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Shelton Mason County Journal
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October 14, 1971     Shelton Mason County Journal
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October 14, 1971
 

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The manifestations of national paranoia change with the times. But the mills of reason grind slowly. It took 21 years for the Congress to repeal the despicable Title II of the Internal Security Act of 1950, a product of the times when Senator Joe McCarthy and other public officials induced fear in the populace with their rantings that communists were behind every American bush. The statute allowed the government, in times of national emergency, to jail persons solely on the basis of suspicion, with no right to presumption of innocence, no right of trial, no right to cross-examine, and no requirement of evidence or witnesses. The precedent for the outrageous law had been set during World War II when the government locked up 112,000 Japanese-Americans in ten detention centers. The hysteria of 1942 Which permitted the Crime with virtually no dissent, was epitomized by a statement by General John DeWitt, the officer in charge of the evacuation. "You needn't worry about the Italians at all except in certain cases," said DeWitt in 1943. "Also, the same for the Germans in individual cases. But we must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped out." When hysteria subsided and reason returned, it seemed incredible that the American people could have accepted such a completely false, completely racist description of a segment of our population which, probably more than any other, displayed the qualities of hard work, ingenuity and perseverance supposedly recognized as the mainstays of our society. But panic and fear blot out reason. How else explain why four presidents, with escalating hysteria, could convince Americans that destroying first one country, and then three, in Southeast Asia was in the national interest? How else explain why a country which prides itself on its sense of fair play pays more than two billion dollars to hire South Korean mercenaries to slaughter Vietnamese civilians in numbers that make My Lai look like a Sunday school picnic and then denies responsibility for their actions because there is no unified command in Vietnam? How else explain why presidents who are neither believed in nor believed by the majority of the people are allowed to continue the immoral carnage year after year after year? The national ego has temporarily replaced hysteria as the cause of the continuing Southeast Asia debacle, but reason is beginning to emerge and, given a few more years, may bring an end to the tragedy. With the ebbing of the yellow peril fever, however, another program of paranoia is being pushed by officials who hope to stay in office by promising to save us from yet another hobgoblin. Doors are locked, guns are bought and fear grips the vitals as the latest menace - blacks, the young, the poor and (thrown in for good measure) long hair and rock music - is paraded before the public. Thus, the executions-without-trial at Kent State and Jackson State are accepted by a fearful citizenry as victories in the fight for law and order and preservation of our way of life. Thus, Congress passes "no-kiaock" legislation which abridges the individual rights without which our way of life is indistinguishable from the tyrannies we supposedly abhor. Thus, the vocal approval of the following remark, quoted verbatim, made in a local coffee shop following an anti-war demonstration in Seattle: "If they'd shoot every son of a bitch on that street there'd never be another one." The remark is strikingly similar to that made by General DeWitt in 1943. Let's hope the mills of reason grind it exceeding fine in less than 28 years. We solve our problems in this country by ignoring them until an old fellow wearing a black robe pounds a gavel and says the rules have changed. After that - sometimes, at least - we go to work and do something about them. This week anybody with an interest in the public schools will be pondering the decision that was handed down Monday by a group of black-robed gentlemen in California. Financing public schools through local property taxes, said the California Supreme Court, is unconstitutional. California, like our own state, has been trying to run 20th Century schools with a 19th Century form of taxation. The result is that a kid from a district with a big tax base gets a better break than a kid from a low-tax-base area. The same sort of legal challenge would make sense in our state. Washington's constitution guarantees an equal education for all children. It declares that education is a responsibility of the entire state. But local property taxes pay the bills. Elaborate efforts at "equalization" have proved a farce, and your tax bill is clearly determined by the district in which you live. Up to now, the Legislature has failed to resolve the problem. The citizens, by turning down proposals for tax