Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 20, 1985 · Page 6
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 6

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Tuesday, August 20, 1985
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i G TUESDAY AUGUST 20, 1985 iPittsburtjl) ost-Ciazcttc William Block and Paul Block Jr. Publishers John G. Craig Jr. Editor William E. Deibler Managing Editor Paul Ayars, David Michelmore, Gerard A. Patterson, Assistant Managing Editors Michael McGough, Clarke Thomas, Associate Editors Reg Henry, Joseph Plummer, Editorial Writers; Tim Menees, Cartoonist David Warner, City Editor; Eileen Foley, Frederick J. Huysman, Woodene Merriman, Lillian A. Swanson, Assistant City Editors; Jane Blotzer, State Editor , Raymond N. Burnett, Business Manager f KEEPIW WITH WSTRy" ' H ft rSFkTL H FWCTlCf, WE'RE OfFW W . A V7 HOUR, (M '5 MU IW 15 WatIjuI' IW X 'Numbers' are necessary In his autobiography "Lay Bare the Heart," civil rights leader James Farmer recalls how the policy known as affirmative action was born. Like other black leaders, Mr. Farmer had concluded that simply forbidding overt discrimination would be inadequate. There were too many ways for employers to evade the law, and racism was too deeply ingrained in American society. So Mr. Farmer devised a means of giving teeth to laws against racial discrimination in employment by requiring every federal contractor to hire a number of minorities equal to those in its labor pool. It was during an informal call to then-Vice President Lyndon Johnson that Mr. Farmer introduced his plan, which he called "compensatory preferential treatment," "Great," the future president responded. "But don't call it compensatory ... . No, we have to move the nation forward, act affirmatively. That's it: 'affirmative action.'" Since they were instituted, affirmative-action policies and not only at companies doing business with the federal government have battered down the doors of thousands of private firms and public agencies. Many jobs that were either explicitly or implicitly off-limits for minorities and women have been opened to all candidates. Yet last week the Reagan administration took the first step toward erasing these private-sector gains. White House staff members have drafted an executive order that would forbid the use of all numerical goals, quotas or ratios to monitor or enforce the recruitment, hiring and promotion of minorities by federal contractors, a category that comprises 73,000 firms employing 23 million people. The administration has tried to cloak the move in elevated moral language:. The draft order says that the goal is to end "reverse discrimination" against white men and "paternalism" toward minorities. Somewhat paradoxically, the Reagan administration line is that quotas and numerical goals have not helped minorities or women but have hurt white males. Reasonable people can differ about the wisdom of affirmative action. But whether the administration's scruples are sincere or merely a philosophical facade, the effect of the proposed change is likely to be disastrous. Proponents of the proposed executive order claim that it would do away with only the "numeric aspect" of affirmative action. But numbers and quotas, distasteful as they may be, are the only way that progress can be monitored. The suggestion that the quotas have not helped minorities is fallacious. The quotas and timetables being targeted by the Reagan White House were put into effect by the Nixon administration in 1971. Until that time, members of minority groups had made little progress in gaining jobs with federal contractors. But between 1970 and 1980 the percentage of minorities in these firms increased 15 percent. More impressive, most of these gains were in high-paying positions, with gains of 104 percent in managerial and professional employees, according to a study based on Department of Labor statistics. Another study conducted by the Labor Department itself was equally supportive. A survey of 77,000 firms found a 20.1 percent increase in minority employees by federal contractors between 1974 and 1980, compared to only a 12.3 percent increase in non-contractor firms. The proposed executive order is not the first swipe that the administration has taken at affirmative action. More-. over, it is the officials who are entrusted with enforcing the law who seem most eager to gut it. The Justice Department has supported "first hired, last fired" contracts, encouraged "reverse discrimination" lawsuits, and sought to roll back court-ordered integration plans for local governments. But past actions pale in comparison to the proposed executive order for federal contractors. Fortunately, administration ideologues are encountering some opposition to this latest assault on affirmative action. The Labor Department reportedly opposes the change, and even the National Association of Manufacturers has said that "goals and timetables are understood and accepted by business." The attitude of the manufacturers' group mirrors that of anyone who has devoted serious