New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 18, 1984, New Braunfels, Texas
4A New Braunfels Herald-Zwfunp Wednesday, January 18,1984OpinionsHwrold-Zeltung
Pows Kraasr, General Manager Robert Jokofon* Editor
Civil rights panel torn by internal strife
An AP News Analysis
By LARRY MARGASAK Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The first meeting of the new U.S. Commission on Civil Rights spotlighted bitterness and showed that the panel that searches out discrimination in America differs from its predecessor in both style and substance.
For two days the commission bickered over the civil rights agenda of the nation. Its members not only disagreed, but became disagreeable.
The commission forged new policies that looked at affirmative action quotas as evils, not remedies, and viewed Reagan administration budget cuts as policy disputes, not civil rights problems.
And when the meeting ended the
commission held an extraordinary, no-holds-barred news conference during which several members took turns assailing each other.
The commission met at a motel in Hunt Valley, Md., for what was once scheduled as a quiet retreat at which the 1964 program would be adopted.
But commission members realized they could not escape the public glare once the makeup of the new panel became the focus of a rancorous battle between President Reagan on the one hand, and civil rights groups and congressional liberals on the other.
The eight-member commission, with the majority favoring White House policies, contains four members appointed by the president and four by Congress. The former six-member commission, which expired last year after its congressional authorization ran out, had six presidential appointees.
For years the old panel was harmonious and united in giving itself the broadest possible authority to aid women and minorities who suffered discrimination.
Perhaps nothing demonstrates the change from the old to the new more
than two members who served cm both commissions — Mary Frances Berry and Clarence M. Pendleton, the current chairman who also headed the former panel in its final months.
Ms. Berry went from a majority member of the old commission to an outspoken but out-voted commissioner on the new panel.
She told a news conference that the new commission has “in effect been taken over by people who came to the commission with views already set in concrete who pretend to have open minds, but in fact have closed minds...”
Pendleton, who was a dissenting minority voice on the old panel, now rules the new commission.
He told the news conference that the new majority took over only after a
“bitter fight” during which “I got beat up.” But, he added, “the fight was one that we won. Now we’re here.”
The new majority is here, indeed, and in two days at Hunt Valley it set in motion a program that the old commission would hardly recognize.
The commission decided that use of quotas to hire and promote victims of past discrimination “constitute
another form of unjustified
discrimination” and should be
The old commission, in a 1981 statement, supported the concept of quotas in a report entitled, “Affirmative Action in the 1980s:
Dismantling the Process of Discrimination.”
The new panel decided that budget
;ui Ain . dr
cuts in social programs wfpe a question of social policy, not of discrimination. i-
The new commission also canceled a study approved by its predecessor that would have studied the effects of reductions in student aid on predominantly minority colleges.
On the other hand, the new panel voted to undertake a broad study of discrimination in America'that would “rethink many of die underlying assumptions and priorities of Ute past.”
The study would examine the status of minorities “against a backdrop of declining discrimination in the United States” and look into “the proposition that differences between groups can exist when neither racism nor discrimination are the sole or predominant factors.”
lobbied hard to get unneeded bailout
Tales of justice— sometimes do get what they deserve
In an apparent attempt to harvest votes in the Pacific Northwest, President Reagan approved an industry bailout that will benefit some of the nation’s richest timber companies — at an estimated cost to the taxpayers of 8600 million.
Unlike the $1.5 billion Chrysler Corp. loan guarantee — which eventually earned the Treasury $311 million from the sale of stock warrants that were part of the de^I — the timber barons' bailout will represent an unrecoverable loss to the taxpayers. The companies will be given a five-year extension on contracts to buy government timber on which they overbid, without having to pay interest that would normally be required for such contract extensions.
And unlike Chrysler, which was on the verge of bankruptcy when it appealed for government help, the big timber corporations earned profits as high as $60 fiullion in the first nine months of 1963.
In fact, Wall Street analysts are predicting industry profits of nearly $3 billion for 1964 That’s a 93 percent increase over 1982, when the timber companies first began whining for permission to welsh on their contracts.
What makes the bailout particularly galling is that it was the Umber companies’ own reckless greed that put them in the predicament from which Reagan has now rescued them. Wrongly expecting high inflation and the housing boom to continue indefinitely — and hoping to freeze out Simi lier competitors — the big timber companies went on a bidding binge in the late 1970s, offer.. g prices for government timber that were as high as 400 percent of its appraised value.
Then the recession sent housing demand — and lumber prices — skidding down Uke logs on a flume. Tile industry demanded to be let out of its contracts and allowed to buy the timber at the lower current price.
The Umber barons found a sympathetic ear in John B. Crowell, assistant agriculture secretary for natural resources. Before he joined the government, Crowell was general counsel for IxHiisiana Pacific, which will gain an estimated $10 million share of the contract bailout.
It was Crowell who raised the poliUcal issue. My associate Michael Einstein obtained an internal memor from Crowell that said:
“lf extensions with interest are the mold that the government offers, we can expect continued political agitation for doing something more. A recent poll in Oregon showed 53 percent of the persons queried to be in favor of allowing logging companies Ie satisfy their contract obligations by paying the lower current prices.” Crowell claimed he had no conflict of interest because he and his family had divested all their timber holdings.
The political point was also driven nome by Oregon's Republican Gov. Vietrn Aliyah when be came to Washington with timber industry
officials last summer. Reagan carried Oregon by a slim margin in 1980.
