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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - September 1, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Arms race between police and criminals? Editorial Page Sunday, September 1, 1974 'Sunshine1 law: mediocre AS CUSTOMARY readers of these columns doubtless have noticed, Iowa's so-called open meeting law is viewed here as falling a good deal short of the candor-in-government standards its authors envisioned. The main flaw, as illustrated by oc- casionally furtive public boards and agencies, is the broadbrush provision allowing executive ses- sions (secret meetings) for some exceptional reason so compelling as to override general public policy in favor of open meetings. That loophole, big enough to sleer a school bus through, ap- parently is the reason why Iowa's open meeting statute draws a. mediocre rating in a 48-state overview conducted by John B. Adams, journalism dean at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Adams assigns this state's law a lackluster 6 score, compared with a perfect score of 11 accorded top-ranking Tennessee. Five other states also score six (Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming) while seven receive scores of 5, five are given 4s and two are scored 1. Two states, West.. Vir- ginia and Mississippi, have no open meeting laws. They quite justly receive flat zeros. Iowa's law is not singled out for comment in Dr. Adams' review at least not in a wrapup published by the trade weekly, Editor and Publisher. But the statute ob- viously is lumped among the majority deemed to be flunking a very important requisite for openness, provisions for open executive sessions; that is, ses- sions at which media representa- tives are present, working under disclosure of information ground rules agreed to by news- men and public policymakers. Only five states forbid closed executive sessions, according to Adams: Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota (inferred) and (on the state level only) Colorado. Fifteen states, of which Iowa is one, commenclably provide that no final action may be taken during closed sessions. Other criteria considered necessary for an ideal law include provisions for an open legislature and open legislative committees, city councils, county boards; avenues for legal recourse to halt secrecy; and a provision declaring action taken in unlaw- fully secret meetings be null and void. Adams concludes with this ob- servation: it would seem that most states' laws might be appropriately remedied to provide more openness or more en- forcement potential. (One is reminded that so far in Iowa, there has been no conviction of any public agency for violating the open meeting law.) The status of open meeting laws in most states is marginal. Very few states, by law at least, go beyond minimal provisions for openness Certainly the stress on "more openness and enforcement poten- tial" is apropos here. The Iowa legislature would be remiss if it let ttiu 1975-76 session slip by without shoring up the law. As noted here before, the flaws seem to.inhere not from the provisions as intended, but from escape hatches developed by certain boards and agencies in practice. Incumbents'unfair advantage THE ARGUMENT FAVORING public financing of congres- sional, as well as presidential, flpflions has been reinforced sub- stantially by a recent Common Cause report. Common Cause, the national citizens lobby, did some digging into campaign finance reports filed by incumbent senators for the seven-months' period that ended last May 31. These reports show that incumbent senators have raised between and for every raised by their challengers. They show that, in total, the 28 incumbents seeking re-election this fall raised million for the May 31 reporting period compared lo million raised by their 78 challengers, or mearlv three times more. Some individual discrepancies are even more lop-sided. For example, Senator Rolling's, South Carolina Democrat, raised a for each dollar raised by his opposition. Democratic Senator Allen of People's forum 'Land swap impossible' To the Editor: This is in reply lo Ihc Idler (Forum, Aim. 25) from Mrs. Lester L. Bnltz nf Waterloo criticizing my stand on the conlrtivorsial issue of cabin owners being evicted from state land in Northeast Iowa. Mrs. liollz failed lo tell the whole story. She related only Ihc part she wanted told. In Ihe past I have strongly defended Ihe cabin owners in their disputes with Ihe slate over boundary lines. However this lime the case is much differenl. There is no (ineslion who owns Ihe land which Ihe cabin owners occupy. The Iowa conscr- valion commission has approved plans lor developing the land which Ihe stale owns iiilu a roadside rest slop for all the public lo use. The cabin owners object and want lo trade some other land lo the in exchange for the land they now occupy. L'ndcr questioning at Ihe recent ICC meciing, Ihe spokesman for Ihe cabin owners admitted