Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - June 29, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Off his back Editorial Page Salwday, June 29. 1974 Illusory safety record LEST NEXT week's headlines shock Cedar Rapidians needlessly, the police department has issued this low-key all points bulletin: Forthcoming FBI statis- tics showing a 200-percent rise in Cedar Rapids crime merely reflects a change in the local department's reporting system. They are NOT indicative of a local crime wave. The number of crimes against persons has not increased sig- nificantly, according to a depart- ment spokesman. The "inflated statistics" remit mainly from the listing of larger values recorded for most thefts. Anyone who has heard citizens reporting thefts to police will un- derstand why the doctoring of figures for FBI report purposes is a universal practice. Somehow, after thieves have struck, beat-up old black-and-white TVs suddenly become worth power lawn- mowers about to sputter their last are thought of as family heir- looms gone forever; missing golf clubs are spoken of as implements Arnold Palmer, himself, might prize never mind their dis- count-house origins. No wonder that up until recently police here chopped theft es- timates in half. If folks want to impress insurance companies the worth of lost goods, that's their concern. But why should the town and its law enforcers suffer from the falsehoods? Importantly, though, the report altering went a bit beyond the revising of larceny reports. As the county attorney's inquiry into police matters showed, bicycle thefts were eliminated from the FBI reports, and, in some cases, allegedly aggravated assaults were reported as lesser offenses. (The county attorney noted, however, that there has been no criminal activity in the filing of false reports.) But here again, the reasoning for report juggling is easily ap- parent. A painstaking listing of bikes stolen hardly seems relevant to the compilation of a city's public safety index. And minimizing assaults seems no great impropriety when one remembers that some attacks ini- tially considered aggravated turn out to be nonserious misde- meanors. Indeed, many such cases are marital matters which end up in civil court. Obviously, though, the report altering was ill-advised; police were wise to restore accuracy. The effect of the short-lived exer- cise in cosmetology was to elevate a demonstrably safe place to live to the No. 1 slot for cities of its size. The citizens need none of that, and it would be surprising if otherwise conscientious record keepers thought they do. In feeding all the raw crime da- ta to FBI computers, Cedar Rapids will see its illusory public safety ranking disappear. Let no one lose sleep mourning the loss. However, citizens might be anx- ious to learn how much crime really has risen in the last year. In light of the previous bookkeeping arabesques, that might be dif- ficult to determine. Proof enough already WHEN THE gasoline shortage spurred adoption of the 55 mph speed maximum last winter, the National Safety Council predicted a 25-percent decrease in traffic deaths. That prompted the few remaining optimists to figure that if road safety improves thus, a drop in car insurance premiums cannot be far behind. Missouri Sen. Tom Eagleton's proposals to that end made the outlook brighter still. But six months later, a noticea- ble reduction in insurance rates has yet to occur. At least that's the impression gleaned from random calls made to six Cedar Rapids area agencies. While several major insurers including Travelers, Hartford and Aetna are offering somewhat lower premiums, most companies ap- parently have adopted the "wait- and-see" stance. (The three above-mentioned firms, inciden- tally, were among those assuring Senator Eagleton that they will refund any excess profits.) People's Forum Tribute To the Editor; Henry Geiger, who died June 22, would have fit Herbert Hoover's definition of a common but "uncommon" man very well. He was known to many for his ex- ceptional ability as a woodcarver. After much of his life had been spent in the carpentry business, his retirement years finally allowed him sufficient time to pursue his first love of woodcarving. Henry Geiger was a quiet, cheerful and unassuming man who appreciated a good piece of wood and could see the potcnlial of it. His talent then allowed him lo develop that potential into a work of meaning and lasting beauty. His works were many. One day when a fellow member at First Lutheran asked Mr. Geiger where he had acquired his training for his wood- working skills, Henry gave a gentle and radiant smile and said simply that all he knew had come from God. His answer was typical of the way he lived his life, as a witness to his love for God and man. Henry Geiger will be missed from our midst, but the works produced by him will continue to speak to us for years and years to come as a reminder of Ihis To be fair, one must ack- nowledge that breakneck inflation weighs against largescale reduc- tions in the cost of auto insurance. But