The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 17, 1982 · Page 10
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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Page 10

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Wednesday, February 17, 1982
Page 10
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inmi 1 An Independent Newspaper , Published Every Morning by Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. ,400 N. Broad Street. P.O. Box 8263, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101 SAMS. McKEEL EUGENE L. ROBERTS JR. President - Executive Editor ' EDWINGUTHMAN - ' Editor Wednesday, February 17, 1982 Page 10-A Higher education cuts: The tip of imprudence J u jjy sn- if! it ,-fiiiTiTL is k i "' f. " " The presidents of 13 Philadelphia area colleges weren't hollering "Wolf!" Monday when they warned of turmoil and devastation on the nation's campuses if the Congress goes along with President Reagan's proposed cuts in student aid and other federal appropriations for higher education. The educators, representing 13 public and private institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, focused their concern primarily on student aid. "The cuts," said Sheldon Hackney, president of the University of Pennsylvania, "constitute a dramatic reversal of a 25-year bipartisan commitment to equal opportunity in higher education." , They definitely do. President Reagan's budget, released Feb. 6, calls for sharp reductions in the Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL) program, the Pell grants for disadvantaged students and other campus-based aid programs for students. They could total as much as $2.2 billion and would be in addition to sizable cuts exacted last year. Without question, if Mr. Reagan has his way, hundreds of thousands of students will have a more difficult time financing their education at a time when tuition costs continue to rise. So the educators were performing a public service in holding a joint news conference to rally opposition to the cuts and to announce plans to press their case with the Congress. There is, one problem with their warning, however. That is that cuts in federal aid to the colleges and their students are only one segment of . more deep cuts President Reagan has requested for education in general and the entire spectrum of domestic "programs. In education alone, the President's budget called for massive reductions in the Title I program of compensatory education for disadvantaged elementary and secondary school students, funding for vocational and adult education and education for the handicapped. All would result in curtailment of those programs. The proposed cuts in the Title program is just as threatening as the cuts in college student aid, for, as Thq Inquirer's investigative series on the Philadelphia public schools, "The shame of the schools," showed, students at the very bottom of the heap slow learners from poor families made noticeable progress in reading and math with the help of Title I money. The whole range of human services face severe reductions under the Presi- dent's budget. Some are deserved, but many others are not. The weakness in the budget is that it imposes severe austerity on those programs while giving the defense establishment enormous increases in : virtually every element of its funding. And it doesn't make sense to pour billions upon billions for defense while savaging education and other human services. Theodore Friend, president of Swarth-more College, posed the right question when he asked during the press conference, "What kind of nation is it we are going to defend?" . The Congress must come up with a better answer than the President has put forward. It must address the nation's defense needs, but it must examine the defense budget as stringently as it does domestic programs and in that process preserve those that have served the nation well in education, and also in health, welfare, job training and all other areas. Define judicial roles "I think the accurate thing to say," The situation was left in troubling Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief limbo. Justice Henry X. O'Brien said Monday, It was somewhat clarified by Chief is that Justice John P, Flaherty's role ".' Justice O'Brien's statement to report- would be to lind a solution to these ers. He left no question that it was his problems and to put it into effect. There might be criticism., I expect there will be some. This won't be an easy job." The chief justice understated at least one aspect of the case. Already, there has been criticism, some of it bordering on outrage though very judicially expressed in public. The controversy involves the way the courts are run in Philadelphia, where no one disputes that there are huge backlogs of unresolved cases, long lags in bringing matters to trial and severe problems with handling and interning prisoners. Last week, the chief justice issued an order giving Justice Flaherty sweeping powers over the administration of the courts in the city. In turn, Justice Flaherty put out a directive that was quickly interpreted as virtually paralyzing court administration and which the chief justice quickly rescinded. intent and his court has substantial