they have no specific land lo Irade. My question is, how can uiu Irade land you don't own in Ihe fir-.l place for land you admit you don'l even have lo offer to trade? Alabama reported for every dollar raised by his opponent. Even with this kind of advan- tage incumbents sometimes can be beaten. Two incumbents who fell this year were Senators Fulbright of Arkansas and Met- zenbaum of Ohio, both Democrats, who raised and respectively for their primary election campaigns. Fulbright lost to Gov. Dale Bumpers of Arkansas, who received in contributions, while Metzen- baum lost to Astronaut John Glenn, who raised But more often than not the in- cumbent wins and a major factor in his victory, generally speaking, is financial resources. Public opinion polls show the public far out in front of congress in favoring a public financing law that would treat incumbents and challengers alike. And what the public wants from congress it generally gets sooner or later. It may take another session. I said before and I say again, the con- servation commission is absolnlely correct in refusing such an offer. (Acting lo the contrary would be in violation of the Iowa code chapter 111.32.) The cabin owners are wrong in expecting this kind of unusual Irealrnent and the legislator involved was totally wrong in suggesting the idea of a trade in Ihe first place. Cloyd Hobinsoe Stale senator. Mill District Cedar Rapids Achievers' conference To the Ertilor Recently seven Cedar Rapids and five Iowa Cily junior achievers attended NA.JAC the 31st National Junior Achievement conference in Bloominglon, Ind. I was fortunate to be one of the 12 who attended. In Bloominglon, we mel more lhan lop achievers from Ihrnughout the United Stales and from various foreign countries. We learned new ideas from daily workshops and seminars aimed al publicizing and improving J.A. and rocniiling new sludenls inlo .LA. Olhcr discussion and workshop topics included new products, con- sumerism, future careers, international and .LA. public relations. The conference was a great experience for all Iowa delegates. Thanks lo all of Ihe people responsible for Ihe success of By Tom Tiede WASHINGTON In the past when a policeman told a suspect to "hall or I'll blow your head off" he was merely parroting a figure of speech. sadly, it's more than tough talk. Hundreds of police departments in the nation have traded their traditional .38 caliber revolvers for awesomely more powerful .357-magnums. In addition, many of the departments are now issuing hollow-nose iimmuniliun. similar lo dum-duiii bullets, which mushroom on impact and do ghastly things lo human flesh. In combination, Ihe new gun and bullet can indeed Idow a head from a body. The Connecticut state police is one of the lalesl departments lo upgrade its sidearm capability. Tests there indicate Ihe .357 is so atomic il can shoot through an automobile engine block. The hollow- nose, il has been shown, will nol pass through a human being with a neat little hole, as with Ihe "weak" old .38. but al- mosl explode nn striking so as to confine its massive damage, as a spokesman puts it. "inside the perpetrator." Con- necticut cops are delighted. But nn one else should be. The trend toward larger, more powerful police weapons is dangerous al insanity al worst. Police say the new weapons are needed lo belter protect the ciliwnry from desperados and that anything that does the job quicker and more effectively is progress. The rationale boggles Ihe mind. Following it, nexl Ihey will want mounted nn sijiiad cars, for, God knows, a 105-mm shell would really do the job more quickly and more effec- tively. Certainly the cop must protect the citizenry, and himself. Evil goofs with gats seem around every corner in the nation and. it's sickening, the police revolver is often the only defense the good guys have. But the policeman is only human, he can only do so much. The average cop is given hours of training (vs. about for ths average thus he's not a weapons expert nor, even a police expert. Giving him bigge1.' and bigger guns and telling him he is therefore better able to slop crime is a noisome hoax. It would not be a hoax, admittedly, if upon hearing of new police weapons, criminals would all back off in fear. But they won't. If anything, thugs will get new weapons of Iheir own. "What can result." says David Stein- berg of the National Council for a Re- sponsible Firearm Policy, "is a kind of arms race. Even non-criminals could get involved. We know thai many law-abid- ing minority people, as example, see police as Iheir enemies and actually arm themselves against irresponsible police. If they hear the policemen now have magnum weapons. Ihey may gel mag- nums of their own. Something like this could go on and nn. The question is. where does II end" Ideally, it could end by the applicaliun of federal leadership. Dozens of national agencies exist for the sole purpose of trying lo reduce bloodshed in the land. I'liforlunalcly, shockingly, al leasl