• MASTHEAD CHANGES: In accordance with REASON's periodic rotation of editorial positions among its major editors, Lynn Kinsky steps up to the position of Editor-in-Chief this month. Besides her REASON responsibilities, Ms. Kinsky is a sociologist, currently pursuing graduate work at University of California, Santa Barbara. Robert Poole, Jr., who has served as Editor-in-Chief since October 1973, now becomes Executive Editor. Poole is employed as a systems engineer with a small think tank in Santa Barbara. Manuel S. Klausner and Tibor Machan remain in their respective positions as Publisher & Editor and Senior Editor. Klausner is an attorney with a major Los Angeles corporate law firm and is chairman of the Libertarian Law Council, based in Los Angeles. Machan teaches philosophy at State University of New York, Fredonia. He has published widely in philosophical and ideological journals, and a recent article, "The Moral Imperative of the Free Market," appears in the April issue of NEW GUARD. No change of policy is signified by these new staff assignments.
• MASTHEAD ADDITIONS: Added to this month's masthead is new contributing editor, John Hospers. Hospers is director of the school of philosophy of the University of Southern California and is currently running for governor of California as the Libertarian Party's write-in candidate. In addition to his frequent articles for REASON and other journals, Hospers edits the PERSONALIST and is the author of the big-selling book, LIBERTARIANISM.
Another new staffer this month is Prakash Aswani who joins REASON's continually expanding network of foreign correspondents. REASON's first Asian correspondent, Aswani will report on developments in India. He is currently studying at the University of Michigan and plans to return to India this fall.
• ACCOLADES FOR REASON: The May 1974 issue of BOOKS FOR LIBERTARIANS (vol. 3, No. 5) contained a glowing description of REASON, calling it "the preeminent journal of the libertarian movement." BOOKS FOR LIBERTARIANS is a monthly publication which carries reviews of current books and records. A sample copy of the May issue may be obtained by writing to Books for Libertarians, 422 First St., S.E., Washington D.C. 20003.
• LAW & LIBERTY PROJECT: The second issue of LAW & LIBERTY is now out. A newsletter published by the Law & Liberty Project of the Institute for Humane Studies, LAW & LIBERTY contains valuable articles and analysis of legal developments of interest to libertarians.
The newsletter is available upon request, without charge, by writing Law & Liberty Project, Institute for Humane Studies, 1134 Crane St., Menlo Park, CA 94025.
• GOVERNMENT DECEPTION DEFENDED: The Air Force law office has taken the position that it is legal for "military" or "foreign policy" reasons to disguise military operations through "inaccurate or untrue" official reports. This conclusion was asserted in a memorandum from the Air Force's highest law officer, which was submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee in connection with the Committee's investigation last summer of the secret bombing of Cambodia for 14 months before May 1970. The Cambodian bombing raids had been authorized by President Nixon in March 1969, but were concealed in reports to Congress which falsely identified the targets as located in South Vietnam.
We are well aware of the common mentality among bureaucrats that they know best how to spend the taxpayers' money; but you'd think that the bureaucrats would at least be proud enough of their conduct to tell us just how they're doing it.
• JITNEYS REVISITED: REASON has long been in the forefront of those advocating "jitneys" as an effective way to help solve urban transit needs (see "Taxis and Jitneys: The Case for Deregulation," Feb. 1972; "Positive Approaches Towards Current Problems" (Editorial), Aug. 1973; "Trends," April 1974). Recent developments on the jitney-front in Los Angeles involve both good news and bad news for jitney proponents. The good news: Los Angeles has recently removed its prohibition on jitney service in the city. The bad news: The Los Angeles City Council's proposed ordinance would allow the city-operated bus system (RTD) to restrict jitneys from operating over many desirable routes. Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, whose 1972 mayoral campaign included a jitney plank, told REASON's publisher several months ago that he was still attempting to have jitney service restored to Los Angeles, but was opposed by the RTD which did not want jitneys to operate on any route which would cause the RTD buses to lose passengers.
The current situation in Los Angeles was skilfully analyzed by a University of Southern California economics professor, Ross Eckert, in a letter to the LOS ANGELES TIMES (April 17, 1974):
After a 60-year lapse, Los Angeles appears to be on the verge of restoring jitney transportation. Jitneys are small buses which supposedly carry 8 to 15 passengers for short trips of 1 to 2 miles to "personalized" destinations for fares of usually less than $1 each. They were very much the "craze" in Los Angeles way back in 1914 and became so popular that the jitney "movement" quickly spread across the entire nation.
The thought today is that jitneys could again be ideally suited to Los Angeles' diffused geographical character by enhancing circulation around downtown, Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, and other areas of relatively high foot circulation.
Unfortunately, the ordinance the City Council has ordered drafted will significantly raise the costs of jitney service and reduce its effectiveness in meeting the desires of passengers. The tremendous advantage of jitneys is that they are not supposed to have to operate along designated routes at fixed schedules. Instead, they are entirely responsive to the demands of passengers—the little buses take you where you want and when you want, saving you effort, time and dollars by economizing on walking distances, less-convenient scheduled trips by regular buses, and more expensive cab rides. This was their great attraction in 1914 and the same probably holds for 1974.
But the council's proposed ordinance would restrict jitneys to certain routes and operating patterns, thus destroying much of their appeal to passengers. The main motive for these restrictions is to prevent jitneys from competing with RTD bus routes and the city's taxicab monopolies; in fact, the RTD would be given an outright veto over jitney routes. These transport outfits would be protected but the convenience to passengers of unrestricted jitney service is somehow forgotten along the way.
It was the political clout of the transit companies that throttled the jitneys once before, which is the only reason why we haven't had any for these 60 years, and they will probably do so again (allied with the cab companies) unless the council "frees" jitneys from these inappropriate restrictions. Without restrictions, jitneys would provide Los Angeles with more flexibility in urban travel and be highly desirable. With restrictions, jitney service becomes a ruse and largely pointless, benefiting mostly the existing transportation monopolies.
We urge our readers to press their elected representatives to remove all existing restrictions against a free market in urban transportation. Demand that government bureaucrats deregulate taxis and jitneys, to allow city-dwellers to benefit from reduced costs with maximum travel flexibility.