Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on January 29, 1985 · 10
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · 10

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Tuesday, January 29, 1985
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10 Section Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, January 29, 1985 From Page 1 City on the make is somehow making it against all odds By Vincent J. Schodolski Chicago Tribune MEXICO CITY It's not easy living in a city with 17 million other people. It becomes a bit harder when the city is a mile and a half above sea level, where there is 25 percent less oxygen. It becomes harder still when what remains available for breathing is trapped by a ring of mountains, thereby ensuring that much of the pollution belched into the air settles as a pale gray cloud that stings the eyes and parches the throat. A few days ago a report from West Germany's industrial Ruhr Valley said a state of emergency had been declared, factories closed and people told to stay indoors because air pollution had reached levels that -were considered so high that they endangered human life. The same day, Mexico City newspapers pointed out that their city's pollution, measured on a similar scale, was 100. times worse. Urban sprawl has gobbled up all arable land in the vast, dry lake bed that makes up the Valley of Mexico, so everything has to be trucked in over the nearby mountains. Except in the months of the rainy season, there is a chronic shortage of water. IP" htoxtool HEXICO 1. .M -1 f w " I mm t I fik. . r.nuinmim 1 MB JUUU LIIY PacSm Ocean Assignments Mexico City Needless to say, the people who try to keep Mexico City going have their work cut out for them. Their efforts to persuade people to keep the city clean took a new twist recently with the opening of a garbage exhibition at a local museum. Visitors were greeted with piles of garbage, trash hanging from the ceiling, a cage full of well-fed rats and statistics showing that Mexicans dispose of more organic, textile and plastic waste than the entire population of the United States. Unless something is done to reverse birthrates further and to stem the tide that has brought millions of people to the capital, its population almost certainly will reach 26 million by the end of the century. . As one measure to slow the growth, the federal authorities announced a massive plan to decentralize the government by relocating various ministries and government departments in other parts of the country. Initial reactions were almost universally negative. One group of government workers locked themselves in their offices, refusing to leave until an order to move their department from the capital was reversed. One reason many government workers don't want to leave is simply that Mexico is not a mobile society. Another, and perhaps more important, reason is that many government employees have second jobs in the city to make ends meet and are reluctant to give them up. Despite the problems they encounter in the city, many Mexicans find that it is only here, away from rural poverty, that they have any chance of improving their economic situation. Many of those who find a job will be paid no more than the minimum wage of about $5 a day. Others drift, into the streets, some to beg, some offering to do what they can to support themselves in a country where an estimated 40 to 45 percent of : the people do jobs that are greatly below their abilities and for which they are grossly underpaid. Thus the proliferation of shoeshine men, out-of-, tune drum and bugle bands, Indian families selling handmade dolls arid small children who rush to wash auto windshields, sometimes while the cars are still moving. There are also jugglers and fire eaters, the latter clearly identifiable by the burns on their cheeks and mouths. Despite the crush of people, the polluted air, the shortages and the inadequate city services, Mexico City finds its own ways of surviving. Considering the odds against it, the place does pretty well. Compared with many other Third World capitals, it shines. Private messengers supplement the erratic mail service. Houses have individual cisterns to guard against water shortages. Many communities organize their own police services, sometimes street by street, in a city where burglary is rampant and policemen's devotion to duty suspect. The Mexico City policeman, especially the traffic cop, has a bad reputation. A traffic violation, real or imagined, is likely to be settled with a bribe of $2 to $10. An accident will cost a great deal more and since most Mexican drivers are not insured, a quick settlement on the spot is the only choice. One morning in the midst of rush hour traffic on the capital's broad central boulevard, the Paseo de la Reforma, a burly motorcycle policeman ordered a newly arrived resident of the city to pull over. "You just went through a red light," the officer said. After trying to explain that was not the case, and pointing out the rows of cars that crossed the intersection behind him, the new resident realized his moment of initiation to Mexico City's world of de facto traffic laws had come. "You are going to have to follow me to the police station right now and pay a fine of 4,000 pesos about $20," said the