The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 8, 1985 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Salina, Kansas
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Monday, April 8, 1985
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Page 4
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Opinion The Salina Journal Monday, April 8,1985 Page 4 T1 Safes T 1 l He Journal Founded in 1871 FRED VANDEGRIFT, President and Publisher HARRIS RAYL, Editor - KAY BERENSON, Executive Editor SCOTT SEIRER, News Editor LARRY MATHEWS, Assistant News Editor LORI BRACK, Weekend Editor JIM HAAG, M£/it Editor Downtown costs Forget it, city commissioners. The downtown churches and the Salina School District should not have to pay special assessments for the downtown improvement project. The project is a worthy one. Downtown needs a facelift. The entire community would benefit from the planned improvements. The community as a whole would also pay a large share of the bill, about $5 million of the total estimated $6.5 million cost for parking, arcades, covered walkways and other improvements. But some Salinans will benefit more directly. Those who own property in the downtown area should see their property values enhanced by the improvement project. That is the rationale for requiring property owners to pick up a share of the tab. The three churches in the benefit district and the Salina public school system, however, are unlikely to profit from the improvements. Roosevelt-Lincoln Junior High will not reap enhanced profits for the school district because of new traffic downtown. Nor are the churches likely to see an increase in their receipts because of the project. But they would be assessed anyway. The assessments on churches and schools would simply be passed on to the community as a whole. Salina taxpayers would have to ante up another $123,375 to pay the school district assessment. Members of the three churches involved — First Christian, First United Methodist and Immanuel Lutheran — would face a combined bill of nearly $71,000. That is not only a burden on those institutions, it also shifts some of what should be downtown's share to the city as a whole. The plan already exempts owner- occupied residential property in the - district from the assessment. Those who own such property are much more likely to benefit financially through improved resale value than are the schools and churches. The commissioners meet this afternoon to consider the plan. They should make another exception and eliminate the assessments on the churches and school district. Uninformed for Reagan A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll seems to confirm the suspicion that President Reagan's appeal springs mostly from the good feelings he evokes, not the wisdom of his policies. The poll found that on some of the most important issues, Reagan gets his support from those who are least informed. "Know-nothings," those who through questioning were found to pay little attention to public affairs, tend to gravitate to Reagan, while the well-informed tend to find problems with Reagan's policies. For example, know-nothings are the strongest supporters of Reagan's defense buildup, according to the poll. Nearly 60 percent of the uninformed said the defense budget should not be clipped to help reduce the budget deficit, whereas 57 per- cent of the well-informed said defense should be cut back. On the issue of taxes, both groups supported the president's contention that taxes are too high. But the know-nothings supported that notion by 72 percent, whereas the well-informed were more closely divided: 52 percent of them said taxes were too high and 45 percent said they were not. The uninformed also gave Reagan more support during the '84 presidential race than the informed, the poll found. For those Americans who have begun to feel pangs of alienation because they weren't swept up by the Reagan tide, the poll is heartening. They may be out of sync with their country, but at least they're in the know. The small society Letters to the Editor Kennedy as conservative is height of hypocrisy WASHINGTON, D.C. — If you've wondered what more the country's politics really needs, search no more. The answer may be here: Kennedy conservatism! Washington, where Kennedy-mania is as incurable as herpes, perked up its ears last week when Sen. Ted Kennedy made a speech urging the Democratic party, in the words of the headlines, "Toward the Political Center." The swerve, if not leap, from Camelot to conservatism is seen as a sign that the senator from Massachusetts is positioning himself for another run at the presidency. (Don't take this too seriously. Every time Kennedy loses a pound or buys a better fitting suit, it is seen as a sign that he's running for president.) Democrats must "do more with less," Kennedy proclaimed."We