Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas on October 12, 1974 · Page 4
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Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas · Page 4

Fayetteville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, October 12, 1974
Page 4
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Editorial-Opinion Page The Publis Merest Is T7i8 First Concern Of This Newspaper 4 · SATURDAY, OCTOBER T2, 1974 Now That Is Preposterous/ The perfidious nature of the Eastern Press is illustrated pretty well in reports emanating from the nation's capital regarding Arkansas Congressman Wilbur D. Mills. According to the morning newspapers (as ·this is written), Mr. Mills is suspected of speeding down a Washington street in the 'dead of night, with the car lights off, bleed- "ing at the nose and from assorted scratches, ,in the company of several other persons, all suspected of imbibing, including a middle- aged go-go dancer, who subsequently flung herself into a tidal basin requiring police rescue and a short stay in a D.C. funny farm. That's preposterous! The additional fact that Rep. Mills has remained out of sight for most of the week and the odd circumstance of a 48-hour lapse between incident and its acknowledgement by police undoubtedly has a ready explanation. The situation is surely being misinterpreted, as is borne out by the fact that there are no arrests in the case; and, by round-about-word that Mr. Mills wasn't even in the car in question, even though it does appear that Wilbur's car was on the scene. (This word has since been "clarified" by the congressman, himself, who explains that his administrative assistant had misunderstood him on the matter.) We don't have all the details on this situation, but we can readily imagine any number of plausible explanations for'what is being played up as a lurid peccadillo. When all the circumstances are aired, it will unquestionably turn out that Wilbur, actually, was only doing some grassroots research on man-in-the-street reaction to the nation's Inflation crisis. (Where better to tap the grassroots of middle America than a go-go bar?) Or, perhaps, Hep. Mills was initiating a move to promote car pooling in his neighborhood (one of the ladies, according to one report, resides near the Congressman's quarters). The alcoholic odor detected by officers is explained by the obvious -- how else can you do grassroots research in the nation's pubs, except by ordering an occasional round, when it comes your turn? Or, maybe, Mr. Mills was on his way home when" the lights went out on his car. He could then have stopped in at a neighborhood pub for assistance, only to be accosted by an angry taxpayer who punched him in the nose. Some people in a nearby booth would then have offered to help the congressman home, and that's when the police stepped in. One of the party, anticipating a lengthy hassle with the officers, might then have decided to cool off with a brief dip. Meanwhile, Mr. Mills is laying low and not-saying.; much of anything, apparently. This could mean that he is busy checking out the possibility that he really wasn't there, and that the whole business is an illusion created by the Republicans. The enemy, maybe, has located a double and is trying to make the second most powerful man in Washington look bad. Nothing unusual there. There's another Dick Nixon, and another Henry Kissinger. Why not another Wilbur? The conventional wisdom Is that a bad press will damage a man's political career. The press, indeed, can be a powerful negative force in some instances. But Rep. Mills will stamp the reports a canard, soon (if not by the time this is printed), and all will surely be well. Besides maybe he is just adding a little of "the human touch" to his campaign in answer to those critics, who protest that he spends too much time on tax statistics. From The Readers Viewpoint Much Ado... To the Editor: - It was with interest that I read the report about our City Jail, the food, etc. I did not realize until these past few years that when a person breaks our laws and is detained in Jail -- he more or less .expects to have royal treatment. It would be good for some of these young juveniles as well as other law breakers to be deprived of the "comforts of home" while in Jail. Perhaps they will think twice before breaking the law again and not become a second offender. We have made it too easy on the criminal element. Young Violators of our laws are increasing too rapidly for o u r community to just tap them on the wrist and look the other way. I'm sure our Jail doesn't afford the comforts of home and well it shouldn't. F r o m all report* I think these young trouble-makers were given better treatment than they deserved. It seems as if these "guests" w e r e moved prematurely. Wouldn't a more composite picture of the true situation been given had the other inmates been given the opportunity to testify also? I can't believe anyone is