one nf the agencies Ihe Law Knforccmcnl Assistance Administration encourages ralhcr than discourages police arms es- calation. Insights Valor lies jusf half-way between rashness and cowardice. Cervantes The Coniiecticul police, as example, used an LEAA recommendation as one nf Ihe arguments for adopting Ihe hollow- no.ic bullel. This bullel is so cruel (it's normally used .by h'J'ilers to kill large beasts) Dial G -..eva Convenlion outlawed its use in war: yet Ihc federal govcrnmenl says it's p'.Tfoclly all light, even desirable, to use il in New Haven. Guns have become one of America's major social diseases. Statistics indicate there are as many private weapons as .people in the land. Fifteen thousand people are murdered or die accidentally from guns annually, 411 percent of Ihe fa- talities are children between ages 1 and HI. The C.S. gun death rate per people is li.liS as opposed to a mere .10 in Greal Brilain. Clearly, the national movement should be to limil not escalate such carnage. A nation of Dirty Harry cops, blowing people's heads off. may satisfy the sadists but il won't do one damn thing aboul crime except make it bloodier. When oceans became puddles American tradition: man vs. the elements 'Lone Eagle's' flight: one-of-a-kind feat By Don Oakley TT IS ALMOST impossible fur a geneldlion that lakes the tijiu1 and distamv annihilating jot and even spai.'e flight For granted lo appreciate the tremendous excitement with whicl'i the world hoard Ihc news on May 21. 1927, thai one man in a small. single-engine airplane had flown across Hie Atlantic ocean. The only thinK that compares with it is the first landing on the moon. But that was a vast loam effort, the culmination of years of preparation involving the ex- penditure Millions nf dollars. The flight Don Oakley of the moon capsule "Eagle" had been worked out to the most minute detail, its crew was in constant communication with earth, even their breathing and heartbeats were continuously monitored. Millions watched the actual landing 1111 television. Authentic hero "The Lone Charles Augustus Lindbergh, did il all by himself mi hours from New York lo Paris with no radio, only the crudest nf navigation aids Olid no "backup systems" in case his craft. "The Spirit of St. Louis." faltered in mid-ocean. His exploil. coming less than 23 years after the Wright brothers gave men their first fragile uncertain wings, was a one- of-a-kind event in the history of aviation. Lindbergh was an aulhemic hero, burst- ing upon a cynical decade ripe for his kind of heroism. Only 25, handsome, modest, taciturn, the unknown Minnesota farmboy and former barnstorming pilot found himself J.A. in the Cedar Rapids area. I hope they will continue their support in ihe best practical business and economic education available to high school students in America.. Greg Conderman 1258 Golfview drive Nf: Food Stamp Flaws To the Editor: May I point out some of the inconsis- tencies of the food stamp program? I do not receive stamps but many of my tenants do. The program excludes two nems es- sential to modern civilized life, loilei tissue and soap, while allowing some completely non-essenlial ilems, pop, candy, and potato chips. It is true that toilet tissue and soap are not foods, but I doubt if some nf the eligible ilems are cither. For instance, coffee, lea, diel pop, artificial sweeteners and vinegar. All of these contain prac- tically zero calories and are therefore not capable of nourishing the body. One would starve trying to live on them. On Ihe other hand, beer contains many calories and Is therefore truly a food, but is excluded. So is dog fond, which a per- son could eat in an emergency. Robert D Smith, Route I Swisher suddenly elevated lo a dazzling fame he neither expected nor wanted nor could ever accept. Kings and presidents sought him out. New York went wild upon his triumphal return. He could have become an instant millionaire had he a different type of man and been willing to sell his name lo the makers nf a host of products who clamored after lii'm. Instead. Lindbergh devoted himself to the further progress of aviation, serving as America's flying emissary of good- will. He wooed and won the brilliant Anne Morrow, daughter of the U.S. am- bassador to Mexico. Together, they pioneered future airline routes across Ihe Pacific to the Orient. Then, in 1932. came tragedy in the form of the kidnap-murder of their first- horn son, and more notoriety nf the most vicious kind. Lindbergh withdrew even more from the public eye, emerging a few years later as a spokesman for the isolationists who wanted to keep America out of Europe's looming war. Many could not imdersiand this in a man who had turned the Atlantic into a puddle, who knew better than anyone else the capabilities of Ihe modern airplane. He was no longer Hie hero. He was called pro-Nazi because he had visil- ed and reported Hermann Gnormg's Luftwaffe In lie invincible. So great was the bitterness that when America did enter World war