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Cedar Rapids Gazette Newspaper Archive: February 24, 1974 - Page 8

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - February 24, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                'Do you handle domestic Editorial Page Sunday, febnjoiy 24, 1974 Fair shake for credit IF THERE IS anything that buyers and sellers both greatly enjoy in the merchandis- ing game, it's a sale. The con- sumer relishes a bargain goods marked down, an item costing less than usual, a purchase where the buyer thinks he's got himself a deal. Merchandisers love a sale because it makes the buyers flock in. Generous publicity and lively competition in all these festivities are the name of the game. The way these healthy prin- ciples apply in still another facet of the merchandising game sug- gests that it is safe, desirable and fair to straighten out a legal kink in the proceedings: Let sellers get a higher interest rate on charge- account credit than Iowa law has been ruled to allow a rate that buyers long have found acceptable and have freely been willing to pay. The sticker is a ruling by the Iowa supreme court last Sep- tember that retail charge ac- counts are subject to the usury law which limits interest on loans to a maximum of 9 percent a year. (One and a half percent per month had been the standard charge, equivalent to 18 percent a year.) The answer is a bill to do away with the unrealistic 9 percent, restore the 18 that worked well before, or else remove all ceilings and allow free competition in the credit market to establish what these rates will be. The "uniform commercial credit code" now under study in the.legislature is the likely vehicle for this reform. Although 18 percent a year .sounds out of line for almost any kind of loan, there are several strong considerations that support it: The charge for credit does not mean a customer in fact pays out a full 18 percent on what he buys. Illustra- tion: When an item costs monthly 'payments of reduce the balance steadily on what the IVi percent is charged against. The actual service charge adds up to on that purchase much less than the that "18 percent" would represent. The 9 percent limit keeps many retail outlets from breaking even on their extension of credit. Handling costs, bookkeeping, pos- tage, late-payment collection ex- penses and stores' own higher interest on money they borrow from banks all balloon their costs of selling on credit. Then either customers pay higher prices on the goods to cover this expense, or lower-income buyers don't get credit in the first place, or both of these effects result. The 9 percent "usury" limit already has been lifted from other transactions by previous enact- ments of the legislature. Small- loan companies can charge a maximum of 36 percent. Banks can charge an installment loan interest rate of 12 percent. The rate-ceiling on auto financing is 27 percent. As a leading Cedar Rapids merchant sums up: "It is discriminatory to allow money lenders to charge more than those who are, in effect, lenders of merchandise." Revision of the law to halt inequities and smooth the course of ordinary business manifestly has advantages for everyone in- volved. Sellers' urges to outdo their competition and attract more buyers will compel them to keep credit charges equally competitive. Buyers' instincts for the sweetest deal to themselves will send them where the honey is and help keep everyone in line. This year's legislature should accommodate them all. More debate on use-restrictions Promoting respect for the land By Richard Worsnop AMERICANS' have never quite got over the passing of the frontier. The second-home movement stands as eloquent testimony to the American belief in this country's bountiful supply of land. But now, at long last, the idea that land resources are finite is sinking in. As a result, several state legislatures are considering land-use planning bills this year. Sentiment for land-use laws appears strongest in that part of the country where land is most plentiful the Far West. According to the. National Legisla- tive Conference, the legislatures of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Utah "seem certain" to debate such measures in 1974. California voters opted for restrictions on land use in 1972. Proposition 20, approved by a wide margin despite strong opposition by real estate developers and oil companies, imposed strict zoning on use and development of the state's shoreline. The measure created a state coastal zone conservation commission wilh veto power over all tree cutting to building construction to oil drilling. In Delaware, a battle is shaping up in the legislature over efforts by industry and labor to repeal the state's coastal zone act, enacted in 1971 and praised by conservationists as a model for the na- tion. Among other things, it bars new heavy industry from a two-mile-wide coastal strip. Land use can be controlled, but not stopped. A report issued in 1972 by the senate interior and insular affairs com- mittee