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February 11, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-02-11

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4 ifiitran'nathl
Seventy-nine. years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
) Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich. News Phone: 764-0552
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.
DNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1970 NIGHT EDITOR: JUDY SARASOHN

"The Clergy Counseling Service maintains a phone service
in Detroit. Call 964-0838 and you will hear a taped message
listing the names and phone numbers of three clergymen in
the metropolitan area. There is no charge for the service."
00
Aborion and disse-minating the word

Putting teeth
in the housing ordinance

E CITY'S HOUSING ordinance has
long been a weak and ineffectual
document - not even a tiger on paper.
It provided unwieldy and insufficient
mechanisms for penalizing violators, tol-
erated sloppy inspection of apartment
buildings and gave landlords endless ex-
tensions to correct their code violations.
As a result lapses of up to two years oc-
curred between the time a violation was
reported and the correction was made.
It is little wonder that landlords have
taken advantage of the housing code, per-
mitting long standing code violations to go
uncorrected, though they presented im-
minent hazards to a tenant's health and
safety. For what would threaten the land-
lord; the ordinance was only a packet of
laughs.
These wretched conditions appear to
be headed for improvement, with City
Council's enactment of a new housing
codelast Monday.
The code strengthens many of the pro-
visions of the 1968 state housing Tenants
Rights Act which the city relied on ex-
clusively prior to the new ordinance's ap-
proval.
And while the new ordinance has some
shortcomings, it can - if the city ac-
cepts the enforcement responsibilities -
mark the end of the deplorable condi-
tions of the past.
E CODE enables the city to seek an
injunction against a landlord if he'
refuses to correct violations which present
an imminent hazard to a tenant's safety.
It additionally allows the city to take
emergency procedures itself to correct
the violations if the situation presents an
immediate danger.
And the city can also instruct a court
to appoint a receiver to make repairs that
a landlord failed to make in his building.
In such a case, the receiver would de-
termine the conditins under which the
building would be returned to the land-
lord.
The code also imposes a fine of $5 per
day for each major or minor violation
that is not corrected in a maximum of 180
days. Major violations refer to hazards
to health and safety, while minor viola-
tions apply to less severe problems, like
the failure to paint a building. The fine
would take hold in 15 days if a landlord
did not show any proof he was correcting
a major violation.
Also, tenants can place their rent in a
private or city-operated escrow fund if
the city fails.to inspect the dwelling with-
in 10 days after a complaint is filed with
the city, provided the owner did not pre-
sent evidence repairs were underway. A
tenant can also place his rent in escrow
if the building's certificate of compli-
ance is withdrawn. The maximum amount
of time before escrow payment could be-
gin is 60 days for both major and minor
offenses.
1968 state tenants rights act allows
payment in escrow for only major
violations and is unclear about whether
tenants can place their rent into a pri-
vate escrow account. These points are
well clarified in the city's new code.
Although these changes on balance
represent a significant strengthening in
the code's enforcement provisions, they
place a heavy burden on the city to insure
that excessive extensions are not given

and that penalties are imposed rapidly
and efficiently.
For the code was deliberately restruc-
tured to give the city building officials
flexibility in determining the amount of
time that can elapse before penalties are
invoked. Until Monday, a landlord had
15 days to correct violations constituting
hazards to health and safety or he would
face the $5 fine and rent withholding.
And now there is no distinction be-
tween a major and minor infraction -
despite the differences in their gravity.
The maximum time before fines can be-
gin is 180 days and for rent withholding,
60 days.
City building officials - who are large-
ly responsible for the code's enforcement
- insist they will strictly enforce the ord-
inance and not give landlords excessive
extensions to correct major violations.
They do not, for instance, anticipate
giving landlords the entire 60 day period
to fix hazards to health and safety. They
believe it would be extremely unusual that
it would be 180 days before fines would
take effect.
YET WHETHER the code is strictly en-
forced or whether, as before, it toler-
ates code violations depends entirely on
the building officials. If, as at present,
they are dedicated'to eradicating housing
abuses, the code will be a powerful piece
of law.
But suppose the officials are willing to
give landlords endless extensions and re-
fuse to enforce the ordinance stringently?
Then it is entirely possible that it could
take as much as two month for rent with-
holding to begin and as long as six months
for a landlord to be fined. And during
this time, a tenant could be wallowing
in hazards to his own health and safety.
Thus, it is unfortunate that the council
refused to establish more definite time
limits for the beginning of rent with-
holding and fining. For while it may be
true that fixing major violations requires
offering bids for contractors, possibly
hiring new manpower-and in short tak-
ing a long period of time-this must be
weighed against the possibility that with
careless building officials, tenants may
be faced with such things as a shortage
of heat for long lengths of time without
effective remedy. It is the city's respon-
'sibility to insure decent housing for its
citizens, no matter what the effort.
Council should consider shortening the
time limits for both rent withholding and
fining to 15 to 20 days for major viola-
lations and 60 days for minor violations.
The possibility .of a tenant waiting half
a year before a careless landlord can be
penalzed is ridiculous.
Assuming the code remains unchanged,
however, council must make sure the
building officials strictly enforce the time
limits. It must scrutinize a monthly re-
port the city Building Safety and Engi-
neering Department will provide con-
cerning its enforcement policies.
T HE CITY SHOULD realize that the
power of its housing code lies as much
in explicit wording as in implicit threats.
The city should make sure that landlords
realize the penalities and respect them.
To do otherwise would allow a prom-
ising ordinance to degenerate into Inef-
fectuality.
-RICK PERLOFF

