Mayor Roger Hedgecock's determination not to resign is understandable and, in some ways, admirable. But I wonder if it has occurred to him--or to others--that his present dilemma is not without precedent.
Having supported the mayor's right to reelection in a letter published in The Times on Nov. 4, I have only recently concluded that he has had his day in court and that he should, perhaps, review the course of events in another celebrated case.
In August of 1974, President Richard Nixon was in a very similar situation. He had recently been reelected by a large majority in spite of the fact that the Watergate burglaries had already been exposed and were under investigation. He was a popular President and his second term seemed comfortably secure. Then, increasing disclosures of wrongdoing began to seriously undermine his credibility and, at one point, he even felt compelled to tell the American people on national television that he "was not a crook."
The Ervin subcommittee hearings on Watergate might well be compared to the grand jury indictment of Roger Hedgecock. Each of these tribunals produced sufficient evidence to require further litigation. The next step for President Nixon was the impeachment committee hearings, which produced even more damaging revelations. After much soul-searching on the part of the committee members, it was determined, by a sizable majority, that an impeachment trial must take place.