power over judicial administration throughout the state to have Justice Flaherty go far beyond simply studying the situation. Meanwhile, Justice Flaherty raised the question of whether it is worth the effort to go ahead if he is going to be undermined. The problems of judicial administration of justice itself in Philadelphia are severe and demand improvement. Whether the proper course is the one that began last week will remain open to question so long as vagueness and the appearance of confusion hang over the positions of the chief justice and the man whom he has directed to take action. , Chief Justice O'Brien and Justice Flaherty have a responsibility to work out a common position, unequivocally, and to make it public in explicit detail. If there is to be a serious debate, that is where it must begin. Letters to the editor The nomination of Hart is an error To the Editor: , The President's nomination of the Rev. B. Samuel Hart to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission is a major mistake. Although I hesitate to be so quick to condemn someone of whom I know so little, the mere fact that so many people from his home town have never heard of him in itself casts doubts about his qualifications. The most serious questions that have been raised are due to his attitudes toward' homosexuals. The issue is not approval or disapproval of that lifestyle, but how the government will deal with the constitutional rights of any minority group due to matters which should be considered wholly private. The statements Mr. Hart has been making show a closed mind on homosexual rights, and such deep-rooted prejudices would make it impossible for him to render impartial decisions on the commission. ." Our elected statewide Republican officials in particular should work to do what they can to dis- . suade the President in this misguided choice. We would love to have the appointee come from this area, but there are many qualified people from whom to choose with proven records on civil rights. , MATTHEW WOLFE 27th Ward Republican Leader Philadelphia. Letters should be brief and written on one side of the paper. Writers must sign their names for publication and each must give an address and a telephone number through which the letter can be verified, although neither street addresses nor telephone numbers will be published. The Inquirer reserves the right to condense. , they flaunt their sexuality like they are a third sex, a minority among minorities. " Though I doubt if the politicians, influenced by the gay lobby, will let Mr. Hart continue, I want to thank him. ROBERT SLAUGHTER ' Philadelphia. Snake oil Cogent Orange to Blue: Oh, forget it! SEPTA officials should be encouraged to make changes that will help riders find their way with a minimum of confusion. That ought to be done by making things simple, however, not complicated. Familiar, appropriate names should not be abandoned. The subway that runs under Broad Street is called the Broad Street Subway. What could be more logical? A proposal to call it the Orange Line had better be sent back to the drawing boards unless there is also a plan afoot to rename Broad Street Orange Street. Or would more people vote for msking them both Green? Likewise the Market Street Subway runs under Market Street, the Market Street El runs over it, and the Frank-ford El runs to Frankford. Put it all together and it's called the Market-Frankford Line. Why change it to the Bl ue Line as proposed ? Subway-surface trolley lines would be Green Lines under the proposed multicolor scheme. Commuter rail lines would be Silver Lines. Can you imagine calling the Paoli Local the Paoli Local the Silver Line? Generations of Main Liners well might rise from their graves. Color-coding is an idea that may have had merit in its conception, when the purpose was to assist people who change lines. If, for example, a rider gets on a bus somewhere in Delaware County and switches to the El at 69th and Market, it might be helpful if transit maps used a blue line and stations had blue markings to show the continuity of the route. That's far different from what is being talked about now. Although there are varying opinions among city and SEPTA officials on how far to carry color coding, one plan would downgrade place names and perhaps phase them out entirely. Eventually, someone looking for directions to, say, the Broad Street Subway, would never find it by that name. It would be the Orange Line, take it or leave it. Unlike stTje cities, Philadelphia has many transit line names that are readily identified with streets and neighborhoods, with routes and destinations. Those names should be preserved. They should be used more often through . better signs in stations and concourses. Riders are confused not by the names of the lines but by inadequate or nonexistent directions. This is especially true in the City Hall area the hub of the transit system where directional signs ought to be a model of clarity. They aren't. Riders who don't use the system regularly, and even some who do, encounter great difficulty trying to change from the Market Street Subway to the Broad Street Subway, or from the latter to the subway-surface trolleys, or from commuter trains to subway lines. The