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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - April 18, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                Public's belief in Nixon cover-up grows Editorial Page Thmsday. Apfil 18, 1 Giving outgains selling TN THE WAKE of a decision not 1 to take the purchase offer of a church-related school for old Lincoln elementary building, the Cedar Rapids school board has run into criticism for leaning in- stead toward a gift of the building to Kirkwood Community college. One objection is that in a Kirk- wood transfer, Cedar Rapids dis- trict residents would be shorting themselves with a valuable present to people of six other counties besides Linn in the college's service area. Another thrust has been that such a move is reason for the voters to reject a million bond issue proposal for remodeling four old junior highs here in the special election coming up April 30. Neither point is valid. Thinking voters should reject them both. As for helping "outsiders" through a possible deeding of Lincoln to Kirkwood, this complaint makes narrow selfish- ness a guiding virtue. All coun- ties' residents in Area 10 keep Kirkwood going through the same tax levy paid in Linn. With the college's main complex here. Cedar Rapids gets the bulk benefits (apart from service to each student) relating to the nearness of so large an institution Boon for Soviet navy and its influence in cultural and economic ways. A local-community input apart from the rest not only would ac- knowledge and serve that advan- tage, it would be a self-rewarding gesture too. Facilities that Kirk- wood doesn't have to buy from taxes are as helpful to taxpayers here as to taxpayers anywhere. New-construction would, in fact, undoubtedly cost more than for the same amount of useful space. Kirkwood's gain is equally a gain for all of Cedar Rapids, too. As for the view that passing up this cashfall earns a public rejec- tion of the bond proposal now on tap, it simply doesn't track. No relationship at all exists between the need for junior high improvements and the Lincoln building's disposition. Sixty-five thousand would put but a trivial nick in the bond-issue picture. Al- ternative gains far outweigh it. The Cedar Rapids school board would be acting fully in the public interest if it consummates the Lincoln gift as-contemplated. Agencies for public education should help other agencies for public education every time they can. This time is one. Suez-clearing catch By Don Oakley AS A PRELIMINARY to reopening the Suez Canal, closed since 1967, the United States has agreed to assist Egypt in clearing away thousands of land and sea mines and other unexploded ord- nance in and around the waterway. Egyptian officials hope that by October the canal can be 'brought back to the same condition it was before the Six Day war, allowing passage of ships up to tons. It would be ironic if the welcome reopening of what was once one of the most important commercial arteries in the world had the unintended result of crowning the efforts of the Soviet Union to become the world's foremost naval power. As of now, Soviet warships must make the long voyage around .Africa to reach the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Quick access through the Suez would be of sig- nificant strategic benefit to the Kremlin. II has been suggested that in Ihe interests of peace, Egypt ought to ban the warships of all nations from using the Suez Canal. The United States, unfor- tunately, is hardly in a position to urge such a proscription in view of its own traditional strategic stake in the Panama Canal. Thus the prospective reopening of the Suez Canal, another of Henry Kissinger's diplomatic achievements, need not necessarily be greeted with unalloyed joy. Newsooper Enlerorise Associotion By Louis Harris The Horns Swrwev BY 54 lu 26 percent, a majority of the people now says it believes that "President Nixon knew about and allowed hush money to be paid to the original Watergate defendants." This is a particularly critical charge in the entire Watergate case, for it is a source uf confrontation between the President and his former White House counsel. John Dean. It is also the basis of one of the indictments handed down in case of former White House chief of staff 11. It. llaldeman. In fact, by 57-30 percent, the public in- dicates specifically that the recent in- dictments of Mr. Nixon's former top aides by the Watergate grand jury has made it "more convinced that the President was involved in the cover-up." When coupled with the 55-21 percent majority that also feels that "the 18 minutes missing from the tape of the conversation between President Nixon and 11. R. llaldeman were deliberately erased because they would have proven Mr. Nixon's involvement in the cover- up." the shape of current public thinking is clear: A majority now believes not only that Mr. Nixon was deeply involved in the cover-up, but that the proof of his in- volvement has now been found. In addi- tion, the public is prepared to believe the People's forum Bond-vote requisites To the Editor: 1 object to yuur editorial in Sunday's Gazette, March 31st, in regard to the percent majority required to approve bond issues, in which you blame the failure of the Iowa City bond election, and others by implication, on a "blend of selfishness, gross apathy and ig- norance." lit a reply to a questionnaire published in The Gazette by Sen.. Tom Riley asking whether the readers would favor a simple majority approval on bond issues, I an- swered that I would favor such a change if: "the cost of paying off the bonds and interest approved in such an election were not assessed to the individual homeowners living in their own homes, if they were age 65 or older, and living on their retirement income, and il the bonds approved did not directly benefit their residence property." True, many homeowners are able and willing to voluntarily increase their tax- burden to finance worthy public grave charge that efforts have been made to tamper with and even destroy some of that proof These are all very serious charges. They are indications not only that Wa- tergate will not go away as an issue, and that Ihe public is beginning to draw its own conclusions about the soundness of the evidence, but also that the people are now assessing congress on how well it is handling impeachment proceedings. Yet this very fact of high and abiding public interest in the Watergate affair and the willingness of the people to draw conclusions is a serious and grave