57 Reports; 110; "Fathers Fight for Children," Foster Care Public Hearing, Massachusetts Energy Director Henry Lee, Day in the Life of an Air Traffic Controller
Good evening this is 57 reports Massachusetts and I'm Mark Mills. I'm Robin Jacobson.
Tonight we'll meet the founder of a local group fighting for fathers rights in divorce proceedings and child custody.
We'll report on a hearing held this week in Amherst on the problems confronting foster care children in Massachusetts.
And we'll see what a day in the life of an air traffic controller is like at Boston's Logan Airport.
We'll also have an interview with state energy director Henry Lee.
And a commentary from Dan Cain the Massachusetts constitution has an equal rights amendment passed primarily to ensure equal opportunity and justice for women. But a growing number of divorced men are complaining that they have been discriminated against by the courts in determining custody of children. The complaint is cropping up all across the country and over 600 mens groups have been formed around the nation to fight for equal rights and divorce. One of those groups is based in East Hampton.
It is called fathers fight for children fathers fight for children was founded six months ago by Jim Sharpe. He organized the group after being arrested at gunpoint for kidnapping his own children while he and his wife were separated. Shark believed that he was more capable of raising his three children than his wife. But the court had given her custody during the divorce Sharp's kidnapping trial is expected to begin in Northhampton next month argument here by the way filled with children who have a right.
It was bigger and we feel like we would do.
We feel like we have that saying right even though we can no longer get along with. But my point is more than just father. Whether it's the children. It's a child's right to have a cohesive comprehensive type of loving way for his as it can be. They wanted a voice they could live.
Hello this is Jean de mer this is one of the staff members who handles calls on the group's 24 hour hotline a service for men or women facing the breakdown of a marriage. Tamara says about a quarter of the organization's 300 members are women. Fathers fight for children is dedicated to gaining equal custody rights for fathers. As one member in the midst of divorce put it I don't want the traditional situation of Mommy gets the kids and Daddy pays the bills and suffers. Have you talked with him earlier about wanting possibly in addition to the hotline the organization which is all volunteer provides individual and group counseling. They also have a court watcher program in which members accompany each other at court appearances to offer moral support and monitor the conduct of judges in the probate courts. The organization also plans to lobby the legislature for changes in divorce laws. Springfield attorney Ronald Danziger who has handled family law matters for 14 years is the group's legal advisor. He says the law calls for equal treatment in the Probate Court but that in practice men are discriminated against.
Well I think that it's based on the fact that historically before the advent perhaps of women's liberation and other events that women were essentially the individual staying in the home raising the children nurturing the children taking care of their physical and emotional needs and that has just been kind of a development which is led courts to award custody especially young children to women for that particular reason.
Combined with this by and combined with the fact that the courts are now making moral decisions rather than legal. We don't have a chance as men. Why.
Why is that so why do we still maintain that if you do not have a loan you cannot be a good parent. But you see that assumption is only made at the voice level and that is a K we feel something's definitely wrong. Something definitely needs to be changed.
Sharp says a growing number of divorced men are taking an interest in their children.
He says fathers don't want to be cut off and alienated from their children don't want to lose seeing the show grow seeing and sharing in his and his aspirations the joy. You don't want to miss out on that I mean that's that's where it's at. When we say that we're going to number of things have to be a better world for our children or were serious about that. We must spend time with them.
Are there some legislative changes you would like to see that would help encourage more equal treatment in the courtroom.
Yes definitely I would like to see the custody statute expanded to include include the complete criteria of the awarding of custody such as alimony an equitable division of property statute criteria that would set forth for the court for lawyers the bases of which custody will be awarded attorney Danziger also favors reforms and courage and joint custody and allowing for jury trials on custody and other divorce matters gradually says Danziger.
More courts are awarding custody of children to fathers though he feels the pace of change is too slow.
Fathers fight for children plans to expand by opening new chapters in other parts of Massachusetts and in Connecticut. The good. Telephone number at their East Hampton headquarters is 5 2 7 7 4 0 1.
A series of hearings on foster care are currently being conducted around Massachusetts. Testimony is centering on the problems of the children and parents in the state's foster care program.