surely inflation is not nearly as significant as the impact of the gasoline shortage. To the layman at least, in- surance companies seem to have ample proof that premiums could be lowered with no debilitating results in the profit column. The number of persons killed on the nation's highways has been down for seven straight months. Each month's fatality figures have approximated the National Safety Council's estimated 25-percent reduction. Indeed, the requisite wait-and- see period seems to be finished. Would insurance companies require a half year of study to make upward adjustments if the speed limit were raised and fa- talities increased commensura- bly? The scenario seems far- fetched. truly uncommon man who shared him- self so unselfishly. Martha Zipsie 2057 Linn boulevard SE Guidelines To the Editor: Time, money and energy have been spent on Watergate. But according to the Bible, no one should have gone to court if both the plaintiff and defendant were Christians. Read I Corinthians There are a lot of retired people who could have used the money spent on the Watergate trials. Legally informed people have the tendency lo want to use what they know in a courtroom, but, is it truly spiritual? Sure, reform in government is needed. But as in everything else, things will only get better if the guidelines of the Bible are followed. Scripture is God's wisdom, not man's. When man docs not seek God's wisdom, no matter how wise his approach seems lo be, someone is going to suffer. In the case of Watergate, the nation is suffering. The government, business, school sys- tem, home, etc., should not chance suc- cess lo man's wisdom. II would he boiler if these institutions did nothing Ihan lo indulge in home pursuit that wasn't God-inspired and directed. Let's quil GOP office seekers dissociate from Nixon _ By Alan yfJASIUNUTON i ounrcMioiial V Kcpublicans art1 tiusy declaring their independence these days, working hard lo persuade voters thai I hey arc mil the Nixon loyalists (hey might have seemed only two years ago. But tlioy can hardly turn around without finding a nosy Democrat with a notebook full of futures that purport to prove they haven't abandoned the President after all. Hep. Wiley Mayne of Iowa is a good example. Fearful that Democrats would seek to brand him a rubber-stamp representative, lie his independence as soon as he declared for a fifth term. "In my lie said, "I emphasized that I have never been a party-line congressman and that I have a more Independent voting record than any other Iowa Republican." Mayne wants voters to know that he took a minority position on the house agriculture committee by opposing sugar quotas, and that he bucked President Nixon on busing and the supersonic transport plane. But his Democratic op- ponent, businessman Berkley Bedell, wants them to know something else: that Mayne supported Nixon 70 percent of the time in 1973, more often than any other member of congress from Iowa. That's the argument so far. "The President's a political liability. Dissenters to everything Print-disagreement flourishes By Russell Baker WASHINGTON One reward' of writing a regular newspaper column is the discovery of the rich variety of dissent which still thrives in the United States. Every week the mail brings refreshing evidence that Americans remain a wonderfully dispu- tatious race eager to catch out the arrogant columnist in his foolishness and torment him with demands for public confession of his poor judgment, muddled thought, careless cruelties, subversive opinion, bad grammar, weak history, and general ignorance. As a tribute to all who try to keep us honest in this business, this space is devoted today to the dissenters and their dissents. The most vigorous of these right now, of course, are the people who believe President Nixon is a great man who is being destroyed by newspapers and television. They usually write in rage and at length. They contend, with only minor variations, that columns unfavorable to the President are animated by personal vindictiveness, mental illness, bias toward the Democratic party, ideological zealotry and a desire to see communism triumphant in the United States. Oc- casionally, a more tolerant dissenter concedes that they result from mere stupidity. Present political passions, however, rarely produce the kind of dissent that reveals the wide range of interest which occupies the American mind. A New England gentleman, offended by a patronizing remark about Calvin Coolidge, protests that Coolidge was in fact an intelligent and witty man of con- siderable substance, and deplores the column's perpetuating the notion of "Silent Cal" as a national joke. He wants to see a full column that would finally do justice to Coolidge's excellence. .Numerous persons have written in anger, contempt or pity about this column's frequent allusions to the dif- ficulty of reading Marcel Proust. They want it known thai Proust is a great writer, so let it bo said. Proust is a great writer. Coolidge wasn't so bad either. A student of Latin points out that the columnist