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Editorial-Opinion Page T?tÂ« Public Interest Js The first Concern Of This Newspaper Â« Â· WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 1974 Billboard Lobby Dilutes Restrictions The Impossible Takes Longer One problem with "master strccl plans" .of every stripe is the gulf that separates Â·;what ought to be, and what can be. It is easy enough for the professional planner .to examine Fayetlevillc's streets and traffic patterns and spot places where an extra lane, or a street extension, would help : smooth the circulation. But the mere act of spotting a lack of -good streets isn't an answer that can be translated into instant t r a f f i c ease. (After 'all, the Chamber of Commerce has been noting a need for better streets and avenues of t r a f f i c since shortly after the Square was first paved.) Thus, we are obliged as well as pleased to commend City Hall for its presently adopted street improvement priority work list. .The city Board, at its last session, adopted the list as a means of qualifying for federal ;aid on the projects. Such a list isn't an easy .one to condense to less than a dozen items, *ut merits the fullest agreement anyway, 'because it marks a point of departure toward actual, dirt-moving, cement-laying construction. ; The list, itself, is remarkable, not for its discovery of salient t r a f f i c bottlenecks, State Of Affairs but because it elects to do somtehing about llicm. Not too long ago, we recall, similar lists were compiled and liled away, because the city just didn't have the means to tackle major relocations and construction. According to the city, perhaps half of the major projects can be started within the year. In order of listing the projects are: --Creation of a four-way intersection between North Street, Garland and Wctling- ton Drive, with signalization. --Straightening Gregg as to eliminate two at-grade railroad crossings in the vicinity of Township-Road. --Extending Sycamore from Gregg to Leverett. --Extending Morningside Drive north from lluntsville to Fletcher. --Extending Gregg south from Prospect to Douglas. --Extending Stearns Road east from Hwy. 71 to Old Missouri. --Extending Razprback Road south from 15th to Cato Springs Road. --Extending University Avenue south from Stone to Sixth (Hwy. 62). Noteworthy is the fact that on several of these projects city officials only a half a dozen years ago were saying, "Impossible." Why Nixon Went Public By J A C K ANDERSON W A S H I N G T O N -- Lady Bird Johnson's dream of scenic high- w a y s , without unsightly billboards to blot the view, has been sabotaged by one ot her best friends. He is H a r d - w o r k i n g flcp. J i m W r i g h t . D-Tex., a power on Hie House Public Works Committee, who has been running interference in the corridors of Congress for (lie billboard lobby. The resulting scenic ruin increasingly is spoiling the majesty of the countryside for vacationers. Here's w h a t has been going on behind the scenes: --A law was pushed through Congress in 1965 banning billboards along major federal highways, Yet a cabal of congressmen, led by \Vright, brought, pressure on the Transportation Department not to enforce the law. More billboards now clutter the roadside, therefore, than in 1965. And Wright lias introduced a measure tb;it would allow still another 400.000 new billboards. Wright is trying to give slates tiie right to zone rural land along the highways as "commercial." This would permit Ihe billboard builders to get around the federal law. When a federal judge refused lo permit the states to circumvent the highway beautification act, Wright scribbled bis views on a napkin at breakfast and passed it across the table to federal highway counsel David Wells. Ever since, federal enforcers have paid more attention to the napkin than the law. The Washington Merry-Go-Round ' By CLAYTON FR1TCHEY : - WASHINGTON -- Thanks to Â·extraordinary efforts by the -American press and the "'television networks, almost 'everybody in America now lias -'Â» f a i r l y sopbfsUcatpd idea of :wbat's " in the White House :.Watcrgate tapes t h a t Mr. Nixon Suddenly released. Since it is -now apparent thai they have .been dreadfully d a m a g i n g to Â·.the President, the universal "question is -- why did he go -public with them? - The more the people and the Â·Congress read the 1.308 pagca of transcribed tapes, the more they are appalled, even though the transcriptions are incomplete and expurgated. Letters "pour in from readers in all . p a r t s of the country asking the ;same question: How could Mr. *Nixon