Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - October 1, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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Tuesday, October I, 1974
Zeroing in on seniority
THERE ARE MORE ways than one* to skin a cat, according to the old saw. That should give faint hope, at least, to the continuing effort to eliminate seniority as virtually the sole qualification for selecting chairmen of congressional committees.
The most recent proposal along this line is one to limit the number of years any congressman could serve on the same committee. Common Cause, the national citizens lobby, suggests that the limit be placed at eight years, which seems reasonable.
Such a limit would act as a double elimination: It would keep any individual from holding a chairmanship for more than the limitation period — the average tenure probably would he much less, because rarely could anyone win a chairmanship without serv
ing for three to four years on a committee. It also would mandate a turnover of members who never ascend to the chairmanship so no one could accumulate unreasonable power on a committee.
Inescapably, such a turnover would open each committee to new blood and new ideas. It would enable those with long tenure in congress to broaden their knowledge in a number of fields through service on a variety of committees.
This system has been tested successfully in many civic and service organizations, which limit membership on their boards to two successive terms. There is no good reason why it wouldn’t work as well at the congressional level — if congress would only follow the wishes of the people by getting off its seniority horse to try it.
What about home rule?
ROLLIE GALLAGHER, the genial, businesslike head of the Iowa beer and liquor control department, wants state-owned liquor stores located where there s buyer traffic in high volumes. That would make good sense if the state were in the business of promoting, rather than controlling, liquor sales.
But it’s traffic Gallagher wants and that’s why the department decided to contact for construction of a new Marion liquor store it can lease on a site adjacent to the heaviest trafficked street in the Cedar Rapids-Marion area.
The site is on the east side of Indian creek, just across the bridge and adjoining highway 151, which also happens to be the First avenue-Marion boulevard arterial street linking the two cities.
Gallagher has been looking for a site for a new Marion store ever since his department closed the old store last March 31 when it was unable to negotiate extension of the least*. Marion, one of the state’s larger communities, located in the state’s second largest county, has been without a store for more than six months
Several available sites were offered to the department for a new store, all in well-trafficked areas. But hewing to the Gallagher requirement that there Ik* heavy traffic, the department finally pressured the Marion city council into agreeing on the Indian creek site.
Apparently it did not reckonWorld in transition
By Don Oakley
MAN KIND is currently experiencing a phenomenon known as the “great demographic transition ’’ This is the change from a high worldwide birth rate balanced by a high death rate, which prevailed for thousands of years to the continuing high birth rates and low death rates in most of the countries of the world May, to an eventual return to a balance between a worldwide low birth rate and low death rate
In the current issue of Scientific American a number of experts examine various aspects of the phenomenon It began a couple of centuries ago and will of necessity, Im* a transitory stage when viewed against the long run of human history
It has to be, because if the present unprecedented rate of world population increase were to continue, in less than 700 years there would be one person for every square foot on the surface of the earth In 1,200 years, the human popula-tion would outweigh the earth
As the graph below shows, throughout most of man’s past, world population growth was just above replacement level, about l/10th of I percent a year It is currently about 2 percent a year, result mg in the “spike” on the graph The
relatively brief duration of the spike is based on the prospect — which is bv no means a certainty — that the world will attain replacement level of fertility (“zero population growth ) in the 21st Century
It must be emphasized that the graph shows the world’s population growth rate, not absolute population Though the growth rate in, say. A I) 2250 is expected to be about what it was in A D 1500 — close to zero — barring some tremendous catastrophe total world population in the 23rd Century will inevitably lie far above what it was in the loth Pour centuries ago. there were less than 500 million people in the world To day there are 4 billion
Even if zero population growth could be achieved by the year 2000 such is the momentum that has been built up in the present stage of the demographic transition that the world would still reach a population of 8 2 billion by the middle of the next century, with more than OO percent of the additional 4-plus billion being born in the underdeveloped coun tries
TV dodges government control
Freedom over forced balance
with another arni of state government — the highway commission The commission has a say about access to a site adjoining one of its highways. The access, as planned by the city and the department, is 95 feet wide. The commission says that is in excess of its standard 65-foot width. Whether the Marion council, which wasn’t keen about the Indian creek site in the first place for traffic safety reasons, will go along with the commission or rescind its earlier action okaying the project has yet to be determined.