actually going without proper nourishment in our Jails. Yes, not what they prefer to eat but enough to not go hungry or undernourished while being a guest of the taxpayers. Mrs. Don Hower Fayetteville Jail Food From Our Files; How Time Flies 10 YEARS AGO ^ The big push starts this week - In the Southwest Conference football race with the last undefeated, untied teams in the lea- 50 YEARS 'AGO The last of the equipment of the department of music was moved today from the Univer- 100 YEARS AGO Bushels of corn are being sold for 75 cents a bushel by J.C. gue, Arkansas and Texas meeting in the first decisive game. sity Hall to the building formerly occupied by the Agriul- tural Experiment Station. Lewis, one and ore half miles southeast of Fayetteville. To the Editor: . The articles concerning t h e County Jail situation were read with much interest and w i t h much dismay. As I understand it, the sheriff is entitled to $2 per day per prisoner and he explains that this amount will only buy oatmeal, coffee, and beans. I find this interesting because our family food budget is just a little less than $2 per day per person and we e a t well. Our diet consists of meat usually twice a day, several vegetables and fresh fruits daily, breads and cereals, desserts and all the eggs and m i l k that we care for. After-school snacks and evening snacks are also included in this amount. . We should applaud the efforts of Judge Mayes and Ron McCann in exposing this situation. It would be much easier and safer for them to just look the other way. But ultimately, we of Washington County are responsible for this situation and we have the power to change this in November. One of o u r questions to the candidates for sheriff should be, "How do you plan to use and account for the funds available for the inmates food?" Let's change things. Virginia Fedosky Fayetteville Capital Balloon Factory Trumpet Call By ART BUCHWALD WASHINGTON--Deep in the heart of the White House, tar from the prying eyes of the public and press Is one ot the most important rooms in tha government. It is the place where they blow up the trial balloons which are floated by the Ford Administration. Thanks to a source who shall remain nameless, I managed to · g e t into the , room and see for. myself how this all-important. operation functions. The room was very long--the size of a football field--and divided into workbenches. On each workbench was seated a member of the Administration or friend of President Ford blowing up large funny-shaped balloons. They were so busy with their work, they didn't notice me. "Say," I said to my- source, "isn't that Mel Laird; blowing up ia.balloon 'over there?" J.'Yes," .he replied, "the balloon he's' blowing up has to do with gas rationing. He tried to float it last week, but it didn't fly." "So he's going to send it up again?" "He'll probably try it once more in a different shape and, if it's shot down this time, he'll go on to something else." "Boy, you have to have a lot of air to b i o w up one of those balloons," I said. "Mel does; He probably has · ··floated more trial balloons than anyone in ·' the ' Ford kitchen cabinet." "How does he do it?" I asked. "Well, he meets with the President and they decide what trial balloon Mr. Ford wants to send up. "LET'S SAY the President is thinking about gas rationing but he doesn't know if the public will go for it. So he tells Laird to send up a balloon and see the reaction. Laird comes down here and starts blowing." "And then, he sends it up?" I asked. . · . . . . . . - · . ' . : "Not really. He has to sell it to somebody. If he sent it up himself, nobody would take tile balloon seriously. So he calls iy Evans and Novak and says, 'The President is going to institute gas rationing'." "And Evans and Novak buy it?" "Every time," my source said. "They float it in their column and then we wait for congressional and press re- · aclion. If it's negative, the President orders Ron Nessen to shoot the trial balloon down by denying he has any intention of rationing gas." "Doesn't Laird get angry after blowing up one of those balloons to see it shot down?" "Heck, no. He works for the Reader's Digest, and this gives . him something to do." · "Isn't that Secretary of the Treasury Bill .Simon over there?" "He's blowing up a trial balloon on an income surtax. He'll probably float it at a chamber of commerce dinner in Chicago tonight." "WHO ARE ALL those people sticking pins in the balloon that · Simon is blowing up?" "They're Arthur Burns, Alan Greenspan, Roy Ash ,and Paul Mi-Cracken. When it comes to the economy, all Mr. Ford's economic advisers do is stick pins in each other's trial balloons," "Are my eyes deceiving me," I said, "or did Henry Kissenger just walk in?" "Henry's here quite a bit," rny source said, "He just floated a. balloon last week on getting tough with' the oil- producirrg countries and it landed with a-thud. I guess he wants to take some new balloons with him to the Middle East." "Look," I