PUB:NYT PUBDATE:1997-10-16 SEC:A PAGE:1 OUTPUT:Thu Oct 16 14:45:33 1997 JOB:57086722 · NOTES

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NxA01xxx
New York: Today, partly sunny, cool. High 62. Tonight, mainly clear, chilly. Low 50 Tomorrow, more sunshine than clouds, cool. High 59. Yesterday, high 64, low 52. Details, page B7.

Late Edition

VOL. CXLVII . . . No. 50,947

Copyright © 1997 The New York Times

NEW YORK, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16, 1997
BASEBALL

$1 beyond the greater New York metropolitan area.

60 CENTS

Welfare Law Weighs Heavy In Delta, Where Jobs Are Few
By JASON DePARLE GREENVILLE, Miss. — While President Clinton has flatly declared ‘‘the debate is over — we know now that welfare reform works,’’ the hard-luck counties of the Mississippi Delta show the difficulties that can emerge when tough laws collide with a weak economy. The welfare rolls have fallen sharply across this 200-mile stretch of cotton fields and catfish farms, as they have in most of the country. But with unemployment rates hovering at 10 percent or more, many of those leaving the rolls are failing to find jobs. Indeed, during one recent period, the families dropped for violating the new work rules outnumbered those placed in jobs by a margin of nearly two to one. And the penalties in Mississippi are the nation’s toughest. Those who miss appointments or decline work assignments surrender not only their entire cash grant, but all their family’s food stamps and the medical insurance of adults. Across the Delta, mothers dropped from the welfare rolls are now turning to relatives, boyWHAT ABOUT MISSISSIPPI?

’97

P L AY O F F S

A special report. friends or other Federal programs — most notably disability payments — or traveling long distances in search of work. Maggie Miller lost her benefits and moved in with her sister, raising the number of children in the two-bedroom house to 15. Patricia Watson worked a day at a distant catfish-processing plant but quit after returning home to discover that her baby-sitter could not find her 6-year-old daughter. Curley Barron threw up her hands and returned her niece and nephew to foster care. Busy caring for her ailing mother, she refused to join a work program and therefore lost the $435 in cash and food stamps she was receiving for the children’s monthly support. It was scenarios like these in places like this that critics of last year’s landmark law feared. The landmark measure ended a 61year-old guarantee of Federal aid and transferred money and authority to the states. While some states might make good use of their autonomy, the critics said, said, others would prove unwilling or unable to construct safety nets of their own. Mindful of this state’s many last-place rankings on socioeconomic scales, they summarized their fears with a frequent refrain: ‘‘What about Mississippi?’’ The same could be asked of other states, particularly in the South, that combine high poverty rates with low spending. But the poverty here has historically run highest, and the spending levels lowest. Mississippi’s Republican Governor, Kirk Fordice, is known for the vehemence of his antigovernment views. And with black families making up more than 80 percent of the caseload, the welfare reductions inevitably remind critics of the state’s difficult racial past. For all its unique regional feaContinued on Page A24

GTE JOINS BIDDING FOR MCI, OFFERING $28 BILLION IN CASH
RICHEST COMPANY BATTLE Worldcom Deal for $30 Billion Is Still Highest, but That Would Be All in Stock
By SETH SCHIESEL Adding yet another combatant to the richest corporate takeover battle in American history, the GTE Corporation, the nation’s third-largest local telephone company, made an unsolicited offer yesterday to acquire the MCI Communications Corporation, the nation’s No. 2 long-distance carrier, for $28 billion. GTE’s all-cash bid came two weeks after Worldcom Inc., an upstart telecommunications provider, offered $30 billion in stock for MCI. That proposal was also unsolicited, and like GTE’s offer is meant to overtake a previous agreement by MCI to be acquired by British Telecommunications P.L.C. for about $19 billion in cash and stock. MCI did not comment, other than to say that its board, which was already studying the Worldcom offer, planned to meet again soon to weigh its options. But no matter how MCI chooses to respond to these or any subsequent offers or counteroffers, the flock of suitors signifies the telecommunications industry’s relentless imperative to consolidate. Deregulation, the upsurge in wireless communications and the Internet’s soaring popularity are now compelling telecommunications companies of all sorts and sizes to reach out for partners that can help them offer every conceivable communications service under a single brand name. ‘‘The key product strategy going forward for us is a bundled service — local, long-distance, data, international, wireless, paging,’’ Charles R. Lee, GTE’s chairman, said in an interview after announcing his company’s offer for MCI. ‘‘The ability to bundle is absolutely essential to our ability to succeed going forward.’’ Companies able to assemble such a lineup of services seek not only the rewards of rich revenues but also the considerable cost savings that would come from operating full-service networks. ‘‘We’re going from customers taking multiple services from multiple vendors to taking multiple services from one vendor,’’ said Eric Strumingher, a telecommunications analyst at Paine Webber. ‘‘The idea for the companies is to get in now while Continued on Page D21

G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times

11 Innings Later, Cleveland Wins Right to Face Florida in Series

Mississippi Delta

Tony Fernandez’s homer in the 11th inning yesterday gave Cleveland a 1-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles, sending the Indians to the World Series against the Florida Marlins. SportsThursday, page C1. Baseball’s owners voted to move an unidentified team from the American League to the National. Page C1.