One of the hearings was held yesterday and Amherst and Roger Duncan reports sponsored by the foster parent association and the office for children. A public hearing was held at UMass this week to give foster parents social workers and concerned citizens a chance to speak out on the issues of foster care. Testimony was fielded by a group of panelists representing the welfare department the National Action for foster care and the office for children. Vice President of House Ways and Means Committee Representative Dennis stuff and was also on the panel social workers whose job it is to match needy children with appropriate foster families opened the testimonies. Mrs. Jane Babbage a social worker for 10 years claimed that the system is a failure because no one wants the children who need it the most.
Workers try to respond to the foster parents. They know that they need additional training but it's very difficult when a lot of the applications for children go like this. I would like a blonde hair blue eyed curly haired child not over six years of age. These are the phone calls that come into the home finders. All I would like a child that has no problems don't give me anyone that acts out. I need a playmate for Penny She's 7.
Social workers still had the floor when accusations were made against the welfare department for ignoring the real problems of low income families. Social workers claim that foster care in the state is overburdened with children who have become the victims of abuse and neglect only because there are no good mental health facilities in the state for poor people like John McManus the new assistant commissioner of the welfare department social services responded to these accusations.
The major problem that people in the path of public welfare. Working with very troubled families often motivated families finding working with the mental health program is generally that very point. Motivation. The people in mental health seem committed to only working with a client who is well motivated. We'll come to the clinic. We'll keep appointments and who is very regular and and well organized. Most of the Pounds that we're trying to work with and help don't fall into that category. Home visits are probably a nice sensual item so providing services to the families that come into the welfare network. Mental health as far as I know has never seen as part of its role on at least any broad base that maybe a few exceptions in a few areas but broad based has never seen home visiting as as part of their professional responsibility.
The most bitter testimony came from foster parents themselves who described the legal liabilities of foster parenting foster parents explained the frustration of not being the legal guardians of their foster children.
It's really breaking bad when you have a child in your home after 45 days. You have the right to be notified of all court appearances and afforded the opportunity opportunity to attend. Sounds beautiful but it means in fact it's day you tell the kid you have to go away. You can go to the address and say that you have the right to speak even though you are the one that has that child in your home 24 hours a day. It got to me either that when you get the act the judge will let you in the court.
But what foster parents seemed most concerned with was the right to stop the return of their foster child to an abusive home.
Mrs Charlemont read a letter she prepared for the hearing about her own experience and experience was back in April of this year when a three week old baby boy was given voluntarily into foster care for nine days while his mother and her husband were moving. We were asked if we would take it. We did and were horrified when we heard the details about the environment this child came from and would go back to when a very short time the baby's mother was only 16 years old her husband was 20. He was not the baby's father. He was mentally ill and did not want this baby. Just a few months before over a disagreement with his wife's parents he pulled out a switchblade and stabbed both of them. This child came to us really weeks old with already signs of some neglect and abuse. The whites of his eyes were all bloodshot his navel still hadn't healed yet from birth and he had a rash all over his bottom.
What a moving testimony Mrs. Lamont's described that she had to return the baby. Bob Hathaway is legislative liaison for the office for children.
He's been working to change the legal position of foster parent of the things that we are now discussing in the office anyhow is legislation which would make them mandated reporters under the present child abuse neglect laws. This would in essence say that they must report to the Bible as well for any specific spec to cases of abuse or neglect. And that would probably give them a little more standing to get into a court to get their information known and hopefully would prevent some deaths of kids in the state.
Hathaway is also concerned with the rights of children themselves together with the efforts of Representative duff and the right for children to have legal counsel became law this year.
But before that before this law was actually on the books if you can imagine it a child who was caught stealing 20 or 30 dollars worth of whatever from a from a store. Had the right to counsel the court and yet the trial whose entire future was made shut they were deciding in the court whether he was going to actually be taken away from his natural parents put in a foster home with an institution whatever might be an option without the guarantee that he was going to have a counsel.
There are over 8000 children in foster homes across the state. The foster care system originally set up almost as temporary babysitting has evolved into a complicated network of social agencies and issues being raised about the system or opening up new legal questions. These public hearings are being held across the state to prepare the new administration for a growing problem. This is Rhoda Duncan.