Thanks to the delay, it is not too late to ask. What happened to home rule in this case? Does a state department know better where to locate a liquor store in Marion than the council elected by its citizens0 A council which, obviously, preferred a site where the increase in traffic generated by the store itself would not create new safety hazards on a busy highway-street that already has its share of them?
Why a liquor store should be located on a highway-street as heavily used as Marion boulevard calls for an explanation in view of one fairly clear fact: Liquor stores generate their own traffic and probably would continue doing so even if built out in pastures.
According to the law, the state department is supposed to “control” the sale of liquor, not to promote it. That being the case, traffic should not be a concern of the department and Rollie Gallagher — certainly not to the point where a store’s location would create a new traffic hazard.
By Tom Wicker
NEW YORK — The First Amendment rights of broadcast journalists have been strongly affirmed in a federal appeals court decision holding that the Federal Communications Commission docs not have the right to substitute its news judgment for that of a network news department. Since most Americans now get the news first from television and radio, the decision in the “Pensions” case is a major strike against government-controlled news.
In 1972, the National Broadcasting Company put on the air an hour-long television documentary, “Pensions", which was highly critical of private pension plans in America — a subject on which congress since has legislated more or less correctively. Last year, the FCC, responding to charges that the program was blast'd, ordered the network to screen additional material in support of the pension system that then existed.
NRC appealed to the courts, on the ground that the FCC had exceeded its powers. As to “Pensions" itself, the network said it had made it clear that good pension plans did exist, but that the over all pension situation was bad For the FCC to rule that the program was unfair because it did not put more emphasis on good pension plans, the net-
People's forumEat less
To the Editor
Your editorial page of Sept 25 carried a comment by .lim Fiebig He quoted a food expert. Lester Brown, to the effect that if President Ford asked us all to eat less so more fetid could be available for the hungry people overseas, we would comply. “Wrong." says Mr Fiebig
May I point out that Mr Fiebig could Im> wrong0 Perhaps some American citizens are more thoughtful than he thinks Of course, many would like to feed the hungry at home first, but we cannot Im* entirely insensitive to the needs of the world
President Ford could point out that if many thousands of Cmted States citizens did eat less, definite benefits would be realized (I) We would feel better (2) We would look better (3) We would live longer I ani not speaking of the elderly, who often cannot afford proper foods, but of the average working public citizen
Obesity in the United States has become an increasing malnutrition problem Vast advertising campaigns of high profit “junk" foods as well as lack of knowledge of food values has contributed to this distressing situation
May I also respectfully suggest that Mr Fiebig misquoted “millions of children wake up hungry every morning ” Sadly, it is that “millions of children go to IM hungry every night " I hope President Ford will listen more carefully to world food expert laster Brown than he will to people who write cleverly like Mr Fiebig
As a newcomer to Cedar Rapids from the far west, may I compliment The Ga zette on its people-oriented outlook
Kathleen Voorhees, R I) 1400 Seventh avenue SWWorking artists
To the Editor
Recently an organization has been formed iii Cedar Rapids that every art
work said, not only defeated the purposes of investigative journalism but also substituted the commission’s news judgment — that is, the government’s — for that of the network.
