The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 24, 1986 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, January 24, 1986
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T1 Salina T 1 1 he Journal Home Edition — 25 Cents Salina, Kansas FRIDAY January 24,1986 114th year —No. 24— 22 Pages State civil rights agency is weak, some blacks say ByDALEGOTER Harris News Service TOPEKA - The Kansas Commission of Civil Rights, appointed by Gov. John Carlin, is "one of the worst civil rights commissions in the United States" and should be abolished in favor of federal enforcement, contends Kenneth Groves, political action chairman for the state NAACP chapter. The commission upholds fewer discrimination complaints and collects less money in settlements than similar agencies in surrounding states, according to a survey conducted by Harris News Service. The survey was conducted in response to criticism against the agency by the Kansas NAACP chapter. The survey found that the Kansas agency is less likely than similar agencies in surrounding states to find "probable cause" in complaints filed with it. A probable cause finding means the commission believes there is sufficient evidence to support the discrimination complaint. The agency collected $308,383 in settlements for complainants in 1985, considerably less than three of four surrounding states, despite handling a similar number of cases. Highest was Nebraska, reporting $878,129 in settlements. In fiscal 1985, the'Kansas commission found probable cause in only 4 percent of the cases brought before it. Another 7 percent settled in mediation, for a combined total of 11 percent. In mediation, both sides agree to a settlement before the commission must decide on probable cause. By comparison, Nebraska found probable cause or a mediated settlement in 29 percent of its cases, Colorado in 37 percent, and Oklahoma in 39 percent, according to information from those agencies. The criticism of the Kansas Commission of Civil Rights by Groves and the state NAACP points to a growing dissatisfaction among some blacks with the performance of the state civil rights agency. The criticism steins from a series of management problems besetting the agency, culminating in the recent firing of its executive director and the resignation of its assistant executive director. Some black Kansas leaders say the state's nearly 130,000 blacks are ill- served by the Kansas Commission on Civil Rights. Although the commission handles discrimination complaints dealing with sex, age, physical handicap, national origin, religion and ancestry, complaints based on alleged race discrimination against blacks are the most common docket item. In fiscal 1985, more than a third of the employment complaints and more than half of the public accommodation complaints were lodged by blacks, according to the agency's annual report. Carlin acknowledges the commission has had problems, including serious management flaws that led to (See Civil, Page 6) Civil rights report critical of Reagan WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Urban League on Wednesday called the Reagan administration "a Rambo-like destroyer of civil rights gains" and said its economic policies have left black Americans struggling to survive. The chasm between blacks and whites widened even more in 1985, as most whites enjoyed economic recovery while blacks "slipped further and further to the rear of the parade," league president John E. Jacob said in issuing the organization's llth annual assessment of black America. "The signs of a nation moving toward a state of being permanently divided between the haves and the have-nots were plain to see over the past months," he said. Jacob noted that unemployment among whites was 5.9 percent at the end of last year, while 14.9 percent of the nation's 27.9 million blacks were out of a job. "If whites had such a high unemployment rate, it would be . called a depression," he said. Jacob was particularly harsh on the Justice Department's efforts to revise a presidential executive order signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1965 that authorized the government to set numerical hiring goals and timetables for firms holding government contracts. "Black people today have jobs and opportunities they would not have had without the executive order," said Jacob. "If there is any single message we want to send the president today it is this: 'Hands off affirmative action.' If the administration wants to be a Rambo-like destroyer of civil rights gains it should not pretend that its efforts are good for black citizens or that they reflect the color-blind society we have yet to become." Rambo is a muscular movie character who uses heavy-handed tactics to deal with adversaries. Economically, blacks are still reeling from the recession of 1981-82 while most whites have recovered. The report said median family income for blacks in 1984, the most recent figure available, was $15,432. In constant dollars, that was $540 less than in 1980 and almost $1,500 less than in 1970, according to an economic summary by David Swinton, director of public policy studies at Clark College. TomDorMy - Tom Peters (left), Brenda Peters and Tom Kilbride are trying to save the Opera House. McPherson residents play savior for city's historic Opera House By BRENT BATES Staff Writer McPHERSON - The historic Opera House in McPherson got a reprieve this week from demolition. The Peoples State Bank and Trust, which gained control over the building in a 1983 sheriffs auction, planned to begin on Monday procedures to raze the 98-year-old building that is listed on the National Historical Registry. Several earlier plans to restore it fell through. But this week, eight McPherson residents who formed the Opera House Preservation Company took over the building, and on Thursday started fixing its roof — the first phase in a project designed to restore the building. "I used to go to the theater when I was a kid," said Tom Peters, a member of the company formed to save the building. "Like everybody else, I sat back and thought that someone else would take over the (restoration) project." Tom Kilbride, another company member, said while taking a break from the remodeling: "I don't expect to see a dime from all this. All that I want is to come in here someday with a very good feeling that I've done something for the community." The non-profit company took ti- tle to the building on Tuesday. The bank also donated $28,000 — the amount it expected to pay to demolish the building — and paid the premium for a year of liability insurance. The company hopes to restore the building as closely as it can to its original form. Members of the cc-mpany say dangerous or highly skilled restoration work will be contracted, but they plan to rely heavily on volunteer labor and public donations. "People are coming from all over with special talents," said (See Opera, Page 11) U.S. wants to outaw asbestos Deadly fiber kills thousands yearly WASHINGTON (AP) - The government moved Thursday for the first time to ban deadly asbestos, a widely-used substance tliat officials say causes up to 12,000 cancer cases annually in the United