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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - June 17, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Editorial Page Monday, 17, 1974 Those dratted detours WHEN THE late Ogden Nash titled one of his books, "You Can't Get There from he may have been thinking of the labyrinthine detours which affront Iowa motorists each road-repair season. Though this year's competition scarcely is under way, the most-convoluted-rerout- ing award doubtless will go to the Edgewood-to-Guttenberg double- detour via Delaware, Dyersville, Luxemburg, Colesburg (only 11 miles from the beginning of de- tour) and Robin Hood's barn. For out-of-area visitors and un- suspecting urban innocents, the primary-road detours total some 65 miles, compared with the 29- mile route available in saner times. Meanwhile, folks acquaint- ed with rural roads in those parts enjoy a quick 20-plus mile trip from Edgewood to Guttenberg. Not only is the detour unsettling for travelers searching for Gut- tenberg, it hurts the tourist trade in the scenic little Mississippi river town. All of which raises the question: Since Iowa has some of the na- tion's finest secondary roads, why can't detoured traffic at least lighter vehicles be routed along those roadways rather than primary roads? The query was put to Pat Cain, assistant traffic engineer for the Iowa highway commission. Not surprisingly, Cain had a disarming array of facts which hold the state in sympathetic light. For one thing, the traffic- splitting brainstorm has been tried only to find truck drivers declining to take routes they know are longer. For another, use of county roads for primary-road detours requires permission of county boards of supervisors; some boards agree to such arrangements, but the pact usually ends up costing the state dearly in secondary road repairs. County roads used as detours deteriorate surprisingly fast, ac- cording to Cain. Then, too, detours along county roads require additional sign posting and many drivers find it difficult to follow county-road routings which sometimes feature detours along detours. But wouldn't most drivers rather struggle with a confusing shorter detour than waste time and fuel on a tortuous primary- road jaunt to Timbuctu? Well, yes, agreed Cain. But in view of the aforementioned disadvantages of county-road detouring, the state prefers to use primary roads, primarily. "We ask that drivers be tolerant and look at the final (road repair) said Cain. A reasonable request. Yet in light of the fuel shortage, the state should aim for shorter detours whenever the possibility pops up; that is, look for reasons to go the shorter route rather than excuses not to. County officials can help, too by allowing more county- road detours and restricting road maintenance bills to levels com- mensurate with damage caused. Revving up for red turns AT LEAST two weeks before a new Iowa law takes effect (July 1) allowing right turns against red stop signals without any posting at the intersection, Cedar Rapids' traffic engineering department was getting intersec- tions posted where rights-on-red will NOT ba permitted. The early work earns compliments. Jump- the-gunning by some drivers on the legal change deserves the op- posite. When the turned-around system does take hold, only time will write the record as to whether it was wise. Right turns on red only where posted, as first set tip, have plainly benefited traffic flow and shown a reasonably good safety record. In reversing the approach to red-right-turns (after stopping) anywhere except where signs for- bid them, this year's legislature followed the lead of neighboring Nebraska, Illinois and Minnesota. But it went against advice of the National Council of Urban Traffic Engineers, against the National Highway Traffic Safety Council's withdrawal of its push to make this national in scope, and against the preference of many city traffic engineers and state highway staffers in Iowa. Their feeling generally was that the old way is safer, that it rein- forces the full-stop before turning requirement, and that sign- stealing under the new system could create very serious dangers. But the legislature opted for simplicity. In Cedar Rapids, at least, well kept traffic accident records document the past experience with right turns on red under the old approach. Well kept records will document driver performance under the new one too. A year or two of operation should come up with interesting comparisons. Hopefully, the analysts will find no glaring differences in frequency of accidents between the two. If that turns out to be the case, Cedar Rapids will have spent some on changing all signs to run with the crowd but to gain in tangible terms prac- tically nothing. GOUT INDIANS All AROUND People's forum Storm aid deserved To the Editor: 1 just read the letter from Edward J. Rehak June 12 on revenue sharing and would like