The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey on May 23, 1979 · 70
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The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey · 70

Hackensack, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Wednesday, May 23, 1979
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it "" - ' thf KFrnpn upnwccruv uav n -i m, nLUIIWuni, HI" I Ct), I3IJ EEPGEN PASSAIC HUDSON COUTHES H?W JtPSFV Friend of the People It Serves Established June 5. 1895 M 41XOLM A. BORG Chairman oj the Board Gregory G. Borg Executive Vice-President JOH.y BORC Publiahcr 1922-1948 DOALD G. BORG Editor 1932-1975 Robert Comstock Vice-President and Executive Editor Carl F. Jellinghaus Vice-President James Ahearn Managing Editor Bernard J. Bcranelli Peter C. Hearne Deputy Managing Editors Mark Howat Lifestyle Editor David Corcoran Associate Editor Mark A. Stuart Assistant Editor Mercy, medicine, and justice Last summer, a doctor at Pascack Valley Hospital prescribed pain killers and insulin for a dying cancer patient. The medications were intended to shorten the patient's agony and his life. The drugs were administered at the request of the patient, who fully understood his circumstances, and with the approval of his wife. The patient died, although it hasn't been established that the medication was the cause. The doctor was acting in clear violation of state and hospital guidelines dealing with the withdrawal of life-support systems for terminally ill patients. Rather than face revocation of his license, he surrendered it voluntarily, and left to practice in upstate New York. It's uncertain whether he will face disciplinary hearings in New York over the decision that caused him to leave New Jersey. It seems unfair that the doctor should have to pull up stakes for an uncertain future elsewhere because he acted, by all accounts, in a manner that many people would consider humane the kind of treatment they would hope for themselves in the same circumstances. In the celebrated Karen Quinlan case, the state Supreme Court said that a mortally ill patient has a right to choose to die or, in the case of Miss Quinlan, who was unable to make the decision herself, that a guardian could do so for her. The court said that with the proper safeguards, life-sustaining systems, such as respirators, could be removed. But the decision did not approve the administration of life-ending agents; apparently, the insulin given to the Pascack Valley patient could have produced a systemic shock that hastened (not caused) his impending death. The doctor came to difficulty because he agreed to try to help the patient shorten his life, if only by a few hours. While many would argue that the patient has a right to make this decision, if it's done knowingly, there are as yet no mechanisms in our society for legally implementing such decisions. Strong and ancient traditions, legal and ethical, abhor the deliberate hastening of death even in such circumstances as these. It's only recently that the taboos have begun to drop away from mere discussion of death and the rights of terminally ill patients. The debate has been forced, finally, by medical technology that can stave off death - at least physical death for so long. That very technology is making us realize that some states of life are not tolerable. But what to do about it is delicate and difficult question. That doesn't change the fact that it seems unjust to penalize a physician who acts, in the absence of any direction from society, to comply with the most compelling request of a dying patient in great pain. Enemies of the state When the United States Senate condemns the execution of more than 200 persons by Iran's "revolutionary courts," Ayatollah Khomeini calls it interfering in Iran's internal affairs. But when the ayatollah calls for the assassination of "enemies" of the Iranian revolution, wherever they may live or whatever citizenship they hold, that's called revolutionary justice. The enemies of whom the ayatollah speaks haven't been named, except for the deposed shah and his family. But some Iranians in this country obviously understand it to mean Sen. Jacob Javits and his wife, both of whom are under police guard in New York and in Washington as a result of threats to their lives. Senator Javits was the sponsor of the resolution condemning the Iranian executions, warning that their continuance would harm United States-Iranian relations. In retaliation for the Senate's move, the ayatollah has told the United States to keep its new ambassador to Iran at home. This would be a normal diplomatic move made by one civilized government involved in a temporary dispute with another. But Iran isn't an ordinary government these days. Its nominal government has been overshadowed by Ayatollah Khomeini's brand of revolution. The normal court system in Iran has been supplanted by revolutionary tribunals, which try all cases of those accused of crimes against the state. That last definition sounds familiar. Like the secret police