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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - October 26, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa ®bf Cellar fhtpitb Editorial Page Saturday, October 26, 1974 More junkers targeted Yes, I got the yearly raise . . . and at this rate we won't have to pay the surtax until I 992 ’ To the satisfaction of all working toward an improved community, 50-plus more dilapidated structures have been placed under the city of Cedar Rapids’ demolition scopesight. The buildings, mostly houses (all unoccupied), bring to nearly 200 the total structures targeted in the city’s three-year-old war on ramshackle houses. One needn’t live next to one of the unsightly, property-value depressing junkers to appreciate the immensity of the city’s undertaking and the enhancement resulting from it. In a recent survey of attitudes toward Linn county facilities, services and environment, nine out of every IO respondents approved of requiring owners of dilapidated housing to take care of the structures or have them removed. With that mandate in mind, the special mayor’s committee (composed of police, fire prevention, building, planning and health officials) identifies problem houses in all quadrants, then forwards the list to the mayor. If, following public hearing, the city council decides to raze individual structures, demolition contracts are awarded to the lowest bidders and costs are assessed against property owners. Since many of the owners live out of town (some are heirs who do not realize what they own), legal difficulties are plentiful. Lest city officials be considered bulldozer happy, its essential to remember that the houses marked for demolition are beyond saving. Their removal not only improves neighborhoods esthetically, it relieves the city of numerous threats to curious children. Some of the structures have been the sites of illegal activities. Naturally, Cedar Rapids’ effort to remove dreadfully deteriorated houses has not gone unnoticed by the U.S. department of housing and urban development (HUD). As administrator of the new community development (CD) program, HUI) has stressed elimination of slums and blight among the top CD priorities. Since Cedar Rapids seemingly is far ahead of most other like-sized cities in blight removal, it s obvious that CI) funds received here (about $1.3 million annually the next three years) can be channeled posthaste into other efforts to improve the living environment. However, the continued removal of junker houses is urged by CI) liaison committees representing the four city quadrants. Not that an easing up is foreseen. Though the ultimate disposal of some 200 junkers should solve most of the city’s blight problem, demolition of several buildings per year doubtless will be necessary. Importantly, interdepartmental machinery already is geared to the clearance process. In essence, the steady demolition of vacant rundown buildings marks continuation of what the city began with its three urban renewal programs. While those federally-backed projects saw blight clearance in certain blocks or contiguous blocks, it remained for the mayor’s special committee to zero in on isolated instances of nuisance conditions. As the three-year record attests, all involved have maintained the momentum admirably. w ; < 'J Ford s mixed TV bagOne flub By James J. Kilpatrick WASHINGTON - President Ford made two decisions this month that prompt reflection upon the position of the presidency in our public life. One was foolish; and one was wise. On the night of the 15th. he foolishly demanded and got prime TV time for a dull and innocuous speech. Two days later, he wisely appeared before the house judiciary committee to answer questions publicly on his pardon of Mr Nixon. In the first instance, he used his presidential power clumsily. In the second. he downplayed his power adroitly. The Tuesday night fiasco was a mistake all around. Producers and editors of TV news programs had determined. in advance, that Mr. Ford had nothing essentially new or different to say about his economic program. Their editorial judgment was that the speech did not justify a half hour of live coverage. In the event itself, that judgment Ferreting-out foibles Pols’ new-morality millstone, one win was abundantly confirmed. Hut when the White House demanded live coverage — no other verb will suffice — the networks caved in and gave him the* time. The networks’ pusillanimous surrender was as regrettable as Mr. ford s magisterial command. Television likes to pretend that it has the same f irst Amendment rights of "free press that newspapers have. Plainly that assertion is vain. If Mr. Ford had demanded that the Washington Star-News publish the text of his speech, the editors of the Star-News would have told him, deferentially, to be sure, to go to hell. With the same deference, that is what NHP, PBS and ABP should have said to Hon Nessen that Tuesday. The power of a President to command TV time is a