Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 6, 1975 · Page 38
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 38

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 6, 1975
Page 38
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Page 38 article text (OCR)

(GAZETTE-MAIL Editorial High Time for Ethical Codes W. Michael Blumenthal is president and chief executive officer of the Bendix Corp. -- and, as such, he should have good credentials as a member of the establishment in the business community. Earlier this year. Blumenthal gave a speech at the University of Detroit in which he reviewed grave questions being raised about the moral standards and ethical behavior of the business world and public opinion polls showing a continued growth in the critical or hostile view of business. But this was a markedly different approach coming from a member of the business establishment; instead of offering a defense. Blumenthal hurled a challenge. Consider some of what he had to say: "The news media have turned the spotlight on many questionable activities: political campaign contributions, bribes to officials of foreign countries, tax dodges, mishandling of pension funds, shoddiness of product quality, improper financial practices, discrimination in employment, and lack of concern for worker health and safety -- all of which tend to raise questions about the ethical standards of business and to lower public confid- ence. "Faced with reports of this kind, the instinct of most businessmen is to rally to the defense of the business community. It is not true, they protest, that this conduct is par for the course. Indeed, if the misbehavior of a large corporation makes news, that is because the majority of large corporations do not misbehave. So it's unfair to tar all businesses with the same bad brush. "All this is true enough, but it misses the point. To leap to the defense of business in general whenever some specific abuse is uncovered only tends, in the public mind, to associate the one with the other. If businessmen are ethically strong and morally clean, why should they not be the first to denounce the abuses and malpractice that -- far more than are critics in the media -- threaten the survival of the free enterprise system?" Instead of business spokesmen defending business as if every suggestion of corporate wrongdoing were an attack on the free enterprise system as a whole, Blumenthal proposed an entirely new approach-- "a frankly moral approach that would begin with Better Sense of Justice Charged with trespassing on public school property, 11 youths appeared in Charleston Municipal Court and heard Judge Jay Goldman tell them he would dismiss the charges if they would agree to perform one day's work each for the City Beautification Commission. A week or so earlier, a highly placed public official appeared for sentencing before Judge George Wood on a plea of nolo contendere (tantamount to a guilty plea) to a charge of falsify- ing documents to his own profit. The state official accused of abusing the public trust was freed on probation, Judge Wood holding that the embarrassment suffered by the defendant was sufficient punishment. It's too bad that the state official didn't appear before Judge Goldman, who seems to have a better balanced notion of justice. It might prove instructive to public servants to see an erring colleague at work trimming shrubbery. business taking a long, hard look at itself." And, he said, "This is not the sort of assignment that the public will entrust to the National Association of Manufacturers, the chamber of commerce, or , indeed, to any of the groups traditionally associated with the defense of business, however earnest, honest and competent they may be." He suggested that business leaders join with representatives of other segments of society -- professional people whose views would represent the moral concerns of society as a whole -- to organize an institute or association to promote the idea of responsibility and ethics in business practices in the broadest sense. We like Blumenthal's idea, which would be good for the citizenry in general as well as for business, and we think there should be a special awareness of the need for such an undertaking in West Virginia, where the breakdown in moral standards and ethical behavior has been all too evident in collusion involving government corruption. In virtually all indictments concerning public officials over the past few years, there has been the presence of the business community -- bankers Another Baffler The South Korean Barbers Assn, announced that it was tripling prices for haircuts as a contribution toward the South Korean government's "antidecadence" campaigc. We haven't yet figured out how paying three times as much for a haircut reduces the level of one's decadence, but we have before us the example of American automobile manufacturers who responded to slumping sales by raising their prices. Perhaps, for a change, the East is learning from the West. grasping to handle state moneys, one way or another, and business interests conspiring