trials under Josef Stalin, crimes against the state in Iran may include anything from being a member of the deposed shah's secret police to some vague accusation about past political reliability. One man's crime was being friendly with two Israeli government officials. Since the man was Jewish, wealthy, and philanthropic, and since the Israelis had been as welcome in Iran before the revolution as they are scorned now, he could hardly have been otherwise. But that friendship cost him his life. Members of other religious groups that Ayatollah Khomeini finds inimical have suffered similar fates. The threats against Senator Javits demonstrate that Iran's revolutionary government has adopted all the trimmings of today's totalitarian states, including the vocabulary. "Interfering in the affairs of another nation" is the worst kind of felony, unless it is one's own nation that is doing the interfering in which case it is perfectly proper to dispatch assassins and terrorists to do the work. But a wordy Senate resolution condemning such tactics now that's interference. Inconsistency, as Horatio Smith said, is the only thing in which men are consistent. Mystery in Passaic Almost since it opened last fall, students and teachers have been complaining about the new wing of Passaic High School. They say it makes them sick. The symptoms include dizziness, nausea, head and muscle aches, fatigue, stomach cramps, burning eyes, and sore throats. The victims tend to be the teachers who spend the whole school day in the wing. And nobody can explain it Air ducts bringing fumes from a parking lot were altered; a fluid leak in the elevator motor was repaired; walls were washed and repainted; the carpet was shampooed. The board of education president even spent 24 hours in the wing with air quality meters. But he found nothing wrong and the complaints persisted. Last week an industrial hygienist from the Nation al Institute of Occupational Safety and Health came to investigate. His tests also showed nothing unusual. The best advice he could give before he got out of town, was that the teachers might want to see their physicians. But he warned, "A lot of the time, with vague 'complaints, they never can find anything." Meanwhile, the school board says it won't reopen the wing in September until the cause of the teachers' discomfort is found. In the absence of any other authoritative advice, the teachers should follow the suggestion of the man from NIOSH and see their doctors. The complaints may be vague, but they do seem real, and they should be treated as such. There must be an explanation to this mystery, and school officials should continue to pursue it The only alternative, abandoning the wing, is unthinkable. Me first Last Sunday, Sen. Bill Bradley admonished the graduating class at Fairleigh Dickinson's Teaneck-Hackensack campus to end the "me decade." The term was coined by Tom Wolfe to describe the attitude, all too prevalent today, that personal gratification takes precedence over community interdependence. Mr. Bradley's thoughts deserve a wider audience than the one he addressed them to. This decade has produced a lot of "me's." Parents who find it easier to try and buy off their children's pleas for attention with money and gifts. Teachers who are too preoccupied with union affairs to pay too much attention to their pupils. Doctors who worry more about stock-market figures than the numbers on their patients' charts. Workers who've lost their pride in workmanship and manufacturers who have discarded their responsibility to their customers. None of these were in that graduating audience. But if there is a "me-first" attitude in our young, it is we who put it there, by example or lack of it It isn't this year's graduating classes who set its tone, nor did they invent the theory that instant gratification without responsibility or a concern for consequences is a way of life to be admired and emulated. Senator Bradley's plea was full of merit It should have been addressed to the trend-setters, not merely those we encourage to follow in our footsteps. Closing the hook Another Hackensack landmark bites the dust next week. Wehman Bros., the secondhand bookshop that's been a fixture on Main near Mercer for 18 years, is going to close. "I guess 48 years of bookselling Is enough," says Murray Winters, one of the two brothers who owns the place. "I want to rest and travel a little, and maybe move to Maryland to be nearer my children and grandchildren." "I want" says brother Joe, the older of the two, "to sleep for six months. Then I'll think about moving away, too." The cavernous shop on Main Street, stocked with every sort of book and back-number magazine printed in English, is the end of the business road for the brothers, who began in 1931. "It was in a place in Greenwich Village called The Doll's House.' It used to be a restaurant" said Murray Winter. "We took it over and it became a hangout for out-of-work writers and artists." Murray had just been graduated from Yale. "I wanted to go to medical