Yet another creation of Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society, the Vista Program, has been marked for death by the Reagan administration.
The administration has decided to ask Congress to phase the program, sometimes called the domestic Peace Corps, out of business in 1983 as part of a reorganization effort in its parent agency, Action.
Thomas Pauken, who is awaiting Senate confirmation as director of Action, said yesterday the reorganization will shift the agency's emphasis toward programs aimed at older Americans, runaway youths, drug abuse and child abuse and child pornography problems. He said the Peace Corps, the best-known program, would remain intact.
"Vista has had mixed results," Pauken said."You may have one good one here and then an ineffective one some place else."
Vista, the acronym for Volunteers in Service to America, is the third Great Society program that Reagan budget-cutters have proposed eliminating. The president's budget, released earlier this year, called for abolishing the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Economic Development Administration, both designed to provide economic assistance to depressed areas.
Vista, created in 1964, sent thousands of low-paid volunteers, most of them young, into impoverished neighborhoods and communities as foot soldiers in former president Johnson's War on Poverty.
The volunteers organized community groups, formed credit unions and craft cooperatives, began housing programs and advised welfare recipients on how to go about gettting benefits.
In Vista's early years, these activites frequently set volunteers and the groups they worked with at odds with local officials, creating controversy and fostering widespread opposition among conservatives.
Although President Reagan as a candidate criticized Vista, his budget proposed simply trimming $1.7 million from its $34 million budget and reducing it to $20.7 million in fiscal 1982. As recently as last week, Pauken told a confirmation hearing that the administration had made no decision on a recommendation from the Office of Management and Budget that Vista be abolished.
But on Friday, a memo was distributed to Action employes outlining the administration's intentions. "While Vista has done much useful work in addressing the poor and the conditions of poverty, it is believed these limited successes do not justify the continued outlay of federal funds to support the program," a copy of the memo obtained by the Associated Press said. "Therefore, Vista will terminate during fiscal year 1983."