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August 29, 1967 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1967-08-29

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(TUESDAY, AUGUST 29, 196'x''

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

PAGE ELEVEN

I,

TUSAY UGS 2,167TE IHIA JALi.G EEE

City Government:
Making It Work
For 'U' Students
By JILL CRABTREE
One of the pet peeves of many critics of university life is
that students live a sheltered existence, concerned only with
classes and professors, without having any involvement in or
effect on their community. In a sense they are living an in-
terim existence-partially divorced from parental control, but
not yet allowed to assume full responsibility for their future
in the "cold, cruel world."
There are, however, opportunities for Ann Arbor students
to take an active part in shaping the community they must live
in, if they will take the effort to learn their rights and how
the city operates.
Students make up nearly 30 per cent of the population of
Ann Arbor. City merchants depend on students for consumption
of goods. Councilmen in wards where students are concentrated
depend on them for voting support. And the city can only
benefit from the ideas of students specializing in government,
law, and economics. Students are hardly a peripheral part of
the community.
In addition, students are vitally affected by actions of the
city government. They will feel the weight of housing, parking,
and motor vehicle ordinances. They will be affected by city
planning, and city services.
One of the most important tools a student can have in
determining his future is the right to vote. Very few freshmen
are eligible to vote, but what they do between the time-when
they enroll and the day they turn 21 may determine whether
the city will allow them to register here.
To be eligible to register; you must be at least .21 years old
by the date of the next election; you must have lived in MichiL
gan for six months, and in Ann Arbor for at least 30 days before
election day; and you must establish that you are a resident
of Ann Arbor.
This last requirement is the one you can do something
about now. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself, with the
requirements.
Michigan statute reads: "No elector shall be deemed to
have gained or lost a residence while a student at any institu-
tion of learning."
But don't let yourself be confused by legalistic jargon: The
law does not mean you cannot gain residency while a student.
It merely means you are not necessarily a resident of the city
where you attend college.
The City Clerk is the one who finally determines whether or
not you are eligible. He follows a set of criteria based on rulings
of the Attorney General made to clarify the law.
"A residence for voting purposes may be acquired when it
is manifest'that a student does not intend to return home, but
intends to remain at the place of education for an appreciable
length of time, or, as a general rule, where a student attending
school or college has no intention of returning home, but is
not certain as to the place of his future' residence, or where the
student is free from parental control, regards the college town
as his home, and has no other home to which to return In case
of sickness or other affliction."
In other words, you are more likely to be considered eligi-
ble if you stay in Ann Arbor during school vacations, and do
not return to your parental home in case of illness or injury,
or if you are self-supporting, married or can establish that
you are free from parental control. If you get a job here, or
have relatives here, or other ties with the community, this
will also help you in -establishing a voting residency. But you
are not necessarily disqualified if you do not fill these require-
ments.
When it comes time for you to register, do not try to de-
termine your eligibility over the telephone. Go directly to the
City Clerk's office, on the second floor of City Hall, Fifth
Avenue at East Huron, and ask to be registered.
If you have any difficulty with a particular clerk, ask
to see Mr. Bentley, the city clerk. If he feels there is some ques-
tion of your eligibility, ask to speak to Mr. Forsythe, the city
attorney. Do not be deterred. In the past, many caes of di-
puted residency have been decided in favor of the student. The
worst that can happen to you is to be turned down.
As to the city government itself-the charter of Ann Arbor
combines features of the mayor-council and council-manager
forms of government. Elected officials are the mayor, 10
councilmen from five wards, and the municipal judge. The
councilmen are nominated and elected on a partisan ballot
for two-year terms. Half of the council is chosen each year.
The mayor is elected at large.
Except for some minor exceptions, all powers of the city
are vested in the City Council. It is the only policy-making
body of 'city government. It meets on Monday nights at 7:30
in City Hall. All of the meetings are open to the public, and
citizens-even students-are given a chance to be heard.
All ordinances must be read publicly at council meetings
twice before they are passed on. This is an excellent ekiance for
a student to familiarize himself with proposed regulations that

will affect him-such things as housing ordinances, cycle reg-
ulations, and parking laws. The first reading of an ordinance
is intended to make it public. Duringthe time between the
first and second reading, the public hag an opportunity to
propose to Council, in groups or as individuals, suggested
changes. Students-even those who are not yet old enough to
vote-are no exception.
Any decisions made by the Council are subject to the may-
or's veto. His veto may, however, be overridden'by a vote of
eight council members.
When a student, or anyone for that matter, has a special
problem, it is helpful to know where in the city's bureaucracy
to get advice or register a complaint. For borderline cases,
City Hall information can be helpful. But there are some prob-
lems that students come up against frequently. These merit
individual treatment.
f Renting apartments is an everyday fact of existence for
Ann Arbor students. Under the new city housing, ordinance,
the responsibility for most code violations in rental units is with
the landlord. This includes standards of repairs and main-
tenance as well as lighting, heating, etc. In addition, no land-
lord can lease an apartment or other rental unit unless it is
"clean and sanitary." Any violations of this code may be re-
ported to the city Health Office.
0 Freshmen cannot own or operate motorcycles while on
campus. But after they reach their sophomore year, cycles will
be the only form of personal transportation allowed most stu-
dents. Enforcement of the city cycle ordinance is strict. To
avoid your first run-in with the Ann Arbor police, it is a must
to follow four rules. Both passengers and drivers must wear
helmets. Neither may carry anything which would stop them
from holding on with both hands. Cycles may not be operated
in area not designated for them. And cycles must stay in the
line of traffic; passing cars stopped at an intersection, except
where allowed, is illegal.
There is more, however, to student involvement in city
government than just knowing how to protect the rights you

71

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