school. But Marking Jme mm m Stuarts Z f 'k ; n.l.Vi'r iri it was the beginning of the Great Depression, and there was no money. My brother, Joe, was a senior working his way through New York University as a book scout, buying and selling to dealers. He kept his books in a furnished room, and the landlady had become so disgusted with him piling them up all around this tiny room that she threw him out. "He needed a place for his books. I needed a job. He asked me to come in and help him, so we rented that restaurant and opened shop." The location didn't do much for business. "We had a lot of guys sitting around, drinking our coffee and reading the books. But not enough people were coming in to buy. So we decided to move where there was more traffic." The brothers found a store on 43rd Street east of Broadway. "It was a fine location," said Joe Winters. "Rosoff's restaurant was next door, and the Friars Club was up the block." The brothers began to specialize in old magazines. Moonies move Editor, The Record: After reading the May 3 article describing the Unification Church's'move to new state headquarters in Hackensack, I can't help wondering what Bento Leal, the director of the church, meant when he said: "We were looking for a town where the spirit was more conducive to our work." The only "work" I've witnessed the Moonies do is panhandling in parking lots and factories. Wherever there is the possibility of money, there's a Moonie. The Unification Church, a "religious" organization, can't find enough funds in Passaic, so it moves to Hackensack to beg for our hard-earned dollars. Who belives in Sun Myung Moon anyway, besides the Moonies? Why give money to a panhandler, even a polite one? He or she is merely doing the bidding of a false messiah, much as rice-dealer Park did when he lobbied Congress on behalf of the Korean government. If the money given to the Moonies goes to further the unification of the Voice of the People church, then why don't they stay in Passaic where there are poor Hispanic, black, white, and Oriental famines, striving for some sort of salvation? The Unification Church surely can't help them. If it has moved to Hackensack. Instead, the church willsuck the life-blood of Hackensack's people dry, and then move its headquarters again to greener pastures. MICHAEL MARFIAK Lyndhurst Planning parenthood Editor, The Record: I was very pleased with Mark Stuart's May 2 column supporting Bergen County Planned Parenthood. Mr. Stuart conveyed a genuine sense of the importance of the agency to the health and social welfare of the Bergen County community. I hope more information of this nature can be disseminated through your Dews-paper so that the public will become "It was hard times then," said Murray. "But everybody seemed to have at least a nickel for a magazine. They had those signboards in front of the employment agencies on Sixth Avenue. Everyone would wait for a job to be chalked up on one of the blackboards. A dishwasher's job would bring a rush of 50 men to stand in line. They'd buy one of our magazines to read while they waited." Not just the unemployed bought. The brothers Winters called the place the "Ballyhoo Bazaar," after a well-known humor magazine of the day. Actors, playwrights, artists, Broadway notables took to frequenting the shop. Things were looking up. "That was in the Prohibition era. The landlord was offered a chance to rent the place as a speakeasy, which would pay much more rent So he threw us out," recalled Joe. The brothers moved up Sixth Avenue to 48th Street, and business really took off. But a fire started by a customer who flicked a cigarette ash into a pile of papers wiped out almost their complete stock, along with the store. The Winters had to begin all over again; they had no fire insurance. "We had rented a basement nearby to store our overstock," said Murray. "We had begun to buy publishers' overstock, and we decided the hell with the retail business, we'd go wholesale, selling our stuff to secondhand stores all over the country. Joe hit the road, and we developed a national business in publishers' overstock." One of the publishers they bought from was a firm on Park Row called Wehman Bros. Their specialty was printing "how-to" books and joke books, iV inches by 3V4 inches. Some titles: "Book of 596 Conundrums," "700 Toasts," "200 Puzzles." Big sellers too were collections of ethnic jokes. Business blossomed; the brothers were forced to leave their cellar and rent a large shop on Broadway near Astor Place, on the fringe of New York's world-famed secondhand book market. "I was down at Wehman Bros, one day," recalls Murray Winters, "when one of the owners told me they were closing. I asked if they wanted to sell the business and they said okay. So we bought it, printing plates, equipment, stock, and all." And there the Winters brothers would have remained, but again a greedy landlord forced them out. "The rent kept doubling every two years " said Joe. "So we decided in 1962 to get out. Murray lived in Bergenfield. I lived in