names of the lines are clear enough. They need to be used more, not less, to help people get where they . want to go. To the Editor: , . "The Feb. 11 editorial, "Gross civil-rights affront," in which you oppose the nomination of the Rev. B. Samuel Hart, was splendid. . I can't remember having read so cogent and encouraging a piece in defense of the rights of all Americans to equality of treatment in employment, housing and other "common pursuits." As a member of at least two of America's minority groups I'm a gay father and, like Mr. Hart, a Christian minister I feel incredibly affirmed by your voice, the more so since I know I speak for thousands of other people in Philadelphia who cannot, precisely because our equality is so frequently denied. The Inquirer once again stands with those of us who believe that a politics of fear, intimidation and guilt, threatening all of us individually and collectively, must be stopped. It's good to be in the company of common sense and courage. Rev. JAMES H. LITTRELL Philadelphia. Opposed To the Editor: The news item on President Reagan's "taking to the road in pitch to skeptics" is reminiscent of old Western movies in which other pitchmen and con artists sold snake oil and other worthless concoctions to an ill-informed and gullible citizenry. And in view of Mr. Reagan's experience as an actor who appeared in many Western movies,; his role as a pitchman is fitting. Now, after a year of Mr. Reagan's voodoonomics, it remains to be seen if a well-informed and skeptical citizenry will go for his pitch. If they buy his snake oil, they will deserve the consequences. ABRAHAM TRUBMAN Philadelphia. Kowalchuk trial To the Editor: I respond to the Feb. 4 letter to ' the editor by Barry Morrison of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. Mr. Morrison stated that "the essence of the Kowalchuk trial is symbolic," that he may be innocent or guilty, but "what is certain is that he and his trial serve our society's and mankind's conscience." If the Anti-Defamation League is noted for its leadership in combatting extremism and discrimination of all kinds, Mr. Morrison's letter raises a few questions. We must not forget that a man's life is at stake here, as well as his family's well-being. His prosecution should have been based on bona fide testimony, rather than testimony -provided by Soviet "witnesses" who have been hand-picked and provided by the Soviet government the same government that is denying Jews their Jewishness, that accuses the Jewish dissident, Anatoly Shcharansky, of being a CIA agent, that has, through genocide, murdered Crimean Tatars, that has accused both Ukrainians and Jews who disagree with the Soviet government of being insane and has placed them in psychiatric prison hospitals. The pain of the Holocaust should never be forgotten, but the fundamental rights of an American citizen should not be set aside. Mr. Morrison should take issue with "those who seem to deny, neglect and, in some instances, distort the past," which is the Soviet government and its "witnesses." ALEXANDRA SHWED Ukrainian Anti-Defamation League Jenkintown. Only now To the Editor: Prior to June 1967, Egypt could have singlehandedly created an independent Palestinian state in Gaza. Likewise, Jordan could have singlehandedly established an independent Palestinian state in the lands it held west of the Jordan River. Neither Egypt nor Jordan did anything to grant Palestinian autonomy during all the years they held their respective Palestinian territories but, rather, used the Palestinian people to further their policies of hatred and destruction against Jews and Israel. The stand of the Arabs remains the same. They still preach hatred toward Jews and destruction of Israel. Rather than aiding the Palestinians with their billions of petrodollars, they continue to use the Palestinian people as pawns in their policy of hatred. Only now, after Israel has gained jurisdiction over the lands once governed by Jordan , and Egypt, does President Hosni Mubarak find it expedient to jet around the globe demanding that Israel create an autonomous Palestinian state. K.H. RYESKY Maple Glen. 50 nations To the Editor: William F. Buckley, in his Feb. 2 column, asserted that "new federalism" would prove to be effective as a budget-reducing method because, he suspects, voters in the states would vote against welfare measures enacted in Washington. If new federalism is such a great idea, let us not stop with welfare programs. Why not go all the way down the line with federal expenditures? Turn over defense to the states, too. Maybe voters in the states might vote against some of the toys the generals need to play their games. Then we will have fifty separate little nations in all respects, not just in areas designed to help our less fortunate neighbors. Well, at least we won't need the president any more. , LUCASJ.USTASZEWSKI .; Sicklerville, N.J. Social Security To the Editor: Among the Various remedies proposed for relieving Social Security trust fund shortages, to my knowledge there has been no mention of increasing the tax rate for the self-employed. The self-employed pay only 75 percent of the combined employer-employee rate for Social Security, but their benefits are based on 100 