Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 18, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
_ 1H! LETHBRIDGE WRAID frldoy, August 18, 1973 Thn Ti-gynor New education tax pondered in the U.S. A burning issue City council almost passed a by-law the oilier night which would have pro- hibited all outdoor burning in Lelli- bridge. The reason given by some the aldermen was this would help the global pollution situation. The sentiment is honorable, the logic astonishing and dangerous. There is a global pollution prob- lem, and it is loo serious to be dealt with so unintelligently. Combustion, per se, is not the prob- lem. Combustion, within very broad limits, is not only unavoidable but desirable, even essential. Even with the maximum recycling of nature's resources, combustion must go on. Long before man started cluttering up the earth, combustion was one of nature's ways of keeping things in balance. The problem in part is excessive combustion, improper combustion. The major culprit is the internal combustion engine. Another is irre- sponsible industry. In some locations a forest of household chimneys seems lo contribute to dangerous smog, but the problem arises niahily because the air is already full of other pollu- tants. One acre of forest fire probably contributes more pollutants to the at- mosphere than all of Lethbridge's burning barrels in a year, or many years. The automobiles in this city probably damage the global atmo- sphere a hundred times more than the burning barrels do. City council's logic is dangerous, we say, because it distracts the peo- ple's attention from where tlie real problems arc. It encourages the peo- ple to say "we in this city are doing our part to save the atmosphere; we have no more responsibility." The aldermen should be encour- aged in taking the global viewpoint, but let them do so intelligently. And if they should take time for the local viewpoint, maybe they will take in hand the problem of the East Lelhbridge stench that is in- finitely more bothersome to this community than the burning barrels are. CAN FRANCISCO Before long, the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh a case o[ monumental importance lo tho nation's system of public edu- cation. It is being said Hie de- cision could have implications as fnr-reachinf! ns the famous ruling outlawing si'greyat- school systems. At the heart ot the upcoming case is the contention that fi- nancing public schools through local projjcrty (axes is uncon- stitutional. A nuinhcr of courts around the country have up- held this contention, following a California Supreme Court lead. In its precedent-setting deci- sion of last year, the. California court endorsed a claim thai it was wrong lor the ot a child's education to be deter- mined by the lax resources available to a locality. That is, It was wrong thai a child re- ceive poor schooling tecuuse he or she. liven in an area with slim resources, while another cliild had access to letter edu- cation based on abundant tax resources. The California court, and the others following its lead, found lhal under lire existing system children were being denied equal protection of the laws, as required by Ihe fourteenth amendment to the U.S. Consti- tution. The California case was one known as "Serrano versus Priest" and it is most often referred to, though Ihe Su- promo Court will actually bo deliberating on a case original- ing in Texas. Unless Iho Supremo Couil overturns, Ihe lower court de- cisions, officials throughout Iho country will ha laced with de- vising a whole now system ot school finance, Major adjust- ments will be required al all levels of government. The feeling of Impending up- heaval cannot be overstated. Apart from the court action, the position of authorities re- sponsible for education was and is uncomfortable or worse. In many parts ot the country they have been confronted with public revolt against properly lax burdens. Some areas were faced with tho collapse of school systems as tho result of public refusal lo accept tax in- creases. Tills loomed large enough on the national scene hy tho be- ginning of this year lo prompt talk in Washington of sweep- ing reappraisal of methods of financing schools and other local puhlic services. It was made known that tho Nixon ad- ministration was looking into the possibility ot a national sales tax technically known as a Value-Added Tax, or sim- ply VAT. The suggestion was that revenues from this tnx would be made available to the stales, opening the way for state and property tax relief. 