to sell their wares to the state, to cite two predominant examples. We say it is high time that such groups as the Chamber of Commerce and the State Bar -- when they meet at the Greenbrier for their annual performance of passing resolutions, usually of the self-interest nature -try resoluting for a change in favor of honest government and new ethical- behavior codes to which all business would be expected to subscribe. And they should do so with the same candor that the president of the Bendix Corp. cites the need for a departure from the establishment norm. Ethics Panel Shows Just How Ethical The House Ethics Committee has provided an example of just how searching its concern for ethical conduct is. On the subject of House members accepting free rides on corporate airplanes, the committee ruled that such an offer should be declined if the intended trip is for campaign purposes. But, said the highly ethical ethics committee, if the intended flight is for some other purpose, a representative may take any available seat without putting a strain on his conscience. We wouldn't want to make the immodest contention that we are more ethical than the ethics committee, but it strikes us that freeloading is freeloading, regardless of the freeloader's mission. Members of the House are paid $42,500 a year plus at least $8,000 worth of benefits. They're paid enough to travel at their own expense. Any congressman who allows his bills to be paid by a corporation can't be greatly concerned with avoiding the appearance of a conflict of interest, and congressmen who have no such concern don't have our full confidence. 'Hear that thump? We've hit bottom' Fanny Seller: Affairs of State Democrats Concerned Letters to the Editor A Defense of Heiskell Editor: I am writing in regard to Fanny Seller's column of June 22 entitled "Heiskell's Untold Story" because the part of it with which I am familiar gives a totally untrue picture and falsely maligns Hike Heiskell. I am referring to the part of the column in which it is reported that Hike made several calls to the UMW. The context in which this was written suggests that Heiskell called the UMW as part of some "frantic" attempt to get a job in Washington. Since I believe I was the recipient of the calls .... I feel bound to correct this false impression. As some of your readers may know, Hike Heiskell and I participated in a U. S. State Department sponsored delegation to the Soviet Union last summer. During our visit. Hike and I met--in defiance of the Soviet authorities--with some young Jewish families who were being denied the right to emigrate to Israel. These young people had been jailed for their efforts, their jobs taken from them, and their families harassed. Upon our return. Hike and I made a number of efforts to bring pressure on the Soviet government to allow these people to emigrate and we exchanged a number of telephone calls in February. I assume those are the calls your "source" reported. Fortunately, we were able to help secure the release of two of these families and they are now living in Israel. It troubles me that an effort on Hike's part to aid some unfortunate people trapped in the Soviet Union should be so tation of them was any more accurate than the misguided description of Hike's calls to the UMW. But I do know that a man who risked quite a bit on behalf of some oppressed families in the Soviet Union deserved better than to be maligned for his trouble. Bernard Aronson, Assistant to the President, United Mine Workers of America, 900 15th St., N. W., Washington, D. C. Heiskell was in Russia for 18 days hi July, 1974. The first of three calls was made Feb. 20,1975, and the other two were made Feb. 26,1975. They're Guilty, Too Editor: "When Nixon brought the nation almost to anarchy by his invasion of Cambodia ..." These words taken from Richard Lee Strout's column in the June 22 Sunday Gazette-Mail illustrate how the news media, 50 belligerently jealous of their reputation for fairness and impartiality, are capable of coloring their news or history to influence unwary public opinion. A similar ploy was the persistent reference to "the secret war on Cambodia" by certain journalists (echoed by certain politicians) imply- wrongly reported when a simple call to the ing that this country had made war on UMWA could have prevented this untrue Cambodians when as a matter of fact it impression. I don't know anything about tie other phone calls mentioned in the ar- Ucle or jfcether your reporter's interpr had bombed certain concentrations of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese who had holed up in that unfortunate neutralist count Even the most respected journalists don't seem to realize that when they make statements of this sort without some kind of qualification, they are just as guilty of "lying to the American people" as anybody in the Pentagon or the White House ever was. Those of us who were alive and sane and aware during the time of the excursion of American and South Vietnamese troops into Cambodia recall that certain irresponsible creeps, whose names are forgotten and who