Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - February 19, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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Patchwork peace keeps NATO on edge
Tuesday, february 19, 1974
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Bargaining law needed
A VEAR A(i() Governor Ray suggested to the legislature that it should enact a law setting up collective bargaining standards for Iowa's public employes. The time was ripe, he said, for the controversial subject to l>e debated rationally, intelligently and ‘ without the pressure of a crisis” in relationships between Iowa's governmental employers and employes.
We urged the legislature to follow the governor’s advice then. The Iow a senate did bv enacting a “no-strike” bill giving bargaining rights to some 160,000 state, county, municipal and school district employes.
The 1973 house, however, put off a confrontation on the matter until this year. The house will take up the senate bill Wednesday in what promises to be a stirring debate.
Fortunately, the employer-employe relationship climate is much the same as last year — that is, no crisis looms on the horizon. So even though indications are the debate will be heated, it should not reach the emotional pitch that might be the case if it were carried on in the midst of such a crisis.
That is all to the good. The idea of setting up bargaining standards is to avoid such crises in the future. The intention is to give governmental employers — the legislature, administrative departments at the state level, county supervisors, city councils and local school boards — some guidelines to go by when a crisis appears inevitable.
The senate bill that the house will debate will be peppered with amendments — some offered in good faith to improve it and some offered with the idea of killing it. Our position is that the bill could be improved in several areas, but let us focus on only two here:
I. The bill contains a “final offer arbitration’’ section, which would reduce the authority the electorate gives to elected officials to make final decisions in their jurisdictions.
Price on freedom?
THE ATTITUDE that “so long as what I do doesn’t hurt anybody else, what I do and how I treat my own body is strictly my business” got a going-over Feb. 17 in comments on this page by columnist Bruce Biossat. Now it’s that opinion’s turn to take some lumps.
Mainly taking issue with the opposition to compulsory safety measures such as motorcycle helmets and ignition-linked seatbelt fasteners. Biossat raised an often-cited point in support of compulsion: When injuries or death befall people who have rejected those precautions, it does hurt other people by increasing the rates on everyone’s^hsurance
If it is true that unhelmeted and belt-unfastened casualties demon
strably increase every body’s insurance rates, the increase on each individual is mild at worst. (It also ups the casualty’s insurance, equally.)
To legislate away personal-choice freedom in these matters because of an added expense is to put a price on freedom and to value money over anybody’s liberty to take whatever selfdirected risks he finds acceptable. Freedom is too fragile and too precious to sell for any size of premiums on casualty insurance
In cold reality, wisdom can’t be legislated into anyone. Americans have every right to be as stupid as they wish and take whatever risks may hurt themselves alone, because to welcome risks from selling that right is dumber yet. and far more dangerous to all.
By C.L. Sulzberg er
lf this section is to remain in the bill, the legislature should make it clear that no final offer may be considered if it calls, directly or indirectly, for the governmental employer to exceed legal spending limits. This seems to be implied in the senate bill. But it would lie better to set out flatly and unequivocally what the limits are so there can be no question on that score.
2. The bill calls for creation of a new Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) of three members, appointed by the governor, with approval of the senate, for overlapping six-year terms.
The bill provides that the board chairman shall receive a salary equal to that of a district court judge — currently $26,500 a year and scheduled to go to $29,000 a year on July I. Each of the other two board members would bi' paid 90 percent of the chairman’s salary.
Two questions. Why tie the chairman’s salary to that of a district court judge — or to that of any other state official, for that matter? And why not pay all three txiard members the same salary?
The answer to the second question is unclear. The answer to the first may be that this maneuver relieves the legislature of giving its attention to salaries of PERB members in the future. They w ill go up or down depending on where the legislature sets the salaries of district court judges.
To our knowledge there is no pay differential in the compensation of members of other state boards or agencies. Why start a precedent along this line?
Governor Ray’s advice of a year ago is still sound. The time IS ripe to enact legal guidelines for bargaining between governmental employers and employes — first making sure that those guidelines reflect the public interest above the interests of either the employer or employe
LEYDEN, Holland — It IS probably logical that an era for limited wars — rather than total holocausts — should also be known for limited [Minces — rather than utter international tranquility.