Greenville Vicksburg Jackson
M I S S I S S I P P I

Airborne Dust Reno Confronts Republicans In Radar Center On Demands for Prosecutor Disrupts Travel
By DAVID JOHNSTON By MATTHEW L. WALD WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 — Airborne dust from a ceiling renovation project in a Long Island air traffic control center forced dozens of controllers to abandon their work stations for almost 10 hours today, setting off cascading delays that disrupted air travel around the country. The Federal Aviation Administration, concerned both about employees’ health and the possibility that the unidentified particles might disable a controller at his console, rotated a skeleton crew of controllers through the radar control center in brief shifts. The center handles planes for New York City’s three major airports. Disruptions were greatest at Newark International Airport, where officials said 150 flights were canceled and arrival delays reached five hours. The problems were comparable to those caused by a major storm, one airline official said. Many planes bound for the New York area were held on the ground at airports around the country for up to three hours, so that inbound planes in flight could be separated by 30 miles instead of the usual 5. That precaution was meant to insure that the few controllers still on the job, mostly supervisors, could handle the traffic safely. F.A.A. officials in Washington said this evening that they had received preliminary reports that twice during the disruption, small planes had flown closer to each other than the rules allow because of mistakes by a Continued on Page B5 WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 — Attorney General Janet Reno withstood eight hours of often antagonistic questioning today by Republican lawmakers, rebuffing their assault by saying that she had not uncovered enough evidence to step aside to let an independent prosecutor pursue Democratic campaign finance abuses. At varying times, in her appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Ms. Reno seemed combative, stoic and conciliatory as she steadfastly refused to explain the details of the Justice Department’s investigation into some aspects of the re-election efforts for President Clinton. But she tried to assure highly skeptical Republicans of her ability to conduct the inquiry impartially. Representative Henry J. Hyde, the Illinois Republican who heads the committee, got nowhere in pressing her about progress in the Justice Department investigation. ‘‘Ms. Reno,’’ he asked, ‘‘you have a grand jury impaneled. Could you tell us what they’re looking at? What is the purpose?’’ Ms. Reno said she could not. ‘‘I cannot discuss an investigation generally in terms of steps that we’re taking,’’ she said, ‘‘and particularly with respect to a grand jury.’’ ‘‘Well,’’ Mr. Hyde persisted, ‘‘may I ask you this? In the course of the grand jury’s functioning, have you subpoenaed any documents or tapes or records or memos from the White House?’’ Ms. Reno fired back, ‘‘I am again told that I am limited in what I can say with respect to a grand jury subpoena and what it seeks and the methods that we have taken to enContinued on Page A26

The New York Times

In Mississippi’s Delta counties, welfare changes have heightened despair among the poor.

On Russian-Iranian Oil Deal, U.S. Sanctions May Backfire
By DAVID E. SANGER WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 — In the next few weeks the Clinton Administration will face the first test of its willingness to make good on a threat to punish foreign companies that invest in Iran. But the State Department is not exactly leaping at the chance to teach a lesson to Russia’s premier private company, Gazprom, for a $2 billion deal with French and Malaysian companies to pump natural gas off the Iranian coast. Instead, officials are discovering anew that imposing sanctions on foreign companies that defy American policy — in this case by doing business with a country that supports terrorism — raises numerous unforeseeable problems. The issue is not whether Washington can stop the investment in Iran. That is clearly beyond its reach. Instead, it is whether Gazprom should be allowed to raise $1 billion in world financial markets, including the United States, next month — money that will go right into the company’s coffers just as it is preparing to write the Iranians a fat check. But stopping that deal threatens to unravel delicate negotiations with European allies over United States sanctions policy, and to interfere with Washington’s efforts to stabilize the rickety Russian economy. And, to make matters worse, it could also mean going up against one of President Clinton’s biggest financial supporters in last year’s campaign: Goldman, Sachs & Company. The Wall Street firm, whose forNEWS SUMMARY A2

mer co-chairman is Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, is underwriting the Gazprom bond offering. The company fought long and hard to get Gazprom’s business, and many European investment houses would dance with glee if Washington were to get in Goldman’s way. Even Stuart Eizenstat, the Undersecretary of State for economic affairs, concedes that if the United States tried to aim at Iran, the bullet would ricochet everywhere. ‘‘This is a matter which has important implications for our policy to deter Iran from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and supporting terrorism,’’ he said today. But it quickly becomes enmeshed, he added, in ‘‘our broader relationship with our European allies, the Russian Government and the Government of Malaysia,’’ to say nothing of the impact on Wall Street. The origins of Continued on Page A6

INSIDE
A S P E C I A L S E C T I O N

Cars

Warning Given on Tankers
The gas tanker explosion that closed the thruway in New York appears to have been caused by a problem found in tankers in 1989. Page B1.

