The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 10, 1976 · Page 20
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 20

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, December 10, 1976
Page 20
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The Palm Beach Post Antho"y Lewi Daniel J. Mahoney, Jr. Publisher Cecil B. Kelley, Jr. General Manager FBI: Opportunity for Change Thomas A. Kelly Editor Samuel J. Pepper Managing Editor Clarke B. Ash, Associate Editor I FRIDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 10, 1976 The Bus Walkout the county, and therefore are exempt from the ban on strikes by public employes. Thus the only hope for the public is an appeal to reason. The two sides should find an acceptable arbitrator and agree to abide by his decision. Then the drivers should call off their walkout. In the Hoover years, the FBI came virtually to ignore the Justice Department. President Ford's attorney general, Edward H. Levi, has said that the very day he arrived at his office,; an FBI man asked him to sign wiretapping or-; ders that neither he nor anyone else in the de-' partment had studied. He refused. Levi has done much to regulate the work of the bureau, working out some written guidelines and limiting its security operations. FBI offi-' cials are more concerned about the department now, but relations still are quite distant and dim. Present department officers agree that much remains to be done to assure accountability' The most significant single step the next ad: ministration could take to improve FBI methods and accountability probably would be to appoint a really strong-minded and respected new director. That is said with due respect for Kelley's transitional role, but he has not been a strong, leader. The new man should come from outside the bureau, and probably from outside the immediate world of police work. He should be a lawyer at the same time so hard-headed and so committed to legal rights that he would have the respect of both old-time FBI people and WASHINGTON - A new law that becomes fully effective on Jan. 1, 1978, will require agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to retire by age 55. It means that 650 men will have to leave the bureau during the next year nearly one agent out of 12, among them some in senior positions. Those prospective retirements are among a number of factors that could make the next year a decisive time for the country's most important law-enforcement agency. There is a good chance that the FBI will get a new director, too, although Clarence Kelley has said that he does not intend to leave. And the bureau's relationship to its parent Department of Justice still is being redefined. All of this poses a great responsibility for Jimmy Carter and the man- or woman he chooses to be attorney general along with a great opportunity. The FBI not only has important functions in dealing with the enormous American crime problem. It also has a good deal to do with setting the tone of civil liberties and official respect for law in this country. One of Carter's transition teams has been studying the Justice Department. It is due to give Carter a briefing book listing problems that may require early consideration by the next attorney general, and some possible policy options. The FBI doubtless is one of the topics. Public debate about the FBI has focused on the dramatic disclosures of illegal action in recent years - such things as its repeated break-ins at the offices of the Socialist Workers party. Those episodes do raise extremely important issues, and they have had a large impact on feelings inside the bureau, but some informed A subsidized bus firm and its 62 drivers are at loggerheads over $10 per week, with 14,000 customers in line to be the big losers. The drivers are to strike at midnight Saturday, shutting down the Palm Beach County bus system and leaving thousands of people to find other means of getting to their own jobs come Monday. No one's saying precisely what is in dispute, but the drivers and the bus firm apparently are some 25 cents per hour - $10 on a 40-hour week - apart on salary. All other matters, including retirement and medical plans, already have been resolved. The county, meanwhile, is helpless to avert a walkout, even though the bus line clearly constitutes a public service. That's because instead of operating the system itself, the county subsidizes a private firm. The drivers work for that firm, not persons think a less-discussed problem is just as weighty. That is the quality of the FBI's investigative work. During his decades as director, J. Edgar Hoover put heavy emphasis on simple crimes with measurable results notably auto theft -and on alleged internal security threats. His presentations to Congress emphasized the value of property recovered by the bureau, the number of stolen cars and the like. He was extremely reluctant to investigate organized crime or civil-rights violations, and moved only under pressure from Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy. More recently, the FBI has begun to shift its targets and its methods. Outside experts say that the quality of its investigations is improving, but that much more needs to be done to meet the sophisticated challenge of serious national crime. The other crucial problem is that of But while that will solve the immediate problem, . it will not prevent a recurrence. To that end, there are two options. First, the