Tucson Daily Citizen from Tucson, Arizona on February 10, 1976 · Page 18
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Tucson Daily Citizen from Tucson, Arizona · Page 18

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Tuesday, February 10, 1976
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EDITORIAL PAGE Inner city effort starts to rev up After two years of frustrating delay, punctuated by occasional false starts, the campaign to revive Tucson's inner city appears to be building up a head of steam. Local government officials and businessmen'at last are beginning to form the partnership that is key to moving the inner city revitalization project down the long road to reality. The first tangible sign of renewed momentum came last Wednesday at a meeting of Tucson area elected officials and members of the Tucson Trade Bureau. City and county elected officials at the meeting displayed a willingness to do more than talk about restoring vitality to the 18-square-mile inner city an area bounded by Grant Road on the north, Ajo Way on the south, Silverbell Road on the west and Country Club Road on the east. And the trade bureau, which already has conducted its own incisive revitalization study, reaffirmed its enthusiasm for the project by taking on two major tasks. The first is the establishment of a "risk pool " a reservoir of funds from financial institutions and government to provide low-cost housing and commercial loans. A trade bureau committee will be seeking support for the plan from local bankers. The bureau's other task is to find ways of slashing government red tape. Most critical is the job of streamlining zoning procedures so that inner-city projects can be expedited. Meanwhile, local governments have their work cut out for them. City officials already have drafted legislation, which should be introduced to the legislature this week, that would freeze property taxes on inner-city developments. Specifically, the bill would put the lid on the full cash value of an inner-city home for a four year period, to allow improvements of up to $10,000 without increased taxes. City and county elected leaders also are preparing to meet with Tucson School District 1 officials on plans for attracting Anglo families to the inner city by establishing "magnet" schools, which would offer special educational programs. Key among other incentives under consideration to spur revitalization are density bonuses, which would allow clustered developments and thereby offer builders better returns on investments in these days of soaring land costs. The suddenness with which the revitalization efforts seem to be revving up contrasts sharply with the agonizing lag of the past two years, when the only signs of life from the project were occasional creaks and groans. The result has been an unhealthy skepticism that local leaders -- particularly in government -- were really serious about the project. Now that they at last have picked up the ball, the community should expect them to run hard with it. UA still failing in ^black studies In the late 1960s -- bowing to the demands of mainly militant black students -- the University of Arizona established a "black studies" program on campus. The program hasn't done at all well. One of the men who helped put it together, one of the UA's few minority administrators, now has admitted that interest in "black studies" has been slight, that not a single student has completed the 2ft- unit minor, and that the entire program is in serious need of revamping. About the only thing this administrator, Felix L. Goodwin, didn't say is that maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to scrap it. There are several fundamental things wrong with the "black studies" program as it now stands. To begin with, it still suffers from its original weakness -- its creation in response to an emotional outburst rather than from totally sound academic considerations. Secondly, even though committed to it, the university administration apparently never did much to make it a success. That lack of will is still present today. For example, even though listed in the UA's general catalog, several of the "black studies" courses in fact aren't even available to students, black or non-black. An academic minor in "black studies" isn't going to buy much bread, as the saying goes. And this no doubt explains why more students haven't taken an interest in the program. Another reason, however, is that by and large the courses as they now stand -- regular courses in such subjects as history, anthropology and sociology -- are yet to be organized in a manner responsive to that which blacks, Americans of Mexican descent and other minorities regard as a need: That is, courses that explain how the ancestors of these minorities fit into the development of this country, what their contributions were, and so forth. Altogether, the "black studies" program at the university needs a hard, new look. » ft 4 Tucson Bail)} (Eituen William A. Small Jr., Publisher Paul A. McKalip, Editor Tony Tselentjs, Associate Editor Dale Walton. Managing Editor Asa Bushnell, Editorial Page Editor PACK 20 TUESDAY F E B R U A R Y 10, 1976 Letters to the Editor Trial lawyers Hunting a f pot of gold'? By WILLIAM ACTON Citizen Phoenix Bureau Lawyers wonder why their profession ranks so low in public esteem. They should listen to some tapes of their colleagues' testimony at recent legislative hearings on the proposed medical malpractice bill. It was the same litany over and over again. "Don't limit awards. Don't put a ceiling on our fees." To understand what they're talking about, you have to understand how medical malpractice lawyers make their money. Very simply, they get a percentage of any money they can get out of a jury or insurance company in an out-of-court settlement. All the successful