Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 20, 1972 · Page 51
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 51

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 20, 1972
Page 51
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In the Public Interest This Land Is Your Land WASHINGTON-A pot-boiling controversy is brewing over the ownership and use of under-developed and agricultural land throughout the country. The cries of land fraud, land dispossession and the need for land reform are being heard with increasing frequency from a wide diversity of groups. Arrayed on one side are small farmers and landowners, conservationists, elderly retired people, and officials who take their law enforcement duties seriously. THE TRENDS that are feeding this struggle over the land are: A growing concentration of land ownership, particularly in agricultural areas such as California and Florida, by giant agribusiness corporations. The U. S. Department of Agriculture has information on land ownership concentration but refuses to make it public. · Corporate speculators are buying up large land tracts, and by legal and political maneuvers, are jacking up land prices which increase housing and other development costs. A great deal of secrecy precedes these purchases in many cases, thereby depriving nearby residents from learning what the corporation plans to do that might drastically upset their way of life. International Telephone Telegraph, for example, is quietly buying up. tens of thousands of acres in northwest Maine and isn't saying why. *· Attention is focusing on the gigantic land holdings of the railroads obtained free from the U. S. government in the 19th century. A group headed by Sen. Fred Harris, D-Okla., has demanded that Southern Pacific Railroad give up these surplus lands, claiming they are not being used for railroad purposes as required under the original land grants. *· Public interest lawyers in Appalachia are studying the notorious broad-form deed used decades ago by corporate lawyers to fleece innocent mountain folk of valuable coal and other minerals on their land. This broad-font; deed is still current in these areas. t* Property tax reformers are documenting their charges that large timber, coal and oil and gas companies are among those who are vastly underpaying their taxes through politically- inspired low assessments. Schools and other · services suffer as a result. Small businesses and home owners pay higher taxes as well. *· Interstate land sales frauds directed at retired people who want to settle in Florida, Arizona, or other retirement centers, are mushrooming. High pressure tactics and deception have often cost elderly people their entire investments in misrepresented acreage. Federal law enforcement agencies are paying too little attention to these abuses. »· Congress is presently deliberating a national land use policy to prod the states i n t o establishing planning programs for such major land uses as highways, parks, mass transit systems, airports, utilities, and other large developments. The chief sponsor of this legislation is conservative Sen. Harry Jackson, D- Wash. All this adds up to a recognition of just how critical and limited the nation's land resources are becoming, and the potential loss to future generations. It is the present and future duty of all Americans to keep the land from being seriously polluted or contaminated. Our founding fathers recognized this in the great decisions they made. The early conservationists in Teddy Roosevelt's days met the challenges new to that period. It is time now to stop the drive to monopolize and despoil the land by a few in order to profiteer from the many. Conceive, Believe,Achieve--Conbela Works August 20,1972 3D Nationally, 66 per cent of released mental patients return to hospitals. A halfway house program in Seattle manned by nonprofessionals has a return rate of only 17 per cent. Perhaps it's because "they have friends, someone to drink with, someone to cry with, someone to laugh with. "It's called Con- bela. By Charles Barough SEATTLE-(AP)-They call themselves paraprofessionals with no medical · standing except a measure of success. They are the people of Conbela, a halfway house and rehabilitation program for ex-mental patients. The program has a . youthful disdain for psychiatry and the "establishment." Just three years old, Conbela claims a success rate four times better than the national average for keeping people from returning to mental hospitals. It has created a residence program that provides the people it helps with what amounts to a new family. "For the first time in their lives they have friends, someone to drink with, someone to live with, someone to cry with, someone to laugh with," Director Dennis Healy said. It also set out to help its clients develop marketable job skills and now has several businesses which soon may show a profit. CONBELA OPERATES a paper recycling business in the basement of its three-story warehouse headquarters in Seattle's hippie Fremont District, along with a silkscreening operation and a small store to sell its wares. "We are recycling people along with paper," said Healy. Conbela? It is an acronym derived from the organization's motto: Conceive, Believe. Achieve. . .Conbela. Conbela began as a housing program for people who had left mental hospitals but lacked even the minimal skills for coping with life. Clients are referred to the program from mental hospitals, primarily Northern State Hospital in Sedro Wooley, Wash., and the Department of Vocation and Rehabilitation. "Some didn't know how to use a pay telephone, let alone figure out the transit system," Healy said as he crossed his blue-jeaned legs and regarded his sandals. He leaned back from his desk and shut off the very high fidelity coming