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Cedar Rapids Gazette Newspaper Archive: May 15, 1974 - Page 6

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - May 15, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                No manufactured man, Nixon of the tapes Editorial Page Wednesday, Max '5. No cable TV guidelines WHILE there is more to praise than to criticize in the per- formance of the legislature, one disappointment calls for notice in the afterlight. That was the failure to enact legislation setting guidelines for cable television, which is spreading slowly but surely through the state. If history has taught us anything, one key point is that the time to set state standards for any new controllable endeavor is before it grows extensively, not afterward. This became apparent early from what happened with respect to railroads and banking institutions. Failure to establish governing arrangements for those enterprises was the main reason Iowa's first constitution had to be redrafted only 11 years after it had taken effect. Unfortunately, catch-up situa- tions have been all too common through the years in Iowa. Utility regulations, for example, often were enacted long after installa- tion instead of beforehand. Now, without statewide guidelines, each community is on its own in setting cable television standards, meaning that the end result can be only a hodgepodge mess. In Clive, a suburb of Des Moines, cable TV now is being in- stalled by the Hawkeye Cablevision company. At first the council voted to require that the lines run underground for esthetic reasons. That's exactly where they should be put. But when company officials ap- peared the other day and pleaded that to go underground would cost more than if they could string the cable on existing utility poles, the council backed down giving in when it should have remained firm. A state law specifying underground installa- tion doubtless would have been appreciated by the council. A bill to give the state some say in what cable television can and cannot do in standards it would have to meet was passed by the Iowa house, but it languished away in a senate committee. Senator McCartney of Charles City, to whom the bill was as- signed, took the position that Governor Ray can do by executive order what the bill proposed. That is precisely what a cable television study committee recommended in its report late last year. Apparently the governor did not agree, because he asked the legislature, in his January message, to enact cable TV legislation. Ray is right. The proper route is legislative action. The failure to act was not in Iowa's best long- term interests. Again: The time to set state standards' for new programs is before the event, not afterward amid necessities to grandfather in all the mistakes that could have been avoided by acting in time.' Seniority still riding high WHEN THEY manage to get off the subject of Watergate, President Nixon and the Democrat controlled congress wrangle, as they have for months, over whose fault it is that ad- ministration programs move along so poorly. Neither side is going to win the argument. But from the action taken last week by house Democrats in caucus, there can be no argument over who gets the blame for blocking efforts to reform the congressional committee system. The vote there in closed session went 111 to 95 against advancing that now. Instead, the partisans dispatched their reorganization plan back to the reform commit- tee organized three years ago to work it up. For all intents and purposes that killed the resolu- tion. What it had proposed was to reassign jurisdiction of several key committees, abolish two standing committees and divide the responsibilities of another. That also would mean wiping People's forum Marion upheaval To the Editor: Please let me be among the first (since the matter has been obviated in the media) to question the pedestrian, shoddy and covert manner in which the board of education of the Marion Independent school district recently forced the removal from office of the superintendent, R. M. Sorenscn. Quite apart from my working relationship with Dr. Sorenscn when I was a teacher in the Marion system, I'm reacting in this case as a voter. Am I not entitled to some straightfor- ward answers raised by the media this past Saturday concerning such things as: Why was this action taken? Why was the public kept ignorant of the con- templated dismissal before it was con- sidered by the board of education? Why are we still confronted by an almost unanimously tight-lipped board of direc- tors? out the seniority privileges en- joyed by several venerable representatives who hold great power for the sole reason that they've sat in congress longer than their colleagues. Rep. Culver of Iowa's Second district, along with several other younger congressmen, has been a strong proponent of reforming the committee and seniority system for most of his ten years in