Cedar Rapids Gazette, November 1, 1974, Page 6

Cedar Rapids Gazette

November 01, 1974

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Issue date: Friday, November 1, 1974

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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - November 1, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Hht &tdnt Hwjpitb Editorial Page Friday, November I, 1974 Pension uniformity needed Invariably, when tho Iowa legislature chooses to look the other way rather than to face realistically a problem crying out for attention, it runs into difficulty. That was what happened on the legislative reapportionment problem several years ago. The legislature thought that, by ignoring it, the problem would go away. But it didn't. It stayed right there and got worse, until the citizenry went to the courts for relief. The result was a more bitter pill than legislators would have had to swallow had they resolved the problem themselves when they had the chance. Another problem that has been confronting the legislature for several years is the need to upgrade the Iowa Public Employes Retirement System (IPERS). While it rates as one of the soundest, if not the soundest, devised by any of the states, it pays less than a vast majority of them. Legislators have known this for years. But they haven’t moved in on it seriously. So the news that 18 public employe groups have joined forces to try to persuade the legislature it is time to act came as no surprise. The 18 groups have come up with five recommendations, including these: (I) Change the contribution formula so that the employing agency pays $2 for every $1 paid by the employe — it s 50-50 today. (2) Remove the $10,800 salary ceiling for contributions. (3) Use the highest five of the last IO years of employment for the average salary base to determine retirement benefits. (4) Increase the formula to provide a 50 percent benefit after 30 years of service. (5) Provide present retirees with a $10 monthly minimum benefit for each year of public service — this money to come from the state’s general fund. These recommendations, among others, are worthy of the legislature’s consideration. But before it makes a decision on IPERS, it would do well to consider the possibility of legislating some uniformity into the state’s five pension programs. It may come as a surprise that the state has a separate pension plan for judges, for state police officers including troopers, for local police officers and firemen and for university faculty members — all in addition to IPERS, which covers a majority of public employes. Those employes covered by IPERS receive, at best, a retirement benefit that equals only 20 percent of their final salary. Those covered by the other plans receive, at least, a retirement benefit that equals 50 percent of their final salaries. That’s a disparity that needs the prompt attention of the 1975 legislature. Ominous ideo “The day seems to be approaching when we must seriously ask who gets to live where,” a population analyst told the National Symposium on Law and the Environment the other day in Spokane. One way to determine who gets to live where, suggested Dr. Peter Morrison of the Rand Corp., would be for cities to sell settlement permits — or “place of birth medallions” — allowing buyers to come in but keeping out all others. That would put migration on a straight commercial basis, with ability to pay the key criterion. But it would bring an end, essentially, to freedom of mobility as free Americans have always known it. The necessity for any clipping of the wings that way should be resisted to the bitter CHU. A move-medallion market would create tremendous opportunities for wrong. Wealth would be the dominant new value behind it. Favoritism, snobbery, venality, corruption, power-lust — a whole wagonload of antidemocratic forces would control such a system. Everybody’s fundamental right to hit the trail — to get up and go where the grasses look greener — would dissolve in dusty dollar signs on heavy bars to city gates. Nothing in the Constitution seems to spell out freedom of mobility as such, although the right implicitly has been there from the start. But if the time has come to think about restricting it severely now, the time has also come to think about protecting everybody’s right to move — by means, if necessary, of a spell-out in the Constitution, reaffirming nothing less than liberty and justice for all. fuMFO Down IISjOM (MANI) IN ska al immr Opoups This '/LM Jf&M ■■■■I WANT You To UNVERSfAMPMy ejy,cj IWN6W PtAWNo WITH VOL LoPltyiSfSy. : I HOW. Kl in WR m Wails ah/aa ' ^ ABSOLUTE poifli^R m ■ * RWW FOR just ' My soul, yourn > - ‘Mobility’ here, snobbery' there Race flareups forced By Don Oakley One aspect of the continuing “flight from the cities’’ that has received little attention from the sociologists and social reformers is the fact that this is far from being strictly a white phenomenon Perhaps it was in the beginning, but today, as more and more blacks climb up at least a few rungs on the ladder of affluence, more and more of them are moving into formerly all-white suburbs near metropolitan areas all over the nation. They are motivated by the same desires as were the whites before them — to live in a decent home in a decent community, to send their children to schools that are not crumbling and plagued with crime and to escape from the deterioration and degradation of the inner cities. Discrepancy Yet when whites fled from blacks or poor whites, it was called racism or class snobbery. When blacks flee from blacks — and that is what they are doing whether or not anyone admits it — it is called upward mobility, if it is not ignored entirely by those who see only the shortcomings of American society and dismiss its accomplishments. For the most part, this migration is taking place with a minimum of racial strife and that conies usually in the initial stages. Suburban whites are discovering that when blacks move in, the neighborhood does not automatically go to hell; property values do not fall but continue to rise, as they are rising everywhere in an inflationary economy. They are learning that blacks just want the same things they do. Many white families are realizing that there is no place left to flee and that they have to make integration work. America’s racial problem is not a problem of the suburbs. It is a problem of the cities. And in the cities, the problem is not that of integration per se, either in housing or iii schools. The legal aspects of that battle have been fought and won bv the blacks. It is when integration is massive and overwhelming or when it is artificially forced that there is conflict. We see an example of the former in a city like Cleveland, where the black ghetto is expanding into and sometimes around old, established white ethnic areas. We see an example of the latter in Boston, where children of both races are being arbitrarily taken out of their neighorhoods and bused to distant, “quota-ized” schools. Coercion Even there, the conflict has arisen not so much from the fact that black children are being placed in white schools as that white children are being forced to attend black schools of inferior quality. There would be exactly the same kind of resistance from black parents who have managed to extricate themselves from the ghetto if the courts were to order their children back into it. Rather than permitting, or being able to permit, integration to proceed at its own natural pace on the basis of gradually increasing affluence among blacks, we are trying to compress an immensely difficult and complicated social process into a matter of months. No nation has ever done this before, No society has ever attempted it. It is not surprising that there should be conflicts. Nf^soaoer Enterprise Association Don Oakley Morton a misfit as government ‘czar’ Energy Council flap blurs action outlook By Rowland Evans and Robert Novak WASHINGTON - The first closed-door meeting of the cabinet-level Energy Resources Council turned into a shambles last week. suggesting this unpleasant fact: President Ford has not yet established efficient policymaking machinery to deal with the nation s single most critical problem. Last week's meeting flunked the simple test of rubber-stamping a new oil pricing plan which had already been painstakingly worked out, raising suspicions that the council is too large to function effectively and that Rogers Morton, the genial, easy-going secretary of the interior, may be miscast in his new role as energy czar. The chaotic sestion also proved that some holdover Nixon cabinet menders may be more trouble than they are worth, a danger that also besets other policy areas. Thus, although the energy personnel changes announced by Mr Ford this week are a step forward, the government is still not organized to make the long-delayed decisions that will vitally affect economic and foreign affairs. When the Energy Resources round I convened for the first time last week, it had no great decisions to make. Its only function was to rubber-stamp an oil-swapping plan to equalize prices paid by refiners for price-controlled “old’’ domestic oil and foreign oil. Any equalization scheme has to mean more, not less, government control and thus runs counter to Mr. Ford s overriding philosophy. But the only alternative is decontrol of “old’’ oil, violently opposed by key Democrats in congress and quietly objected to as inflationary by most administration officials. Consequently. the equalization plan had been approved, in writing, by everybody who counted: Czar Morton, Treasury Secretary William Simon, Budget Director Roy Ash, economic adviser Alan Greenspan, presidential counselor .John Marsh Counting only principals, the Energy Resources Council has 15 members. But each brought along an aide or two. That created a mob scene of over 40 officials crowded around the table — tantamount to mass confusion. Former Congressman Morton opened the meeting with a display of the generous good nature that made him so |x»pu- IV ANS NOVAK lur on Capitol '{ill. Ile had no intention of playing “czar.'’ he informed the council, but surely everybody would cooperate. “I thought he was begging everybody to be nice,” one participant recalled. When the equalization plan was brought up for discussion. Morton's plea for niceness was rebuffed by Secretary of Transportation (laude Brinegar. Ford aides privately defend the indefinite retention of such Nixon cabinet holdovers as Brinegar