The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, November 12, 1980, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    The Battalion
e * !e ndfo r |
irst pi
e e n p d e e Al |S VoL 74 N °' 53
" 14 Pages
»S strictly [uj -
tess than tj
Texas Afrti
; Meg Gi
■ Skopic, li
^t; S(j|
1 Oncers hn
than a fa
Serving the Texas A&M University community
Wednesday, November 12, 1980
College Station, Texas
USPS 045 360
Phone 845-2611
The Weather
.... 55
. 0.00 inches
Chance of rain . . .
ame duck session
jegins in Congress
United Press International
WASHINGTON — The lame duck congressional session — a
lurtain call on the political stage for the defeated and the retiring
-is beginning with little expectation that anything significant can
be accomplished.
■Afiscal 1981 budget, trimmed to reflect Ronald Reagan’s prom
ise to cut waste, and a catch-all appropriations bill to keep depart-
jents and agencies operating until the 97th Congress convenes,
|y be the only major pieces of legislation to emerge from the
Ision that opens today.
[If s my view we should do as little as possible in the lame duck
ision,” said Senate Republican Leader Howard Baker.
■Although no length has been set for the session, Baker and
House Democratic Leader Jim Wright of Texas both expressed
hope Tuesday that Congress could adjourn by Thanksgiving.
■The 97th Congress that convenes in January will have a 53-47
Republican majority — the first time the GOP has had control of
the Senate since 1954. Democrats still hold control of the House.
wThe drama in this month’s session comes in the return, for the
(final time, of 13 senators and 38 congressman who were defeated
in the primaries or in last week’s election — swept aside in the
Iconservative wave.
Among the Senate luminaries bowing out involuntarily are
Warren Magnuson of Washington, chairman of the Appropria
tions Committee; Frank Church of Idaho, chairman of the Fore
ign Relations Committee; Herman Talmadge of Georgia, chair
man of the Agriculture Committee; and Jacob Javits of New York,
ranking Republican on Foreign Relations.
An immediate tax cut, backed by Reagan and Senate leaders,
appears doomed in the House.
Baker said a tax cut was “entirely in the realm of possibility,’’
but added he saw “almost no likelihood” President Carter would
sign a tax cut bill if it passes Congress.
And Wright said the House would reject tax legislation even if it
passes the Senate.
Revenue sharing, enforcement offair housing laws, a revision of
the criminal code, a fund to clean up oil spills and the Alaska lands
bill plus numerous other bills also are still waiting action.
Meeting a day in advance of the session, the House Budget
Committee voted a 2 percent cut in fiscal 1981 spending — the
amount Reagan proposed.
Hostage question may return
to Iran’s parliament
It’s that time again
Photo by Carolyn Tiller
The 1981 spring class schedules will still be given out in
front of Heaton Hall today. Each student may pick up
two copies and begin the ritual of filling out trial sche
dules. Pre-registration is Nov. 17-21.
United Press International
BjALGIERS, Algeria — An authoritative source said today no
immediate answer is expected from Iran to the U.S. response on
Tehran’s conditions for releasing the American hostages and some
sources said the question might have to go back to Iran’s parlia
I The source spoke one day after deputy Secretary of State War
ren Christopher abruptly ended his diplomatic courier role in
Algiers and flew home, leaving go-between Algeria to relay the
U.S. response on Iran’s conditions for freeing the 52 American
hostages from 374 days in captivity.
p“We don’t anticipate an early response from Tehran,” the
Sgurce said, explaining the reason for the expected delay was that
the U.S. reply fails to meet unconditionally the four points Iran set
for release of the hostages.
[ The conditions are a pledge of non-interference in Iranian
affairs, freeing Iranian assets frozen in the United States, a move
to return the wealth of the late shah and dropping financial claims
| against Tehran.
; ■ U.S. officials have explained to Algeria that they can guarantee
anon-interference pledge but the other conditions involve legal
and financial complexities.
In Tehran a spokesman in the office of Prime Minister Moham
med Ali Rajai said, “We expect to receive the U.S. reply on the
hostage release terms today.”
Government officials in Algiers said they had no intention of
playing an active role in negotiations. “Our role is limited to
transmitting the two sides’ positions, in other words acting as a
mailbox,” a senior official said.
Christopher ended two days of meetings with Algerian Foreign
Minister Mohammed Benyahia in which he handed over the U.S.
response to Iran’s four demands.
Christopher departed on a U.S. Air Force plane for what was
expected to be a nine-hour flight to Washington. Technical prob
lems with the plane forced an overnight stopover in Shannon,
Ireland, the State Department said, adding that there was no
danger or emergency.
“There’s no more action here,” a U.S. official said in Algiers
Tuesday as Christopher departed. Another official in Washing
ton, who declined to be identified, said it would probably be
several days before Iran responded and Christopher saw no need
to wait in the North African nation.
Election statistics interpreted
Jeanne moves west
| At 9 a.m., Hurricane Jeanne was
located 24.0 degrees north, 89.4
| degrees west, and was moving west
at 5 miles per hour.