policeman. "It is a long way, so I hope you have plenty of time." When the captive motorist explained he had an appointment in 10 minutes, the officer went into what appeared to be a well practiced routine. "Well, what could we do? Well, this could be handled discreetly," explained the officer. "Ah, yes discreetly. What do you suggest," said the motorist. "Talk to me, my friend," said the policeman. "I'm new in town, sir, I don't know what to say." "Say anything, my friend," he responded. ' "Say a thousand pesos?" ventured the driver., "Say 2,000," smiled the policeman. "Hand it to me with your license. Behind the license." Ten dollars later the incident was over, and the policeman was telling his prey that he hoped he had time to make his appointment. EPA plan overhauls toxic clean-up rules From Chicago Tribune trim WASHINGTON The Environmental Protection Agency proposed major changes Monday in its guidelines for cleaning toxic-waste dumps in an effort to hasten the process and define how clean the sites must be. Environmentalists immediately called the proposal too weak. The EPA said the proposed changes would allow it to use "common-sense remedies" to eliminate or reduce the danger of hazardous waste or toxic spills. William Hedeman, director of the agency's Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, blamed red tape for slowing the removal of such hazards as leaking drums or disposal pits. Rapid action is allowed only when there is an imminent threat to people in the area "a screaming emergency,"1 as Hedeman put it. The new rules would allow the agency to "stabilize" a potentially dangerous site without first obtaining 10 percent of the clean-up cost from the government of the state where the dump is located, as is now required. The new rules also would allow the agency to begin removing hazards without first going through the lengthy, expensive planning process now mandated. The Environmental Defense Fund, however, said the proposed changes "failed to provide adequate protection of human health and the environment from the dangers posed by hazardous-waste dumps." . Linda Greer, a scientist with the environmental group, said the recommended changes did not go far enough to upgrade the regulations and failed to provide "an objective clean-up baseline to be used at dumps across the nation." Under the proposal made public Monday, the agency would be able to add dumps requiring immediate attention to its "national priority list" even if the sites did not meet all the present criteria. There are 786 sites on or proposed for the priority list. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 set up a five-year $1.6 billion fund, with money from a tax on chemicals, to clean hazardous-waste sites and spills. The agency draws up the priority list to determine where the money should be spent. Congress is expected to reauthorize the law this year and provide more money. The changes also would allow toxic hazards on federal facilities, such as military bases, to be included on the priority list. The proposal will be submitted at public hearings for 60 days before it is adopted. 4,V ' -if in ' ' v ' K - AP Laserphoto Persistence pays off Polish refugee Waldemar Szreder gathers his wife, Anna, and their 2V2-year-old-daughter, Dominika, in a welcoming embrace upon their arrival at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Szreder had petitioned Polish authorities for two years and was rejected 10 times to let his family join him, "The first thing we will do is go home and talk and talk," Szreder said. . Valdes Continued from page 1 week's hearings, the judge said that ordering Valdes reinstitu-tionalized "would be a bowing to the hue and cry of the public for blood." "I am not the public's avenger, and I am not going to permit this court to be used as a sword of public vengeance," he said. At the hearings, two pys-chiatrists, although differing in their assessment of whether Valdes is dangerous, agreed that he should be hospitalized for an evaluation of his mental state. De- spite this, Strayhorn ordered Valdes' immediate release from the jail. Valdes is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who told authorities that he killed to bring attention to his astronomical theories, which involved the notion that the sun revolved around the earth in one day. Dr. Rivers testified last week he did not consider Valdes actively psychotic. But Dr. Robert Reifman of the Cook County Psychiatric Institute testified as a state witness that he believed that Valdes had deteriorated to the point where -he should be reinstitutionalized. "My impression is that he . . . poses a danger to others," Reifman testified. "Specifically his' wife." It was also revealed that in the time Valdes went without psychiatric care he filled out an application for gun registration; his wife filed for divorce and he moved out of their Melrose Park home; on his birthday, a man phoned and taunted him by saying that his wife was with another man; and his wife notified authorities that her husband had phoned her to say that she had signed her "death sentence." In chambers after his ruling, Strayhorn discounted psychiatric testimony suggesting that Valdes was deteriorating because of the stress of his family life, particularly his divorce. "I