from the stereo behind him, next to the big tropical fish tank. "We got them (the clients) in a halfway house program to learn those normal coping skills--how to manage a home, how to budget, cooking, cleaning--living on their own and not having somebody else do it," Healy said. "They are living on their own, which is a big step forward for them." WHY IS CONBELA apparently so much more successful than other programs? "I really don't know," Healy admitted. "This- is a one-of-a-kind program in the country." But he has an idea. "They volunteer for this program," he added. "They don't have to come to this program and they can leave any time they want, come and go any time they want. But they are here, and it is with their own choosing. For many of them it's the first time in their lives they have really chosen to do something. It's an alternative." Unlike most halfway house programs, Conbela is "not at all therapy-oriented," Healy said. "If there's any therapy at all. . .it's a reality therapy. But we don't adhere to any particular philosophy of therapy. We don't set down guidelines. It's not just "let's sit down in a circle and we'll all. discuss where our head is at." By bent, Conbela isn't interested in f o r m a l t h e r a p y . By p r o f e s s i o n a l qualifications, it can't be. and money from the Office of Economic Opportunity and Public Assistance funds. The people in that housing program worked at Orion Industries, where Herb Williams was a supervisor. Orion was forced to lay them off because of cutbacks in contracts with the Boeing Co. It was nearly impossible to find them jobs in Seattle's bleak economy, so Williams helped open a small silkscreening business, the start of Conbela's vocational rehabilitation program. THERE ARE ABOUT 70 people in the program, 30 of whom work in the paper recycling operation. Another 10 work in the silkscreening operation. The housing program right now has a capacity of eight persons. The silkscreen products are sold out of a small storefront called "The Cuckoo's Nest." The pun is intended. There also is an activities program for those with less than 25 per cent productivity. For them Conbela "is like the end of the road." They probably will remain under extended shelter in the activities program the rest of their lives, Healy said. "The people downstairs are on job training and work evaluation," Healy explained. "They stay there three months. If it looks like they have the potential to go out and find a job, we keep them on training and bill the state 'x' amount of dollars to train them in a skill--truck driving, operating a fork life. "About 60 per cent of those we have put into job training have gotten jobs. The ones we have not been able to place in jobs have stayed here on an extended basis." Bob Campbell, 33, came to the program several months ago after spending four months in a mental hospital. He now is housing coordinator. Conbela's importance is "the time that it gives you to remake your head," he said. "You have ready-made friends who understand your problem," Campbell added. "They are remaking their minds and their attitudes so they can get jobs and h a n d l e t h e i r l i v e s e n t i r e l y b y themselves." THREE .MEMBERS OF CONBELA MAN SMALL STORE Program Hopes to Develop Marketable Job Skills "There's no one here that we would ever term a professional," Healy said. "I do not have a degree in psychology, but I'm not a professional in this field. I'm a paraprofessional. "There is a great deal of interest in how the paraprofessional is able to relate and is able to get some kind of action where the professionals have not been able to get it." The other paraprofessionals in the eight- m e m b e r s t a f f also share a n o t h e r quality--youth. Healy just turned 24. Four are 25, the others 24. 26, 28 and 30. "There is a reasonable amount of Woodstock in this organization," Healy said as bearded, blue-jeaned, sandaled Client Counselor Nate Ford, the 28-year- old, entered the living room-like office. The rate nationwide of people returning Ears Ready? Welcome to Anchor Booth By John Chancellor Special to Newsday MIAMI BEACH-Welcome to the anchor booth, an air-conditioned aerie far above the sweating delegates. A place for serene reflection on the foibles of politics and the follies of mankind. A quiet place where it's possible, now and then, to say a few thoughtful words about the scene below. That would be nice, if it were, true, but an anchor booth is not that kind of place. For many years I thought it was. Struggling through the crowds, I would look up enviously at Chet Huntley and David Brinkley in their splendid isolation. But this year I find myself sitting up there across from Brinkley, and I have learned the truth: your feet don't get tired, but your ears take a beating. In your left ear, there is a small plastic molded earpiece that lets you listen to reporters on the floor. Another earpiece over your right-ear lets you listen to what's being said on the rostrum. Then there's little blue telephone connecting you to the producer downstairs. So. sometimes, you've got Douglas Kiker interviewing Frank Mankiewicz in your left ear, Larry O'Brien making a speech in your right ear, and then the phone rings. It get very busy. TO MAKE IT even more complicated, the producer can speak into a microphone and he turns up in your left ear, cutting out Kiker and Mankiewica, a small, steady, unflappable voice saying, "When you're finished, give it to Cassie Mackin on the floor," or, "Ease into a commercial," or McGovern is about to appear in the lobby at the Doral Hotel." When you know how noisy it can get inside there, you begin to recognize that being an anchorman at a convention requires something more than a knowledge of politics. In my case, a thick skull helps a lot. The anchorman, to