challenge to the church's community service workers. The Adventists also use these funds to sponsor blind children's camps, where blind children can swim, water ski and ride horseback with sometimes greater enthusiasm than sighted youngsters. Camps for inner-city youngsters are also sponsored, taking these children away from smog and sidewalks for a week. Last year the money also provided medical assistance to persons around the globe. Seventh-day Adventists have missions, schools or hospitals in 193 countries. The main theme of their work is to present a living, loving Savior who died for all. Our own church members contribute heavily lo the World Service Appeal. But in a world so full of tragedy and need il takes many different skills to meet the needs of mankind, so we sincerely wel- come the support of our friends and neighbors here in Cedar Rapids. May we publicly express our deepest apprecia- tion for their interest and generosity. Surely God will bless thorn for Iheir kindness. Linda Middleton Route 1, Marion Public relations secretary Seventh-day Adventist Church About VD To the Edilor: I greatly appreciate your coverage of my recent talk lo the YWCA health awareness luncheon, under the byline of Miss Ann Schrader. Several minor points were raised by (lie coverage which I feel should be corrected. The third paragraph should read Hint since gonorrhea is not predominantly a disease of the skin, I don't see many cases II. Lesl many people who nre affllcled by innoccnlly acquired wurts, cold sores, scabies and viiKlnul yeast in- feclions worry about It, il should be pointed out thai these discuses usually Phone-tap loophole still needs remedy By Tom Wicker NEW YOItK The Internal Revenue Service's summons for certain records of telephone calls from the Washington bureau of the New York Times illustrates how a government (hat is either careless, callous or expansive can stretch what might appear to be a harmless or even useful power into something different and threatening. The 1HS, it seems has the statutory authority to obtain by civil summons Hie telephone records nf persons il is inves- tigating for tax fraud or delinquency. Most telephone companies have been routinely acquiescing in such sum- monses. But the IRS is not investigating the Times or any member of its Washington bureau although Ihe IRS also issued a summons for, and received, records of long-distance calls placed from the home telephone of David Rosenbaum, one of the Times' Washington reporters. Instead, it appears thai the IRS may be investigating the possible leak of some information from one or more of its employes to Rosenbaum. Last year lie was working on a story never published about a possible IRS inves- tigation of a major contributor to Richard Nixon's re-election campaign. The point is that the statutes in ques- tion do not appear to grant the IRS authority to obtain the Times' or Rosen- baum's telephone records for the purpose of maintaining its own internal security. Perhaps worse, when first asked about the matter, Donald C. Alexander, com- missioner of the IRS, said, "I know nothing of this." Does that mean that lower-level of- ficials can routinely authorize actions that appear to violate the law and offend the First and Fourth Amendments? Since the IRS, under challenge, has re- Senator Nelson are not contacted venereally, but can be. Cold sores are caused by a virus and not a bacteria. Finally, it should be stated that it is no longer legally necessary for a physician to inform an underaged minor's parents of the diagnosis of venereal disease in their child, and if the youth so requests, the doctor need not report this to his or her parents. Robert J. Barry, M.D. Fifth avenue SE Why so placid? To the Editor: Nine months ago American housewives were indignant because the price of red meat went up. Rallies and boycotts were held against the higher prices, which were caused by nature, not man. After a fall and winter of nothing but mud in most feed lots and farm yards, the worst blizzard in years added the final blow. Between Ihe two a lot of potential meat was lost. The President responded to the outcry and put a freeze on prices. The packer couldn't realize a profit buying in a market that wasn't frozen and selling in one that was. so he didn't buy. Result, panic. Meat was hoarded and counters were bare. The next step was to wait until live market prices were low and put a ceiling on them. A lot of producers couldn't turn a profit, so they held out until the end of the freeze, only to have lo sell at a loss anyway. Corn prices are so high now thai many producers see no profit in pulling Ihe corn through livestock and are going lo sell corn. Prices for live animals have dropped, but prices the consumer pays haven'I. Even with all this interference, thu farmer finally had a good year, and he can get that new machinery he needs. Ma! The supply of farm equipment can't meet demand. Consequently a lot of people arc working a lot of hours lo Iry to inoet the demand. Tractor prices nre Inflated, hut Hie man In agriculture isn't boycotting, lie's glad to got Ihe machinery ho can. A good year for the farmer has aided I lie economy. While some are complaining about meal Ihe fanner Is buying a tractor to produce the crops lo feed lint livestock so there will be moat In buy Tom Wicker turned the Times' records, the agency appears to have at least tacitly conceded that it had no legal right to them. This stretching of authority into areas it was not intended to reach is a rela- tively old story in government. II lends particular point In a measure introduced by Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin thai would ban all "warrantless" wiretapping and give American citizens a chance to fight back if the government has its electronic eye on them. In 1972, the supreme court in the so- called Keith case barred warrantless laps for "domestic security." However, the court did not rule on the question of wiretaps for "foreign intelligence" pur- poses, which meant that the government could continue warrantless lapping of foreign embassies, agents of foreign governments and the like. This left a significant loophole in the Fourth Amendment rights of American citizens, who still could be tapped without a warrant if their activities caused the government lo consider them possible agents or dupes of foreign governments. Senator Nelson's bill would close Ihis final loophole; by requiring the govern- ment lo go into federal court and get a judicial warrant for every wiretap it wanted to install. If a tap were to be requested on Hie phone of an American cilizen, the government would have lo show "proba- ble cause" that a crime was about to be committed. If the request was for a lap on, say, a foreign embassy, only a na- tional security reason would have to be adduced. And any American citizen lapped after issuance of a court order would have to be informed of the tap within days, unless the government obtained a court-ordered delay. There is no reason to suppose that judges would not issue wiretapping warrants when justified; or thai they would thereafter disclose national security information that might have been presented to them. Bui there is every reason to believe that Ihe Nelson bill would give needed contemporary meaning to the Fourth Amendment's guarantee of "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures New York Times Service Now there is a fuel shortage. Where is all that indignation? I would like to know why people think the farmer is less deserving of a profit for his long hours, and risks than the fuel monopolies that won't even take the risks until they've made a good profit. Where are all the boycott leaders who ate meat substitutes? I suspect some are out of work, some are wearing sweaters and some are eating beans, but this time around it's not by choice. Mrs. Earl Glandorf Roule 1, Homestead Well received To the Edilor: On behalf of Jehovah's Witnesses 'I want lo express appreciation to the community of Cedar Rapids for its hos- pitalily and kindness displayed during our ministerial assembly at Ihe coliseum lasl weekend. We commend The Gazelle for its news coverage of the assembly program. In a world loo often characterized by strife and animosity we believe that'events which teach the application of Christlike love to daily living are indeed news- worthy. Jehovah's Witnesses have gone back to their respective communities deter- mined to fulfill the assembly theme: "Love one another intensely'from the heart." Our delegates look forward lo again convening in Ihe fine city of Cedar Rapids. C. E. Willard Vermonl street SW Circuit Supervisor Jehovah's Witnesses, Iowa Circuit No. 4. Insights An purpose or opinion It almost syn- onymous wild a foolish ono. W.H. Soward   

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