Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 10, 1975 · Page 41
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 41

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 10, 1975
Page 41
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Private CitizenNixon Begins To End Self- Imposed Exile In the year since he resigned the presidency, Richard Nixon has endured national disgrace and personal anguish. He is a private citizen now, very private. But two consuming interests may lure him out of seclusion soon and back into public view. By Linda Deutsch Sunday Gazette-Mail The Page Opposite Charleston, K. I'a., Autust 10, 1975 Page 3D A PRIVATE CITIZEN GOES HOME Former President Nixon Leaving Long Beach Hospital Recession May Curb Public Workers Pay By Neal R. Peirce Out of the pain of this recession year are coming the first signs that the spiraling wage and fringe benefit demands of public empoyes can be curbed. But the job can only be done where a governor or mayor successfully dramatizes the issue by making it clear to the public that any further union gains will be paid directly out of taxpayers' pockets and that the issue may really be who's in charge--elected officials or 'the unions. Pennsylvania provides a striking test case. Almost 50,000 state employes struck in July, the biggest strike of state or local workers in U. S. history..'The union demanded a 30 per cent pay'increase, later scaling its demand down to 10 per cent. But Democratic Gov. Milton Shapp'said it was a year to hold the line-and stuck with the state's offer of 3.5 per cent. Weakened by court orders sending many essential employes back to work, the union quickly settled for what amounted to only 1.25 per cent more than the state's offer. to mention- the votes of their members, members' f a m i l i e s and friends). Last year in California, government employe groups contributed $1.7 million, making them the biggest single contributor to elections in the nation's largest state. Moreover, government workers are literate, dedicated, go-to-meeting folks who can provide hard-pressed candidates with expert reserach, mailings and door- to-door canvass. According to an official of the Colorado Education Assn., "We play to our strength--and our strength is 22,000 teachers whom we have at the same place, six hours every day, nine months of the year." The dividends government workers accrue in influencing a legislature don't stop at state salaries, they extend to'terms of employment, pensions, and bargaining rules clear down to the city and county level. This year the unions even persuaded. the'Connecticut legislature to force local officials to submit unresolved disputes with government workers to binding arbitration--thus removing final decision over pay from the hands of elected officials. Union pressures are a major reason the average pay of state and local government workers went up 28 per cent faster than those in private industry between 1955 and 1973. In that process, a lot of inequities, including almost subhuman wages in a number of states and cities, were corrected--a major accomplishment of AFSCME and other public workers unions. (It's easy now to forget that Martin Luther King Jr. lost his wife in Memphis, just seven years ago, demonstrating for garbage collections who earned just $1.10 an hour, had no sick pay, vacations, or grievance procedures, and whose union the city wouldn't even talk to.) One can still find islands of inequitably low government pay. particularly in rural states and areas. Starting pay in New Mexico government is so low. for instance, that many workers qualify for food stamps. But in the larger states and in all but a handful of big metropolitan areas, government workers have been transformed from an underprivileged segment of society to one that is frequently overpaid. SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (AP)-Each chilly morning, before sunshine burns off the ocean haze, Richard M. Nixon leaves his secluded villa and walks the path to a private office once part of the Western White House. If there are no visitors--and there seem to be fewer now than ever--Nixon may not be seen by his staff until he quits work after dark. Alone with his memories, Richard Nixon is writing the story of his life. "At 12:15 p.m., Manolo Sanchez, his valet, comes over with cottage cheese and pineapple," says a volunteer who helps open Nixon's mail. "I can set my watch by that." "He is writing in longhand," says his literary agent, Irving Lazar. "That's what he told me ... He's supposed to give me 200 pages in September. But I don't even know how he's starting the book." ONE YEAR after he resigned the presidency, engulfed in a flood of secrets suddenly exposed to public view, Richard Nixon has steadfastly rebuilt the wall of secrecy surrounding his life. There 'are fewer invitations for friends to visit behind the stone fences of