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The Berkshire Eagle from Pittsfield, Massachusetts • Page 17
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The Berkshire Eagle from Pittsfield, Massachusetts • Page 17

Pittsfield, Massachusetts
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The Berkshire Eagle, Tuesday. Sept. 13. 1977 -17 Our Berkshires A national civics lesson Televising the Panama showdora Wij By James Reston William Stanley lighted our way By Gerard Chapman WASHINGTON THE PANAMA CANAL is gradually building into an issue of historic importance, and the Uwught in this corner is that when the decisive debate finally reaches the floor of the Senate in February or March, it should be carried to the American people on national television. At least it is worth consideration. Many thoughtful people in the executive branch and the Congress will regard this not as a modest but as a reckless proposal. Many pf them thought the same when the television cameras were introduced-into the committee hearings of the House and Senate during the travail of Watergate. They were sure, and I was with them, that televising the Nixon impeachment hearings in the House committee room would encourage every blowhard and showoff. and turn the democratic process into a theatrical circus. But it didn't work out that wav. as "inductance" and "capacitance" which were little understood, and such current was considered to be not only without value but dangerous, too. It was Stanley's genius to achieve an understanding 'of the phenomena of ac and to bend them to practical use in his transformer, which he termed a "converter." And he solved the problem of regulation: the maintenance of a constant voltage regardless of the number of lamps in a circuit. He also greatly improved the design and functioning of the alternators by which ac is generated. It was in September 1883 that William Stanley conceived his idea for making MILL RIVER THE RECENT letter in The Eagle Aug. 30 from Robert I. Moran. lamenting the failure of General Electric in an advertisement to mention Great Barring-ton's William Stanley as a pioneer in electrical technology prompted a reading of the booklet, "William Stanley (1858-1916) His Life and Work." by Laurence A. Hawkins, published in 1951 by the Newcomen Society of England in North America. It deals with "his brilliant contributions in the fields of electrical engineering and of electrical manufacturing." Hawkins maintains Stanley's 'jjiventive genius long be recognized in his development of alternating-current transmission, today used throughout the world. The advertisement in question mentioned Elihu Thomson, Charles P. Stein-metz and Nikola Tesla. all of whom are listed in the encyclopedias I consulted, but William Stanley is not; the first two were employed by General Electric, but Tesla and Stanley were not. So Mr. Mo-ran's charge that GE is "partisan" aside, the advertisement's choice of inventors rests on the relative fame of those electrical pioneers. But that GE is cognizant of Stanley's contributions to electrical technology is attested by its having published in 1936 the following tribute: "To William Stanley, we acknowledge our debt: In every generation there is at least one man who achieves one seemingly simple thing that has a major influence on civilization. Such a man was William Stanley, to whom the American Institute of Electrical Engineers will pay tribute in a nationwide series of celebrations commemorating the establishment of the first alternating-current system in America, which his work so largely made possible. We, of the electric industry, pay tribute to his genius." The TV cameras, which often bring out the worst qualities of congressmen on back-home television, brought out their best wlien they were on national television. They knew then, that they were being watched and judged by a national audience, with history in the wings, and they rose to the occasion. They were not only conscientious, but in the process reminded the country that there were laws and rules in this democracy, and that responsible and intelligent members of the House were deternuned to respect them. In fact, this critical experiment of televised House hearings on the Nixon impeachment process was so orderly and dutiful that if Nixon had not finally had the good judgment to resign, the House would have impeached him and his trial in the Senate would probably have been televised. 