WGBH Journal; Barbara Ackerman Interview
Good evening and welcome to GBH Journal. I'm Greg Fitzgerald. And on tonight's regional magazine of news and features former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Cambridge mayor Barbara Ackerman endorses Republican Frank Hatch. Architect I am paid discusses his design for the new West Wing of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Blue lines looks at what the insects are doing to New England trees and fission or fusion. A new trend in atomic energy. First a look at the news. Sharp criticism and the threat of court action have followed the Boston Redevelopment Authority's approval of developer Mortimer Zuckerman proposal for a North and waterfront hotel. Criticism of the action comes from north and residents. The Boston Finance Committee and a dissenting member of the bee are a board. The thrust of the criticism is that the PR a board bowed to mayoral pressure against the best interests of the city. Zuckerman is a close friend and political ally of Mayor Kevin White. Critics note that the Zuckerman proposal was rated last in design
financial feasibility and tax deal to the city and its argument was considered to be the least capable of all six bidders for the contract. At a meeting in the North End last night Mayor White tried to answer angry questioners and promised that he would review with the B.R. a decision. Spectators packed a federal appeals court in downtown Boston today as the legal battle over Massachusetts new Medicaid abortion law continued. The new law presently halted by court injunction bans all Medicaid abortions except to save a woman's life. Attorney Nancy Gertner representing several Boston area abortion clinics urged the three appeals court judges to broaden the law to include medically necessary abortions. For instance in situations where a woman's chronic kidney problems would be worsened by a pregnancy. Lawyer Joseph Biliteral of the bill Baird clinic asked the court to throw the law out altogether. And Steven Rosenfeld speaking for the state argued that the Massachusetts legislature has a legal right to restrict Medicaid abortions and the courts should not
get involved. There is no word yet on when the three judges will make their decision. Pro-choice advocates are hopeful the court will decide in their favor. Two of the judges have already shown some pro-choice empathy by temporarily halting Massachusetts new Medicaid abortion law. In the meantime Medicaid funds are still available to any woman needing an abortion. Republican gubernatorial candidate Francis Hatch has received the endorsement of the Massachusetts chapter of Americans for Democratic Action. The 88 is known as a liberal group and it has never before endorsed a Republican candidate for governor. Hatch has welcomed the endorsement although many of his fellow Republicans fear that such liberal support will drive more conservative Republicans into the Qing camp. Hatch has also received endorsements from the last four of the state's Republican governors on Wednesday former Cambridge mayor Barbara Ackerman a Democrat who was defeated in the September primary endorsed the Republican hatch. We'll have more on the Ackerman endorsement
later in this broadcast. Meanwhile Hatch and his Democratic opponent Edward King are backing off on original campaign promises concerning taxes while preparing position papers on tax cuts and budget controls. Both candidates have become more conservative in the figures they release. Democrat king is no longer pushing for adoption of a proposition 13 for Massachusetts. Instead he plans major savings for state residents through a program of state and local tax cuts. Meanwhile Republican Hatch says that a growing Massachusetts economy will provide an extra 17 million dollars earmarked for local aid. The figure revised from an earlier increase of one hundred million dollars. Topographies at Boston's two major newspapers are close to approving their first work contract in 14 months. The Boston typographical union reached a tentative contract with The Boston Globe and Herald American early this morning with October 15th. So that is the date when rank and file members will vote on the proposed settlement. The action today apparently aversive the threat
of a Boston newspaper strike which has haunted the city in recent weeks. The recently signed contract between Fall River schoolteachers in the city has reached to snag the Fall River City Council has decided that it will vote next week on whether to veto the proposed contract. The teachers union and the city have come to terms earlier this week ending a 23 day old holdout. However many Fall River residents have complained to the city council that the contract is simply too expensive. The Fall River Educators Association which represents the city's eight hundred fifty teachers is protesting the news saying that if it saying that it is illegal to take the contract away now. Republican gubernatorial candidate Frank Hatch has begun to receive the endorsements of
moderate and liberal Democrats and Republicans who feel unable to support the candidate Democrat Edward King. In the past two days former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Ackerman and the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action came out in support of Hatch's candidacy Ackerman's endorsement is a major step in Democrat support of a Republican gubernatorial candidate. ACKERMAN represents the liberal wing of the state Democratic Party and her action could serve as a model for other liberal voters. Yesterday she spoke with reporter Marsha Hertz and explained some of her thoughts about the upcoming election. How do you feel as a liberal Democrat to about switching party allegiance and supporting a Republican candidate for governor. I think that this will not be the first Republican to have voted for in Massachusetts where nearly everybody is a Democrat. I think most people felt the person particularly for governor because people realize that a governor you vote for Governor more for ability to
