The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware on September 6, 1974 · Page 22
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The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware · Page 22

Wilmington, Delaware
Issue Date:
Friday, September 6, 1974
Page 22
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EDITO RIAL Evening Journal, Wilmington, Dot, Friday, Sept. 6, 1974 22 ifirTTBTiTrmcaa una tmmrsr'gi'wvwi Tin" ' ' iim ryirgtt Fire Safely and Economy In his first 20 months in office. Wilmington's Mayor Thomas C. Maloney has shown remarkable political courage in his willingness to take on tough fights. The mayor and his staff have already tangled with the city's garbage-men, the port director and the All these seem like mere spats, however, compared to the administration's developing battle with the firefighters. Unlike the labor negotiations with the policemen, which concerned a complicated range of provisions such as pension contributions and education bonuses, the firemen's dispute boils down to one principal issue: the city wants to abolish one of the fire bureau's nine engine companies, reducing the number cf firemen on duty per shift from 5(5 to 52. If that issue can be settled, the other issues invoking pay and scheduling can and should be resolved quickly. The city's purpose In cutting the engine company is the same one that was behind the fight with the police and garbagemen -a dead-end financial situation and an effort to control the increasingly heavy burden of property taes. The city says cutting the fire company will save about $200,000 this year. It will not involve firing any firefighters, since the 1(5 to 20 positions involved are vacant and are presently filled through overtime. The administration feels the drop in the level of fire protection caused by the cut would be minimal it started negotiations by demanding a cut of two companies. The city has studies showing that the change in response time to a fire alarm would be an additional five seconds if two engines were dropped. It also says that a comparison with 13 similar East Coast cities shows Wilmington paying the highest per capita cost for fire protection. The firemen have studies of their own to show that they are already below strength. They point to a reduction in their working hours which has reduced their on-duty strength by 22 men over the past four years. They argue that the present force is hardly sufficient to fight a disastrous fire such as a burning high-rise or nursing home, and that Wilmington, with its concentration of hospitals, apartments, office buildings and port facilities, should be prepared for such a disaster. If there is one fact that stands out clearly, it is that both sides have already hardened their positions to the unfortunate point where compromise does not seem possible. The firemen insist they will not yield, and the city is now threatening to go ahead with the cut even if the firemen don't agree. The firemen have been working without a contract since July 1, and there has not been a negotiating session since mid-August. There is no argument that if the Fire I'.ureau is cut, the level of fire protection in the city will not be as good as it is now. The question is whether it will still be at an acceptable level. Under normal circumstances, the cut seems justified. Nearly 90 percent of the fires in the city are so minor that only one engine is required, and the arrival time of that engine does not seem to be greatly affected by the cut. The engine that would be eliminated No. 7 at 3d and French Sts. made only about 440 of the fire bureau's 2.500 runs last year. That leaves serious fires, or several fires occurring simultaneously. The initial response to a "box alarm" fire inside a large building calls for three engine companies and one of the city's three ladder trucks. Even with the cut of an engine company, the fire bureau still could handle two box alarms at once and have two engine companies in reserve. There were only 203 box alarms last year, and the firemen themselves say that three simultaneous fire calls of any kind occur only about 24 times a year. The thought of being trapped in a fire is frightening, and it is that specter that the firefighters have been raising in their efforts to win public support. But past history and future projections do not seem to bear them out read the Daily Record in these papers and see how often the fire companies go out and the kind of alarms they usually answer, (liven the probabilities, cutting the fire bureau by a single engine seems a safe gamble to take. In Newark, N.J.: Trouble After the riot-filled hot summers of the late 1960s, in city after affected city a process of careful, painful reconstruction began. Politically, it involved paying more attention to the grievances of the black community. The whites became at once more aware and more responsive, even though often reluctantly. In some places black mayors were elected. One of the worst-affected cities of that turbulent and tense time was Newark, N.J. Now at the end cf the summer of 1974, Newark has been hit by rioting and violence again. The mayor, Kenneth Gibson, is a black. But the rioters are mostly Puerto Ricans. That shows the change in six years. It is not that the black community of Newark has no complaints or that its grievances