Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on September 30, 1987 · Page 4
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 4

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, September 30, 1987
Page 4
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL OPINION WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30,1987 EDITORIAL Expensive tastes One of the advantages of being an ambassador, according to a spoof on the "Saturday Night Live" television show, is that you don't have to pick up after yourself. You spend your time going to parties and saying things like, "Pass the sweet and sour pork." Some of our American envoys to the United Nations must have seen it and taken it to heart. A report from the State Department's office of policy and program review says several of them live like royalty in New York City. . They travel about Manhattan in chauffeur- driven limos, occupy $7,500-a-month apartments and dine at the best restaurants — all at the taxpayers' expense. We understand that our embassy officials — including our representatives at the United Nations—must entertain. We also understand that housing fit for an envoy doesn't come cheap in Manhattan. But what aspiring diplomat wouldn't envy the lifestyle of Herbert Okun, the second highest-ranking U.S. official at the United Nations? The government pays all but $323 of his $6,000-a-month rent and another $17,700 annually to lease furniture for his fashionable flat. Then there's a government-paid live-in maid, who earns $15,000 a year. Perhaps we could accept this extravagance if he were doing a good job. But the State Department report says Okun has been sloppy in running the U.S. mission to the United Nations. Security is poor, and sensitive information is vulnerable to prying eyes. The state of the communications system is "deplorable," the report said, and internal management control is practically non-existent. All of that suggests a certain cynicism. Government money is available for Americans at the United Nations to live high on the hog — but apparently not for installing a decent security system at the offices of the U.S. mission. In the past, Reagan administration officials complained that the United Nations squandered money. It's embarrassing to learn that Americans sent to the United Nations were among the spendthrifts. To paraphrase an old maxim: Peopb who live in glass penthouses shouldn't throv nones. Clean it up Parents with small children know well the problem with children's programs on commercial television. Recently, Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts undertook to explain it. To paraphrase Newton Minow's familiar statement, Markey argued, "Children's television today is not a wasteland... (but) a waste site, strewn with war toys, insipid cartoons and oversweetcned cereals." Most children's TV shows have been prcuy bad for some time. the last four years, since the Reagan administration's Federal Communications Commission removed federal guidelines on such programming, the situation has completely degenerated. Much of the children's fare — "He-Man," "Silver Hawk," 'The Transformers" — is nothing more than a violent showcase for toys. Now a new "interactive" kids' program ("Capt. Power and the Soldiers of the Future") allows kids to shoot an expensive "laser" gun at targets on the show. "If a children's library contained nothing but manufacturers' catalogs, it would resemble the current state of children's TV," one -.ritic noted. Markey and Rep. Terry Bruce of Illinois arc sponsoring a bill to reinstate federal guidelines on children's television to stop this "overcommercialization." Critics may call it harsh, but it might encourage the networks and independent stations to clean up their acts. Parents could help if they began a nationwide consumer, boycott and •letter»writing campaign directed at the networks and the toy' companies. The cynical exploitation of kids' TV will only stop when television profits arc hurt. EDUCATION CUTS PROPOSED 'There's a problem with services tax repeal... what if the kids grow up and can't read our ads?" JACK ANDERSON Our least likely allies help patrol gulf WASHINGTON — Critics of the Reagan administration's naval intervention in the Persian Gulf have sourly pointed out that America's allies are being timorous and niggardly in their support of the escort service U.S. warships are supplying to Kuwaiti oil tankers. In fact, the equation of the Persian Gulf situation seems to be that the more a country needs Arab oil, the less it is willing to do to ensure its continuing supply. Italy, for example, imports 100 percent of its oil, and 51 percent of it comes from Persian Gulf countries. Yet Italy has contributed virtually nothing to the U.S.