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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - April 18, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa lEhf (tTtlnr 'Rn pi rid (DwjeHe Editorial Page Thursday, April 18, 1974 Giving outgoins selling IN THE WAKE of a decision not to take the $65,000 purchase offer of a church-related school for old Lincoln elementary building, the Cedar Rapids school board has run into criticism for leaning instead toward a gift of the building to Kirkwood Community college. One objection is that in a Kirkwood transfer. Cedar Rapids district residents would be shorting themselves with a valuable present to people of six other counties besides Linn in the college's service area. Another thrust has been that such a move is reason for the voters to reject a $7.8 million bond issue proposal for remodeling four old junior highs here in the special election coming up April 30. Neither point is valid. Thinking voters should reject them both. As for helping “outsiders” through a possible deeding of Lincoln to Kirkwood, this complaint makes narrow selfishness a guiding virtue. All counties' residents in Area IO keep Kirkwood going through the same tax levy paid in Linn. With the college’s main complex here. Cedar Rapids gets the bulk benefits (apart from service to each student) relating to the nearness of so large an institutionBoon for Soviet navy and its influence in cultural and economic ways. A local-community input apart from the rest not only would acknowledge and serve that advantage, it would be a self-rewarding gesture too. Facilities that Kirkwood doesn’t have to buy from taxes are as helpful to taxpayers here as to taxpayers anywhere New construction would, in fact, undoubtedly cost more than $65,000 for the same amount of useful space. Kirkwood's gain is equally a gain for all of Cedar Rapids, too. As for the view that passing up this cashfall earns a public rejection of the bond proposal now on tap. it simply doesn’t track. No relationship at all exists between the need for junior high improvements and the Lincoln building’s disposition. Sixty-five thousand would put but a trivial nick in the bond-issue picture. Alternative gains far outweigh it. The Cedar Rapids school board would be acting fully in the public interest if it consummates the Lincoln gift as contemplated Agencies for public education should help other agencies for public education every time they can. This time is omv Suez-clearing catchBy Don Oakley AS A PRELIMINARY to reopening the ' Suez Canal, closed since 1967, the United States has agreed to assist Egypt in clearing away thousands of land and sea mines and other unexploded ordnance in and around the waterway Egyptian officials hope that by October the canal can be brought back to the same condition it was before the Six Day war, allowing passage of ships up to 70 (MMI tons. It would be ironic if the welcome reojiemng of what was once one of the most important commercial arteries in the world had the unintended result of crowning the efforts of the Soviet Union to become the world’s foremost naval power. As of now. Soviet warships must make the long voyage around Africa to reach the Indian and Pacific Oceans Quick access through the Suez would be of significant strategic benefit to the Kremlin It has been suggested thai in the interests of peace, Egypt ought to bari the warships of all nations from using the Suez ( anal The United States, unfortunately, is hardly in a position to urge such a proscription in view of its own traditional strategic stake in the Panama (anal Thus the prospective reopening of the Suez Canal, another of Henry Kissinger s diplomatic achievements, need not necessarily be greeted with unalloyed joy Ne*SDODP' F.ntpr Dn%P Assoc lotion Public s belief in Nixon cover-up growsBy louis Harris The Horns Survey BV 54 to UH percent, a majority of the American people now says it believes that “President Nixon knew about and allowed hush money to be paid It* the original Watergate defendants.” This is a particularly critical charge in the entire Watergate case, for it is a source of confrontation between the President and his former White House counsel. John Dean It is also the basis of one of the indictments handed down in the case of former White House chief of staff ll R nobleman In fact, by 57-30 percent, the public indicates specifically that the recent indictments of Mr Nixon’s former top aides by the Watergate grand jury has made it “more convinced that the President was involved in the cover-up When coupled with tin1 55-21 percent majority that also feels that “the IK minutes missing from the tape of the conversation between President Nixon and ll R nobleman were deliberately erased because they would have proven Mr Nixon’s involvement in the coverup.” the shape of current public thinking is clear A majority now believes not only that Mr Nixon was deeply involved in the