thought to the problem of entrenched discrimination. For all the grumbling about the "numbers game" of goals and quotas, affirmative action remains a necessary tool in increasing opportunities for the disadvantaged; it should be continued. An impressive match Like its namesake's fabled attempt to tap the power of lightning through the string of a kite, the state-supported Ben Franklin Partnership represents a dramatic experiment in guiding new energy into Pennsylvania's economy. Unlike Mr. Franklin's effort, however, the partnership that funds four advanced technology centers around the state demonstrates that scientific insight can be translated into economically meaningful results. Thnt much is evident from a review of the 2 -year-old program recently released by Commerce Secretary James O. Pickard. At the Advanced Technology Center of Western Pennsylvania, for instance, the partnership has invested heavily in the expansion of the computer software and robotics industries, but that shouldn't alienate a public that has a hard time relating to "high tech." The single largest allocation of state funds in the Western Pennsylvania Center's budget is for new products and processes for basic metal industries. The program exemplifies, moreover, a public-private partnership. In two and a half years, $50.3 million in state funding has attracted $166.9 million in matching funds. That represents about $3.30 from private companies and universities for every $1 of state funds substantially more than the one-for-one guidelines. Private companies alone are providing almost 70 percent of outside funding, about $2.52 for every $1 in state funding. And, recently, the average ratio of total outside funds has accelerated to $3.80 for every $1 of state money. The program has clearly fueled competition in the private sector for research considered key to long-range economic growth and that is a very healthy development for Pennsylvania. Yet some regional resentment may be stirred by a superficial comparison of the $31.6 million budget in 1985-86 for the Advanced Technology Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and a $18.8 million budget for the Western Pennsylvania Advanced Technology Center. Is Philadelphia dominating state appropriations yet again? Not exactly. Over the life of the program, the Pittsburgh-based center has received 26 percent of all state funding for the four centers. And in the new fiscal year Philadelphia receives only $1 million more than Pittsburgh in state funding $5.8 million versus $4.8 million. The difference in the overall budgets of the two centers is due rather to Philadelphia's greater success in attracting matching funds $4.45 to $1 there as compared to $2.89 to $1 here. But that difference is not a sign of weaker support in this region. The Western Pennsylvania center has targeted promising young companies that are also financially vulnerable. The Philadelphia center draws on an already mature cluster of advanced technology companies for its matching funds. The more important message in the Pickard report is that the Ben Franklin partnership is a remarkably cost-effective way to stimulate a new base of advanced technology for the long-term growth of Pennsylvania's economy. Deadly for millionaires As if killer bees aren't bad enough, California is confronting a new environmental terror that sounds like it comes straight out of science fiction or perhaps a Raymond Chandler novel. "Toxic money" may seem like the kind of problem that some people would welcome if they could get enough of it. The Federal Reserve Bank of San f'rancisco apparently shreds and buriesi brut t -. o ton:, of U.S. currency $1 to1 $100 bills every day. The trouble is that the lead in the ink leeches off in the landfill where the stuff is stashed, and that runoff has been endangering underground water supplies. Incineration sounds like a reasonable alternative, but when officials used that method of disposal in the past, people complained about air pollution. So with all its millions, the Federal Reserve stillt doesn't' have money to hum. .(fears rem vtasA. u I .arm , r k. l x kxm&sY . jmM& Kin "TTllert; Letters to the editor The facts behind the Unertl vote In response to the letter written by Mary J. Skapik of Squirrel Hill regarding City Council's vote against the rezoning petition for Unertl Optical Co: The "city's own Planning Commission" recommends the zoning change after failing to listen to the "city's own Planning Department," which recommended on April 16 that the Planning Commission continue to study the issue. There is no logical reason to force industrial development in a residential area when 28 percent of the city is zoned for industrial use. There are sites available for Mr. Unertl's company in the Manchester Industrial Area and on Woods Run. Councilman Ben Woods has given Mark Schneider of the North Side Civic Development Council a list of property the Urban Redevelopment Authority has available for Mr. Unertl on the North Side. Mr. Unertl has had 16 years to relocate his company. His in-sistance on this piece of property only, coupled with his threats to ' leave the city, makes one wonder about his commitment to remain in the city. Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods and the residents of those neighborhoods have the right to defend themselves against unwanted development. The director of Planning Commission, Robert Lurcott, in February, 1983, requested of PennDOT that this area remain a "green-belt approach to the city." PennDOT stated its agreement in the Final Environmental Impact Study of 279-579 published in April 1983. The residents of the Ivory Avenue area have only asked that the Planning Commission and PennDOT live up to their promises. City Council should be congratulated for its courage in defending the integrity of the Ivory Avenue area. DARLENE S. YESKATALAS North Side Letters should be addressed to: Letters . to the Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 50 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15222. We ask that all letters include signature, address and phone number for confirmation. . Pseudonyms are not permitted. All letters are subject to editing. The Post-Gazette regrets that it can neither print nor acknowledge all the letters it receives. Unequal lives Your Aug. 15 editorial "Shrouded Justice" dredges up the same tired plaint against capital punishment. Come now, sanctity of life is nonsense. It depends on the life. Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington Carver, Albert Einstein,. Jonas Salk, et al. were (are) lives precious beyond measure. John Lesko, Michael Travaglia, Keith Zettlemoyer and their ilk are monsters beyond description. Warehousing human scum at public expense it costs more than to send a kid to Harvard is stupid. After a fair trial, it is an act of mercy to dispatch them quickly and painlessly. And that business in your editorial about the hidden chair and unidentified executioner? Sophistry. I have instructed my chaplain to pray for you. EDWARD IMBRIE Mt. Lebanon Thank you This is a thank you letter to some very special people in Pittsburgh who make it possible for an unaccompanied woman to be able to drive into the city at night and enjoy an evening of entertainment at Heinz Hall. Thank you, Pittsburgh Police, for the patrol car slowly driving past as the last of the Civic Light Opera audience departs to find their cars. Thank you, Guardian Angels, for being on each corner watching us as we walk the several blocks to our parking garage. n Thank you, security guards, for being on the ramps between floors with a friendly wave as we walk the distance from the elevator to our cars. How fortunate we are for your presence and concern! JOAN W. DRISCOLL Sewickley Ironic indeed It is indeed ironic that the same issue of the Post-Gazette (Aug. 16) containing an editorial opposing roadblocks reported the hit-and-run death of a 15-year-old bicycle rider and the subsequent death of the presumed driver when his car hit a utility pole.. The driver's 0.20 blood alcohol level was twice that of the minimum for determining legal drunkenness. Both of these lives could have been saved had the obviously drunken driver been intercepted at a checkpoint. The inconvenience occasioned by this method is minor when compared with the tragic carnage that annually destroys more than 25,000 lives on the nation's highways. Can you seriously argue that a drunken driver's "right to privacy" is more important than a 15-year-old boy's right to life? . JOSEPH M. HOPKINS New Wilmington, Pa. Contra logic The Post-Gazette editorial "Risky 'Witnessing'" (Aug. 10) states that the Sandinista sympathizers "remain blind to the signs of a new dictatorship conceived in the bitter womb of Marxist ideology." Then what is wrong with people fighting the imposition of a Marxist dictatorship over their land? You apparently feel you can speak out of both sides of your mouth. SANDRA USHER Upper St. Clair Proud of 'yunz' In his Aug. 14 column, Tom Hritz criticized Pittsburghers for using the word "yunz." Being a true Pittsburgher, I became mad after reading it. In my job, I talk to people from surrounding states and I use "yunz" freely. Not once have I been criticized for using it. I'm proud to be from Pittsburgh and I'm also proud of the word "yunz." It is as much a part of Pittsburgh as. Iron City Beer, chipped ham and the Steelers. If Tom Hritz is so touched by the word "y'all," then why doesn't he go down South to live? He can hear it there all day long. If yunz want my opinion, Tom Hritz should leave Pittsburgh and "yunz" should stay. CHARLES M. ABBOTT Mt. Oliver No respect Arthur Croll, in his letter to the editor on Aug. 13, stated: '.'I feel an avowed atheist does not belong in the Boy Scouts of America." He contradicted himself earlier in his letter, however, when he quoted the Boy Scout Handbook: A Scout respects the beliefs of others." If a Scout were to abide by that statement, then he must respect Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Moslems and atheists. Mr. Croll isn't following the rules of the Boy Scout Handbook when he condemns a