Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on January 10, 1978 · Page 5
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 5

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 10, 1978
Page 5
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Tuesday, January 10, 197Q Ukiah Daily Journal, Ukiah, Calif.—5 Declining enrollment hits high schools Financing bill will help budgets WASHINGTON-Amongthe rugged cliffs and chasms of Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains, the Mexican armed forces are fighting a Vietnam-style war against the poppy growers. There are helicopter search-and-destroy forays, with guerrilla sniper fire at the choppers from below. Prisoners are taken by government troops, the land is being defoliated. And overseeing it all are U.S. advisers. This grim little war really began two years ago when the Mexican government, responding to intense Washington pressure,, agreed to launch &n ^undisguised military canripaign to eradicate the heroin trade. Yet unofficially, heroin is probably Mexico's No. 1 export across the Rio Grande. By the most conservative estimate of U.S. narcotics officials, more than $500 million worth of "Mexica:^ mud," as the dirty brown heroin is called, leaks across the border each year. This is worth billions on the U.S. black market. Since the heroin war began • in the Mexican hinterlands, the United States has contributed $50 million to the effort. Slowly, the hardy poppy growers are being flushed out of the mountains into the crowded towns that border the Sierra Madre. BiR they are fighting every^ step \ of the way for their money crop. Their guerrilla warfare is financed by Mexico's organized crinie syndicates, which rake in fabulous prbtits from the heroin smuggling. Hard-eyed henchmen supply the farmers with automatic weapons an<;l tutor them in guerrilla hit- and-hide tactics. We sent our associate Hal Bernton to Mexico to investigate this obscure war. Kor a week, he flew with a helicopter crew, into the formidable Sierra Madre, once the stronghold, of Yaqui Indians, revolutionaries, bandits and now embattled farmers. He brought back a first-hand account. The helicopter squadron is based in the prosperous city of Culiacan in the state of Sinaloa. Each morning at sunrise, the pilots pulled on flak jackets, buckled on pistol, holsters and took off across fields of sugar cane, corn and , rice. Their destination was an isolated army outpost and supply depot in a high pine forest in the heart of the Sierra Madre. Ten thousand Mexican troops forhi an uneasy occupation force in the hostile, mountainous wilds. The first morning, Bernton saw, on alighting, three' local farmers by the side of the landing pad, with their hands firmly tied behind their backs. They were prisoners of Mexico's pocket war, waiting to be flown back to a Culiacan jail. The pilot whirled his craft into the canyon and headed directly for the field. .The cliff wall loomed closer and closer. At the last second, he loosed a cloud of poisonous spray over the poppy crop and whipped the craft around to avoid what seemed like an inevitable crash. • The toxic paraquat spray would cause the poppies to wither and die. But it could also menace the health of the pilot. For the average $300 a week the pilots are paid, they not only risk bullets and crashes; there is also an insidious risk of overexposure to the hazardous paraquat. The paraquat problem also has a ripple effect for millions of pot smokers, in the United States. The Mexican authorities use the poisonous paraquat to attack the huge marijuana harvest as well as the heroin poppy . plaptings. But' paraquat doesn't always succeed in destroying marijuana growth. Government tests have shown tainted supplies turning up in the United States. This means contaminated Mexican pot is being smoked by users in this country. Authorities are convinced, nevertheless, that the cooperative Mexican- American assault on the narcotics source of supply is succeeding. The helicopters are able to penetrate and destroy fields in remote regions that were unreachable by any other means. The choppers have been able to spray as many as 3,000 fields a day during the peak of the poppy harvest. They symbolized a steadfast defiance of the government by the mountain farmers. They view the helicopters and troops as alien invaders seeking to destroy their meager livelihood — the poppy fields hacked out of patches of ground on the remote Sierra slopes. From hiding places in the rocks, they open up with automatic weapons on the helicopters that come to defoliate their fields. In Berton's squadroh, one chopper had been downed by ground fire, and several had been struck by bullets. Six pilots had died in helicopter crashes. Bernton soon discovered the reason for the high casualty rate; the mountains are even more menacing than the snipers. The pilots gulped down a mouth-burning breakfast of. beans, chili and beef; then'Bernton joined them on an airborne search-and- destroy mission. The frail chopper shook and bounced as i,t swept among jagged peaks, then suddenly dipped crazily among looming canyon walls on every hand. Under "such conditions, it seemed impossible for anyone to spot a small plot of ground tucked away in the craggy landscape. , But Bernton's veteran pilot did. It was a small poppy field hidden on a steep slope at the base of a cliff wall in a narrow side canyon. The farmer who tended this plot would have had to be an alpinist merely to reach the narrow plateau among the cliffs. This has driven many small farmers from their moimtain homeland into the small towns of the Sierra Madre and the barrios of Culiacan where a deadlier facet of the heroin war is still being waged. SACRAMENTO (UPI) The, state's new school financing law takes full effect next school year, 'offsetting a steady drop in erjrollment and saving lower-income districts millions of dollars. , Enrollment in public fiigh schools will fall for the first time next year, reflecting the decreased population growth that has affected elementary schools for several years. The proposed state budget predicts a drop of O.l percent in jiighSChool enrollment and a plunge 9f 2.3 percent in elementary school students. E.lementary school enrollment fell by 2.5 percent this year, •, . Despite dwindling numbers of students, the massive finance law will channel $525 million in new money into elementary and secondary^' eflucation, saving lower- income districts $116 million as an initial step in a court- ordered equalization of district spending. Had it hot been for the new law, the Brown administration likely would have proposed a drop in school spending they were gored as they usually • do, but they're not going to like the salary at