t h i n k he was advancing his own cause by turning over evidence [hat is, on balance, so d a m n i n g ? It's a good question, and there is a good answer. Mr. Nixon did it because the only alternative was worse. This may, for the moment, be incomprehensible to a public that doesn't as yet know all the facts, but Mr. Nixon did and does know the facts. sn, realizing that his hack was against the wall, he made a desperate gamble. The controlling but little k n o w n fact behind the decision to give the House J u d i c i a r y Committee on impeachment a set of transcribed Watergate tapes was that the White House knew the committee a l r e a d y was in possession of the most damaging information contained in the tapes. Indeed, it has had for months an uncxpitrgaled record of the key transcriptions From Our Files; How Time Flies 10 YEARS AGO Â· An address by rme of A m e r i ; ca's foremost educators, inlro- ~ duction of six college presidents Â· and the unveiling of a bronze "memorial statue, am among the .'Â·vents scheduled for the clcdi- :50 YEARS AGO "- Rewards totaling some $750 ;Â«re being offered for (he capture of the brute who attacked 'and outraged the young matron at her home Friday night. Those contributing include the American Legion, the KJaii. the t county, and the Anti-Horse .Thief Association. A Chevrolet louring car Â· driven by Sam Thorpe- and a 100 YEARS AGO 1 Young George Reed of this .county followed a horse-thief to -Missouri this week by the name of Bricc. He not only recap' f u r e d his stolen horse, but put Brice in such a condition that he won't steal any more horses. Â· Bcntonville has been r a t h e r Â· dull this week, considering the Â· fact lhat court has been in cation of the new Rogers Hough Memorial Library today. The Springdale school board ordered $2.319 worth of new school f u r n i t u r e last night for a six room addition to Jones E l e m e n t a r y School. Ford coupe driven by Taylor Robertson crashed together headlong at the corner of East and Spring streets shortly a f t e r 8 o'clock this morning. I.L. Matecr, apple grower and termer of near Wcdington, has announced as a candidate for commissioner of state lands, highways and improvements. session. Some little amusement was afforded the citizens on Tuesday by a couple of Baxter speeches at a small gathering. Jackson and Co. are agents for the "Granger Stove." the cheapest and best cooking stove on the market. No well regulated family can get along without one. They'll Do It Every Time THE 6UÂ£ WHO PRESS LIKE SUMMER SAILORS LIKE WAITRESSES "W VW IS IT IN 6KI8TS-TXESE LOOK H ONLY (W C*MES UKE. THSVK GONNA /] WEAR fWire? 08 I TO THÂ£ MArse rr I *JTY FROCK .. AN 1 THE ALICE TW V/A/.' VOOR TEMPERATURE- that were released in a severely edited form. AS THE PUBLIC now knows, all of the 45 transcriptions turned over to the committee are of historical and human interest, but only f i v e or six -- n o t a b l y the notorious March 21 tape -- are vital to the impeachment process, and these. are the tapes already in the possession of the committee chaird by Rep. Peter Rodino, D-N.J. Hence, despite appear- anccs to the contrary, the Rortino p a n e l got very little of importance that it didn't, have before. The committee got the tapes t h r o n g h t w o dramatic developments. Last fall, the President was ordered by U.S. Dist. Judge John J. Sirica to yield nine tapes lo the Watergate special prosecutor. Mr. Ni.xon at first refused but, fearing a confrontation wilh the Supreme Court, he backed down, although lie actually surrendered only a half-dozen of the subpoenaed tapes, saying the others had been lost or never recorded. When the White House turned them over to the special prosecutor, it also made them available to the Rodino committee. Since then, the committee's inventory of evidence has also been enhanced by a scaled special report from the Watergate grand jury, accompanied by a bundle of documentation. This was given to Judge Sirica, who in turn gave it to the House impeachment panel. The contents have never been officially disclosed, but it is known that the d a m n i n g March 21 t a p e was included. Thus, when Mr. Nixon went public on April 30. he knew lhat the key tapes (or incriminating excerpts) w o u 1 d probably le r e v e a l e d when Ihe i m - peachment committee begins its hearings. Thus the President had the choice of getting to the country first with his favorable interpretation of the tapes or l e t t i n g the people get a more objective and h a r s h e r introduction when the impeachment committee soon goes public. BY TAKING THE initiative. Mr. Nixon