reform, have rejected any change. rernaps it wtll ta :e action by the courts to push us into a better way of paying the costs of education. from the Bainbridge Review Mailing Address: Box 430, Shelton, Wa. 98584 Phone 426-4412 EDITOR AND PUBLISHER ...................... Henry G. Gay THIS liOT[ IS Lt6,4t. 1[WD[I~ FOR 4tt DEBTS. P4BLI Alto PR~^T[ A 58398 A 8 IE A58398AgI WASH ING~rON, D.C. 1 By ROBERT C. CUMMINGS Talk of a one.day special legislative session to extend unemployment compensation benefits became pointless even before Gov. Dan Evans repeated a previous statement on the issue. He reiterated that he wouldn't call the law-makers back unless the Democrats, who advocated the one-day session, came up with a plan to provide the money. But before the Governor said this, all chances of a one-day session already had gone down the tube. After House Democrats agreed almost unanimously to hold their session to a single day, the majority leadership had served notice that if a special session were called, the Republicans would insist upon tightening eligibility requirements for unemployment compensation. That should have ended all talk of a one-day session right there. It would be impossible to reach agreement on the touchy eligibility question in a single day. The law-makers weren't able to agree in 120 days the last time this subject came up. Calculated Risk There has been some talk of the Democratic legislators showing up in Olympia regardless, to "show their good faith." It would be a sort of "rump" legislative session. But such a demonstration would involve certain risks. If many Democratic law-makers, after having second thoughts, should fail to show up, the plan could fall flat on his face. Even if a substantial majority came, the attempt to embarrass the Governor still might backfire. In politics, these are the kind of chances a candidate takes when he thinks he is losing. Democratic chances of coming out on top in next year's elections look pretty good in this state. Any dramatics at this time would seem unnecessary, as well as risky. Mechanical Problem Even if the Governor and all 148 legislators were to agree on a one-day session, the mechanics involved would make such an accomplishment difficult. The shortest special session ever held was in 1920, during the Louis F. Hart administration. Republicans had the governorship and overwhelming majorities in both houses of the Legislature. To be enacted into law were a bonus for veterans of World War I, a revenue bill for schools, and a 5-miU limit on the amount of property taxes which could be spent for support of state government. (In those days, property taxes paid virtually all costs of government). Virtually unanimous agreement was reached in advance on all three measures. Still the law-makers weren't able to complete the job in a single day. It took them three, and they didn't have any irreconcilable differences such as eligibility requirements standing in the way of agreement. Home With The Bacon Fears that Washington's new bacon packaging law might conflict with the federal meat inspection act have been confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But State Agriculture Director Don Moos is proceeding with regulations for enforcing the 1971 Washington act, and will hold public hearings on the proposed rules in Seattle, October 26. The law takes effect next January 1. The regulations are expected to require that in all ready-wrapped bacon packages, at E 1984 ,al tender for the New Prosperity (Clip and save - you'll need it) Page 4 - Shelton-Mason County Journal - Thursday, October 14, 1971 least one full strip of bacon be fully visible so a purchaser can see the quality he is buying. Despite the conflict with federal law, Moos is counting on a federal court decision involving the labeling of Turbet, a North Atlantic fish, as halibut. The federal court sustained Washington and Oregon regulations against such labeling on grounds the federal government hadn't acted in this matter and the states had the right to protect their residents. Federal regulations also are lacking in regards to bacon packaging, so Moos is proceeding in the hope that the halibut decision will prevail, also, for bacon. Eyes On Law School Recent controversies over admission policies of the University of Washington School of Law are beginning to attract the attention of Legislators. Since a King County Superior Court ordered the University to admit a previously-rejected resident student, an $80,000 damage claim has been filed against the University on behalf of a second student. Parents of the student, both University of Washington graduates and residents and taxpayers for 50 years, contend their daughter, who was fully qualified, was rejected because preference was given less qualified applicants from out of state. They seek $30,000, the estimated additional cost of sending their daughter to an out-of-state law school for three years, and $50,000 damages on contention that attendance at an out-of-state school-will handicap her in her desire to practice law in this state. The damage claim