Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 6, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, June 6, 1974 Nixon's controversial Moscow mission AbbaEban Occasionally there appears on the international scene a spokesman for a cause whose eloquence lingers in the memory long after the specific cause has been erased. Such a person was Abba Eban, Israeli foreign minister in Premier Golda Meir's cabinet. He is one of several key ministers who left the cabinet when Mrs. Meir resigned. The flamboyant defence minister, Moshe Dayan, is better known, but the world will be the poorer for the departure from the scene of Eban. As a spokesman for many years for the Israeli cause in the United Nations and elsewhere, he had no peer. His eloquence and clarity in oratory, his civility and skill in debate, during his public encounters with Arab representatives at the United Nations, will never be forgotten by those who heard or witnessed his performances. In a world where actions are always presumed to speak louder than words, eloquence and clarity in communication are almost forgotten arts and the world can ill afford to lose such a practitioner. Purpose of hearing It is almost time for a final decision on the sale of the city power plant, but it was right and proper for city council to give the opponents one more opportunity to be heard. On the basis of all of the available evidence there is no doubt that the plant should be sold and the aldermen are entitled to have made up their minds on that course. The purpose of the additional hearing is to invite new evidence to the contrary or to have the existing evidence invalidated. If that can be done, it is assumed the aldermen will be big enough to reopen their minds. The suggestion that the city ought to finance research against the sale of the plant is outlandish. The city did go to some expense to obtain an independent study on what would be the best course, and the finding has now been reported. It is supported by the thinking of the city administration, which is concerned with financing any policy and with getting the cheapest power for the people. If a small group of people feel the city has been hoodwinked, they now have a chance to refute the evidence on which the decision is being made. But it would be a grossly irresponsible act on the part of city council to give money to any group of dissidents to look for possible errors in an objective study previously commissioned by council and paid for by the citizens. The opposition seems politically motivated, which is all right as long as hard evidence is produced to back up the opinions. If the case for selling the plant stands up under the assault now invited, council should then take the final step toward a decision. Boost for transit system A major concern among the many that plague officials in all urban centres today is that of providing an effective public transportation system. The quality of life in cities has been seriously threatened by sprawl and the multiplication of automobiles employed to cope with it. It has become obvious to almost everyone that the costs of an automobile dominated society are very high. Air pollution, noise, and congestion take a heavy toll on the lives of people, while the drain on their pocketbooks is enormous. In addition, it has been driven home in recent times that the prodigal consumption of gasoline which is involved cannot continue indefinitely. Despite the obvious necessity of shifting the emphasis away from catering to private automobiles, there has been a reluctance to move boldly to improve public transportation. The money requirements have just been too intimidating. Now the provincial government has announced its intention to provide some funds to help the cities with this major problem. This is a good move and an appropriate way to utilize some of the oil revenue that has been pouring into provincial coffers. There is. unfortunately, cause for viewing plan as something less than a whole-hearted commitment to public transportation. A considerable proportion of the money allocated under the plan is earmarked for street and road construction. The intention may be to tie this into over all public transportation schemes but on the surface it looks like encouragement for continued subsidization of the private automobile system. At least city administrations can now dust off some of their dream plans for public transportation and approach the government with hope that the finances indicated will be mainly for that purpose. ART BUCHWALD Chairman of the board WASHINGTON The toughest thing for a business executive when he retires is to realize that, after a long career of directing people and making majdr multimillion-dollar decisions, he has no one to order around and no vital business problems to resolve. While this is very frustrating for the retired man. it's even rougher on his wife, i The other day Zuckert's wife came over to see me. Zuckert had been a very successful vice-president of a large corporation and has been retired for six months. Mrs. Zuckert was beginning to show the strains. "I don't know what I'm going to do." she said. "Abbot's driving me up the wall. He's running the house just the way he used to run the business." "What do you I asked. "All the drive and energy that went into his 35-year career is now being directed toward me. I am no longer a housewife. I am now vice-president in charge of household management. This includes cooking, housecleaning. marketing and getting rid of the garbage. "Abbot insists that I haven't been running the house at full efficiency, and there is a great deal of overlapping of duties. He's instituted a systems control so we can cut costs and. as he puts it. 'get a bigger bang for the buck.' "Abbot always was I said. "He's called for a complete revision of our inventory accounting methods. This means we can't store too many cans of chicken soup in the closet at one time. "He wants me to keep my shopping lists in triplicate, and to submit requisitions to the executive committee before I buy any household appliances over When he first retired. I humored him about it. I realized he was in a decompression tank, and it would take time before he realized he was no longer in business. "But instead of getting better, it's getting worse. Last night he asked me if I intended to take a position on spinach. I said I hadn't given it any thought, and he pointed out that a supermarket was having a sale on spinach and it might be a good time to buy up as much as we could. By summer, he said, spinach could be in short supply, and we could make a killing in it. "I replied that we couldn't keep spinach until the summertime and, since there were only two of us. there was just so much we could consume. He said sometimes you have to take