the house. The caucus action cuts the legs from under this group, even though the vote 'came out much closer than it did when the reform attempt began a few years back. Insistence on clinging to the outmoded seniority system and refusal to modernize the an- tiquated committee system are two prime reasons congress has declined so much in popular es- teem, as shown in public opinion polls. It is regrettable that the con- trolling Democratic party once again has misused its power to derail these long overdue reforms instead of moving boldly to enact them. Why is Dr. Sorensen left to explain the shenanigans of an inept board of direc- tors by answering unasked questions with such pat explanations as, "We have a good curriculum and we constantly need to What has this to do with the price of wheat in Russia? is Dr. Sorensen's removal from the superin- tendency an attempt to upgrade curriculum? He has a curriculum direc- tor. Why hasn't this recently active school board seen fit to explain the dis- missal in these terms if this is Dr. Sorensen's grasp of their action? Since I pay taxes in Marion, since I vote in the Marion district, don't I along with several thousand similarly situated constituents deserve some explanation of such actions? If the dismissal was jus- tified, can we further justify continuing to pay Dr. Sorensen's salary for an addi- tional year to employ him as a district consultant? Few if any consultants in the Cedar Rapids district come within of this figure. Isn't it further interesting to note lhat the school board has no ongoing plans toward seeking the professional services of a future superintendent? What has become of the voter's right to be represented? What has become of his further right to he informed? There are answers in Marion. Probably it would be less embarrassing to the hoard of educa- tion if they will face up to forthright answers rather than having an alienated Epithets trigger snort barrage from congress By Donald Smith WASHINGTON Among other remarkable aspects of the Water- gate transcripts, they arc giving members of congress an unusual oppor- tunity to sec themselves as they were seen by Richard Nixon and his top ad- visers (luring the burgeoning Watergate scandal. As senators and representatives leaf through their blue paperback copies of the transcripts of tape-recorded White House conversations some looking at Ihem for the second and third times their reactions to the derisive remarks leveled by the Nixon learn toward Capitol Hill are ranging from knowing nods to outbursts of rage. At one point Nixon called congress "irrelevant" and and at another time 11. R. Ilaldeman then Nixon's chief of staff said of House Speaker Carl Albert "Well, (expletive deleted) the speaker of the house." Albert is the man in line of succession to the presidency. CBS News has reported that one of the deleted sections of the transcript as John W. Dean III, then Nixon's counsel, calling Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott (R-Pa.) a "sniveling SOB." "1 wasn't startled by the Sen. Howard H. Baker, jr. told Congressional Quarterly. "Most of us have been up there (at the White House) at one time or another and we know that most Presidents are human and sometimes speak in hyperbole and tend to exaggerate. Lyndon Johnson could have deleted a few expletives him- self." Baker, vice-chairman of the senate Watergate committee, was characterized at one point by Nixon as having a "thick Senator Ervin skull" and at another point as being "a sinoothy." But Baker said he wasn't surprised that the White House held congress, in low regard. Some other members aren't taking so charitable a view. "I was surprised (by the language) and depressed to think that those people have controlled this country for the years they have and are still in control of said Rep. Jerome Waldie one of Nixon's chief critics on the house judiciary committee, which is consider- ing impeachment charges against Nixon. "But if there's any group of people whose opinion about congress would not be valued by me, it's thai shabby, sleazy group." Sen. Edward, M. Kennedy who the transcripts show the White House believed to have been the moving force behind the Watergate committee hearings, called remarks about him "paranoid." In a Feb. 28, 1973, meeting John Dean told Nixon, "I am convinced lhat (Wa- tergale commiltee chairman Sam Ervin of North Carolina) is merely a puppet for Kennedy in this whole thing. The fine hand'of the Kennedys is behind this public speculate, however educated the guesses. Harley Donald Twenty-eighth street court Marion Keeping Wilson To the Editor: Last week The Gazette carried a news story, a letter to the editor and an edi- torial regarding the suggestion made by one school hoard member that con- sideration be given to closing Wilson junior high school. The comment was made in an informal' work session dis- cussing our reaclion and future plans regarding the narrowly defeated bond issue