Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - November 5, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Editorial PageToo little food-giving worse than none
Tueidoy, November 5, 197H
When Mark Twain noted that all most people do about the weather is discuss it, obviously he didn't envision the spunky farmers who would try to generate rain just as soon as technology provided the means.
Such an enterprising band lives in Iowa’s Adams county, where men of the soil not only contract for weather modification but levy a small tax for the service. The levy — applicable solely to citizens owning IO acres or more — was made possible through enabling legislation introduced by State Sen. James Briles (R-Corning) in 1971. Adams is the only Iowa county to adopt such a tax, and the levy may be the only one of its kind anywhere.
Do Adams county farmers get their money’s worth? The question was put to Don Drennan, rural Mt. Etna, who is chairman of the county weather modification board. “For two cents per acre (maximum) annually. I’d sure say so,” replied Drennan, who operates a 560-acre farm. “Why, a person spends that much for cigarets.”
Alas, however, some rural Adams county residents do not agree. A quietly-circulated petition has forced a Nov. 5 referendum on the proposed cancellation of the weather-modification levy. So furtive was the signature-gathering campaign that the county supervisors placed the question on the ballot before Drennan had even heard about it.
Why the dissatisfaction over using tax funds to help increase rainfall in Adams county? Drennan attributes part of the problem to a $2,000 increase in the annual cost of services. The present price, $6,500, exceeds the annual levying capacity by $1,300. If the program is continued, the
balance would have to come from voluntary contributions, same as when Adams and seven other nearby counties (two in Missouri) cooperated in a weather modification effort some years back.
A more likely source of disillusionment is this year’s horrendous drought. Adams county farmers have been socked about as hard as any in heat-seared Southwest Iowa. But Drennan does not blame the weather modification service. The ground-based generators (which seed clouds with silver iodide crystals) do not actually make rain, Drennan explained; they can only produce more moisture from a rain cloud (IO to 20 percent) than would fall normally. The term “rainmaking” thus is a misnomer.
What are the chances of rural Adams county landowners scrapping the rainmaking levy? Drennan said the narrowness of the vote-to-approve margin two years ago (about 20 votes) suggests another close tally. (Fifty percent is required for passage.)
Adams county is too small (pop. 6,300) and too far removed from the state's bright lights to draw much attention in the Nov. 5 election. Nonetheless, the $5,200 rainmaking^ referendmum there is more intriguing than some multi-million dollar blockbusters elsewhere. What farmers down Creston, Nodaway and Bedford way have is original and manifestly equitable.
Would it not be foolish to scrap such an attribute merely because nature won the 1974 round and rainmaking costs have bounced above the targeted clouds? The cost of everything else has risen too. From here, Adams county cloud seeding looks pretty economical.
Before Tuesday's elections, estimates on how the voters would attend them nationwide ranged to lower than 40 percent of those eligible this year. That small a turnout would rank as the lowest in 28 years.
As usual in criticism of this prospect, “apathy” got a heavy workout among the decriers. Apathetic voters are democracy’s worst enemv. the cliche goes.
So what is apathy? Indifference. A lack of emotion or feeling. Noninterest in things generally found interesting or moving or exciting.
Some elections do. of course, have elements that rightly can be called exciting to others than those who are running. Once in awhile a number of races in a given election imbue it with real excitement, and apathy indeed is what makes many voters turn their backs.
But apathy can neither tell it all nor tell it straight in some elections, notably with atmospheres around them such as what has wrapped itself around the election of 1974. A sharper word than apathy fits now:
Mouthwatering, that is
By Jim Fiebig
lf many Iou-income Americans really are eating pet food, it may be because some pet food manufacturers are unwittingly encouraging human consumption. Consider the unwitting TV' commercials for Mighty Dog, a canned dog meat that looks good enough to cut with a fork. In fact, that s how they show it — being cut with a fork.
The commercial stresses that Mighty Dog is IOO percent pure beef, which is the same thing McDonald's says about its hamburgers. The ad also makes it very clear that no byproducts are included. which refers to such unsavories as hooves, lips and smelts.