chances when you're running a household or the competition will kill you. He ordered me to set up a research and development department so we could find a way to keep spinach fresh until summer." "You really have your hands I told Mrs. Euckert. "You don't know what I've been going through." she said. "Every time I come home. Abbot has a new chart in the kitchen showing accounts receivable, cash outflow, expenses and income. He keeps talking about increased production and slashing labor costs. Since I'm the only labor in the house, it obviously makes me very nervous." "Who wouldn't I asked. "The worst things are his memos. Every night I find one on my pillow pointing out a household management mistake I had made that day. Last week for my birthday he bought me a large sign with one word on it. THINK" "I have an I told Mrs. Zuckert. "Why don't you threaten to "1 have." she replied tearfully, "and he said if I did I would lose my pension plan." New companion By Dong Walker The fart that the McCrackens and Walkers hwe k'us in the same schools has sometimes intrant that Anne McCracken and 1 wind up in jach other's company at such things as band concerts when our spouses have to go off to other community affairs. Since this has caused some acquaintances lo raise their eyebrows I am happv to report that Elsepth and I met a car one day containing only Anne McCracken and The Rev, Ken Jordan. 1 wouldn't have mentioned this except lhat Anne says Ken remarked at the time that he supposed he could expect to see his name in Ore corner of the editorial page and I would hate to disappoint him. By James Res ton, New York Times commentator President Nixon's mission to Moscow at the end of June has raised two new controversies in Washington: first whether his new approach to the targeting and control of nuclear weapons is sound; and second whether he should go to Moscow on such an important mission in his present weakened political position at home. The second question is easier to answer than the first. The nuclear arms race is not going to stop while the Congress and the courts decide whether to impeach and convict the president and his men. These trials could go on for months or even years, and by the end of them, the arms race could get beyond rational control. Accordingly, the president is obliged to do whatever he can to reach even limited understandings with the Soviet leaders. He may be under political pressure to reach agreements that would make him look good at home for a while, but he is not likely to put his own political interest ahead of the nation's security and his Cabinet and the Congress would probably bring him down if he tried. The question of what the president hopes to negotiate in the way of a nuclear arms agreement with the Soviet is more complex, and in the opinion of Ambassador Gerard Smith, who negotiated the first strategic arms agreement for the U.S. in 1972, more dangerous. Smith is concerned about what he calls "the change now being developed in U.S. strategic targeting that is, a counter force policy aimed not at knocking out Soviet urban industrial targets but at hitting Soviet missile sites in a possible limited nuclear war. He doubts that nuclear war, once started, can be limited and fears that a change in U.S. targeting policy in the middle of the SALT II talks might confuse and hamper progress toward even partial agreements. "The time has he says in an analysis circulated in the Congress, "when any sane leader could consider nuclear war of any sort as anything but a potentially terminal event for his nation. Wars have a dynamism of their own, and nuclear war, no matter how it started, is most likely to end in the mutual destruction of both sides." Secretary of Defence Schlesinger takes a different point of view. In "defence department report he says: By the way, I'm not buying all that I'm just going around getting estimates.' "Not only must out strategic force structure contain a reserve for threatening urban industrial targets, the ability to execute a number of options, and the command control necessary to evaluate attacks and order appropriate responses; it must also exhibit sufficient and dynamic counter-vailing power so that no potential opponent or combination of opponents can labor under any illusion about the feasibility of gaining diplomatic or military advantage over the United States." This is obviously a subject of such complexity, usually written in jargon of such density, that even the anxieties of the experts are far from clear. For example, Sen. Henry M. Jackson, seems to fear that the president might ask too little from the Soviet Union in order to get a short range political advantage at home, whereas Smith seems to think that Schlesinger may be expecting too much from the Soviet Union and raising fears that would block compromise and get us into a new "counter force" race with the U.S.S.R. "Entering a counter force race he says, "would also be a waste of resources that are in short supply. Certainly U.S. strategic forces should be kept up to date for their deterrent mission, but I ques- tion whether the security of the United States would be increased by entering into or even by "winning" a "counter force" race Whatever the logic of these contradictory arguments, it is fairly obvious that all participants consider the controversy fundamental to the security of the American people, and second, that the American people haven't the vaguest idea of what the issues-are or even that the controversy is going on. In this situation, a strong case for the president's mission to Moscow can be made, but it would be helpful if he would clarify his new targeting policy and the issues for decision before he goes to the Soviet capital. Middle class economic issues may decide election By W.A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator OTTAWA After three years in which there has been a heavy concentration of public interest on the problems of the underprivileged, there are signs now that a more conscious concern with middle class economic issues is emerging in the political process. The two most conspicuous are a fresh interest in the problems of individual saving and the nature of the controversy that has gone on for months over housing. The latter has centred entirely upon home ownership, a pre- occupation of the middle class, not of the under- privileged. John Turner's recent budget displayed the first open concern by government over private savings for a good LETTER many years. There was both the proposal to bonus Canada Savings Bonds and to shelter the first of income earned horn interest. For many years, through high rates of income tax and the in- troduction of the capital gains tax, the thrust of government action has been to hamper and retard the accumulation of