The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on July 17, 1978 · Page 9
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 9

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Monday, July 17, 1978
Page 9
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o?i::io:i Mon., July 17, 1978 DES MOINES REGISTER 9A Political wound is old but the memory lingers on By JAMES FLANSBURG RnHtar MMM Writer ONE OF Jimmy Carter's political problem, a wise man has said, is that he forgets things he should remember and remembers things he should forget. He has forgotten, for example, a bunch of people who helped him win the Democratic nomination and he has remembered the opposition that some party regulars threw in his way. '' That's typical in the sense that it is a Vare politican who ever forgets a slight, however slight. Harold Hughes can still be provoked into a black humor by recollections on how some regulars invariably sat him behind posts and made him pay to get into party dinners when he first ran (unsuccessfully) for governor in 1960. One of the greatest political memories of our time belongs to Republican Gov. Robert Ray. It was only a few months ago that Ray chewed (laughingly) on me (again) for a story I did on his being interviewed by Floppy, the WHO handpup-pet, almost eight years ago. He can recite the whole incident and story, almost word for word, and his recollection of more serious matters gets better. So it's going to be interesting to see what happens to the Iowa Commission for the Blind administrators and a couple of commission members over the next few years if Ray wins his re-election bid over Democrat Jerry Fitzgerald this fall. If it follows the usual Ray pattern, they'll never know for sure what hit ihem. One day everything will be going fine for them, and the next day they'll be in the streets and blaming The Register or the Legislature for it. A good guess is that the commission will be relieved of its powers and that the staff will be put under the governor or blended into the Department of Social Services. . The final straw was piled on last week when Commission Chairman Elwyn Hemkin and Commissioner Jeannette Eyerly joined in castigating Ray for not reappointing Nell Bonnell to the commission. From Ray's point of view, it was shabby repayment for his solid support of the commission during the recent investigations of its activities. It was particularly shabby, say some Ray fans, because the investigation clearly showed the commissioners didn't deserve the support. They were ignoring the responsibilities placed on them by the law and letting the administrators set the policy and run the show virtually without supervision. Some 100 persons signed the protest telegram, but the signature that galled the governor the most was Jeannette Eyerly's. During Iowa Senate deliberations on her appointment last winter, Ray had gone to the mat for her when the smartest political move for him would have been to withdraw her appointment. Her answers to Senate questions indicated she relished being a rubber stamp for whatever former Commission Director Kenneth Jernigan wanted the commission to do. Eyerly's repayment of Ray's support brings to mind the old story about former Democratic State Chairman Lex Hawkins when be was told that someone had said something very nasty about him. "He couldn't have said that," replied Hawkins. "I haven't done anything for him lately." Undoubtedly, Ray had second thoughts about the Eyerly appoint- r ft Acuftb ment because he had put her on the commission in place of Sally Frudden of Charles City, a long-time Ray supporter and member of a Floyd County set that has passionately worked for Ray ever since his three-way primary in 1968. But from the day he was elected, Ray has made it clear that he wanted healthy transfusions of new blood in the state boards, commissions and agencies. This year's investigation showed the blind commission in greater need than most other agencies for civilian commissioners to set policies for the bureaucrats to execute. Perhaps the greatest service Eyerly and Hemken could now render the state would be to resign and let Bonnell's replacement, Arlene Dayhoff of Cedar Rapids, and two new commissioners try their hand at making the department recognize it is a state agency and not a local chapter for one of the competing organizations of the blind. Saying things like this, of course, means I undoubtedly am an enemy of the blind and an evil man who opposes anything that would improve their lot in life. There seems to be general agreement throughout the state that the Democrats controlling the Iowa Legislature have looked foolish in their floundering over mortgage interest rates and adjournment for the year. It will be interesting to compare the various stories they tell about it on the campaign