predicted that over the next 30 years the pressures of growth in the United States will consume an additional square miles an nearly as large as the state of South undeveloped land for urban use. Each decade, new urban growth will absorb an ,area greater than the state of New Jer- sey. The energy crisis will both aid and impede efforts to regulate land use. On the one hand, continuing gasoline shor- tages probably will retard the develop- ment of recreational land complexes far from major population centers. On the other hand, the need for new energy sources will lend strength to demands for more strip-mining of coal and exploita- tion of oil shale deposits. Land-use planning presents special difficulties for states that rely heavily on tourism. For example, many residents of Vermont have grumbled about the growth of vacation-home developments near the state's many skiing areas. At the same time, they are worried about the loss-of tourist income caused by scanty snowfall and gasoline shortages. Florida is in a somewhat similar si- tuation. Gov. Reubin Askew was elected in 1970 on a strong controlled-growth platform, and the legislature has since passed a law giving the state the final word in projects of "critical state con- including big housing projects and other developments, especially those that might damage wild areas like the Everglades. But no state has embraced the land-use cause as warmly as has Oregon. Ellis Lucia observed four years ago in the Los Angeles Times, "Orcgonians were screaming about environment and man's relation to nature long before it became a national pastime." Edilorlal Research Reoorts Wealth-disparities ignored What's an emergency? Britain's plight mirrors world's nMri t M P IT! Q n V CTlnn tVlO nn Cntrnrt nmnnrv -n n the many snap decisions required of law of- ficers on patrol is determining which vehicle trips rate as emer- gencies. Bringing the question to mind last week was a collision involving a Palo police car in Cedar Rapids. The Palo officer was transporting three Shellsburg residents to a local hospital for treatment of fever when the police car was struck by a car at a northwest side intersection. The police .vehicle's red light and siren were operating at the time, according to Cedar Rapids police who investigated the ac- cident. The civilian driver was charged with failing to properly operate a vehicle upon approach of an emergency vehicle. The circumstances make it clear that the hospital run should have been conducted without siren sounding and light flashing. Unlike heavy blood-loss or asphyxiation, army succeeds the presence of fever among pa tienls does not call for emer- gency-condition driving. Fortunately, that instance of apparent undue haste is atypical of emergency vehicle operations in Linn county. Cedar Rapids police and Linn county sheriff's deputies are instructed to withhold emergency signal equip- ment until true emergencies oc- cur. (Incidentally, both depart- ments summon ambulances for medical cases.) During emergen- cies, orders are for careful driv- ing, which includes slowing at in- tersections. Fire fighters and am- bulance drivers are similarly cautious. In light of emergency vehicles plying city and county roads and the total miles traveled by each, the accident rate of public safety vehicles in Linn, county is surprisingly low. Commendably, too, motorists are generally alert in clearing the path for emer- gency vehicles. safely dead By Roscoe Drummond WASHINGTON Let's arrest a mili- tary myth. The myth is that before the all-volunteer army was a year old it proved itself a failure as the critics had procalimed lhat it wasn't coming near to producing the volume and quality of ower needed by the services. Wrong, on both points. B; the end of 1973 the air force achieved 100 percent of its enlistment go-als. TK navy, !B percent, the army and rr.arics corps more than 90 percent. In recent months both the army and the marine corps have been either meeting .or exceeding their quotas. The percentage of recruits trainable in all skills has been increasing and the number of doubtful trainability has been decreasing. Retired air force Gen. Ira Eaker offers this conclusion: "It is fortunate that the first year's experience wilh the all-volunteer force is favorable, for there is no acceptable alternative. Tho congress and the country will never re- turn lo the inequitable, ineffective draft system in peacetime." JET'S also arrest a political myth. The myth Is that Republican senators and congressmen are quilling politics right and left because they think Water- gale will bring their defeat. Some are retiring, but no great disproportion as between Republicans and Democrats. Thus far six senators are nol standing for re-election: three Republicans and three Democrats. In the house 16 Republicans and 10 Democrats are either retiring or seeking other offices. Three others have resigned to accept other positions. Nol at all a high number, far fewer than two years ago when 47 members of the house stepped Republicans and 23 Democrats. Los Angeles Times