ones are very, very good at their jobs. I mean, have you 'ever seen a Tag Day for trial lawyers? The size of the lawyer's fee is directly proportional to the size of the award. Anything that threatens the size of the award or the percentage a lawyer can charge a malpractice victim is heresy . Spokesmen for the states' trial lawyers and bar association have underlined that point in heavy black ink time and time again during the weeks of malpractice hearings. They plead for the injured victim. Contingency fees are the poor man's key to the courthouse, they say. Limit fees and the man in the street will be locked out, they say. True enough. But limiting fees also caps how much money a lawyer can make from a medical mistake. Implicit in the lawyers' testimony -- but never 1 'spoken until late last week -- was a threat. R. Woody Beckman, author of the legislature's malpractice actuarial study, finally said it. If the legislature limits lawyers' fees in malpractice cases, the best ones will simply stop taking the cases, he said. Beautiful. First doctors threaten to stop practicing if the legislature doesn't hold down premiums. Now trial lawyers threaten to stop taking malpractice cases if the lawmakers do. It's not the first time the legislature has been caught between a rock and a hard spot. But that's not really the point. In an attempt to hold down malpractice costs, the legislature has tried to ding everyone to one degree or another. If the bill passes without major changes, doctors will face the loss of their licenses if they' don't report suspected malpractice. Insurance companies that won't touch malpractice insurance with a 10-foot pole will have to charge higher auto and homeowner premiums if 'catastrophic m u l t i m i l l i o n - d o l l a r awards are charged to their reserves. The guy who really gets it in the pocketbook no matter what happens is John Q. Public. There is no way to hold the line on malpractice costs immediately, and he will foot the bill eventually. By and large, the organized groups involved in the problem have accepted the inevitable. Except the lawyers. The trial lawyers last week trotted out one of their big guns, prominent Phoenix lawyer Bob Begam, who used his best courtroom tactics on the Senate Health and. Welfare Committee. He and two senator-lawyers, Democrat Jim Walsh and Republican John Roeder, tried to demolish the Beckman report's position that claims limiting contingency fees would have a substantial effect on premiums. The president of the state bar, Mark Harrison, said a few weeks ago that limiting fees was unconstitutional but, to date, he has not backed up his contention with a promised brief. The puzzling thing about the lawyers' attitude is that the proposed fee schedule probably will have little effect on the vast majority of fees. The proposed limits are set high enough to have only a relatively minor effect on fees in cases under $250,000, and only about four per cent of the cases will involve more money, according to Beckman's study. The average poor man victimized by the average malpracti- tioner still holds that courthouse key. If one were of a skeptical turn of mind, one might be led to the conclusion that at least some of the lawyers opposed to capping fees have their eyes on the "bonanza" case, the tragic person turned into a multimillion-dollar vegetable by some quack. And lawyers wonder why they rank a little above used car salesmen in the public eye. A new ^declaration'? We 'II keep the old one By JAMES J . K I L P A T R I C K The mail brings a letter and a handout from a public relations outfit in Philadelphia, promoting the "Declaration of Interdependence" recently composed by Prof. Henry Steele Commager. The letter politely suggests that I might want to prepare a commentary on this thing. Very well, I just might. The professor's p r o n u n c i a m e n t o , prepared for the World Affairs Council, is a bucket of mush. It is a mish-mash of reality and illusion, of good intentions anrt bad judgment. The dictionary defines the verb "to subvert" as "to undermine the morals, allegiance, or faith of, to corrupt." This is a genuinely subversive document. Commager borrows from Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. It is a bad loan. As a historian, Ihe professor doubtless has learned a vast deal of the world as it was; lie manifests a pathetic naivete about the world as il is. "When in the course of history, (he threat of extinction confronts mankind, it is necessary for Ihe people of the United Slates in declare their interdependence with the people of all nations . . . " Fiddlesticks. Catastrophe, yes; extinction, no. A little less hysteria might have provided a better beginning. "We hold these truths to be self-evident," says the professor, "That all men are created equal." It is a palpable falsehood. The professor declares "that people everywhere are entitled to the blessings of life and liberty, peace and security and the realization of their full potential." Nonsense. How did people everywhere get so entitled^ Who entitled them? The American tradition teaches us that people must work for these things, that nations preserve peace by constantly preparing for war, that realizing one's "full potential" is a personal struggle. It is not something to which one is "entitled." The professor goes on to say that all the peoples and the nations of the globe should acknowledge their interdependence and free themselves from the "limitations of national prejudice." We must put aside "narrow notions of national sovereignty." We must rise above "the claims of chauvinistic nationalism." Under this Declaration of Interdependence, the resources of Earth "are the heritage of no one nation or generation, but of all peoples, nations and posterity." The declaration demands a "more equitable" sharing of these