disappeared simply because the mayor is one of ther It is rather that the rage that resul.s from a feeling of alienation and discrimination has somewhat subsided because of the presence of a black at the top of the city administration. That feeling, however, has apparently shifted to the Puerto Ricans. The alliance between blacks and Puerto Ricans in most urban areas in Newark it has resulted in a Puerto Rican becoming deputy mayor has been a matter of necessity rather than of choice, though it is hardly ever put in those blunt terms. Now the Puerto Ricans, Latin at heart and different not only in appearance but also in culture and suffering the additional disadvantage of language, feel stung that equal opportunity is leaving them less than equal even among those whose compatriots in inequality and suffering they had been all these years. They are disappointed in the blacks as they had been disappointed in the whites. In such a state of mind, almost anything that looks like an affront or injustice can touch off an explosion. This is what happened in Newark when police broke up what they said was a dice game at a Puerto Rican festival. Others say the trouble began when mounted police repeatedly harassed vendors. There were the inevitable complaints of "police brutality," and riotingj looting and arson followed on a a massive scale. The aftermath was totally out of proportion with the triggering incident, as is usual. But that this sort of thing could happen was foreseen as early as 1963. In February of that year, a Select Commission on Civil Disorders, which had been appointed by the state's governor in the wake of the riots of the summer of 1907, pointed out that "the rising needs of Spanish-speaking people are being neglected as we grapple with the more massive pressures from the Negro population." In the intervening years the Puerto Rican community grew to about 10 percent of the city's 400,000 population, but the neglect continued. According to flustav Ileninburg, head of the Greater Urban Coalition, "For all intents and purposespolitically, economically and socially the Puerto Rican community has been invisible. Until Sunday, nobody had taken them seriously."" Now, of course, the Puerto Ricans will be taken seriously, just as the blacks were taken seriously after the 1907 violence. It is tragic that such problems cannot get sufficient, attention Coimlcrpoinl Food, People- Out of Kilter while they are still simmering. In Newark, Del.: A Settlement Newark City Council still has to make if. official, but the agreement between the city and its police force after an 11-month contract dispute should be welcomed by both sides. The residents of Newark will once again get. full performance by their policemen. That will include the issuance of traffic tickets when violations warrant such action. During their long wrangle with the city, Newark policemen were issuing warnings to many violators, with a loss of ticket revenue to the city estimated at S3. 000 to $10,000. That is hardly peanuts when it is compared to the estimated $40,000 in additional costs of the new contract to the city in 1974. Those increases come in the form of new pension costs plus cost-of-living increases due policemen under the former contract. The city can claim some progress in that the new contract calls for no further wage increases for the balance of 1974 and has no cost-of-living clause for the three-year life of the agreement. Newark policemen, however, have hardly come out on the short end. In return for accepting a three-year contract, they won reduction of the service requirement for retirement from 25 to 20 years. The pension provides for an officer's retirement after two decades' service at about 40 percent of his base pay. In addition, the policemen will get $750 pay hikes in 1975 plus a 7-percent increase in 1970. The policemen say they aren't really happy with the pact. Newark City Council probably won't be completely happy with it either, since it will cost the city over the three years an additional $140,M0. But Newark residents should be happy at least that the wrangling between their government and their policemen is at an end and that law enforcement, can now go back to 100-percent, performance for their tax dollars. a Hy Norm Lockmaii WASHINGTON - It Ued to be that I always knew where I could find a full quota of fear and dread; that was when I was a little boy and had to go to church. 1 grew up in a church where the fire and brimstone bub-!)l"d close to the surface in all directions from the chapel door. There is no terror like '.he palpable fear a good fundamentalist preacher can conjure up with a long howl at the Devil who is forever clawing at your soul. I drifted away from that church, mostly because my ttervcus system was threatening to blow up before 1 had passed puberty. Rut I have now run into a new source of fear and dread. All I have to do is sit in the presence of an expert on the pivblems of world population growth and that old familiar clammy fueling starts creeping up my spine. The world's is zooming toward overpopulation and nobody knows what to do about it. For weeks in August, a couple of thousand people from all over the world gathered in Bucharest, Romania, to discuss the problem and try to come up with a plan of action. They argued and debated and vo;ed on