Hackensack. We found this building, and we bought it. Now we didn't have to worry about greedy landlords anymore." Before they left New York the brothers had a celebrated brush with the law. "It was during the regime of Fiorello j-rt !!Art 1 1 A Wehman Bros, cover from 1920. LaGuardia," said Murray. "He went on a tear, ordering raids on bookstores that sold what he called pornography. One of the back-number magazines we sold was called 'Headquarters Detective Magazine.' It had some explicit stories, all true crime tales. One day they raided our shop, picked up about 2,000 of these, and arrested us." The case went to trial, and the Winters brothers were convicted and fined J 100. "Even the judge didn't realize it," said Murray, "but New York State had a porno statute on the books. We fought the case right up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and we won. The statute was erased." The case, Winters v. State of New York, became a landmark censorship case cited by other publishers fighting pornography laws in other states. Back in 1975, the brothers began thinking of retiring. "First," said Murray, "we got rid of our Wehman Bros, wholesale business; sold it to a guy in Morristown. We remained in the shop, selling books and magazines, but we still had real retirement in mind. "This year, we took the plunge, sold the building, and gave ourselves a deadline to get out. That deadline is the last day of May. Fini!" To celebrate, the brothers took an unusual step. "We could have called in a dealer and sold out the shop, one clean sweep. But we decided on another tack. Let the people who supported us all these years get a break. We're giving the books away. Anyone can come in here until the day we close and take the books; we marked them 'free.' And we mean it." So, if you like old books, cherished old books, now's your chance to get some, for nothing. f 1 l y- I ' sola hiture Sun Myung Moon aware of Planned Parenthood's clinical and counseling services. Your help in bringing the public's attention to the need for family planning can play a large role in reducing such social ills as widespread abortion among adolescents, unwanted children and child (abuse, and, yes, drug abuse, crime, and even underemployment. Contraceptive care for a year costs under S75 a year, whereas an unwanted child costs the public $750. Mr. Stuart's insightful appeal for public support of Planned Parenthood's urgent need for larger quarters points up a good financial investment for every donor, as well as a contribution to public health and the quality of life. FRANCES L. ROSENBERG Tenafly Made in the U.S.A. Editor, The Record: As a former member of the "silent majority," but an active representative of the Maywood VFW, it behooves me to speak out The other evening, a sports commentator said that the athletic suits to be worn by our teams in the next Olympics were made in Japan and that the miniature American flags that will adorn the shoulders of our team members were also made in Japan. I have no animosity toward the Japanese, but would it be asking too much to have the flag made by Americans? I've seen Old Glory on TV, floating down the Rio Grande after a dispute with Mexicans and set on fire in Iran, and I wonder how much more embarrassment our flag has to endure. We are asked to buy foreign-made cars, TV sets (some with American brand names), clothes, etc., but please let use have the pleasure of purchasing U.S. flags that are stamped: Made in the US. A. HERB GAGE Maywood - Editor, The Record: I read with interest and approval your May 14 editorial regarding our "solar future." I agree with you that we are in no position to shut down existing nuclear reactors and that we must make a greater effort to establish solar energy as a viable means of creating energy for the future. I am a firm believer that we should practice what we preach, therefore I would strongly recommend that The Record install a system using solar energy for a major portion of the heating and ' hot water that it consumes on a daily basis. Your newspaper is certainly one of the great leaders in our community and as such the significance of your actions would have great influence on the community decisions in the future. SEYMOUR BERKOWrTZ Teaneck Sex education Editor, The Record: I agree with Ann Martin-Lcff that sex education especially for young children is the antidote to the abortion issue (The Record, April 24). However, the problem lies with the school systems; they do not begin teaching children about sex at an early enough age. The solution is simple Since the school systems will not change that is, begin sex education earlier parents will have to teach their children at home. CHARLENE KELESHIAN Maywood 3fo iletord ftbinlid Mondy ttuougtl Friday od evtry Sjndjy by THE BERGEN EVENING RECORD CORPORATION 150 few , HKtmKt, N J 07401 (201) M4-4000 Micmn. H. heath John p. bro Leonard Goloblatt HICHAM E. LETS ALVT1 MnxtW RfWyrWM Krr-ftnfeu. t1l,( HERBEKT E. PfEtSON PHtNK . SAWO

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