Therefore, since America has managed to avoid disastrous showdowns with the other superpower, Russia, it should not be excoriated for inability to achieve a more wholesome diplomatic relationship than relative detente.
Nowadays neither absolute war nor absolute peace has a habit of breaking out The fact that Washington has at least reduced the degree of fighting in Vietnam and withdrawn U.S. troops should Im* recognized and not obscured by the fact that extensive bloodshed still occurs
Likewise, although Israeli-Arab violence hasn t ended. Secretary Kissinger did minimize its extent and started the combatants along a road to settlement
There has actually been continual fighting around tilt' earth since World war ll ended. Yet the superpowers seem finally to have accepted the habit of standing off while helping their respective clients without becoming directly involved. Brushfire war is the mode — bloody but not earth-destroying — and its diplomatic corollary seems to Im1 brushfire peace
People 's forum
To the Editor.
I wonder if you are aware of some of the consequences of your recent article on the drug, dantrolene sodium (Associated Press from Atlanta). I work as a speech clinician in a facility for the physically handicapped and am acutely aware of the numbers of people who live in hope of some new “cure” for their condition Your article was presented in a sensational manner (“Drug Gives New Life to MS Victims”) which draws attention and appears to be “the answer.
Handicapped individuals or their families have called their doctors, only to find that most doctors haven’t even heard of the drug. Those who have heard are not excited about it because they are aware of the drug’s purpose and its limitations
Those who read the newspaper article have to read between the lines of glowing
promise to discover that the only apparent advantage of dantrolene sodium is that it is an anti-spastic drug which in many cases does not cause drowsiness. This is not necessarily all that is needed to “release the potential of thousands of people suffering from various crippling disorders and allow them to lead something approaching a normul life.”
To present the drug as such, is in my opinion, cruel and inhuman. It is my bias that such articles should be restricted to medical journals where they can lie properly presented and interjected. When a new drug has been tested and proven effective in any given area, the patient can learn about it from his doctor, not the newspaper.
( atherine Kauffman Iowa City
To the Editor.
An article March 3, 1973, by Frank Nye
quoted Senator Curtis of Cherokee in explanation of a tax inequity in state law An editorial on the same subject ap-jieared about the same time. The state allows deductions of 5 percent (or $250) on gross income when deductions are not itemized, and the federal government
By this I mean jiatchwork regional settlements designed to ease pressures and avoid major showdowns. The bullet-riddled Indo-Uhina cease-fire, which represents neither war nor peace, is one aspect, slow groping for an Arab-Israeli solution is another
Western Eurojie is ln»th fascinated and disturbed by this trend because it wonders how the apparent commitment by the United States and the Soviet Union not to make war affects its own position Increasingly a pattern becomes clear showing that Washington and Moscow are determined to limit and stay out of conflicts even when their friends are involved
W hat many Europeans wonder is what would hap JR'n if an explosion occurred on this continent Would it, despite West Europe’s alliance to the U.S. and East Europe’s alliance to the U S.S H., be limited to the European theater only because tin* superpowers had agreed that they could only confront each other indirectly?
Were this indeed the case, some statesmen forsee this region becoming an eventual “Middle East” despite binding treaty assurance of NATO (or, for that matter, the Warsaw pact.)
UerhajKs the most potentially explosive point today is the lengthy Sino-Soviet frontier on which the Russians maintain more than 40 divisions and where then* is
not yet even an ad hoc agreement between Moscow and Peking, hut no serious disturbance there is looked for prior ti/ a change in China’s present aging leadership.
One restraining factor iii the present relative relaxation is Russia's need to acquire Western — above all American — machinery and technology This requires Washington’s goodwill and financial accords impossible to obtain during times of political stress
Moreover, Moscow would like to reduce the cost of its large forces facing Europe in order to concentrate on China. Such a posture facilitates U S desires to economize in NATO Europe by cutting its own garrison Thus both are edging toward a brushfire peace accord where their major alliance systems meet, and accord based on SALT. European security negotiations, and talk of mutual force reductions.