'RKSHT, STROM WHAT WE 'VE GOT TO VO IS KEEP THE CAr4Al AMp GIVE THE REST AWAY was afforded to witness the illuminations by the Stanley and Edison system! of electric light. Two of the Stanley lights, each of 150 candlepower, were placed in C. H. Lillie's drugstore, with a thoroughly satisfactory result. A 16 candlepower light had been placed in Dr. F.P. Whittlesey's office, and proved conclusively that "a light of this size would be sufficient for anv ordinary sized room In R. I. Taylor's store the lightsl are so perfectly white that green and blue can be readily distinguished, though they cannot by gas light. There seems but little doubt but what, in the near future, the stores and houses, and perhaps the streets of our village, will be generally and thoroughly illuminated." In his Newcomen booklet, Hawkins asserted that "the Great Barrington installation was the first attempt ever made to transmit high-voltage -alternating current by the principles employed today." Two weeks' previously, the Courier had described the new electric illumination at the Hopkins mansion, utilizing Edison's conventional from a generator in the basement, and after Stanley's of his a stated that "the majority of those who viewed the results, seemed to favor the Stanley lights." William Stanley established in Pitts-field the Stanley Electric Manufacturing Co. and the Stanley Laboratory; associated with him there were John F. Kelly and Cummings Chesney. The company made its first shipment of S.K C. equipment in April 1891. Needing more capital for an expanding business, Stanley in 1899 sold a controlling interest to the Roebling Sons Co. of New Jersey, who in turn sold it to the General Electric Co. in 1903. GE also bought the General Incandescent Arc Light Co. of New York and operated the business as the Stanley G.I. Manufacturing Co. until 1907. when it took full control, and the plant became the "Pittsfield Works" of General Electric Co. the genesis of the vast complex in existence today. The inventor's name is commemorated by the. Stanley Club and the Stanley Library. Both the power traasformers. weighing tons, and distribution transformers of a few dozen pounds which the company makes, depend upon the principles first conceived by William Stanley and successfully demonstrated in the Southern Berkshire town of Great Barrington. There in 1974 the local Rotary Club erected a monument to commemorate William Staniev's achievement. treaties, and the brilliant journalist Bill Buckley who is for them. The way things are going now, the political supporters and opponents of the Panama treaties are not really debating the issue with one another but drumming up support and mounting propaganda campaigns. Carter is recruiting support the way he organized delegates for the Democratic presidential nomination. Rea-gan is working over the conservative Republican circuit with his anti-treaty arguments, but the pro- and anti-leaders never meet. that matter, whenever they liked. The Senate is master of its own rules. It can receive not only Mr. Ford into its debate but, if it chooses to do so, Governor Reagan. Henry Kissinger, or Richard Nixon, who, under the Pell resolution, also have the privilege of the floor. The Panama treaties are probably not really in trouble. The guess here is that there will be no more than 20 votes against them in the end. But the opponents want the American people, rather than the Senate to decide, and they have a point. One way to bring them in on it is to let them hear the debate on television. It has its risks, but also its educational value about the future of the Americas and the hard choices of legislative decision. The Panama treaties will be in trouble only so long as the people don't look at the facts. This issue needs to be put before the people so that they can measure the consequences of signing the treaties or rejecting them. It is a dicey business, but this is probably the time to let them hear the arguments on television. New York Times News Service The Panama Canal issue raises the question again. The opponents of the canal treaties are calling for a national referendum or vote of the people to evade the constitutional treaty process in the Senate. There is something to this, but not much. It is not a referendum or party or ideological issue The opposition to Carter and the treaties in the Senate is being led by members of his oaii party. The most effective political supporters of Carter and the treaties are Republicans: former President (ierald Ford, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff And the most prominent and articulate outside antagonists in the debate are both conservatives: former Governor Ronald Reagan of California who is against the William Stanley practical use of ac for illumination. His employer, Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, was unwilling to devote its resources to development of Stanley's concept, and his health was failing. So he returned to Great Barrington. where his family had lived, to recover his health and devote his own resources to implementing his ideas. Cognizant of previous attempts to utilize ac in England in 1884 and in Hungary in 1885. and their poor results. Stanley wound transformers step-up to raise the voltage of for transmission over a distance, andstep-down to lower it again for use and installed an alternator of improved design in an abandoned rubber factory on Cottage Street in Great Barrington. He ran a pair of wires, fastened to trees, to some 25 stores and offices. The Berkshire Courier of the time described the epochal event of March 20. 