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Cedar Rapids Gazette: Sunday, November 24, 1974 - Page 10

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - November 24, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                Editorial Page Novombw 24, 1974 Train-time leverage Because the railroads' perform- ance in keeping trains off of Fourth street downtown at even- ing rush times has not lived up to their promise, Cedar Rapids' city council has revived an ordinance approach to change this traffic- aiding plan from voluntary to required. Despite the good intent on all hands, there appears to be strong doubt that much of lasting value will emerge: The railroads would rather keep it on a repromised voluntary basis because submit- ting to ordinance control in a street-crossing conflict could put all of them behind an eight-ball precedent, nationwide. The council hesitates to give the measure final passage because the background indicates that if it does, the whole thing may wind up in court. In spite of these clouds and le- gitimate worries, there is much to say for completing the ordinance process giving the measure a third reading and getting it onto the books, at least. That act alone would hardly give the railroads their threatened entree into court. Even when the matter being legislated has to do with interstate commerce con- trolled by federal law (as rail- roading no one has been gravely interfered with when a ci- ty council just PASSES an ordi- nance. Only when ENFORCE- MENT of it raises something tangible concerning power and possible damage does a party to it have the necessary leg for jump- ing into court. That would take an actual arrest. If Cedar Rapids' council had this added bit of leverage the legal foundation for filing a charge and applying some pres- sure if cooperation fails again and reassurances go sour the "vol- untary" system might work just a little'better too. If it fizzles and the situation justifies an effort at enforcement, even a judicial contest would be nothing automatically to fear from the public's point of view. The issue may be well worth test- ing all the way. Unarguably, interstate com- merce carries weight, and rail- roads should not be'hindered un- duly by local-traffic snags in ev- ery town they go through. At the same time, even railroads in in- terstate' trade should not unduly interfere with local traffic to the detriment of millions of plain citi- zens who live where rails block streets. Needs and interests have to balance fairly in the end. Reappraisal by the courts of all the .values, rights and public interests now at stake in modern circumstances thus could be en- lightening and helpful all around. That sort of test is more to be invited than escaped. Cedar Rap- ought to take the timely step that puts it in reach. Extend revenue sharing Though the federal revenue sharing act remains in effect until Dec. 1976, Sen. William Brock (R-Tenn.) has stamped "urgent" on a bill extending the program to 1983. .Brock's anxiety is justified: As long as the lon- gevity of revenue sharing re- mains in doubt, state and local offlcals will be tempted to sink their constituents' allotments into capital improvements instead of on-going people programs. Has revenue sharing worked well enough to warrant a seven- year extension? As observed in this space repeatedly, the pump- ing of federal funds into state and local public services has not set records for intergovernmental amity. For one thing, the desig- nation of revenue-sharing funds as "new money" has proved erroneous. Many communities, including Cedar Rapids, have found that revenue-sharing ap- portionments do not equal amounts previously received from Washington. The disparity stems largely from impound- People's forum One-way ignorance To the Editor: A serious driving hazard exists now in Cedar Rapids. On Wednesday evening, Nov. tried to drive south on the new one-way, Seventh street E. In the short time it took to go from Third avenue to Sixth avenue, I met two cars heading the wrong way. Some time later, I tried to drive north on the one-way, Eighth street from Sixth avenue to Second avenue. Again I found two cars going the wrong way. Evidently Cedar Rapids citizens are not aware of the traffic changes on these streets. If I found four violations In a few minutes, then there must be numerous violations every day. Cedar Rapids drivers arc at fault for their inattention to the traffic signs. I wonder, however, if the traffic depart- ment could provide some extra tempo- rary traffic signs, or if the police could patrol these streets more to help the un- aware public. My main concern is that the people who drive correctly on these streets arc ments initiated by the Nixon administration. Also, the spending "freedom" that states and communities were supposed to enjoy under revenue sharing has proved mythical. For every innovative use of funds proposed, the feds seemingly have a half dozen bureaucrats as- signed to monitor the project. Once again, then, federal