must be dumb about Latin grammar, which is proven by his writing "omnia Galiia" instead of the correct "omnis Galiia." A student of English points out that the columnist is not the suave master of the mother tongue he obviously fancied himself when he criticized Jefferson for the phrase "a more perfect on ground that perfection is an unmodifia- ble condition. How could a columnist, he asks, have the gall to dismiss Jefferson's prose and then, a few paragraphs later in the same article, write about "chopped ham- thus committing a redundancy that would shame a schoolboy? A fine scalpel under a columnist's ribs, that one. A column critical of the telephone sys- tem irritates a New Jersey man, and a column critical of corporate campaign gifts to politicians provokes a New Yorker to write in defense of Consolidat- ed Edison. In America there are people who still 'like and Con Ed, which may even be big news. In any event, there is the fact. You may not believe it, but these wonderful dissenters have put it in writing. It is impossible to mention anyone's hometown in print without offending al- most every letter writer who lives there. Write that Buffalo is one of the finest cit- ies in the world and dozens of enraged Demos strong, then weak Buffalonians write that they have been insulted because you did not point out that it is the finest city in the world. Thus, let it be said that in the opinion of various dissenters the finest city in the world is Buffalo; Chicago; St. Louis; Rahway, N. J.; Baltimore; Birmingham; Miami Beach; Buzzard's Bay, Mas- sachusetts; and several dozen others whose credentials are lost in the letter files here. Several people object to making fun of Santa Claus in print. Dozens believe the column has done a vast disservice to the nation by showing insufficient respect for mothers on this past Mother's day and for fathers on Father's day five or six years ago. Numerous militant women would like the general readership warned that the columnist is a sexist swine, and a plumber in Atlanta would like to damage the columnist's nose for suggesting in print that American plumbing is too backward to keep bathtub water from leaking through the living-room ceiling. The day after tomorrow a letter will arrive stating that this column is an im- becilic waste of valuable newsprint that could have been better used to expound the excellence of Marcel Proust, Henry Kissinger, off-track betting, transcen- dental meditation, youthful ideas, or soybeans. New Vork Times Service Russell Baker no doubt about it, "admitted Hep Idmald A Sarasin seeking re-election in a district thai was Democratic fm I-I years before he won it in 1972. Sarasin reminds listeners that he opposed tin- President's position on si-vrii of tin- nine bills NIMHI veined But Democrats in Sarasin's district are more interested in another subject: milk money. They charge that Sarasin has received cimtrihiitimis from the saiiu1 milk producers that were able to get their way on milk price supports shortly after they promised a large contribution to the 1972 Nixon campaign. Sarasin thinks this is unfair. "What bothers he said, "is their attempt in tie me into the Watergate allegations and to criticize me when the four Democrats in the Connecticut delegation got the same contributions. We're no! thieves, for crying out loud-" In Si-ii I'i'ler Dominick is having to fight off similar charges that he is tainted by Nixon and Watergate because he has accepted con- tributions from the milk producers' groups. He complains that his critics have been distributing "unsigned smear sheets" attacking him on llic issue. All this conies after a year in which Dominick, once regarded as one of the most loyal Nixon supporters in the senate, has made angrily critical remarks about the White House Water- gate policy and its congressional rela- tions. When it conies to scrambling for independence, the Republicans best off are the ones who didn't try to link them- selves to the President in the days when he was popular. Rep. Joel Prilchard (R- was elected by only votes in 1972. But he didn't campaign as a Nixon man, and in 1973, his first year in the house, he voted against the President's, position as often as he voted with it. Only 12 other Republicans did that. "I didn't get elected on Nixon's coat- Pritchard reminds people now. "Some of them did. They used the President's picture, for example. I just didn't do that." Largely as a result, Pritchard is considered a safer bet ta- re-election today than party colleagues who had easier races two years ago. Not all the vulnerable Republicans are following the same strategy. One bold exception is Rep. Robert J. Huber (R- narrowly elected to the first term in 1972 in a suburban Detroit district heavily Democratic by registration. Huber will forego conspicuous displays of independence and stick to the issues that won for him in 1972, such as busing and the evils of a liberal congress. you can't sell that to said Huber, "you don't deserve to be here." While most of his colleagues are carefully avoiding any defense