on grounds that they keep quiet and cause no trouble. But Brinegar was both noisy and troublesome. Ile certainly had not been consulted in advance on the equalization plan. What’s more, as senior vice-president of Union Oil Co. before joining the Nixon cabinet last year, he had decided views: A Republican administration should not start down the road of stricter controls but go the opposite way, toward decontrol Brinegar s rhetoric set off a full-stale debate. All the arguments which principals and staffers had considered for weeks were now repeated. Morton seemed linable or unwilling to end the debate and gavel home the equalization plan. Having vacillated back and forth between control and decontrol several times in recent weeks, Morton now seemed confused. The council meeting adjourned with nothing decided. But Morton was immediately braced by colleagues and staffers who pleaded with him that the equalization approach simply had to Im* announced, council approval or not. So, Morton ended up acting as a czar after all. announcing a policymaking decision by the council that had not tx*en made The incident raises questions alxiut how the council and Morton will handle1 far tougher problems. Almost surely, the council must impost* restrictions on Sunday driving or on foreign oil imports, both of which will Is* highly unpopular. lf that is not enough, the council must bite an even harder bullet The proposed new federal gasoline lax, so often buried by President Ford himself. The hope for solving such problems may rest with the highly-regarded Andrew Gibson, who has resigned us president of Interstate Oil Transport Go. to become the new federal energy administrator “Whut a surprise,” commented a sardonic bureaucrat. “Naming an energy official who knows something about energy.” Ile and other officials hopefully foresee Gibson 'n presiding as Morton s lieutenant over a si im rued-(low n    Energy Resources Council and getting something done Otherwise, the path followed lust week will lead only lo chaos in the far tougher months ahead. I Hail Syndical* The people’s forum    4t|    jff    |g Zoos’ value cited To the Editor: Zoos are for people — and (Im* people of the Cedar Rapids area deserve a really great zoo. In a period of history when there is such a loud outcry for conservation in every sense of the word — energy, fuel, funds, and wildlife — zoos offer the very hest hope for the survival and preservation of much of our wildlife. However, people are the most important ingredient in building a zoo. As a dedicated zoo person and a native Iowan, I urge you most strongly and sincerely to vote positively on the bond issue that will bring you what you deserve — a great zoo for the state of Iowa. Did you know that adults outnumber children as zoo visitors by 3 to I? Did you know that zoo® attract more visitors from outside the area than from within’’ Did you know that visitors to th** Pittsburgh area spend an average id $H.50 per day each? Support the Zoological Society in Cedar Rapids. You’ll be glad you did. Meredith IVille. education director Pittsburgh Zoological Society Pittsburgh Vote-work To the Editor: I earnestly hopi* that Dave Stanley will be elected to the senate in the upcoming election. It seems to me that the only thing that would keep him from being elected would be the failure of his supporters to get out and vote. It’s a known fact that Culver’s highly paid workers (paid for with labor union workers’ funds where the worker has no choice in the matter) will be out in droves on election day, getting out the vote for Culver. Dave Stanley, who accepts no pres-sure-group money, is waging his senate campaign battle with much less money than his opponent. Dave’s workers are volunteer Culver, on the other hand, has been bought and paid for many times by George Meany, and he is surrounded by paid professionals. If you haven’t already read, “Labor Drives for a Veto-Proof Congress”, page 97, October Reader’s Digest, it would bt* worth your time to do so. Dave Stanley is a tremendous candidate, with great abilities. His qualifications and achievements are a matter of record. Let’s hope that Iowans will show the rest of the nation that we are doing our part in fighting inflation by-electing Dave Stanley to the senate. Donald R. Fish 3HiX) Lynbrook drive NE Billboardings To the Editor. David Stanley’s bililxiard slogans have given Iowa voters an excellent check-list of the gaps between his promise and his performance. His earliest billboard slogan was “proven integrity," and we learned rn his August television appearance that Stanley is the only man ever to have been brought before the state senate ethics committee on a conflict-of-interest charge, dismissed by a 4-3 vote on a technicality. Next was Stanley's billboard claim to bt* the “open government candidate,” based on his sponsorship of a 1987 law which does not even apply to the legislature and which has been given a 55 percent effectiveness rating by the Freedom of Information Foundation As Common Cause has put it, open meeting laws are meaningless unless action taken at illegally closed meetings is voidable, which is not the case with the Stanley law Finally, the Stanley bi! Uh lards have proclaimed his refusal of out-of-state “pressure group money," only to tx* (•unfounded by disclosure of the $4d,INHl given and pledged to Stanley by the Republican Congressional Boosters club — a funnel for SI .