II. Lind- bergh's nffer lo serve was at first refused. Only years afterward diif il heivnc general knowledge that he had conducted a valuable survey of the U.S. aircraft industry for Ihe army in 19311 and thai, while ostensibly a civilian, had flown some 50 combat missions in Ihe Pacific. Era ends In l.ncr life, Lindbergh continued to live in seclusion with his family in Con- necticut, pursuing interests in conserva- tion, ecology and anthropology, as well as aviation. Not until did he publish the lull story of his 1927 flight, a book he gave the name of his famous little monoplane. The lenglhy list nf honors awards and medals he receiver! includes Ihe Distin- guished Flying Cross, the Distinguished Service Cross. Ihe Medal of Honor and Ihe French Legion of Honor. The dealh of Charles A. Lindbergh writes an end lo an era in which il was possible for Ihe lone individual, in daring exploit, to caplure the imagination of Ihe world. There will never be a hcvn quilc like him again. Daredevil cult: panache wanted; Eve! complies By Richard L. Worsnop EVEL KNIEVEL. Ihe mnlnrcyclo daredevil, is Ihe latest embodiment of a long American tradition of stunts- manship. As everyone over the age of three surely knows by now, Knievel will attempt to cross Idaho's Snake river canyon Sept. X in a nickel-powered "Skycyclc." II is the first time such a feat has been attempled, and the risk in- volved is self-evident. Robert Truax. who designed the Skycyclc, says Knievel will make a safe crossing "if the engine valves work, if the vehicle doesn't mil over, if (here's no major structural failure, if the parachutes deploy properly, if the cycle comes straight down and hits level ground and doesn'l fold up around his neck." Knievel publicly rales his chances nf survival as no better than 50-50, and he appears resigned lo the possibility that his boldest stunt may also be his last. If disaster slrikes, "I'll lust gei where we're all going quicker lhan he told an interviewer, "and I'll sit there having a beer while I'm waiting for'you." Pafcfi's Plunges That is precisely the sort nf statement trial endears daredevils to their legions of fans. If is not enough lhal a stunl be dangerous; Ihe man or woman attempt- ing il mu.sl possess a certain panache. Knievel has panache lo spare arid so. apparently, did Sam Palch, one nf the early great American stuntmen. Patch's speciality was jumping inlo bodies of waler from high places. The apex of his brief career came on Oct. 12. 1829, when he leaped from the top of Niagara Falls and not only survived but swam to shore. One month later, on Friday, Nov. 13, Patch jumped from Genesce Falls al Rochester. N.Y. His body was not found until Ihe following March. Jinx-ridden Numerous slunlmen since Patch have also been drawn to Niagara Falls. One of the best known was .lean Francois Gravelet, a French tightrope walker who billed himself as The Great Blondin. Gravelet won worldwide renown when, on June 1S5D, he traversed a rope slung across the Niagara Falls gorge in minutes. Like all true slunlmen, Gravelet was nol content (o rest nn his laurels. He repealed his feat .many limes over the always adding some embellish- ment. He crossed the gorge blindfolded and nn stills, did snmersaulls and hand- stands, and pushed a wheelbarrow. On one crossing he even carried his business manager piggyback. And he came through all this in one piece. The same cannot he said nf many nf those who went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The first In do so was Annie Ed- son Taylor, a Michigan schoolteacher whn look Ihe plunge in Upon being extricated from her barrel, she said: "Nobody oughl ever do that again." Her advice, alas, was not heeded. Several of the laler falls-jumpers were killed. And mosl of those who survived seemed ever afterward to lead tragic, jinx-ridden lives. Great stuntmen. however, cannot allow themselves to be intimidated by jinxes or superstition. Shipwreck Kelly, the greal flagpole-sitter of the 1920s and 19311s. Richard L. Worsnop made a point of staging some of his more daring stunls on Friday the 13lh. On nne occasion he stayed aloft 13 days. 13 hours, and 13 minutes. On another, he stood on his head and 'ale 13 hand-fed doughnuls lo promote National Doughnut week. No one knows what impels a Shipwreck Kelly or an Evel Knievel to clo such outlandish things. All one can do is cross all fingers and fervently wislrthem luck. Isn't it the truth? By Carl Riblfit, jr. If you or I did nothing in a job for which we were paid, we would gel nnr tail booted nut nf there in a hurry. Why. Mien, do we continue lo put up with a congress that mostly shuffles and snuffles? We must place Ihe blame on ourselves, an elcclorale indlrfere.nl to Ihe larget location nf congressional posteriors or afraid nf hurting its fool. "Fleas can be taught nearly everything a congressman can." Twain Traffic of three o'clock..'.and I guess we won't ever see the likes of him agar'n'
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