stump. In keeping with this column's policy, here's Des Moines Mayor Dick Olson's 1977 salary as a Bankers Life agent: $180,340.73. Don Shasteen, who used to cover the news in Iowa for the Omaha World-Herald before he went off to politics, is the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Nebraska against Democratic Gov. J. James Ex on and is jogging across Nebraska to call attention to his campaign. George Bush, the former congressman, United Nations ambassador and head of the CIA, was in town recently to chat with a small group of Republicans. Bush, also former GOP national chairman, is definitely running for his party's presidential nomination in 1980, said one member of his audience, and has scheduled appearances in Des Moines and Spencer for later in the year. . Speaking of GOP presidential possibilities, don't you find it interesting that Illinois Gov. James Thompson, in running for re-election in his state, is spending so much money on television advertising on stations whose signals reach into Iowa? A cynic might conclude he's thinking about Iowa's 1980 precinct caucuses. It looks as if Roger Jepsen is going to duck debates with Democratic incumbent Dick Clark in Iowa's contest for U.S. Senate this year. SOME IOWA newsmen, incidentally, are put out at Clark because his staff seems much more interested in helping Washington Post and Washington Star reporters than Iowa reporters. Democratic Congressman Neal Smith says he is certain about the cause of swings of the political pendulum. "When Democrats are in office, things get good and people get to thinking they can afford to be Re publicans again, he said. And from James Jordan of Marion, the Democratic candidate for state secretary of agriculture: "It's amazing how many Iowa towns are named after their water towers." At the Republican state convention last month, Governor Ray offered this assessment: "Jimmy Carter has done quite a bit since he has been president. He has taken the Ten Commandments and turned them into the Four Commandments and six 'do the best you cans.' " In the First Congressional District in southeast Iowa, Democratic candidate Dick Myers says he has had his share of trouble with dogs as he goes door-knocking. In Amana, a German shepherd dragged his mistress to the door and stood growling at the candidate. "She was looking at my brochure with a picture of Jimmy Carter on it and asked me if I was a born-again Christian," said Myers. "No, but I am a Christian," he said, "and if you let go of that dog, I'm going to need salvation." Tribute to a beast that 'gives his all' By COLMAN MCCARTHY 9 nn, WiiMnaten Port . PIGS had another rough day. Justice John Paul Stevens, in the majority opinion of the Supreme Court on a case involving free speech and dirty words, said that when the Federal Communications Commission "finds that a pig has entered the parlor, the exercise of its regulatory power does not depend on proof that the pig is obscene." I want to deal with this latest injudicious slam against pigs. Stevens, a city man more worried about barnyard language than knowledgeable about the barnyard itself, joins the majority opinion held by most Americans about pigs. Since the 1850s, we have slandered the police by calling them pigs. Women catch it, too. In a James T. Farrell novel, a Chicago lad, speaking of his girl friend, says, "I got to pick up the pig at seven." ' To overeat is to be piggish. To be stubborn is to be pig-headed. To drink cheap whiskey is to like pig sweat. Years ago, when I had a clearer Idea of what mattered in life, I spent a little time on a pig farm. Nothing I had heard about pip turned out to be true. They are clean, almost to the point of fanatical hygiene. Even If you never had my luck to work in a pig sty, the Encyclopaedia Britannica has the facts: . "Contrary to general opinion, the pig is a clean animal : if given sanitary surroundings." Pigs are Intelligent. Studies rank their brainpower above even the darling of the wildlife lobby, the porpoise. -. In my farm days, and when I listened carefully, I learned that pigs are skilled and lively communicators. Using tonal pitch, as in Oriental languages, pigs spend .nothing but pleasant days sharing their minds. Experienced pig farmers say that the common "oink" is really "gronk." When a stranger approaches the sty and one pig wants to tell another to take note, it gronks. As for grunts, pigs don't. Gorillas grunt. But not pigs. Most endearing of all about pigs is that they are carefree optimists. If it rains, they look forward to the sensualities of the mudhole. If hit by the blaze of a summer sun, they are happy to sleep and get fat. Even when they are being loaded onto the vans headed for the slaughterhouse, they bound up the ramps expecting a joyride, not a death trip. The Supreme Court and most others aside, pigs