Wheels and the Man: A Moving Melodrama
By RICHARD REEVES

Amtrak Strike Threat
Amtrak, facing a strike next Wednesday, says even the threat of a shutdown may scare off badly needed passengers. Page A23.
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

T

Arts ........................................................ E1-10 Business Day ...................................... D1-22 Cars ....................................................... G1-38 Editorial, Op-Ed .............................. A28-29 House & Home ................................... F1-16 International ....................................... A3-13 Metro ....................................................... B1-7 National .............................................. A14-27 SportsMonday ....................................... C1-8
Fashion ................... B8 Obituaries ............ D23 Real Estate .... F13-15
Classified ........ B9-11,F14-15

HERE ARE seven ages of a man and his cars. First, lust and smells never to be forgotten. Then the wounded ones and repairs. The one true love comes next, followed by the first new one, the rolling image and the best ones. Then ends this strange eventful history, sans lust, sans everything but getting there. Fittingly, to date, there have been seven ages of automobiles. The birth was just upgrading transportation and covered more than 100 years from the steam-propelled gun carriage built in 1769 by Nicolas Cugnot in France to the gasoline-driven horseless carriage made in 1886 by Gottlieb Daimler of Germany. In 1901 an American, Ransom Eli Olds, produced the first autos in volume (1,500 of them). Then the mass production of Henry Ford’s identical black Model-T’s in 1907. More colorful and quite different models made their appearance from the 1920’s until World War II. Next were the big and powerful and wild American highway years, from the 1950’s into the 1970’s. The European and then Japanese backlash inevitably followed, generating simpler, more harmonious, more efficient cars. That eventful history merged into one of global quality, better and better mass cars designed in the same wind tunnels for the interchangeable masses. That is as it should be. The new cars are good, very very good. They are almost perfect compared to what some of us grew up on. Of course that may be our problem. They purr, they handle like dreams. But their predictability unreasonably makes us long for a past where every car and driver had a story. Now what can you say if anyone asks about a long drive ? ‘‘Fine.No problem.’’ The last time I fixed a flat tire was in 1985, and that was in Poland. Men and cars both gave up chance and some of the romance for steady loving dependability. Like a good marriage. For me, at least, the break between old and new automobiles and between new and old manhood was sudden and obvious. One day a man could open the hood of his car and understand what he saw; he knew how it worked and when it was broke, not an uncommon occurrence. He could fix it, or thought he could. Then, suddenly, he could not understand it; if it stopped, the sensible thing to do was to call an 800 number.

Breathes there a man (of my age) with soul so dead that he does not remember the first time he saw Ford’s Thunderbird in 1955, new that year, or the Chevrolet with its overhead-valve V-8 engine. That 162-horsepower, $1,595 Chevy could be given historical significance by pointing out that putting a big engine in a small car meant that for the first time the middle class could drive as fast as the rich. I know I’m not alone on this. Who do you think are the men paying $30,000 and more to buying those ‘‘classic’’ Bel Airs and driving them around the Hamptons or West Los Angeles? I did not grow up in a car culture. ‘‘On the Waterfront’’ was filmed where I lived, not ‘‘American Graffiti.’’ To be young in Jersey City was to belong to the Number 9 bus culture. Only one person in my high school class owned a car. I did not even bother to get a driver’s license until I was 18 and had earned enough to buy a 1947 swept-back,twodoor, vacuum-shift Chevy with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer for $125. It was, as promised, a freedom machine, an opportunity machine, taking me to the Jersey shore and to drive-in movies in the meadowlands where MSNBC is now. Mostly it took me back and forth each day to Hoboken, where I learned mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. I learned obsolesence at the same time that Detroit did, graduating with a working knowledge of vacuum tubes, steam tables and other technologies going the way of Studebaker Brothers wagons, the best transportation on the Oregon Trail, and then Studebaker cars. Within a few years, Texas Instruments was selling everything I knew for about $10, pocket calculators. But that is another story. I did know enough, with help from an archipelago of junkyards, to keep the rolling wounded on the road, nursing a succession of what are now called ‘‘previously-owned’’ cars. The ’47 Chevy was replaced by a ’49 Chevy of bent frame and sickly green color; a 1949 Ford, a 1940 Studebaker that needed a quart of oil every 20 miles and a sturdy 1955 Volkswagen, which is probably still on the road somewhere in Brazil. My first new car was a 1960 Plymouth Valiant that I bought on the credit given to a brand-new college graduate. The Valiant dropped its transmission at a Continued on Page X

Attorney General Janet Reno listened at yesterday’s hearing to her 1993 defense of independent counsels.