do the job than for philosophy that the governor is not. Policy is really set by the legislature. I think it's more important what your Senate candidate thinks what you want you what you want your governor is a quality of who humanity and an ability to do the job and ability to work with people who willingness to listen to people. And I think that Hatch has those qualifications and I'd like to give him a chance to try. How active do you think you'll be in campaigning for hatch. There are only five weeks left. I'm going to work as hard as I can and it's going to take a great deal of individual effort to multiply his campaign by four which is basically what's got to be done if he's to stand a chance of winning on November 7th I am going to work for him and I hope that everybody else who would prefer Hatch will realize that
he needs not only their vote but their time. Do you think that Democratic crossovers like yourself will have a great effect on the campaign. A Republican can't win in Massachusetts without a lot of Democratic support. So Arjan got a lot of Democratic support. Volpi got a lot of Democratic support. Here in Cambridge I know many many Democrats who are certainly going to vote for Hatch I think some of them are already deciding they're going to work for him too. Without that obviously he can't win. Do you think that your endorsement of Hatch will serve as a model for other Democrats in the state. I certainly hope so the 60000 people who voted for me I think will pay some attention to what I do. I also think that many Democrats are deciding on their own that they. Prefer hatch to King in the model I'm trying to give them. It's a model of somebody who's going to put five weeks full time into working for a hatch. Do you have any expectations from state legislators as to what Democrats as to what they
might do. I think it's a mistake to look for people who are running for office themselves and perhaps in some difficulty themselves to get involved in a different race I think that's not where we're going to be looking for a main support. I wouldn't be surprised if more you know the mere Holyoke has come out for Hatch and I think more mayors and perhaps city councils will come out for him. Basically because. You know I was a man myself and when the reasons I ran it's very important to people who are running city government to have an effective person running state government. So I think some such people may come out for him but I put the basic support for Frank is going to come from the rank and file Democrats and people who know the Democrats but aren't necessarily famous for being Democrats. Do you think this kind of crossover voting might have any significant effect on the future of Massachusetts politics. I don't think it's as unusual in Massachusetts as people have been saying. I want to make one point which I was cheered me up which is that 70
percent of the Democrats voted for a very liberal candidate for Senate. Tsongas. And Desi and Elaine noble all of them were running on strong visible liberal platforms and they got way over the majority of the Democratic vote. I don't think that this state has turned conservative. I think you know my perception of the electorate in all of the last nine months since I've been campaigning is that they are very angry with their state government that they're angry with their governor and what they were angry about was not only taxes but services and even more so perhaps the feeling the state government had gone wrong. They don't mind being taxed as long as much as they mind having their money misspent after the election a lot of people started to say if only people knew how the election with it was going to turn out people would have voted differently Dukakis would have won. What do you think of that.
I think it's not true. I think that some people would have remembered to vote who didn't and I think that a few of the people who voted for me would have voted for Dukakis. Many of the people who voted for me would have voted for King. When I was out for it was the anti Dukakis vote and I got a lot of King votes. And if you look at my vote which was larger in the cities than it was in the suburbs you'll see why I say that since January I have been trying to tell people that Dukakis is in real trouble. He couldn't have won if people had known the day before that he needed their help because he had no organization and he had no organization because the people who ran his last election decided in January that they could not work for him. And that is why it was very clear from the beginning that he couldn't win. And the mystery of the election is why the press never saw that and why the polls never indicated that everybody who was out on the campaign trail knew that Dukakis was in serious trouble.
I just like to close to ask you what you might be predicting for November's election. I think that hatch can win but only if people really get out and work for him. Boston's Museum of Fine Arts has just been awarded $600000 by the National Endowment for the Arts. The money comes as part of the federal agencies challenge grant program by which the museum must raise $3 for every $1 received from the government. JOHN CANN of and the director of resource development for the MFA said that a large portion of the money would be spent on the renovation and reconstruction of the museum's West Wing. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new wing of the museum occurred two weeks ago and its architect is I.M. Pei has been in the news a lot recently since he designed the new wing of Washington's National Gallery. Bostonians are also familiar with his
work. He designed the new John Hancock Tower in Copley Square. Players currently in Boston making plans for the Museum of Fine Arts West Wing. And he spoke yesterday with reporter Vivian Dukat. I was told You have a feeling about the museum as it presently stands that there's something about it that's kind of random that you can get lost in it and that you see your goal is to straighten it out. Could you explain that. Yes. And I think this is terribly important in the museum particularly a big one like this that the public must not must find their way easily. And it can be done by design. And at the present time it is not it's a rabbit warren. And as a consequence of that I think the museum loses a good deal because a visitor can easily miss out on some wonderful galleries were hidden away by design if we can clarify this system of circulation. And we not only makes it easier for people to find their way but at the same time I think we can expose more of the wonderful