haven't been heard of since, got on the long-distance phone and with misguided assistance from the broadcast media were able to whip up considerable hysteria among college students who should have been studying their lessons and a relatively few older people who should have known better, and induced a sizable number--maybe two million to five million, counting all those who demonstrated throughout the nation--to parade about the streets and shout anti-American and pro-Viet Cong slogans. But this is not anarchy or the threat thereof. Even at the most generous estimate the marchers and shouters constituted only an insignificant minority, considering the upwards of 150 million citizens above the age of consent who kept their cool and pursued the normal routine of business as u s u a l . . . Doctors and laywers make at least a token effort to police themselves and guard against irresponsible practice in their professions. It would be a blessing if journalists would decree that any statement by a columnist or commentator should at least be consistent with a reasonable biased interpretation of the obvious facts. Edwin D. Sheen. Institute The Democratic State Executive Committee has retained the right to select 25 per cent of West Virginia's 33 delegates to the Democratic National Convention next year, giving some in the party concern that the delegation might have trouble getting seated. The committee had two options under new rules at the national level -- to retain that right, or to permit all 33 delegates to be elected by the people in congressional districts. Eight of the delegates to the convention will be named by the executive committee, seven will be elected by the voters in the First Congressional District, and six each will be elected in the other three districts. One concern is that the executive committee can control enough of the delegation to pick the chairman, and to put together support for one particular man for the presidential nomination. Democrat State Chairman J. C. Dillon would likely have a big hand in picking the eight named by the executive committee. It's felt that he is promoting Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W. Va., for the nomination. ONE LIBERAL DEMOCRAT summed up the situation by saying: "It's 25 per cent less democracy in the Democratic party." Previously, about 25 per cent of the delegates were elected at large. But the new national rules prevented at-large races, , confining the area from which a delegate could be elected to the size of a congressional district. The state law still permits at-large elections for delegates, and isn't explicit on the executive committee selecting delegates. A lawyer advised the executive committee that it would be easier to defend from a legal standpoint if the delegates were all elected, But the executive committee chose the other option. If an incumbent public official, or prominent politician ran in a congressional district race and lost, there's some concern that the executive committee might name him or her as one of the eight delegates. In addition, the executive committee could name some friends of members. Should a fight develop over the selection, and a complaint be made to the national level over the seating of the delegation at the convention, it might put West Virginia in an awkward position. ation, and took three weeks leave from his job to run in the 1974 primary. "I don't recall taking income I didn't deserve." Sonis says while he got paid under the per diem system when the legislature isn't meeting on a weekend, he doesn't favor it and voted against it this year. Sonis says he got a good background in government while being employed and learned how to speak out on issues. "I never pretended I was any better than anyone else," he says... THE DEMOCRATIC Youth Conference is working on a platform and program to be presented to the Democratic State Convention in 1976. ... There's a feeling in political circles that REAP Director A. James Manchin has scared off Tom Winner from the secretary of state race and State Sen. Robert Nelson, D-Cabell, is being urged to take on Manchin. Nelson got into the race late in 1972 and visited only 33 counties. .Manchin reportedly didn't get an enthusiastic welcome from the Young Democrats at their conference, and there are pockets of opposition developing in the party toward h i m . . . Charleston Mayor Hutchinson was in Huntington recently where political watchers say he made contact with Bob Myers, unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in the Democratic primary in 1972 who supported Gov. Moore in the general election . . . Mingo County political boss Noah Floyd and Clarence Elmore, liquor commissioner under Governors Barron and Smith, were at the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner . . . The Democratic party's Affirmative Action Committee has expanded its membership from 21 to 24. One of the three new members is Wilma Rudolph, an Olympic gold medal winner . . . Speaker McManus and President Brothefton participated in Marshall University's Taft Institute last Tuesday... (Please