Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 4, 1974, Page 6

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette December 4, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - December 4, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa ;;tr Itll? Cfthif l\npitb Editorial Page Wedrmday, December 4, 19/4 520 on bock burner Of Iowa’s many road construction setbacks, none is more extensive than that proposed in the 1975 through ’79 plans for freeway 520 — the eagerly awaited four-laner between Dubuque and Sioux City. Individual eounty-by-county cutbacks along the 265-mile route have been in the news for two months; the highway commission’s technical staff has made no secret of recommendations and the reason for them: an unprecedented shortfall in road construction dollars. But the full scope of the route 520 delay is just now dawning on many Iowans living in or near the 11-county belt to be traversed by the freeway. Except for several short stretches near larger cities and towns along the route, major construction work — including grading — is out for the next five years. Unless the highway commission appreciably amends the decisions of the planning staff, realization of an uninterrupted east-west freeway serving Iowa’s northern tier of counties will be postponed a few more years. A mere 40 miles of the roadway are completed thus far, though 520 has been in the highway commission’s five-year plan for a decade. The keen disappointment of North Iowans should evoke empathy from all who have experienced road construction delays. Linn county residents of course are charter members of that club Interstate 280 now is open between Tiffin and highway 84 (Airport road) south of Cedar Rapids, but ancient dust-covered planning schedules still show earth-moving by the mid-1960s and unimpeded driving from Iowa City to Waterloo bv the early 1970s. The same planners who have recommended virtual postponement of freeway 520 work have wisely continued the top priority for 1-380 northward through Cedar Rapids. As noted in this space Nov. 8, Linn county road projects could be faring worse in the economic crunch Why does 1-380 construction remain generally close to its modern schedule while freeway 520 bogs down? To appreciate the difference, one need but drive on highway 218 from Cedar Rapids to Waterloo, then motor a few dozen miles along highway 20. the east-west two-laner which 520 will relieve. Highway 218 compares favorably only along the safer east-west portion conjoined with highway 30. Importantly, too, 1-380 is an ongoing, manageable project whose completion will take but a fraction of the cash and effort required to build the so-called “freeway of the north.’’ Whether this fall’s five-year road construction blueprint encourages or disappoints, the overall consequences of funding shortages ought to impress everyone. Thanks to effective lobbying or good luck, or both, many states saw their regional highway needs satisfied before the 19H7-1974 doubling of roadway construction costs. The freeway 520 delay points up Iowa’s hind-ward position in the road building derby. Puzzling plugola Shoppers gift-buying for preschoolers this holiday season will notice a new line of toys identifying commercially with a hamburger fast-food chain and a motor hotel corporation — McDonald’s and Holiday Inn, to be specific. This innovation of Playskool Corp. is an apparent spinoff from the association of Mattel’s precocious Barbie doll with United Airlines a few seasons back. As for Fisher-Price, another toy manufacturing giant, its policy makers do not believe toys should reflect the country’s frenetic interstate highway and jet-plane Culture. Clearly the Fisher-Price people deserve the good sense bouquet this time. Children are hustled toward adulthood fast enough without having commercial cues appear on the nursery toyshelf. If some children prefer playthings identifying with burgers-in-a-basket, O’Hare airfield and vacation bustle, the predilection may be traced to their parents’ tastes. Seemingly the entire American landscape* is overrun by otherwise dignified folks sporting beer-label T-shirts and hats. Then there are those garish Budweiser canoes The most puzzling aspect of the trend is not that people will plunk down precious cash to plug somebody else’s goods, but rather, that the manufacturer using the commercial label generally pays for the privilege. No wonder foreign visitors believe we’re ail a little balmy.Hark; it’s about time By Jim Fiebig I didn’t think    it    was    possible,    but watchmakers have invented yet another novel way to satisfy the American preoccupation with portable timepieces. I The new watch, offered by several manufacturers, lets    you    walk around with darkened crystal that shows absolutely nothing at all Wowzer, dowzer, right0 There s more    To    get    the time    and date, just press    a    little button    and you’re instantly rewarded with a digital readout in glowing red numerals The price, from about $2Ul) to $3.INN) Not tieing very modern. I don’t have to press a button to get the time from my $12 #5 watch It just sits there on my Jim Fiebig wrist with its hands hanging out for the whole world to see But then. I cannot claim — as the digital people do — that ray watch is accurate to within one minute a year It probably isn’t accurate to within one minute a minute Does it matter'* If the time of day were like ant