Nobels for Science
Six scientists have been awarded Nobel Prizes for advances in manipulating atoms and in understanding the basic chemistry of life. Page A16.

On Tape: Clinton and Yesterday’s Old Friends
By JOHN M. BRODER WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 — There was President Clinton with his ‘‘good friend’’ John Huang at the Hay Adams Hotel here saying he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of AsianAmerican support for his campaign. And there he was with Yah Lin Trie, the entrepreneurial Little Rock restaurant owner, joking that 20 years ago neither of them could have afforded a ticket to the fund-raising luncheon they were attending. In another videotape moment, he was serving as tour guide in the gorgeous Green Room of the White House for a group of influential visitors, including Martin Davis, who recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges arising from the teamsters’ election last year. The snippets are found in 100 hours of videotapes turned over to Federal investigators today and Tuesday that show President Clinton courting Democratic donors and fund-raisers in the 1996 campaign. Whether or not they reveal any behavior that could prove legally troublesome for the President and his advisers, they undercut Mr. Clinton’s claims that he was detached from the details of fund-raising and add rich — and potentially embarrassing — detail to the unfolding tale of the Democrats’ aggressive pursuit of campaign cash. The tapes, many of little better quality than than a home video, show the President chasing money in a variety of settings, from intimate meals in the White House Blue Room to mass entreaties of scores of contributors in hotel ballrooms and tents. They provide potentially longlasting images of Mr. Clinton in the company of people like Mr. Trie and Mr. Huang, who have become central characters in the campaign finance investigation. Much of the money the Continued on Page A27

S U B U R B A N S P R AW L , S U B U R B A N C R AW L ANDREW C. REVKIN

It’s 7:20 A.M., 45 miles from Times Square. The birds are chirping, the cars are idling and the drivers are fuming. Rush hour in the suburbs is the new commuter nightmare, with traffic creeping along two-lane roads and through intersections built for a sleepier time. The frustrating truth is that traffic follows jobs, housing and mini-malls. And planners see no easy solution. Page 18.
W H AT C A L I F O R N I A ’ S D R E A M I N G U P N O W BRUCE NEWMAN

For better or worse, if it’s on the road in California today, you (or your neighbor) will probably be driving it tomorrow. Page 8.
S E AT - B E LT E D , A I R - B A G G E D A N D A N X I O U S LESLEY HAZLETON

Final Push in New Jersey
Encouraged by polls, the Democratic National Committee plans to help raise $1 million for Democratic candidates across the state. Page B1.

There’s a growing sense that driving is more dangerous than ever. But is it really? There certainly are more cars going faster over roads in worse condition. And polls show that drivers worry more than they used to, especially about “road rage’’ among their fellow drivers. The statistics, however, tell a somewhat different story. Page 2.

C A R TA L K W I T H ‘ C A R TA L K ’ J I M M C G R AW

P ORSCHE COMES TO SHOVE J AY M C I N E R N E Y

The hosts of the NPR call-in show discuss cars, car repair and spelling. Page 22.
R O A D C U LT U R E

A recovering sports car addict recalls highs, lows and spin-outs, from his father’s MGB to a less-than-perfect 911. Page 36.
HOUSE OF CARS HERBERT MUSCHAMP

TV Listings ........ E10 Weather ................ B7
Auto Exchange .............. C2

Too Good for the Good Ol’ Boys, by Kevin Sack . . . The Great Movie Car Chases, by Jeff MacGregor . . . Reports from Texas, New York City, Hollywood, the Rockies, Moscow and Beijing.
THE AUTOMAKER S

A More Worldly Detroit, by Keith Bradsher . . . Why Cars Matter, by David Sanger . . . Mercedes Thinks Small, by Roger Cohen.

They’re big. They’re dark. Sometimes they even have a nice house attached. An ode to the American garage, all dressed up but with no place to go. Page 25.

Yeltsin Deflects Challenge
President Yeltsin staved off a parliamentary vote of no confidence promoted by the Communists. Page A6.

SPECIAL TODAY

On the Internet: www.nytimes.com
THE NEW YORK TIMES is available for home or office delivery in most major U.S. cities. Call, toll-free: 1-800NYTIMES. Ask about Transmedia TimesCard. ADVT.

. . . .

Cars/Section G
Making, buying and driving them, plus traffic and safety, a New York Times-CBS News survey on how drivers feel, and essays by Richard Reeves and Jay McInerney.

Corporate Overtures
Concerts for corporations raise funds for orchestras. They also raise questions. Page E1.

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