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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - April 12, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa ikpitb Editorial Page Fiiday, April 12, 1974 Divorce busing and schools tape-gap sailing collision course NINE YEARS ago Rep. Keith Dunton of Thornburg, an experienced hand in education at the policymaking county board level, introduced a bill in the Iowa house to relieve school districts from the business of transporting children to and from school. He took the position then that schools were in business to provide an education for students, not to haul them back and forth from their homes. But he was realistic. He knew that with schools reorganizing into larger geographical districts, thousands of students throughout Iowa couldn't attend school daily without some kind of transporta- tion. His proposal: Transfer the re- sponsibility of transporting students to and from their schools from the state department of public Instruction to the state department of public safety. His bill got nowhere, which was not unexpected. But it planted the seed of an idea. A few days ago Sen. Tom Riley of Cedar Rapids, in making his own proposal to relieve Iowa schools of transporting students, recalled Dunton's bill and properly described it as "a good idea whose time had not arrived." Now, with the legislature about to complete action on a bill appropriating million to the public schools to start busing nonpublic school students to EVER WONDER what became of the man who designed the unfoldable roadmap and the guaranteed not-to-run car clock? (The theory is that one man en- gineered both transportation-field blunders.) The guess here is that he has joined the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) as a consultant. The CAB's campaign to crack down on charter airlines flights heightens the suspicion. Consider the evidence: Auto gasoline costs are heading up to 70 cents per gallon and train fares are accelerating like Casey Jones' special; so naturally would-be vacationers are looking to airline charter flight schedules for a solution. Good choice. To a public now applauding car pools for short- range travel, fully-booked charter flights seem the super-efficient way to cover hundreds of miles. Now enter the CAB. True to its historical dislike of charter flights, the board last month told the National Education Assn. (NEA) that it is "not a charter- worthy organization." Hence the NEA no longer will be able to school on public school routes, the idea's time has come. Riley's proposal would be more far-reaching than the transporta- tion of nonpublic school children. It is to form a state transit sys- tem, hopefully under a new department of transportation, that would provide rides for the el- derly, physically handicapped, low-income citizens, day-care children and commuters to college or to work. The system would be meant to serve in every useful way making it easier for individuals who need transporta- tion to travel where they have to go. As the senator has pointed out, the present system of bus trans- portation appears to be frag- mented hodgepodge overlap- ping duplication and waste on the one hand and great gaps in service on the other." The state spends 26 million tax dollars a year for public school busing alone in Iowa. This figure will soar beyond million if the state takes on the added cost of busing nonpublic school students. In this time of fuel shortages which promise to continue into the unforeseeable future, the legisla- ture would-be wise to consider seriously the possibility of taking schools out of the bus business and setting up a system to serve students and other citizens on a basis that conceivably could be more timely, more efficient and perhaps less costly. sponsor charter flights to Europe and other popular vacation spots. The edict was a keen disappoint- ment to thousands of NEA members scheduled to take charter flights this summer. No doubt other large national or- ganizations soon will receive similarly bad news. Meanwhile, the CAB approves higher regular air fares and urges airlines to install more, seats (usually at the expense of lounge As always, special rates are discouraged. While some airlines may applaud the charter trade's man- dated decline, the CAB's action rudely interrupts a happy and economical tra- velers happy to fly cheaply and qualified carriers eager to trans- port them. Governmental intrusion thus threatens to transform air travel into a convenience for the affluent. That would be ah unhappy rever- sal for millions of mid-income earners who are just now becom- ing able to afford bargain-rate charter flights. Only an agency- given to discombobulated think- ing could tweak the public so. By Rowland Evans and Robert Novak WASHINGTON White House lawyers are disappointed and exasperated with the technical expert they hired to study the famous minute tape erasure, a fact likely to further deepen President Nixon's dif- ficulties in the house impeachment inquiry. Nixon lawyer James St. Clair's irrita- tion with Dr. Michael liecker, the West Coast technician retained by the White House two months ago, has become ob- vious in recent weeks. That strongly suggests that Becker's findings will not be far from the verdict of the court-ap- pointed experts: the gap in the vital June 20, 1972, Oval Office conversation could not have been accidental. The erased segment, forgotten of late but not gone, will again plague Mr. Nixon when the experts submit technical find- ings to Judge John Sirica. If the White House cannot produce expert rebuttal, the President inevitably will be called on personally to explain the gap for the first lime. Indeed, members of the house judiciary committee are determined to pursue the sensitive question of Mr. Nixon's connection with the tape erasure. Defense Once the court's panel of experts released its Jan. 15 preliminary report knocking down an accidental erasure, the White House went shopping for its own expert. The choice was Dr. Hecker, a NOVAK senior research engineer at the Stanford (Calif.) Research Institute. If a scientist of his standing would refute the other experts, the erased tape would drop from the President's massive load of problems. But St. Clair has grown as unhappy with Heeker as he has been with the court-appointed experts. That raises the probability that when the experts produce their detailed findings, perhaps within two weeks, the White House will have no scientific refutation. The matter will then be in Uie hands of federal grand jury No. 3. Although the grand jury might indict presidential secretary Rose Mary Woods, its more likely course will be no action. Rather, the technical report will generate long- delayed attempts to get Mr. Nixon's ver- sion. 