lent tribal folk tales that had to Im* passed down from father lo son and generation to generation in order to survive, then I would have need of a watch that keeps the hour precisely . . “Son. before I die. I want you to know what time it is ” “Yes. Dad? Yes . .?" “It’s I2.IW p m ** But that’s just not the situation There are all kinds of responsible people and organizations keeping meticulous track of the hour all over the world If my $12 95 watch with the visible hands wanders a little. I can set it right with a simple phone call any time of the day or night That’s all the attention time deserves General l-eoiures Cor aor anon Interference Nothing is more exasjieraling than getting behind a guy in the left lane who is observing the speed limit io*a Vol# T raveler Gas-tax boost needed to sway diehards By Tom Wicker NKW YORK - Winfield Dunn of Tennessee, the chairman of the Republican Governors Assn , is the latest public official to bring pressure on President Ford at least to consider a higher gasoline tax Despite his professed wish to see gasoline consumption reduced, as a first step toward coping with the energy crisis and the high price of oil. Ford has insisted that he is not even thinking about raising the gasoline tax. In sharp contrast, as the few remaining Republican governors gathered at St. Louis to ponder their doleful circumstances. Dunn said it was necessary to adopt measures “where people can be compelled to do without a certain amount of fuel.” The gas tax. he said. “ought to be looked at.” Ford was sent the same message, if he cared to receive it, in a report from a federally aided carpool program in bis Angeles, the largest in the nation A major volunteer effort, the program has attracted only 12.WNI commuters since August, although there are an estimated four million drivers in the Los Angeles basin Federal officials say this only reflects results in 80 other federally aided carpool programs Given the number of drivers in the nation, a gas tax increase is clearly a matter laden with political controversy. Readers of these articles have reflected the controversy in numerous letters — many of them violently opposed to an increased gasoline tax on various grounds ranging from general anger at all taxes to more specialized views that the gasoline tax is unfair to particular groups — mid-income, low-income, commuters. whatever On balance, nevertheless, a stiff gasoline tax increase still seems the quickest and fairest route to achieving substantial fuel conservation in a relatively short time, perhaps to meeting the expressed goal of Secretary of State Kissinger (if not Ford) — cutting American oil imports from seven million to one million barrels a day. That impression has been strongly bolstered by a letter from C. W Griffin, jr., of Denville, N J., formerly a senior editor of Engineering News Record and the author of “Taming the Last Frontier”, a bonklength prescription for what ails the American city. Griffin argues, first, that rising gasoline prices already have forced down consumption by 2 to 5 percent in the Tom Wicker past year — an effective drop of 7 to IO percent, because while stable prices prevailed over the previous decade, gasoline consumption had been rising five percent annually Griffin estimates the correlation between gas price and mileage driven at 0 2 percent reduction in mileage for each one percent price increase. At that rate, a 20-cent increase in the por-gallon tax resulting in a 40 percent rise in the price of gas in most states would produce a further cut in demand of at least 8 percent. Griffin believes the savings could be1 IO to 15 billion gallons of gasoline annually. To those who argue that this falls too heavily on the motorist, he replies that the I’mted States is the only nation now subsidizing its automobile drivers. By his figures, they get about $2 to $2 billion in direct construction and maintenance subsidies each year, while autocaused ecological damage — not just air pollution but, for example, economic and other losses from fast-water runoff from paved roads — totals perhaps $10 billion a year. Citing I’ S census figures. Griffin also writes that commuting motorists average 35 percent more income than transit riders in New York and Philadelphia. and 150 percent more income in cities like Houston and Birmingham (he concedes exceptions to these averages). That, taken together with the clear responsibility of commuting motorists for so much energy waste and pollution. People 's forumStranded To the Editor: With cold weather coming and gasoline still a problem, I am reminded of an incident that taught us something the hard way. This summer a World war I vet, age 83, came from California to see us. We went to the depot to pick him up He left his baggage there and rented a locker for small pieces The depot has signs postal to tx* there .30 minutes before departure time His departure was at 12:30 a rn He went to the depot early The place was closed and it had no outside phone He had to walk a block and a half to find a phone to call us. We went down and sat in our car with him and talked to the bus driver, but there was nothing he could do. Our friend had to stay until morning to get his belongings, making him late for check-in time at the vets’ home where Im* was going My reason for writing now is that with cold weather coming, he would be strand^ in the cold. which is especially hard on an elderly