things collection to to them for them to visit and to see. So what kinds of things can be done. First thing we can do is to make the circulation spine simple. So that. I think a person has sort of a sixth sense about how to kill around. And if you don't try to trap it trap him or her purposely by Piper Zein you try to do it in a simple way. I think that they'll find their way around and as a result I think makes makes it much more pleasurable to go to a museum that way at the present time. We all know that the museum has one of them finest collection in in the country and in the world and much of it much of the resources of the museum are hidden away in the basement storage. So the first thing we have to do is to make more galleries. Then the second part which is the West West Wing and I'll come to that the West Wing performs another kind of
function. Museums today are no longer just a repository for works of art. It's more than that it's also an educational institution. It's a place that we want to let's say have been changing exhibits exhibits from other museums and other parts of the world where we don't have here in Boston area. Now the West Wing will perform that function. It will satisfy the needs with the docents solve too well right now to have a large flexible exhibition space for changing exhibitions. Now additionally I think the museums such as the US as Largest as this needs to have a change of pace for the public and I think the West Wing will give them sort of just that make it pleasant for them to sit around have a drink to to to go on and see more. At the present time there is no
place to do that. In the West Wing we will have a place where there will be trees and flowers and they light. Make it much more enjoyable. When you design any museum How do you. Do you ever take into account the kind of art that is already owned by the museum in deciding your design. Oh very definitely yes. And the spaces we have to be tailor made to the objects. For example let's say a Chinese Cross is very different from large canvases by modern American painters. Totally different therefore the spaces will have to be different the lighting will have to be different. Yes there have to be tailor made but that can come later. There is almost an internal interior design but the external space has to be there first. And this is our first order of business is to create as many calories as we can out of the existing building. And then to redesign each of those internal spaces to fit the
objects to be displayed. Architect I.M. Pei talking with GBH Journal reporter Vivian Duca. There has been other good news for cultural institutions in Massachusetts recently along with the money warning to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts came one hundred fifty thousand dollars for Boston's ballet company and a hundred and seventy thousand dollars for Harvard's Fogg Art Museum. All of these grants came from the National Endowment for the Arts challenge grant program the Springfield orchestra Association and the Wister County mechanics architect Association also received national endowment challenge grants. And earlier in the week the Boston Symphony Orchestra received eight hundred fifty thousand dollars dollars under a five to one challenge grant.
To many in Boston autumn often include a trip to the country to view the spectacular fall foliage on the New England roadside. One concern of many side series is the defoliation of many of the roadside trees caused either by insects in past or simple neglect. There has been some confusion in the past as to who was responsible for the care of roadside trees. Louis Lyons discussed these problems with Stan Wood director of insect and pass control at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management. Mr. Ward you are just a man I've been wanting to see and seems to me the fact of your existence you know function is it is knows itself it ought to be spread. We were driving back last Sunday on Route 2 from my weekend upstate and we were just intoxicated with Laureus foliage I think the most brilliant I can remember seeing but we were also just disgusted at the miles of camp Caterpillar nests string on the
trees along the roadside and we wondered who to blame for this whether the local state is supposed to clean up the roads. Well why don't I start by correcting you on one thing this is not the tent caterpillar. This is the fall web worm and the fall web worm is an insect which lays its eggs in mid summer on the foliage. The young caterpillars hatch. They start building these nest quite similar to the what we call a tent caterpillar. And but they develop later in the season. They are unfortunately aesthetically very and pleasing to the eye. But they do very little damage to the trees but the trees that make that the greatest goal of our fall is that we stay the maple and and the oaks are really very
highly resistant sects where they are not bothered very much although an occasional fall weather ness can be found on maples in your dealings with the community. Town officials many of those people grow up with trees and they must know how to deal with this and they must know about the wild cherry for instance as a side to arms and you'd think they'd get out and try to clean up their roadside. Well especially in the winter when you can get out I mean when there isn't too much for its public works people to do. A lot of them do try to do this a lot of them try to eliminate the Welsh area along the roadsides especially the secondary country type or older. We have so many in these somewhat your songs often so beautiful and I was ready to write Tori's love to get on but if they don't eliminate the favorite food cherry it's still possible to
control these things quite easily if they have the funds available and I'm sorry about that that's what I've been trying out a lot of control or no state funds to do they. I must try to get appropriation to town meeting. Yes they do wouldn't take a very big appropriation from bed in the millions. I don't know the appropriations in most of these communities and not terribly large. The important thing is that they have the proper equipment if they have the proper equipment. The purchase of insecticides is not it's not that costly but it requires time and a lot of these communities there. It's a one man outfit you might say. And he doesn't have the money to in his budget to hire someone else.