young man for his beliefs. JENNIFER SWITZER East Brady, Pa. William F, Buckley Jr. What did they expect from Botha? NEW YORK - President P.W. Botha of South Africa is incontestably right in saying in effect that he was not elected leader of his government in order to preside over the liquidation of the South Africa he was elected to govern. Critics are perfectly free to contend that his election does not suit our political criteria. But having admitted that his government does not do so it hardly makes sense to criticize him for proceeding on the basis of his (misbegotten) criteria. If you criticize somebody for being mean to his mother, don't be surprised if he goes on to be mean to his mother. I was in South Africa for the first time in 1962, and it happened that our guide was the son-in-law of Mr. Verwoerd, the then prime minister. The young guide, much taken by the doctrine of apartheid, was surprisingly very critical of American racial practices, by which he meant Jim Crow in the South, and the systematic deprivation, by Americans, of votes for what we then called Negroes. "I just don't understand it," he said. "What excuse do you people have? You outnumber the Negroes by 10 to one. Our problem is entirely different. They outnumber us by six to one." We need to understand that white South Africans see their society as one that would not survive one-man-one-vote. And Mr. Botha, one concludes if one opens one's eyes to democratic practice in the continent, is entirely correct in opposing what years ago, surveying the evolution of African democracy, fas cnirallv artrt rf,,ir,':'",,'v oir"r riurT P.W. Botha described as one-man one-vote-once. One-man one-vote is a fa-natical abstraction, of self-government that not even the United States tolerates institutionally. In the U.S. Senate the state of Rhode Island exercises equal power with the states of California and New York. Mr. Botha says vague things about entering into negotiation with leaders of other South African groups, giving hope to the hopeful that there will be progress made, of sorts. But Botha recognizes that when opposition reaches the high pitch of the present day, those who emerge with the the most forceful constituencies aren't the Bishop Mu-zorewas of the situation, but the Robert Mugabes. The shah cf Iri a W rf fon':-h !-ip"c in the course of his reign, but nothing more foolish than to deal charitably with the opposition at a moment when Iran was lurching toward the ayatollah. We have a perfect symbol of the problem in the matter of Nelson Mandela. He is the principal leader of the outlawed African National Congress and has spent the past 20 years in jail. Prime Minister Botha, in response to pleas for amnesty, has offered to release him from jail in exchange for a promise to gainsay violence. The kind of thing Botha has in mind was articulated in a broadcast beamed at South Africa by the African National Congress in Ethiopia last May. "Ambushes must be prepared for police and soldiers with the aim of capturing weapons from them. Our people must also manufacture home-made bombs and petrol bombs with material that can be locally obtained. In addition, our people must also buy weapons where possible. After arming themselves in this manner, our people must begin to identify collaborators and enemy agents and deal with them. Those collaborators who are serving in the community councils must be dealt with. Informers, policemen, special branch police, and army personnel living and working among our people must be eliminated." That is the party of Nelson Mandela. Where Mandela belongs, in his current frame of mind, is precisely where he is: in jail. We should, every now and then draw back a bit and ask ourselves the question: What ar tr evolution of South African domestic policies? A few hundred miles from us in a little island a couple of weeks ago we had a one-man-one-vote democratic exercise, and what do you know, Baby Doc got 99 percent of the vote. Could anyone care less? They are all black. If Baby Doc were white, Sen. Edward Kennedy would have led an expeditionary force of volunteers to liberate his black subjects. Is history really going to look upon the United States as the master architect of freedom and justice for other people? The entire continent of Africa is near a state of decomposition, and anyone who maintains that such countries as Ethiopia and Uganda and the Central African Republic and Algeria and Mozambique are better off than they were in colonial days is an ideologue, in whose hands history is unsafe, even as history was unsafe when we held the trump cards and disposed of the future of Cambodia, and Laos, and South Vietnam, and East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Hungary. William F. Buckley Jr. is a syndicated columnist and editor of the National Review. Today's thought Time heals nothing which should make us the better .Vjlo to minister. There may be griefs beyond the reach of solace, but none worthy of the name that does not set free the sprines of sympathy.

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