state could amend its laws in order to make persons such as the drivers subject to the state's no-strike law and to Public Employes Relations Commission grievance procedures. Or, the county could take over direct operation of the bus system, which would achieve the same ends. Either would be an improvement over the present neither-fish-nor-fowl system, in which the public gets the worst of both worlds. Law-enforcement is less glamorous as a subject for speculation than what Carter will do, and whom he will appoint, in foreign affairs. But the decisions and appointments that will determine the federal government's legal directions over the next four years could matter as much to the quality of Americans' lives. A Little Democracy The civilian junta currently ruling Florida's Senate isn't exactly opposed to the idea of democracy; it just thinks it can be overdone if applied to the Senate itself. "If you make it more democratic, do you make it less efficient in its ability to carry out programs?" asked Sen. Tom Gallen, whose affiliation with the Democratic party doesn't mean he takes the name too seriously. Benito Mussolini proved the efficiency of a dictatorship by making the trains run on time, but his government had its shortcomings. Sen. Gallen is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. He got that job not because of any democratic election by his leagues but because he was chosen by the Senate president, Lew Brantley of Jacksonville. By virtue of Mr. Brantley's position, his decisions on committee assignments are not appealable. The Gallen committee currently is thinking but apparently not too seriously about changing some of the Senate's rules to democratize the process. The various proposals all were drawn up by out-of -power "Doghouse Democrats," and aren't given much chance of passage when the legislature convenes next April simply because the junta doesn't like them. In aggregate, the reform pro posals probably would go too far toward diluting the president's ability to be an effective presiding officer. But a combination of some of the proposals could go far toward putting some democracy in the Senate while permitting the president the latitude to maintain order. More often than not, the presiding officers of both houses . have been chosen with the active participation of lobbyists for the major economic interests which already exercise a disproportionate influence over the legislative process. As a result, the names and faces change but the leadership remains the same. The Senate (and the House as well) should spread the responsibility for selecting committees and committee chairmen over a cross-section of the membership comprising a "committee on committees." It also should limit the president's unilateral authority to refer bills to the committees of his choice and to control which bills reach the floor for debate. Traditionally, Senate Republicans have taken little part in the battles between Democratic factions, although their votes could be enough to change the balance of power. The impending rules fight will provide the Republicans with a golden opportunity to show their allegiance to the principle of democracy in a representative government. 'And in Addition to the Change of Quarterbacks, I'll Also Send In the Plays Russell Baker Threading the Dinner Minefield Middle-of-the-Road teresting possibility now is that a lot of more calculating people may start paying calls on the principal at P.S. No. 48. It would be the happiest thing to happen to education in Washington in 20 years, a period during which the people who had political clout abandoned the public schools entirely. Imagine for a moment that you are on the way to being big in the new administration and cutting a dashing figure in Washington - a cool confident talker about Treasury and Pentagon, unlisted phone number, good at talking about goobers, mentioned for something really good in the EOB or NSC, the columnists dropping those parenthetical descriptive phrases about your brilliance, and all the rest of it. First thing that happens is you get invited to dinner, one of those dinners where there's nobody who isn't famous except the wives. There's an unfamous wife on either side of you, and somewhere between the soup and the chicken one of them turns to you and says, "And where do your children go to school?" It will be asked, never fear. harmless exchange of notes on school-bus routes and the relative qualities of ballpoint pens. Not any more. Not since the Carters decided to send Amy to a Washington public school. For Washingto-nians, this may be the most revolutionary development of the entire Carter administration. And now that once innocent question, "Where do your children go to school?" becomes as dangerous as a mine field. If you are on the way to being big in the new administration and answer with the name of a private school, you may very quickly find yourself on the way to being small. In Washington where the president sets the social tone, the smart people follow the president's lead. You may make it despite having children in private school, but an in The selection of Texas' Jim Wright as U.S. House majority leader, while perhaps not the best of news for the incoming Carter administration, is not the worst either. Wright was the most conservative of the four contenders. Nonetheless, he is considered a moderate by standards of the House, and his voting record seems to sustain that