power that ought not to exist. It ought to be abandoned. No President should be able instantly to dominate the television channels, at Ins sole discretion, and thus to impose his views upon the nation as a whole. The other side of this proposition, of course, is that John Chancellor, Walter Pronkite and Howard K Smith should have the power arbitrarily to deny a President access to the nation as a whole, but that is one of the things that freedom of the press is all about. Any By James Keston W \SHINP»T()N — The Committee on the New Political Morality will come to order Our job is to screen all candidates for federal office and we’re going to clean up this country even if there is nobody left to run it The first nominee will state his name. A — Nelson Millstone, nominated as head of the Federal Communications Commission My qualifications are Q — We don’t care about your qualifications, it s your character we’re after. Have you ev er been arrested? A — I was pinched for speeding in PHH going from Covington, Ky., to Cincinnati Q natl * Why were you going to Pint in- Disclosure deadline Candidates for public* office at the federal level have just completed filing campaign disclosure statements for the Sept. 1-Oct. 14 reporting period and that's good. But their final reports must Ik* made by Oct. 31 and cover only the period from Oct. 14-24 and that’s bad. This moans that contributions received after Oct. 24 will not be reported in time for voters to know about them before they go to the polls Nov. 5. Better that the deadline for making contributions be set in mid-October and the final filing deadline set a week later, so there would be ample time for voters to get the word before the election. After all. that is what campaign disclosure reports are for. They do the voter little good when complete information remains unavailable until after the election, as the Watergate affair attests. A — To sec a girl Q — I sec. so you’re interested in girls? A — Yes. sir, I think girls arc wonderful, I like to explore their minds I think Q — We’re not interested in what you think but what you do and have done in the past Have you ever gone out with an Argentine firecracker ’ A — No. sir Q — Why not ’ A — I never had a chance, but I hear they’re very good at ways and means () —■ Now Mr Millstone, have you ever had trouble with your income tax? A — I vc never had anything except trouble with my income tax I have trouble making it out and even more trouble paying it. I d be glad to tell the committee what I really think about the income tax Q — Never mind. Are you now. or have you ever been a member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance t’mon? A — No, sir Q — Why not? A — I like to drink. Q — How often do you indulge in this nasty habit .’ A — Only when I’m thirsty Q — Any other times? A — When I’m tired. When I’m out with friends or at football games. When I’m depressed, when I entertain and when I watch television. Q — Do you think it s right for a man to drink when lie s watching television, especially if he’s chairman of the Federal Communications Commission? A — With the kind of TV we have, it’s unavoidable. How could you stand it othcrvv ise? Q — We will ask the questions. Mr. Millstone. Have you ever been in trouble with women? A — All my life. Beginning with my mother. My mother was . . . () — We don’t care about your mother What about after that? A — My first wife was a nagging ninny. Caused me all kinds of trouble. If the committee would like to hear about that, brother. I’ve got stories’ Q — The committee will hear about that in executive session, and I’m not your brother I take it you believe in divorce? A — I don’t advocate it. but in a pinch, it sometimes comes in handy. For example, my second wife thinks our divorce was the best thing that ever happened to her. Q — Is this committee to assume from your answers, then, that you would approve of everything the American {M'ople see and hear on radio and TV these days about divorce and all that? A — No I am unalterably opposed to singing commercials. They are almost as offensive as Howard Cosell, and if you make me chairman of the FCC, I will do everything in my power to ban them Also, I don’t think Presidents should muscle in on the showing of the World Series games Q — So you don’t approve of President Ford? A — No, I approve of him, I just don’t want him to lose the baseball vote. Q — Mr. Millstone, I must warn you that you are disclosing some disturbing opinions, but this committee is primarily concerned not with singing commercials but with sin. Do you approve of displaying all this violence and sex on television, and giving all these sinful people access to inc privacy and sanctity of the American home? A — I guess I do. What other kind of people could we find? Q — Suppose some families liked TV but didn’t like singing commercials, or advertisements, or anything cise that irritated them, what remedies would you suggest? A — Well, there used to be a little gadget that could shut