resolutions and finally went home knowing more about the seriousness of the problem than about concrete solutions. You can forget the old hor ror stories about the coming day when humans are so crowded they no longer will have room to stoop down to tie their shoes. It'll never get to that point. The new horror stories tell about the number of human beings and animals exceeding the capability of the land to sustain them, resulting in a reaction of nature to correct the imbalance by visiting widespread famine and pestilence upon us. The signals are already clear. Tfie disaster in the upper part of Africa is more than just a drought. The weather there was uncooperative, but it was the living beings on the land that accelerated the disaster. Russell V. Peterson, chair-m a n of the Council on Environmental Quality, recently took a firsthand look at the African disaster and graphically describes the collapse of the life cycles in that area. The rains lessened. Peoples of the region, whose lifestyles and livelihood relied on animals on the hoof, began searching desperately f o r grazing land. Cattle cropped the grass, sheep skinned off what the cattle couldn't get to, goats pulled ut the roots and ate them. What was left became desert. The cycle was repeated. The animals died. The people who depended on them Led to far off villages and crammed into refuge camps and promptly wiped out food supplies. Hie starvation began in earnest. Other nations sent food from supplies already depleted by crop failures in more developed countries which are beginning to exceed the peak load of their food producing lands and seas. Food reserves are reduced to the lowest worldwide levels in decades. Reduced food reserves have contributed to global inflation. The ultimate irony, in the African case, is that when the rains finally came again, they fell on stripped and lifeless soil, if it hadn't already blown away, and turned former pastures into expanses of useless cracked concrete. This happened In lands where a man can travel for hundreds of miles and never see another human being. The animals contributed to the population problem that exceeded the land's carrying capacity. India and Bangladesh have experienced droughts and famines, contributing to the world food problem. Population control measures in those countries are largely ineffective because the number of children produced is a mark of status, even riches. In many African countries, population control advice from developed countries is seen as racist and gcnocidal. Most developing countries of Africa see themselves as underpopulated. More people for them means more manpower, more political clout and physical presence to fend off white dominators. The Africans say let the Asians stop their population growth. The Asians, though appalled at the African viewpoint, are politically uneasy about slowing their own population growth if other populations are to be allowed to grow unchecked. Just about everybody concerned has agreed that economic development is a key to population deflation. The theory is that increased standards of living lead to smaller families. The problem is that stress on economic devclap-ment pu's an increased strain on the world's resources. Only about a quarter of the world's population is in developed countries and that quarter already uses up (K) percent of the world's resources. It's elementary arithmetic that if all nations were to be more or less equally developed, there won't be enough resources to go around. S me-lMdy is going to give up something. Wars dave been started for lesser reasons. In case you're thinking that such wars might help to solve the proo'em, forget it. Wars hardly make a dent in world population. All-out nucleir wars might, but they vvuuld also reduce the amount of usable land and resources so far into the fu'iire that the population reduction would be worthless. Another hope for the fu'jre is to raise the level of the world's women, many of whom are reduced to little more than child bearers, drudges and a base for masculine aggrandizement through sexual prowess. That will require cultural revolutions that could take generations and is also keyed, in large part, to significant economic development which will alford women tfie time and means and resources to expand their horizons. Laid on top of all this is the expectation that the mortality rates in underdeveloped countries will rapidly decline to match those of developed countries. It is infinitely easier to persuade people to learn to avoid unnecessary death than to avoid unneccessary births. Of course, the United States seems to have the problem licked. The birth rate here has fallen below the point required to maintain long-term population growth. There are many well researched explanations for that, but 1 prefer the unre-searched suspicion that the 1)irth ra e decline here has been cause:! by late night television talk shows which have rendered American men impotent and American w omen frigid. through cathode-ray induced brain atrophy. Actually that might be the answer to the whole problem; a Johnny Carson show in every nation and a boob tube in evcrv hut. fp&3zr - ' - i- U -.