said excitedly, "there's Sen. Hugh Scott." "Poor Hugh,' my source said. "The Nixon people used him to launch all their trial balloons on Watergate and he's still trying to get back his secondwind." (C) 1974, Los Angeles Times' The (Extra) Danger Of Travel By JOHN HAMER Editorial Research Reports WASHINGTON -- Transportation of hazardous cargoes by air, sea, rail, road and waterway is a major and growing problem in t h e ' United States. The rising frequency of mishaps involving dangerous materials has caused widespread public concern about the potential for a catastrophic accident. "Hazardous materials shipments present an increasing danger to public safety," the General Accounting Office said last year in a special report to Congress. "Each year, hundreds of new materials are developed, thousands of shipments are made daily, and annual volume is expected to reach 1.5 billion tons by 1980." Actually, no one knows exactly how much hazardous cargo is being shipped today. William J. Burns, director of the Transportation Department's Office of Hazardous Materials, estimates that the figure raay already be two billion tons a year. A I R M N E PASSENGERS have been astonished and angered to learn t h a t radioactive materials are routinely carried in the baggage compartments of U.S. passenger flights. Last April, a radioactive industrial isotope shipment leaked during a flight from Washington, D.C., to Baton Rouge, La., exposing more than 209 airline passengers, crew members and ground handlers to excess radiation. The airlines also carry other hazardous materials such as chemicals and acids, compressed gases, e x p l o s i v e s or ammunition, disease viruses, poisons, and corrosive or flammable liquids -- n o n e of which is allowed to be carried on passenger trains or buses. Th e Air Line Pilots Association, in one survey, found that 90 per cent of all U.S. passenger flights carry h a z a r d o u s materials. T h e F e d e r a l Aviation Administration contends that the correct figure is only 5.5 per cent, but the FAA's survey methods have been widely criticized. Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Texas), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Activities, has said that "FAA's safety record can largely be attributed to luck...and it is just a matter of time before that luck is g o i n g to run out and a disaster involving hazardous materials aboard a passenger- carrying aircraft will injure or kill many people." Railroads are also carrying an increasing amount of dangerous cargo, yet rail accidents reached a 16-year high last year, due largely to d e t e r i o r a t i n g tracks a n d equipment. The accident rate is running even higher this year, according to a recent r e p o r t from the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee. It said that the Federal Railroad Administration -had 300,000 miles of track. "Hazardous materials are passing h o u r l y over poor tracks in the most heavily populated region of the country, literally exposing millions of people to potential danger without their even knowing the danger exists," the report said. About one of every 10 trucks on the highway today is carrying explosive, flammable or poisonous cargo, and according to the Transportation Department, there are 50,000 trucking accidents every year. In 1972, the Federal Highway Administration received more than 5,000 reports of incidents involving hazardous cargoes, which that year killed 73 people, injured 743 and caused $4,9 ·million worth of property damage. About 25 per cent of all hazardous materials shipped in the United States go by water, with petroleum making up the bulk of these shipments. There are more than 20,000 barges plying the nation's inland and coastal waterways, and barge traffic is expected to increase by nearly 50 per cent in this decade. Barge accidents involving hazardous materials have more than doubled in recent years, yet barging is considered among the safest means of transporting hazardous cargoes. The burgeoning shipments of oil and liquefied natural gas aboard tankers and supertankers have spurred new anxiety about spills or explosives at sea or in po'rt. The newest supertankers are the largest self-propelled vessels ever built, and when fully loaded they have aboard .as much potential thermal energy as a two j megaton hydrogen bomb. Yet these ships are most dangerous when empty- as hydrocarbon vapors fill their holds and can be touched off by the slightest spark. CHARGES ARE mounting that . federal transportation safety regulations either are not being enforced or are not strict enough to ensure public safety. The General Accounting Office told Congress the Department of Transportation needed to improve its inspection and enforcement program, and to gather more basic data on hazardous cargo shipments. The FAA has been severely criticized by the Air Line Pilots Association and Ralph Nader's A v i a t i o n Consumer Action Project for lax enforcement and