do have a few friends of note. One is E. B. White, whose essay, "Death of a Pig," is as memorable a piece of prose as any ever written about a pet. Another is William Hedgepeth, who wrote "The Hog Book" earlier this year. After documenting the bright, brave, merry and loyal ways of the pig, Hedgepeth makes the case that, of all our animals, here is one beast that should be the most appreciated: "Man, for his part, gets the whole hog. With other animals, domestication is not nearly so demanding. For ' receiving approximately the same benefits as a hog is provided, the cow is called upon to donate milk; the '. sheep trades wool; the chicken lays eggs; the horse supplies locomotion, and the dog offers up a certain servile sycophancy which is translated as loyalty. . . . But the hog gives his all - with no exceptions." ... r ft MOCK ADAMS ADAMS MAY QUIT CABINET POST, SOURCES HINT By ERNEST HOLSENDOLPH 1WI Ntw Vrk Tlftwt WASHINGTON, D.C. - Transportation Secretary Brock Adams, who never quite recovered from the criticism of some decisions early in his term last year, appears likely to be one of the first members of the Carter Cabinet to depart, possibly between now and the end of the year, gov-ernment and industry sources here say. The expectation that Adams will not finish his term has already set off the circulation of names of possible successors, including Alfred Kahn, chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, and two officials in the Department of Transportation, Langborne Bond, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, and John Sullivan, head of the Federal Railroad Administration. Meanwhile, according to sources in the Department of Transportation, some of Adams's staff members have taken to backbiting and finger-pointing. . Despite the expertise he gained as chairman of the House Budget Committee, Adams has been excluded from President Carter's inner circle of advisers on fiscal policy, energy matters, congressional relations and everything else not directly related to transportation. Adams is reported to be frustrated and looking more favorably on private law practice for the first time in 17 years. In a recent interview, however, he tried to dispel talk of his departure. "Our work here is right on schedule," he said, "and I still enjoy my job." Slow on the Road Under Adams, the Transportation Department was slow to get on track last year. Its main problem was that it got off on the wrong foot with Carter and his White House staff. In Adams' first days in office, according to several sources, Adams and his senior staff members were called to the White House by the president, who told them bluntly that he was disappointed that Adams had brought so many of his House staff members into the department with him. They included David Jewell, who became Adams' departmental spokesman; Alan Butchman, the deputy secretary; Linda Heller Kamm, general counsel, and Mortimer Downey, an assistant secretary for budget and programs. Hamilton Jordan, Carter's top political adviser, reportedly has never forgiven Adams for filling his own slots rather than giving the White House a chance to influence the decisions. "One of the best ways to get something rejected by the White House decision-makers, we learned early, was to tell Ham Jordan that Adams wanted it," a department staff member said recently. . Victim of Circumstances Adams also got off on the wrong foot, according to his critics, by proclaiming early that he was opposed to sweeping regulatory changes in the airline industry to promote price competition and encourage new companies to enter the business. The president came out strongly for such changes; thus, the Adams statements embarrassed the White House. Adams said that he was a victim of circumstances. The Senate bill to relax airline regulations was one of the first pieces of major legislation to appear last year, he said, and he was put on record before the administration had worked out its position. "I tried to tell the White House staff that it would be a tough selling job because reform had no constituency after all, fewer than 15 percent of travelers fly and although it was a nice media issue, it would be hard to translate into votes," Adams said. The outlook for the airline bill improved over the months, however, and Adams began to speak out in favor of it, but his move appeared to be too late to allow him to share the credit with the White House's own lobbyists and with Kahn of the Civil Aeronautics Board. Adams became further isolated when he tried to have the administration link transportation needs with increased gasoline taxes, thus making the energy tax proposals more palatable. "I'm sure I was right on that one," he said in an interview, "but, no no one has come back to me to help put together that approach." . Aspires to Office