States. Under a two-phased attack, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed an "immediate" ban in five product categories, mostly in the construction area. Over the next decade, EPA said, it wants to cleanse the environment of all products containing the known carcinogen. The decision, attacked by an industry group as "unwarranted," culminated more than six years of regulatory soul-searching within the government and months of infighting between EPA and the Office of Management and Budget. EPA Administrator Lee M. Thomas said human health — not monetary cost — was EPA's foremost concern. Thomas said it would take about a year for the agency to complete public hearings and administrative review of the proposed asbestos rule, which has been in the works since late 1979. The ban, when fully implemented, will avert as many as 1,900 deaths from asbestos-related lung cancer over the next 15 years, Thomas said. "We are taking this action because of the significant and well- documented threat to health that asbestos represents," he told a news conference. "No level of exposure is without risk." The Occupational Safety & Health Administration also is formalizing regulations to reduce exposures to asbestos in the workplace. Under the current OSHA standards, permissible exposure is limited to 2 million asbestos fibers per cubic meter of air. The Labor Department agency says that limit still poses significant risks of lung, chest and stomach cancers to workers handling asbestos. In 1983, it issued emergency regulations cutting the permissible on- the-job exposure to 500,000 fibers per cubic meter. Because of a legally binding step- by-step process for issuing government rules and regulations, the ban actually will not take place instantly. The plan to remove asbestos from the five product areas probably will be formally published next week in the Federal Register, said agency spokesman Dave Ryan. Public hearings will be scheduled, starting three to four months after publication, and public comment could be submitted to the agency for 90 days after publication, he said. The initial ban would affect five product categories that now contain from one-third to one-half of the approximately 300,000 metric tons of asbestos used by U.S. manufacturers each year. Over 10 years, he said, asbestos importation and manufacture would be phased out for all other products, including items like automotive brake and clutch linings, as asbestos substitutes are developed. Today Inside Classified 18-20 Entertainment 22 Fun 21 Living Today 8-9 Local/Kansas 3,7 Markets 10 Nation/World 5 On the Record 11 Opinion 4 Sports 13-15 Weather 11 Weather KANSAS - Mostly cloudy today, with a chance of rain changing to snow across central and eastern portions of the state and highs in the 40s. Cloudy tonight, with snow continuing central and east and lows in the low to mid-20s. Chance of snow Saturday in the east, with decreasing cloudiness elsewhere and highs in the mid-30s to low 40s. in in joins other legislators :rying to alter recent farm bill WASHINGTON (AP) - Kansas and Missouri congressmen joined Thursday with a group of Grain Belt Democrats in a campaign to overhaul newly enacted farm policies and replace them with a program to boost commodity prices through production controls. "The reason we're here is because the frustration in our districts indicates to us that the deterioration in the farm economy is much greater and much more rapid than what we might have thought about even as late as last fall," said Rep. Dan Glickman.D-Kan. He and six other House Democrats, including Rep. Harold Volkmer, D- Mo., said they planned to draft new legislation with a goal of boosting farm income through higher commodity prices. They complained that the 1985 farm bill, passed in December just before Congress adjourned, is adding to the financial stress on farmers. It is designed to gradually lower gov- eminent price supports and make American farm products more competetive by reducing prices in worldwide markets. Although they have yet to agree on any detailed proposals, the lawmakers said they would focus on control- ing production, providing advance cash subsidy payments to farmers and offering credit assistance. Volkmer and others stresssed that their proposals would reduce the costs of farm programs to the government. They maintained that new budget-balancing legislation would increase pressure on Congress and President Reagan to accept changes in farm policy. The Gramm-Rudman act requires lawmakers to balance the budget by 1991. It will impose automatic spending cuts if Congress fails to meet annual deficit reduction targets. Farm subsidies will be sliced by such cuts, which are expected to exceed $60 billion in the next budget year. "Supply management is the way to do it," Volkmer said. "Less cost to the government, easily within Gramm-Rudman.'' In theory, production controls will boost farm income by cutting grain supplies and permitting demand to raise market prices. Critics, however, say it will hurt farm exports by making it easier for foreign competitors to undercut American prices. Volkmer also suggested that the group might propose targeting of farm income guarantees to small- and medium-sized producers. "We come here... to put together a package that will put and keep pressure on Congress and the administration to make some changes, to make some emergency revisions," Glickmansaid. "The fact of the matter is that our folks at home are hurting. Times are very rough. They need some hope that there is a possiblity of changes." Freeway frenzy driving irate Texans to gunplay DALLAS (AP) — Fits of violence are turning Texas highways into modem versions of "High Noon," where dueling for a left- hand lane can bring not only glares and obscenities, but gunfire. Three people have been shot in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the past year. The most recent was Monday, when a young mother, a passenger in a car driven by her husband, was slain during a running exchange of obscene gestures with occupants of a car that had tried to force her vehicle off Interstate 35W in Forth Worth. Last summer, a construction worker who was directing traffic around a barrier sign was shot — not fatally — by a motorist fed up with delays. And last February, a car's passenger died after another running argument on Dallas' congested Central Expressway. The gunman, appar- ently upset because the victim's vehicle had cut him off, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Psychology experts say the incidents point up a growing problem of freeway violence in a world of mounting stress, and they warn that it's getting to be far safer to flee than fight. "It's getting much worse," said Dr. S.A. Somodevilla, a Dallas police psychologist. "It's like they're saying, 'You've affronted me personally" if you have cut into their lane or not let them onto the highway. "It's getting to be like a duel or the movie 'High Noon,' " he said. The experts recommend that motorists leave early to give themselves extra time so they don't feel rushed, and urge them not to antagonize other drivers.

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