Nevertheless, behind this screen of goodwill, the basic fact remains that Russia has approximately attained armed
equality with America and seems to be forging gradually ahead rills fact, which disturbs many of Washington’s NATO partners, lies ominously behind the quiescent period now prevailing.
Moscow wants to convince NAKI there is no use spending more on defense since there is no need to fear the newly affable Russia, and anyway funds can better Im* invested in other fields. The West hopes a Russia spending relatively less on arms and more on comforts will become committed more to prosperity than revolution.
In certain areas this less truculent mood seems to have fostered increasing calm. Brezhnev has been telling Castro to cool his guerilla operations on the Latin Amercan mainland Likewise, the I S rapidly forgot its outrage over Moscow’s I OHS Czechoslovakian rape Both giants avoided direct clashes iii the Middle East last autumn.
Yet because this formula doesn’t spell out true peatt* but only avoids total war, many lands are concerned about where it could ultimately lead
Both Yugoslavia and China fear Soviet monkeyshines when Tito and Mao depart the scene And for its part Western Europe, whose very existence depends on the transatlantic ties, wonders increasingly how fully American commitments would Im* applied in a sudden, unexjR'cted crisis
New York Time* Service
allows 15 percent (or $2,(NKI) as standard deductions. Many people are not fully aware of this inconsistency
This is of special interest to thousands of people in the $8,000-$14,OOO income bracket who do not itemize deductions. Thousands of people are overpaying state income taxes because of a law passed in 1955 that ties the state tax to the federal form. This seems reasonable, except since 1955 the federal government has doubled the deductions and state tax deductions remain tin* same
The Gazette editorial in 1973 stated: “Middle-class wage earners are paying an extra $10-12 million in state income tax.” The news account said: “Governor Ray’s staff reports that no complaints have been received in his office.” Senator Curtis explained the development of this law.
Tax consultants are fully aware of the inequity, but they are not lawmakers. Middle*-income citizens, it seems, should complain. People in this bracket and not itemizing deductions should let the* law makers know if they believe this law should lie changed
H. Clark 1555 Eighth street Marion
Too saintly to swallow, perhaps
Solzhenitsyn-worship may go overboard
By William Safire
lI7ASflIN(i 11 A — I am the first on my * * block to feel misgivings about Alexander Solzhenitsyn
When westerners of all persuasions outdo each other to embrace one man as their champion, a suspicion arises that the focus of all this adulation might be too true to be good
Liberals love Solzhenitsyn for the enemies he lias made in the Sov iet Union, for his genuine courage in challenging the status quo in that totalitarian state, and for proving that there really is a force of “world opinion” able to modify Soviet tactics in dealing with a leading dissident.
Conservatives love him not only for asserting the rights of the individual against government repression, but for reminding Americans that “godless communism” is alive and well in Moscow, and for helping hard-liners to show that Soviet talk of detente is merely a ploy in a long-term strategy that seeks to enslave the rest of the world
Writers love him as the prime example of the journalist engage the dreamer of dreams about whom th** phrase “mover* and shakers” was originally applied, the hovelist-cum-historian who helps to shape the consequences of the event* he writes about.
Solzhenitsyn even has a friend in the oval office of the White House Despite his roiling of the international cultural waters, at a critical moment the outset ken Russian condemned the atrocities of the North Vietnamese in Hue, a comment appreciated by an administration under attack for the atrocities at My I .al.
With all that going for him, no wonder Solzhenitsyn has achieved the status of “most favored novelist.” His willingness to suffer martyrdom, his skill at publicizing his own plight (as well a* that of others who might not want such publicity), his status as Nobel laureate, and his ability to express what lias be*en happening in the Sov iet Union firsthand from the inside — all that has added up to th* Schweitzerization of Solzhenitsyn, the creation of an unassailable hero
Now that he is out of the Soviet Union,
however, his martyrdom shrewdly denied, cracks will appear in th** jm siesta I we have built for him
Politicians who praise him now for his opposition to oppression may discover, to their dismay, that their chosen symbol does not share their admiration for democratic principles. I susjiect we err rn assuming his vision of representative government to Im* our own. lh* may even turn out to Im* a communist
Then til** flip-flopping will begin His literary works will t>e judged on merits other than the circumstances in which they were written, and he will be re-evaluated more as a Mailer with a
cause than a Dostoyevsky with an understanding of character
Then some agal net-the grain prof Hists may report him to In* crabbier, more messianic and lens beatific than is customarily associated with sainthood. and today’s intellectual inspiration niav become tomorrow’s former hero, th** old champ who turns into a bore.