claim. On the minus side he has been too close to the oil, highway and public-works interests, and voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. On the plus side, he supported later civil-rights legislation and has taken a generally liberal position on aid to cities and economic issues in general, except insofar as they affect the oil industry. In a post-caucus interview, he indicated he would be a progressive force in regard to Carter legislative goals. By his stand, he appears to understand that this is no time for obstruction, considering the state of the economy. Of course any urge he might have to move to the right should be tempered by the knowledge that his victory was razor-thin and could easily be reversed two years hence. We needn't be terribly hopeful about this, however. Most of the new hopeful class seeking position with Carter probably will deal with the problem by choosing homes in the well-heeled suburban school districts of Maryland and Virginia. liven then, however, there would be a small gain, at least for the Washington dinner-party set. People would stop asking, "Where do your children go to school''" No dangerous questions at those dinners "Where do your children go to school?" is the one question always asked of everybody at every Washington dinner party who isn't known to the full ensemble. The reason always has been that the question was singularly unloaded with dynamite. It always led into a Letters to the Editor- U.S. Is a Religious Nation, and Prayer Belongs in School our many blessings, just as our forefathers did many years ago. Hardly the practice of a nonreligious William Torpey Lake Worth the various exhibits being visited. One group was composed entirely of black children, boys and girls. In the other group, however, there was just one white boy, as white as they come; beautiful blond hair and blue sparkling eyes. He was seemingly in excellent rapport with all the black children in the group, and partook in all the discussions of questions posed by the teacher. Somehow my reaction to the spectacle of such a profound imbalance in the composition of this class was of an ambivalent nature. I was glad that apparently the progressive parents of the white boy felt the need for integration so keenly that they sent the boy to an all-black school. At the same time it made me think of all the rancor and acrimony rampant in connection with the resistance of busing prevailing in many sections of the country. It seems as if the road to genuine integration, which comes from the heart, has a long way to go. President-elect Jimmy (or James) Carter merits a lot of credit for his unequivocal stand in this area. Harry Chestnut West Palm Beach Your recent editorial decrying prayer and Bible lessons in Palm Springs Elementary and questioning the teacher's intelligence is replete with false statements and erroneous assumptions. Your unnamed editorialist claims the United States is a secular country. It is not. The Thorndike dictionary defines secular as "worldly, not religious." The United States is a religious nation as witnessed by the words "In God We Trust" on our coins, taking the oath of office with our hand on the Bible, opening Congress sessions with a prayer. Indeed, the preamble to the Constitution states "for God and country, we associate ouselves for the following purposes." Hardly the way for a nonreligious country to state its purposes. The Bill of Rights, concerning the separation of church and state declares Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Establishment as defined by the dictionary "recognition by the state of a church as the official church." The Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists, Catholics, Judaism, certainly, were not established by the United States, but when some pointy-headed judge says there shall be no prayer in schools, even on a voluntary basis, then he is "prohibiting the free exercise of religion thereof." Let's lay the false interpretation of separation of church and state to rest permanently. Thanksgiving is a national holiday to thank God for our wonderful country, our freedom of religion, Smoking As a nonsmoker who suffers physically from "sidestream" and inhaled (filtered by the smoker) tobacco smoke, I congratulate Martha Musgrove on her article of Nov. 28. She rightly objects to the imposition on the 60 per cent nonsmoking public to subsidize state costs caused by the 40 per cent smoking public. Perhaps more articles like Ms. Musgrove's will hasten official recognition of, and a willingness to take action on, the dangers of smoking to smokers and nonsmokers alike. Though we are quite powerless now to achieve positive action, I have adopted the policy of boycotting all public affairs, meetings, entertainments, etc., where smoking is permitted, and disallow smoking in my home. Julius L. Bressler South Palm Beach Justice The Helen Wilkes Hotel of West Palm Beach, in which I am staying, is within walking distance of the Norton galleries on S. Olive Avenue, approximately 20 blocks distant. In the course of viewing the various paintings, I came across two groups of children about 10 years of age, on a tour of the gallery. The children were in the care of white teachers who were lecturing to them on Sn976 byWA,lnc 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. , 'Someday there's gonna be kids lib, an' then we'll ALL be free!'

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