all," Cutting said, of university faculty. Keene commends AAAA on health cost proposal tailored to falUng enrollment' About 80 top a'dministrators in the 4.7 million-student in the two higKer-education system, said Richard Cutting systems would be affected by of the .Department of Finance, a provision that denies in"Instead, the total costs are creases to ' anyone earning up and it's almost totally more than $50,000 yearly. Assembly Health Committee Chairman Barry Keene today commended an Am e rican Medical Association commission for recommending "a realistic, comprehensive health care cost containment plan." The AMA's National Commissibn on the Cost of Medical Care last month released its 48-point recorfi- mended program, which recognizes the possible need for government regulation of the health care industry as a public utility. "I'm very pleased that the medical profession is coming to realize that our society must take Action to contain health care costs," said Keene. "In this spirit, I hope it will be possible to eliminate the adversary relaUonship which seems to have developed between many doctors and those of us who believe there is an urgent need for government action to control skyrocketing medical costs," Keene said. Keene noted . that he proposed legislation last year which would have created a Public Utilities Commission- type board to regulate hospital costs, an approach similar to th^ one the AMA commission now says may be necessary. Keene's bill hit a wall of opposition from medica:! and hospital lobbyists, and for a time was considered likely to become a ballot initiative in this year's election. Major supporters of the bill, however, decided to try again in the legislature, and declined to provide the needed financing for an initiative campaign thi§ year, Keene reported. An identical bill has been introduced in the legislature by Assemblyman Art Torres (D-Los Angeles), AB i2070; "I hope that the legislature now will adopt legislation to implement this concept," Keene said today.. The AMA commission report notes that nationwide health care Qosts escalated from $42 billion in 1966 to $137 billion in 1976. "The health care share of the Gross National Product, now 8.6 percent, could, at •present rates of growth, rise to 10 percent — or more — before the next three years pass;" the report states. "As .society perceives the need to support other, social programs, it becomes increasingly ,clear that change is necessary," it adds. The AMA commission report favors "a strategy combining elements of price consciousness and some regulation." "Regulation, as a mechanism, can serve to avoid needless duplication 'of equipment," it states. In the absence of a self-rfegulating free market, regulation can provide the needed mechanism to control costs, it adds. [ Television Highlights T^esda^'s TV Highlightsi By Uni^ Press Internatijbnal •B p;m. Cl^S, The titz- patricks. A new baby arrives in the Fitzpatrick household. NBC, Man From Atlantis. "The Navy assigns the Man from Atlantis to find a missing submarine. ABC, Happy Days. I»otsie faces a frater,nity. initiation vvhen he's pinned to a sorority girl. PB^, Hollywood Television Theater. "Tlie Ascent of Mount Fuji." . 8:30 p.m. ABC, Laverne^and Shirley. Laverne, falls for a man with a big black limb. 9, p.m. CBS, M.A.S.H. Klinger unintentionally tosses, out Hot Lips' wedding ring. ABC, Three's Company. Janet accuses Chrissy of~stealing a handsome young executive from her. 9:30 p.m. CBS, One Day at a Time. Ann's plans for romance with an exciting race driver backfire. ABC, Soap. Corrine angrily orders Jessical and Chester from her jailcell. 10 p.m. CBS, Lou Grant. Lou incurs public outrage oi|^er the Tribune's coverage of a local college football ch^ting scandal. NBC, News Special. "Land of Hype and Glory." Edwin Newman examines the multibillion dollar txisiness of prompting the sale of books, movies and rock music." PLAYING DIRTY — Curt Cash, a student at St. Mary's School, was just one of many youngsters "who dfeiighted ip playing on unusually wet lawns last week. After numerous slips and slides on the supersaturated soil, Curt came up a little muddy. — Journal photo by Harris. REVIVAL • At TRimTY BAPTIST CHURCH 900 South Dora 7:30 P.M. nightly January 8-13 HIRAM UMAY From Nashville, Tenn.willbe the speaker. Nursery provided. i "Such regulation should not undercut strategies designed to strengthen price consciousness," the report declares. The commission is headed by Dr. Max H. Parrott, past president of the American Medical Association. The AMA House of Delegates is, scheduled to consider the report for possible adoption during its June meeting. attributable to AB65," he said. Spending in grades kindergarten through high school would increase 13.7 percent to $3.4 billion in the budget proposed by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr; But spending in thellniversity of California and state college system would remain nearly stable, increasing by only 3.8 percent in the state college system and 6.1 percent at the nine-campus University of California. Salary increases fpr faculty and staff would be the same proposed for other state workers 5 percent. "They didn't scream that Brown proposed two new institutes at the University of California — a $500,000 million space institute and a $2 million institute of occupational health. Cutting said the space program would encourage students to consider careers in that field, while Brown said his proposed occupational health program is necessary because "we are afloat in a sea of toxic material." Building programs will be minimal because of enrollment plunges that' are not likely to be reversed at.the college level fot 15, years. Cutting said. "The outlay is very stringent because we don't want to build buildings and three years from now have them empty." He sai4.,.^the /approach reflected the fact California voters have begun refusing to approve bond issues for schools. "We're approaching this as conservatively as 'we can," he said. Adult high school and community college enrollments have been climbing steadily. Adult school enrollment will be up 14.3 percent next year, the budget predicted, while the number of community college students will increase by 3.3 percent. State college and university enrollment is. expected to rise by 0.4 percent to 237,080. STEAK llOUtt NOWOPBN capital >»"f»/*?«^g*.Mt?W^ J, Fngidaire iF^i Refrigerator V% CLEARANCE ^1 We've made some great buys on some of |1 ^^^^^^A Frigldalre's best and most popular refrigerators. And now we're passing our big savings on to you. It's your chance to save big I on Frigidaire Refrigerators. iF^i W\ iifli iF^' mm Limited time only! 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