The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 5, 1976 · Page 52
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 52

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 5, 1976
Page 52
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Page 52 article text (OCR)

Palmeach POSt-TillieS A Forum To Aid Understanding Daniel J. Mahoney, Jr. Publisher Thomas A. Kelly Editor Cecil B. Kelley, Jr. General Manager Samuel J. Pepper Managing Editor Clarke B. Ash, Associate Editor SUNDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 5, 1976 : ' ET quired of many condominium purchasers are among the most blatant. Many run for 99 years and entail total fees that have little or no relation to the true cost of recreational facilities. pothetical case and pursue it through every nuance a skillful moderator can invent. The hypothetical cases raise all the problems that currently are troubling the bench and the press. The first seminar was held last spring in Chicago. A second was conducted in Miami. The lineup of participants in Miami included Florida Atty. Gen. Robert Shevin, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ben Overton, Dade County State Atty. Richard Gerstein and editors of the state's largest newspapers. Nobody converted anybody else to his point of view, but all cajne away with a new understanding of the other guy's problems and a new respect for his occasional adversaries. The Ford seminars were so successful that they spawned imitators. One of the imitators is the American Society of Newspaper Editors. ASNE has gathered some 50 judges, editors, attorneys and police chiefs on neutral academic ground at the University of Florida this weekend. For six hours, we'll go at each other over prior restraint, gag rules, libel, invasion of privacy, grand-jury secrecy, confidentiality of sources, principles of investigative reporting, journalistic ethics and anything else we can think of, The only standing rule is that no participant can be prosecuted for anything he may say at the discussion table. It's unlikely that we newspaper types will be able to convince the judges that they should stop sending reporters to jail for protecting their sources. It's equally unlikely that they'll convince us to stop printing "bad news." But if both of us can demonstrate to the other that we are honorable professionals trying to serve a common good, then the exercise will have been a success. GAINESVILLE Judges, lawyers and journalists usually get together only in the courtroom, and then only because they've been forced into an adversary situation. It would be safe to say that judges, in general, are suspicious of the motives and integrity of journalists and that journalists, in general, are suspicious of the fairness and probity of most judges. You'd probably be equally safe in asserting that judges, on the whole, mistrust journalists and journalists, on the whole, are convinced that most judges don't have the proper regard for freedom of information and the public's right to know. The relationship between the American press and the American legal system, always in delicate balance at best, took a definite turn for the worse four years ago when the Warren Burger Supreme Court ruled that reporters called before grand juries did not have a general right under the First Amendment to refuse to answer questions in order to protect confidential news sources. That decision was the first bucket of cold water in the face of the press the first rude signal that the times were a-changing for American journalism. There were more shocks to follow a whole series of assaults on the press' traditional freedoms during the excesses of the Richard Nixon years. The litany of horror stories included temporarily successful attempts to restrain publication of the Pentagon Papers, unwarranted challenges to the licenses of television stations owned by newspapers considered unfriendly to Nixon, jailing of reporters for refusing to disclose confidential sources, gag orders prohibiting publication of information given in open The Florida Cabinet should act in January to outlaw what Atty. Gen. Robert Shevin correctly calls "the unconscionable condominium recreation leases." In taking the matter to the Cabinet, the attorney general is following the lead suggested by a state Supreme Court justice. The high court last month refused to allow Shevin to invalidate existing leases through cease-and-desist I orders, but Justice Arthur England said the ruling did not apply to the full Cabinet. Future such leases already are effectively barred by legislation. Of all the unfair business practices ever foisted on the unsuspecting consumer, the leases re court, restrictions on access to public documents, new and restrictive definitions of libel and invasion of privacy. ' It took the Watergate disclosures and the role played by reporters in discrediting the Nixon gang to take the government heat off the press temporarily, but the series of challenges and the new legal ground broken during the last five years have created a climate of uncertainty and distrust that lingers on. Taking note of this corrosive state of affairs, the Ford Foundation earlier this year launched a series of media-bar seminars under the direction of Fred Friendly, former chief of the Columbia Broadcasting System's news operation. The idea of the seminars was to open a dialog between the legal system and the press. . The means used is the Socratic method of instruction, in which the lawyers, judges, prosecutors, reporters and editors take roles in a hy In addition, many such leases have clauses allowing