weak regulations. The pilots have called for a ban on hazardous cargoes aboard passenger flights, with the major exception of radiouharmaceuticais intended for medical use. .Some pilots have taken matters into their own hands by delaying flights until all hazardous cargoes are removed. The Nader group · is urging that airline passengers demand to know if any hazardous cargo is on board, and refuse to fly or change flights if there is. : While there seems to be no way to guarantee that accidents involving hazardous cargoes will not happen, there is much that can be done to decrease the chances that they will happen. But as dangerous cargoes multiply, technology and safety may both be increasingly hard pressed. · Arkansas Editors Comment On Freedom Of Information, Mills vs. Petty PINE BLUFF COMMERCIAL . Uh oh. Attorney General Jim Guy · Tucker is talking about "clari- , lying" the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act at this next session of the legislature. Without knowing just what the attorney general intends to ..clarify, that news ought to alert all those interested in knowing what their public servants are doing. Because the Freedom of Information A c t has been a valuable tool in preserving the people's right to know, and because the attorney general's opinions have not. ..FIRST, the attorney general's office chipped away at the act on behalf of the Banking Board, and then on behalf of the state Correction commission. Both .were allowed to meet in serret under certain circumstances. The news that the attorney . general now plans to amend the act directly in addition to undermining it here and there is unsettling. The Arkansas bar's House of Delegates performed a public service the other day when it declined a proposal to gut the Freedom of Information Act through the use of the lawyer- client relationship. Doubtless that will rot be the last attempt to undermine this model piece of legislation left over from .Winthrop Rockefeller's steward"ship. The Arkansas bar has sounded the alarm; the rest of the state needs to stay alert. A concerted effort along a broad front may betaking shape against the Freedom of Information Act. Ken Coon and David Pryor, the gubernatorial candidates this fall, need to take an unmistakable stand on behalf of th» Freedom of Information Act. It needs protecting a lot more than it needs "clarifying." PINE BLUFF COMMERCIAL Neither the attorney general of Arkansas nor the state legislature may have to do much nibbling at the state's Freedom of Information Act if it is eroded in the courts. Another hole in the act was opened last week by a c o u r t decision limiting public scrut ; ny of public agencies at the committee level. Since committees are often where the most important decisions take shape, this court ruling is a threat to public knowledge of an important part of government. The circuit judge in this case, Tom F. Digby, cited the commendable declaration of public policy in the Freedom of Information Act: "It is vital in a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner so that the electors shall be advised of the performance of public officials and of the decisions that are reached in public activity and in making, s public policy. Toward this end, this act is adopted, making it possible for them, or their representatives, to learn and to report fully the activities of their public officials." Unfortunately, t h e judge's c o n c l u s i o n that committee meetings may not be covered by that hoard and public-spirited language will do little to fulfill a fine public policy. PETIT JEAN COUNTY HEADLIGHT--MOTTILTON While we have been a sometime admirer of California Governor Ronald Reagan, he certainly did himself no good with his unqualified endorsement of Mrs. Judy Petty, the Republican opponent of Congressman Wilbur D. Mills. After all of his glowing words for Mrs. Petty, Mr. Reagan admitted that his visit to Little Rock Monday was his first meeting ever of Mrs. Petty. Despite Mr. Reagan's pitch for a fellow "Republican," he should remember that just as all Democrats are not the same, so are there different brands of Republicans. If he knew Mrs. Pelty's brand, we doubt that he would have appeared so enthusiastic. The fact is, the holders of the Republican's national treasury have seemed very lukewarm about Mrs. Petty's campaign -- indicating they don't want to throw good money after bad, not much of it anyway. So far, the o n 1 y "issue Mrs. Petty has been able to come up with is Congressman Mills' embarrassment over the milk producers' apparently illeial financial support of his abortive bid for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. . . Throughout the years, Mills -- as chairmap of the House Ways and Means Committee -has been able to achieve far more for Arkansas than his detractors want to admit. . . ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT Through a combination of "good planning and good luck" Arkansas ihas managed to gain the No. 1 spot in the percentage of interstate highways built. This good new^i came last week when the American Society of Civil Engineers presented a plaque to t h e State Highway Commission in honor of the achievement. Thus far Arkansas has completed a total of 598.5 miles, or 97 per cent of the original i n t e r s t a t e program. This compares to only 84 per cent nationally. Part of the credit for this success, according to one commissioner, was that the Arkansas highway builders had the foresight to do the hard parts first. By building the highly expensive and often intricate urban interchanges early, the Arkansas Highway Department not only saved money but avoided much of the hassle over environmental impact questions that is now tsalling interstate programs in other cities across the country. "We were fortunate to have both good planning a n d ' goad : luck," the commissioner said, "and we also bit the bullet early. We tackled the t o u g h problems first and now we can sec that it has paid off." And there may have been one more factor that helped. Thanks to the Mack-Blackwell Amend- ment, the Arkansas Highway Department is no longer mired in politics and shackled by patronage and corruption. It is free to follow the wisdom of the engineers and turn a deaf ear to the politicians. In other states this is not the case, as any traveler can tell you. In Louisiana, for instance, only 64 per cent of its interstate system is completed. Sixty-seven miles of it are not even under construction, compared to six miles in Arkansas. So Arkansas has reason for double pride in this honor. We are not only No. 1 in percentage of interstate completed, but we have been shown how efficient the Highway Commission can be, once it is freed to do its job. SEARCY DAILY CITIZEN We are, of course, aware that most people don't want to give much thought to the November election now, and few i n d e e d want to have to figure out what all the complicated language in a p r o p o s e d constitutional amendment may mean, but proposed Amendment 56 to Ye Grande Olde Constitution of Arkansas is a sensible temporary cure for some of the problems created by the basic document. , We are still firmly committed to a course of complete constitutional revision which we hope can be accomplished in rather short order but, until that can be done, It won't h u r t anything to overturn one section of that old horror and revisq', county government. . .the worst single offender in the document. The governing body of a county in Arkansas is the Quorum Court..made up of one Justice of the Peace for every 250 persons with two JPs guaranteed to each political precinct in the county. A fujl Quorum Court in White County would number over 160 per- 1 sons..a third the size of the U S . House of Representatives. Amendment 56 would set up nine districts which would elect their member of the Quorum Court and give us an effective, working body to oversee county government. Our public officials in Arkansas..all those mentioned in Ye Grande Olde Constitution..are .limited to $5,000 a year with the excepton of the governor at $10,000 and the attorney general at $6,000. Sheriff, Judge, Collector, Assessor, Treasurer, Clerks, Mayors all are limited to $5,000. Many such officials have deputies drawing twice that amount or more. But .this can -only be changed by vote of the people and that vote will come with Amendment 56. Under the amendment, the state legislature would set upper and lower limits for salaries of county officials and the locally-elected Quorum Court could set the actual pay within those limits at some reasonable figure. Get a copy of the amendment and read it. Make up your own m i n d . But, whatever you do, don't just go to the polls in Nov- ember and vote against everything. You're really more intelligent than that.. '· PARAGOULD DAILY PRESS Wilbur D. Mills is seeking his umpteenth term in the House. Tliis race like all his others, was supposed to be a Cakewalk, It ain't necessarily so. ; Mrs. Judy Petty, a vivacious, bouncy woman, yes woman, decided to lock horns with Milli early this year. At the onset she had three strikes against her: (1) she is a woman; (2) she is "a Republican; and (3) she is from Little Rock. :· It is possible that a person from a metropolitan area wHo just happens to be a Republican and who just happens, to be ' member 'of the "other sex?' could, conceivably, be elected to something in Arkansas. ; But not a member of th« House. And not against a powerhouse like Mills, ; But this year Mills, like Bill Fulbright and John Paul Hairi- rnersehmidt, the state's only Republican congressman, are vulnerable. ] Mills has 'two crosses to beatf illegal campaign contribution? from the Associated Milk Pro/ ducers, Inc.; and the nation 1 * economy.. M i l l s , like Fulbright, susposedly drew an "easy" opponent in Mrs. Potty. ·' But Mrs. Petty is no toy cannon. ' (CONTINUED ON PAOB 6) *

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