Editor's Notes


This month marks the debut of our new assistant editor, Eric Martí. Eric will be assisting managing editor Marty Zupan in putting out each month's issue, coauthoring the Trends column, and serving as managing editor of our newsletter, Frontlines. Eric comes to us from a Chicago-based trade publication, Dental Products Report, where he was associate editor. Prior to that he worked in the subscription department of Time, Inc. A magna cum laude graduate of Middlebury College (in philosophy and French), he spent a year in a philosophy Ph.D. program at Yale but left upon deciding to pursue a career in journalism.

Eric's predecessor, Christine Dorffi, has left us to devote herself full-time to free-lance writing. We hope to present her articles in REASON's pages from time to time.

We are pleased to present the results of our Humor Contest announced in the September issue. Mark Edward Crane, of Cliffside Park, New Jersey, has been awarded the Grand Prize: "the chance to work for peanuts…as a Brickbats writer for REASON." Second prize goes to John Fund, a resident of Fair Oaks, California; this is the honorable mention promised as a prize. Since Mr. Crane took us up on the chance offered as first prize, he will be appearing in REASON each month as the writer of Brickbats. See page 12 for his first go at it. Not expecting to survive on our peanuts, Mr. Crane will be continuing his full-time job as a feature and business reporter for a national wire service.

The idea of privatizing air traffic—providing it in the private sector, paid for by the users rather than the taxpayers—has picked up new support. First proposed in these pages in my January 1979 article "Is This Any Way to Run an Airway?" and elaborated on in Chapter 7 of Instead of Regulation, privatization has now been endorsed editorially by both the New York Times (Oct. 23) and the Register (Nov. 4). Earlier this fall, two labor leaders—AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland and Machinists' union president William Winpisinger—also endorsed the idea. And both the White House staff and the Transportation Department have expressed some interest in it. We'll keep you posted.

Our October cover story on competing electric utilities has begun attracting attention. Author Jan Bellamy and I did an hour-long talk show on the subject on radio WKIS, Orlando, Florida, in October. Host Bud Brewer got so enthusiastic about the idea that he went on to interview economist Walter Primeaux and Lubbock Power & Light representative Carroll McDonald (who were quoted in the article) on subsequent programs. National Economic Research Associates, a New York–based consulting organization, ordered 100 copies of the issue. And even the Bulletin, Australia's leading news magazine, featured a column on the article.

We're continuing to receive feedback on our August cover story on the St. Louis Solution to urban decay—street privatization. In Berkeley, California, several citizens, citing the REASON article, suggested privatization as a possible solution to drug-related street crimes in the southwestern portion of the city. A hostile city council referred the matter to the city attorney's office, which reviewed it but recommended against it as not likely to be effective. REASON has received inquiries on the subject from citizens' groups in Los Angeles, again in response to crime problems. And one Florida community, Golden Beach, has gone ahead and closed off (but not privatized) all but one of the streets linking it with highway A1A and adjacent Dade County's crime problems. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times picked up on our story and did a frontpage piece on St. Louis's private streets on October 13.

Our July cover story on privatizing Wilderness lands continues to attract notice. The Register in Orange County, California, recently devoted an editorial to the idea, quoting authors John Baden and Richard Stroup. And Susan Lee had a piece titled "Taking America's Wilderness to Market" on the Wall Street Journal editorial page on September 9. Stroup, meanwhile, has been busy compiling data on the extent of existing landholdings by conservation organizations. Altogether, the 15 responding organizations have acquired some 5.4 million acres over the years. Some of this land has been turned over to government agencies, but a substantial portion remains in private hands. That's especially true of the large landholdings of such groups as the Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, and the National Audubon Society.