measure. As a board member I very much appreciate that The Gazette has been consistently and generously supportive of our school system in the vast majority of issues over the years. In this particular instance I do feel a vital fact was not made clear in any of the items published. There were five of seven board members plus Supt. Curric and several lop staff members present. When the suggestion was made another board member voiced strong objection to Hie idea of closing Wilson, and everyone else present indicated that they also had no interest in pursuing the suggestion any further. As ji mailer of fact we did discuss tin; possibility of a means of specifically identifying Hie four schools and Die portion of the bond dollar allocated to each, when we came to Ihu public again whole hearing. There is no doubt about it. "Uh. hub." Nixon replied. Yes. I guess the Kennedy crowd is just laying in the bushes waiting to make their move." Toward the end of his first term, Nixon successfully had muted the opposition of the Democratic-controlled congress on a series of key issues through his use of the veto to shape legislation. The President's 1972 landslide re-election bolstered his confidence lhat he could continue managing his opposition. But Nixon ap- peared to view the Watergate issue as a vendetta thai the Democrats were press- ing for purely political reasons. "All this business is a battle and they are going lo wage the Nixon told Dean during a Feb. 28, 1973, meeting. "A lot of them have enormous frustrations about those elections, state of their party, etc. And their party has its problems." During an earlier meeting, on Sept. la, 1972, Nixon spoke of using "the power" of the FBI and the justice department to get revenge against those who were pressing the Watergate issue. It has to be Nixon said. "We have been (adjective deleted) fools for us to come into this election cam- paign and not lo do anything with regard lo the Democratic senators who are run- ning, el cetera. And who the hell are they after? They are after us. It is absolutely ridiculous. It is not going to be that way any more." In sizing up individual members of congress, Nixon and his advisers were harsli on some. Ervin "away from his slaff is not very Dean told Nixon during a March 22, 1973, discussion on how to persuade Ervin to compromise on procedures.for Ihe then-pending hear-- ings. Baker and Sen. Edward J. Gurney (R- Fla.) were considered loyalists on the Watergale commiltee particularly Gurney and Sen. Barry Goldwater at one point is depicted as preparing to make a speech, written by a White House staffer, defending Nixon. In early 1973 Watergate committee member Lowell P. Weicker, jr. (R- was regarded with uncertainly as to whether he was a friend or a foe. "I don't know about Weicker, where he is going to fall out on this Dean told Nixon Feb. 28. By March, 27, Nixon was asking aide John D. Ehrlichman, "What the hell makes Weicker "Nobody's been able to figure that Ehrlichman replied. On April 17, Nixon, Haldema.n and Ehrliehman assembled in an angry mood over Iheir.inability to control the course of the scandal. The talk lurned lo Weicker, who by lhat lime had been making public statements damaging to the White Ho.use, and whether his congressional immunity during speeches on Ihe senate floor protecled him againsl libel. "He's Nixon said. "Oh, he's not, not when he was on (ABC-TV's) Issues and said Ehrlichman. or using newspaper said Haldeman. It was not on the floor, he's too buzzy, stupid." A few moments later Nixon ordered, "Good, sue him." The Presideni's men subsequently decided against libel suits. Congressional Ouarterlv with a similar bond measure. This dis- cussion indicated the dedicalion of Ihe board lo relaining six junior high schools in Cedar Rapids. Prior lo selling Ihe amounl of Ihe bond issue many months ago we examined all possibilities, and the option of having only five schools was discarded as not in Ihe best interest of our students or tax- payers. Norman G. Upsky, president Board of education 346 Second avenue SW Gambles To the Editor: Nice report on gambling by Luke Popovich (Opinion page 2, May K.) I wish he'd do further research and explain to us why a man "wins" a thousand dollars on the crap table, bill "earns" a grand playing the slock market. Also, could lie give us a short, defini- tive sentence Hint differentiates between an insurance company and a Las Vegas casino? Seems lo me (hey both figure the odds pretty light and play in their own favor. Maybe it has something lo do with Ihe fad thai In Vegas you doii'l play stud under a five-page contract loaded with fine prinl. Steve Moroso llHNInclei'iilh street NK 'Private President is a far superior being1 By Russell Baker WHAT IS ALAHMING about the Republicans' rush to abandon the good ship Nixon is the high moral pos- ture they are striking as they go over the side. Being repelled by a President's moral standard is Billy Graham's work, and when you see politicians usurping the job it's time to hie to the church door and chain the poor box. A group of politicians deciding to dump a President because his morals arc bad is like the Mafia getting together to bump off the godfather for not going to church on Sunday. 