'Property tax reform Readers will be interested to note, in the commentary by Tim Traynor on Ihis page, that the U.S. Supreme Court is faced with making a de- cision about the contention that fi- nancing public schools through local property taxes is unconstitutional. While it has not been suggested in Canada that such taxation is uncon- stitutional there is a growing convic- tion that education costs should not be borne wholly perhaps not at all by property taxes. The recent preliminary property tax reform plan produced by Mr. Roy Farran and his task force on provincial-municipal fi- nance is a case in point. The premise of the report appears to be that a way should he found to remove the burden of education costs from prop- erty taxation. Two rather different reasons have produced this convergence in the two countries. In the U.S., according to Mr. Traynor, the change is sought on the grounds that providing for ed- ucation from property taxation re- sults in inequality of educational op- portunity. This is not a problem theoretically at least in Alberta. Here the interest in shifting the bur- den of education arises out of the difficulties municipalities are en- countering in providing services transit, sewage treatment, parks and so on. With the nearly universal agree- ment that the state is responsible for providing education, it is probably right to be considering a change away from a local tax system to something falling more directly under the juris- diction of a higher level of govern- ment. Burdening property taxes with education costs is archaic and not sacrosanct. Shifting the load may not solva much either in the U.S. or in Can- ada. Education costs are high and climbing. Finding ways to curb them is as urgent as seeking a new base for providing funds. Moroccan marksmanship .'The abortive plot to eliminate King Hassan ft of Morocco shouldn't sur- prise anyone. It didn't surprise the king, who's become accustomed to this kind of thing. Military coups in newly independent Arab states are hardly anything unusual these days. The method used in the attempted assassination would spark the fertile imagination of James Bond, if he were around now. But no Bond pro- tagonist could ever goof it the way Hassan's attackers did. The target was perfectly set up but a spray of bullets missed, the plane landed, the king ran across the tarmac, and got out of the way of the firing. It's called marksmanship in the Moroccan air force. Lessons on litter 4N IMMIGRANT lo this country, re- cently from Britain, has phoned me to express his wonder at the way we litter up our parks, "Back home I'd walk a mile to drop a cigaretle package inlo a rubbish he said. "But at the park last Sunday the papers and other mess or. the grass were disgraceful." Naturally I told this DP where to get off. We don't need foreigners coming over here to Canada and telling us how to run our parks. We pride ourselves on our natur- al parks, and what is more nalural than to throw your banana skin on the ground? The monkeys do it, and anybody who thinks he's tetter than our monkeys can take rii.s class consciousness back where he came from. Oh, I told him. For the benefit of other new arrivals in this country who may be in doubt as to approved methods of disposing (if litter in our parks ar.d puhlic places, here are a few rules that will help to blend, like flies on a fruit-loaf. 1. Never use the litter baskets, If you drop your rubbish into one of these, in tho park, you immediately make yourself con- spicuous. Those seeing you do it will send their children over to you to jeer: "Haw, where are your crumpets, old or similar ethnic comment. 2. When you go to the park, take plenty of old newspapers. F.ven if tho ground Is not damp, ttioy will be something to leave Uihind you to prove that you hava been there. A CaradUn park-Rrtc-r up to hall nn nrrf; in a .single after- noon, If the wind right. 3. Remember that oranges not only are nutritious for children but the peel can be thrown into those inaccessible places you can't reach with ordinary garbage. The kiddies develop muscular co-ordination pelting peel al Ihe penguins, and the plastic bag adds an indestructible touch to the Garden of Remembrance. 4. Be sensitive to the role of the Cana- dian park as the last resting place of old chewir.g gum. That is what the benches are for: disposal. If you can't find a bench, throw your old chewing gum on one of the walks, where a pensioner will adhere to it as Phase One of eternily. 