Is there really an energy crisis in America. Most of the experts tell us there is or will be someday if we don't do something now to prevent it. But judging from the way Americans are using energy these days the message hasn't sunk in. During a recent interview with 57 reports Massachusetts energy director Henry Lee said the country needs another crisis to get shaken out of its indifference.
When the president launched his energy program in April of 77 he said that we should face the energy problem with the moral equivalent of war as though it were a wartime situation. A country doesn't seem to be that stirred up over energy. How do you assess the nation's mood about the energy problem.
Well I'm very concerned about it I think that I would agree I think they're less than stirred up but I think we've run backwards and concerned I think you only have to look at the recent statistics on gasoline consumption or the rate of growth the subsumption of gasoline is higher today than it ever was prior to the embargo. I think the American public sees. Congress having taken 18 months to try to make a decision on national energy policy they say the president wanted States having made some very stirring speeches and early 977 and having done a very little until very recently about his energy program. And I think there's a real concern of whether or not there is a problem. I'm convinced there is. And so as someone who is convinced I'm very distressed by the attitude but I think it's there I think to an extent we need a new crisis to get people concerned again.
All right well that's the National Energy scene we also have some projects underway in the western part of Massachusetts that are of interest in the energy field and one of them is that several area communities are getting federal grants for pilot projects to see how hydroelectric power will work a source of energy that we used many years ago in this part of the country and they're not using much now. What do you see as the potential for hydro power and also some of the problems we face in trying to go back to it.
But I think that what you see happening is a trend by which we're looking at what we used to use in the 1920s in the 19th century even such as hydropower code generation for industrial processes. And I think that there's a lot of potential for hydropower in the northeast. I think you've got to focus on the fact that it's not going to. You're talking about five megawatt 10 megawatts and some as low as 1 2 megawatt facilities. But we're in an area where we have a Connecticut River Merrimack River the photonic river in which we were built on water power and which we have one thousand eight hundred dams that we used to have that on a longer producing electricity that one time produce some type of power. I think that there's an awful lot of potential problems with it will be financing who will finance it who will buy the electricity and at what rate will it be boy. I think utilities have to buy it and are willing to buy it but they don't want to pay very much for it. And if we can get them to pay a decent price you can get private investors into it and hopefully after a period Tell me also since the private utilities to get into it I think it's an area that can really help us. Meet some of our energy needs over the next 10 years.
You mentioned code generation as one of the forms of energy that we use some years ago and then more or less abandoned what is called Generation generation right now when you produce electricity to every three barrels of oil that is just goes right up the stack in the form of waste heat.
Only about one out of every three is used in the actual generation electricity. So the process is not a very efficient process because generation doesn't take that waste heat and reuse it primarily for space heating but also for industrial processes. Most all your paper mills in this region use coal generation two years ago. I think one of its major problems it's a name that some sort of some very Craddick name people understand is just going back to how we used to use waste heat in the 1920s and I think has tremendous potential are some recent studies show that produce as much as a small nuclear power plant or about 650 megawatts of power.
A group of 21 utility companies in the northeastern part of United States recently said that if we don't get on with the business of building nuclear plants that have been proposed and are being held up for various reasons we will face serious energy shortages in the 1980s and 1990s. A spokesman for the group even talked about the scattered power blackouts in just a decade if we don't get these nuclear plants going. Do you think the need for these nuclear plants is that great.
Well depends on your assumptions. If you assume that we will go back to growth rates in electricity demand prior to the embargo which we have not seen anything near in the last five years. And if you assume that you can't bring hydro electricity or solar electric solar energy or would energy a cogeneration on yes you could. I don't make those assumptions I think you can hydro and would. Solar will do some good. World saw the whole problem but it will do some of that and I think conservation will do a tremendous amount and I don't people are going to go back to using as much energy did in the past was too expensive for them to go back. Therefore you're going to lower growth rates and therefore I think you've got about seven to eight more years then the utility companies really give you credit for having. However you will have to build some more power plants if you get in the 1990s. I don't see any way to avoid that. And so you will have some additional needs for power but not as much and not as early as utility industry will have you believe.
If these plants are to be built in the 1990s and we're talking perhaps about Montague in that time period do you think we should build them if we have not yet solved the problem disposing of the waste of those plants.