Syndicote Roscoe Drummond By James Reston LONDON The, British election is merely one dramatic symbol of the much deeper crisis now shaking the whole Western world. The economic problems are more serious here than in most other advanced industrial nations, but the debates of inflation, prices, unemployment, and scarce raw materials that are also divid- ing the United Stales, Western Europe and Japan. What we are seeing and hearing in this election is only one illustration of the disunity and disarray of the capitalist world, and the inability of political par- ties lo find nationalistic solutions to in- ternational problems that are beyond their control. No doubt the communist countries have different and more serious problems, but that is another story. Meanwhile, anyone wondering where we are going in the West can find much to observe here. This election is being fought out on the assumption that an ex- traordinary upheaval in the economics of the world can be handled by ordinary political methods, that the election of the Conservatives, or the Socialists, or the Liberals can somehow control the price of food or oil, or the problems of money or trade. Even in rich countries like the United States, West Germany and Japan, this is People's forum Complaint? To the Editor: In response to the recent letters con- cerning inadequate care and conditions in nursing homes in ihis community: Anyone who believes thai palienls arc nol receiving adequate care and attention in a particular nursing home should report this lo Ihe Linn county department of social services. A complaint against a nursing home will never be ignored and will be thoroughly explored. Complaints may be received over Ihe phone, but the person will be asked to put what has been observed in writing. Anonymous complaints will not bo ac- cepted. Complaints against nursing homes may be handled by sitting down wilh (he nursing home administrator to discuss Die situation and lo look for ways to change Die condition. In the case of more serious complaints, no longer true, and in Britain it is fan- tasy. The plain fact, which all sides in this British election evade as much as they can, is that this country is broke. The price of oil has quadrupled. Bri- tain's bill to import it in 1974 will go up by 2 billion not dollars. The estimate now is that the price of coal will double. Over 2 million British .workers are getting unemployment benefits. To deal with all this, Britain will have to borrow stupendous sums abroad at high interest rates just to keep going. None of the principals in the British election denied any of (his. Harold Wilson Insights A bone (o the dog is not charily. Charity is Ihe bone shored with the dog, when you ore just as hungry as the dog. Jack London the proper authorities in the Linn county hcallh department and the slale depart- ment of health will be notified and requested to take action. Complaints against nursing homo administrators may also be handled by reporting to Ihe stale board of examiners for nursing home administrators. We arc fortunale in Linn counly lhat the majority of nursing homes arc fine facilities, operated by persons who arc sincerely interested in their patients and in providing good patient care. Any deficiencies or inadequacies that occur in nursing homes can be corrected by per- sons who arc willing to report what they have seen so that action can be taken. Insuring thai good palient care Is being provided in safe and clean nursing homes could and should bo the responsibility of the community. Kleanor (-'ox Adult service supervisor Marela Swift Adult services specialist Linn cnunly depnrinient of social services 4111) Third nvcnue SE blames it on the Tories. Prime Minister Heath denounces irresponsible Socialists backed by communist labor leaders. Both sides sneer at the notion of forming a national government to deal with the economic problem. Occasionally, voices of protest are heard from outside British politics. The Bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stock- wood, asked in The Times of London the other day what choice this election gave to the poor in Britain? "The richest 7 percent of British tax- payers .own 84 percent .of the nation's he said. "At one end of the scale, there are extravagant riches and comfort; at the other end, poverty, hardship and squalor... Both parties try to sweep the facts under the carpet... I challenge Messrs. Heath, Wilson and Thorpe to spell out in facts and figures what Ihey would do about it." In short, the bishop was suggesting what Disraeli wrote in 1845, that the slogan of both parties "one nation" has still not been achieved and lhat there are still two British nations "the rich and the poor." Britain's problem, like the problem of other countries, lies in a new world order to deal with this torrent of new people, new demands, and new ideas, but very little is heard of this in the British elec- tion. New York Times Service Accident-prone To the Editor: Because of human nature, Ihe probability is high (not low) lhat nuclear power will mean