was able, through 3 speech on all the television networks, to gel his benign version of the tapes to most of the country at one shot. The blitz was followed up by other Administration s p o k e s m e n using every medium to spread f u r t h e r the Nixon argument that the tapes support bis claims of innocence. M o r e o v e r , by suddenly dumping 1,303 page's of transcripts on the press and television. Mr. Nixon made it extremely d i f f i c u l t for the media promptly lo digest and analyze the contents, which were accompanied by a 50 page While House legal brief pur- p o r t i n g to show that the tapes vindicated the President. The \VTiite House also released mitigating tapes that the House committee bad not requested. Finally, all this was designer! to give t h e appearance of responding to the Rodino committee's demands for more tapes. Beyond that, it was designed to split the bipartisan u n i t y of the committee by giving the Republican members grounds to oppose demands for additional tapes. It now appears lhat this massive effort has largely been in vain. The public is getting hard to fool on Watergate. Nevertheless, the President would probably have been still \vorse off if the voters had got the first uncushioned shock of the tapes from the impeachment committee hearings. So the Nixon men knew what they were doing, even if il hasn't come up to their expectations. (C) 1974, Los Angeles Times Wright says Wells still has the n a p k i n . --The billboard lobby assid- ously courts even the most obscure aides who have influence on billboard legislation. For example, two key Public Works s t a f f men. Dick Sullivan and Cliff Entield, were lodged, wined and dined at l u x u r i o u s Innisbrook in Tarpon Springs, Fla.. by the lobbyists. --Ironically. Wright is chairman of the Highway Beautification Commission. At least one member. Marion Brown, has complained to him lhat the commission has been "a waste of lime" and the beautification law a "costly, meaningless fraud." The members who have tried to f i g h t against "visual pollution." she says, have been given "discourteous and highhanded" Irealment. --Congress has put the emphasis on paying o f f the billboard lobby rather Ihan enforcing the billl)oard ban. Congressional appropriations have gone not to enforce the law, but lo compensate companies, often at exorbitant rates, to remove billboards t h a t never should have been put up in the f i r s t place. --Congress has also blinked at the billboard lobby's wild ways of circumventing the law. One technique, for example, is to purchase a three-foot-wide strip of land reaching from a business site t h o u s a n d s of feet to the highway. At the end of this strip, right by the highway, the business erects a billboard, claiming it is on the company's "premises." -- F o r m e r Transportation Secretary John Volpe started to enforce the billboard ban until he got a stern letter in 1971 from Reps. Wright, John Kluczynski. D-lll.. William Ilar- sha R-Ohio, and others, backed by Speaker Carl Albert. The l e t t e r urged Volpe t o "delay...the imposition of the ID per cent penalty for non-conform a ncc." This w : ould have cut off 10 per cent of the highway funds to offending states. --Wright also wrote a "Dear Frank" letter to Federal Highway Administrator Francis Turner insisting t h a t states should be permitted to z o n e roadsides any way Ihcy pleased. This would have been an invHatirm for the billbniircl lobby lo bring pressure on Ihe slalc's to open up the highways to a nightmare of billboards. --Although federal billboard enforcers insist they "aren't throwing in the sponge at all." their public words have a hollow ring. Federal h i g h w a y e x e c u t i v e director Lester Lamm, for instance, promised Congress be would "be completely responsive" to Wright and his allies on several crucial issues. For his part. Wright lias sought to give the impression that the billboard lobby is made up mainly of small businessmen. The truth is thai ils leading members are the Road- 'Hold That Gangplank!' American Politics The Arkansas Story (Reprinted from WASHINGTON WATCH by permission) By TRISTRAM COFFIN A M E R I C A N POMT1CS, THE ARKANSAS STORY -- Out in a part of the country where the names of towns have a poetic sound -- Amity, Black Oak, Bonanza, Ciierry Valley -a great man is in trouble. He is one of the lew mincis to u n d e r s t a n d the terrible potential pf modern war. He tried to t a l k President Kennedy out of the Bay of Pigs. He broke with his old friend, Lyndon Johnson, to argue against Hie Vietnam war. And lie fought President