cannot and should not depend on higher tax revenues ... must have the courage to discard" programs. "The mere existence of a program is no excuse for its perpetuation." In his deepest bow to supply-side ideology, Kennedy said that while the Democrats must not abandon the poor, he nevertheless is "totally convinced that the indispensable condition of compassion is economic growth." Kennedy accused President Reagan of John McCormally HARRIS NEWS SERVICE having a "reckless military budget," a "weapons program instead of a foreign policy," of embracing "repression" in Latin America and aiding apartheid in South Africa. But then he lavishly praised Reagan for "having restored the presidency as a vigorous, purposeful, instrument of national lead- •ership." ' In an apparent effort to separate the party, in its rightward movement, from some of its old constituent groups, Kennedy declared that "there is a difference between being a party that cares about labor and being a labor party ... between being a party that cares about women and being the women's party." In all the commentary on Kennedy's new approach, I failed to find a single reference to the irony that Kennedy was now urging the party onto a course for which he roundly attacked and helped bring down Jimmy Carter. Carter had won in 1976, four years after George McGovern's landslide burial by Richard Nixon, chiefly because he managed to project, as a southerner, a more conservative image than any of the old New Deal, Great Society Democrats. In office, while surpassing any previous president in concern for blacks, women and human rights, Carter took, as Kennedy now proposes for the party, a more conservative stand on government spending, budget-balancing, energy conservation. Jimmy Carter failed for many reasons. But not the least among them was the fact that Ted Kennedy, leader of the party's liberal wing, devoted almost all of Carter's four years to attacking, undercutting and running against his own party's President. Even after Carter had re-nomination sewed up, Kennedy persisted, right down to snubbing Carter on the convention dais the night of his nomination. During the fall campaign, Kennedy's lackluster performance made it clear to all that he preferred Reagan to Carter. So it is the height of that irony and hypocrisy for which politics is noted, to see Kennedy putting himself forth as the party's new conservative voice. In an interview the other day, Carter in answer to a question said he doubted Kennedy, would be his party's choice for the 1988'nomination. And, he added crisply, he shouldn't be. Right on both counts. America's misery, affluence cannot long coexist Movies that never came Thank you! Re: your editorial comment (March 30) concerning movies. My friends will laugh when they read it. I've been on that "soap box" for months. Since summer '83, I've awaited another critically acclaimed movie, "La Traviata," directed by Zeffirelli, starring Placido Domingo. It was released but never came to Salina. It was nominated for an Academy Award for costuming, and critics were upset that the female lead was not nominated for best actress! They were unanimous in saying that even if one didn't care all that much for opera, this movie is truly enjoyable for its drama and spectacle. I have learned now that I can see it — when/if I purchase a VCR. The cassette is on sale through Book-of-the-Month Club for $70! And yes, I have eagerly looked for "The Killing Fields," and I don't recall seeing "A Soldier's Story" advertised here. The same with "Ragtime" from a year or two ago. Seems a shame. - MRS. CLEO FRYE 616 Montrose Teachers deserving teacher negotiations in the beginning . ' """Id n °P e tnat tne f° llowin S be given consideration. I realize that running a school district is very definitely a business, but a business of people — quality people. Consider the teacher who on her own time drives a student to the hospital to visit his brother who is ill or the counselor who gives money from her own pocket to help a struggling family. Be aware of the coach who purchased shoes for a student otherwise unable to participate in sports and the teacher who attends a Girl Scout meeting in place of a missing parent. When out in'the community, notice the numbers of teachers who fill the roles of baseball coach, scout leader, church youth leader, 4-H leader, Sunday school teacher, etc. Our teachers deserve our support and praise. - JERILYN MALONE 1828 S. Fourth Lottery good padfier Pari-mutuel gambling and liquor by the drink are like two diamondback snakes, and child-like people want them because they rattle so beautifully. Promoters ignore the human and animal suffering they bring. As a pacifier, let them have the lottery. - IRMA M. VAN NESS 252 S. Fourth NEW YORK - How many of the 1.6 million children in New York City would you guess live below the