What really sets the mouth to watering. however, is the information that Mighty Dog is the “best-tasting" dog food Not the best tasting “to dogs," just the “best tasting."
By whose standards? It seems unlikely the makers of Mighty Dog have scientifically confirmed that canines consider their product the best tasting. Even if controlled testing shows Fido consistently turning up his nose at the
competition, who is to say that taste as we understand it is the deciding factor?
An animal's preference in food may have absolutely nothing to do with taste. Offer your pet a choice of lobster or horse meat and you'll see what I mean
I must conclude, then, that Mighty Dog’s manufacturers are really saying that humans, not dogs, consider their product the best tasting. And why bother to point that out at all. unless . .
Well, at best, it is an unwitting commercial
G*n«r<)l COfDO'OtionBy Anthony Lewis
BOSTON — In Western Europe, which many would consider a densely populated area, there are now about 85 people per square kilometer. South Asia, on the most cautious estimates of population growth, will ADD 140 people per square kilometer over the next 25 years.
There is virtually no unused farmland in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan. Sri Lanka. The chance of their obtaining the capital for intensive development of agriculture on the scale needed to feed the indicated population is near zero. To avoid starvation deaths in the tens of millions. South Asia will depend increasingly on outside food aid. By early in the next century, on the population projections, the aid needed would equal total V S. agricultural production
Those two paragraphs are abstracted from a recent speech by Dr. Philip Handler, president of the National Academy of Sciences. Many of us have had the experience of reading something that dispelled comfortable assumptions and forced us to open our minds. That happened to me in reading Dr. Handler's speech, “On the State of Man".
The fundamental problem addressed by Dr. Handler is the pressure of growing population and production on the world's resources — and on man’s organizational capacity.
There are now four billion people on earth. The number is doubling about every 35 years. The poor are growing very much faster than the rich, and a new study by the Environmental Fund shows that the rate of population growth has actually increased in some less-developed countries despite “family planning” programs.
The problem is most acute, by far. in South Asia. Resources there are scarce, the population huge and growing, the prospect of multiplying food production dim.
Dr. Handler raises the possibility that the developed world may simply decide to “forget" the countries of South Asia — "to give them up as hopeless."
Then, he says, “the adjustments required by the rest of the world as hu-
People's forumImpact of rezoning
To the Editor:
To whom do the city zoning agencies (the zoning and planning commission and the city council) owe responsibility — to the people of Cedar Rapids or to anonymous commercial interests? This is the question troubling more than 4(H) residents of the city’s northwest quadrant. signers of a petition submitted this month to the council.
The issue at stake is the rezoning of 514 acres to permit construction of a behemoth complex of exclusive condominium apartments. The residents adjoining the proposed development are unanimously opposed to the rezoning. Yet there are indications their rights as property owners may be swept aside for massive commercial development.
At present the neighborhood is a pleasant residential area with quiet streets and rolling, wooded hills. Rezoned, it would turn into a crowded urban landscape of concrete and sky-blotting apartments. Its streets, on which children now play, would be congested with traffic. The peacefulness which attracted home-buyers to the neighborhood would be shattered by a staggering influx of people, cars, private swimming pools and tennis courts, and at least five noisy years of construction
Additionally, severe new strains would be placed on the neighborhood’s schools, its drainage system, and its streets — strains that would result in tax increases for the residents.
Development of the city’s land resources, consistent with the well-being of its people and contingent on their consent, is the proper role of the city zoning agencies. The commission’s decision on the present issue will show whether it is fulfilling this important responsibility or merely serving the interests of powerful and unidentified developers.
Victor L Mora vee 1721 Hillside drive NW
inanity seeks to come into equilibrium with our host planet will still be severe but can be feasible, and one can look to the prospect of a decent standard of living for the rest of mankind — assuming. of course, that the developing nations of Latin America and Africa will soon adopt effective population policies.’’
Ile evidently would like to see a massive program of aid and development for the countries of South Asia But if we do not do that, he says as a scientist that it would be better to do nothing — because a lesser effort would be “counter-productive." It would encourage continued population growth — and more deaths later.