1886: "Last Saturday evening an opportunity There is no constitutional reason, however, why at the end of this propaganda struggle there should not be an honest confrontation between the supporters and opponents of the Panama treaties on the Senate floor, before the television cameras. The Senate voted in the 1950s for a resolution by Sen. Claiborne Pell, R. to give former presidents of the United States the privilege of speaking in the Senate on great national issues, or for In 1879, Thomas A. Edison had invented the incandescent lamp, which drew its current from batteries or direct-current (dc (generators. But it was not practicable to transmit dc more than a short distance because of energy loss, lowering of voltage and lack of "regulation." Concerning the use of dc, Stanley had once remarked that "if one should attempt to light Fifth Avenue from 14th to 56th Street, the conductors would have to be as large as a man's leg." Although alternating current (ac) was known in Stanley's time, it involved strange and mysterious phenomena such Letters to the Editor Proposed ethics code explained Carter centralizes power Tothe EdiUM-of THE EAGLE Knowing The Berkshire Eagle's tradition for fairness and understanding in its editorial comment, we would like to point out that the editorial of Aug. 17, "Ethics code with loopholes" contained a number of factual errors. We wish to clarify some of the misunderstandings that have arisen concerning the recommendations of the Senate Committee on Cutting federal red tape By David S. Broder disclosing any potential conflicts. Third, your editorial called our proposed language limiting acceptance of gifts by legislators an "annoying loophole." This is inaccurate. The limit on aggregate gifts to legislators is $100 per year, the toughest in the nation. California's Proposition 9, sponsored by Common Cause and regarded as the toughest code in the nation, has a higher annual limit ($120. in increments of $10 a month). Our proposed gift limit applies not only to lobbyists but also to gifts from people who might use a friend to try to pressure a state agency This is a provision many other states did not include. The editorial implied that senators could accept frequent $99 dinners without reporting them; this is not true. Senators may not accept more than $100 aggregate in a year from a lobbyist. In addition, if our recommendations are adopted, the lobbying laws will be amended so that a lobbyist will have to file itemized reports on all gifts to legislators that aggregate more than $50 in a year. and what is not The notion that lawyer legislators exercise undue influence over agency proceedings, if ever a reality in Massachusetts, today appears to be a myth. Anyone who doubts that should conduct the same kind of survey the Senate tthics Committee did Finally, with respect to lawyer legislators, the committee could make no distinction between quasi judicial agency proceedings and courtroom proceedings If such agency appearances were to be barred, then any legal practice by a legislator would have to be barred, obviously, such a rule would discriminate against one group of people, requiring lawyers alone to become full-time legislators. The public, in Massachusetts, may be willing to pay legislators substantially higher salaries and demand full-time service in return, as is the case with Congress. Until it is clear that is the public will, we must continue to operate with the Jef-fersonian philosophy of citizen -legislators who have interests other than their elected position. We know of no state that has abandoned that philosophy and demanded full-time service from its legislators. Watson gave Carter a proposal for put-ling muscle into those councils by giving each of the 10 a appointed chairman But Carter put the suggestion on ice. Instead, he has encouraged the departments to downgrade the decisionmaking authority of their regional directors! with the almost inevitable result that power will be hoarded inside the Washington bureaucracy. Even more important than these structural decisions is the question of what Carter will do about sharing power and' responsibility with the state and local governments. There, the signals so far are mainly' negative. The big breakthrough for decentralization in the Republican years was general revenue -sharing. Carter was one of the few governors critical of that initiative, and said during his 1976 campaign that he wanted to cut out the states as beneficiaries of revenue-sharing His own big initiatives the energy program, the welfare program involve a massive expansion of the role of the national government irf what have been state and Jocal decisions. Neither program makes much room for states' rights or state responsibilities: So, while the governors are grateful for the struggle against red tape, they are reserving judgments on the other aspects of Carter's stewardship of federal-state relations. Carter ordered that, from now on, no more than the original and two copies of any required report be filed with Washington. He is requiring that when a check goes out from Washington, it indicate the purpose-for which it is to be used That sounds sensible, but apparently in the past, state and local officials often have had to guess how Washington meant the money to be spent. There are about three dozen such specific changes, large and small, in Carter's order, and they are welcome to state officials. Before he went off to be