By JIM NEUBACHER
(last of a series)
The handsome, husky athlete
on one of the University teams sat
on the sofa in my apartment, ner-
vously clutching the hand of his
girlfriend. He had called me the
previous day, and said he wanted
to talk to me about abortion.
When he showed up with his girl-
friend, I guessed why.
"Uh, what we were wondering is
if you could . . . uh ... well do
you k n o w how we can get an
abortion for her?" he asked.
I didn't answer right away. I
could go to prison for up to 4
years for "conspiracy to commit
abortion," a felony in this state,
if I told them. Maybe this was a
set-up by the state police. They do
that sort of thing.
I also hesitated because I was
uncertain of my own competence
to tell them anything. There is a
real danger in the illegal abortion
racket. I knew of some contacts -
competent persons who would
likely make sure she got a decent,
professional abortion.
I DECIDED to refer them to a
trustworthy clergyman.
Friends, housemothers, resident
advisors, clergymen, and doctors
are continualy faced w i t h the
same question. And the dilemma
is many sided.
"I don't dare turn away a girl
who approaches me," says a psy-
chology teaching fellow who is a
member of a very competent, pro-

fessional and concerned under-
ground abortion counseling ring.
"It might be the last time you see
her alive if she ends up in the
hands of someone incompetent."
T h e problem with abortion
counseling is the communications
gap between the counselors and
those who need the advice and
understanding. A young woman,
finding herself pregnant, often is
afraid and doesn't know who to
turn to for help.
"I was just paralyzed when I
found out," says Sandy. "I sort
of rejected the idea. I didn't want
to admit to myself I was preg-
nant. There would be so many
problems if I was."
AND MANY TIMES, the wo-'
man is afraid to reveal to h e r
friends and close advisors that
she is pregnant and in need of
help. "You never know what kind
of reaction, you're going to get if
you tell someone," says Marilyn.
So, unless something happens to
put the woman and the counselor
together, tragedy and unhappi-
ness can be the result.
Recognizing this problem, more
and more people are, making
themselves known publicly as sup-
porters of abortion reform a n d
counselors for women with "prob-
lem pregnancies."
In Detroit, the Rev. Carl Biel-
by heads the Michigan Clergy for
Problem Pregnancy Counseling.
More than 120 clergymen across
the state have joined to provide

free, informative counseling for
women who need abortions.
The organization maintains a
phone service in Detroit that re-
fers callers to clergymen for
counseling. Call 964-0838 and you
will hear a taped message listing
the names and phone numbers of
three clergymen in the metropoli-
tan area.
"Call and say you would like to
make an appointment for prob-
lem pregnancy or contraceptive
counseling," the message tells
you. "There is no charge for the
service."
REV. BIELBY, who works out
of a small office in the Metropoli-
tan Council of Churches building
in downtown Detroit, devotes al-
most all his time to the counsel-
ing service.
"We operate with the blessing
of the Council of Churches but
not with their endorsement," he
says. "But I've been given a man-
date to devote a considerable
amount of time for this opera-
tion."
Rev. Bielby has made no effort
to cover up what the clergymen
are doing. On the contrary, he has
publicized the operations as much
as he can, and has been inter-
viewed by both Detroit dailies and
Time magazine. The phone num-
ber of the service is listed. And
Bielby knows that the next visitor
he gets may have been sent by the
state police.
"When we first set up the serv-