the developer virtually to raise the rates at will. The owners have no practical recourse, inasmuch as they jeopardize title to their homes if they refuse to pay. If it takes Cabinet action to stop this outrage, then Cabinet action should be taken. If such mandatory leases are not in restraint of trade as forbidden in Florida's so-called Little FTC Act, then the phrase has no meaning. The Revolving Door that the incoming president may ask Congress to make this so-called revolving-door syndrome illegal. If such legislation encounters constitutional problems, and it may, Mr. Carter plans to ask his appointees to promise not to accept jobs in the industries they had been We were pleased to see that President-elect Jimmy Carter is taking a critical look at the old and; curious custom of loading federal regulatory agencies with executives from the industries they are supposed to regulate. We suppose there is something to be said for the difficulty of finding knowledgeable people outside the affected industries, but that problem is not insoluble. The real difficulty is the public official with divided loyalties. What sort of job can the public expect from a watchdog agency whose members are lining up cushy jobs in the industries under their jurisdiction? A Carter spokesman reported The law might help, and so might the personal promise. In the long run, however, the answer lies in the quality of Mr. Carter's appointees. No law or signed pledge will work if the appointees haven't enough integrity to recognize a conflict of interest when one stares them in the face. Legalism Wins Again of the other lakes, and perhaps even fill them in. Just when it seemed the Florida Supreme Court finally ""was beginning to put justice ahead of technicalities, along comes the preposterous decision that threatens to end public access to all but 300 of the state's 30,000 freshwater lakes. The absurdity of such a ruling should have been obvious. The state clearly meant that all waters on which a boat can navigate were to be public. That obviously would include more lakes in this post-dredging era than it did in 1845. Letters to tht Editor- The Priests Are Not 'Playing Jesus' The lakes ruling came just hours after the court had put public will ahead of legalities to uphold sale of $50 million in Palm Beach County beach acquisition bonds. That didn't keep the justices from again reverting to legalism, however. In addition, statehood came only two years after the end of Florida's longest Indian war, and some parts of the state hadn't even been surveyed. Many of the lakes undoubtedly weren't designated because they weren't even known to exist. The court agreed that the state has claim to all navigable freshwater waters, then proceeded to say state law seems to define navigable waters as those designated as sovereign land in surveys taken before Florida became a state in 1845. This involves only some 300 lakes. Thus private landowners may be able to cut off access to some Addams talked in terms of outlawing war and discovering moral substitutes for war. She wasn't concerned with the justness of war, or about the guilt of aggressors. She wasn't concerned about the imposition of unwanted political systems upon suffering peoples. Her concern was a socialist Utopia transcending national boundaries and governed by her own elite group of know-it-all reformers, and indignant that the distractions and inconveniences of war would retard progress towards a socialist society. Yes, Jane Addams was a founder in 1915 of the Women's International Committee for Permanent Peace which, in 1919, became known as the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom which, in 1920, became an affiliate of the War Resisters International, which had as its objectives the overthrow of capitalism and imperialism and the establishment of a new social and international order an order in keeping with the lines laid down by Marx and Lenin. Yes, let's have peace, but not at the sacrifice of freedom. The justice who wrote the decision suggested that the legislature possibly could rectify the situation. In that case, the legislature should, in order to make the intent of the law so clear that not even the Florida Supreme Court can misinterpret it again. it does or does not dream of widening Flagler Drive. The public is entitled to know. Anything less than a forthright statement would be a betrayal of the trust which the voters reposed in their elected representatives and a barometer of how they would vote at the next election. Martin M. Karlan West Palm Beach Idiots Recently, columnist George Will stated in your paper that if we do not increase the salaries of our top executives in Washington we will be losing those brains to the private sector. If the past 30 years are an example of the intelligentsia we have in Washington, I say let's cut their salaries to the bone. We have had nothing but blunders, errors and sheer stupidity in many cases. When a document coming out of Washington contains 10,000 pages and the gist of the material can be put down on a few pages, it is not a measure of intelligence, but the mark of babbling idiots. Even Chief Justice Burger finally got exasperated with a lawyer who brought a 231-page brief before the court. Carl H. Lufft Lake Park Angola's In at Last Ron Bull Jupiter The difference appears to be a belated realization that U.S. obsession with communism, and with Castro in particular, has led us into a foreign policy that has alienated the Third World. Angola now is a member of the United Nations. While the United States insisted on having its hour of posturing