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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - September 13, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Editorial Page Friday, September 13, 1974 Crummy sewers returning? ABBOTT AND Costello may be officially deceased, but the suspicion here is that the bumbling pair have slipped anonymously away and taken jobs as federal housing officials. How else can one fathom the feds' desire to foist upon Cedar Rapids homebuyers the same inferior type of sewer pipe that was outlawed by the city council six years ago? The way many experts explain it, the bituminized fiber pipe con- necting many home sanitary sys- tems with city sewer lines is a rupture waiting to happen. Not only does the material lack rigidity, it cannot stand year-in, year-out loads of hot water and detergents. In other words, the reinforced tarpaper tubing will last forever as long as one does not bury it and use it for transporting the very substances every homeowner needs to expel from his home. Uncle Sam's motive is not suspect here. Bituminized fiber piping is cheaper than its cast- iron, clay and concrete counter- parts; its recommended use meshes with the housing and urban development department's anti-inflation strategy. But the piping's record of quick, near-cer- tain failure in Cedar Rapids shows that re-introduction here would be the height of folly. As reporter Mike Deupree not- ed in the Sept. 8 Gazette, esti- .mates on the number of sewer failures vary. Nonetheless, it is accurate to say that thousands of Cedar Rapids homeowners al- ready have suffered or soon will experience the necessity of replac- ing faulty pipes. It is a vastly expensive emergency for most: about if the break occurs during warm weather, but much more during winter while the ground is Naturally, ex- cavation swaths respect no beauty. Trees, shrubs and even driveway pavement must go if they're in the way. Clearly, then, use of the non- durable piping to lower a house's purchase price is false economy. The federal government's promo- tion of bituminized fiber sewer pipe can hardly be called an infla- tion-hedge when chances are the homeowner must replace it within a dozen years. The only economy boost is for plumbers who seem to be mining a bonanza. (City code requires that sewer connections be made by licensed plumbers, though construction companies which specialize in sewer installa- tion doubtless could do the job equally well and cheaper.) All this is not to suggest that the notorious piping remains without defenders locally. Some responsi- ble persons attribute most fail- ures to improper installation. Reinforcing this argument is the fact that the method of pipe lay- ing recommended by the city is not required in the city building code. To blame the epidemic sewer problem on shoddy work- manship, however, one must im- agine that contractors here for years installed pipe in a manner they knew would haunt them less than a decade later. One needn't be a sanitary en- gineer to trace the trouble to the approval of substandard material for home sewer lines prior to 1968. The city council back then judi- ciously banned the piping (nicknamed though that's a and today's council commendably hopes to repel the feds' re-intro- duction of the stuff. If the government has its way, councilman plan to require the best possible safeguards against premature sewer line failure. That at least would spare some homeowners the hardship already suffered by thousands. The hope here is that the city also can erase the grossest unfairness of all: that homeowners, none other, must b> the entire cost of replacing interior sewer lines. To call the situation a scandal is no exag- geration. Larcenous Lou rOW THAT the St. Louis Car- dinals' Lou Brock has topped Maury Wills' stolen-base record (104) for one baseball season, sports writers naturally are tempted to compare the two ath- letes. Forget it; likening Wills to Brock is tantamount to holding Cannonade equal to Citation. Brock is a much superior hitter. Not only has he enjoyed a longer and more distinguished career, he has rewritten the sto- len-base book running against better pitchers and catchers than Wills had to contend with in his halcyon year, 1962. Consider: In '62, Wills played 18 games each against a bad expansion team, Houston (96 loss- an awful New York club (120 also suffering its first year; and a bumbling Chicago Way with words Holiday for Lady Luck By Theodore M. Bernstein TTNLUCKY DAY. TO the superstitious. Friday the 13th is something they could do without. To begin with, the number 13 is deemed to be unlucky, so much so that many builders, afraid that tenants will not rent quarters on the 13th floor, skip it and call the floor above the 12th