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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - June 12, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Editorial Page Jvnt 12, 1974 Iron-plated presidency? The plot thickens Quality, if not perfection DOGGED by congressmen and newsmen who sense something wrong in the accounts of how National Security Council personnel were wiretapped con- cerning information-leaks in 1969-70, Secretary of State Kis- singer talks of resigning if the matter isn't cleared up soon. Too much emotion seems to un- derpin that answer to the problem. It stains out of character with what has come across as the Kissinger style in his various suc- cessful efforts in diplomacy. Yet an element of excess mars the other side too. A feeling that some critics won't be satisfied unless the secretary's scalp hangs where the President's may hang because of Watergate is hard to reconcile with the nation's good in these hard times. The background offers these es- sential facts: After war-related information leaked out concern- ing Cambodian bombings and the U.S. strategy in SALT talks with Russia, at least 17 aides in Kis- singer's National Security Council came under wiretap surveillance. The circumstances were the kind that justify this sort of thing, under proper control and authority, when national security is at stake. Dr. Kissinger has testified that the wiretaps were ordered by the President and carried out by the FBI under the attorney general's authority. Sources on the Water- gate prosecutor's staff have raised doubts, even so, about the tap- ping's legality. Dr. Kissinger also has sworn under oath that he did not "directly" initiate any buggings but was only involved as to "criteria" for deciding who might qualify for that. Sources on the house judiciary committee claim VVhite House material shows Kis- singer did "initiate" some taps, despite his denial. Newsmen's persistence in prob- ing these contradictions in press conference both June 6 and this week in Austria have stung the secretary, worked his dander up and brought the word "resign" into mind. The best advice that both the secretary and the hounds should listen to now is to cool it. What- ever Kissinger's entanglement with leaks and wiretappings was, he is not now a bug-threat to the nation. He terms the business, even under legal auspices, "dis- tasteful." His skills and his ability in statecraft, demonstrated in remarkable achievements, are too great a value to dismiss because an imperfection shows up somewhere on the side. One governmental figurehead the highest troubled in extremis is enough. Secretary Kissinger proposes that the senate foreign relations committee reopen the wiretap matter if need be and settle it with due dispatch, once and for all. Fair enough, so long as the aim is a speedy conclusion. To "clear it up" by endless nipping, yapping and recriminating is the last thing anybody needs. Zoo plan needs specialty rnHOUGH the creation of a 1 zoological park in Cedar Rapids remains a financial longshot, the idea of giving cap- tive creatures a natural, comfort- able habitat is entirely praiseworthy. Anyone who has viewed hapless animals crammed into cages in notorious big city slum-zoos should appreciate the local zoological society's proposal. Large enclosures set off by moats and unobtrusive fencing are vastly expensive, but they provide the most educational set- ting for zoo patrons. Not unexpectedly, the society's proposal to take the public's pulse regarding a possible bond referendum has raised doubts about the exposure of warm- climate animals to Iowa's bitter winter cold. Here again, though, the zoo planners' reasoning is sound. Zoologists long since have proved that mammals and birds from any part of the world can be People's forum Farming future To the Editor: The Iowa house defeated a bill this spring that called for the protection of prime agricultural land. This crucial law would have prevented prime Iowa farmland from being torn up and bull- dozed into building sites, factories and homes. Representative Dale Cochran (D-Eagle who was one of the authors of this bill, said: "Farmland equal to 2% counties has been lost through develop- ment in the last 25 years." Every year acres of cropland are "lost" to urban growth. Can we afford this loss and still assure the availability of land for crops to feed the rising demand of Iowa's growing population? Iowa's productive breadbasket has to be protected to insure its No. 1 industry, agriculture. I feel passing of this bill should have been a top priority of the political representatives of Iowa. Authoritative judging of prime cropland must be en- forced to control sprawling of cluttering communities on Iowa cropland. Many thriving Iowa communities arc acclimatized to northern temperatures when given free ac- cess to open air. The proposed zoological gardens of course would provide such an environ- ment. Not only do the world's better zoologists provide healthy living space for resident animals, they help endangered species to sur- vive. This success story suggests a specialty for the Hawkeye Zoological Society, if a single area of zoo management is to be focused upon: What better way to enlist the help of volunteers and raise the interest of voters