off the sound, or black out the picture, or change the channels from across the room, sort of a freedom button. The advertisers wouldn’t like it. but as chairman I would insist on one with every set. Q — If you were chairman or a member of this committee, would you vote for a man who gave away a lot of money to people on his staff who were in trouble or went out with go-go girls. or did some other silly thing like publishing nasty books about a political opponent? A — It all depends on whether you could find a better man. Q — And if you were a member of this committee, would you vote to make Nelson Millstone chairman of the Federal Communications Commission knowing all about his blunders and weaknesses? A — Well frankly. Mr. Chairman, if this is the test. I wouldn't want to join a government that would nominate a man like me, or have a chairman like you. Q — Thank you, Mr. Millstone. A — Thank you, Mr. Chairman Ne* York Time* Service James J. Kilpatrick time a President truly has something newsworthy to say. In Kansas City or anywhere else, newsmen will cover it. But the editorial judgment should be theirs alone. Two days later, back in Washington, the picture of presidential power was wholly different. Mr. Ford owed the house committee no accounting whatever for his pardon of Mr. Nixon. The power to pardon is vested exclusively in the Chief Executive. Ile does not have to seek congressional advice or consent. If a President grossly abuses his power to pardon (assuming the absence of bribery), he may be answerable to history but he surely is not answerable to a house committee. To his great credit, Mr. Ford cast aside the imperial toga of his predecessor. Ile waived any claim to ‘’executive privilege.” Calmly and courteously, he submitted voluntarily to the committee’s questions. It was a heartwarming experience to see a President elevate his sights a little lower, and though his testimony was anticlimactic, it was wonderfully welcome. From time to time, as appropriate occasions arise, such question periods should Ik* tried again. Presidential power is an edged tool. Like an axe or a scalpel or a Bowie knife, it has to be used with utmost care. Mr Ford is learning; he is feeling his way; and like most apprentices in a machine shop, he will nick himself now and then He misused his power as to the pardon and again in the matter of the Kansas City speech, but these were errors of judgment. The President is as fallible as all the rest of us. He demonstrated in his visit to the Hill that as a President he is uncommonly wise as well AoiSmoton Star SyndicatePeople 's forum Unthinking :;:;v;v;v.v. IwXwW' The Cedar Rapids Community Theater has become a well-known institution in the area, due largely to the time and efforts of Mr Teseher over the last 20-odd years. Hest of luck to him in his forthcoming endeavors. InsightsSalt-grain To the Editor Tis now the season of beautiful smell of burning leaves — so nice compared with many of the others that we tolerate, such as tobacco and stale cigar butts It is too bad that some art* being so thoughtless as to burn on flammable street surfaces, which cost much more than many of the floor carpetings It is also tint bad that the use of hot asphalt on roofs continues to provide fire hazards, terrible air pollution, and definite disservice in this climate, be-causc such products are brittle and crack in severe cold. If we’d all learn to think and reason, it would be such a wonderful life for all V erne < > Phelps billa Thirtieth street NVNContribution To the Editor On behalf of the board of directors of The Olde Barn Plovers, Inc of Marion, I would bkt* to extend our sincerest best wishes to Don Teseher, retiring director of the Cedar Rapids Community Theater We have ail spent a great deal of time over the years working with Don in one capacity or another, and we appreciate the contribution he has made to theater arts in Cedar Rapids, in Iowa and in the Midwest Peach ie Carey, Secretary The Olde Barn Players 245 DcLong drive, Marion (For Jim Deleing, Tern Dare, Cindi (lark, Jeff McNulty, Hay Odekirk. Nancy Kohl. Marilyn Rec Ii, John Dal-eideti IPardon backed To the Editor I respect President Ford great Iv for his pardon of Mr Nixon and for his stand in upholding that decision It reflects strength in any man ut the pedestal which the President’s office represents I also admire Mr Nixon for offering to return the pardon Both men have shown a high degree of perseverance and fortitude in standing and doing what they believe is right It reflects a high degree of the American way of life Watergate was becoming a matter of constant involvement for the former President, to the point he could not really concentrate on matters which demanded his and the country’s attention Now America is faced with a new danger — the threat of the pardon becoming another Watergate, with constant involvement by the President Are we to continue spending time and money in forcing the President to explain the reasons for his decision to