turn to Page 9E) Jenkin L. Jones Gift of Hindsight Precious Thing SHORTS - Del. Larry Sonis' criticism of free tickets to college and university football games, and other freebies provided to legislators has stirred up a hornet's nest. It's being recalled in legislative hallways how Speaker Lewis McManus, D-Raleigh, and Senate President William T. Brotherton Jr., D-Kanawha, hired Sonis in 1973 when he didn't have a job. Sonis was paid $45 a day for the 1973 session, which included some weekends when he didn't work. That's a practice long defended by the legislative leadership as being part of the salary for a session. Sonis' pay was changed to $40 a day for days worked, beginning April 15,1973. On Sept. 16,1973 Sonis went on a different arrangement, $500 a month each from the House and Senate with duties divided between the two chambers. He went to work full-time for the Senate on Jan 1,1974. being raised shortly afterward to $1,050 a month. Brotherton confirmed. Sonis' reply to his critics is that he didn't work out of desper- Sunday Gazette-Mail Charleston, West Virginia Page 2D (C) Lot Angeles Times Someone once asked Theodore Roosevelt what he considered the most precious gift a man could receive. "A subscription to tomorrow's newspaper," answered Teddy. And so it would be. An almost instant fortune would be assured. Disasters could be avoided, opportunities seized before the bud. But tomorrow's newspaper would only present a razor-thin forecast. Much better would be a newspaper 12 months hence. And for assessing our own times what could be more valuable than a publication that writes about them two centuries in the future with the advantage of omniscience, perspective and almost total recall? THIS, TIME magazine has accomplished with its "July 4,1776" issue which will be on the newsstands for the next year. July 6, 1975 If Time is pretending that had it been in existence 199 years ago it would have covered that stirring week as this special issue does it is guilty of gentle fakery. For even if it had been endowed with modern communications and its present large and capable staff it would have been able to produce nothing resembling this slick and entertaining job of recounting the significant news of that distant time. Two hundred years of perspective enabled Time to dismiss the pygmies who then, as now, often occupied stage center in transitory news. It enabled it to zero in on people of significance. It is doubtful if a contemporary Time could have understood the true importance of the fledgling Encyclopaedia Britannica, or the outlandish submersible "Turtle" that scared British sailors in New York harbor, or the labors of Josiah Wedgwood, John Singleton Copley and Edward Gibbon. All these things have stood the test (excusing the pun) of time, and that's what Time enjoyed. Nor. if Time of 1776 had. indeed, been published by American patriots, would there have been a Chinaman's chance that the articles on the characters of George III, and the British brothers, Adm. Dick and Gen. Richard Howe, would have,been so well-balanced. Writers in the heat of deadly battle do less well. But the chief difference between contemporary and historical journalism is the difference between a man trying to judge the heights of the various Rocky Mountain peaks from the valley of Estes Park and one judging them from a point on the prairie 50 miles east of Denver. *· TO THE ESTES Park viewer, nearby heights of no significance look as impressive; if not more so, as great mountains at some distance, and many of the major summits he cannot see at all. The prairie viewer observes the whole panorama from Mummy Mountain to Pike's Peak and knows which are'truly notable. Alas, we in the newspaper business are dwellers in the valley. During the mid-June week of 1911 the newspaper for which I labor was shocked by a river steamer fire at Paducah, Ky. An interstate Christian Endeavor meeting shared Page 1 with a legal battle between local streetcar companies, and a prominent madam was missing from her house of ill repute after an aggrieved customer complained of being rolled. During those days Sir Ernest Rutherford in far-off England was quietly discovering the nucleus of the atom and atomic warfare was thus conceived. On April 16, 1917, we were, quite naturally, excited by America's entry in World War 110 days before. "Turks Intern U.S. Gunboat." "Bryan Backs President Wilson." "Mexicans Neutral." Utterly ignored that day was the arrival of Nikolai Lenin at the Petrograd railroad station after his trip across Germany in a sealed train. Thus began the Russian revolution. On July 2.1941 Olsen and Johnson were in Hollywood, the local ball club had lost six straight, and Walter Winchell was flailing Hitlers gangsters in "Ratziland." On that day no one told us that the Imperial Council of Japan secretly decided to move south in Asia, even at the risk of war with the United States and Britain. It's easy to be brilliant in this business. AH you have to do is stand upon tomorrow, or next year, or two centuries hence.

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