I think we are making some giant strides to solving that problem. One thing the Carter administration has done is it has really begun to focus on the waste disposal problem. It's not going to be an easy problem to solve because 30 years the government didn't do a thing on it. Now they are and I think that they're moving towards a resolution. And I would hate to see the nuclear industry go down the drain on the waste disposal issue. I think a bigger problem with nuclear power is that how much it costs is frightfully expensive. No the solely on this planet has had its price go up as much as nuclear power. And my question is whether we can afford nuclear power in the future. I hope that it's still an option for us because I don't want to throw any option out the door right now. But I really question our ability to finance these things.
The midair collision in San Diego this week was a grim reminder that airline disasters though rare can strike at any time and for the men and women who work in the air traffic control towers of busy airports. It may have added a little more pressure to what is already a job fraught with nervous tension. Charles Bennett reports on the day in the life of an air traffic controller at Logan Airport in Boston.
Six forty five a.m. Thirty six year old Bill Corvo arrives at the airport for the seven to three day shift. He's been an air traffic controller here in Boston and in Miami for almost eight years now and he's good at it. Most people think of the tower cab when they think of air traffic control. But this dark room on the sixth floor. The radar room is really the heart of the operation. This looks like this is Boston Tricon terminal radar approach control only the last two minutes of a flight are handled from the tower cab. This room guides planes to the airport from about 30 miles away. This morning Bill Corbo works the final approach position first.
The job is to put planes exactly three miles apart four miles for the biggest jets as they approach the runway 1 6 to turn things around ones right beside me on the sixth to the visual right Trixie.
Say what you like with the help of the computer controllers have a label on the screen telling them the altitude and ground speed of every plane they're working with. This is made controlling aircraft dramatically more precise than a few years ago. Six heavy contact controllers have the highest Delta rate and among the highest drinking and divorce rates of people in any job anywhere but the atmosphere in the radar room is not what you might think.
It often seems relaxed even jovial ROBERTS Well I think the rush ration is not taken out while you're on the job I think. And those sessions that you're really not thinking about it at that time. It's when you get really worried when the ride home. So I want to run with the name of the stomach at that point and down on your on the head or the neck and then I think the point here is that a marriage like myself you know you're white.
Trying to get this 130 the 727 fully qualified controllers at a big airport like Boston are paid from 28 to $35000 a year. They know that's not peanuts but most controllers feel underpaid and overworked. Many are resentful that airline pilots are paid twice as much money as controllers but work only half as many hours a month bill Corbo often must work four or five hours in a row without a break even apart up to 15 airplanes at a time as he stares at the dark green scope traffic building AI at such a rate that something has to happen.
He can't be put under the pressure but the job might entail the sort of errand and work you can find a rewire but at the end of that you would like to think that maybe that there is a break or really a period that you can unwind for a second before you get reassigned to probably another.
12 noon each controller rotates positions throughout the day. About halfway through his shift Bill Corbo walks along the corridor between the radar room and the tower itself. At three hundred and one feet it's the tallest control tower in the world. First Corbo is assigned the local controller position. The man who clears takeoffs and landings. This job requires not just alertness but good eyesight in good weather. Poor Bill must be able to see every plane on the ground and in the air. It's not always easy keeping track.
OK I know the Channel Master. I don't have the answer right.
Basically when you're in that situation that you add that you actually feel like you're a conductor you know to great music. Everything is going smoothly everything fitting into life everybody doing their time. When you have narry happen when everything bad to break your experience on your resume put it back together again.
Airline pilots like controllers consider themselves a special breed pilots and controllers don't always get along with each other very well. Although the tension is extremely subtle. Pilots often feel controllers are arbitrary and controllers often feel pilots are prima donnas. 2:30 PM Bill corridos day is almost over now the end of every day can be a reminder that an air traffic controller's career is often very short. Few controllers at busy airports last past. When you buy the tension just burns them out because most don't have college degrees. The balck are ex-military controllers. They have few alternatives after they do burn out.
What are you going to do with a life where are you going to pick up your right to know even though you are missed. Well probably right in the prime of their life.
