The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 07, 1990, Page 5, Image 5

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    Legislation, tree protection stir emotions of readers
Lincoln resident
praises support
of tree activists
I wish to thank those who worked
to save the trees in Cooper Park from
destruction. Your activism and sup
port was greatly appreciated. It is
comforting to know there are still
people with a social conscience will
ing to risk personal injury in order to
take a stand.
Although the city of Lincoln was
not stopped from carrying out this
tragedy, we can let the elected offi
cials responsible know that we will
not tolerate continued destruction of
our environment.
I urge everyone to actively work
for the defeat, at the next election, of
members of the City Council and the
Lincoln Board of Education who did
not oppose the project.
Patricia Worster
Legislation causes
regent candidate
to voice concern
The proposed legislation to radi
cally alter the coordination and gov
ernance of higher education in Ne
braska (LR239CA and LB 1141) is
progressing quickly through the leg
islative process. From my perspec
tive as the former chairman of the
Nebraska Coordinating Commission
for Postsecondary Education and
current candidate for the NU Board of
Regents, I offer the following com
ments and suggestion in regard to this
The most important defect in the
proposed legislation is the failure to
link a consolidated budget with a
consolidated appropriation for the
senior institutions of higher educa
tion. The proposed legislation charges
the new statewide Board of Regents
with the responsibility to accumulate
budget requests from the seven senior
institutions and consolidate them into
a single budget request to die Legisla
ture. However, under the proposed
legislation the Legislature would
appropriate funds directly to each
State Sen. Jerry Warner of Wav
crly says that the Legislature should
not be the coordinating body for higher
education (which it clearly has been
up to the present time). If the Legisla
ture appropriates individually to each
institution under the new system, then
the new Board of Regents will be an
advisory board only, and the Legisla
ture will continue to be the real coor
dinating body. The individual institu
tions will almost certainly “end run”
the Board of Regents whenever their
requests arc denied, producing an
annual appropriations dog-fight in the
Legislature. To prevent this, and to
give the new statewide Board of
Regents the ability to shape the con
figuration of our higher education
system, the Legislature should give a
single consolidated appropriation back
to the Board of Regents. The Board of
Regents, in turn, should deal with any
short-fall in appropriations relative to
the original budget request.
Regardless of whatever reshuffling
occurs in the coordination and gov
ernance of higher education in Ne
braska, it is essential that the Univer
sity of Nebraska-Lincoln and the
University of Nebraska Medical Center
remain together, under a single gov
erning board and a single chief ad
ministrative officer. This makes sense
because these two institutions are the
only ones with a broad statewide role
and mission, they arc the only institu
tions with major research capability
and responsibility, and they are the
only doctoral-level institutions. Re
search and doctoral programs are
increasingly interdisciplinary efforts,
and the linkage between these two
campuses would be a major benefit to
both. The combined UNL-UNMC
“comprehensive university would
also be an institution comparable to
its regional peers (University of Kansas*
University of Missouri, University or
Oklahoma, etc.)
Another important reason for keep
ing these two campuses together as a
single institution is the political im
portance of Nebraska’s comprehen
sive research university having a truly
statewide presence. If UNL and the
Medical Center are separated and run
by separate governing boards and
separate chief administrative officers,
the University of Nebraska, as we
know it, would no longer have any
presence in Omaha. The perception
that there is any connection between
Omaha and the “flagship campus’’
would fade even more than it already
Considering the foregoing com
ments, I propose at least two amend
ments to the currently proposed legis
lation. One would stipulate that the
Legislature give a consolidated ap
propriation back to the Board of
Regents in response to its consoli
dated budget request. The second
amendment would combine the Uni
versity of Nebraska-Lincoln and the
University of Nebraska Medical Center
as a single unit for governance and
administration. I know there arc oth
ers who share my concerns about the
proposed legislation. I urge all inter
ested citizens to speak out about this
important issue, and to contact their
state senators with their concerns.
Charles Wilson
Kendle fails to
include statistics,
misinterprets bill
I always thought that editorials
represented a point of view on a given
subject and were not intended to be
objective reporting of the news.
However, Dave Kcndle’s letter (DN,
Feb. 28) concerning Bob Nelson’s
editorial (DN, Feb. 19) concerning
LB642 (the seven-day handgun wait
ing period) seems to suggest that the
facts were misrepresented. Kendle
seems to be asserting that the facts, if
stated correctly, would support his
pro-gun point of view. I disagree.
While the scenario Kendle pre
sented concerning the red tape in
volved in the purchase of a handgun
as a gift is essentially correct, he has
misstated the intent of LB642 and
submits that “statistics’’ (which he
failed to include) indicate that such
laws invariably fail. LB642 accom
plishes two goals. First, it provides a
seven-day waiting period during which
handgun purchasers may reflect upon
their motivation for purchasing a
handgun. Second, it requires registra
tion of handguns so that transactions
may be monitored by police officials.