cover-up, but that the proof of his involvement has now been found In addition the public is prepared to believe thePeople s forum Bond-vote requisites To the Editor. I object to your editorial in Sunday’s Gazette. March 31st, in regard to the HO percent majority required to approve bond issues, in which you blame the failure of the Iowa C ity florid election, and others by implication, on a ‘ blend of selfishness, gross apathy and ignorance ” Iii a reply to a questionnaire published in The Gazette by Sen Tom Riley asking whether the readers would favor a simple majority approval on bond issues, I answered that I would favor such a change if “the cost of paying off the bonds and interest approved in such an election were not assessed to the individual homeowners living in their own homes, if they were age H5 or older, and living on their retirement income, and if the fronds approved did not directly benefit their residence property True, many homeowners are able and willing to voluntarily increase their tax burden to finance worthy public grave charge that efforts have been made to tamper with and even destroy some of that proof These are all very serious charges. They are indications not only that Watergate will not go away as an issue, and that the public is beginning to draw its own conclusions about the* soundness of the evidence, but also that the people are now assessing congress on how well it is handling impeachment proceedings Yet this very fact of high and abiding public interest in the Watergate affair and the willingness of the people to draw conclusions is a serious and grave business in its own right For under the Constitution, the people s representatives are the proper court of last resort. not a trial fly public opinion Congress alone can determine whether or not a President should be impeached and then whether he is guilty of the charges The founding fathers were careful to point out that they did not want the judiciary appointed by the President to render a verdict on impeachment By the same token, they also did not want a President tried by some kind of ad hoc People’s court, as was common during the French Revolution There is, therefore, some danger in the public making firm and fixed judgments about key items of legal evidence, such as destruction of tapes, or presidential involvement in the payment of hush improvements But over tin- years there are increasing numbers of aged homeowners, widows or retired persons who have paid for a great many civic projects during their lifetimes and who feel that those who will benefit should shoulder the tax burden. Instead of calling these citizens ignorant because they want some protection under the law why not request action by the legislature to assure homeowners that they will riot have their taxes increased fry a change to a simple majority rule.’ lf the need for a specific improvement is well-documented by the city council, and the council has earned the confidence of the average citizen by proposing a florid issue only in cases of need that the public will recognize, then I atli sure that those bond elections will to* approved W (i Ijndgren 511 Dunreath drive NESchool busing To the Editor I would like to share a few thoughts on the legislation regarding fills transpnrta-tion for nonpublic school students When I was attending high school, my parents had to pay for my ride on the Insights lf you expect a nation to be ignorant and free, you expect what never was and never will be Thomas Jefferson money to Watergate defendants I he danger is that the basil- premise of common law. that a man is innocent until proven guilty , might bo violated lf the public decides before a congressional trial that the President is guilty, and which facts are to be accepted and which should be disregarded, then the status of those who must make the final judgment can fie vitally affected. For every member of the house of representatives and one-third of the I S. senate must stand for re-election this fall How incumbents voted on impeachment could fie an important factor in deciding how public school bus. When laws were passed to give free fins transportation to public school students, that wasn’t an aid to the school It was a public service to the students and their parents Now when the general assembly is considering extending this service to students not in the public schools, ifs considered an aid to the churches and schools Why ’ In regard to this full prominent church leaders from denominations which do not support schools have spoken in opposition to the bill They’re champions of separation of church and state Would they then support legislation prohibiting tax-supported fire departments from answering calls to churches, or legislation prohibiting their parishioners from riding to church in government subsidized fins ing° MI (tut one of the states with nonpubllc school enrollments of over loo.