Nixon each lime he tried to enlarge war or open up a new one. liis name is J. William Fulbright. he is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he is fighting the toughest battle of his career, to k' -p his seat in Congress. Many will re-member him best at the Vietnam hearings in February IMS. as he leaned forward and said to Secretary of State Rusk: "AH I arn pleading with you and have been awkwardly 1 think -- is i this isn't the khaltnel that this isn't the kind of conflict that w a r r a n t s a vast escalation of money and many thousands of deaths. I think it is not that kind of vital interest, as I can cite m a n y other instances. I also t h i n k that the great countries, especially this country, is quite strong enough to engate in a compromise without losing its standing in the world and without losing its prestige as a great nation." On .May 28. voters will decide between Fulbright and the young Arkansas Governor, Dale Bumpers, in the Democratic p r i m a r y . The consequences of this race flee far beyond the borders of the state, for if Fulbright loses: It will be taken by politicians !o mean that peace is unpopular or at least creates no strong allegiance of voters. This will be the worst and most conclusive evidence, for there are the other active pacifists thrown out of office -- Senators Wayne Morse of Oregon, Ernest Gruciiing of Alaska. Albert Gore of Tennessee. This would mean little Congressional opposition to fresh US military adventures, and the tinder is piled and waiting for the match in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Korea. A NEW C H A I R M A N -- It will turn the Foreign Relations Committee over to Senator John S p a r k m a n of Alabama. a confirmed hawk and reported f r i e n d of the multi-nationals friend of the inulli - national corporations. Under N'i.xon, the multi - nationals have gained a n i n s i d e track o n f o r - eign policy. ITT apparently- used the full apparatus, and particularly the CIA. to overthrow the elected president of Chile. Salvador Allende. a Socialist. Under Fulbright, a sub-committee o f Foreign Relations has investigated the multi-nationals and thrown a glare of publcity upon them. It will remove from Congress one of the few members to u n d e r s t a n d w h a t is going on in the world today, the intricate and fragile relations between states, the dangers of war springing up in half a dozen places, the possibility of an Armageddon. He has tried to find a way through the night toward disarmament, he has shown how futile and ridiculous the Cold War with China and Russia have become. Without the trail blazing of Fulbright, Nixon, ironically, would not have been able to move toward detente and. thus, his 1972 victory. It will change the nature of Uie Foreign Relations Corn- s i d e Business Association, representing Holiday Inr.s a n d others; the National Electric Sign Association. wn J s VriBM* president is a pal of. Wright, the National Advertising Com- oaiiv. owned by the giant .JM conglomerate; and the coast-to- const Outdoor Advertising Association. . FOOTNOTE: Wright, i n - a long, earnest talk, denied he is the "tool of the billboard lobby." In fairness to bun, we believe his sympathy tor billboards comes from his days as the executive of a small advertising f i r m , not from pol'l'" 1 contributions. Spokesmen for the billboard lobby insist their signs arc needed to stimulate commerce. FEDERAL CORPORATIONS? The Nixon Administration is pushing to have the oil-rich naval petroleum reserves opened to commercial drilling, rather than have the Navy or a federal corporation do the work. States a confidential federal Energy Office memo: "It should be noted that government-Navy management of exploration and development of N P K - 4 is probably the slowest and most inefficient mocte of operation....This coulii servo as an assist to congressional advocates of a federal oil and gas corporation and p r o v e something of an impediment with regard to future arguments in opposition to such a, corporation." The proposed federal corporation would explore publia lands for oil and use its experience as a benchmark to measure industry performance. ThÂ« memo was intended only for former FEO boss William- Simon and his t h e n deputy, John Sawhill. mittee from that of probing questioner of Administration policy, with its hearings investigations and staff studies, to mute observer of the scene. THK POLITICAL PROBLEMS OP A STATESMAN -A s i t h a p p e n s s o oflen, a statesman lighting the great battles of the world has too little time for the human problems of his own