Brickbats

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• New York City's welfare director James A. Krauskopf has found out the hard way that honesty will get you nowhere fast. In a startling outburst of candor, Krauskopf said it would be easier and less expensive to be penalized $70 million in federal funds because of inefficiency than to correct the mistakesâ€"which involve overpayments to and fraud by welfare clients.

New York stands to lose the funding if welfare waste and fraud are not reduced to 4 percent from a current 9.7 percent by 1983. Krauskopf boasted to reporters that the city had used a "huge array of administrative innovations" to reduce the error rate from 27 percent in 1973 to the current level.

Well, it didn't take long for Mayor Edward Koch to squeal about the lousy public relations Krauskopf's remarks were causing. "We will never be accepting of losses to the government," the mayor said, and the city would "redouble" its efforts to reduce overpayments. After a brief trip to the woodshed, Krauskopf denied his office ever determined that "it would be better to accept the penalties than to reduce the errors."

• Hats off to US District Judge Owen D. Cox of Texas. Calling a job discrimination suit "frivolous, unreasonable and without foundation," hizzoner ordered the plaintiff's attorneysâ€"Texas Rural Legal Aid, Inc.â€"to pay more than $22,000 to three companies. "I've never heard of anything like this in my life," sputtered David Hall, executive director of the federally financed legal aid corporation. Judge Cox ruled that Texas Rural Legal Aid had asked Israel Trevino, a Mexican-American, to seek employment with the Celanese Corporation in order to bring that company into a job discrimination suit already on the federal docket involving another job applicant. "The court finds that the maneuvering by TRLA for the purpose of creating a potential charge of discrimination constitutes an abuse of legal process."

• Dog bites man isn't news. Man bites dog used to be news, except it's now so corny that it's a cliché. But woman bites dogcatcher? Now, there's a story. Jill Otten admits she took a small piece out of the Minneapolis dog warden and pledges to do it again under the same circumstances.

Mrs. Otten's miniature poodle, Pepper, somehow got into the clutches of the Metropolitan Animal Patrol Service. She confronted a warden wearing badge No. 36, who had Pepper. A tug of war ensued. "He told me to let go of my dog or he would choke him to death right in my arms. He would not let go and so, in desperation, and fear for the life of my dog, I bit him," Mrs. Otten said. Her teeth sank into the dogcatcher's arm and he dropped Pepper. She took her dog and went home.

A complaint filed against her in municipal court for interfering with an animal warden, a misdemeanor, was dismissed when Badge No. 36, who refused to be identified, didn't show up in court. A Doberman was seen bothering the poodle, but Pepper warned the big dog that he would sic Mrs. Otten on him if he didn't leave peacefully.

• Ah, the ups and downs of life on Capitol Hill. When the Republicans took control of the Senate last January, they slashed the elevator corps from 37 operators to 15. Democrats didn't fight much, since it's hard to defend a system in which fully automated elevators were manned by operators for several shifts a day.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives took the cue and cut eight operators at a savings of about $80,000 a year. The remaining 14 will operate only the lifts used by legislators, who are much too preoccupied with the people's business to think about pushing the right button. Most of the operators were hired because of their political connections, concedes Rep. Joseph Moakley (Dâ€"Mass.), who is the patronage boss for the House Democrats. "Patronage itself has gotten such a sinister name. The official name of the patronage committee is really the Democratic Personnel Committee, and I like that moniker better."

• The American public has been getting beaten by the Internal Revenue Service for years, but authorities say IRS examiner Stephen Davidson went a little too far. Davidson was charged with fraud for using taxpayers' time to set up a flim-flam in which he lured college coeds to a makeshift film studio near Carnegie Hall in Manhattan and filmed himself spanking them.

After allegedly signing contracts promising the girls between $500 and $2,000 for taking up to 50 slaps, authorities say he never again contacted them after the trips to the woodshed. "His sole purpose was to spank young girls," said one detective who arrested him at the IRS office in New York. Officials added that Davidson paid no taxes on the risqué venture.