funding has brought federal control. Despite its notorious flaws, however, revenue sharing re- mains a generally promising concept. Since the' federal gov- ernment can raise money more easily than state and local gov- ernments, it follows that Wash- ington should play a larger, role in sustaining local public serv- ices. Congress' next revenue-shar- ing action thus should be' two- pronged: extending the program to assure local governments of its vitality and guaranteeing that tax monies are returned to their sources with a minimum number of strings attached. aware of the hazard and are especially 'watchful for wrong-way drivers. Sandra L. Burke 1637 Southview drive NW Birth policy To the Editor: Why does Pope Paul deserve to be criticized for his belief in tho equality of all people? For a country proudly and courageously founded on this premise, it seems to me that some people are be- coming proponents of the "humorous" proverb that all people are created equal it's just that some people are more equal than others. For instance, if a person is respected by his peers for being able to Jhrow out enough garbage to feed many starving people, and if he can "love" a pet lo (he point of absurdly lavishing enough mon- ey on it in special food, fancy grooming and even clothes and jewels, somehow he Is entitled lo take over the Lord's cares, work and decisions and not only decide whose lives are beneficial enough to continue, but decide that of those people who arc generously allowed to live, some should be denied oven their basic hu- manity, and not bo allowed the simplest and most meager joys of a home and family. The Catholic church teaches that married couples indeed should consider the population problem and the depletion of the earth's resources in planning their families, as well as their own economical situations. The church is not unli-birth- Watergate exceeded FDR coverup worse By Don Oakley The greatest presidential coverup In American history was not Watergate, but the election of a dying man to the nation's highest office In 1944. At any rate, abundant documentation for such an assertion can be found in a new book, "FDR's Last by col- umnist and popular historian Jim Bishop. As Bishop tells it, alarm among the President's intimates at his physical state led to a secret medical examination at Bethesda Naval hospital in Match, 1944. It was found that Roosevelt suf- fered from congestive heart failure and irreversible degeneration of the vascular system. The President rapidly deteriorated in the ensuing months, both physically and mentally. Associates noticed that he would frequently stop in midsentence and forget what he had been talking about. His hands trembled uncon- trollably. Attempts by journalists, as well as FDR's Republican opponents to pry information out of the White House were unsuccessful. In August, 1944, Roosevelt collapsed after a speech to shipyard workers in Oregon. Despite his condition, in October he campaigned in a downpour in New York City in an effort to persuade voters that he was healthy and fit. Aware of his impending death, Roose- velt nevertheless remained convinced that only he could lead the nation to the successful conclusion of World war II and the shaping of the postwar peace. At the momentous meeting with Stalin and Churchill at Yalta In February, 1948, Lord Moran, Churchill's personal physi- cian, took one look at FDR and told Sec- retary of State Stettinlus: "I give him on- ly a few' months to live." Even Stalin, it is said, was moved to pity. What the postwar era would have been like had the destiny of the free world not been in the hands of a dying man at Yalta is something historians will long argue about. But as an example of a White House "palace guard" shielding a President and withholding the truth from the American people, It is a story with tragic implications far beyond those of Wat- ergate. NewsDODcr Entcrorlse Association Don Oakley. 'Harmful'? So are alcohol and nicotine Libertarian conservative view: legalize pot By William Safire WASHINGTON Through the local U. S. attorney here, the department of justice has made known that the crime of possession of small amounts of mar- ijuana will no longer be prosecuted. Because this announcement comes as a welcome relief to many who do not like to see young people "busted" for participating in a prevailing cuslont, no- body takes notice of a remarkable pre- cedent being set. The executive branch of government, through its attorney general, has just arrogated to itself power formerly held by the judicial branch and the legisla- tive branch. What right does any law enforcement officer have to decide which laws, passed by local or federal legislatures, shall be labeled null and void? What right do prosecutors have to usurp the function of judges in deciding that the holder of five marijuana clgarcts shall go free and the holder of six shall be prosecuted? The right, of course, is the discretion placed in the hands of law enforcement officials. In practice, not one of 10 crimes of