United Press International
NEW ORLEANS — Late-coming Hur
ricane Jeanne brought almost 2 feet of rain
to the Florida Keys and stirred seas to 15
feet but then slowed and weakened in the
Gulf of Mexico today.
The storm, at lattitude 24.0 north and
longitude 89.4 west about 400 miles south
of New Orleans at 9 a.m., was being held
between a powerful high pressure system
to the north and cooler, dry air to the west.
Weather Service forecaster Ken Craw
ford said the storm was expected to con
tinue moving west at 5 mph in the Gulf at
least 48 more hours, with its 75 mph winds
expected to decline.
Winds decreased slightly from earlier re
ports, with gales extending 150 miles north
and 100 miles south of the storm’s center.
The weather bureau urged small craft to
remain in port from Brownsville, Texas,
eastward to Tarpon Springs, Fla.
More than 3,000 offshore oilfield work
ers from dozens of rigs and production plat
forms jammed into helicopters and crew
boats Tuesday in the first wave of evacua
tions from the Gulf.
Battalion Staff
The room was dark, and heavy smoke from cigars and cigarettes
filled the air.
The quiet conversation about political fortune and failure some
times erupted into heated shouts about one candidate or another.
The participants, however, were not bosses in Chicago plotting
the machine’s future.
They were academicians from Texas A&M University’s political
science department discussing the election. Meeting in the facul
ty lounge with brown-bag lunches Monday (just as the lights went
out), the group offered several interpretations of last Tuesday’s
The evidence about who voted and why is still skimpy, of
course, but that doesn’t stop political scientists from analyzing,
especially when journalists demand they tell what it means on the
night of the vote.
One theory that’s receiving the most play in the media — an
American shift to more conservative values — did not meet
overwhelming support in the seminar. Dr. Robert Bernstein,
however, suggested that something besides the evidence might
guide their judgement about a possible conservative surge.
“Political scientists are liberals,” he said with a “let’s face it”
attitude. “They’d just as soon not believe there’s a shift.”
One who believes there is a shift, however, is Dr. Bonnie
Conservative shift real
“There is a conservative shift in the sense that people are more
alienated,” she said. “They don’t trust institutions anymore to
solve problems.
“People want to choose a risk-free alternative. They don’t trust
institutions, but they want somebody to do it. They demand more
government responsibility. ”
She said voters can trust individuals like Ronald Reagan, who
offers a simple solution to complex problems. He pushed the idea
that everything would be all right if government would “get off
people’s backs.” Jimmy Carter provided a strong contrast to that
view throughout his presidency when he demanded sacrifice from
Americans and only offered more of the same during his re-
election campaign.
Browne said people want a risk-free environment, and Carter
did not offer that. Reagan was the simple choice, and people took
First step in disalignment?
Softening that view somewhat was Dr. Roby Robertson, who
suggested the election was a disalignment instead of a re
alignment. If this is a major ideological change, he said, it must
begin gradually. Traditional Democratic voters were not compel
led to vote for Carter, so many didn’t bother.
Bernstein agreed.
“There’s less and less reason for minorities to vote Democra
tic,” he said. “They see no return on the investment. ” That may be
part of the larger break-up of the “New Deal coalition” that has
kept Democrats generally in power since 1932, they said.
But it’s still too early to tell. Nationwide the results were mixed.
Many of the Democratic senators who lost were vulnerable
Voter turnout significant
Dr. Bruce Robeck offered another theory, one that allows for a
Republican win without a permanent shift in the number of
Republican voters. Democratic voters simply didn’t vote.
Only 52 percent of the electorate voted, which continues the
downward trend of voter turnout that began in 1964. When
turnout is that low, the drop-off is not evenly split between the
two parties. Republicans tend to vote more, so they often win the
Robeck said that would also explain why the opinion polls were
off; pollsters assumed a higher voter turnout and, in turn overesti
mated the Democratic vote.
Not all the political scientists agreed with the turnout theory,
but then none of them agreed on any single thing — except that
they will be discussing election ’80 for some years to come.
Occasionally in dark, smoke-filled rooms.
Survey says hot checks are problem for some
Battalion Reporter
Responses to a questionnaire show that hot checks are a bad
problem for Brazos County. Maybe.
I In the face of a flood of hot checks, one merchant wrote that he
no longer accepts checks “because I don’t intend to chase Nobody
Never Again. ...I take checks from my mother and my brothers
and sisters.”
, He said he definitely has no plans to change his policy.
( But the talk about hot checks has become the “pet peeve” of
Julian McMurrey, distributor for the Houston Chronicle. Writes
McMurrey: “I receive thousands of checks from students. Maybe
15 are bad per semester; of this I might lose one or two I never
I collect.”
One hundred and fifty questionnaires were mailed to a sample
group of businesses chosen from the yellow pages of the Bryan-
I College Station telephone directory. Fifty-one mechants re-
i sponded.
Of the 51, 37 estimated the percent of profits lost annually in
hot checks. In estimates ranging from “nil” to “10% and rising,”
the average percentage lost was 1.25 percent.