resources. "No one nation can any longer effectively maintain its processes of production and monetary systems without recognizing the necessity for collaborative regulation by international authorities." Well, urk. The professor had the assistance of a committee of 56 philosophers in creating this work of banality. You wonder, reading it over, if the laws of gravity kept them from floating off on moonbeams. What they are proposing, in essence, is to submerge those political and moral traditions that we call "Western civilization" in a barbarian sea of alien customs and ideologies. What becomes of personal freedom in a world order of one man, one vote? When all the freeloaders of the professor's world community start to vote what "equitable" distribution of resources would result? To be sure, in many ways men and nations are indeed interdependent. Every idiot knows that. It goes without saying. But in many essential ways, we have been and must remain wholly independent. And it is to that proposition, if we are renewing declarations, that we ought again to pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Copyright lf76 Doctor's view of crisis Editor, the Citizen: This letter is-submitted in an attempt to clarify the position of the physicians of Arizona in the pending malpractice crisis and not to attempt to arouse sympathy for our side of the problem. Not long ago I was asked to see a critically ill child in the hospital at the request of the child's pediatrician, which necessitated my making a special trip to the hospital and foregoing my usual dinner hour. All this is not unusual and is inconsequential 'except that I subsequently learned that the child was the son of a Tucson police officer, and I could not help relating the recent strike of the Tucson police force and fire department to the threatened strike of physicians in California, Most of the physicians of Arizona do not want to strike and will not refuse to see patients even if we do not have malpractice insurance, but I' couldn't help wondering who would have been held responsible if my wife had been attacked or my home broken into or burned down during the strike of the policemen and firemen. I stand the risk of losing everything I own now and my future income from an unfortunate result that might occur if I were treating an emergency patient without malpractice insurance. The police and firemen were running no personal risk when they refused to fulfill heir obligation to the citizens of Tucson; however, a physician who attends a patient without malpractice insurance, even though he does the best he can, may still be in jeopardy of losing all his possessions from an undesirable result of treatment not associated with malpractice. The people of Tucson and the state have come to expect quality medical care and are certainly entitled to it, but they must realize that they cannot force the doctors of this state to provide medical attention at the risk of financial ruin. We expect to continue to provide the best medical care possible, but we ask that we have public support to prevent our intimidation by the continual threat of lawsuits which primarily benefit and enrich the legal profession. If the legislature cannot reach agreement on how to avert the crisis, at least it can put a moratorium on malpractice suits until the crisis can be alleviated and allow us to continue to take care of our patients. E. METZ WRIGHT JR., M.D. 888 S. Craycroft Road Stay out of Mexico Editor, the Citizen: Thanks for the Citizen's Jan. 26 editorial revealing some of the hazards U.S. citizens face when they cross the border into Mexico. The Citizen is doing them all a tremendous favor. I have traveled in Mexico for over 30 years and have seen the conditions get worse and worse. Many of the authorities stop, search, harass and rip you off for no reason at all. Some attendants at the service stations will wave you forward from the pumps so you can't see that the meter has 30 to 60 pesos on it and they then charge you that amount over your _ purchase. This happened to me a few times be' fore I caught on and demanded they clear the meter before they start the pumps. If you can't convert the money real fast, you easily can be shortchanged. The only way to avoid this is to use only Mexican money and demand your change in Mexican money. My advice to anyone planning a trip to Mexico is "don't go," and if you do, then be prepared to face the rip-offs and abuses that happen all the time down there. Our State Department should warn the Mexicans that if conditions are not changed we will close the border to all travel by our citizens, and then do it if they don't heed. WILMA HOWELL 6245 E. Broadway Ruining our air Editor, the Citizen: After having lived in Northern Arizona for nearly three years, I learned to appreciate the uniqueness of the area. I just wonder how many Tucsonians and Phoenicians have been near the area around Lake Powell and Black Mesa. Probably very few, and even fewer who have had enough energy to get out of their cars and explore a little. If they did, they'd probably notice the clean air and serenity this area has to offer. Well, folks, it won't be long and this so-called "wasteland" will also have its smog. Thanks to the Navajo nation in cooperation with the State of Arizona (Citizen, Jan. 15), we have sold out our clean air to Southern California Edison. It's not enough that they ruin their own air, but now they're out to expand their interests and leave their mark. I have an alternative and I think it's a good one: Sure,- Peabody Coal can continue its mining operations. Sure, the Navajos can continue to' reap royalties from the destruction. What J propose is this: Have the coal shipped via railway to the Los Angeles area (which is much more economical and efficient than losing as much as 85 per cent of