also states that all other schools at the University, except the school of law, give preference to resident students. Some legislators already have said that unless the admission policies at the law school are changed, the Legislature will act. No New Laundromat Tax The Legislative Council's Committee on Revenue and Regulatory Agencies hasn't acted yet, but it is expected to reject a proposal that it exempt coin-operated machines in laundromats from the sales tax, and levy instead a flat tax of $5 per machine. Testimony at a recent hearing brought out figures showing the change would cost the state $1 million in revenue. Proponents of the plan suggested that the $5 tax also be imposed on coin-operated machines in apartment houses and motels, which presently are untaxed. But other testimony was to the effect that this wouldn't be feasible; that they would be hard to find, and the cost of collection would exceed the revenue involved. The Fla By STEVE ERICKSON Something was very wrong on the freeway up ahead. A front wheel had spun off a dilapidated sedan and now loomed in the center of a lane. The other lane - mine - was occupied by a hubcap and a youth retrieving it. Beside me a small car had stopped, and was about to try straddling the tire. I slowed from 70 and planned to ease through between shiny hubcap and dusky youth. In the back seat 9-year-old Shayla watched with interest. In a padded carseat up front, 2-year-old Valerie sang "Lazy Bones" and ignored the whole situation. Suddenly, tires screeched. Terrifyingly loud, coming ominously closer with a shrill crescendo. At the last second I glanced into the outside rearview mirror and watched a white Volkswagen slide into my back fender and bounce off. We barely felt the impact but Shayla's eyes were suddenly saucers. Valerie repeated the chorus of "Lazy Bones." The VW driver pulled off the freeway behind me and we both stopped. He was a tall, pleasant young man whose hands shook discernibly as he scribbled his name and address for me. He was mustacheoed, and dressed for a night's work building boxcars. He was married. He was sorry. He was uninsured. Pearls of past wisdom whizzed through my head. Tales of uninsured drivers telling damaged victims to go to hell, and making it stick. Recaps of inflated body shop bills paid by the innocent. Futility and helplessness as the victim tried to realize justice in a hopeless situation. Old wives' tales and ignorant nonsense. But bullseyes, every one. I had the Hit-By-An-Uninsured-Driver-Blues. This young man said he'd pay, though. He gave me his name and number and told me where he worked and suggested a good body shop, and we left the scene. That was a Thursday and I was en route out of town. Before I returned Sunday I had achieved complete, thorough paranoia over what might have been a $50 bump, whose significance, if any, was aesthetic. What if the driver decided I had been at fault and wouldn't pay, I asked myself, and what if the name and address he gave me were fake? Ah-ha! Had him there, the fraud; I'd hastily scrawled his license number on a scrap of paper with a green color-crayon, when his back was turned. Ah, paranoia. And yet.., what if he just decided "I don't have to pay and I won't?" What if my insurance didn't cover the damage? The police, could they help? Why hadn't I found a witness? I'd sue. If necessary. But then, he said he'd pay. But what if... Et cetera, ad neurosis, ad nauseum. By Monday I still hadn't done anything but worry. No estimate, no call to let the other driver know the status of things. But many, many "what-ifs." He called me. Said he wanted to be sure I understood he planned to be responsible for the damage. Said again it had been his fault. Realized I had no choice but to slow down for the situation. Hoped my kids were all right. Come to think of it, that had been his first statement upon parking alongside the freeway that day: "Are your kids all right?" I hung up feeling red faced but relieved, because he would pay and I wouldn't have to. Didn't need the insurance company now, nor the police. Wouldn't even have.., to... sue. Sue? Had I actually considered that? Well, yes. So in addition to relief and a restoration of faith in the human race I felt other things. Shame, embarrassment. Disgust at my own irrational insecurity and distrust. And I began to wonder, had I misjudged and sold short mankind, or had I merely been lucky enough to stumble upon a pearl among swine? That set me off again. I'll be worrying over that one until life's next little chuckhole comes along. And I suppose I'll ultimately regret that worry, too. Once the "crisis" is safely past. A majority of school boys who in school and ~ middle-class physical violenCe. disputes rather th~ a.nd verbal This by a WSU students of study of more tha~ school students ha Wisconsin In fact ace( L. Mauss large minority of adolescents prochvities," Furthermore, Winston said, violence (of variety) are traditions of and by the American adultS, 1968 findings Commission for Causes and Violence." 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