percent of their earnings 1 up to the maximum wage base. In effect, retirees who worked for salaries and wages are subsidiz--, ing the benefits of retired self-employed professionals, businessmen and farmers. Although it might be said that the self-employed pay more in . Social Security taxes than do wage-earners, the tax payment by the wage-earner's employer is. certainly part of the wage-earner's compensation and, as such, is a "loss" to the wage-earner at the time of payment. Thus, the wage-earner is really "paying" the total amount. I suggest that policy-makers examine the ramifications of increasing the Social Security tax rate for self-employed to equal the combined employer-employee rate and allowing the self-employed, as employers are allowed, to claim half of the total rate as an income tax deduction. Although the overall result might be a "wash" of funds, the increased income to the trust funds from eight million self-employed might approach $8 billion, a major share of the amount needed to maintain the trust " funds at an adequate level. This measure would not result in increased benefit payments and would provide for equitable treatment of wage-earners and the self-employed. MERLE BROBERG Philadelphia. To the Editor: The West Philadelphia branch of the NAACP is irrevocably opposed to the appointment of the Rev. B. Samuel Hart to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. We do not believe that his appointment will enchance the cause of civil rights for the black community or other minority groups. ivli . null to umC iiua noi uccu active in the civil rights movement and has demonstrated a lack of sensitivity to some very important civil rights issues. O.G. CHRISTIAN West Philadelphia NAACP , Philadelphia. Colonial precedents Judicial review well-established A plus To the Editor: The nomination of the Rev. B. Samuel Hart to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission is definitely a plus for the Reagan administration. - . Mr. Hart speaks up like a man, and not a politician; we really need more men like him, not only in the government, but in America. What he said about the homosexual issue was a bold expression of the truth. Homosexuals aren't born, and their sexual preference is not only personal, but private. However, To the Editor: In a Feb. 5 Opd article, William F. Buckley Jr. described the Supreme Court as usurping the power of Congress, and he opened up the old can of worms . that the court does not, have the power of judicial review under our Constitution. The usurpation charge is not new; it is exemplified by Louis Boudin's Government by the Judiciary. Most constitutional scholars reject this view and rely on the meticulous research embodied in a classic, The American Doctrine of Judicial Supremacy by Charles Grove Haines, an eminent constitutional historian-political scientist who was a president of the American Political Science Association. His painstaking research proved that the courts' role of passing on the constitutionality of laws during the colonial period paved the way for the casual adoption of the judiciary article of our Constitution. At a time when more than 30 bills are being offered in Congress to strip o.r limit the jurisdic tion of the Supreme Court in controversial matters and to transfer its review functions to state supreme courts, it is significant that the chief justices of . sUie supreme courts unanimously condemned such proposals at the recent Conference of Chief Justices in Williamsburg, Va. There are some powerfully strong reasons for this action. For one thing, it would result in many different interpretations of our national Constitution, so that the powers of government and the rights of our people would vary from state to state. Furthermore, it would devitalize our legal process and turn over controversial legal issues to the political forum each time a new issue arose. Once such a dangerous precedent is set, resolving important constitutional issues would become a political football game, with the attendant acrimony, retaliation and political punishment. Rule of law would be replaced by political "expediency, sparked by mass hysteria and irrationality. Mr. Buckley is right when he characterizes our Supreme Court as the final conscience of our nation. But has he forgotten the state of the national conscience when our Congress and many of our state legislatures laiied to take the needed decisions to give black and Hispanic citizens their equal rights, intended by the 14th and 15th Amendments? Has he forgotten the congressional assaults upon the political dissent of the post-World War II era? Alexander Hamilton's concept of the national judiciary as the guardian of our Constitution is supported by these and many other lessons from our history. The truth of the matter is that the court has served this country well as the conscience of our nation when it fulfilled the constitutional obligations that other branches or parts of state government failed to perform. Far from usurping the powers of the legislative branch, the court often has prodded Congress and the state governments to fulfill their constitutional obligations. BENJAMIN N. SCHOENFELD Ambler. x- :':V

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