Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana on March 20, 1988 · Page 4
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Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana · Page 4

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Logansport, Indiana
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Sunday, March 20, 1988
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Page 4
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Page 4 Opinion ^ ^^^••^^••^••"••"•••••••••i Pharos-Tribune, Logansport, Indiana, Sunday, March 20, 1988 The free exchange of ideas is the greatest protection of liberty. Ag Day: Vital to economy Today is Agriculture Day. Indiana along with Cass and the surrounding counties have good reason to be part of the observance. Indiana ranks high in production of all kinds of farm commodities. Cass and virtually all of the five adjacent counties are vitally linked to the farm economy and contribute substantially to the volume of farm goods Indiana generates. Carroll County, in fact, leads the state as the top hog-producing county and is fourth in corn production. White County ranks sixth in the state in chicken production. The farm economy involves a number of supporting businesses that contribute to our local economies. Farmers have had a rough time in recent years. In some areas life on the farm is starting to look up from an economic standpoint. We hope that farming an agriculture continue to be an integral part of life in Loganland and we want to recognize the contributions of agriculture to our way of life. Schools: Board is important Because of the resignation of Carol Rhoades, the Logansport School Board must fill a vacancy for the remaining two years and approximately three months of her term. The prime consideration, obviously, should be to find someone who is concerned about education, who displays good judgment, who has the intellectual capacity to make decisions in an increasingly complex educational environment, and who has a commitment to learn about the process of education. If all of those factors are satisfied, there is one more that should be considered : geographic balance. The only requirement for this position is that the person live inside the city limits of Logansport. Two other members also are required to be from the city district and those seats now are filled with two members from the east end. The remaining two seats on the five-member board represent two different sections outside the city. The alignment suggests that the city is homogenous and that is not true. The impact of school board decisions can differ around the city. This is especially true when decisions are made about buildings and transportation. Schools affect the complexion of the city. They affect socio-economic- changes, property values, recreation and the aging of neighborhoods. Those realities should not be ignored. Constituents and their concerns about education differ across the city, too. There is a strong argument for having input and representation from more than one geographic area. Berry's World "Instead of going ahead with the Stealth bomber, why don't we use the money to buy Nicaragua?" I guess this means we'll be travelling "feather {o Atlanta .riM, Jesse? WitKalHhe fragued: flyer tnites fonget it The Campaign Jeffrey Hart Liberals: They disagree with Tom Wolfe he American political Left is in a terrible snit over Tom Wolfe's best-selling novel "The Bonfire of the Vanities." The thing has been number one on best-seller lists for weeks, for months, and it is profoundly offensive to them. The thing might as well have been written by Bernhard Goetz. It actually says that the South Bronx, largely black and Hispanic, is a ... jungle. That you could reasonably expect to be .,. killed there. And the novel goes on to say that the white liberal guardians of New York have spines made of linguine. That this dose of truth has been received as a best seller, and that, in fact, it might be a Great Novel, is just too much for the guardians of our ideological virtue. The best, that the New York Review of Books could do was to assert that Wolfe's novel is not as good as Dickens. Get that? Not as good as Dickens. Not as good as the man who, arguably, is the Shakespeare of the English novel. I'm sure Tom Wolfe would settle for that. But now comes Howard Fast, who sets out to rewrite the central incident in Wolfe's novel, in an op-ed piece in The New York Times. In Wolfe's novel, the anti-hero Sherman McCoy and his mistress make a wrong turn into the South Bronx, and are accosted, ambiguously, by a couple of young blacks. Terrified, they gun the car and injure one of the two blacks. This hit-and-run episode leads to the downfall of the elite Sherman McCoy, a gutless WASP wonder who does not deserve his station in society. Now along comes brother Howard Fast who, having just finished reading Tom Wolfe, lo and behold, finds himself in Exactly the Same Situation as Sherman McCoy. Howard Fast, now in his 70s, is a genuinely nice man of the Left. Probably his best-known novel is "Citizen Tom Paine." He was a Communist and the editor of the Daily Worker until 1956, when he was deeply wounded by Khrushchev's