to comment both as a member of the Kenwood Ditch committee and as a home owner in this area. True, we bought our home with a quiet little ditch in front of the house, but our Realtor didn't tell us it overflowed when it rained and none of my neighbors or people of this area were told, either. We did not get our homes at a cheaper price, as they are priced much the same throughout the city. A flood hit the Kenwood ditch three years ago, just as it has hit the Vinton ditch. Are we not supposed to have the same rights and privileges that the people in the other areas of this city have? Storm sewers are required in the city's newer areas, but they were .tot when our homes were built. I worked many hours not only cleaning up my own basement jbut in talking to and getting information from the people who saw their basements cave in and thousands of dollars' worth of personal property go with the high water. Do these people not deserve a little bit of concern too? Many bought their homes when Cedar Rapids was a small town and watched it grow to the beautiful city it is today. Some people do not know that part of the southeast side drains into the Ken- wood ditch. This is something that I learned in working with the ditch com- mittee. So southeast-side residents would benefit too. We pay taxes also. We have helped pay for new schools, new streets, storm sewers, etc. It might be beneficial to talk to a few of the people who saw the high water and the loss of property to know that Cedar Rapids, in order to stay the great city it is, has to take care of the storm sewers in the problem areas so that these areas do not run become the junkyards of tomorrow. Sandi Kramer 1021 Thirty-third street NE Coordinator, Kenwood Ditch committee Keep Canal To the Editor: Last Feb. 8, according to the Associat- ed Press, Henry Kissinger signed an agreement that would eventually return the Panama Canal to Panama. Henry Kissinger no doubt would arrange to give Alaska back to communist Russia, and the Lousiana purchase back to France, if he thought he could get away with it and if it would serve communist pur- poses. The late Dr. Charles Tansill, historian at Georgetown university, warned a decade ago that "the expulsion of the United States from the Panama Canal Zone has been an objective of the com- munists ever since they took over the government of Russia in 1917." The slogan, "Internationalize the Panama was first minted in Moscow and has been actively implemented during several decades. Congress is angry about the proposed sellout of the Panama Canal. The Indianapolis Star for March 3 commented: "If the administration ever sends a treaty to the senate calling for turning over the Panama Canal to Panama, there is going to be a lot of trouble spilled." Rep. David Dennis (R- Ind.) is ready to insist that the President can't get rid of the canal by way of a treaty. It is U.S. property, he contends, and the disposition of the people's property requires the consent of both chambers of congress not just the senate. On the other side of the aisle Rep. D. Tape-grammar grabs Flood (D-Penn.) is leading the fight against a Panama sellout. On Feb. 19, he declared: "I can think of no better way for the administration to bring about another confrontation with congress than by proposing a giveaway Canal Zone treaty, for the issue is nonpartisan and the congress in the exercise of its consti- tutional powers, will dispose of such a treaty where it belongs in the wastebasket." It is easy to see why so many Americans and the John Birch Society are saying, "Don't give Panama our canal give them Kissinger instead." I. K. Davis 700 Thirty-fifth street, Marion LETTERS The Gazette's editorial page comes readers' opinions, subjecf to fhese guidelines: Length limit: 400 words. One letter per writer every 30 days. All may be condensed and edited without changing meaning. None published anonvmously. Writer's telephone number (not printed) should follow name, address and readable handwritten S'gnature to help authenticate. Contents deal more- with issues and events than personalities. No poetry. 'Easy now, Felicity' By Don Oakley IN ALL the comment on the White House Watergate tape transcripts, no one has remarked on another aspect of them: their atrocious grammar. No one, that is, except the assistant editor of the Stamford (Conn.) Weekly Mail. "Grammar may seem like a minor point at this writes Felicity Hof- fecker in a letter to the New York Times, "but it is something of a shock to realize that a man who not only is a graduate of college and of law school but who has managed to become President of the United States does not know the difference between such verbs as 'lie' and 'lay' ('the men were laying in the he when to use 'who' or 'like' or or the tenses of verbs." Grammar is important, she avers. Its whole point is to make meaning clearer. she suggests, "this is just one more example of how these people became