Adams, 51, was born in Atlanta but grew up in Seattle. He was the top student in his class at the University of Washington, and attended Harvard Law School. He practiced law and later served as United States Attorney in Seattle before being elected to the House, where he served 12 years. Adams is the only member of the Carter Cabinet who openly aspires to elective office. He has said publicly that he plans to run for the Senate in Washington when the seat held by Warren Magnuson, who is 73, or that held by Henry Jackson, 66, becomes vacant Adams' associates believe that he is often seen by White House advisers as a political opportunist who, because of his ambitions, must always mind his personal political store. Magnuson, whose term will expire in 1981, has passed the word that he intends to seek re-election. Adams is popular in the state, but it is unlikely he would challenge either incumbent. Adams and his supporters say that he has had his successes. He did his best to nail down some troublesome rulings, such as the disposition of the giant Westway project in New York City, successful clearance of the air-bag decision and approval of a controversial new bus that accommodates handicapped passengers. He was also able to gain quick approval of his budget proposals within administration guidelines, while including new ideas in the surface transportation program. . However, in the transportation industry and elsewhere, there is disappointment in Adams' performance so far. When he was appointed, he was regarded as ideally suited for the job. Even though he had no adminis trative experience, 'he was a legis- lative expert of rail and other trans- portation matters in the House, and was credited with being a budget?; authority as chairman of the House Budget Committee. desiring a longer story.) J Frustrated One of the most common expecta-" tions was that Adams would be influ-" ential in getting legislation through.; Congress, but this has not been the case so far. He has had difficulties, getting bills passed. In an unusual display of frusta" tion, Adams recently denounced the ' House Public Works Committee for", its transportation bill, which is much! more expensive than the administration would like. He stood outside the committee room and called the bill, "pure pork," which, he said, woulf "oink its way through the House." Meanwhile, some members of the Adams team point accusingly at,,; another team member, Terrencei Bracey, an assistant secretary for' congressional relations, and say that'' his congressional lobbying has been'! inept and has hampered the depart-1' ment's legislative program. Still '' others have whispered that Joan-; Claybrook, the head of the automobile.' safety program, has been too radical and hard-driving. Finally, others say, . that Bond, head of the FAA, has been, all but "campaigning" to succeed . Adams. MOTORCYCLE CRASH KILLS 2 lilt RwtttWs lowt Niw Srvlc - . AUDUBON, IA. - Two Audubon men died Sunday of injuries they;, received when their motorcycle', collided with a car at the junction of U. S. Highway 71 and a paved road just outside of Audubon. Russell Griffith, 20, driver of the"; motorcycle, and Kurtis Lee Jensen,' 19, a passenger, were taken to Uni versity of Nebraska Hospitals in . Omaha, Neb., where Jensen died ! Sunday night. Griffith died in Council: Bluffs, according to a doctor at the hospital. Michael N. Hjuler, 18, of Audubon; the driver of the car, was not injured. - Authorities said the accident happened when Hjuler, who was. southbound, started to turn left off. Highway 71. The motorcycle, which, was northbound on 71, collided with; the right front of the car with such an impact that it stuck to the car. Griffith and Jensen were each ' thrown about 100 feet by the impact,' authorities said. Neither was wearing a helmet. , : Trooper Edward Swain said: Griffith received two broken legs plus-head and internal injuries. He said Jensen suffered one broken leg plus" head and internal injuries. GOP committee, county chairmen to meet DETROIT, MICH. (AP) - The Re- publican National Committee and about 100 GOP county chairmen from the nation's urban centers will be meeting in this Democratic stronghold this week. The county chairmen, will be participating in a special Urban Problems Conference, taking notes on what is happening in Detroit's inner city, urban renewal sites and social projects. ' Officials pleased, union peeved with state's new health coverage By WALTER E.SHOTWELL v Rttfihr SMI Wrttw Iowa's new medical insurance program for state employees is running Into criticism, but officials say persons who are pleased far outnumber the displeased and benefits are substantially improved. Douglas Hart, an official of the American Federation of State, Countv and Municipal Employees, said the union was "denied the legal right" to