person For a town this size there should at least tx* an outside phone booth so a jx*r-son could get help, or better postings in the depot Mrs F. II. Fetter IIIN) Twenty-second avenue SWDim outlook To the Editor If the political campaign outlined by state Sen. Clifton Lambent, minority leader in the new legislature, is to be seriously considered as a criterion of conduct. Gixl help the people of Iowa It is with a woeful and abysmal feeling that one contemplates the chances of enacting any worthwhile or progressive legislation in the new assembly. The Democratic majority is a myth as long as a partisan veto exists But to delicately place the aegis of partisan politic* as the foremost consideration, defeats the desire arid hope for a statesmanlike assembly. They might as well move the Republican campaign office into the Capitol. It looks as if the same old play will be offered over and over again, ad nauseam. Scene I, act I Enter stage right — Clifton I,amborn, waving a transcript of the nght-to-work act He sings “Frankv and Johnnie Were Divers”, exits stage center William C Koett I NN) Washington avenue SFRenounce oil To the Editor From what I read in I S, News and World Report some of our government officials are actually considering a very foolish and disastrous act Taking the Arab oil by force This would tx- just plain stealing While we do not like the way the Arabs have acted, that gives us no more right to steal their oil than to rob a bank How could we ever face the delegates of the United Nations, after we have always advocated peace and nonaggression 9 Besides. it is just too dangerous It would be likely to involve us in war with Russia. Worst of all. it might escalate into that terrible battle of Armageddon predicted in the Bible The town of Armageddon is now shown as Megiddo on the maps and is right over there in the Mideast Since It is predicted that most of humanity would perish in that battle, it just isn’t worth the risk I would personally rather quit driving a car at all than burn fuel obtained that way The safest way is to ration gasoline drive smaller cars fewer miles, thereby do without any Arab oil, and tell them to keep it. If we would do this, plus insulating our homes and arranging where possible for partial solar heating of homes, we would have plenty of oil without importing any from anybody. We could also make a deal with Russia for oil. Since they have plenty of oil and they want to buy our wheat, why not tell them we won t sell any wheat but will trade it for oil? That way we both would benefit and perhaps not need the Mideast oil. I have already written tit the President about the danger of taking oil by force U*t’s all write to him and to our congressmen also Even a depression is better than a war. especially a war in which nearly everyone might die. Robert I) Smith Route I. Swisher Action primer To the Editor This will Im* the first of a series of monthly letters on citizen participation in the democratic process. The tragedy of Watergate is one of citizen ignorance of. and lack of involvement in the democratic process of our nation We were robbed by the rich because the poor were not manning the store. We need to learn how to man the store. The Iowa Demcxratic party is leading the nation in its creative efforts to make its pr»x*esses truly open to all the citizens who share its political philosophy and sense of what are priority concerns. Imaginative steps have been taken and are being taken to insure that all citizens and issues can compete in a fair and open manner for the attention of the Democratic party, its candidates for office, and its elected officials. Many of these steps are already included in the party 's state constitution which may tx* found in many libraries across the state, or requested from Democratic state headquarters at 1120 Mulberry street. Des Moines. The public and private schools and colleges of Iowa make an important contribution to the strengthening of our nation by updating their educational programs in citizen participation in the democratic process. Emphasis should be upon real local opportunities for participation in both Denuxratic and Republican precinct caucuses, convention procedures, candidate campaigns, get-out-the-vote efforts and election-day activities. Our failure to emphasize these foundations of our democracy made Watergate politics at the higher levels possible. Most of our voting citizens no longer attend schools which can carry out the above suggested educational program. They can better be reached through programs presented to church groups, social organizations, special-mterest groups, labor unions, ad hoc educational organizations, professional organizations, etc. Program chairpersons of these groups can play an important service by providing for nonpartisan educational programs to help inform their members about real political participation In future letters I will offer basic information about, and suggestions for. effective participation in the democratic process within the Democratic party of Iowa By dipping and keeping these letters one will accumulate a “Primer on Political Action ” Paul A Smith 1024 Maplewood drive NENo swap To the Editor It is written A widow's mite is worth more than a wealthy man s pound (loosely translated). In the Forum Oct. 17 it was stat«*d that Mr Nelson R<xke-feller is exemplary of the ideals for which every good American should strive, and