revelations about Stalin, and quit the Communist Party. Today he is a Quaker and a pacifist, but a leftist. Wolfe really got to him. And, by his account, just like Wolfe's Sherman McCoy, Fast and his wife found themselves stranded in the South Bronx. Their car hit a huge pothole, breaking the front and back wheels on the driver's side. There was no cop in sight. The novelist and his wife were "too old to even think of physical defense," and two men approached — as in Wolfe — "one black and one Hispanic." The two men did not mug them or even steal their radio. They were mild and polite and jacked up the Fasts' car and put on a spare tire. When this was accomplished, the two men explained that they were out of work and would take whatever Mr. Fast wanted to pay them. Fast took out his wallet — yyeee — and gave them five dollars apiece. "They were as gentle and decent as two men could be." Finding his way to a local South Bronx body shop, Fast found a grimy Hispanic and three blacks. They cheerfully hammered out his wheel rim. When Fast asked what he owed them, they said that it was up to him. At a local gas station, a black man cheerfully put enough air pressure into Fast's tires to get him home. "I'm writing it," says Howard Fast, "because I am sick to death of the voices that tell us that New York is a jungle and that the South Bronx is a wilderness inhabited by muggers and dope addicts and rapists. This is a city of people, and I'll match them against any city on Earth. Tom Wolfe notwithstanding." It's a gorgeous tale, the South Bronx as a pastoral, full of gentle shepherds. I asked a former New York prosecuting attorney about it. "You believe that?" he asked. "Idunno," I said. "I thought you were smart," he said. "If anything like that happened," he went on, "Fast and his wife would be dead. Dead. Dead." Ordinary New Yorkers, I think, would agree with the former prosecutor, which is why they overwhelmingly sided with Bernhard Goetz, who shot four young thugs on a subway. In the judgment of this columnist, Howard Fast's version of an incident in the South Bronx is not as good as Tom Wolfe's. I suppose it is remotely conceivable that an affluent-looking elderly couple driving a Volvo and brandishing cash would have been hospitably treated in the South Bronx. It can't be mathematically excluded, and Howard Fast is indeed a nice man. But, as they used to say, tell is to the Marines. Tell it to my friend the prosecutor. Tell it to Bernie Goetz, and tell it to a New Yorker. Hart writes his column for King Features. Public Forum Organized labor The public is under the misconception thai organized labor is responsible for the economic situation of this country. Most, people have no idea what corporate America has been doing to the working people in the past decade. The UAW has been under a concessionary agreement with Exide Corp., since 1982. The UAW represents Exide plants in Allentown, Pa., Burlington, la,, Logansport, hid., and Denver, Colo. The four local ions are represented by the UAW-Exide Council (the bargaining unit for the UAW's national agreement with Exide). The four plants are referred to as "The Family" by Exide's CEO. The Family was told that we were with Exide from the start and, will always be with Exide. The concessionary agreement of 1985 involved wages and benefits totaling 1 wo dollars per hour. At that time, the UAW-Exide Council was told by Exide that the concessionary agreement would be short term, only to solidify Exide financially. During the 1987 contract negotiations, Exide again pleaded poverty. Exide knew that the UAW was coming to the table to recoup the concessions. Exide knowingly failed to make pension fund payments, which, because of federal regulations, stalled the negotiations. At this time the UAW granted a one-year extension on the economic issues of the 1987 contract. Also during the 1987 negotiations, Exide told the UAW that they were in the process of buying General Battery of Reading, Pa. The buy-out of General Battery was completed shortly thereafter. Now Exide is not only a viable corporation, but Exide is a giant in the battery industry. On Feb. 23,1988, Exide Corp. met with the UAW-Exide Council to negotiate the economic issues of the 1987 contract. Exide presented to the UAW-Exide Council a new five-year concessionary package returning the UAW membership to pre-1970 wages and benefits. At that time the UAW-Exide Council rejected the proposal unanimously, ending talks. Exide would not be where it is today were it not for the UAW. These are the thanks we get, the opportunity to work for below poverty wages. On Feb. 26,1988, Exide's Allentown plant was issued citations by OSHA, Deptartment of Labor. The fines were in excess of $400,000. The UAW membership works in a hazardous environment within the Exide plants. The severity of the hazard depends on the companies commitment to reduce the hazards. It is obvious that the Exide Corp. has little regard for our wallets, and less regard tor our lives. Where will it end, and of greater immediate concern, when will il cease? Robert J. Humanick Chairman UA W-Exide Council LamarCopenhaver President iMcal 84

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