“Cruel as it may sound.’’ Dr. Handler says, “if the developed nations do not intend the colossal all-out effort commensurate with this task, then it
may be wiser to let nature take its course as Aristotle described it: 'From time to time it is necessary that pestilence, famine and war prune the luxuriant growth of the human race .”
Even without counting South Asia, Dr. Handler says, the rich countries will have to divert immense amounts of capital to the less developed world if they want to avert economic disaster, dangerous resentments and growing terrorism. That means cutting back their own development — perhaps even an absolute decline in per capita income in the developed countries.
It is difficult to suggest the scope of Dr. Handler’s vision in a newspaper column His discussion of the food problem is only one part of a large canvas. He sees famine, climatic changes, inflation and environmental damage as warning signals of basic
To the Editor:
In your editorial of Oct. 28 “Tale of two Rapids , you make a comparison of (»rand Rapids, Michigan’s rword of move-ahead action in passing bond issues for a new airport, jail. hospital, juvenile court center, library, county mental hospital, and a city income tax
The comparison that you did not make was: What is their present bonded debt? What is their property tax millage? How many times has their property been reappraised upward for a greater taxable base and bonding limit?
What property tax do they pay on the socalled $20.(HH) house compared to the same house in Cedar Rapids? And. last but not least, how many of those indebted taxpayers wish that it required a HO percent vote in their state to pass bond elections?
I do not have the answers to the above, but I am sure The Gazette could obtain them without too great an effort, except the last one. and I am sure that those answers would be mighty interesting. We all know that you can have anything or everything if you are w illing to go into debt deep enough, but what happens if our “recession" continues or worsens?
Edward J. Rehak 2517 Kathryn street SWHelpful youth
To the Editor:
I wish to express publicly my sincere appreciation to members of the Greater Cedar Rapids Youth for Christ Movement who came to my borne Oct. 2H to lend a helping hand in my fall cleanup by raking leaves and washing my windows on the outside. They not only did a good job but were so polite and courteous. Their conduct really portrayed a Christian attitude of caring and “wanting to be involved in helping those unable to help themselves."
Although their primary concern is with youth, age didn t impose a barrier when they learned of a need. So they stepped over the gap to help and did what the wise man, Solomon, said: “Whatsoever your hands find to do, do it.” (Eccl. 9:10).
This deserves commendation. They helped not only me but other senior citizens in the area . . .
Viola A. Gibson 1301 Sixteenth street SEOver-actives
To the Editor:
There is a growing awareness among parents and teachers of the special needs of children who are over-active at home and in the classroom By this I mean children who are persistently restless, distraetable, impulsive and excitable in the eyes of parents, teachers, and doctors.
Extra effort is required to give these children the kind of attention they need Some of the characteristics of these children may give enough clues to the problem to gain one’s interest. Brief descriptions are confusing, however, because these children are much like* other children. It is only that their behavior is even more unpredictable and uncontrollable than other children's behavior.
Children who are often over-active and restless usually have a passion for touching things. They poke and touch other children until a brawl results. They are unusually hard on clothing In
school such a child will jump up and run around when others are listening quietly. The child is late to bed and early to rise.
These children are easily distracted — especially from mental tasks like school work. While classmates are dong math, this youngster will be distracted bv any movement outside the window, noises in the hall, reflected light from bright objects.
They are impulsive. They appear to have little fear or inhibition. In class they blurt out the answer to a question, interrupt a lesson, or talk during a quiet period — frequently. Punishment is not a ready deterrent to the impulsive lie-havior.
They are easily upset, unusually excitable, and easily frustrated Mood changes are very frustrating to parents, other family members and classmates A peaceful scene can suddenly turn into an uproar.
For some adults the problems may seem too great, or too simple. Neither is the case. Much can be done to make the life of the parent and the child better. A few parents who are trying to cope with these problems would like to meet with others to share concerns and give mutual support. A meeting is planned for interested parents Thursday, Nov 7, at 7 p.m. in the First Lutheran church. HMM) Third avenue SE. More information is obtainable at 3H5-3982. 382-2308 or 382-2995.