that he is an outstanding individual. distinguished throughout the world. If the requirement for being a good American is to idolize a fabulously wealthy man s ideology and philosophy. I. for one, shall humbly ask to be allows to remain among the had ones. “Notably outstanding" — assuredly so. hut so is nearly every immensely wealthy person . . . ‘Hmmmm, very nice ... ill take if STOSIC ' tit,*- VJ'ft** makes a tax on them fairer than most taxes The aim of Griffin, and others who feel as he dm*s, is of course to discourage automobile travel, promote car pooling, and push as many commuters as possible into public transit, thus conserving oil It is striking how many of those who have written to oppose a gasoline tax increase are against it precisely because it would do those things, or at least make driving a personal car considerably more expensive That suggests two conclusions that ought to tx* instructive to Ford and his economic and energy advisers One is that the American people in general are not yet so convinced of either the energy shortage or the world economic threat posed by the oil-producing nations that they see the necessity for reducing their driving or, alternatively, paying more for the privilege. The other conclusion is that, therefore, it is a pipedream to rely on voluntarism to reduce oil consumption by anything like the amounts Kissinger has recommended Contrary to the suggestions of some irate correspondents, most of those proposing a stiff gasoline tax increase know what hardship and sacrifice it would impose on the American people, dependent as they are upon automobiles and highways. But that is just the point — sacrifice is needed, and by no one more than the motorists who unwitting ly cause so much of the trouble. Nev* York Times Service Mr. Rockefeller has given tremendous sums of money away, mostly to his “poor” friends, “out of compassion,’ he has said. He seems to have more poor friends than we who are poor I always knew that birds of a feather flocked together, so it looks as though he got in with vultures . . . It is difficult for me to comprehend how a man who has amassed such a wealth can have any thoughts of concern for ‘JIH) and some millions, as he said. “less fortunate," in the event he should become President. An Arabic saying goes. “You are a sheik. I am a sheik; who will build the fin*0" If we all attained the loftiness of Mr Rwkefeller, who would carry out the garbage'* I harbor no ill filling toward Mr Rockefeller or anyone else, but seemingly there is room for caution, judging from what has occurred in the tragic, tangible past in the presidency. Although I now and then have to unconscionably cheat the mouse of its bait in the trap (cheese), I would not trade existence with him if he offered all his moola on a huge golden platter Hjalmar Johnson 24P9 (’ avenue NEBad business To the Editor After the price freeze was lifted and the fiKxl prices were allowed to skyrocket. there was a firm promise by the U.S. department of agriculture and the stabilization board to find out just who is the real culprit that is about to wreck not only the economy of our own country but of the whole world So far it turned out like the other investigations. Prices are still going out of sight, and we are heading for a tailspin similar to the one we experienced in the early ’.30s I took a little time to dig up a few facts and found out that the culprit is not who everyone is blaming for the so-called inflation, the farmer and the working man. hut the giant corporations which are allowed to break the law and force the small family farm off the map. For instance, according to a recent issue of Dun s Review, Standard Oil lays claim lo 3iNUNNl acres of California land and Boeing Aircraft has a leasehold tin UN).(NNI acres in eastern Oregon. where it raises potation Other blue-chip corporations plunging into agriculture are Getty Oil, (kxxJyear, Monsanto, Union Carbide, Kaiser Aluminum, and Penn Central railroad, the same outfit that took the easy way out by going bankrupt and is subsidized by the taxpayer. In many of these cases the enormous land holdings violate the 1902 reclamation act. which provides that no one shall receive irrigation water for more than 180 acres and that water shall not be delivered unless you are a bona fide resident farmer What happens when a few big conglomerates take over the food industry the same way GM, Ford and Chrysler did the automobile business? Recently th** Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against the cereal industry, where four companies sell more than 90 percent of the cereal eaten in America, charging that the consumer had been overcharged more than 20 percent So far nothing has been done to change this situation. How many more years will we Im* able to stand this sort of business where everything is controlled by a few giant corporations dictating their own prices on a take-it-or-leave-it basis’* We are just about to celebrate a bicentennial. but it will tx* a sad affair unless w** straighten ourselves out and enact some laws that do not reflect a double stand ard. especially the anti trust laws, Frank J Sasek 1912 Hamilton street SW ;

  • C. W Griffin
  • Clifton Lambent
  • Hjalmar Johnson
  • Jim Fiebig
  • Kaiser Aluminum
  • Paul A Smith
  • Tom Wicker

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: December 4, 1974

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