floor the 14th: As to Friday, in many churches it was decreed to be a day of abstinence, as the day on which Jesus was crucified. In addition to that, in olden times it was known as "hangman's day" because that was the day on which public executions look place. But be of good cheer; all you need so is to hang on through the I3lh because the next day will be the 14th. team (103 losses) to whom the New Yorkers would soon sublet the dungeon. Virtually all the teams trying to nab Brock have talented athletes, including ac- curate strong-arm catchers. What makes Brock's ac- complishment all the more im- pressive is his age. Running on 35-year-old pins and playing in 134 of the Cardinals' 142 games (through last he sur- .passed the 165-game stolen-base output of a then 29-year-old Maury Wills. Brock's feat thus is an inspira- tion to all thirtyish joggers and runners. To recall one of Gazette Sports Editor Gus Schrader's most atrocious word plays (writ- ing then about that makes the guy some kind of thief of bags, dad. None again. A little while back this column contained a sentence that ended, none of those meanings have the sense the writer intended." That prompt- ed Mathilde Soloff of Philadelphia to ask whether the hove should not have been has. The answer is no. As was stated here once before, your grammar school teach- er, Miss Thistlebottom, probably taught you that none derived from not one and therefore must always take a singular verb. The first part of what she said is correct; the second is not. Although none sometimes means not one, it often means not any, as it docs in this sen-- tence: "Tomatoes are plentiful in this area, but none grow in our garden." It would sound pedantic and prissy to use grows in that sentence. Actually, most authorities agree that the plural use of none goes back to the earliest days of English writing and that it is commoner today than the singular use. 'Pardon me' Weasel-out primer By Russell Baker TI7 ENUF.LLII. Howes VV Chief of police Nautucket, Mass. Dear Chief Howes: 1 have your traffic ticket which was left on my automobile in August, [or a parking violation, said violation having occurred when I briefly left my car in a forbidden space while shopping for wine at Henry's package goods store near the steamboat wharf. Your ticket instructs me to remit a payment of in punish- ment, and .1 would do so immediately were I not firmly persuaded that such punishment would constitute an injustice with which neither you nor the town se- lectmen wish to have your names forever linked in history. I, therefore, request a full pardon from this parking fine, in support of which proposal I cite the following pre- cedents for pardon: 1. The "already suffered enough" precedent Before being driven to commit the violation at Henry's, I had sought parking spaces in the vicinity, first, of Murray's liquor store, and sec- ond, of the Islander liquors shop. In each case 1 was waved out of legal pnrklng spaces by meter maids, who indicated their Intention to ticket me If I persisted in parking. In both cases I gladly made the sacrifice out of my great respect for law and order. By the time the illegal parking spot near Hen- ry's was located, it was quite clear that I had already suffered enough in satisfy- ing the law's harsh demands, and so parked the car. Added burden At Henry's I purchased two half- gallon jugs of domestic red wine at each for serving at a large dinner. An oafish dog later knocked one of these jugs off the kitchen table and smashed it, thus putting me out Moreover, the guests criticized the remaining wine as inferior stuff and suggested that I had shown meanness of purse in serving it. People's forum 'Bod idea' To the Editor: Of all harebrained ideas, the one by State Sen. Micliael Blouin to require the Iowa commerce commission to buy all of the railroad right-of-way, tracks, etc., in Iowa (SF 1189) has to win first prize. His statement on TV that the only thing wrong with his proposal is that it needs to be done at the national level proves that he really meant it. Government is big enough as it is without unnecessarily adding to the bu- reaucracy by government ownership of part of the private sector of our econ- omy. Blouin's bill doesn't say where the dollars would come from, but it would take over million in Iowa alone equivalent to about one-half of Iowa's present budget) and it would also mean the loss of million in property taxes now collected from railroads in Iowa. This type of thinking is what you would'expect from somebody who spon- sored the, bill to make the ladybug the stale bug, but it isn't what we expect from someone who hopes to replace John Culver in congress. Dave Hull Fayette River sewage To the Editor: I would like to bring up an Iowa