Roy Watkins 3505 Vera court NAVFarm program
To the Editor:
May I present the farm program that I would establish if I were U.S. secretary of agriculture in place of Earl Butz, regarding this calf-killing in Wisconsin and Dubuque?
Immediately farmers would receive their full cost of production plus a profit for farmers’ products. This profit will need to be* high enough so experienced farm youth will want to farm. I would also withhold calves like this to increase
dislocation in man’s relationship lo earth.
Essentially he is pleading with those who have money and power, especially Americans, to abandon the illusion that they can go on as they have, multiplying numbers and appetites.
The dream of perpetual growth and prosperity for a lucky few on earth is exceptionally difficult to dispel When studies suggested that there were problems in the notion of an endless upward curve — that man was already encountering physical and psychological limits — there was a rush to dismiss it all as the work of computer mechanics. Many maintain their desperate cheerfulness even now, amid all the signs of economic and political strain in the world
My favorite recent example of desperate optimism was an article in The Economist of london last summer mocking the concern about resources and the environment. Why, if all countries grew food as efficiently as the Netherlands does today, the article said, the world would have enough to feed HO billion people; it would be buried under rice three feet deep.
There was only one little problem that The Economist forgot in its vision of a boundless future: Energy. If every country poured oil and fertilizer into its agricultural production as the Netherlands does, almost all the world’s available energy supply would have to be used for farming alone. The prospect is about as realistic as raising everyone to an American standard of living — which Dr. Handler notes would require us to multiply our use of critical minerals, many already in short supply, by 17.
It will be difficult to dismiss Philip Handler as a cranky crier of doom. He is a respected biochemist, an eminent adviser to governments, a man of wide experience and common sense. His voice is not so much gloomy as uncompromisingly realistic.
How good it would be if some political leaders heard his voice and understood, instead of pinning buttons on themselves and insisting that all will soon again be for the best in this best of all possible worlds.
Ne* York Times S«rvic*
the production of not only milk and beef but all products of agriculture so sales may be increased. This will make agriculture competitive with all other industries for experienced farm youth.
There should also be a strategic reserve of grain on a per capita basis. A HO- to 90-day moratorium on all farm debts to refinance farm loans so we may keep these experienced farmers on their farms and homes. This will stabilize the cost of living and create more demand for farm equipment, meaning more jobs for labor and an increase in sales for all industries.
Ing Opheim DecorahToo smoky
To the Editor:
My husband and I visited in Cedar Rapids Oct. 24 through 28 On Saturday we were taken on a sightseeing trip through the city (we lived and worked in C.R. before mov ing to Harpers Ferry in 1988 when we retired). As we rode around we could hardly see and breathe with everyone burning their leaves.
We think Cedar Rapids is too large of a city to allow leaf burning. The city certainly has a deep ravine where these leaves could be taken to deteriorate. We think cigaret smoke is terrible, but the fumes from leaf burning is just as bad, if not worse
Cedar Rapids is really getting to bt* a big city, so why not keep it as a great city?
Mr. and Mrs, .I A. Powell Harpers FerryWith a ‘J’
The world stands out on either side no wider than the heart is wide.
Edna St Vincent Millay
To the Editor
I noticed your editorial of Oct. 30 about the way President Ford might clarify his nickname's spelling, as to whether it is “Jerry" or “Gerry.” Thought you might be interested in the enclosed copy of a letter that our son received from him on his 14th birthday back in 1989 This was strictly a personal letter and had no business aspects to it. (The signature was “Jerry Ford.’’)
Our late son Kim was a victim of muscular dystrophy and was in poor health most of his life On his 14th birthday Aug. 24, 1989, his aunt arranged a mammoth birthday-card shower for him It grew and grew, and he received letters from very prominent people all over the United States It was highlighted by a Sunday morning personal visit from Governor Ray. It did much to make life a little more interesting for him, and we have always felt that this prolonged his life a few more years
Kin) passed away on Feb 20, 1974. at the age of 18. To all of the people who helped make his life a little easier, we have always been mind grateful.
Dean I, Morse North English