the guarded Nixon estate, "La Casa Pacifica," the house of peace. On rare occasions when Nixon and his wife. Pat have left the seashore hideaway, it has usually been to visit at another walled estate, that of his friend Walter Annenberg, the former ambassador to Great Britain, at Palm Springs. One of the Nixons' few recent outings near home--with their daughter Tricia and her husband Edward Cox--ended on a grim note. That was the well-reported auto crash that left three Marines dead. The former president, returning from the Camp Pendleton golf course, came upon the wreckage and directed rescue efforts for an hour. "It really affected him," Cox said afterward. "The tragedy of it really struck him." there is a cell out there (at his home). Have you seen the size of his office? What more is wanted?" FINANCIAL problems continued to plague Nixon. His personal fortune was depleted earlier by a back taxes payment of $284,706. He has said he will pay another $148,081 in owed taxes, but the statute of limitations for collection of that amount has expired. He still owes many thousands on his San Clemente estate mortgage. Faithful Nixon staff members such as Zeigler and Rose Mary Woods went off the government payroll at the end of the initial transition period in February. And Congress is still debating how much Nixon will be allotted for expenses in addition to his $60,000 a year pension. A recent GSA request for $235,750 for the period through Sept. 30, 1976, was slashed to a tentative $151,440. But Nixon is surely comforted by the prospect of lucrative publishing contracts which should make him a millionaire when his memoirs are completed. And Korff's fund would be used to defray expenses involved in Nixon's legal fight to gain access to his presidential papers which are needed for writing the memoirs. He also has the benefit of a unique organization of volunteers from a retirement community. Leisure World, at Laguna Hills. 80 miles away. "They love him and they believe in him. That's why they help." says Kathleen Bryant who organized the volunteers. president of Universal Studios, sometimes types 80 replies a day for the Nixons. The only items not opened by volunteers are personal letters from Nixon's daughters or close friends such as C. G. "Bebe" Rebozo. The senders mark the envelopes with a secret code. IN SEATTLE, members of the politically potent firefighters local launched a recall movement against Mayor Wes Uhlman after a dispute about management of the fire department. Uhlman was able to frame the issue .quite simply--"Whether elected officials or public employes are going to manage the city's business." Sup- jiort for the handsomely-paid firemen quickly evaporated and Uhlman won the recall election with 63.2 per cent of the vote. Not all tests of union power have come out this way. In Illinois, Democratic Gov. Dan Walker vetoed a bill pushed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers (AFSCME) to give each state employe a $100 monthly raise. But the union stormed the legislature and got Walker's veto overridden. At the Mayors Conference in July, Uhlman said many mayors had told him they wished they could have a plebiscite like Seattle's, so that they could bargain with the unions knowing the public stood behind them. The new willingness of mayor and governors to confront the'unions enrages leaders like AFSCME president Jerry Wurf. When I asked Wurf about union influence over officeholders his union helped put in office, he.replied: »· "We helped elect the mayor of Detroit (Coleman Young), and he's .laid off 1,700 of our people; we helped elect the AS LONG AS THE national economy mayor of New York (Abraham Beame). was expanding each year, all but a few ju- and before the ink was dry on the contract risdictions could easily bear the burden of he was-trying to lay off 10,000 of our peo- added salary and fringe benefits for their pie: we elected (Gov. Michael) Dukakis in work, forces. But now recession has re- Massachusetts, and he's trying to kill us. versed that picture, and energy shortages Man, can you tell me where the hell we got suggest our economy may never return to the fix in? .These bastards . . . take our the expansionist days of the '60s and early money in campaigns (and then) fight us to '70s. Added government worker benefits will require new taxes, reducing the real income of everyone else. Thus top officeholders who hold the line on wages and pensions may be on sound footing--union political clout withstand- the death.." What those officeholders may realize, of that there's no way to balance their budgets without absolutely unpalatable tax increases--unless they're tough with government employes. Before them ing. They may even gain unusual allies. In stands the model of New York, now the Seattle recall election. Uhlman was able to survive partly through strong backing from ancient foes--Republican Gov. Daniel