in deference to a disastrous African policy, it at least did not veto entry for the Luanda government. k6() Minutes' A letter to the editor from a local Episcopal priest chiding The Post for favorable comment concerning women in the priesthood provides us with a clue to the real basis of the anguish he and others like him feel in this matter. "The issue is a theological one," he writes. "It is all rather like Katherine Hepburn playing Hamlet. Of course she can do it, but for all her play-acting she can never be him." If one regards the priest as a person playing the role of Jesus Christ, of course he will be upset. Putting someone of the opposite sex in that characterization obviously would be miscasting. The trouble is that such a theological notion is scripturally uninformed. In the Old Testament, granted, the priesthood was vicarious. The priest did on behalf of the people what they could not do. One tribe in Israel was priestly, 11 were not. The New Testament, however, completely removes this division. Not only does it say that in Christ there is no male or female, it also makes it clear again and again that there is no priestly caste, no one assigned to "play Jesus." There simply is no New Testament support for the idea of a man's representing Jesus for the Church. Even the Pope refers to himself as the "servus servorum dei" the servant of the servants of God. If priesthood is play-acting and "being him" is its object, the whole enterprise is so far off target that the sex of the role player is the last thing to be worried about. Philip E. Perkins Rector, Grace Episcopal Church Barometer Prior to her election to the City Commission of West Palm Beach, Carol Roberts campaigned on the promise that she would oppose the widening of S. Flagler Drive. During a visit to a meeting of the commission at the express invitation of then-Mayor Richard Linn, the writer was greeted with less than hospitality, and the commission would go only so far as to say it could not speak for what the next commission would do. Today, there is a fear that the excitement on the part of the commission to create a bicycle path along S. Flagler Drive is a canny means of tying in the eventual widening to four lanes after all. Since this would be in complete defiance of the wishes of the greatest majority of residents along Flagler Drive, what justification is there for such arbitrary action, and what kind of representation could this be called? It is at this time incumbent upon the commission to publicly assert its stand on whether Peace Maybe it's finally getting through at Foggy Bottom that communism and freedom are not mutually exclusive spheres that between them encompass all of mankind. There are many evils in this world, and a foreign policy that condemns Angola while tolerating Uganda and South Africa has no sane moral base. The United States blocked Angola's first bid for U.N. membership last year on the basis that Cuban troops were there. The troops still are there, but the i United States satisfied itself this time with a speech and merely abstained on the admission vote. Most Americans want peace that is, as most Americans understand the term peace. But "peace" to Communists and some "socialists" means the lack of any opposition to communism. Mrs. Mildred R. Gearhart's response to Mr. Rowan, and her pride in the International League for Peace and Freedom and its founder Jane Addams, is interesting. I feel CBS should not preempt "60 Minutes," scheduled to appear on television Sunday at 7 p.m. I give up my social evenings to stay at home to watch "60 Minutes." I feel it is one of the very best programs to come out of the air and for CBS fo cut off half an hour of this wonderful program for a football game is a dreadful waste. Does CBS not feel more entertainment, more knowledge, more real pleasure is obtained watching this program than football? Sylvia Rosenthal West Palm Beach Cementing State I must express my displeasure and concern about the new 10-stoty condominium (Lakte Harbor Cove) to be built on a small, lakefront lot on Avenue A in Riviera Beach. This is just too much. Ten stories. Are we going to allow builders to continue outlining Florida in cement? ( Mrs. William Miller Riviera Beach ! liiitSi of j Sad ' i'hg lg t- and a bit of low-key edu cation about - some of Dade's ; ijiore pressing problems. It s Dade s way 6f counteract It's sadjin a;wayf that Dade Coiinty has resorted fto'thje free-, spending tactics of professional lobbyists to get on the good side of legislators. The county itself put up $20,000 and various local business interests put up the balance of the estimated $100,000 cost of the four-day "bicentennial legislative appreciation week" which ends today. Included in the festivities are trips to the racetrack, a pro football game, tourist attractions, golf and tennis, dining and drink- ing what it perceives as a steadily deteriorating relationship with the North Florida-dominated legislature through the establishment of a convivial social relationship. To put it bluntly, Dade is trying to buy some friends it cannot get any other way legally, that is. All this is open and above board. But, as we said, it's sad. nv.Toat ui -j More Letters, D22 Letters must bear the full name and address of writer, be no longer than 200 words and be written legibly. All letters are subject to condensation. A letter will not be considered for publication if the writer has had a letter published within the previous 30 days. 'Sometimes it ain't easy avoidin' the trap-pin's of the imperial presidency.'

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