--v- iiv) 1$ vfe Z X'" ' "N'wwWi Mi Bv W "- f,' , -C.. , LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Terror on Other Ship R. Lesniak's Aug. 23 letter favors condemnation of Israel for her recent punitive raid against U-banon. That letter reflects an all too narrow viewpoint, which may possibly be held by many more people in our society. 1 pray it is not. Header Lesniak calls the raid "a hard, calculated, murderous reprisal all out of proportion to the offense." Not once is any mention made of the numerous terrorist attacks "perpetrated by guerillas utilizing Lebanon as a sanctuary. Not once does that letter touch upon the numerous terrorist actions that have cost approximately (iO Israeli deaths, many of them innocent women and schoolchildren. Nor did reader Lesniak bother to add that, the punitive raids have nearly always focused on buildings used as guerilla headquarters (which have been first emptied of people) and fields of crops. I do not condone indiscriminate bombing and machine-gunning innocents. I pray reader Lesniak snares my opinion. However, that letter appeared to implicitly condone the actions of one side while bitterly denouncing and condemning the other. Where were you, reader Lesniak, when the newscasts spoke of Kiryal Shemona and Maalot? Weren't those acts of terrorism worthy of condemnation? Weren't they, as you so aptly wrong"? put it, "morally Stuart Drowos Green Acres Shavin' y.nvrny I so My heartfelt congratulations go to the highly innovative Delmarva Power & Light Co. for its latest thrift suggestion to the gentlemen in our service area. The tremendous amount of electricity saved by these men by moving time back and recycling their old shaving mugs, brushes, lather and razors should enable DI'&L to increase the price of electricity at least another 10 percent. Mrs. Roland Dallas Sherwood park II EDITOR'S NOTE; Mrs. Dallas refers to an Aug. 29 DI'&L advertisement showing a photograph of a razor. The text suggests that customers learn a new way to "shave" the use of electricity during peak periods by using major electrical appliances such as washer, dryer, range, before noon or after 6 p.m. llii Labor's Politics I thought your readers might be interested in hearing of a new book which focuses attention on one of the biggest, and least, publicized sources of political influence. The book is "The Hundred Million Dollar Payoff" by Douglas Caddy (Arlington House). In it (he author shows how Big Labor purchases political support by making political contributions to its favored candidates, 99 percent of whom are iibcral Democrats. These funds are obtained by drawing from the involuntary dues paid by-union members, who of course have little or no say in their ultimate expenditure. M r . Caddy estimates that the amount spent in direct cash contributions and indirect aid to campaigns ("volunteer" campaign workers, "volunteer" phone callers, "voter registration" drives, etc. . . .) during the 1072 and 1974 campaigns will amount to well over $100 million. Although Mr. Caddy does document his case with a wealth of meticulous detail, readers who wish to learn more will be happy to know that there exists in Delaware a gentleman who is eminently qualified to explain how the labor bosses treat political candidates whom they consider to be their friends (or perhaps their property?). That person is of course our junior senator, Joseph R. Biden Jr. Sen. Biden, who on several occasions has claimed that he is bound to no special interests, received lf'58,351 in direct cash contributions from various labor groups during his 1972 campaign. This represents over a fourth of his total campaign expenditures. Per capita, Big Labor spent jnore to elect Sen. Biden from Delaware than it did to elect any other man as senator from any other state. For what Sen. Biden said, promised or did to receive this so-generous special treatment from the labor bosses, I must refer you to him. It is a question that Biden will have to answer, if not now, certainly in the 1978 election. James M. Dickey Windy Hills. Ilus lioute Restored I should like to extend my sincere thanks on behalf of the senior citizens and myself to the Delaware Authority for Regional Transit (DART) and to all those who worked to restore the original No. 12 route on Baynard Blvd. We realize that it will be inconvenient for those who must ride an extra 5 or 10 minutes to get home, but the hardship for those people wfio were not able to walk the necessary distance to take the bus will now be eliminated. Thanks for a job well done. Mary V. llartnett Wilmington Sluily City Null, Too If Wilmington's mayor puts so much faith in the Hand Studies, why doesn't he have one made of his office and City Hall? I'm sure he would find more ways there to economize than by reducing the manpower of the Bureau of Fire. Keep hands off our essential services; the police department, the bureau of fire and the garbage collection. Mrs. Alice Kavanagh Wilmington EVENING JOURNAL CHARLES L. REESE JR , Honorary Chairman of the Board DAVID H. DAWSON, Chairman ot the Board RICHARD P. SANGER, President & Editor-in-Chief FREDERICK WALTER, Executive Vice President & General Managar JOHN G. CRAIG JR., Vice President & Executive Editor LESLIE E, CANSLER JR., Managing Editor JOHN K. BAKER, Metropolitan Editor WILLIAM A. HAYDEN JR., Lite Styles Editor An independent newspaper published every afternoon except Sunday by The Nows-Journal Company Wilmington, Delawae

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