(KHI checks from big business interests with not one single Iowa contribution among them. Not to mention the incredible $473.(MHI admittedly spent by his family in previous efforts to buy a congressional seat for Dav id. That leaves the Stanley billboards drawing pretty much of a blank, which is just what Iowans should do in respect of his candidacy. Stephen B. Jackson 4314 E avenue NE Authenticity To the Editor Several people recently have questioned the legitimacy of People’s forum letters that are favorable to congressional candidate Tom Riley, One |>crson. Ron Bauserman, (Oct. 30) even implied that pro-Riley letters are being ghostwritten by “someone in Riley’s office ” I believe such statements are cheap shots, since the accusations are based only on conjecture. By contrast, letters which have been written by Riley supporters attacking his opponent, Michael Blouin* voting record, have frequently been bused on information gleaned from official Senate Journals, and thus are "fantasies." as Mr Bauserman claims, but facts. I .ast week on VVMT’s “Air Your Opinion’’ program. Blouin challenged the authenticity of letters critical of him saving (hat those which refer to specific bills by number or quote from official sources must be fakes, since average citizens simply don’t have access to that kind of information, only legislators do.” (I have Blouin’s comment on tape ) Attitude's such as those evinced by some Blouin supporters and Blouin himself insult the intelligence of all of us who do take an interest in government and study the candidates and issues. I’m sure there are plenty of Riley supporters like myself around who write favorable letters on their own intitiative, and who research their topics by perusing the copies of hills and the1 Senate .Journals readily available at the public library. Mike Hayslett 1717 B avenue NE Salary boos*s To the Editor: To bring inflation under control. most people agree government has to watch its spending more closely. In this regard, it’s interesting to note that as a state senator, Michael Blouin, Democratic candidate for congress, voted himself an aggregate 80 percent salary and allowances increase last year. This year, he voted for a bigger increase in salary for senate secretaries than the increase recommended by a special committee on salaries. Mr Blouin’s wife is his senate secretary. Apart from the obvious conflict of interest. I question whether his attitude toward us taxpayers is the kind we want in congress. Mrs. Donald Weston 2121 Forty-second street NE Sexist bias’ To the Editor: I was shocked at the blatant sexist bias displayed by The Gazette in its recent series of articles concerning candidates for the state legislature. The article concerning Mr. Wells and his opponent, Ms. Van Alst was very callous and flagrantly biased. Tty* writer went to great lengths to explain Ms. Van Aist’s marital status, financial situation and her present financial struggle to maintain herself and her children, but did not mention whether or not Mr. Wells was married, divorced, separated or had children This would leave all to assume that his social status was acceptable in the eyes of The (iazette, which might include perhaps the assumption that he could be a member of the Gay Liberation Front or other socially-oriented groups. If the article had treated BOTH sexes equally and fairly, there would have been no room for such asinine assumptions . . Gilbert L Bell 1828 First street SW Vehicle titles To the Editor: Mr. Hennessey and his staff at the treasurer s office have Iteen criticized recently regarding delay in obtaining motor vehicle titles from their office. During the past four years, I have been involved in many title transactions and have experienced very few problems. Generally, delays are not caused by the treasurer’s office hut are caused by the persons involved with the sale of the vehicle. For instance, if the title is not properly signed by seller and buyer, if the inspection certificate is not properly completed, if the pro|>er title fee, lien fee, and sales tax do not accompany the title, if the previous lien holder dites not properly release, the treasurer cannot issue a new title without delay It has lx*en my experience that one or a combination of these factors have entered into the delays I have encountered. I have found Mr. Hennessey and his stalf to Im* most competent and helpful. Lets not criticize before we know all the facts. Duane I) Thy* I RHI Wiley boulevard NAV Good pair To the Editor* We have been very fortunate to be represented at Ix.th the state and federal level by two exceptional individuals - John Culver in congress and Tom Riley in the Iowa senate I think it is important to send tho »>est man to do a job, regardless of his political affiliation Though they come from different politieul parties, Tom Riley and John Culver are both proven leaders and well qualified tor the offices they seek U't’s send John Culver to the C S. senate aud Tom Riley to the U s, ((ingress. Dims Kacere, jr. IHaH Thirty-second street NE ;

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