My mantra it would be to give up with Yeah because like you were on the outside and trained and I like many controllers go to smaller airports when they can't hack it anymore.
Some are able to get medical disability payments totaling up to 90 percent of their salary.
But despite the headaches most controllers say they like their job.
Even the tension that goes with it they're ready to settle on the right take this up on the fifth day now.
It's a romantic world up here above the city giving commands flirting with danger. I world where a large ego and a certain boldness are an essential part of survival. It's one of those rare world where everyone must look for perfection every single day every day that I get it.
This is Charles Bennett in Boston Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed King has often mentioned what a good job he did for the taxpayers when he headed the Massachusetts Port Authority. What he failed to point out was that he did a job on the taxpayers when he left the post. This omission caught the eye of Dan Cain who offers these thoughts on the matter.
A couple of weeks ago we suggested that former Mayor Sullivan was stretching things a bit when he picked up fifty six hundred bucks in sick leave and vacation pay on his way out of city hall. Although we do admire his ingenuity the move seemed a little lacking in civic spirit. Well it turns out that Ed King for better or worse our Democratic candidate for governor pulled much the same move when he was fired from the Massachusetts Port Authority only as befits a man of his stature his grab was a little more significant for meritorious service to the state. A performance we should add that got him fired. King scooped up over $100000 in severance pay a little bonus for a job well done. Well if this sort of fiscal responsibility seems out of line with King's campaign rhetoric about keeping down state spending you have to keep two things in mind. Number one is that he has changed his mind about his proposition 13 approach although his unequivocal stand on that was part of the reason that he beat Dukakis. But what the heck we need flexibility in the governor's office. The second thing to remember is that when politicians talking talk about keeping down state spending and cutting costs they're talking about you and me not themselves. When's the last time the state legislature voted to cut the salaries of legislate tours. In any event in Springfield the city council has passed a law to restrict mayors from scooping up loose change as they leave office. And perhaps that's what we need on the state level as well. It might help in balancing the budget and it's the kind of thing that voters might go for. And if voters go for it chances are Ed Cain will go for it at least through the election anyway after the election who knows he might change his mind. But then again he might not change his mind. Ed King is a very flexible guy.
Usually after Dan's commentary we say good night and tell you that we'll be back next week. But tonight is different. This is the final edition of fifty seven reports beginning Monday October 9th channel 57 offer something new. The 10 o'clock news. A half hour nightly news program each weeknight at 10 o'clock. It will be a statewide broadcast with portions originating from Boston and Springfield. We'll be covering world and national as well as state and local news. The entire 57 report staff will be working on the 10 o'clock news and we hope you'll get in the habit of watching for Robin Jacobson. I'm Mark Mills.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
- 57 Reports
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- "Fathers Fight for Children," Foster Care Public Hearing, Massachusetts Energy Director Henry Lee, Day in the Life of an Air Traffic Controller
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- The first segment looks at Fathers Fight for Children, a group advocating for the rights of divorced fathers in determining custody of children. The second segment features a public hearing about the foster care system at which concerned foster parents and social workers voice their issues. The third segment features Massachusetts Energy Director Henry Lee discussing the national energy crisis. The fourth segment is about the day in the life of an air traffic controller at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Anchor: Mills, Mark
Anchor: Jacobson, Robin
Executive Producer: Kurnit, Scott
Interviewee: Lee, Henry
Producer: Zahm, Erin
Producing Organization: WGBY
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Identifier: AA070189543 (WGBY Library & Archives)
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- Chicago: “57 Reports; 110; "Fathers Fight for Children," Foster Care Public Hearing, Massachusetts Energy Director Henry Lee, Day in the Life of an Air Traffic Controller ,” 1978-06-17, WGBY, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 21, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_114-02c8673p.
- MLA: “57 Reports; 110; "Fathers Fight for Children," Foster Care Public Hearing, Massachusetts Energy Director Henry Lee, Day in the Life of an Air Traffic Controller .” 1978-06-17. WGBY, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 21, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_114-02c8673p>.
- APA: 57 Reports; 110; "Fathers Fight for Children," Foster Care Public Hearing, Massachusetts Energy Director Henry Lee, Day in the Life of an Air Traffic Controller . Boston, MA: WGBY, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_114-02c8673p