so mixed up." Technically, of course, Miss Hoffecker is correct. The White House transcripts would rate a "D" in any high school English class, quite apart from their content. She's offbase, however, if she expects Americans to be upset by bad grammar. In fact, the case is just the opposite. It's almost positively un-American to know the difference between lie and lay, who and whom, like and as, etc. Anyone who does is immediately suspected of undemocratic, elitist tendencies. As for communication, the whole point of language as used by everyone from Presidents to public relations people is not to inform or "make perfectly clear" but to persuade. You can't do that if you don't speak the language of the common man. If Americans wanted a President who could use the king's English correctly, they'd have elected a king. Consensus.- Henry can handle things ;us: Henry can handle things Public sees Nixon trip as anti-impeachment ploy Nixon trip to Russia. By a narrow 42-38 ings." By an even higher 79 to 10 percent, However, the acid test of whether Insight? r nprppnt a nlnralitv that "in his a maioritv feels that "it is imDortanf to neonle are willing to trade off fnreien 6 By Louis Harris The Harris Survey BY 52-35 percent, a majority of the American people believes that President Nixon should not be taking a trip to Russia to negotiate new agreements with the Russians "while the house of representatives is considering a vole on his impeachment." By a com- parable 51-36 percent, a majority also opposed Mr. Nixon's current Middle East trip. Basically, if it comes down to it, the American people want to see President Nixon give top priority to facing the charges over Watergate and other alleged counts on which he might be im- peached, rather than traveling abroad at this time. By 46-39 percent, a plurality of the public agrees with the statement that he is "using the trips abroad as a grand- stand play to prevent congress from im- peaching and removing him from of- fice." The public is basically split on twu other latent worries about the upcoming Nixon trip to Russia. By a narrow 42-38 percent, a plurality agrees that "in his weakened position at home, he would be too tempted to give away too much just to bring back a peace agreement." However, by 44-38 percent, the public does not believe that the President "might be tempted to escalate a crisis abroad into a national emergency in order to stop the impeachment proceed- ings against him at home." These pub.'ic doubts and concerns all add up to a clear majority which feels quite strongly that these latest presiden- tial trips abroad are mistimed and ill- advised. At the same time, the American people give a solid endorsement of the basic direction of the Nixon-Kissinger foreign policy. Mr. Nixon is given positive marks of 65-33 percent on "working for peace in the 59-34 percent on "handling relations with and 48-45 percent on "handling the Middle East crisis." Significantly, by a lopsided 68-21 per- cent margin, the public also agrees that "if President Nixon can get agreements with foreign countries, he should do so for the good of our country regardless of the state of the impeachment proceed- ings." By an even higher 79 to 10 percent, a majority feels that "it is important to maintain continuity in progress toward peace for the next President to pick up, whether Mr. Nixon is impeached or The American people do not want Mr. Nixon to drop foreign policy matters while the impeachment proceedings are underway. But a key element in the public's thinking is that President Nixon does not have to travel abroad in order to make progress on international relations. The reason: Public confidence in, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger stands at a record 85-10 percent good-ex- cellent rating, the highest ever recorded for an official of the federal government. The prevailing feeling is that Secretary Kissinger can do the traveling and even most of the basic negotiating. These foreign trips arc widely seen by the American people as an effort by President Nixon to put his strongest case forward for justifying his remaining in office: His successes In foreign policy. The people do not object to his trying this tack. By 68-17 percent, a majority agrees that "he has the right to present his strongest cuse for keeping himself in of- fice, and foreign policy is his strongest urea." However, the acid test of whether people are willing to trade off foreign policy accomplishments for putting aside the Watergate case as far as the President is concerned came in the public's response to this question, asked of a national cross-section of people from June 1-4: "Do you lend to agree or disagree that even though tie may not have been honest about Wa- tergate, President Nixon il 10 good in handling foreign affairs, Watergate should be forgotten and dropped in his Agree, drop Watergate Disagree Not sure 25 63 12 27 62 II Basically, by