'Personal control' According to Secret Service logs, only three persons the President, Miss Woods and presidential aide Steve Bull handled the June 20 tape. Both Miss Woods and Bull have sworn they played no part in erasing a portion of Mr. Nixon's conversation with H. R. Haldeman on June 20. the first working day after the Watergate burglary. If Mr. Nixon had granted the grand jury request early this year for him to testify, he would have been questioned in depth about the erasure. What explana- tion could he give? Did he give the tapes to anybody else? What makes these questions so per- tinent is Mr. Nixon's declaration last July 23 in his letter to Sen. Sam Ervin: "The tapes, which have been under my 'So what's wrong with claiming you and Nixon as sole personal control, will remain so." Not only was the grand jury unable to question the President but newsmen did not seize the opportunity. Following disclosure to Sirica of the 18y2-minute erasure last Nov. 21, Mr. Nixon delayed conducting another press conference un- til Feb. 25. By then, the erased tape had been eclipsed by other Watergate sensa- tions. Mr. Nixon was asked nothing then or in later question-and-answer sessions. A new report by the experts will probably trigger questions at Mr. Nixon's next press conference. But what- ever the press does, the house judiciary committee is deeply interested. Its members feel the matter cannot be resolved without the President's own explanation of what happened to evidence "under my sole control." That poses new trouble in congress for the President. A bipartisan majority of the committee spurns Mr. Nixon's offers of responding to written questions or meeting with the committee's two senior members. But the White House says the President will never submit to in- terrogation by the full committee or its staff. That judiciary committee members now contemplate" how to question Mr. Nixon about the erasure indicates that the impeachment proceedings are enter- ing a new phase, toward the substantive and away from the procedural. Thanks to compromises by Chairman Peter Rodino, the committee seems likely to avoid both an internal partisan split and a confron- tation with the White House over procedural disagreements. Instead, committee members are now getting involved in the substance of the Watergate cover-up. Those who have been given an inkling of the evidence passed to the committee by the grand jury in that locked briefcase feel Mr. Nixon will face a formidable task in re- sponding to it. The probability that he will also be asked to give a reasonable explanation of what happened to the June 20 tape only adds to his burden. Publishers-Hall Svndlcole A clockwork immunization By Jerry Elsea Gazette Editorial Writer GIVEN A sneak-preview of Richard Nixon's back-tax travails, Arkan- sas sage Wilbur Mills predicted last month that the findings are damning enough to blow the President out of the water. Now that nothing of the sort has hap- pened, Mills' reputation as a seer is sus- pect. The prevailing theory is that if he hadn't been elected congressman. Mills could have made it as a weatherman. Where did the Ozark oracle trip up? Some say he underestimated the American ability to sympathize. This notion seems credible. After all, the Internal Revenue Service volley in- deed seems merciless. Anyone who has ever paid daily for canine room and board can understand why the President chose to spend a few measly government bucks transporting his pooch aboard Air Force I. Jerry Elsea Also weighing in the President's favor is the still-obscure contention that the is owed not by Mr. Nixon, but rather, by the presidency. Then, too, there is the traditionalists' view that the President is not culpable in the tax debacle because, "they all do it." Propounders of that argument not only bid to rescue Mr. Nixon's hide, they have evolved a means of erasing the national debt. All we need do is soak the des- cendants of Washington, Jefferson, Lin- coln, et al, for the vast levies Presidents of yore failed to pay. The resulting mountain of currency, plus interest, doubtless would bail out America till century's end. Other defenders of the President ad- duce that he owes no back taxes at all because he qualifies for the tax-depletion allowance. This little-known loophole was created as incentive for those exploring for new means of taxing middle-income earners. The White House understand- ably has accorded the measure little publicity out of fear that stampeding congressmen would abuse it. But back to the mystery of why Rep. Mills misread the nation's pulse: The theory here is that Mills failed to compensate for the immense increase in the Citizens' Toleration Index That is, he correctly figured that if a Chief Executive had dodged tax payments of a half million dollars 10 or 15 years ago, he couldn't have qualified for President of Pittsburgh. But Mills forgot that in order to risk a thorough scourging today, an adminis- tration would have to commit twice the improprieties requisite to humiliation a decade ago. War-waging without authority, elec- tronic snooping, "enemy" listing all these errors of state and others have joined lickety-split inflation to inure the citizens against outrage. Granted, the populace reacted with alarm following last October's justice department purge, but that seems to have been a mere reaction to immunization. Expel the President for his tax-report- ing omissions? Nay! Better to retire Rep. Mills for losing touch with his country's