have "input" in developing the new insurance program. He said the union was "deliberately kept in the dark" contrary to Iowa's collective bargaining law. He said 200 delegates from around the state will meet next weekend and will discuss whether to challenge the new insurance program. For 2,431 state employees (about 10 percent of those covered), salary deductions for medical insurance will eo up from $3 to $18 a month, depending upon which old plan they were under, said Insurance Commissioner Herbert Anderson. However, especially in the higher increase ranges, benefits are proportionately increased, Anderson emphasized. A major example, he said, is payment for outpatient costs often incurred by young couples with small children. Anderson said most state employees realized reductions in their contributions and better benefits. Hart said most complaints are from non-faculty employees at Board of Regents institutions. He said many of them lost benefits under the new plan, but many merit system employees gained. Hart said it was action by AFSCME that prompted the Legislature to direct the Iowa executive council to develop a new medical insurance program. The idea, he said, was to equalize benefits and state contributions among all employees. But Hart said the executive council "acted unilaterally" In setting up a plan and asking for bids. Anderson said the "nature of the plan was quite well known" and AFSCME members were there when it was presented to the executive council. Robert F. Schroeder of The Bankers Life, unsuccessful bidder for the state medical insurance contract, said the successful bid by Blue Cross-Blue Shield fell 10 to 15 percent short of what actual costs will be. "This will necessitate a substantial rate increase next year," Schroeder predicted. Leo R. Armatis, Blue Cross-Blue Shield vice president for public affairs disagreed, saying the bid was based on experience of insuring employees at two state universities, other state employees and 45 percent of Iowans with medical insurance. He said a consulting actuary helped arrive at the bid and Blue Cross-Blue Shield considers it sound. If it does appear that rates will increase after a year under the new plan, Anderson said the state would simply ask for new bids. "Fine," said Schroeder, "but the increase is still going to be there." Schroeder said his office has received "in excess of 50" complaints from state employees unhappy about having to switch from Bankers Life coverage under the old plan to Blue Cross-Blue Shield under the new plan. Anderson said his office has received about 10 such complaints. In addition to complaints about costs, Schroeder said some employees are concerned about fitting state insurance to other coverages the family might have. Under the old plan, a variety of coverages were available from two companies at a variety of costs, depending upon age and family circumstances. The new plan has two options under family and single person coverages. Some state employees with spouses employed in private business are signing up for single person coverage with the state, letting the spouse's private policy cover both spouses and the family. The entire single person premium, $38.56 a month, is paid by the state. It is possible, Anderson agreed, that the state is paying a substantial sum in single person coverages that may never be used. However, Anderson said, when an insurance company bids for the state contract, the company assumes that a certain number of employees will have such "double coverage," with the single person policy being virtually unused. The overall rate structure is lowered accordingly, he said. He added that about 300 married couples work for the state, and ah effort is being made to coordinate their policies to avoid the double coverage and reduce the state's premium payments. Even though a couple might have double coverge, procedures for processing claims guard against any "double payment," Anderson said. .. , He added that one of the most common complaints comes from Iowans who think a company has gypped them by not paying a claim already paid by another company. Spokesmen for Blue Cross-Blue Shield said it is reasonable for a spouse to sign up for single person coverage to "fill in" coverages the other plan might lack, and to protect against a spouse's losing a job and, thus, coverage. The spokesmen also said if an employee doesn't sign up when the opportunity exists, he might have to await another enrollment period of take a physical examination. The new plan places all state employees, except university faculties, under Blue Cross-Blue Shield. Total premiums are expected, to be about $12 million a year. The state payroll department said it wiJL take a month or two of experience tp determine an exact figure. A

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