(MMI provide transportation for nonpubllc school students Is Iowa s governmental system so much fn-tter than these other states that it protects its citizens from the ev lls of prov iding flus rides to all students regardless of the school they attend’’ Or is our governmental system designed lo prevent real equality to minorities, such as Iowa s minority who attend church-related or other private schools? people will cast their ballots this November The Harris Survey has weighed carefully the implications of asking the people their impressions of the allegations and personalities involved in the Watergate events. Members of congress have repeatedly made requests to determine the set of public opinion on all phases of the Watergate case. The* Harris Survey believes that public reaction to the Watergate disclosures is an important part of the process that determines the standards of our politics and the level of our national morality As for our national commitment to a rule of law. not men. the representatives of the people will make the final judgment, but in all likelihood, they will not be unmindful of the fact that the nation is watching. In late March, a cross-section of 1.405 adults nationwide was asked Former White House counsel John Deon te*. tiffed thot President Nixon was involved in the payment of hush money to the men originally caught breaking into the Watergate H R Hal demon testified under oath that the President said such payment of hush money would be wrong President Nixon agrees with Haldeman s ac count But the Watergate grand |ury has indicted Haldeman for lying when he testified the President sold it would be wrong Do you per sonofly think President Nixon knew about and allowed hush money to be paid, or do you feel he didn t know about it and would not have allowed it? He*knew and allowed t He dtdn t know Not sure Total oublir 54 76 70 The indictment al former top Nixon aides by the Watergate grand jfiry has largely confirmed the suspicions of the public that the President was involved in the cover-up People were asked President Nixon s former top oides hove been indicted by the Watergate grand tory As a result of Holdemon Ehrlichmon, Colson, Mitchell and others being indicted do you feel more convinced that the Presided* was involved in the cover up, or don t you feel thot way7 Toto* oubiu Feel more convinced Don t feel that way Not sure 57 30 13 Despite Hie tact that all of these Nixon aides must be assumed innocent until proven guilty the fact of their indictment has placed the President himself under a cloud of suspicion thicker than ever before Public opinion seems unlikely to settle for anything short of a thorough airing til the President s role in the Watergate affair lo settle the matter one wav or ariot her Louts Harris Hofiert W Brandt MkinsRight to privacy: Should criminal files be sealed?By Congressional Quarterly WASHINGTON — Does the person who commits a crime forfeit his personal privacy forever’’ Or should we adhere more closely to our ideal of “a fresh start " and seal off criminal records of those who have paid their penalty and behaved as law-abiding citizens for an extended period of time? In unusual unison, the Nixon administration and several key Democrats in congress have answered “yes’’ to the latter alternative Over the vigorous opposition of the FBI. the justice department has sent to congress a bill authorizing the sealing of criminal records five or seven years after the individual has completed his sentence and probation or parole without committing another offense These sealing provisions are part of a larger measure setting up safeguards to protect against the invasion of personal privacy through the misuse of criminal justice information, particularly that information stored in automated data banks In Ixilh the senate arid house, similar lulls have been introduced by Democrats, among them Sen Sam J Ervin, jr., of North Carolina arid Rep Don Edwards of California Subcommittees chaired by Ervin and Edwards already have held hearings on the proposals Any assessment of the proposal requires weighing at least two major societal values the personal right to privacy versus the public interest in law enforcement The Argument*YES SEEING I HF public interest as reinforced by the right to privacy. those who support the sealing of record: argue that no one whose steps are dogged by a known criminal record can truly make a new start — and so hi* remains a criminal How can we seriously hope to reduce crime if we disseminate records which have the unintended effect of making it impossible for people to stop being criminals" asks Aryeh Neicr. executive director of the American Civil Liberties (mon. \rrest and conviction records often create social lepers,” Im* argues Dissemination of their past records insures that many of these branded persons will not escape . . It may take Years until they are able to get stead' lobs and put down the roots which take them out of