ice, we met with state officials to
discuss the ground rules," he says.
"They didn't agree to them, but
then, we didn't ask them to."
THE PHONE rings constantly
in Bielby's office.
"Hello, this is Carl Bielby speak-
ing. (pause) Not for yourself?
(pause) Oh, I see. How many
weeks pregnant are you? 11?
Listen, young lady, we want to set
up an appointment for you right
away. You shouldn't waste another
minute. After twelve weeks things
are much more complicated. Now
I want you to talk to this clergy-
man in Dearborn...."
And later .
"Hello, this is Carl Bielby. Oh
yes, you can send her there. Sure,
his technique is excellent, and its
very clean. I know, went down
and watched him myself. Yes. Ex-
cellent. You call him and set it up.
Make sure to put the Reverend in
front of your name. He'll under-
stand."
While the clergymen are still a
bit hesitant to say it outright,
there is no question that they are,
indeed, setting up illegal abortions.
But they see their job as more
than just a referral service. And
they don't operate on the assump-
tion that each woman they talk to
will end up getting an abortion.
Each member of the service un-
dergoes a training session and is
given a set of guidelines by which
to operate. The clergyman explores
many aspects of the situation,

mentioning five alternatives facing
the woman, marriage, putting' the
baby up for adoption, keeping the
baby, termination of pregnancy,
and suicide.
IN ORDER to discuss the merits
of the alternatives, the counselor
asks the woman about her feelings
toward the child, her religious and
ethical convictions, her opinion on
the current laws and their appli-
cation, and her view of the future.
"The counselor is to help clarify
the ethical and emotional issues
involved in the moral decision the
client must make," states the sheet
of guidelines issued to each clergy-
man. "He should avoid the in-
clination to be overly inquisitive
about the client's sexual history
and should refrain from any
moralizing about her behavior."
More than 150 women a month
are now using the Clergy Coun-
seling Service, with nothing to in-
dicate that the number won't keep
growing as long as public officials
allow the clergymen to do their
work without harassment.
When the time comes, as Rev.
Bielby feels it inevitably will, that
the clergymen have to go to court,
they will do it "with the best law-
yers in town and the most solid
case, in terms of circumstances,
that we can put together."
Until then, our society's clergy-
men and doctors are prohibited by
law from doing their jobs by help-
ing pregnant women solve the
emotional crises that beset them.

ow

Ai

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Radical

facuity comes together

$

To the Editor:
WE ARE DEEPLY alarmed by
University complicity in military
and corporate violence, and by
recent efforts of t he University
administration to repress groups
such as SDS which have attempt-
ed to oppose this violence. The
administration h a s undertaken
a broad range of punitive tactics
which, if successful, would have
the effect of driving SDS off
campus. T h e University thus
makes an academic policy and a
political choice. By menacing the
organized student opposition,tit
confirms its alliance with ROTC,
Dow Chemical, Chase Manhattan,
and other agents of near and dis-
tant destruction.
CONTENT merely to deplore
the tactics of SDS, many of our
colleagues make the same choice.
But we members of the University
staff will not be, distracted from
the task of naming and opposing
the main institutions of inhuman-
ity in the world. It is time for
radical faculty to form a coher-
ent group for the purpose of po-
litical analysis and independent
action. We invite interested staff
members to join us Sunday, Feb.
15, at 8:30 p.m. at Guild House,
802 Monroe St.
-Frithjof Bergmann
--Barry Bluestone
-Leslie Bluestone
-Janice Bude
-J. Edgar Edwards
-Robert Hauert
-William B. Hauser
-Craig Hammond
-Robert Hefner
-Richard Mann

-Roy Rappaport
-Robert Ross
-Marshall Sahlins
-Archie Singham
-Robert Sklar
-Stephen Stich
-Adrienne Tentler
-Charles Tilly
-G. A. Waggoner
-Joseph Wehrer
-Ernest Young
Feb. 10
From John's boy
To the Editor:
IN THE INTERESTS of setting
the record straight, I write this
letter to protest the tactics of bi-
ased news management practiced
so meticulously by The Daily.
Let's take, for example, yester-
day's page one story on student
participation in Housing Office
decisions. Having made an issue
of the deliberations of the Stu-
dent-Staff Residence Halls Rates
Committee, The Daily should feel
obligated to allow its reporter, Rob
Bier, to report the story as he saw
it - not how the editors want him
to see it.
Rob gained the respect of all of
the committee members by being
in attendance at practically all of
our meetings and demonstrating
a willingness to absorb all of the
financial data which the commit-
tee used. (A point of fact which
should be noted here is that any
and all data ever requested by any
member of the committee w a s
promptly supplied to all of us, in-
cluding Rob Bier, by the Office
of University Housing.)
The day prior to the most re-