than to promote the zoo as a haven for animal types decimated by man's tampering? An ambitious goal, perhaps, but certainly no larger than the hope of coaxing tax funds from a public already experienced in shooting down school and library plans. Whatever comes of this one, the promoters have been going at it right. built, so a complete ban on using farmlands for development would prohibit expansion. I am suggesting however, that when there is a choice between developing prime farmland and another site, the prime land should be saved. Why haven't statewide criteria for judging and protecting Iowa farmland been established? The commercial developer must understand the definite need for Iowa farmland. lowans need to take steps in order to insure their future as an agricultural state. Steven B. Pittman Route 1, Springvilie Gift, vote To the Editor: I'd like to bring two things to voters' attention concerning Rep. John Culver: First, through his office passed a gift by the American Milk Pro- ducers, Inc., through the Valentine Sherman firm in Minneapolis (out of state) for the Iowa Voter Identification committee which was being run out of Culver's office. This was a corporate gift, a huge one, illegal, and should be returned to the American Milk Pro- ducers. Those guilty of receiving it should be brought to test. Second, Rep. Culver voted for family planning funds to be used for abortion expenses in the period of May 28-30, 1974, in congress. By Rowland Evans and Robert Novak WASHINGTON The deepening in- sistenee by President Nixon that he intend to preserve a "strong no matter what the cost, is nutting the stage for possible presidential refusal to abide by an adverse ruling of the supreme court on the Watergate conspiracy tapes. <1, "strung presidency" ar- gument is used to justify the flat refusal by the While House to assert that Mr. Nixon would accept an adverse court ruling. These two possible clues to secret White House impeachment strategy, moreover, are privately confirmed by senior Nixon advisers, inside and outside the White House. Of course, all this might be an elaborate bluff to intimidate the supreme court into ruling against Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski's subpoena of White House tapes. But even the most fantastic Oval Office scenario could scarcely imagine the justices being so craven. Why, then, would Mr. Nixon even con- template an act of defiance which surely would bring conviction by two-thirds of the senate close to reality? If so convict- ed, Mr. Nixon could at least claim he was driven from office in defense of "the not as a Watergate cons- pirator. On the other hand, if he was acquitted by the senate, Mr. Nbcon would elevate his office to a peak of power unprecedented in history. Unrealistic though the Nixon White House often is, however, it would not take the risk without a feeling that Mr. Nixon's popularity is recovering rapidly enough to avoid senate conviction despite defiance of the court. Behind that as- sumption is the President's long-held conviction that the constitutional concept of three equal branches of government is obsolete in the 1970s and that a superior executive branch is now required. With supreme court oral arguments scheduled for July 8, the historic decision might not come until six weeks later. Consequently, Mr. Nixon and his legal counsel, James St. Clair, now have up to ten weeks to hammer home this hardline thesis: Even in the face of a clearly "definitive" decision by the high court, Mr. Nixon's real responsibility to history lies in defense of presidential indepen- dence from legislative and judicial dic- tates. As the President himself said Sunday at a wildly exuberant pro-Nixon rally stage-managed by the White House: "I shall do nothing that will weaken this of- fice while I am President." The refusal of St. Clair to say Mr. Nixon would obey an adverse decision has disturbed the judicial branch of government from the high court on down. In a session with reporters May 30, St. Clair ducked six separate questions asking whether the President would obey the supreme court. He called them "hypothetical." But asked whether the President would obey a senate verdict of guilty on house Impeachment charges, he replied: "I would think clearly so I don't see any serious problem about that." In contrast, the President himself last year said he would obey a "definitive" judgment of the high court when Archibald Cox, then special prosecutor, went to court to force disclosure of White House tapes. That case was mooted in the pro-impeachment furor that followed Cox's firing. Mr. Nixon bowed to public opinion and gave over the tapes. But there is feeling among Nixon ad- visers that, despite the advanced im- peachment proceedings, he might get away with defying the court today whereas he could not a year ago. In truth, the steady barrage of Watergate bombshells has left the nation insensitive to almost any new outrage. Adding to the implications of St. flair's studied hints that Mr. Nixon might actually rebuff the supreme court are private warnings of Nixon partisans. If he obeyed an order to turn over the tapes, so this argument runs, the presidency would be fatally and per- manently weakened. Even though the Jaworski case involves only a conspiracy