think he is handling the stresses of his divorce better than a lot of people who have never been psychopathic," the judge observed. The judge said he had no doubt that Pompey Valdes felt threatened by her husband's alleged remark, but that he tended to believe otherwise in the context of all the testimony he heard. "I was looking at him when he testified, very closely," the judge said. "He was alert, he was not nervous, and his hands, they were quiet on his lap. There was no apparent stress or strain . . . there was nothing wrong with that man." The state had argued that Valdes was a danger and needed to be reinstitutionalized in a maximum security mental health facility in Downstate Chester. Valdes, who sat expressionless throughout the series of hearings, rose to his feet and thrust his . hands into his pockets after the , judge announced his findings. "Thank you, your honor," Valdes said as he walked through the courtroom. Stadium Continued from page 1 , Stouffer Co. The other site, about 120 acres, is near the junction of I-290 and Thorndale. The plans being discussed would have the White Sox construct a stadium and Du Page county construct a civic center. Construction of the stadium could be subsidized with industrial development bonds and the civic center could be funded with state racetrack receipts or county revenue bonds, according to Du Page sources. "Heavy discussions have been going on," said Ronald Lunt, partner in charge of Trammell Crow's Chicago operation. "This isn't something we're promoting, but it would be nice to have a convention center here." Those involved in the discussions, according to Lunt and Du Page officials, include Einhorn, Du Page County Board Chairman Jack Knuepfer, Illinois House Minority Leader Lee A. Daniels R., Elmhurst and Allan Hamilton, senior managing partner for Trammell Crow's Great Lakes region. Lunt said the convention center idea is being pushed by the Greater Woodfield Convention Bureau, an organization representing 22 communities in Du Page and Cook Counties to promote development of the area surrounding Woodfield Shopping Center, which lies several miles north of the two proposed sites on I-290I11. Hwy 53. Einhorn reportedly has been looking at two or three sites in the Schaumburg-Itasca area for the last year. "There's been a great deal of speculation about a civic center site coupled with a sports stadium," said Thomas Rivera, president of the Greater Woodfield group. "It's become' difficult in the past three months to divorce the two because of the White Sox interest. "The Trammell Crow property is exceptionally good for what's being talked about," primarily because of its relatively central location among western .and northwestern suburbs and its surrounding highway system, he said. Einhorn and White Sox co-owner Jerry Reinsdorf downplayed the discussions. "You're going to start hearing about it. You're going to start hearing a lot of speculation. The dynamics are in place for a new stadium," Einhorn said. "But we're better off not commenting on every plan, every, scheme that comes down the line," he said. "How many times can we say we have a lovely old ballpark? ouic we iuvc ii wiiuc we ic in u. . vui mm me iuv.Il,. ng nui j veil . goes by, it gets a year older and it's already 75 years old." Robert Raymond, a Du Page County board member and chairman of the board's County Development Committee, said, "Jack Knuepfer has been meeting with the Trammell Crow people for a while now." Raymond's committee is handling plans for the proposed civic center. "This is way off, but we will aenniteiy go alter it, he saia. , j Raymond said Du Page officials believe that a stadium-civic center . complex would generate substantial amounts of sales tax and amusement tax revenue. "And just like the McCormick Place building, it can attract a lot of business to the area." He said legislation would be needed for the county to fund construction of the civic center with racetrack receipts. The complex could be used by Daniels and State Sen. Minority Leader James "Pate" Philip R., Elmhurst, Du Page Republican chairman, as a bargaining chip when Chicago Democrats and Gov; James Thompson try to secure permanent funding for the Chicago 1992 World's Fair. In June Daniels and Philip pushed through legislative approval to build a North-South Tollway in Du Page and to restructure the Du Page Water Commission in exchange for temporary World's Fair funding. But Raymond and other Du Page politicians are uncertain that Chicago would acquiesce in a suburban move by the White Sox or any other Chicago team. "I don't think Chicago would let the Bears, Sox and Cubs get out of town," Raymond said. Another Du Page politician suggested that the Einhorn negotiations are nothing more than subterfuge. "This is riothing more than an attempt by the White Sox to force the city and World's Fair Authority to come up with a stadium," he speculated, taking note of the talk to link a new possibly domed-Chicago stadium to World's Fair plans. i4so contributing to the story were Daniel Egler, John McCarron and Skip Myslenski. Budget Continued from page 1 President's budget dead on arrival. "The big thorn, the big sticking point, is defense spending," Heinz said, joining a growing chorus of Republican voices predicting