be sure, has many things tossing around in his head, but one thing he doesn't have to worry about is supervising the network's coverage. There are anchormen, I am told, who would like the audience to believe they're running the show, but it's not true. You can't sit in the booth and know what's going on outside the hall. That information filters in through radio links, telephones, printers and reporters. The anchomen are simply part of a coverage team. Sometimes Brinkley or I would call downstairs, during the Democratic convention, and suggest to the producers that a particular speech be carried from the rostrum. Sometimes that would happen, sometimes it wouldn't. I think we missed a couple of important speeches, but one trouble with the Democratic convention was that you couldn't always teel who would be speaking next. NBC had one of its men near the rostrum, and it was his job to keep us up to date with the schedule, but who could have predicted that Sen, Mike Gravel of Alaska would n o m i n a t e HIMSELF? ONE OF THE MOST persistent and reasonable criticisms of network convention coverage is that there isn't enough attention paid to the speeches and too much attnetion given to people gabbing on the convention floor. There are several points that can be made in rebuttal: the main one is that quite often the delegates don't listen to the speeches. So if the delegates don't listen, why should the television audience? Another response to this criticism is that we are covering the story of the convention, not the speeches. This annoys politicians of both parties and, during some speeches, the Democrats turned off the lights in the hall and kept only a spotlight on the speaker. The reason they did that was so the television cameras couldn't see the floor reporters, forcing the networks to stay with the speaker. There were times when I wished that our reporters had been equipped with a powerful flashlight. The story of a convention is mainly on the floor of the convention, in the headquarters trailers outside and at the candidates' hotels. It is also (Chicago, 1968) sometimes in the streets. Speeches are often the least newsworthy events at a convention, except for the acceptance speeches, or importaV. unity or concession statements. to mental hospitals is 66 per cent, Healy said. The rate of return for people who have left mental hospitals and entered the Conbela program is 17 per cent. Healy said this statistic has sparked considerable i n t e r e s t f r o m o t h e r c o m m u n i t y maintenance and halfway house programs around the country. THIS PARTICULAR segment of the Woodstock Nation admits to enjoying the idea--within reason--of bureaucratic guerrilla war with the establishment. "Where we enjoy scrambling the establishment." Ford said, "is in some of the areas where we feel some of the establishment bureaucracy are among the causes of why the people downstairs haven't been rehabilitated before in other programs. "When we can show that we can do away with some of those things and completely reverse the return rates to the hospitals and show them that these could very well be some of the reasons why people are going back to the hospitals, then it's fun to scramble them up." The young staff has to answer to a board of directors, none of whom is under 35, but t h i s d o e s n ' t seem t o i n h i b i t t h e freewheeling style. For instance, Healy said, there was $97 in the checking account when Conbela began buying its four residence houses, each at between $35,000 and $40,000. Conbeia prew out of what Healy called 'a miscegenation of people who came together.' Barbara Cram, a New Careers counselor for Northern State, found many of the ex-mental patients living in seamy downtown hotels, Healy said. She found there were no existing facilities for them and went about s t a r t i n g one with organizational help from Northern State THE STAFF, too, reflected the same sort of coming together. "People dropped by and got interested in the program," Healy said. "The guy who runs the silkscreen business we pulled out of an art school. His wife is the receptionist in the paper recycling plant. I don't know, they hear about it and come by." Healy was doing graduate work at the University of Washington when he found out about Conbela from a guest speaker in one of his classes. His family had a silkscreening business they wanted to get rid of and donated it to Conbela, he said, t h u s e x p a n d i n g Conbela's original operation. The staff, too, he said, often made donations to the program, and went without pay. Salary still remains an elusive thing to "paid" staffers. "Right now, I'm working on a volunteer basis," he added. "About half the staff are really working for Jesus, as it were." The chairman of Conbela's board, Ed Goldman, was an official of a paper company in Everett, Wash. It was his id°a that led Conbela into the paper r-.cling b u s i n e s s a s p a r t o f v o c a t i o n a l rehabilitation. Conbela hopes to balance a $353,400 budget next year. The silkscreen operation shows a profit of about $1,000 a month. The paper recycling operation is the big loser right now, but new contracts being sought hold out the prospect of a $3,500-a-month profit, Healy said. "The ultimate goal is to gain economic independence from grants and donations." Healy said, "This is a nonprofit organization, so the profits would be put. back into the white elephants *uch as the housing program, activities program and the drop- in center we hope to start." The organization was certified by the state as a sheltered workshop on June 1, thus making it easier to obtain grants. Ongoing financing is a scramble, with most of the assured money paid by the state for Conbela's counseling and job training.

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