-spearheaded effort to protect the flow of oil from the gulf. West Germany, which is also totally dependent on imported oil but gets only 10 percent from the gulf region, has also done little. The most the Germans have done is to promise privately that they will fill in with troops and military chores in NATO commands if American resources are diverted for duty in the Middle East. In their defense, it should be pointed out that the Germans have some constitutional provisions — enacted under Allied pressure — that would prohibit them from sending military ships to the gulf. Japan, likewise, is constitutionally barred from sending military ships on distant missions. Under prodding by the State Department and in response to congressional criticism, Japan is studying how much of a financial contribution it can make to the effort that protects its vital supply of Persian Gulf oil. On the other end of the equation, both Britain and France are supporting the United States more than their direct self-interests would dictate, according to private White House briefings on Capitol Hill. The British level of cooperation is particularly surprising, considering that Great Britain is a net exporter of petroleum and gets nary a drop from the Persian Gulf. According to intelligence sources, Britain has at least one frigate and one destroyer in the gulf itself at all times, with another warship standing by off Oman. Usually there arc six British warships on their way to or from stations in the gulf. This represents 18 percent of the Royal Navy's frigates and destroyers. Britain has reason to be cautious in the gulf region: There arc perhaps 100,000 British nationals — not counting diplomats — who cam their living permanently stationed in the countries on the gulf. This is why Britain maintains strict neutrality in the Iran-Iraq war. On any given day, there arc probably 400 ships in the Persian Gulf; fewer than a dozen arc registered to Britain or British Commonwealth nations. And of roughly 300 attacks on merchant ships during more than seven years of war, fewer than a dozen British ships were hit and less than a do/.cn British seamen were killed (none on k British vessel). IP'British support is pleasantly surprising, France's helpfulness is downright astounding. The French arc notoriously independent in their foreign policy, and aren't even members of NATO's military alliance. So nothing was expected from them, even though France imports 94 percent of its oil, one- third of it from the Persian Gulf. ART BUCHWALD Secretary Dole's dandy solution WASHINGTON — Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole has come up with a dandy solution to the disastrous air transportation problem. Because of so many complaints from the public she has ordered the airlines to list all their flight delays, and report the losses of and damage to luggage. These figures will be maue available to travelers so they can decide which is the best carrier to fly. I was about lo embrace the plan when I suddenly remembered that it was the Department of Transportation that messed up the airlines in the first place. To clarify what was going on I went over to the DOT building to get additional information on the order. I was turned over to the "Assistant Secretary for Mollifying Irritable Air Travelers and Their Loved Ones." "Could you tell me how I benefit from knowing how many planes from each airline were tardv today?" "If you are informed which airline has a lousy flight record you can take a different one the next time you fly out of Albany." v "What do I do if the only airline from Albany is Uie one with the lousy record?" "The knowledge of a laic flight schedule can help you decide when lo get lo the airport. For example, if ihc plane takes off two hours laic, you can use ihe time to do something exciting in Albany." "That's great thinking. It's no wonder you were the people who thought up a way to bust up the air controllers' union." "We're serious administrators," he said. "Secretary Dole is going to fine every airline company $1,000 for failing lo report that they were late." "That fine should break most airlines," I agreed. "Can we talk about luggage? Suppose an airline confesses it has an excellent record on flight arrivals, but a dismal one handling luggage. How do I deal wiih that?" "We advise people to take the flight but leave their luggage behind. On the other hand, if the carrier has a poor flying record but good baggage handling, we advise the passengers to send their luggage on it and board a plane which leaves at another time." "Can you really shame an airline into' flying straight by forcing it to report its faults?" "Mrs. Dole thinks so. She's going to slap the wrist of any carrier that kicks in a person's suitcase. No aviation executive will be able to face hi! stockholders again and inform 'ihcm lhat Joan Collins' luggage was lost somewhere between Paris, France, and Anchorage, Alaska. We want the airlines to be humiliated into changing their 'ways." "I hope it works, because the Democrats are pretty angry now and they are threatening to take the flying of planes into (heir own hands," I said. "The secretary has a contingency plan," the man Said. "What's lhat?" " "Senator Dole." LETTERS Bringing special joy To The Editor: I happened to be at a local grade school recently when the handicapped children were given their time