business in its own right. For under the Constitution, the people's representa- tives are the proper court of last resort, not a trial by public opinion. Congress alone can determine whether or not a President should be impeached and then whether he is guilty of the charges: The founding fathers were careful to point out that they did not want the judiciary appointed by the President to render a verdict on impeachment. By the same token, they also did not want a President tried by some kind of ad hot- people's court, as" was common during Ihe French Revolution. There is, therefore, some danger in the public making firm and fixed judgments 1 about key items of legal evidence, such as destruction of tapes, or presidential involvement in the payment of hush improvements. But over the years there are increasing numbers of aged homeowners, widows or retired persons who have paid for a great many civic projects during their lifetimes and who feel that those who will benefit should shoulder the tax burden. Instead of calling these citizens ig- norant want some protec- tion under the law, why not request ac- tion by the legislature to assure homeowners that they will not have their taxes increased by a change to a simple majority rule? If the need for a specific improvement is well-documented by the city council, and the council has earned the con- fidence of the average citizen by propos- ing a bond issue only in cases of need that Ihe public will recognize, then I am sure that those bond elections will be approved. W. G. Lindgren 511 Dunreath drive NE School busing To the Editor: 1 would like to share a few thoughts on the legislation regarding bus transporta- tion for nonpublic school students. When I was attending high school, my parents had to pay for my ride on the If you expect a nation to be ignorant and free, you expect what never was and never will be. Thomas Jefferson money to Watergate defendants. The danger is that the basic premise of com- mon law, that, a man is innocent until proven guilty, might be violated. If the public decides before a congres- sional trial that the President is guilty, and which facts are to be accepted and which should be disregarded, then the status of those who must make the final judgment can be vitally affected. For every member of the house of represen- tatives and one-third of the U.S. senate must stand for re-election this fall. How incumbents voted on impeachment could be an important factor in deciding how- public school bus. When laws were passed to give' free bus transportation to public school students, that wasn't an aid to the school. It was a public service to the students and their parents. Now when the general assembly is considering ex- tending this service to students not in the public schools, it's considered an aid to the churches and schools. Why? In regard to this bill prominent church leaders from denominations which do not support schools have spoken in opposition to the bill. They're champions of separa- tion of church and state. Would they then support legislation prohibiting tax-sup- ported fire departments from answering calls to churches, or legislation prohibit- ing their parishioners from riding to church in government subsidized bus- ing? All but one of the states with nonpublic school enrollments of over provide transportation for nonpublic school students, fs Iowa's governmental system so much better than these other states that il protects its citizens from Ihe evils of providing bus rides to all students regardless of the school they attend? Or is our governmental system designed to prevent real equality to minorities, such as Iowa's minority who attend church- related or other private schools? Robert W. Brandt Atkins people will cast their ballots this November. The Harris Survey has weighed carefully the implications of asking the people their impressions of the allega- tions and personalities involved in the Watergate events. Members of congress have repeatedly made requests to deter- mine the set of public opinion on all phases of the Watergate case. The Harris Survey believes that public reaction to Ihe Watergate disclosures is an important part of the process that de- termines the standards of our politics and Ihe level of our national morality. As for our national commitment to a rule of law, not men. the representatives of the people will make the final judgment, but in all likelihood, they will not be un- mindful of the fact that Ihe nation is watching. In late March, a cross-section of 1.495 adults nationwide was asked: White House counsel John tes- tified thol President Nixon wos involved in the payment of hush money to the men originally cought breaking into the Watergate. H. R. Hal- demon testified under ooth that the President said such payment of hush money would be wrong. President Nixon agrees with Haldernan's ac- count. But the Watergate grand jury has indicted Haldeman for lying when he testified the President said it would be wrong. Do you per- sonally think President Nixon knew about and allowed hush money to be paid, or do you feel he didn't know about it and would not have allowed He'knew and allowed it He didn't know Not sure 54 26 50 The indictment of former lop Nixon aides by the Watergate grand jnry has largely confirmed the suspicions of the public that the President was involved in the cover-up. People were asked: 'President Nixon's former top aides have been indicted by the Watergate grand jury. As o result of Haldemon, Ehrlichman, Calson, Mitchell and others being indicted, do you feel more convinced that the President was involved in the cover-up, or don't you feel that ratal Dublin Feel more convinced Don't feel that way Not sure 57 30 13 Despite the fact that all of these Nixon aides must be assumed innocent until proven guilty, the fact of their indictment has placed Ihe President himself under a cloud of suspicion thicker than ever before. Public opinion seems unlikely .to settle for anything short of a thorough airing of the President's role in the Wa- tergate affair to settle the matter one way or another. Louis Harris Right to privacy: Should criminal files be sealed? By Congressional Quarterly WASHINGTON Does the person .who commits a crime forfeit his personal privacy forever? Or should we adhere more closely to our ideal of "a fresh start" and seal off criminal records of those who have paid their penalty and behaved as law-abiding citizens for an extended period-of time? In unusual unison, the Nixon adminis- tration and several key Democrats in congress have answered "yes" to the latter alternative. Over the vigorous opposition of the FBI, the justice department has sent to congress a bill authorizing the sealing of criminal records five or seven years after the individual has completed his sen- tence and probation or parole without committing another offense. These sealing provisions are part of a larger measure setting up safeguards to protect against the invasion of personal privacy through the .misuse of criminal justice information, particularly that in- formation stored in automated data banks. In both the senate and house, similar bills have been introduced by Democrats, among them Sen. Sam J. Ervin, jr., of North Carolina and Rep. Don Edwards of California. Subcommittees chaired by Ervin and Edwards already have held hearings on the proposals. Any assessment of the proposal requires weighing at least two major societal values: the personal right to privacy versus the public interest in law- enforcement. Bird in a gilded cage The Arguments YES SEEING THE public interest as rein- forced by the right to privacy, Ihose who support Ihe sealing of records argue that no one whose steps are dogged by known criminal record can truly make a new start and so he remains a criminal. "How can we seriously hope to reduce crime if we disseminate records which have the unintended effect of making it impossible for people to stop being asks Aryeh Neier, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "Arrest and conviction records often create social he argues. "Dissemination of their past records insures that many of these branded per- sons will not escape. It may take years until they are able to get steady jobs and put down the roots which take them out of the criminal class." "The dissemination of records places a series of obstacles in the path of persons wish to enter society's mainstream and end the half-life of the world of Neier adds. "Society will genuinely forgive only when il undertakes to contends Charles Lister, a consultant on privacy to the federally funded System for Elec- tronic Analysis and Retrieval of Criminal Histories "We appear more committed to the platitude (of rehabilitation) than to its achievement. Rehabilitation is an. ex- traordinarily elusive goal, but. il will be achieved only if we are prepared to limit the time periods during which, in Hie absence of now offenses, criminal records are made available even to criminal justice says Lister. "Rehabilitation suggests tho full res- toration of an offender's prior status and opportunities, and that cannot be assured so long as an injurious stigma of wrong- doing is perpetuated by criminal justice records." Congressional Ouurlcrlv The Gazette's opinion Let common sense rule JUST AS the relentless Inspector Javert trailed one- time petty thief Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo's "Les a blemished deportment record can stalk a man today. Never mind that the so-called debt to society is paid, or that the rehabilitated criminal has become an exemplary citizen; the memory banks of 20th-century crime data computers pack a retribution potential that makes the old French bloodhound seem benevolent in comparison. Penalties are especially harsh for the young. Though a mature 24-year-old'ex-felon may not resemble the rakehell teenager of six years earlier, the-criminal brand is unerasable. Good job? Forget it. Happy marriage? The odds are stacked high. Adopt a child? No way. Ironically, society limits the time in which prosecu- tion for certain crimes may be commenced, yet there is no statute of limitations on discrimination against ex- wrongdoers. Clearly, then, a law requiring that aging criminal records be sealed rates as a twofold boon: to those who merit freedom from old stigmas and to society, the ultimate bill-payer in cases of relapse into criminality. One proposal now under consideration in congress would close off access to criminal records of persons who have been free from supervision of a criminal justice agency for five years, if previously convicted of a misdemeanor, or for seven years, if previously con- victed of a felony. That law would'adequately protect the privacy of individuals .without hamstringing law enforcement agencies. (A bill requiring that ancient crime records be destroyed would place the FBI at a disadvantage, however.) The only compelling argument against the sealing of criminal files is that perpetrators of abduction, murder and other heinous crimes should not be shielded no matter how great the time elapsed since incarceration. The obvious solution there is not to toss out the proposed bill, but rather, to make mayhem-related crime categories exempt from the record-closing provisions. Though il would penalize reformed ex- murderers and kidnapers (and displease some civil the exception meshes with the sealed- record law's overall purpose: to protect individuals without threatening the public's safely. The Arguments rpHE PRIVATE right is outweighed by J- the public need, according to law- enforcement officials and others who feel a need for continued access to criminal justice records. "1 am completely opposed to sealing any criminal justice information against criminal justice states FBI Director Clarence M. Kelley. "There is a continuous need for criminal justice agencies to have unfettered access to prior criminal records for subsequent investigations." "The majority of criminal recidivism occurs within a time frame short of the (five-to-seven-year) periods enumerated in some of the bills; all criminal recidivism does not. If only 10 murderers or kidnapers repeated their crime outside Ihe statutory time frame, is this not enough to warrant criminal justice agencies access to offender records which may provide leads in subsequent murder or kidnaping he asks. "It seems clear that to deny banks in- formation about a 10-year-old conviction for embezzlement relating to an applicant for employment in a bank would be argues Matthew Hale, general counsel for the American Bankers Assn. And the Civil Service Commission would need access to those records too, according to the commission's general counsel, Anthony L. Mondello: Ml takes little imagination to envision the relevancy of a recent embezzlement conviction to of an applicant for a payroll clerk position, of a person with a history of child molesting Tor any position in close and unattended contact with children, or of a person with drug-related problems for a position in a hospital or clinic." Congressional Quarterly   

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