a decisive 63-25 percent margin, the public indicates its un- willingness to allow Mr. Nixon "to put Watergate behind us" to concentrate on foreign policy matters, In the past, before the days when the President was laboring under the clouds of Watergate and other charges, a trip abroad was un almost sure-fire bet to produce more favorable ratings from the public. Diplomats ore only useful in lair weather. When il rains, they drown in every raindrop. Charles do Gaulle Now, however, Mr. Nixon is taking a high gamble on these current trips to the Middle East and to RnsHia. For most Americans see the forays as u ploy to Improve his position on the Impeachment proceedings, and tlint is a trnde-off which (he piMiplo say they just will not buy. An offer fat-cats can't refuse By Russell Baker ONK OK TIIK last great bargains in this age of 35-cent randy bars and 6S-cen( gasolineis crime. Tin- liaryain-ronsduus gentleman who pointed this mil to me is an executive in a law corporation, a quick at the science of holding down budgets while increasing profit. In today's market, lie believes, crime is bargain that big companies ought to be setting up legitimate crime divisions to fulfill their obligation to stockholders to maximize profits. His point is that while the cost of everything else from meat to men's socks has been rising like corn in Iowa, the cost of committing (he most profita- ble crimes has not gone up in 20, 30, in some cases 40 years. Recently, for example, several big companies and their executives were caught in the highly profitable business making illegal campaign contribu- tions, and were convicted. Although the contributions ranged from to the maximum fine for each guilty company was only for each executive, only At these prices the companies and their bosses would have been failing their stockholders if they had not chosen crime over law and order. Crime was a great buy arid the capital risks were negligible. 'Peanuts' For a criminal given to a presidential candidate, as all these gifts were, donors were buying the future good opinion of big men in government, men Russell Baker who, because of the interlocking rela- tionship of business and government these days, were in position to return the campaign favor in ways highly profitable to (he donor. Such relationships (see the case of the milk producers' campaign contribution to President Nixon) may pay off in millions for the donor. And what does it cost if he's caught? Peanuts: for a corporation, for an executive. Even this trifle is easily recouped. The executive finds an extra thousand added to his annual bonus, and the company may get the full back out of its customers with a slight price increase. "Rising costs" is the going justification, and the public pays the fine. The cosls of breaking the antitrust laws can be higher, but they rarely are. More often, when you are caught raking in the boodle from an antitrust caper, the government is content to tell you to cease, desist and divest. In view of the immense profit to be made from crime, my bargain-conscious executive argues, good management policy would justify many corporations in establishing crime divisions, on an equal footing with sales, promotion, distribu- tion, engineering and so forth. The corporate vice-president in charge of crime would be a raffish personality not given to squeamishness about stand- ing around in courtrooms pleading guil- ty. Under most corporate organizations at present, the dirty work has to be done by a college-educated man with strong drives to look respectable in his upper middle-class suburb. The threat of showing up in court leaves him terrified, and his reluctance to do the job with gusto makes for great inefficiency. Greater efficiency all around would al- so be achieved with a properly organized crime division capable of tigftt scheduling and planned programming. Under present helter-skelter practices, companies must go through the elaborate and costly minuet of trying to conceal the crime, being caught, cranking up lawyers, entering pleas and so on ad in- finitum in the squirrel cage of American justice. Once it is agreed openly that crime is good business, most of this fol-de-rol can be eliminated. Ample notice can be given the police (hat the illegal gift, say, will be made at a specified time and place. The donor, upon handing over, say, could be arrested immediately. Shadow erred The court, having received ample ad- vance notice from the company, sits im- mediately. The donor pleads guilty, pays the penalty and telephones the company a pre-arranged signal to raise prices immediately to recoup the costs. Tint entire process can be completed within 50 minutes, with nil the demands of the law sutlsfled. "The weed of crime bears bitter tlio Shadow imeil to say, and we believed him. Mi; really did have the power In cloud IIU.'H'H minds. Now Yolk llmiti I-
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