for recess. Some were able to walk by themselves, others were carried out and placed in wagons and one youngster was in a wheelchair. As the daily schedule would have it, recess for the olhcr students was in progress and they, of course, were playing on the bars and other apparatus as well as participating in athletic events. As I watched these children, I realized the two different worlds these two groups functioned in. The child that was placed in the wagon depended entirely on someone to pull that wagon if she was to enjoy her recess. The child in the wheelchair just sat there peering through his glasses at the children on the far playground who were running and laughing during their play time. Tears came to my eyes as I watched and wondered what the child in the wheelchair saw and felt as he looked through his glasses aLchildrcn who could run and kick a ball. All too often, we take our daily routines for granted and in 'our busy days we forget those less fortunate as we. God has blessed most of us with sound health, bodies that enable us to function under any circumstance. I strongly feel that we, as a community, should ban together in some way to give these handicapped children something extra in their lives. Our lives cannot always be one of taking but must include giving also. We cannot let that child in the wagon just sit there hoping someone will come along and give her a ride. We must pull that wagon if it gives that child joy. We must also make sure that what the little boy sees through his glasses, is love and compassion. He must view us as a community who cares about him and those like him. I do not find it unthinkable that we set up sonic type of organization to enhance these young, people's lives through a special recognition of their birthdays and holidays. I am willing to work with the businessmen of this community to formulate a process in which this can be accomplished. I am sure if we all could sec the joy it would bring to their beautiful faces, there would be more tears shed for the less fortunate. Tom Kessenick Ukiah Non-issue ready for burial To The Editor: At a general membership meeting of the United Teachers of Ukiah last week, we voted to share with the citizens of our community our views on the Dr. Sid Maurcr school board issue." There was never a charge of conflict of interest when Dr. Maurcr was elected to scrvc.on the board, even though his wife was tcachinc in'the district at that time. That issue was resolved by ihc courts a long time ago. The charge of conflict of interest arose when his wife, Virginia, requested an increase in the number of hours she could work for the district — from a half-time teaching position to a full-time leaching position. Mrs. Maurcr is doing the same job as before for the same hourly rate of pay. We do not believe that simply changing the number of hours one works can be considered a "promotion." We hold that Mrs. Maurer did not receive a promotion while her husband served on the board; therefore, no conflict of interest exists. Dr. Maurcr is an excellent board member who is always accessible, informed on educational issues, and is a caring member of our community. It would be a real loss to our schools to lose the services of cither Mrs. Maurcr, an -excellent teacher, or Dr. Maurer, an able board member. The United Teachers of Ukiah believe this is a non-issue which should be laid to rest. Mrs. Vera Hardin U.T.U. President Kudos for Nelson To The Editor: On the matter of choosing a new school superintendent for the Ukiah Unified School District, Trustee Greg Nelson's views, according to the Ukiah Daily Journal article of Sept. 23, arc: 1. We should have waited until the new board was seated. 2. We should have delayed the hiring of a new superintendent in order to attract more candidates. 3. The Board violated its own process in selecting a new Superintendent. 4. Nelson also expressed reservations about whether Di Martini has the experience required to manage the district's finances. Trustee Greg Nelson deserves a compliment for these four statements. James R. Cooper Ukiah Ukiah Daily rnal •^ Martdocino county, c:« Donald W. Reynolds, Chairman of the Board Thomas W. Reeves, General Manager John Anaatasio Managing Editor Deniae Hall Bruce Schlabaugh Advertiaing Director Victor Martinez Eddie Sequeira Display A Jvertising Manager Yvonne Bell Claire Booker Circulation Manager Member Audit Bureau ol Circulations LOCALLY OPERATED MEMBER DONPEY MEDIA GROUP Compoainx Supervisor freas Supervisor Officer Manager DOONESBURY USA TOPAY: A STATE OF MNP/N SEARCH OF A HEARTBEAT! IPAHO. • GEORGIA. •ILLINOIS. • 47 OTHER. STATES. HOW f.'•BY BUS. UHO?:*USA TODAY FOUNPER AL NEUHARTH. •STAFF. fUHYf: • TO TAKE- PULSE. NEUHARTH'S DISPATCHES KtVEAL A COMMON TOUCH ANP LOVE OF COUNTRY NOT SEEN SINCE ANOTHER. FAMOUS FOUNDER, UAWNSfW!. \ OTHER SIMILARITIES: •BOTHMEN I HAP A VISION • BOTH HAVE BUSTS OF THEMSELVES IN THE WASHINQ- Uocalion: uubb, Location: Lib pl USA Tuday Blllg ol Cungreu (How lo gul Ihuio I D J

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