5. Forget any European or Asiatic ideas you have brought to Canada with you, re- garding personal responsibility for the ap- pearance of our parks. Even our hippies have abandoned Ibis curious altitude. Wo have been able to convince them that in the Canadian park system what we do, when a park becomes full of litter, is designate another park. This is one of the advantages of being largely wilderness, es- pecially between the enrs. Think of Ihe empty beer bottle bo-side the park path as your friend. Mast Cana- dians very uneasy walking in a park they glimpse K reassuring pull- tab, or fall nvrT a rusting fK-dspring. If we want. In in the raw we watch television. This is a country of abundance, Mr. New Canadian, and there is no bettor place to fli.splay how rmrch we have to throw away than in our nuhlic parks. Nrr.v get out thorn v.ith your fish-rind-chip rrirUin and assimi- late (Vancouver Province fcatiirei) 'Now firsl, 1 want you all fully abusive in seven dialects As the preliminaries to presidential election advanced, it became clear that feelings about taxes were at tho boiling point. Public pressure for major In- novation would be formidable enough. And now this may well be compounded by the Serrano series of rulings. They would, if upheld hy the Supreme Court, add an exacting dimen- sion to the problem of develop- inj.; new school financing meth- ods. Up to now, authorities have been given no guidelines for ac- ceptable alternatives lo tho lo- cal property lax. It would be possible lo read the Serrano decisions as indicating that the same amount of money should he spent on all pupils, regard- Ircs of where they live. But this immediately raises the ques- tion of whether real equality of education can be equated with equality of spending. Those concerned with the poor in the cities and they pushed for Ihe Serrano ruling would be quick to argue that poor city children have special needs which require lhal exlra money he spenl on Ihem. Hut an even more potent question relates lo the trans- ferring ol tax loads. The high- quality schools which have de- veloped in areas with a rich lax base are likely to become, the standard for education in the stale as a whole. That paints toward raising. the qual- ity of the schools in poor areas and, no matter what system of financing is initiated, costs must rise accordingly. Tills will likely mean licrce struggles over whether new revenues should he soughl through sales taxes, which weigh most heav- ily on the poor, or on Income taxes which hit the middle class. Some foresee basic social changes. Suburbs which have in the past competed for In- dustry to broaden their tax base may feel there Is no long- er a need to do so. ft will also become more difficult for sub- burbs to argue that acceptance of people displaced from centre cities would overload schools, and thus increase local taxes. This has been an Important barrier to the movement of blacks to the white suburbs. If slate governments institute taxes on property, with uniform rates throughout the stale, it would mean that there was no tax reason for industry to de- part central cities. If this made for a stabilization of industry in cities, it could have a major impact in halting the deterior- ation of inner cities current- ly one of the nation's most sev- ere problems. The upcoming Supreme Court decision will thus be one of the most important of recent years. (Herald Washington burtiii) James Neilson Brazil threatens neighbors by development plans TJUENOS AIRES Brazil D has won noloriely by de- fending the "right" of nations to do what they like to their own environments. The Brazil- ian thesis, flaunted most re- cently at the United Nations Conference on Ihe Human En- vironmenl at Stockholm in June, holds that only fully in- dustrialized nations can aflord to concern themselves with ec- ological matters, and that no'- lulion is a small price lo pay for economic growth anyway. Brazil's willingness to be- come a pollution haven has al- ready attracted Japanese steel makers, who sent a large in- dustrial mission to Sao Paulo at the enrl of July. bul. it has also become a major cause of the resentment in Argentina. Argentina is already worried by the possible political impli- cations of Brazil's startling in- dustrial growth and its appar- ent drive for hegemony in I.alin America. The most im- portant Argentine trade artery is the River Parana, which rises in the interior of Brazil and then flows along the Ixirder between Brazil and Paraguay before thrusting majestic-ally through Argentina for 500 miles, spilling into the River Plate estuary. Nearly as important is Ihe River Uruguay, also ris- M in Brazil before flowing along the border, parallel to rhf Parana, and joining the Kiver Plate near Buenos Aires. These two rivers anrl their tributaries make up Kt per cent tit Argen- tina's water resources. Most of (he people of Argentina live in their basins which compose the r-ntire Hivur Pluti: complex. 