a battle on the issue between Reagan and his allies on Capitol Hill. Sen. Bob Packwood R., Ore., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said most Senate Republicans sided with the insistence by Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole R., Kan. that further cuts be made in defense spending. But Heinz predicted that Reagan and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, after vowing over the weekend to reject Dole's call for increased trims in defense spending, "probably won't change their stripes." Weinberger seemed to reinforce that Monday night when he delivered a nationally televised speech against any move to "shortchange" the nation's military buildup as a way to reduce the federal deficit. In an address that was unusual, for a Cabinet officer, Weinberger said any large reduction in defense spending would rob the U.S. of negotiating leverage with Moscow and cost Americans 35,000 jobs for every $1 billion cut. "The Soviets will be watching," he warned. In the meeting with GOP lawmakers, Reagan also sought support for his controversial tax-simplification reforms, which are expected to be sent to Congress in March or, April but which are likely to remain on the back burn-' er until the deficit crisis is addressed. Packwood said Reagan appeared to agree with Senate Republican proposals to tackle a spending-reduction bill before submitting his long-promised proposal to reform and simplify tax rates. "I think it will be several weeks, a month or two, before a tax-reform bill is even drafted," Packwood said. In his initial confirmation hearings last week, Treasury Secretary-designate James Baker, the White House chief of staff, said the administration would pursue both goals simultaneously. But Packwood said Reagan "understands" that "many allies on spending cuts will be enemies on tax reform" and that crucial support for deficit reductions would be drained if the legislative showdown were fought on both fronts at once. Heinz cautioned that without major changes, however, even the I Guide tells U.S. climber's ordeal KATMANDU, Nepal UPI A Nepalese mountain guide said Monday that he and the wife of an American climber who died of altitude sickness on the world's third-highest peak were unable to drag the body off the mountain, so they buried it in an icy grave. "We tried our best to bring the body off the mountain but could not. Our hands and feet were fro zen," Mangal Singh Tamang, 27, said from his bed in a hospital where he was being treated for frostbite. Saturday, the Nepal Tourism Ministry said Tamang and the climber's wife, Louise Kemp, tried for four days to drag the body off 28,208-foot Mt. Kanchenjunga in west Nepal. Tamang denied the ministry's report, saying he and Kemp were able to pull the body of Chris Chandler, 36, of Sausalito, Calif., less than 1,000 feet before they had to give up. The ministry had no comment on Tamang's story. "We dug a pit and put him there," said Tamang, whose fingers, toes and nose were blackened by frostbite. Tamang was working for Chandler and Kemp, 39, of Kirrawee, Australia. Sen. Robert Packwood tax-simplification plan would be "dead on arrival" in Congress. "The tax bill now is proconsump-tion, antisavings," Heinz told reporters. "Unless that's changed, it will be antigrowth" and unlikely to gain approval. Senate GOP leaders said that Social Security cost-of-living allowances might be frozen, despite Reagan's campaign promises to protect the politically touchy benefits from reductions. Reagan later backed off on Social Security. 1 V ' Playskool Continued from page 1 open. The workers' protest was based partly on the feeling that Hasbro .was abandoning 700 longtime and productive workers in search of employees who would work for a lower wage. The agreement is expected to be announced at a press conference Tuesday by Mayor Harold Washington and Stephen D. Hassenfeld, chairman of Hasbro Bradley. The announcement was scheduled for Monday, but was delayed 24 hours when the workers' union raised objections. According to the sources, Hasbro will keep the factory open for most of 1985 and will continue to employ most of the 120 workers still on the job. In the meantime, the city and Hasbro will launch joint programs to find new jobs for displaced workers, with Hasbro funding a media campaign and other programs expected to cost it about $300,000. Susan Rosenblum, spokesman for the West Side Jobs Network,, which had coordinated the boycott, said that "once the settlement is official, I'm pretty sure we'll accept it, so the boycott will be over." The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which rep- resented the Playskool workers, forced the delay when it questioned whether it would continue to represent the workers at the factory under terms of the 1985 contract. Union representative. Nick Jones said Hasbro agreed to, these terms and the union objections had been dropped. Under the agreement, the city recognized Hasbro's right to close , the factory and move its operations and Hasbro recognized its responsibility to its workers and to the West Side community around the factory. The sources said the city hopes to persuade another company possibly another toy company to buy the factory.

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