official poverty line? I would have said 15 percent, perhaps 20. The correct answer is 40 percent. That shocking figure appeared last week in The New Yorker, in a note and comment on poverty in the city. The very fact that I was shocked — and I think most readers of this column will be — shows how little we allow ourselves to see. The statistics of poverty are not secret. We just do not want to know how much misery coexists with affluence in our country. The figure came from a report to New York's Community Service Society by Professor Emanuel Tobier of New York University. In 1970, Tobier said, one in five of the city's children was poor as defined by the federal government. By 1979, in the latest official statistics, a third of the children were. He estimated that by 1982 the figure "had probably moved well over the 40 percent mark." Think of what it means. In our greatest city 600,000 children live in squalor and fear. The America that we in the comfortable middle class take for granted does not exist for them. They live in another country. "I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill- clad, ill-nourished." The statement is as true of New York and other major cities today as it was of the more rural America addressed by Franklin Roosevelt in 1937. But we do not want to hear such calls to community responsibility now. We prefer a president who tells us that life's goal should be to acquire more possessions for ourselves. But there is no escape from the reality. The New Yorkers who enjoy the excitement and glitter of their city, the restaurants and Anthony Lewis NEW YORK TIMES shops, share it with the poor. The existence of a large underclass threatens the equanimity of their lives. That must be so. People who see affluence all around them but have no access to it can hardly be expected to have a deep commitment to middle-class values. To put it only in terms of self-interest, then, those who partake of America's prosperity have reason to be concerned about the existence of an underclass — reason to want to do something about those children living in poverty? But what can be done? And what is politically possible? As it happens, there is something to be done that fits our current preoccupation with self-advancement. That is to look at the problem in terms of opportunity, of giving individuals a ladder to boost themselves out of the poverty cycle. Most existing programs addressed to poverty are of an ameliorating kind, designed to keep life together, not to stimulate change. Food stamps, for example, have worked marvelously to alleviate hunger. But they do not break the cycle, do not give poor children a way up. There was one outstanding example of legislation that gave Americans opportunity for self-advancement: the G.I. Bill of Rights. Millions of World War II veterans who would otherwise not have been able to went to college and had a chance for better lives. The law had an impact at the same time egalitarian and individualistic. If there is any possibility of dealing with the massive problem of urban poverty and social decay in today's political climate, it must lie in that direction of providing opportunities. Education, urban job creation, compensatory training: Measures of that kind may begin to lift individuals out of hopelessness — get them into the world of incentives. The theory is a natural for populist conservatives. Jack Kemp speaks of the Opportunity Society. One might expect President Reagan to be attacking poverty in those terms. But his speeches about opportunity are addressed to those who already have. And his policies attack the few existing measures of opportunity for the less affluent. Programs designed to help the working poor — to wean them from welfare to jobs — were hit in the first Reagan administration. Federal aid to education and college student loans are major budgetary targets now. And the administration is engaged in a full-scale assault on one mechanism that has enabled blacks to get a start on civil service jobs: court judgments ordering local fire and police forces to take on numbers of blacks after years of discrimination. The problem is a profound political challenge to both political parties. Will the Democrats find a new way to combine the historic American themes of opportunity and egalitarianism? Will conservative populism seize the ground? Or will no one offer hope to 40 percent of New York's children? Quotation My education was the liberty I had to read indiscriminately and all the time, with my eyes hanging out. —Dylan Thomas Doonesbury H&.CALM PONT KAY DUMP WITH I DOtfT KNOW FORSURe WHAT THAT AIR '3mF f 5 FOR. BUTI6OT A PRETTY600PU&V 0&NN£ROFF&ED 'M&S15.000 TOUNIQAPA I CAN A TAP SUSPICIOUS, &JOULVN7 YWS4Y? FOR A &OMIIUW SHIPM&V? YWCHGAP H&JU5TA KIP, MAN. I THOUGHTHS SHOULplNIEfM. M

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