During several stormy Cabinet sessions, the bailout was opposed by the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, Treasury Secretary Donald Regan, Budget Director David Stockman and the Justice Department. One of the principal objections was that the bailout would set a precedent for other industries that are in trouble — or that claim to be.
The decision was made to hold the timber firms to the prices they bid for the timber, but to allow them an extra five years to purchase it In the meantime, they will pay no interest on the money owed the government.
Footnote: For years Louisiana Pacific has been urging the Forest Service to require larger down payments at bidding tune, piously proclaiming that this would reduce speculation. But Forest Service officials believe that this would squeeze many smaller timber companies out of business and lead to even greater control of the industry by the big companies.Boondoggle of the week
Pentagon officials insist un using commercial rental cards on out-of-town travel instead of cheaper ones available from the General Services Administration, the Defense Department’s inspector general reports.
“Seventy-seven percent of the paid travel vouchers we examined showed that DOD travelers elected to use conunercial rental vehicles in lieu of (ISA contract rental vehicles,” an internal IG report states. The result was that “33 percent of the car rental costs could have been saved.”
Reasons given for not using GSA cars are revealing of Pentagon attitudes low 'd economy:
— “Travelers felt that it was a waste of time and an added inconvenience to wait for and ride a courtesy van” to pick up a GSA car.
— Many professed to believe the commercial rates were cheaper, though they admitted they hadn't made any actual comparisons.
— Some claimed they’d had bad experiences with the GSA service — but none had bothered to file complaints.Fritz blitz
Recognizing his underdog status in the Democratic presidents! race, Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, D-S.C., recently described himself as the “Cabbage Patch candidate.” He hopes for the kind of overnight fame that the homely little dolls achieved, and has even offered to “let the voters adopt me.”
Rollings has offered his own tongue-in-cheek solution to the Lebanon problem: Replace the UJt. Marines with diplomate from tho stalled arms-control ampliations in Geneva, thus getting Bis Marines out and providing constructive work for the diplomats.
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if all criminals got exactly what was coming to them? So often they get too much or too little. You read one day of someone in Alabama who gets 25 years for stealing a can of beans and the next day you see where a man in Chicago with a record of U previous arrests is getting off with a suspended sentence.
Recently in San Francisco, Dan White, the man who killed the mayor and a city supervisor, was released from prison after serving only five years. White’s lawyer got him off on the lesser charge of aggravated manslaughter instead of murder because he claimed White was mentally incompetent as a result of eating too much junk food.
There have been some other stories though, that give you confidence that sometimes a criminal does get what’s coming to him.
— In Camden, N.J., a young white man was convicted of intentionally and fatally running into a tittle 7-year-old black boy riding a bicycle. The judge sentenced Gerald Gerlock Jr., the driver, to a maximum of 25 years in prison without parole.
A passenger in Gerlock’s car tastified that Gerlock told him he had “a point system for knocking off niggers and ^icks.”
“The heinous crime was committed In a depraved manner,” the judge mid in sentencing him. “The victim was dragged a considerable distance under the car. Then the defendant got oat, removed th* license pinta and ran •way.”
Gerlock said be was afraid to be locked up because “half the jail’s after me.”
Reading that, it takes all a normal person can do to keep from wishing they’d throw him in the jail and let the others have hun.
— Some time ago, in the South Bronx, a man beat and robbed a woman and ran to the roof of a nearby building, chased by cops. He got up the stairway to the roof first ami instead of running and jumping to nearby roofs in an effort to escape, he climbed into the top of an open chimney. He got his head down below eye level, hoping the police would miss seeing him and go on to the next roof
The chimney opening was wider than he’d expected He slipped and dropped four floors down the chimney to a combination incinerator-compactor in the basement. The compactor was activated automatically when anything was dropped into it. Ad hoc justice. The mugger’s body has not been identified.
— In Darien, Conn., people were waiting outside the kicked Darien railroad station on the Monday evening after Christmas for a train that never cams. It was freezing out and windy and after waiting for more than an hour many of them, including some elderly people, were seriously cold.
The passengers could look in and see the steam coming out of the radiators in the locked, heated sUtion, Finally a man named
Viktor ss Valium, a stagehand from New York who had been visiting his family for Christmas, broke a small window of the sUtion, crawled through and let other grateful passengers into the warm waiting room.
Not all passengers were grateful. One called the police and within minutes six police cars screeched into the station. The police arrested and handcuffed the kind-hearted culprit and took him away.
The others, out in the cold again, were distraught. One named Colleen Creamer called police headquarterscrooks
and learned that Mr. Vaituzis was being held on $50 bail which he didn’t have.
Colleen passed the hat and quickly raised the $50. She rushed to the police station and Mr. Vaituzis was released before the train came.
Last week a judge dismissed breaking and entering charges against Mr. Vaituzis.
The police gave the $50 back to Colleen Creamer. Now Colleen’s trying to locate the people who gave her the money so she can return it to them.
That’s the kind of crime the world could use more of.
Sen. John Tower United States Senate Room 142 Russell Building Washington, D.C. 20610
Rep. Edmund Kuempei Texes House of Representatives P.O. Box 2910 Austin, Texas 78769
XI ti ^ j * }
Gov. Mark White Governor's Office Room 200 State Capitol Austin, Texas 78701
Sen. Lloyd Bentsen United States Senate Room 240 Russell Building Washington. D.C. 20610‘ u