almost any nature is aggres- sively prosecuted, because courts and jails arc already overcrowded. But this discretion, or latitutde, is given to prosecutors on the assumption that they will act discreetly. It is grossly abused when lawmen publicly announce which laws they have decided not to carrj' out. The department of jus- tice is not in business to make new laws or repeal old laws that is for con- gressmen and councilmen alone and William Safire control and is against only unnatural (chemical and mechanical) means, and is spending much time and money oh research to improve the efficiency of the "rhythm system" as well as seeking new means of natural birth control. Mrs. Paul E. Stratton Route 1, Fairfax Strikework To tho Editor: Some IBEW union members here have really contributed to cementing community relations with visitors to our oily and with our own police department. Walking a picket line is a right which every employe should enjoy, but nnl at LETTERS The Gazette's editorial page welcomes readers' opinions, subject to Ihme guidelines: Lanflih limit, XOO wordi. totttr writer 30 All may and odltod without ctionaino mooning. puMiihed anonymouily. Wrltnr'l I.Uption. numbw (not printed) ihould follow oddnm ond nodaMo to Mp arttwnHcote. Coohwli dwl mid i.iu.i oiv) rw tenMtts. the final decision to mete out justice should remain in the hands of judges. Our off-the-wall U. S. attorney here has gone to the extent of assuring po- licemen that they will not be prosecuted for falling to carry out the law. What has happened to the concern so recently expressed about the sinister assumption of power by the executive branch? The concern vanishes when the power is usurped for a purpose popular with most liberals. The decision on the legalization of marijuana is a matter to be faced squarely by elected offlcals, not fuzzed by the fuzz. "Decriminalization" is a foolish euphemism for crime without punishment: If we are not prepared to exact a penalty for the commission of an act, then we should stop calling it a crime. I think marijuana smoking is harm- ful and should be legalized. Liquor and tobacco are harmful and legal. A li- bertarian conservative view is that government should get out of the bus- iness of telling people how to conduct themselves when their conduct does not harm others. At least 20. million Americans smoke pot; the grass has roots. Since prohibi- tion has not worked, regulation should be given a chance. The only effective curb on marijuana use will come -from the left, not the right; from the force of health fnddism and social pressure, not the force of law. Last week, as elected officials per- mitted appointees to walk off with their power to legislate under the banner of the department of health, education and welfare was com- ing at marijuana use from its vulner- able left side. A new HEW report warhs that habi- tual use may depress the male sex hormone, possibly leading to birth de- fects; it also may lower resistance to disease; and in a classic nonseguitur the report adds that intoxication may lessen the ability o concentrate. As with HEW data on cyclamates the report plays on fears more than facts pot has not the expense of innocent bystanders. Out- of-town visitors to Cedar Rapids who unwittingly had made reservations at the Roosevelt hotel found themselves under attack (beating signs on their cars; tacks in tires; rocks thrown through windows; tires Welcome to Cedar Rap- ids. Onion people responsible for this would have us believe that kind of activi- ty is right and lawful. I think the citizens of Cedar Rapids have hired a dedicated and respected police department to protect them against just such malicious activity Because these officers chose to do their jobs rather than stand quietly by and allow these injustices to take place, they were first beaten and now sued for "brutality." It seems strange that the officers, not union members, were the ones requiring medical attention. I feel sure that I am speaking for a si- lent majority of the people of Cedar Rapids when I say thnnk-you to the Cedar Rapids police department for protecting us and tho visitors to our city from Iho obviously unbeaten and noisy minority of our community Huts off to Chief LaPdcrs and a fine group of police officers. .lean Vnndracck 1228 Third street SE Fadaout Money used to. talk, then i( whis- pered Now 11 just sneaks off been proven to be a gaseous thalidomide but fear does more than evidence can to justify God's ways to man. In a coming, short-lived era of the cannabusinessman, this is what we could expect: The legal importation, growth and sale of marijuana heavily taxed by each level of government "soak the young" is the slogan but prices should be kept high as a work Advertising would be regulated. As with liquor, TV and radio would be banned, and as with tobacco, warnings would be required on all print media. Tests would be developed to measure marijuana intoxication, and the crime of driving while stoned would be vigorous- ly prosecuted. Most important, the social