of the President on Watergate and refusing to comment on impeachment until it reaches the floor, Huber makes no at- tempt to hide the way he feels. "I'm amazed, in view of what we he said, "that anybody thinks there's anything impeachable. Thai judiciary committee hates the President's guts. They were ready to impeach him in 1968 because he won." Most of the Republicans who won by close margins in 1972 insist they will be back for the 94th congress next year, regardless of Nixon and Watergate. "I expect to have an overwhelming boasted Rep. Peter A. Peyser "I am really in a very strong position. I have reached a broad acceptance among Democrats as well as Republicans." Peyser won by votes in 1972. Congressional Quarterly destroying everything with man's wis- dom before it's too late. Craig E. Seeley. jr. 610 J avenue NW Knights' backers To the Editor; On behalf of the parent body of the Emerald Knights drum and bugle corps, I want lo publicly thank the Cedar Rapids and Iowa Jaycees for their sponsorship of the Emerald Knights at the Jaycees na- tional convention "Parade of States" in San Diego last week. Cedar Rapids should be proud of the men who make up the local Jaycees ami of their continuing efforts lo benefit various organizations and projects in the Cedar Rapids area. A number of indus- tries also cooperated in the fund-raising effort on the Emerald Knights' behalf. The Emerald Knights are new this year new uniforms, new instruments, a new spirit and this combines to make a corps (for all youth 8-21) (hat all Cedar Rapids can be proud to have as representatives. They have just returned from their California trip via .State Center and Osagc in Iowa and earned a second place in (he contest ;it OsaKC. So hills off to the Jaycees, to Hie corps and In the cily they represent. Maryiiiina Dickinson Presidenl, Emerald Knighls Hever avenue SK Different ballgames: '74, '76 By Roscoe Drummond WASHINGTON It is generally agreed that the Democrats will devastate the Republican parly in congress in the fall elections but there is still grave doubt whether they can win the presidency in 1976. Why should the Democrats be so strong in the congressional campaign and remain weak in the presidential election? One powerful reason is thai Ihe antics anil the image of the left-of-cenler New Politics, which created Ihe massive McGovern defeat two years ago, still hang over the Democratic party. And they are not being lifted. The national image nf the party .-mil its N.'iliiinal policies ilu not determine Ihe congressional voting. Each party will have some candidates in the field. Roscoo Drummond and their personalities and standings in their districts will be decisive. But when it comes to electing the President, the national party image and its national policies are decisive, as was the case two years ago when the American people voted for Richard Nixon not because they so greatly liked him but because they liked what they felt he stood for. Thus far the Democrats show no clear sign that they are going lo keep from turning 1976 into another 1972. The architects of the New Politics remain powerful and numerous in the ranks of the Democratic party and they are inlenl upon keeping control. They are not dis- mayed by the McGovern disaster and aim for a rerun, though with another candidate. We will know in a few months how powerful they are. The test will be the make-up of the Democratic Charter an all-purpose mid-term which meets in Kansas City Ihis December. The delegates are now In process of being elected at the local level. Only iiboiil a of the total has been named, far the Inheritors of the Eugene McCarthy George McGovern tradition are doing better Ilinii many ex- pected and Ihe parly regulars lire not doing as well in they hoped. Al Hie lutes! count party regulars, including union leaders, officeholders and others representing the Humphrey Jackson wing, are only slightly in the lead, with New York and California strongholds of the New Politics still to be heard from. There is little prospect that the party regulars will command the December convention. It is quite possible that the New Politicians will. If so, two things can happen: divisive controversy tending to tear the party apart or a restructuring of the rules anil policies of the Democratic party which will invite another "Miami." H needs to be understood that this mid-lerm Democratic, convention is all- powerful. It can do almost anything it wants. It can adopt a new party platform. It can rewrite the rules governing stale and local party procedures. II can pronounce on any issue whatsoever. II can elect a new Democratic national committee and a new national chairman to carry out its orders. It also can reamain in force to hike any action a majority of the delegates decide on up lo the convening of the 1976 imllonal con- vention. This is why Ihe Coalition for a Democratic Majority, n cenlrlsl Democratic group, fears that Ihe resull may "force the party Into a mold nil from traditions alien to the Democratic parly and Ihe Inslltutloiis of Amrrlnin democracy."