cent Daily story, Rob Bier called
me and in the ensuing conversa-
tion he referred to the gross in-
eptness of Mike Farrell's criticism
of the rates committee. The ex-
ample which your reporter used
was that the a b o v e mentioned
SGC member claimed that t h'e
rates committee decisions were in
direct contradiction to the stu-
dent desires expressed by the re-
sponses to the committee's survey.
WHEN PRESSED by the Daily
reporter, Mr. Farrell used the ed-
ucational resident staff as an ex-
ample. Mike was in a b it of a
quandary, however, to then ex-
plain what he meant when Rob
Bier pointed out that the commit-
tee had demanded nearly $100,000
in cuts in the budget of the edu-
cational resident staff.
' And I'm wondering w h y the
nDailyeditors won't give their own
reporters a free hand to report
the news. Certainly t h e Daily's
gross distortions and one-sided re-
porting of the IHA affairs of Dec.
served to credit no one and did
absolutely nothing to clarify the
issues for your readers.
In my two years in IHA I have
acted under the premise that my
contituency is the residence halls
student body - not the editors of
the Daily. If you have taken af-
front at this, I can only offer you
my sincere apologies. Further, I
wish you all the luck which you
deserve in trying to strong arm as
many others into mouthing your
views.
-Jack Myers
Pres., IHA
Jan. 26
Grad Assembly
To the Editor:
THE DAILY'S report of the last
Graduate Assembly meeting was
not entirely accurate. I did not
say that I expected that the Rack-
ham executive board would ap-
prove student parity on the board.
Quite the reverse, I would predict
protracted delay and seeking of
compromise. WhataIdid say was
that the board would probably be
willing to talk about the issue bey-
ond the point of exasperation.
Similarly, I did not say anything
abou the board's seeking stu-
dents for dissertation committees
through Graduate Assembly, a
notion that is bizarre and absurd.
I did say that students as full,
voting members of the Rackham
board could begin to change the
unreasonable inflexibility of the
school on this and other issues.

. t4. - -
" -
"Don't nybody move , .

1

W K!

Iva

be
MOVES1I1S1
ARMS UP NP DOWN!I

recommending immediate review
of SDS' recognition as a student
organization. In addition to the
instances which he cited, we have
now experienced the SDS action
against du Pont and attempted
action against the Air Force and
Gulf Oil Company employment re-
presentatives, and four large and,
expensive windows in our area
have been smashed. During the
duPont demonstration I was man-
handled and forceably prevented
from entering the interview room,
and many threats of more serious
violence were made to the duPont
representative, the security offi-
cers, and to me. In particular, a
concerted rush was made on the
interview room with the avowed
intention of capturing the repre-
sentative and taking him against
his will to the "Fishbowl," appar-
ently to make sport of him. If the
security officers had not success-
fully repulsed this effort, t h e r e
undoubtedly would have been
much more serious violence than
the scuffles which did occur.
IN VIEW OF the recent con-
viction of SDS by CSJ of a similar
violation of SGC rules in connec-
tion with the blockading of the
Navy Underwater Weapons Lab-
oratory representative last March,
continued recognition and priv-

Private support
To the Editor:
PRESIDENT FLEMING'S r e -
ported views about the legislation
which threatens to cut off financ-
ial aid to students involved in poli-
tically motivated disruptions, as
testified before the House Spec-
ial Subcommittee on Education,
sound admirable. Apparently he
is aware of the inequitable nature
of this oppressive measure, as it
affects some more than other
students and is not governed judi-
cially. Many men, for the misguid-
ed sake of upholding the rule of
law, give tacit support to individ-
ual discriminatory laws by com-
plying with them. Few are willing
to risk principled violation of such
laws in order to contest them.
There is a striking irony to me
as a Rhodesian student. Some
years ago there was an outcry in
American government and univer-
sity circles when the Smith regime
passed a bill requiring the suspen-
sion of government scholarships to
students at the University College
of Rhodesia who engaged in poli-
tical activities on campus. Natur-
ally the students most disastrously

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A4

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