temperament. Make money your god and if will plague you like the devil. Henry Fielding People's forum To the Editor: Our country has always had in- dividuals and groups organizing to win fair treatment. But one group, 6 million mentally retarded Americans, cannot organize themselves. Today, therefore, other concerned citizens are speaking for and with them to end discrimination. To focus public attention on the rights of this "silent governors have been asked by the President's Committee on Mental Retardation to proclaim April as "Legal Rights for Retarded Citizens" month. Governor Ray is among the 20 governors who have issued such a proclamation. Iowa, particularly Linn county, has been progressive in meeting the educa- tional needs of their retarded citizens. Locally we have a special education program we can be very proud of. Right now, before the Iowa senate is a special education bill, already passed by (he house, that would provide funding which could make our educational program for the retarded one of the best in Ihc nation. The relarded are entitled to other rights as well as education. They should receive the same due process of the law as others. Yet, because of lack of infor- mation and understanding the retarded offender often becomes the abused prisoner. The retarded have the right to perform productively to the extent of their capabilities. They have the right to proper training for employment, to pro- tection from exploitation, and to guidance that will enable them to develop their abilities. While the retarded have the right to live at home with their families, when Another View "Sam Ervin said il first." that's possible, they also have the right to leave home at 18 or 20 so as to become physically and emotionally independent of their parents. Yet, this implies the need and right to proper residential care. When their degree of mental respon- sibility proves them capable the retarded have the right to own and dispose of property, to vote, to marry and to have children. There is a long road before the mentally retarded gain all .their rights, but the recognition that they have rights is paving the way for progress that is needed. Geri Pcttitt 4538 Navajo drive NE Rights twisted To the Editor: 1 am shocked over the news that was just released of the Kent State riot. I am truly embarrassed for our country's set of rules on civil rights. My heartfelt sympathy to the guardsmen who were on duty. When facing a radical riot and facing death themselves, trying to keep (he peace in our land, protecting us all and our properties, they are now the ones who are damned. Life is a short span, hut eternity is forever. Those who twist the laws to read their way I say God have mercy on them. When will we start judging the lawyers and judges who are twisting every word of our rights laws and morals? I, for one, am sick and tired of the courts' protecting the offender; they are the ones with all the rights-twisted laws. The protectors, policemen, guardsmen and law abiding people have become the unprotected. Laws were made to protect and res- pect. When people break a law they cry, "civil rights." They seem to think it's their right to kill, destroy, burn and riot and that the law is to only say, "I'm sorry but I don't believe you should do that." People, old and young, should start writ- ing congressmen, governors, anyone. Let's get this monkey off of our laws. Carleeta Eichler 2095 Golfview court Marion Messy dump To the Editor: I am using this means to inform Linn county residents of the awful and sickening mess that the county dump excuse me, landfill has become. Driv- ing south on highway 13 and looking west just before you get to the county home, it is disheartening to see filth, rubbish and waste blown all over the countryside. What happened to our good people's pride in a clean environment? What happened to our good intention of clean- ing up our land? Are we forgetting that our children and students copy our ac- tions in what we say and do? What will Linn county be like in the year 2000? At the rate we are piling junk upon junk it looks awfully dismal. Let us have some pride in our cities, county, state and country. Let us get it all together and try to do better. Let us put our shoulders together and work to clean up our roadsides. The big question is: What is to be done to the trash after it is taken to the land- fill? Margaret Scott Route 3, Marion Infant deaths To the Editor: I am writing in regard to Dr. S. L. Andelman's syndicated article, "There is No Known Cause for Sudden Death in the March 19 Gazette. The statement that bottle-fed babies are the only victims of "crib death" is not true. I am a mother and parent victim of sudden infant death syndrome On May 14 of last year my 4-wcek-old son became a victim of SIDS. I breast-fed him. An autopsy was done, and it was confirmed my. son was a victim of SIDS. Our son had been to the doctor the week before and received an excellent report. He was very healthy. The following Sat- urday my husband discovered him dead. The International Guild for Infant Sur- vival has formed statewide chapters to inform the public about SIDS, more im- portantly to educate the parent victims about their grief and guilt feelings. An article such as this is damaging to those who read it. It increases the ignorance already present. Mrs. James C. Davis, jr., secretary Iowa Guild for Infant Survival Route 2, Mt. Vernofi Tax relief To the Editor: Where does free enterpise begin and where do regulation and taxation end? Why is the legislature so reluctant in providing lowans tax relief? The proposed tax relief bill on food would have cost grocery stores over per cash register to remodel them for nontaxable items. This cost would have been passed down to the consumer. Rolling the sales tax back to 2% cents per dollar would he more practical. Legislators should become aware of the necessity for lax relief. lowans are faced with highway robbery, excessive infla- tion, and over-taxation, and a host of regulations to be imposed on our basic freedoms. Robert R. Lauer Route 1, Fredcricksburg
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