problem that is only getting worse over the years. Having spent weekends boating and fishing on the Mississippi river since childhood. I feel it is time our citizens be informed of one of Iowa's growing water pollution problems. Last weekend while spending the hol- iday with my mother and father on their houseboat, I was greatly disappointed to discover-how lax Iowa's water pollution laws are, especially after my continued broadcasting to visitors of how clean and comparatively unpolluted Iowa is. Prior to spending three weeks on the river, my parents had installed a hold- ing tank sewage system for Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. The tank is pumped out at "sanitary stations" into the city or rural sewage lines for treat- ment, thus keeping this added bit of pollution out of the river. This is a worthwhile cost of S5. Case for clemency-now While standing on a McGregor dock, I was shocked to discover the attendant going through the usual procedures of pumping the holding tank. The pipe at the end of the hose was dumping the raw sewage right back into the river untreated. This also cost S5. Considering the beautiful houseboats, yachts and cruisers that require this type of facility, I couldn't believe Iowa was the only member of the Iri-stale area not equipped to handle river sew- age properly. It's time something is done with the problems in the Dubuque marina, the heavy water pollution in the Davenport marina area and the poor fishing that is beginning to result. Will] the millions of dollars people spend to enjoy the Mississippi, I hate to see the "best river of all" ruined by all this extra garbage. Mrs. Charles DeSaulniers 2NI14 0 avenue NW Another View In pardoning his predecessor, Mr. Nixon, President Ford confirmed truth- fully the statement he made sometime ago when he said, "I am only a Ford, not a Lincoln." In appointing a NATO commander it is much desirable that he try to imitate Mr. Lincoln. General Haig's meteoric rise in the military ranks can be ascribed less to his brilliance, if he does possess any. than to his somewhat despotic philoso- phy which accorded with the then com- mander-in-chief, Mr. Nixon's. He is tainted now with the odors of the former President's caballing; but his past glory and the lucre should in some degree assuage his present discomfiture. Ho gambled and lost, so I cannot see why he should be elevated again. There are. I'm certain, better men deserving it more. Every man's work, whatever it may be, is always a portrait of himself. The more he tries to conceal himself, the more clearly will his character appear in spite of him. General Haig has been part and pargel of deliberate obfusca- tion of the truth. He carries but few scruples in his portfolio. With the sunset of Mr. .N'ixon. Haig's little world of fantasy caved in. I do feel a little sorry for him, but I hope, for the benefit of mankind, that he will never become supreme commander of NATO. Hjalmar .Johnson C avenue NK Posters "So what else is Haig's future To the Editor: Should the President appoint Cieneral Haig as commander of NATO? Emphat- ically, no. For the well-being of the many of us, only a man of the highest integrity and honor should hold such responsible post. It is doubtful that any of Mr. Nixon's underlings could mea- sure up to this standard. These are precarious times. For the President to find such a man, may I humbly suggest that Mr. Ford borrow or buy one Aladdin's lamp and join Diogenes in search for an honest man. It won't be easv to find one. To the Editor: The Cedar Rapids-Marion League of Women Voters wishes to publicly thank the city of Cedar Rapids for sponsoring the playground poster contest. "Better Water and Iowa Electric Light and Power Company for its display of Hie posters. It is important for children to be- come aware of the responsibilities all citizens share For environmental con- cerns. Jackie Chacey. chairman Kuvironmeotal Quality committee 1918 Washington avenue SF. Margaret Smith, president Cedar Rapids-Marion League of Women Voters Maple-wood drive NK Same result, swift or delayed By Roscoe Drummond WASHINGTON There is no good case to be made against President Ford's pardoning of Richard Nixon. It is a very weak case, indeed, and can be so demonstrated. The central argument brought against Mr. Ford's action is that to pardon the former President is unfair to his subordinates who have been or al- ready are being prosecuted for related offenses. This would be a valid contention, a persuasive contention, if those who criti- the President for his decision were opposing pardon for Nixon at a later dale. Hut they aren't. They are what they condemn as "premature pardon." What they are advocating is prosecution of Nixon now and pardon by Mr. Ford later