capital by individuals. This was accompanied by the full range of efforts to encourage the corporate formation of capital. Behind this trend lay a mix- ture of forces. There was, in the first place, the need to raise the revenues necessary to finance the development of the welfare state but it went beyond that. Working in the same direction were some deeply held convictions among powerful men here on Explain mysteries A city alderman, on a recent TV appearance, asserted that it is not economical to keep the city power plant. He said of Lethbridge would have to pay more for electric power, if the city retains the power plant rather than sell it. The power committee report published a few days ago did not make such a statement, though it may give such an impression. The chairman of the power committee. Mr. Hembroff, seems knowledgeable enough to avoid making direct statements to that effect. In examining the statements in the report. I find that no in the report substantiate the assertion by the alderman. For an example, the committee report cites the CH2M report as its supporting document. But the CH2M report shows that the city would gam in a three year period from 1974 to 1976. oy Keeping the power plant (see CH2M page 4, Table As it has been pointed out, CH2M calculations are based on inflated projections of fuel prices. More realistic projections on the fuel prices will make the estimated gain to the city larger. I have independent data showing that the citizens of Lethbridge would have had to pay higher electric bills, if the city did not have the power plant. One might consider the offer for the power plant as a compensating factor, but let us not forget that the city still has some debentures left on the power plant. According to the power committee report, the third point of delivery turns out to be paid by the city. Calgary Power Ltd. provides only metering equipment. The alderman may have hidden reasons for asserting that it is more economical for the city to buy all the power from Calgary Power Ltd. If so, why is the power committee, of which the alderman is a member, keeping the reasons secret. The committee report was published by the city, supposedly, to inform the citizens of Lethbridge. 1 hope the city explains the mysteries surrounding the power plant sale in a public hearing S. KOUMOSU Lethbridge the need for the formation of much larger economic units in this country, a concentration of official attention on the economies of scale in industry without much offsetting thought to the related but neglected question of optimum size. There was a very substantial element of puritanism involved, noticeably centred in the de- partment of finance but pre- sumably reflecting something in the national mood as well. The one thing that never seemed to figure in the mixture was clear thought about the sort of society that would be produced by these forces. A partial motive behind Mr. Turner's budgetary proposals was the need to protect the massive funds tied up in Can- ada Savings Bonds, from the pull of the very high interest rates being offered on term deposits by financial institutions, some of the long- term ones frighteningly high. Because this related to the imperatives of debt management and was only incidentally part of the budget, it was the one part of the May 6 proposals that survived the government's subsequent defeat. The other measures oriented towards the middle class, the protection offered income from interest and the aid proposed for the relatively prosperous young in accumulating down payments for housing, were not forced on the finance minister in the same way that action to protect the CSBs was. They represent a swing back towards a much earlier area of interest. Almost exactly the same trend was evident in Mr. Stanfield's opening campaign speech in the force and heat with which he spoke of the "liquidation of personal savings." The controversy over housing has centred for months on two aspects of home ownership: the high down payments resulting from rising prices and the consequences of very high rates of mortgage interest. These are middle class concerns, not the preoccupations of the under- privileged. This trend should probably not be viewed as a swing to the right in the country but rather as the re-emergence of interests that have been somewhat suppressed; albeit with the acquiesance of the class concerned. The two most recent developments until this one in which the force of middle class inter- ests have been evident have been social rather than eco- nomic: the changed approaches to soft drugs and to abortion. Unless a massive swing to- wards one party or another develops, this election probably will be decided by the attitudes of middle class voters who are not permanently committed to either party but who make up the marginal swing that gives or denies power to a party. Anything to which this class particularly responds, there- fore, is likely to have an important effect. It seems to me that we have been living in a period that many people find particularly uncertain and troubling. One of the government's deputy ministers, for instance, commented in a conversation not long ago that he could not remember any period when there had been so little agreement on anything within Canadian society. He was not speaking of the political process, although the level of agreement there has been low too, but of the condi- tion of society. Essentially what was troubling him was the difficulty today in pointing to generally accepted values that can be taken as part of the background against which we function. "There is almost no element of consensus the deputy went on worriedly. "There seems to be nothing to do but to keep a low profile and hope for the best." It is possible, we are at the edge of a period when the middle class'may not be inclined to keep such a low profile. It has been badly battered in recent among Qther things by the rebellion of its own children. When wider agreement on the values of society, economic and social, starts to emerge it will probably come about in this country as a middle class development. That is the most numerous and the most powerful social group in the country: one of the frequently over-looked attributes of the affluent age has been that for the first time people in comfortable circumstances have become the majority. crazy It looks like it's going to be a nice day. The Lethbridge Herald 7th a S LeJhtwidge. Albena LETWBRIDGE. HERAIO CO LTD Proprietors and Second Class Mail Registration No 0012 C1.EO MOWfRS. Editor and Publisher DON H PILL INS Managing Editor DONALD R DORAM General Manager HOY f MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M FENTON Manager KENNETH BAflNETT Business Manager THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"