The court agreed with NBC and many other news agencies and organizations that supported the appeal. Since the case was argued by both sides as a major question on the meaning of the fairness doctrine, the resulting decision appears — at least to network sources — as a “landmark" reaffirming that broadcast journalism is protected by the First Amendment from government regulation
The decision did not overturn the fairness doctrine itself, or even reach it. since the ruling of the court of appeals for the District of Columbia was, essentially. that the FCC had misapplied the doctrine. That doctrine actually is legislation that requires broadcasters to cover controversial issues and “to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views ” That requirement stands
The court ruled. 2 to I. however, that it does not give the FCC or anyone the power to compel the networks either to broadcast or not to broadcast something under the guise* of achieving "fairness Even when the FCC might consider a program, as broadcast, unfair and biased, the court said, the commission had no power to comped changes or additions because to do so would substitute its judgment for the network’s.
In offend, whenever broadcast journalism exercise's its news judgment in good faith, as was done in “Pensions", even if the judgment is unpalatable to someone or appears biased to
ist in the are*a should be* aware of — the Association of Working Artists (AWA). A working artist is defined as anyone who creates works currently either as professional or as a hobbyist.
I attendee! a meeting and found a variety of people ranging from high school students to college instructors — all with fellowship in one common interest Ages ranges! from the teems to middle-age
With this background, there are experts in numerous fields — painting, leathers, blockmaking. medal sculpture and more*
Ce*dar Rapids has long needed such an organization but can only have one if people are intereste*d and active by tieing aware of ne>w knowledge in their fields
Meetings are held at the Art ( enter on the* first and third Thursdays of each month and membership in the Art Center is not mandatory
J Schwarz 1032 Twenty-first stre*et SEZoning reasons
To the Editor
The* headline used to highlight coverage of the Se*ptember Marion planning arid zoning commission nmet mg w as bad “Planners Vote To Vacate Streed for Liquor Store” is not true The ac tion was taken solely at the re*que'st of the council and city staff, arid was approves! since First street, at this location, is not necessary for the over all circulation plan, nor is it re*quire*el for aee-e*ss to adjoining property
Your headline also gave* the* implication that by taking this action the* commission was in favor of the store at this location It is rod Our fe*e*lings are be*st represented by the* following pose turn statement formally aelopte*d at the same mcrting
"At the regular meeting of the* plan rung commission, those* commission members in attenelance were unanimously opposed! to the use* of the proper tv houndc'd by Marion boulevard, the railroad tracks, Indian creek arid First
someone* else, that judgment is protended by the First Amendment
The fairne*ss doctrine, the court said. raises the que»stion of good faith, not news judgment. As to the former, the FCC can and should act on “extrinsic evidence” showing that a broadcaster had abused his discretion as an act of bad faith — say, that he had bee*n bribe*d, or acte*d on be*half of some hidden interest, or out of a proven pattern of race discrimination
But the charge that some broadcasts had been “unfair." without such “extrinsic evidence” to demonstrate bad faith, amounts only to an attack on the broadcaster’s news judgment, which is protected by the First Amendment
No doubt many Americans who consider the press biased and unfair — sometimes for good reason — will not welcome this decision. No one should be deluded about the extent to which “freedom of the press" is being questioned in America, or about the number of people who would tell Dr Gallup, if asked, that somebody ought to do something about the power of the press.
But the “Pensions" case aptly joins the real issue Do the American people want a free press? If so, a certain amount of unfairness and irresponsibility will be the inevitable price of the freedom.
On the cither hand, if the people would rather have guaranteed “fairness” and “responsibility," they can be imposed on the press only at the price of its freedom — and only by the government's judgment of what is fair and responsible.
Ne* York Times Service
street (commonly referred to as the* Hennessey property) for commercial purposes
“The reason given was thai the comprehensive land use plan adopted by the commission and city council in 1973 designates that property as open space liccause of its proximity to Indian creek and its associated flood plain The commission also noted that the property is included as open space in the plan adopted by the Marion park becard."
