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50 Years Ago

The I-J strike will be a long one. Both sides now seem ready to admit the total lack of communication, let alone progress. The ITU retains the strong support of the other four unions formerly working in the paper, but the I-J continues to bring in newsprint—the shortage of which, it was once speculated, would be the paper’s Achilles heel. The ITU’s John De Martini says the union has dried up some of the sources, but not all. At least three professional strikebreakers have been identified. De Martini estimates there are as many as 25 at work in the plant. They are working 12 to 14 hour shifts, a situation that has already begun to take its toll. Gordon Dixon, the 65-year-old shop foreman and ITU man who went over to management’s side in the dispute, suffered a heart attack last Wednesday. He’s in fair condition at Marin General. Mean while, Larry Hatfield, one of the three I-J reporters who refused to cross the ITU picket line, has been picked up by the Examiner. That continues a tradition of bright newsmen moving from Fifth and B to greener pastures. Hatfield’s immediate predecessor along that route was Don Branning, now also at the Ex. The two other bright reporters, Anne Bardwell and Joanne Grant, are looking for jobs elsewhere.

⁠—Newsgram, 01/28/70

40 Years Ago

…The Sun asked [Stewart] Brand and three other Marin County futurists to estimate what Marin will encounter in the 80s.

…The four met with members of the Sun staff last Friday… Here is the conversation:

Sun: What are the odds for a war in the next decade in which nuclear weapons are used?

Brand: It’s a question of degree, from Third World nations throwing their Third World weapons at each other, to us and Russia exchanging tactical nukes, to the possibility of escalation beyond that. My guess is we’ll stop short.

Sun: So you won’t be surprised to see atomic weapons used in anger during the last decade?

Brand: Right. I think they probably will. In a cynical view they probably should be, just to get past the apocalyptic craziness that has built up around the whole concept.

…[George] Leonard: …I think our present economic system is definitely mortibund. I think it’s going to crash…

[Paul] Erdman: We have to make a very major adjustment to the fact that ten years from now the quality of our material life is going to be 10% to 20% lower than it is now. The hope is that we will go down in a nice gentle glide path instead of going through some violent change.

…Sun: Are we going to have gas rationing?

Leonard: Certainly through one means or another. Gasoline at $5 per gallon has the same chemical composition but it’s quite a different fuel.

…Sun: Are we moving away from the utopian idea that every 18-year-old deserves a university education?

…[Slim] Van der Ryn: The idea was really a product of a cheap energy society. We could afford these large entropic institutions.

…Sun: To wrap this up, how confident are you people of your predictions?

Leonard: Well, in one sense futurism is doomed. You can extrapolate only for about two years in the future. After that it’s very risky. But I do think the next two or three years are going to be tumultuous. I’m confident about that.

⁠—Steve McNamara, 01/25/80

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