the power generated through transmission) and burn it there. In this way, Southern Califomiaris can feel, breathe and see their waste every day of the week so that they may become more aware of the impact their life-style has on the environment of their neighbors. DAVID R. PIESER 1023 N. Park Ave. Look forward to more Editor, the Citizen: Religion 'writer Jeanette Rusk's article regarding the charismatic movement in the Jan. 24 Citizen was very timely and informative. Being the coordinator of the Drilled Methodist Charismatics, meeting weekly at the Prayer House, and a long-time Methodist layman, I feel prompted to state that the quote, "The majority feeling among Methodists is of guardedness and caution," pertains to the clergy only. It has been my observation thai the majority of the laity or rank and file of Methodism have no feeling one way or other regarding the mailer. The charismatic Methodists I know in Tucson are some of the most active members in their respective churches . . . . We in the movement, especially those in the denominational churches, look forward to more articles of enlightenment on the chrismatic movement. PHILIP M. MOBLEY, chairman Prayer House board of directors 2449 E. 7th St. Confusing issues Editor, the Citizen: I am a confused American. Tucson has the distinction of being a crime center. Elected officials want legislation to ease marijuana laws, saying it is not harmful. Not harmful to whom? The people who are murdered? The people who are robbed? Confusing. In the democratic process, we citizens did not leave our country. Fpr the good of our country, we removed our president. Does this same process not apply on a local level? Why do the residents of the University of Arizona College of Medicine consider leaving their community? Have we a dictator on an ego trip in our midst, defying democracy? Confusing. Elected officials are spending the taxpayers' money on fact-finding jaunts. Why must the men who protect the law or keep my house from burning have to resort to extreme measures to earn a living wage? Confusing. Every day, thousands of people throughout the county are plagued by dogs. Lack of a leash law permits them to run alone or in packs. They bite children, cover lawns and playgrounds with excrement and dump trash. Sabino Canyon is closed to dogs. Does this mean the thousands who are daily contaminated are immune? Does the Forest Service know something the county health people don't? Confusing. Despite serious economic setbacks over the years, people continue to move to Tucson. We have had a booming tourist business this year. Someday Tucson will be a major health center. Neat homes, townhouses, apartments and parks will be where now are shacks with no plumbing, no floors. Do our "no growth" city planners and politicians think they can keep people out? Do they not know the difference between planned growth and no growth? Confusing. JUDY KING 6001 N. Camino Esquina Mo's idea won't work Editor, the Citizen: In the Jan. 14 Citizen, Leonard F. Chapman, head of the U.S. Immigration Service, said, "There are eight million illegal aliens in the United States." Then in the Jan. 15 Citizen, Rep. Morris Udall endorsed a bill to provide five million government jobs. He estimated the cost at only $11 bil- liOHt Who is he kidding? That is only $2,000 per job, and by the time it filters down through the pork barrel it will be much less. I can't see it helping to remove one person from the unemployment or welfare rolls' Why is it that every problem that comes into focus can only be solved with an additional $5 million to $5 billion? From local to federal government, it's always the same . . . . There must be a better solution to the problem of unemployment. If there are eight million illegal aliens working in the United States (and why else are they here?) then why not cut them off at the source of employment? It only needs a simple act of Congress, and such a bill has been introduced for the second time by Rep. Peter Rodino of New Jersey. Does Mr. Udall also endorse this bill? MAX BEARD Rillito f We're in prison? too' Editor, the Citizen: Re: Letter to the editor by Janie Martin, "Throw The Key Away?" (Citizen, Jan. 29). I'm presuming she is not writing from personal experience of prison life. Personally, I think it must be a pretty good place; there are so many repeat guests. I'm undecided about my Social Security and theirs I have to pay for every necessity of life and theirs also, plus the salary of the administration that does not seem very effective. Has Janie Martin ever had her home burglarized and vandalized? Has she ever been put to the expense of installing double locks and window guards? Has she ever had credit cards stolen and used to purchase luxury items she never could afford? Perhaps she would like the person or persons to still be running around loose and fear for a repeat visit. Is it possible these unfortunate creatures have been forced into prison? If so, they have my sympathy, because I also am virtually in prison with all of these locks and bars and my liberty is also curtailed. I'm just afraid to leave home, and I'm only sharing the plight of my neighbors and friends. A. H. BROWN 6845 N. Longfellow Drive Tyranny's other side Editor, the Citizen: Dr. Erie E. Peacock Jr.'s supporters keep emphasizing the tyranny of the majority, but throughout history it Has been shown that those who decry constituted authority, freedom of speech and constitutional rights are the first to deny them to those who do not agree with them. LEON L. TITCHE, M.D. P.O. Box 17316 *A11 letters bearing writer's true name and address will be considered for publication. The editors reserve the right to edit letters In the interest of clarity and brevity. Mailing address: Box 267S7, Tucson 85726

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