ambassador to Mexico, Democratic Gov. Patrick j. Lucey of Wisconsin compiled a report for the National Governors' Conference documenting what he called "federal roadblocks to effective state action." Carter's order is directed to removing many of those roadblocks. But if Carter gets points for hacking away at red tape, it is clear that he is backtracking on the Nixon-Ford effort to decentralize decision-making inside the federal bureaucracy. The Republicans tried to strengthen the regional offices of the big departments and to coordinate their efforts in the field through 10 federal regional councils. By most estimates, the regional councils were. far from a success, largely because most of them were weak in their leadership and staffing. Two months ago. torney general or secretary of state were required to interpret an "ethics law" and ultimately determine who may and may not sit in the legislature. Advisory opinions in two states have already suggested financial -disclosure laws for legislators do violate a constitutional requirements for a separation of powers. Even if a law were to withstand a constitutional challenge, it is unclear that it would work, as the campaign finance law demonstrates. No one has ever been prosecuted in Massachusetts for failure to file a campaign disclosure statement. Alabama and Washington have tough disclosure laws, and compliance rates of less than 40 per cent. In contrast, the Senate has demonstrated a willingness to act and to police its own members. With these considerations in mind, the Senate Committee on Ethics chose to move expeditiously and propose a code that protects the constitutional requirement that the Senate be the final judge of its own members while including provisions that guarantee it can and will be enforced. Under Massachusetts law, a district attorney has considerable prosecutorial discretion. The code recommended by the Senate Ethics Committee does not allow such discretion. Under our proposed new rules, if a sworn written complaint is received, it must be investigated. The ultimate enforcement, however, is an informed electorate and a vigilant press that insist on compliance with the rules. We reaffirm our belief that the code of conduct recommended by the Senate Committee on Ethics is more comprehensive than any other code in the country (covering items found in no other code such as reimbursements, leaves of absence and deferred compensation). We believe that its adoption will be an important step toward restoring public confidence in the Massachusetts CHESTER G.ATKINS Chairman Senate Committee on Ethics Massachusetts General Court Also signing were state senators John W. Olver, Robert E. McCarthy, William L. Saltonstall and John F. Ayl-mer. all members of the Senate Committee on Ethics. DETROIT THERE WAS something different about the meeting of the nation's governors here last week. For the first time in the third of a century since the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, they met with the knowledge that one of their own a former governor was in the White House. Eight months is not enough time to judge what impact Jimmy Carter is going to have on the course of federal-state relations. But the presentation that Cabinet and White House officials made here, and an interview with Carter's assistant for intergovernmental relations. Jack H. Watson give the best available clues. In essence, the Carter approach looks like this at this point There is a serious attack on the red-tape problems that infuriate local officials in their dealings with Washington. There has been no real decentralization of decision-making within the federal government And therd is a big question mark about any shift of power, responsibility or resources from Washington to the state capitols and city halls. When he was a participant in these conferences, no one was more scathing in his criticism of the Washington bureaucracy than Jimmy Carter. While he skipped this meeting himself, to the dis-pleasure of some of his former colleagues, Carter sent enough administration big shots out here to salve most of the governors' egos. In honor of the meeting, the president issued a directive to the departments back in Washington on his strategy for "cutting federal red tape for state and local grant recipients." Those grants amount to $72 billion a year financing one-quarter of total state and local budgets. The web of regulations that surrounds most of them is a source of enormous complaint. The changes ordered by Carter in Washington, and described by Watson to the governors here, are serious in their intent and significant in their potential impact. They are not the stuff of great drama, but they can make life a bit easier for those who have to deal with "the In the past, for example, Watson says, the Labor Department has required up to 75 copies of some grant applications. Some environmental impact statements have been so bulky they arrived in cartons or crates, not envelopes. First, on the subject of lawyer legislators, we have proposed changes that will substantially affect appearances by lawyer-legislators before state agencies. Such appearances will be permitted