trial, capitulation by Mr. Nixon might open the floodgates to the house judiciary committee's more exacting demands for impeachment evidence. If this resulted in conviction, Mr. Nixon would go down righteously defending the Integrity of the presidency for all future Presidents, not as a con- victed Watergate conspirator. Bui the outcome could be different. Returning from successive triumphs in the Middle East and the Moscow summit, the President might be strong enough to sell the "strong presidency" thesis to the point of justifying defiance of the supreme court. That way lies undreamed-of presidential power. It is this possibility, no matter how remote, which is beginning to chill Washington today. Publlshers-Holl Syndicate Exile for betterment of all Nixon case recalls Athens v. Aristides By Russell Baker IMAGINES the President and Secretary Kissinger emitting vast sighs of relief as they soared out of their homeland for foreign shores in pursuit of the generation of peace. There is little here any longer to en- .courage them to dwell upon their nobility. Beset by sheriffs, prosecutors, querulous scribes and a sullen populace, what great man would not welcome a grand tour abroad accepting the salute of cannon and the deference of sheiks to remind them that dishonor In the homeland is the true test of prophethood? Kissinger's brief stay in Washington after his long stay in Araby must have been particularly unsettling. Having re- turned a hero only to find that the press was more interested in whether he had lied io the senate foreign relations com- mittee about wiretapping, he was disagreeably reminded that while he had been laboring on the generation of peace abroad a generation of cynicism had come to full flower at home. As for the President, whose seventh crisis now seems likely to afflict the country longer than the Vietnam war, he would be less than human if he did not feel an impulse to settle permanently among foreigners and let the subpoenas gather dust at the White House gate. He is, after all, a man who could exclaim in private conversation that he would like to be shed of the whole presidential business and see Agnew taking the pres- Is it not in character that he should feel a similar urge now to put down at a warm-weather port and announce that henceforth the White House will be located abroad for the full-time service of the generation of peace? It is an absurd idea, of course, which is precisely what makes it plausible. For the past two years the absurd has been the commonplace in government and after the first day or two of excited headlines about the White House's refusal to come back to the United States we should quickly accept it as we have accepted all the other improbabilities of recent months. Such an event would, in fact, be an ex- cellent solution to the entire Watergate affair. The President would be over there someplace working on the generation of peace without being hounded mercilessly by courts and congress, and the rest of us would be over here, just as we are now, managing somehow to get along without a President. Freed from the harassment of American courts for surely no host country would extradite him he would not have to press the dangerous doctrine that Presidents are beyond the law. Congress could go home, and the rest of us could learn to think about something other than President Nixon 16 hours a day. In his domestic manifestation the President at this stage is, in any case, only an encumbrance to the country. If he were established abroad as the bringer of peace, we would retain his useful foreign policy services without the disadvantage of having him permanently planted in the forefront of our vision, making it impossible to think about fishing, baseball, watering the flowerbeds and sitting on the front porch smelling the honeysuckle. The Athenians used exile as a govern- ment institution for ridding the state of great men of whom it had tired. Aristides the Just, although a good man as the name implies, was voted into exile, the story goes, simply because the Athenians tired of hearing him called "The Just." The Nixon case has certain parallels. Leaving aside the legal questions of Wa- tergate, President Nixon seems to have tired the country so thoroughly with his conduct of the affair that there might be a substantial vote for exiling him as a nuisance, provided the vote did not imply a judgment that he had committed crimes, or was unfit for office, or was anything else other than a source of in- tense national fatigue which we should like to have removed. The Constitution, unfortunately, does not provide for exile and cannot be amended for that purpose in time to give us relief. On the other hand, it contains nothing that forbids a President from removing himself to foreign parts and continuing to do his business from over the waters. Presidents, in fact, com- monly do this for short terms. President Nixon would undoubtedly be happier finishing his second term abroad. The Adriatic coast of Italy would be ideal, considering his taste for warm water. He would be freed of all the domestic impediments now obstructing his great work for peace, and we would be freed of a tiresome and disagreeable distraction from the great work of living. After a few years