if he so wishes. I ask: How would prosecuting Nixon now and pardoning him later give equal justice to his subordinates, some of whom have already served their jail sentences and some like Mitchell, Haldeman and Ehrlichman who are still facing trial0 It wouldn't. I ask: How does pardoning Nixon now create any greater injustice for his subordinates than pardoning him later'.' It doesn't. Under either circum- stance, the result would be the same. Present pardon still permits the other trials to go forward. Later pardon simply means Unit they would already have gone forward. The controlling fact is that most of the opponents of the Ford decision do not provide any way to guarantee equal Irealmenl for Nixon and bis nidi's Since they do not oppose ultimate pardon, they can't possibly recall sentences which have already been passed on numerous of them. Grunting the pardon now does not create injustice any more than deferring pardon would prevent injustice The second argument advanced by the critics is that Richard Nixon's guilt has not yet been clearly established and should be established by prosecu- tion. II has been established beyond doubt. The June 23 tapes revealed that Nixon participated in obstruction of jus- lice. The While House statement releas- ing Ihe June 23 tapes admitted thai Nixon was involved in the covernp. This was one of the impeachable offenses cited in the articles of impeachment which the house judiciary committee lat- er unanimously voted. This is guilt beyond doubt; and if congress feels Ihe need In establish it further, it can proceed with Ihe impeach- ment process to the end of a senate trial The sentences thus far meted nnf Ihe Nixon aides are not inordinate and Ihe resignation sentence imposed on Nixon is just about equal lo capital pun ishnn-nl, and could hardly be more se- vere short of Ihe firing squad In the financial loss caused by the dog and in the loss of face suffered before my guests, I contend that I have already suffered enough and, therefore, should not be asked to bear the addition- al burden of a ?5 parking ticket. 2. The "hanging is enough, you don't have to draw-and-quarler-'em" preced- ent The paper shortage prevents me from listing all the money Nantuckel extracted from me this summer, but even a summary must persuade you that I have already been hanged, finan- cially speaking, if not drawn'. I mean, really now, for water! And a month for electricity. And a month for oil? In a month when there was no heat running. And the ferry service. It costs more per mile to ride that ferry from Wood's Hole to Nan- tucket than it costs to travel to Europe first class on the France. In view of the sums Nanlucket has already exacted from my bank balance, I am certain you will agree with me'that the insistence on yet another check amounts to drawing and quartering the already hanged. As pardoned President Nixon once asked, do you want to pick the carcass? .'I. The "American tragedy" preced- ent I have never committed a mug- ging, cracked a safe, stuck up a gas sta- tion, or stolen fancy bicycles from children. In short, I am not a crook. Scourged Ik it not an American tragedy indeed when someone as eminently law abiding :is l, finds himself caught parking in a forbidden space? When that space is in an area as crowded as the steamboat wharf, the tragedy is compounded, for his shame is flaunted before hundreds and hundreds of passers-by who inevita- bly sec the parking ticket tied to the door handle of his humiliated car. It is surely better for the country to put tragedy of this order behind it, 'and to grant its victim such poor mercy as is within lemporol government's limited power. I, therefore, urge the town of Nan- tucket to rise above a loo scrupulous passion for law enforcement and pardon me this parking fine as a gesture of appreciation for the high quality of the tragedy with which my ear and I have enriched Nantuckel's otherwise humdrum summer season. Assuming that the town will act fa- vorably on my pardon, 1 will also take this opportunity to notify town authori- ties that I shall soon be requesting a substantial sum of money from the Nnnlucket treasury. If I am to grant the town the boon of my residence there next summer, I shall require a considerable monetary allowance for office expenses, travel costs (that murderous and miscellaneous, whatever that may be. A detailed estimate of these charges will be sent later. I mention them here only to give early notice that it may be nec- essary to increase parking fints in order to finance my continuing residence on the island. In the meantime 1 await notice of my pardon. Yours in law, Russell Baker t how o New conscience likn to pay my hilk second of the monlh.
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