radioactive pollution. Containment of radioactivity depends on near-perfection In the people who design, manufacture, construct and operate nuclear power plants, and who transport, process and store their radioactive poisons. Successful contain- ment also depends on business conslanlly rejecting the temptation to cut safely corners in order lo increase profils. The Vermont Yankee, a boiling water reactor similar to the Duano Arnold, plant, operates at only 50 percent of Its rated power because of wifely questions. Ueccnlly it was shut down. AEC Inspec- tion learns reported numerous welding and construction flaws nl Ihe Dunne Ar- nold Kncrgy Center. The Wall Slrccl Jnurmil of May II, reported on other numerous errors nncl He's still In their hearts' By James J. Kilpatrick WASHINGTON The text of a speech delivered in Washington on Feb. 6 has just conic lo hand. It was a honey of a speech, and it prompts me to wonder aloud if its author, Sen. Harry (ioldwaler, could he talked into running for President once more. A prudent columnist knows better than to ask tho senator himself about this, for the senator would only say or maybe "hell, no." And there's no point in drowning a nice warm idea in cold water. The proposition ought not to be brushed aside. When the senator ran as the Republican nominee in every con- ceivable political factor counted against him. He himself was little-known; he came from a small slate with no political clout; from the very night of his accep- tance speech, partly through his own fault, he was unable lo shake an image of right-wing extremism. John Kennedy had been killed in November, 1963; Lyndon Johnson still commanded enormous support; the country was not about to vote for a third President in barely a year. Goldwater polled a respectable 27 million votes, but he got swamped in the electoral college. The situation is vastly different now. Goldwater is "Mr. He has grown in the country's respect and af- fection. He is untouched by Watergate. He was born in 1909, which would make him 68 at inaugural time in 1977. That would be pretty old for an incom- ing President but we hear much talk of Nelson Rockefeller Ronald Reagan and Henry Jackson It would be interesting to see Dr. Gallup test Goldwaler's name in an if- finess poll: If the election were being held tomorrow, how would Goldwater do against Ted Kennedy? He might do remarkably well. Goldwater began by criticizing the typical performance of an ill-prepared business man before a congressional committee. He warned the industrialists that they must expect tough questions prepared by "brilliant young staff members who mistrust or totally dis- believe the attributes of the enterprise system." Turning to broader themes, Goldwater took note (by implication) of recent legislative trends affecting railroads, health care, communications, and pe- toleum: "I believe that competitive en- terprise is now face to face with one of the greatest threats in this country's 200-year history." Determined forces are working toward nationalization, Goldwater said, though they call it something else. "You can butler up the term, sweeten it, pour syrup on it, do anything you want with it but it is nothing but socialism, and that is the system that has never done anything for any people." Goldwater urged the industrial leaders lo promote the profit system in their own communities, to compete in the intellec- tual marketplace of ideas, and to employ all'the legitimate means at their disposal in support of candidates who believe in private enterprise. He wound up with a ringing defense of economic freedom, 'which he termed "the essential freedom." What good is the right to life, Goldwater asked, "if a man does not control the means to It was a real bell-ringer'of a speech, clear and clean. It recalled Goldwater's fine little book, "The Conscience of a written 15 years ago, and it echoed the best of his campaign speeches of 1964. The Republican slogan in that election was, "You know in your heart that he's right." Ten years later, Barry Goldwater is still right, and a grcal many concerned Americans still know it in Iheir hearts. Woshlnglon'Slor Svndlcotc breakdowns in the operation of nuclear plants. If catastrophic accidenls arc Impossi- ble, why did (he nuclear industry insist on the law (the Price-Anderson act) which says accidents are not impossible? The law says liability for a nuclear ca- tastrophe is limited to million, with the taxpayers paying million and Ihe electric ulililics only million. If nuclear power plants had to meet a market lest for insurance coverage they would not be operating today. Nuclear mistakes could poison earth and water Irreversibly for a thousand years. As alternatives NASA and tho Na- tional Science Foundation speak of the feasibility of solar nml wind power within five to 15 years. Wouldn't that bo safer and more practical? There Is o meeting Coo college, Hooin C of tho Union Feb. 24 nl 2 p.m. for Ihoso wishing to know more. I'. Konfomlorfor Ifllll Clrelchcn drlvo SW   

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