everybody might very well be glad to cheer him on a triumphal visit to Washington for a weekend at the White House. New York Times Service I feel people should be aware of these things and so consider when choosing a man for the senate. Mrs. Glenn R. Healy 2330 B avenue NE (Editor's note: The 1971-72 lowo Democratic voter identification pro- gram was run by the Committee to Elect Democrats, approved by the Iowa state Democratic central com- mittee, from an office located in Apt. 4, Hills of Normandy apartments, 712 Sixteenth street, Des Revenue shoring To the Editor: Our committee report (through the League of Women Voters) on revenue sharing in Cedar Rapids seems to have generated some interest. We are pleased with the large amount of Gazette coverage, but we do not believe that "bum rap for city hall" is a fair characterization of this report (June 4 It was not the purpose of this report to evaluate the over-all effectiveness of our city administration or any individual of- ficeholder. As participants in the Na- tional Revenue Sharing Monitoring Project, we used nationally constructed interview forms tu conduct 40 local In- tcrviews (five city council members, one former councilman, four media representatives, 10 agency or department heads, one school hoard member, 12 representatives of citizen or community action groups, and seven business and labor Interview categories were prescribed nationally. Within categories we selected subjects representing a broad spectrum of local leadership. No attempt was made to select respondents of any particular political philosophy or attitude toward city hall. One-third of the interviewees were elected city officials or city employes. Rather curiously, we find The Gazette selecting the most negative aspects of the report to publicize, and simultaneously chiding us for a negative attitude toward city hall. Contrary to The Gazette's edi- torial implications, we expressed no cri- ticism of storm sewer allocations or any other revenue sharing allocations. We noted that we did not identify any discriminatory city programs and com- mended Cedar Rapids for its positive program to combat discrimination. We did report a low level of public interest in revenue sharing. This seems to us morn an indictment of the citizenry than of public officials. In the matter of official responsiveness to citizen input, we reported that "most community, labor and business representatives we contacted felt they had ready access to city As we also stated, representatives of poverty and minority groups did express unhap- piness with the responsiveness of city hall. We feel that these opinions are sig- nificant enough to warrant their Inclusion In our analysis. One of the Hinted purposes of the revenue sharing act is to increase citizen participation. We also noted measures that city government has taken to obtain citizen input, and that the water bill survey elicited favorable responses. We agree with The Gazette that it's hardly surprising that not everyone is satisfied. Kathy Nicholas, coordinator Revenue Sharing Monitoring Projecl 2357 Aspen lane NE Storm Sewers To the Editor: There has been talk recently about our city council's spending of the revenue sharing funds. Many do not seem to realize that those funds come to all the people who pay federal taxes and should be spent where they benefit all people, or at least the most people. I wish to thank the League of Women Voters, especially the committee that did research on this. I object most strenuously to the huge amounts being spent on the northeast storm sewers. I hope more people think about this. The ditch and the low areas were there first. The people came later and moved in on them. Why? Because the lots and-or the houses were cheaper. They could buy more house for loss money than on higher ground. They disregarded the possibility of wet basements and flood- ing, and now they want all of the tax- payers to bail them out of the water. Believe it or not, they are getting it done. This was one point that our former mayor and council did agree with me on that it was not fair to have the tax- payers bear this cost since it benefits so few. They suggested a drainage district, whereby everyone benefitting is assessed according to the benefits derived, but it was flatly rejected by those same people who needed it. Why should such huge amounts of revenue sharing funds go to the northeast side? What benefit do the taxpayers on the southeast and southwest sides get out of it? These funds are not gifts, hut a partial refund of the federal taxes we all pay. Why did they not apply for a federal grant, such as for repairing the wall on the Island? Because it would have been turned down, as it would benefit too few people. I believe that Lincolnway got its sewers through a drainage district, and if so, why should these people's shure of revenue sharing go to pay for someone else's sewers? These funds would have made a very good start in helping acquire a civic center, which would benefit everyone, Al least those not using It would do so by their own choice, I believe more con- sideration must be given to projects that benefit the most people and not only cerluln segments. Edward .1. 2517 Kuthryn street SW
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