Evans and Seattle business interests, which contributed money generously. To add more light than heat to the debate about public salaries, there's a need for careful comparisons of pay for similar AMONG THE few guests now allowed inside Nixon's cloistered domain is Rabbi Baruch Korff. chairman of the President Nixon Justice Fund which has raised $200.000 to pay Nixon's legal fees. Korff came to San Clemente at Nixon's request July 15 to talk of plans for raising another $300.000 for legal expenses. Nixon's former press secretary. Ronald Ziegler. snapped a few souvenir Polaroid pictures of Korff and Nixon together. But even the usually expansive Korff · has become reticent about such meetings. "My visit was private." he said. "He (Nix.on) asked me not to contact the news media." Earlier in the month, Nixon disappointed a group of San Clemente civic leaders who had expected his.participation in a Boys Club benefit golf tournament. "We really thought he would""come," said one tournament member. 'But instead he sent a $100 donation . . . It's really sad. It seems like he's never going to come out." Still, some note that this has been Nixon's most difficult year, a time of physical, emotional and financial trauma. "The fact that he has survived this period to me is remarkable." Zeigler said. »· NIXON, NOW 62, made his last public speech on Aug. 9,1974--the day that he became the first man in history to resign the presidency of the United States. Having left Washington in tears, he stepped off Air Force One in his native Orange County and briefly addressed a cheering crowd of about 4,000 supporters. "I can assure you that in all the time that I have that can be useful I am going to continue to work for peace," he said. In succeeding months, Nixon issued a few written statements-commenting on ' his pardon from President Ford in the Watergate case, giving his resignation to the California State Bar. But he did not speak to America again. THE PROJECT began last fall soon after Nixon resigned the presidency and began receiving mail in such volume that his small staff could not cope with it. "I'm a roaring Republican." says Mrs. Bryant, "and at first I wondered whether I should get involved in this. But I have compassion for an underdog and I thought it wouldn't hurt me to help the man retire gracefully." She didn't anticipate the huge response to her recruitment drive. At times up to 70 volunteers worked in the Nixon offices. Every morning, the women--some with husbands in tow--drive to San Clemente. bringing their lunch in brown paper bags. Mrs. Rrvant. formerly secretary to the SOMETIMES, from their office windows, the Nixon fans see celebrities. Months ago, they saw James Cagney arrive. Later. George Stevens Jr. visited, and so did Elizabeth Taylor with her boyfriend, Henry Wynberg. But Nixon and his wife Pat did not greet Miss Taylor, the volunteers say. "because Mrs. Nixon doesn't approve of that kind of life." Daughter Julie visited with the actress. Twice since the project began. Nixon has come by to thank them personally. Once he visited briefly along with Rabbi Korff. The other visit was last Januray, on his birthday. "We all had some cake and he thanked all of us for our work." says Mrs. Bryant. ". . . He said. 'We're going to have you over to the house one of these times.'" But no volunteer has been inside the Nixon villa. At Christmas, after volunteers had handled the flood of get-well mail attending Nixon's hospitalization. Pat Nixon came by. "They brought over a case of champagne and passed around glasses for everyone." recalls Mrs. Bryant's'husband Edwin. "And I raised my glass and said. 'Let's all toast to the recovery of the president.' " Then Mrs. Nixon presented each volunteer with a Christmas g i f t -- a n autographed copy of the cookbook edited by her daughter Julie. Florida house while he wasn't there. All get polite turndowns. · FRIENDS PREDICT that two of Nixon's consuming interests--his book and. the planned Nixon library--could bring the ex-president out in the open soon. Already he has submitted several depositions in the legal fight for his papers And. perhaps in an effort to clear the air. he testified voluntarily before members ol the Watergate grand jury in an 11-hour secret session at San Clemente. Many believe he would even testify publicly if it meant getting his papers. "His focal point is the book." says Herb Klein, former Nixon aide who visited the ex-president about a month ago. "He is working on it every day." Network television executives confirmed that Nixon's literary agent, Lazar. has been trying to negotiate a paid television appearance by Nixon, presumably in connection with the book. CBS News President Richard Salant said he declined to meet with Lazar to discuss such a deal. He said Lazar proposed that Nixon discuss his years in the White House but "Watergate would be excluded." The network, which