protest connection would be broken. Smoking pot would be viewed not as "our forbidden fruit, but as a combination of booze and butts, harmful to the human body; substitutes would be sought for mind-expansion that are harmless, like exercise, meditation, self-hypnosis or who knows? gargling. Tests will continue not to deter- mine whether marijuana is addictive, which was yesterday's argument, but to show whether it is harmful. And it is in the very nature of "scientific tests" to show that the ingestion of anything is ultimately harmful. Tomorrow's young people, already suspicious of smoking tobacco, will read the the scary label on the legal packet of grass: "The surgeon general warns that smoking pot may cause sexual impo- tence, birth defects and lower resistance to colds." Wouldn't that be more effective in curbing the use of an artificial escape from reality than the present method of unenforceable law or the abdication of legislative responsibility to the depart- ment of justice? New York Times Service Notice: The Surgeon General Warns That Smoking Pot May Cause Sexual Impotence, Birth Defects and Lower Resistance to Culds Loyalty grotesqued By James J. Kilpatrick DENVER A part of the history of commercial aviation the saddest part is a history of collisions. The industry knows human Such a sto- ry slowly is unfolding here in Denver. The story chiefly involves John Ferg, a United Air Lines pilot whose seniority ranks him within the top third of Unit- ed's pilot-roster. The collision involves a collision of loyalties between a pilot's loyalty to his union on the one hand, and his loyalty to his conscience, his compa- ny, and his passengers on the other. Let me pick up the story on the after- noon of July 19, 1971, when a United 727 was flying a long milk run from Phila- delphia to Denver. The flight was in the command of Captain A. E. Raney. Somewhere south of Chicago, Raney's copilot and his' engineer smelled a "burning smell" in the cockpit, as if an electrical short circuit had occurred. They followed certain checking proce- dures, and .the smell went away. Then the odor appeared again as the flight approached Denver. According to some subsequent testi- mony, Raney overreacted. He cut the plane's electric power, which meant that the crew could not be certain the landing gear was fully lowered. He donned an oxygon mask. He began the prescribed checking procedures, but then abruptly declared that he was going in for a land- ing. Over the protest of his crew, he took the plane in at high speed, skidded off the wot runway, and caused damage In excess of to tho aircraft. The National Transportation Safety Board, after an investigation, attributed tho accident In pilot error Raney had "failed to follow approved procedures." Ho had "misjudged his and he had Improperly operated his flight controls. United fired him. Raney objected to Ihc dismissal, and following the custom- ary Industry-union pattern, the firing wont lo nn. arbitration panel. It wns hero Ihnt Inn human collision occurred John KITH known Runny tor mnnv years, had flown with him, and had ob- served .him in the demanding closeness of the cockpit. Ferg regarded Raney as a headstrong flyer, not suited .for emer- gency command. When Ferg learned of the arbitration hearing, he volunteered to testify as an adverse witness. It was a painful decision, because Ferg is a strong union man. He had held high office in the Air Line Pilots Associa- tion, and he believes absolutely in the union's valuable role in the pilots' be- half. But Ferg felt other values rank even higher. On Oct. 30, 1972, he took the stand against Raney. Five months later, before the panel had upheld Raney's dis- missal, Ferg received a harsh letter from his union. The letter denounced him for testifying against a fellow pilot. He was charged with taking "uncoor- dinated individual action" instead of going along with "pre-planned group co- operation." The letter concluded: "Therefore, we, the Master Executive Council of the United Air Lines' pilots, pursuant to our resolution, hereby offi- cially censure you for having taken the witness stand as a company witness to testify to the possible detriment of Cap- tain A. E. Raney." The union's stinging disciplinary ac- tion has cost Ferg dearly. In an effort to have the censure rescinded, he already has spent in legal fees and court costs. He and his family have experi- enced Ihc cold shoulder from long asso- ciates. But many other brother pilots, shar- ing Fcrg's courageous concern for the public Interest, have rallied to his side. William W. Ijiwrenco, a veteran United captain, has launched a legal aid fund for Ferg. The nation's airlines curry some 200 million passengers a year. Their lives depend absolutely upon the skill and steadiness of the men In the cockpit. For the pilots' union to punish n pilot who puts, the passengers' interest In first place Is grossly wrong. If the, union won't correct Ihut wrung, porhiips the next congress will.   

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