At least, that is what the Soviets hojM* will happen, We are playing right into their hands with a susjiension of our en Heal fac ulties (Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel prix* message was not in the same leugue with William Faulkner’s); with a worshipful media build-up (the newsmagazines this week are sure to jai*1 on the idolatry); and w ith the use of a hot new celebrity for our own purposes (watch the way Sol/hcnitsyn-meritioning will Im- us*-*I to spice up conversations arid articles on other subjects)
W hile on the inside as a dissident writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn was a test tor Soviet authoritarianism; on the out side us a literary sujH*rstar, he presents a ti*st to the Western world for an unscii timental consistency of conscience
N«w Yo*k Time’. St/ /i> f
To the Editor.
The Linn county jail has been found “adequate but filthy,” by our city officials. My question is, what purpose* does the jail serve other than the physical separation of its inmates from society? On th** jR)sitivc side of the ledger you can say that there is a work-release program, and that is about all
Where are the counseling programs'’ Where can the men meet at their option for church services? Have you ever tried to talk and sing to [R*ople you cannot see0 Could we not invest some money in courses design***! to illuminate th** minds of the misguided?
I don’t blame Sheriff Grant I just think that we ought to take “booze" revenue and use it to help alcoholics. We ought to take money ttiat is always available tor urban renewal, expressways, bigger and better roads — nice modern liquor dis-pensaries and all the rest in the nam** of progress — and us** it on humanity.
When will we learn that experience is not the best teacher? As the old saying goes, you can take a boy out of the country but yiMi can’t take the country out of th** Imiv
To effect a lasting change from within takes the w illingness of us all to appeal to the “inner man,” and that takes something more than “adequacy and dean fluors." Jesus said. “You are clean through th** word ”
Richard M Wallace 1135 () avenue NW
To th** Editor
I have read a lot of [iron and cons about nursing homes and private homes that take in the elderly. I grant that there are good ones and laid ones But has it ever occurred to anyone* to devote a little thought to th** individuals who live iii these homes or institutions’’
Just Im** aune they are disable! in some way, that d*M*sn’t mean they art* no longer humun or don’t want to live as norma) a lift as |M)K.sibit* They still want to Im* iii a rcul home made of wimmI and in a Im**! thai is not a hospital bed, with four walls surrounding them that aren’t cement, arid floors that aren't cement. They also like a little color instead of an institutional look
Granted, there are some bad places and they should comply with lh** rules But by making some of th** private homes
out as to nothing more than having a r*w»f over their heads is unfair. . .
I have women with me who were sick when they came but are not now. And I have women who have been in nursing homes, and they don’t want to have to ever go back. I also have a lady who tells her family that she feels G*k1 has blessed her by bringing her here, and she would rather die than have to move. And after she g*M*s to her own daughter’s home she is so glad to come “back home," as this IS her home. . . As long as a single one of these women is still drawing a breath of life that God has given them, they will always be important bi me.
Navadu Johnston IHI4 Park avenue SE
To th** Editor:
My husband and I would like to sjieak out against abortion. We believe abortion is wrong and totally immoral.
The right to life is a God-given right It is not for one human tieing to destroy the life of another, especially that of a child, even though th** child is not yet born.
An uidiom child is not merely an extension of his mother’s body. He is an individual with as much right to a future as has his mother
An unwanted pregnancy lusts only nine months, after which th** child may Im* put up for adoption. There art* thousands of coujdes on waiting lists who would give all their love and affection to that child
While not pleasant, an unwanted pregnancy in this day and ag** will certainly not destroy a young woman’s life und future. An abortion will most definitely destroy a life, a young, itm*M'crit life
G. Iyengar Hiawatha
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