! The most frequent loss percentage was 1 percent. For a large
[ business this could be minimal, but for a small business it could
represent a substantial loss.
One merchant said he takes only from family. In addition to
him, three other respondents said they do not accept checks at all.
One said it is simply company policy. Shiraz Lakhani, owner of the
Cattlemen’s Inn, wrote that be receives “too many hot checks”
and has just stopped accepting them.
Owner of the B & W Company said that he stopped taking
[ checks June 1 for two reasons: 1) he was getting too many back,
and 2) he received so many checks that sometimes one-half of the
[ store’s income was in checks. He added, however, that he still
! takes checks from established customers.
J Eighteen of the businesses that responded said they have
changed check policies to attempt to decrease the amount of
check losses. Of these, five said they experienced a loss decrease,
ranging from 0.012 to 50 percent.
Chanello’s Pizza, who estimated a 2 percent profit loss annual
ly, slightly decreased losses by two adjustments in check policy.
Originally the management required a driver’s license, student
D. and local address for accepting a check, but now manage
ment approval on each check is required. The management also
a list of people that checks will not be accepted from. This
list is given to drivers who deliver pizzas.
Another mechant wrote that previously he required a driver’s
license, student I.D. and local address for accepting a check.
When be changed his policy and required more identification and
management approval, he estimated that his 1-percent annual
bad check loss decreased by 50 percent.
Nine of the responders said they require nothing for accepting a
check. All wrote that they have little or no problem with bad
One merchant wrote: “We are a heavy cash basis business. Our
losses are minimal. We operate on a no questions asked basis and
it works.”
Other responses included:
— “We collect on 100 percent (of checks) normally.”
— “In the last five years we have only received two bad
— “I have been very fortunate in that I have very few return
checks — less than one-half of one percent of sales.”
Yet another wrote: “(I) know our situation is unusual compared
to most retailers, but we really don’t have a problem with hot
checks. ” In answer to what percent of the bad checks received
were written by Texas A&M students, the merchant wrote “Hate
to answer this, but the three to six per year we get are from Aggies
— but they always make good.”
This opens another door in the problem — what effect do Texas
A&M students, many of whom leave in the summer, have on
businesses in relation to worthless checks?
The percent of bad checks received that are written by Univer
sity students ranged from zero to 100 percent, depending on the
type of business and how much of their business is Texas A&M
Ben Bailey, owner of Ben Bailey’s liquor store, wrote that he
receives the most bad checks in April and May.
“This is where the students leave town after writing checks, ” he
wrote, “most knowing there is no money to cover them.”
Bailey said he would like to see the University work with
merchants on the issue of bad checks. He suggested that Texas
A&M could keep students from re-enrolling if merchants re
ported them to have left hot checks.
“You can’t withdraw from school tomorrow until your traffic
violations are paid, ” he said, wondering if bad checks could be
used in the same manner.
He said that maybe Texas A&M could benefit by charging a fee.
John Doe
100 Mapel Lane
Anyplace, USA 9999999
00 000 00
“I’d pay a $5 fee or something. It’s be worth it.
“If the University would consider something like this, do you
realize how many merchants would be behind them?” he asked.
O’Dell W. Finney, owner of Royal Television, wrote that
“more capability at balancing a check book could prevent many
A&M student’s hotchecks.”
Finney wrote that he loses 1 percent of his annual profits in bad
checks, and 90 percent of these are written by Texas A&M stu
Reba Harbert, owner of Photo-Tech, also questioned the ability
of some students to use a checking account. She said that many of
the students that come to Texas A&M are not accustomed to using
a checking account. Nevertheless, she said she is proud of her
Aggie patrons.
“I have very few bad checks,” she wrote, ” and a lot of good
student customers.”
All of the 47 business respondents that accept checks said they
contact the offender when they receive a worthless check. Twenty
also charge the offender a fee. Seven merchants said they cancel
the offender’s credit. And 20 merchants said they file criminal
When a merchant receives a bad check, he can notify the
offender by registered or certified mail. If he gets no response in
10 days, he can file a complaint with the county attorney. The
crime is considered a misdemeanor with a maximum $200 fine if
the check amount is under $200. If the amount of the check is
more than $200, the crime is a felony and is referred to the county
For misdemeanors, the county attorney then reviews the case,
decides if it meets the requirements for prosecution and turns it
over to the justice of the peace.The office of the justice of the
peace then issues a summons to the offender which includes a fine
of $27.50. From here, a number of things can happen.
The check writer may appear and, if found guilty, “may be fined
and additionally, ordered to make restitution. ” If the check writer
does not appear within 10 days, a warrant for his arrest is issued.
The check writer can then be arrested and jailed. If the offender is
unable to pay the fine and make the check good, he is put on
probation until he pays off the amount in weekly or monthly
How bad is the problem of hot checks in Brazos County? Those
that it affects may wave fistfulls of papers stamped “NSF” and
hope that help is on the way. Other merchants may stare at you
blankly and ask “What hot check problem?”