paid a reported $100,000 for TV interviews with former Nixon chief of staff H.R. Haldeman. has been stung by charges of practicing "checkbook journalism." If it benefits his book. Nixon may grant interviews. But it's likely he will demand payment. "He has given no interviews to anyone, believe me." says Korff. "But there have been substantial offers." "His greatest drive." says Klein, "is to win access to the papers which would eventually be housed in the Nixon library.'" IN RECENT months, mail has tapered off. says Mrs. Bryant, and the volunteer squad now numbers about 25. Nixon, gets almost no hate mail, the Bryants say. but there are some odd letters from "reg'ular" correspondents. Some address Nixon as "Dear Father." Others ask him for money; and "One fami- lv wanted to know if they could stay in his LAST SPRING when the deal was com-, pleted to build the library at the University of Southern California. Nixon attended a reception for the trustees at Annenberg's estate. Since then, he has been out 'golfing and was photographed strolling on the beach a few times. On July 13 he surprised the congregation at St. Andrews-by-the-Sea Methodist Church in San Clemente by showing up for Sunday services with Pat. Tricia and Ed Cox. ' "It was quite a surprise." said Associate Minister Douglas Riddle. "I guess it was their first really public appearance. People were very friendly. Everyone stood up when he came in. and after the services some of them got autographs." Nixon is still under doctors' care and has occasional swelling in his leg, which he kept elevated when Klein visited. Friends say he is tanned and fit, though showing his age. "I think he's obviously feeling better.", said Klein. " . . . He shows signs of the great pressure he's been under. But he's. looking at things in a very positive way,' thinking of what he can contribute." That contribution, says Lazar, will be the memoirs which could run to several' volumes. "I think," says the literary agent, "he's going to tell one of the great stories of all; time." threatened with municipal insolvency because it pays (if you include fringe benefits) $21.359 a year to its average policeman. $18.558 for a garbage man, $24,481 for a teacher. In Uhlman's Seattle, the total pay. overtime and pension cost of a policeman or fireman is almost $25,000. But if highly visible, elected lop officeholders can resist union pressures, the jobs in government and private industry, same isn't necessarily true of state legis- Government workers should be adequate- lators. They can be subjected to heady political pressure generally outside the public's view. In state after state, legislators who buck the unions are pinpointed for defeat--and oten retired involuntarily. THE PUBLIC EMPLOYE unions are succeeding so brilliantly because (hey can deliver the two most needed components ly paid, but it's hard to justify their salaries and fringe benefits leaping ahead of those of the general public that foots the bill. Beyond that, there's the question of getting more efficient service out of sluggish bureaucracies. In Uhlman's words. "As the demands (of the unions) grow, if productivity does not grow with pay. then ev- of campaigns-- dioney and manpower (not emjity is in trouble." When he fell ill with phlebitis--almost died, his doctors said--aides militantly guarded Nixon from public view. He sneaked into the hospital through a food elevator and cursed a photographer who tried to snap his picture in a corridor. After postoperative crises had sapped his strength and threatened his life. Nixon left the hospital by a back door, briefly visible to a cluster of onlookers. He was thin, ashen-faced and obviously weak. Recuperation was slow. At one point. Ziegler described Nixon as "a beaten man" and scolded those who refused him forgiveness for Watergate. "What severity of penalty does this society want from a leader?" Zeigler asked. "You know, he resigned in disgrace. He is certainly a beaten man . . . "You only have to be here to sense it is exile." Zeigler said. f society wants to put him in a cell. New Fall Corduroy Leisure Suits At Great Pre-Season Savings ,99 Regularly $65 Find 100% cotton mid-wale corduroy leisure suits. 2 patch breast pockets, handsome welt seamed tailored back. Slightly flared pants. Available in tan or brown. Sizes in regulars and longs. Men's Sportswear--First Floor ·M'll* «| :: ; : ·; ; ',-*-'.. ;' ' i/ Frankenberger's, Box 2553, Charleston, WV 25329. Please send me Men's Corduroy Leisure Suits as indicated: ITEM Leisure Suit QUAN. SIZE CCH.OR PRICE PFease Include 3% State Soles Tax TOTAL Name Address Oty State Zip D CHARGE D Check DC.O.D. OM.O. Please add 1.00 handling charge for each order for delivery outside the state of West Virginia PMK FIR 2 HOURS, ·with purchase, ot Co j-nunity Parking lot, comer of Virginia and Hde Streefpi

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