11 has been calculated that a properly harnessed Parana could provide Argenlina with 10 times as much electric pow- er as it consumes today. The water could irrigate vast zones that are now semi-desert scrub. But Argentines, Paraguayans and Uruguayans are uncom- fortably aware that Brazil is in 11 position to do what il likes with this vital river system: it can divert tributaries hundreds of miles from its borders and lower the water level in Argen- tina; or il can use it as a .sew- er for it.s burgeoning industries. The numerous complaints of its three neighbors have fallen on deaf ears in FSrazilia, and there have been no serious consulta- tions between the four rations on the likely effects of Brazil's ambitious hydroelectric, irriga- tion and industrial projects. Already, while Brazilian in- dustry is still in its innfancy, the level of contamination of the Parana and Uruguay has risen. When projects already under way arc completed the health o( millions of Argentines could be adversely affected as industrial effluents from Brazil pollute Ihe only source of drink- ing water for Buenos Aires, Itosairo, and hundreds of smaller towns. Contamination endangers Ar- I'.enfina'.s grain and rice pro- duct ion as well as numerous rattle herds, and throws shadow over tho future of Ar- gentine farm products as many advanced nations refuse to ac- cept products tainted by poHul- anls. Without the income from exports of meat and grain, Ar- gentina would cease lo function as a viable nation. rt is also feared thai dams for power plants in tho Sao Paulo region could eventually make it impossible for ocean- going ships to reach the port Santa Fe, through which the entire north-cast's grain and cereal trade flows. For as well as damming the river itself to provide energy, Brazil Is also proposing lo irrigate vast tracts of Ihe Mate Grosso, and has already diverted some minor trihularics, making them flow straight into the At- lantic ocean, by-passing Argen- tina. Brazil's plans for harnessing the Parana have Iwcn conceiv- ed on a scale worthy of the na- tion's soaring ambitions. The Jupiii dam, 370 miles north of Iho Iguazu Falls, where the Parana spectacularly tumbles into Argentina for the first lirne, is programmed lo add a million kilowatt-hours a year lo Brazil's power supply. It is merely one dam in a complex of six, and engineers have still to work out what will happen when they have nil been com- pleted. One much discussed possibility is that tho Iguazu Falls could dry up for a time, ?s did the smaller Niagara Kalis on the Canada-United Stales border several years ago. A hydroelectric plant at Joinville, near the Atlantic in Santa Catarina stale, is to produce Ihreo million kilowatt-hours a year from water which will flow into the Atlantic across rath- er than via Argentina SB be- fore. Tills alone could reduce the water crashing over tho Iguazu Falls by one-sixth. Argentina has been late in awaking to the possibilities of- fered hy the Parana and Ihe Uruguay, lint public opinion here and in Paraguay is now reacting sharply lo nevr awareness lhat Brazil has a llghl hold over Ihcir lifelines. A leading Paraguayan news- paper says the nation's ence is al stake and another observer envisages a Brazil- Argentina war. Argentina's of- ficial reactions have so far been restricted to mild pro- tests. The least Brazil's neigh- bors demand Is that they be kept fully informed about any of Brazil's development plans that could affect them. Tho Brazilians have refused even to do this, however, and have kept their public works pro- gram a tightly guarded state secret. (Written for The Herald and The London) Looking backward Through the Herald 1922 Predictions are freely made in Lclhbrlrlge today that the miners will Ixj back in tho pits in Alberta and south-east- ern B.C. before the end of Aug- ust, as a result of the offer of the operators at Calgary on Thursday to open the mines on the basis of a rediicllon of 20 per cent of wages paid prior to April I, when the strike started, wi h the working conditions Ihe same as those in force before the strike started. 1DH2 Prof. Augusle Pic- card's second balloon excursion into the stratosphere ended this evening at 5 o'clock when he brought his balloon down after almost 12 hours in the upper atmosphere. lOtz Tho offer of Purity Dairy lo purchase the vacant lots at seventh street and first avenue south for the site of a dairy was accepted by the city council Monday evening. 1952 A few difficult situa- tions, hot damp summers and cold damp winters, with lots of mud thrown in, have combined to make Pie. Michael Granger happy lo be homo again after 14 months with the United Na- tions forces in Korea. The Letltbtidge Herald 504 ?th St. Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBFiroGE HERALD TO. LTD., Proprietors and Published IS05-IOS1, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Srecmd Cim Mad ReqTtlrsifcn No. 001? Memter of The Canadian Presi and 1ne Canadian Daily Publishers' AnoclaJlon and 1hi Audit Bureau of circulations CLEO W. MOWERS, EdUcr and THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Manager DOM PILLING Mnnnatno Editor ROY F MILES WmJUng Wamcer Wll LIAM HAY Asscx-l'tc Editor DOUGLAS K WAI.KEft Editor "THE HCRALD SERVES THE SOUTH"