This greatly reduces the chances that
criminals readily will obtain hand
Admittedly, determined individu
als can still purchase “Saturday Night
Specials” if they want to purchase a
handgun badly enough, but at least
they will be precluded from procur
ing handguns through legitimate pur
chases. Moreover, those individuals,
who entertain the notion to kill in the
heat of passion and who cannot or do
not wish to purchase handguns on the
street, may be prevented from doing
so. The possibility that even one human
life may be saved by passage of this
legislation far outweighs any incon
venience to legitimate purchasers
caused by a seven-day waiting pe
If the "statistics” Kcndle men
tioned in his letter do in fact support
his position, why didn’t he present
them? The mere mention of statistics,
without any empirical data on which
to base assertions, means absolutely
nothing. Also of importance is the
organization compiling these statis
tics. If such date came from the NRA
or from some other interested lobby
ing group, the credibility must be
critically examined.
I read the DN editorial and recog
nize it as an editorial opinion and
nothing more. Unfortunately, it ap
pears that Kendlc cannot make this
distinction. His allegations are noth
ing more than the same old worn-out
hyperbole that the gun lobby has been
subjecting us to for years. As an advo
cate of gun control, I don’t believe
that handguns should be abolished,
but I do believe in reasonable con
trols that will at least minimize the
possibility of dangerous weapons
falling into the wrong hands. LB642
can accomplish this purpose.
Sam Bethune
1st year
Threats behind
hidden identities
of homosexuals
I write this letter in response to
Kelvin Kreitman’s justification of
heterosexual discrimination in the
military (DN, Feb. 28).
Kreitman’s argument that lesbians
and gay men are security risks and
more susceptible to blackmail may
be a valid argument. But rather than
accepting that as fact and discrimi
nating against a large body of capable
people because of it, we need to look
at why it may be true.
Why do lesbians and gay men hide
their identity? Could it be because
gay men and lesbians are denied
housing and employment just because
their sexual identity differs from that
of heterosexuals? Could it be because
institutions like this university es
pouse non-discriminatory policy but
deny funding for gay and lesbian
identified events thereby promoting
homophobia? Could it be because
gay men and lesbians are harassed,
raped, beaten and murdered with little
retribution all across this “free”
country of ours? Could it be that les
bians and gay men want and deserve
the same opportunities as heterosex
ual men and women (including the
right to defend their country) and the
only way they can take advantage of
those opportunities is by hiding them
The answer to the problem of some
perceived security risk by the mili
tary isn’t to deny lesbians and gay
men the right to serve as this institu
tion and the people that run it advo
cate. The answer is to remove the
threat of punishment by discharge
and incarceration that face these men
and women who want to avail them
selves of the opportunity to be a part
of the military, but who must do so at
the risk of their careers and their
The argument that lesbians and
gay men are security risks may be
true ... but the responsibility should
be placed on the institutions (includ
ing the military) and the people that
run them that force lesbians and gay
men to hide who they are, not the men
and women who are oppressed be
cause of those institutions. The mili
tary creates that security risk by dis
criminating against non-heterosexu
als that want to be a part of it. If the
military (and our government) was a
non-discrimination institution that
actually followed the policies of free
dom and equality that it so loudly
defends, the “blackmail risk” would
be gone.
Rose Klemen
Reader believes
democracy dead
in fascist society
Is democracy dead? That thought
has overwhelmed me this entire week
as I’ve watched events happen at
Cooper Park. I know a lot of people
think this is “just a bunch of radi
cals” who are just reliving the 1960s
all over. That is a bunch of garbage.
it’s not like these protestors didn’t
try to go through legal channels. Af
ter a fruitless attempt of asking the
Lincoln School Board to delay the
project at Cooper Park, after asking
the Slate of Nebraska to look into
whether the city truly owned the park,
after these channels were exhausted,
these people took to the trees, trying
to protect them.
As our resources grow thin on this
planet, it is important that we protect
them and work with each other to
carefully evaluate how we treat these
resources. Until this week, I really
wanted to believe that the political
system we have would allow for these
evaluations. It’s appalling that Mayor
Bill Harris wouldn’t even come to the
park to see the devastation there. Gov.
Kay Orr was too busy celebrating
Nebraska’s birthday to even come
forward and make a statement about
the issue. I know now who NOT to
vote for in the elections.
The real atrocity was the blatant
disregard for life shown by the offi
cers of the Lincoln Police Depart
ment. They stood by and watched as
bulldozers rammed trees, including
trees with living people in them. Even
if the bulldozer operator of Cheever
Construction DID have “the sun in
his eyes,’’ the police could have
charged him with some form of neg
ligence. I think that attempted mur
der would have been more like it.
This is all in order to help build a
place for educating our young. Well,
our lessons have been learned. Our
political system is there to benefit the
people that we have elected to office,
and the Lincoln Police Department
acts on the behalf of those who own
property, not the citizens of Lincoln.
Democracy is dead. Welcome to
Fascist Nebraska.
James A. Zank
arts and sciences
Disabled student
proposes ramp
for fire escape
I am Randy May, one of the dis
abled students attending UNL. The
academic center for the disabled is
located in room 132 of the Admini
stration Building. In order to get up to
the center we must use the freight
elevator. Half of the time it is broken
down, and we are stranded on the first
floor. If a fire should ever break out,
then we would be stranded with no
way to escape, because if the elevator
was not already broken down, it would
be shut down immediately.
I propose building a ramp at one
end of the Administration Building to
the outside. 1 realize the cost of the
ramp and an electrical door opener
would be expensive, but it would be
relatively inexpensive compared to
the court costs after a fire.
Randy May
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