in only two circumstances: the performance of ministerial functions, (the mere filing of documents where no subjective decision is made and no potential for conflict exists and appearances before quasi-judicial boards, situations that are similar to court proceedings with the agencv acting as a referee, both side's represented by counsel, and an opportunity for a court appeal. Obviously, an attorney opposing a lawyer legislator in such circumstances would not sit by and allow his or her client to lose because of improper influence exerted by a legislator. Lawyer legislators will no longer be permitted to represent clients in proceedings that involve only the lawyer legislator's client and a state agency. Any appearance of conflict such appearances might have presented will be eliminated. Before drafting its recommendations on lawyer legislators, the Senate Committee on Ethics contacted the heads of 18 state agencies to find out whether or not they presented a problem. We found that few lawyer legislators appear before state agencies and that most of those appearances are before the Industrial Accident Board. We also found that lawyer legislators lost as many, if not more, cases than they won. In confidential conversations with a member of the committee, agencies did register complaints about inappropriate behavior by legislators. Not a single complaint involved a lawyer legislator. Just the opposite was the case. Several agency heads remarked that because of their legal training lawyer legislators have a good sense of what is appropriate citttif iiiiiiitiiiniftf itiifiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitt iiiiiiiiiif tiitiiiiiitttttiiiiiiiitiiiiiiiittiiiiiiiiiiMf if iiiircTtiiitiif jjiiiitiiiiiiiiiiiifiitiii iiiiiiiriitiiiif iiiiuiiiiiii Other Opinion Investing in tourism Fourth, the suggestion that not requiring disclosure of sources of income under $1,00 creates a loophole hide legal fees for the state agency is once again unfair. The proposed code would require disclosure of all sources of income from which the legislator receives $1,000 or more. If a lawyer legislator earns more than $1,000 in total from a law practice, this fact would have to be reported. Indeed, even the so-called "toughest" codes (including the Common Cause initiative petition) have similar minimums. recognizing that no public purpose is served by the disclosure of insubstantial amounts of income. Fifth, the comment that "the whole code is based on a loophole" because it is in the Senate rules, rather than a statute, shows a misunderstanding of important legal and functional questions. To begin with, because it is so late in the legislative session, it is highly unlikely that an "ethics bill" would have been able; to get through both the House! and the Senate this year. I More importantly, there are a number of constitutional questions concerning the principle of separation of powers that would have to be answered if the at Boston Herald American Our second point is that while the committee's recommendations do not include a ban on "moonlighting" by Senate employees, we did propose a strict personnel policy. The committee believes it unfair to penalize a Senate employee who legitimately earns outside income on his or her own time when the real question is the work the Senate employee does during regular business hours on the public's time We attacked this directly by recommending that Senate employees be banned from any business interest that conflicts with their state work and that they be prohibited from engaging in outside business activities during regular business hours (whether the Senate is in session or not). These are the same restrictions that apply to other state imployees. No state, and not even the federal government, completely bars oulside income for employees. Moreover, highly paid Senate employees would have to fill out financial disclosure forms if our recommendations adopted. thereby ing is. likely to produce rich returns in additional income and tax revenues. The travel and convention business is a $2.7 billion industry in Massachusetts, and the state already reaps approximately $170 million a year in taxes from that business Its annual budget for promoting tourism is $1.25 million. Francis J. Shaw, director of the' Massachusetts Bureau of Vacation and Travel, thinks that if the state spent twice as much it do a better selling job. Whether he is right about the size of the additional investment that is needed, he is probably right that.any increase would pay off. Massachusetts does better than most states in attracting tourists and the dollars they spend. We do, after all. have a great many attractions that appeal to tourists whatever their interests and in all seasons. We have so many more assets than most states, in fact, that we could probably lure a good many additional visitors if the state spent moremoney promoting tourism. --j Since we've-ofjen criticized the state for spending too much monev on a lot of things, that suggestion may seem inconsistent. But it isn't really. For this is one of the few areas where additional spend-.

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