the criminal class. ” The dissemination of records places a series of obstacles in the path of |H*rsoiis who wish to enter society’s mainstream and end the half-life of the world of crime.” Noter adds « ’Society will genuinely forgive only when it undertakes to forget,” contends < harles Lister, a consultant on privacy to the federally funded System for Electronic Analysis arid Retrieval of Criminal Histories (SEAR! ll) We appear more committed to the platitude (of rehabilitation J than to its achievement Rehabilitation is an extraordinarily elusive goal, but . . it will be achieved only if we are prepared to limit the time periods during which, in the absence of new offenses, criminal records are made available — even to criminal justice agencies,” says Lister ’Rehabilitation suggests the full restoration of an offender’s prior status and opportunities, and that cannot Im* assured so long as an injurious stigma of wrongdoing is perpetuated by criminal justice records. ” Co"g»esvonni Quarte*iv lh** (Gazette's opinionLet common sense rule JI ST AS the relentless Inspector Javert trailed onetime petty thief Jean Yaljean in Victor Hugo's “Les Mi sera hies ”, a blemished deportment record can stalk a man today. Never mind that the so-called debt to society is paid, or that the rehabilitated criminal has become an exemplary citizen; the memory hanks of 20th-Century crime data computers pack a retribution potential that makes the old French bloodhound seem benevolent in comparison. Penalties are especially harsh for the young. Though a mature 24-year-old ex-felon may not resemble the rakehell teenager of six years earlier, the criminal brand is uncrasable. Good job? Forget it. Happy marriage? The odds are stacked high Adopt a child? No way. Ironically, society limits the time in which prosecution for certain crimes may Ik* commenced, yet there is no statute of limitations on discrimination against ex-wrongdoers. (dearly, then, a law requiring that aging criminal records be sealed rates as a twofold boon; to those who merit freedom from old stigmas and to society, the ultimate bill-payer in cases of relapse into criminality. One proposal now under consideration in congress would close off access to criminal records of persons who have been free from supervision of a criminal justice agency for five years, if previously convicted of a misdemeanor, or for seven years, if previously convicted of a felony. That law would adequately protect the privacy of individuals without hamstringing law enforcement agencies (A bill requiring that ancient crime records he destroyed would place the FBI at a disadvantage, however ) The only compelling argument against the sealing of criminal files is that perpetrators of abduction, murder and other heinous crimes should not he shielded no matter how great the time elapsed since incarceration. The obvious solution there is not to toss out the proposed bill, but rather, to make mayhem-related crime categories exempt from the record-closing provisions. Though it would penalize reformed exmurderers and kidnapers (and displease some civil libertarians), the exception meshes with the sealed-record law’s overall purpose: to protect individuals without threatening the public’s safety. The ArgumentsNO J THE DRIV A I E right I** outweighed bv the public need, according to law enforcement officials and others who feel a need for continued access to criminal justice records T am completely opposed to sealing any criminal justice information against criminal justice agencies.” states FBI Director Clarence M Kelley “There is a continuous need for criminal justice agencies to have unfettered access lo prior criminal records for subsequent investigations The majority of criminal recidivism occurs within a time frame short of the (fi\c-to-seven-year) periods enumerated in some of the bills; all criminal recidivism does not If only 111 murderers <*r kidnapers repeated their crime outside the statutory time frame, is this not enough to warrant criminal justice agencies access to offender records which may provide leads in subsequent murder or kidnaping investigations?” he asks “It seems clear that to deny banks information alnuit a I0-year-old conviction for embezzlement relating to an applicant for employment in a bank would Im* unwise,” argues Matthew Hale, general counsel for the American Bankers Assn And the Civil Service Commission would need access to those records too. according to the commission’s general counsel, Anthony L Mondello ‘"It takes little imagination to envision the relevancy of a recent embezzlement conviction to the suitability of an applicant for a payroll clerk position, of a person with a history of child molesting for any position in close and unattended contact w ith children, or of a person w ith drug-related problems for a position in a hospital or clinic. ” Congressional Qua*terly ;

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