people, fie seems far away from high prices at the supermarket and low prices from farm crops as he talks of the Middle East in Washington. Possibly. Fulbright m i g h t have brought world problems down to the Eudora village store, but the Senator is not a showman. He looks upon the arts of h u m a n manipulation as a form of black magic. A c t u a l l y . when friends offered to bring some experts on political strategy lo Arkansas, he demurred because he did not wish to set up what he thought would be a "false image." The peace movement, which might have given him badly needed f u n d s and youthful volunteers, has all but collapsed with the end of the Vietnam War. He is. in effect, a victim of his own success. The generation gap plus the absence of war makes Fulbright almost unknown and even somewhat archaic to many younger people. They tend to identify with the young giant-killer. Governor Bumpers. Fulbright, in a sense, is antipolitical and never built a political machine. He always depended on "visiting" with the people at luncheon clubs, small town church basements and on street corners. This isn't good enough at a time when he needs money and maximum exposure to compensate for all the publicity the Governor has been getting during hii term, plus (CONTINUED ON PACE Movies In A State Of Flux HOLLYWOOD (ERR) -- Will he or won't he? David Merrick Hie flamboyant theater and film producer, has been leasing the entertainment industry for years wilh hinls that might try to acquire a controlling interest in Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. Meriick's recenl purchase of 633,600 shares of Fox stock, making him the company's largest single shareholder, could mean that he i.i ready to make his move. The company's a n n u a l meeting will he held in Los Angeles on May 21V A David Merrick would hava hlendcd well i n t o the old Hollywood, dominated by such colorful film tycoons as Samuel G o l d w y n , Cecil B, deMille, anrl Louis B. Mayer. Today, though, he would seem decidedly out of place. The s u r v i v i n g f i l m studios are governed by shrewd but generally colorless men whn arc more interested in cost accounting than glitter and glamor. A number of old-lime studios, including Warner Brothers. United Artists, and Paramount, have become subsidiaries of conglomcriilo corporations with interests in various leisure-time activities. M-G-M has drastically cut down its movie making lo concentrate on olhcr interests. Only Columbia. Fox, and Wall Disney remain as in- d e p e n d e n t companies with strong commitments to film production. COMPETITION from television and declining attendance have made Ihe movie businesi riskier t h a n ever. Generally speaking, studio executives aim lo limit production costs to $2 million or less per picture and liope that the box-office winners will outnumber the losers. The same executives dream of producing a smash hit lhat will virtually guaranlee Ihe studio a f i n a n c i a l l y prosperous year. In recenl years. Paramount has scored heavily witfi Love Story and The Godfather, , W a r n e r Communications balance sheet for 1974 figures lo he in the black because of receipts from The Exorcist. StiU, the studios realize all too well thiil it is impossible lo predict which picture will be a blockbuster and which a turkey. Twenlieth Ccntury-Fo* nearly went under when its 1963 production of Cleopatra ran up astronomic il production cosls and then died at the box office, Three years later, however. The Sound of Music bailed Fox out by becoming the most profitable film made up to that time. SINCE FILM studios no longer control chains of thea- lers, they must merchandise their product more agressively than in the past. The temptation here is to engage in overkill, as in the recent case of The Great Gabby, The promotion campaign for Gatsby included advertising tic-ins for clothing, hair-styling, scotch whisky, and even cooxware. Perhaps no f i l m , however well made, coulrt have lived up to all Ihe ballyhoo. At any rale. Gatsby got generally unfavorable reviews, a p p a r e n t l y dashing Par- amtount's hopes t h a t i t would win for Ihe studio -after the success of Love Story and The Godfather -- the film industry's "Triple Crown." Meanwhile, independent producers continue to play an imporlant part in film making, Mattel, the toy manufacturer, co-produced the critically acclaimed Sounder. And actor Robert Bedford has acquired the film rights to All the President's Men, the forthcoming Watergate hook by Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. The film industry has changed, but it'i itill lively.