pardon Mr Nixon, or, should we, the American people, turn our attention to matters which concern the welfare of our nation and its people'1 lf a man keeps his trap shut, the world will beat a path to his door Franklin P Adams No matter who is wrong iii Watergate and no matter who is guilty, no amount of punishment or no amount of aggression via words, etc., will help to correct the present situation Mr Ford must Im* given the chance to operate as President lie cannot possibly fiave time if forced to spend all that time defending his decision to pardon Mr Nixon Our greatest mistake now would be in trying to turn a pardon into a Watergate It would probably just open up another, and probably bigger leak America needs the support of the |N*ople; so does the President lad us stand by the President’s decision; not condemn hun for something which he did with good intention and which was in the best interests of riot only the integrity of our government, but the integrity of the nation arid its people Gary J. King Kalona To the Editor At several group meetings with the various senior citizens clubs in the city, we had the candidates for federal and state positions Among these present were the two Republicans, Tom Riley and David Stanley, both of whom have professed that at no time they accepted money from pressure groups. I beg to differ, as both of them are against the repeal of the right-to-work law In a previous term in the Iowa legislature, Riley took money from the Teamsters with the promise to vote for the repeal of the law. Stanley is sponsored bv the National Assn. of Manufacturers. which for years was intent on breaking up the unions Only through the organized effort of the working man iv he at last able to earn a detent living and keep up the way of life that Americans are accustomed to living The middle ( lass and working people pay more taxes and do more to build the country and cannot take advantage of the many loopholes that the (til million aires and the monopolies use to keep from paying their fair share of taxes I rdil the politicians prove that they really an* for tax reform and for the elderly and for the middle ( lass and not for giving away all of our wheat, corn and resources to foreign countries, take their promises with a grain of salt Here in Cedar Rapids, we have not one place to send our old people when thev leave the hospital, yet we have to bring up bond issues by the millions — everything from civic centers to zoos — a total of $24 million We are also faced with two revaluations in the near future It will hurt the young home buyer as well as the elderly So look ahead, please, and don’t lid them tell you that your taxes will lie only so much for so many years because when the zoo is paid for your taxes will not be lowered You will Ik* stuck with them, and they will always find a place to throw your money. I would like to know where the millions of dollars in revenue sharing funds we are to receive in the near future will go I understand they were originally earmarked for tax relief — for which brand of citizens’’ Frank Sasek 1912 Hamilton street SW recognized this and appointed Tom chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on the Aging. Tom s committee wrote the bill creating the State Commission on the Aging, and he persuaded enough Republicans to join with Democrats to pass the lull There are many other examples of his effectiveness in getting Republicans to join with Democrats to make this a better state We need him in congress Elizabeth Willson IMH E avenue NESmokeupPay-out To the Editor Your picture on the back page (28) of the Oct. 21 paper was, I hope tongue-in-cheek I find the smell of burning leaves the opposite of good and the sight of smoke-polluted skies the opposite of a pleasant sight Your ploy to make leaf-burning acceptable is short-sighted Mark G Lorenz IKIH Eastern drive SWEffective To the Editor Democrats will undoubtedly control tile next congress and by a landslide, perhaps We need a strong two-party system, however, and that is reason enough to vote for a good man like Tom Riley Hut there is a belter reason. Tom has proven he can work to get things done as a member of the minority party When he was governor, Harold Hughes To the Editor Before we all get oil our high horse about the Wisconsin farmers’ shooting cattle, I have one suggestion For the next few weeks, instead of getting a paycheck, give your boss $50 a week just for the privilege of working Try it — if you like it, go ahead and criticizi Mrs Harold Beetlike Victor LETTERS The Gazette $ editorial page welcon readers opinions, subject to the guidelines: length limit: 400 word* On* letter per writer every 30 day* All may be conden*ed and cd.led w.thout thonc meaning None publi*hed ononymoutly Writer * telephone number (not printed) *ha follow nom., addle** and readable kondwr.i ugnature to help authenticate Content* deal more w.th .,*„** and    fhan tonalihet. No poetry ;

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