11 just isn't done in such circles. There may be sound legal reasons for getting Nixon out, bul Ihe debarking Republicans are not talking law. They are talking morals, and a politician talking morals needs to be taken with a heavy dose of stomach powder. The chances in this case are that moral outrage cloaks a writhing mass of self- interest, that what really worries the boys is not the slate of the President's President Nixon morality but the lively possibility thai they will all be wiped oul Ihe nexl elec- tion unless they are shed of him fast. This sudden concern about morality began with publication of the Watergate tapes, which is odd. If morality in the administration was ever to be invoked as justifiable cause for condemning the President, a far stronger case could have been made years ago regarding his con- duct of the Vietnam war. And yet those who raised moral objec- lions aboul Vielnam were generally viewed by politicians of both parties as soft-headed bleeding hearis trying to corrupt the professionalism of govern- ment by injecling criteria that belonged in the pulpit. By any reasonable moral standard, the Nixon of Ihe Watergate tapes seems a fairly decent fellow compared, lo Ihe Nixon of Ihe Christmas bombing of Hanoi, or the Nixon who made war by personal decree on Cambodia. In fact, Ihe private Nixon we meet in Ihe Watergale transcripl seems a far more human fellow Ihari the public Nixon we have watched on television all these years. The public Nixon had the look of a manufactured man who might have been kept stored in a White House closet between public showings. The privale man of Ihe lapes is a far superior crealure, if only because he has (he defects of humanity. The now famous cussing, which is parl of the base for the charges of moral inferiority, may be mild stuff compared to the truly mag- nificent barracks, language of Lyndon Johnson, but it is still evidence that he is real. Some mighl say thai the private Nixon is not a very likable man. He doesn't trust people. lie is given lo pelty back- bit ins Hut these are common characteristics even among'ordinary men, and in any evenl there is no requirement that Presidents be likable chaps, only lhat they bo able to deceive the majority Into believing they are lik- able. On Ihe other hand the private Nixon also has moments of touching sensitivity for other people. He frets about Ihe pain being inflicted on the families of the young men caught up in the scandal and Russell Baker finds it too "painful" lo face his old friend John Mitchell in person and tell him he must take the fall. This is a far more likable Nixon than the public Nixon pronouncing grim-jawed determination never to grant amnesty to the draft evaders. His great weakness, we discover, is the very weakness any one of us might suffer from in his position. He is, surprisingly, indecisive. In a terrible pickle he cannol bring himself lo do the decisive deed that would change all the terms of his problem. Instead, he sits about for hours and hours talking, talking, talking, con- sidering possibilities and weighing but never reaching a decision. It is a weakness in a President, un- doubtedly, but nol so terrible perhaps as the weakness of the public Nixon who was forever turning up on Ihe lelly just .at dinner time with yet another dynamic presidential decision, which often turned out to be another disastrous appointment to Ihe supreme courl or another exten- sion of the war. Frozen in indecision, he acts far too human, with annoyed petly slurs on people who have gol him inlo Ihis mess, by lislening lo obviously larcenous schemes for buying his way out, by cussing and by groaning lhal he wished lomorrow were Salurday, or lhal he wished he could chuck the whole thing and let Agnew be President A good deal of the lime, he is simply incoherenl, as who wouldn't be, having lhat nightmare to deal with? His knowledge of 'the law seems muddled at best and from time to time, like any human being, he sits (here wishing the whole thing would go away so he could do the kind of work he enjoys, parleying with Ihe communists. The trouble may be that the private Nixon, 'being indisputably human, is so different from the public Nixon that the public may believe he came to office through false pretenses. Bul Ihe issue is nol moralily, as Ihe Republicans insist. It is whether the Republicans can survive the public's shock at discovering thai Nixon is real. New Vork Times Service Withholdable? Before we build all these atomic energy power planls, has anybody deter- mined who has mosl of the uranium? Indianapolis News 'Good heavens, Charlie fhey buried you three years   

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