Paul E. Behn. member Marion planning and zoning commission 1255 Terrace street. Marion
(Editor s note Whatever the think mg behind it, the commission did vote to vacate part of a street so that a liquor store could be built nearby, as the headline accurately stated )Loafers
To the Editor
Concerning the rate increases that the Iowa Electric Light and Power Co keeps imposing on us. recently I noticed something that has irritated me for years, but especially now since it costs us so much more Right on Main street in Alburnett sat three IE trucks with their equipment lying on the ground while their three occupants stood around chewing the fat. Evidently they were supposed to be wiring a new pole, but were sure taking their time at it
In the last several years, every time IE crews have had a project in this area they have taken two days for what sup poshly could have been completed in one day lf they hadn't done so much standing around, playing cards, etc
I don't begrudge a man a short break every few hours, but this is ridiculous lf I worked that hard my family would be wearing dirty dollies and stumbling through the dirt and toys on the floor
lf we an* going to In* forced to pay so much more for our electricity, we would feel better if we could sic our money working instead of standing idle
Carol Schantz Alburnett
Consumer swat at business will return
By James J. Kilpatrick
WASHINGTON - By refusing to close off debate, the senate on Sept. 19 killed a consumer protection bill for this session of congress It is cause for rejoicing.
But it is not cause for much rejoicing. This very bad bill will be back at the next session of congress, and for obvious reasons it will be far more difficult to defeat the measure again
North Carolina’s Sam Ervin, who led the senate filibuster, will be replaced in January by Connecticut’s Abraham Ri-bicoff as chairman of the government operations committee Four other senators who opposed cloture also are joining Ervin in retirement. Eight opponents of the bill face re-election in November, and two of the eight — Dominick of Colorado and Young of North Dakota — have tough campaigns aheadNear miss
The fourth and final vote on cloture needed 66 votes to end the filibuster. The motion got 64 votes. If Sen. Edward Kennedy had made it to the floor on time — he was one minute late in arriving — the margin would have been reduced to one vote. Sen. Alan Cranston of California, a leading proponent, already is boasting that "we’ll win it next year, absolutely.”
The object of the bill is to create a new Agency for Consumer Advocacy, headed by an administrator with sweeping powers to intervene in both the formal and informal proceedings of every other federal agency.
The administrator would represent a mythical, hypothetical being known as "the consumer.” By his own fiat, the administrator would define “the consumer interest.” Whatever the name of the actual administrator might be. the effective administrator would be Ralph Nader This is the prospect that has to be fact*d.Catchwords
How did this bill manage to marshal such impressive support? One reason, based in ancient congressional custom. is that many members of the house and senate had not found the time to read the bill carefully or to think soberly on the bills implications They were mesmerized by such enchanting words as “consumer," “protection,” and "advocacy." The expedient thing to do was to get on the side of the angels.
But there is another reason, and it ought to bt* faced squarely by my friends in the business community. Let me talk like a Dutch uncle to them If business leaders had channeled one-tenth of the energy they devoted to fighting this bill mio-improving their products and services instead, they would not find themselves in this fix Too many retailers and manufacturers have lost Phi much of the confidence they once enjoyed.
Why the loss of confidence? By coincidence. on the very day the senate was taking its cloture vote, a house subcommittee provided food for thought The subcommittee had analyzed the warranties of 51 leading manufacturers Only one of them — the Corning Corporation — provided customers with a warranty free of loopholes. catches, gimmicks, and take-backs Fifty of the 51 provided warranties containing such phrases as “the manufacturer will be the sole judge of whether the part is defective.”Unsurprising
Is it any wonder. I would ask my business friends, that many a disgruntled customer urges his congressman to support the Nader bill0
Th"? business community will have to do better For the short haul, a crash program of education has to be undertaken, with a view toward educating congress and the public in the bureaucratic pitfalls of a “consumer protection" bill It is doubtful that the people in fact are prepared to genuflect before the messianic Mr Nader
For the long haul, vastly more must be done Business and labor, working together, will have to pursue the old ideals of American industry — to make good products, and to stand behind them We ought not to need a bureaucracy to define and protect “the consumer interest " This is the job of business itself, and it cannot be neglected
WdkbmyHm Vat Syndicate
Jamti J. Kilpatrick