I want to ask you about something else and that is that the new roadside plantings the replacing the stately homes we've lost and already lost the chestnut and I noticed that Metropolitan District Commission seems to be finding some new kind of trees along Storrow Drive. A lot of planting is being done lately with what they call a little leaf Linden. Yes and I said maybe that's it I don't I don't know whether this is right but you are getting some new you know trees or looks like wood you know more resistant. Yes no yes yes. And one thing we're trying to impress upon people is not to plant all one kind of tree all one species of tree because we'll run into the same problem someday that we ran into with the the elm trees we planted as cities and towns with them. I was said the disease came along and boom we're losing. So but if we had a variety of trees. We wouldn't lose them all at once.
Fusion or fission. The choice of one of these two nuclear reactors could completely turn around the energy situation in the American public and legal sentiments against Faison reactors has slowed down the growth of nuclear power in the last decade. Construction of a massive water cooled fusion reactor in Seabrook New Hampshire was almost permanently halted last summer by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and peaceful protest over the plan have led to a rest almost weekly. Many researchers and engineers are beginning to look more seriously at the fusion reactor though not a practical man writing energy in 1978. Scientist recently testified in Congress that fusion could within a few decades become a limitless source of power. With few of the safety problems generated by fission. Reporter Steve Kerr wood takes a look now at the recent developments in fusion energy. When we run out of our oil supply in the next 20 or 30 years we'll probably start using ordinary water as our fuel supply to make electricity. That's right ordinary
water. Over at MIT and in laboratories around the world scientists are busy trying to control the thermonuclear process of fusion. And when they get the process right they'll take the heavy hydrogen atoms found an ordinary drinking water and fuse them together making helium and at the same time releasing an enormous amount of energy. In fact it's estimated that there is the same amount of energy to be gained from fusing the heavy hydrogen in a single glass of water as there is from burning 100 gallons of gasoline. Fusion is what powers the sun and I'm controls usually has been used on Earth in the hydrogen bomb. But unlike fission which is the break up of big atoms like those of highly toxic plutonium and uranium fusion promises to be much cleaner and safer in its commercial applications. Why. Well for one thing while plutonium reactor and waste are so dangerously radioactive that they must be sealed away from living beings for hundreds of thousands of years. The fusion waste on the other hand will be mostly
free from radioactivity. Some of the reactor equipment will become hot. But both the equipment and small amounts of radioactive waste will cool down enough to be safe to handle in just 10 or 20 years. Present day conventional nuclear fission plants also run the risk of being raided by terrorists after material for an atomic bomb. In talking to MIT as Dr Ron Parker I asked him if fusion power plants could run the same risk. I'm not at all Steve. The In fact I suppose in a way the best proof of that is to look at how hard it is to make the fusion cycle go. You know there's been a significant worldwide effort in fusion research 25 to 30 years now. Nobody has even come really very close to making fusion go or to make it ignite. That is to make something in any way shape or form analogous to a bomb. In contrast to that the fission cycle is in fact very similar to a bomb cycle
except that the reaction is mitigated by the use of moderators. Not that I don't want to give the false impression that a fission reactor can explode it cannot but it can melt down as the reaction proceeds too rapidly in a fusion. On the other hand if the reaction proceeds too rapidly the hot gas contacts the wall and the wall. Vacuum or I will put it out and stuff it out by the release of heavy metal impurities into the into the reacting plasma. What about accidents. In 1972 the Atomic Energy Commission reported that a large scale accident involving a big nuclear fission power plant would kill or radiate some hundred fifty thousand people and leave hundreds of square miles so radioactive they would be uninhabitable for centuries. What a thermonuclear fusion reactor have that potential for devastation. We cannot imagine any catastrophe happening to a fusion plant which would involve you know hundreds of square miles and the population
immediately surrounding the the plant outside of perhaps just the operators or people in the immediate vicinity we just can't imagine this at this present time. But we continue to assess what the consequences of the next you know the worst case accident would be just as it's been done. Scientists still have to get the fusion process to work. Obviously no easy task but MIT seems to be the closest. Princeton also made an important discovery in fusion research this past summer but was not as big a breakthrough that some people in the journalism business would have us believe that to Parker. How soon will fusion become a reality and not just a possibility. I think 20 years to the demonstration of fusion as a viable energy source is a reasonable timetable. It also seems to me that if if in fact we know that in 20 years fusion big can become available is also sufficient in terms
of our present reliance on fossil fuels. You see the problem fossil fuels really becomes acute only in 20 25 years 30 years and so if we knew we had a sure thing in 20 to 25 years I don't see that as a very bad situation in fact quite the contrary I think that'll get us by with what we have adequately MIT nuclear scientist Dr. Ronald Parker optimistic about the prospects of fusion power for GBH Journal. I'm Steve Cohen. And that's to be a journal for this Friday October 16 1978. Program was produced and directed by Marshall Hertz with production assistance by Tom Fontanella nude
- WGBH Journal
- Barbara Ackerman Interview
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- APA: WGBH Journal; Barbara Ackerman Interview. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-36547qd4