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March 12, 1969 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-03-12

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tc t ttd ganBailt
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited arid managed by students of the University of Michigan

under the rug
Richard Balzhiser: A tale of two faces
by tee ni~u

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 al reprints.

_.L__

DNESDAY, MARCH 12, 1969

NIGHT EDITOR: NADINE COHODAS

Balzhiser' ordinance:
A political -mnue

RICHARD E. BALZHISER is a mayoral
candidate with as many faces as there
are potential voters.
Labelled as a "Romney Republican," the
former Michigan grid star fancies himself
in the image of the former governor, only
younger, more moderate, more progressive
and successful.
Indeed, as a White House 'fellow, Bal-
zhiser apparently viewed himself as Ann
Arbor's gift to Washington. And when he
returned home, he settled in a neighbor-
hood which he says even includes a "mixed
couple," living up the street.
But you can't tell Balzhiser's politics
from his address: A "liberal Republican,"
he hasddoubled alternately as a hawk, cen-
sor and reactionary.
DURING iIS TWO-YEAR STINT (1965-
67) on city council, he fought a campaign
of obstruction and reaction against a num-
ber of progressive measures introduced to
the council. Balzhiser served as an effective
mouth piece for a small but wealthy minor-
ity of Ann Arbor citizens.
In 1965, he joined forces with Ann Arbor
realty interests to battle a proposal for a
strong fair housing ordinance.
After repeated efforts to cripple the

vHE ANN ARBOR City Council's initial
approval of Richard Balzhiser's ordin-
ance supposedly protecting tent'ntsF from
illegitimate damage deposit losses once
again demonstrates city Republicans'
lack of concern for the state of housing
in Ann Arbor.
The ordinance, which would prevent
landlords from "willfully, fraudulently
and maliciously withholding or refusing
to return ia damage deposit" indeed
sounds impressive.
Despite its impressive wording, how-
ever, the ordinance is essentially worth-
less.
Prosecution would be almost impossi-
ble first because it is often very hard
to establish what behavior is malicious
and second because fraud is virtually
impossible to prove.
Even the ciiy attorney admitted at
the March 3 council meeting that fraud
in the withhplding of damage deposits
would be "exfremely difficult" to estab-
lish.
'In addition, the nature of the ordin-
ance forces the tenant, rather than the
landlord, to seek court action to secure
money that' is rightfully his in the first
place.
FURTHERMORE, the proposed ordin-
ance is weakened by the fact it car-
ries no minimum penalties,.
Even after repeated court warnings
following convictions of landlords f o r
housing code violations, either no penal-
ties or very minimal fines have been
assessed. As a result, the landlords have
tound it more profitable to ignore the
warnings than to repair their apartments.

The courts will probably
more forceful in the casest
damage deposits than they
in those concerning housing
tions.

not be any
of withheld
have been
code viola-

Thus, there is no reason to suppose
the landlords will be any more respon-
sive to court decisions than they have
been in the past.
BOTH LAW PROFESSOR Terrance
Sandalow and law professor Robert
Harris - who is Balzhiser's opponent -
have commented that it will require state
legislation to give a city ordinance the
teeth necessary to compel landlords to
return tenants' deposits.
And it was the general weakness of
the, propdsed ordinance that caused the
Democrats on council to vote against the
measure last weekend.
After the vote, the Republicans
charged the Democrats had no concern
for the housing situation in Ann Arbor.
But the Republicans' haste to pass
the farcical proposal and their criticism
of the Democrats efforts to improve it
indicates they actually favor no effec-
tive legislation at all.
THE IMPLICATIONS are clearly that
the Republican council is trying to
present Balzhiser as a concerned candi-
date before the mayoral election while
effectively preserving an unpalatable
status quo.
Hopefully, the electorate will not be
fooled by such a flagrant political decep-
tion.
-JIM BEATTIE

statute, Balzhiser finally voted against it
along with fellow arch-conservative Paul
Johnson and William Habel.
As a candidate for mayor, he now claims
he voted against the bill because he
thought it would "polarize" the community.
Meanwhile, candidate Balzhiser intro-
duced a resolution in 1965 on the Vietnam
War.
Whereas
Ann Arbor and other cities across
the nation have recently experienced
public demonstrations designed to un-
dermine the efforts of our country in
preserving the rights and freedoms of
the people of South Vietnam;
and whereas
Aggressive planned acts of civil dis-
obedience designed to impair the
democratic process within this country
have recently been experienced within
our community;
History has clearly demonstrated
that civilized society must suffer if it
ignores the totalitarian aggressive acts
of warfare of one nation against an-
other smaller victim nation of peo-
ple; ....
and whereas
This nation owes an incalculable
debt to the young men, killed . .
(trying) to prevent the deadly spread
of communism and totalitarianism
among the emerging nations of the
world;
and whereas'
Unlawful and imprudent acts such
as those practiced by an irresponsible
element can easily be misconstrued by
the enemies of this country ...
Therefore be it resolved that the
City Council of Ann Arbor go on record
as supporting the actions of the United
States government in its efforts to
bring about a rapid but uncompromis-
ing peace in Vietnam, and be it further
resolved that this council will oppose,
by all lawful means available to it acts
of civil disobedience or organizations
promoting civil disobedience while at
the same time preserving the constitu-
tionat guarantees of all citizens to ex-
press publically a dissenting point of
view.
Following his White House experience,
Balzhiser says he modified his views qn

Vietnam. Now, he says he is "neither
hawkish nor dovish" on the war.
This is hard to believe, since Balzhiser's
conservative views on local issues are con-
sistent with the hawkish 1965, statement
on Vietnam. While the war is not an im-
portant issue in the Ann -Arbor campaign,
Balzhiser's position on issues of vital im-
portance to the city are most disconcerting.
FOR EXAMPLE, he recently suggested
a proposal which he' thinks would provide
a solutio. to the problem of police inter-
vention in artistic productions in the Uni-
versity community.
On the heels of police raids of 'Dionysus
in 69,' Balzhiser proposes the formation
of a community review board to preview
"potentially controversial" films and plays.
The board would forward censorship rec-
ommendatlions to the police and city of-
ficials.
Fortunately, the courts and the Con-
stitution have rendered such pre-censor-
ship illegal. But such a recommendation
from Balzhiser's platform is bound to
please many city fathers and mothers.
That Balzhiser must know better is no
consolation to members of the University
community.'
But Balzhiser clearly sees himself more
as a partisan of city-particuarly business-
interests-than an advocate of University
rights.
In 1965, Balzhiser railroaded through
council, a proposal for construction of the
26-story skyscraper on Maynard St. even
though the building did not provide enough
off-street parking.
While opponents of the construction were
vacationing, Balzhiser helped have the
building proposal slipped on to the agenda.
It passed, much to the chagrin and anger
of City Administrator Guy Larcom who
wasn't even told it was being considered.
Later in his council term, Balzhiser
pushed to reduce the city's meager pro-
gram for low-income housing, as another
favor to his realty supporters. He joined
in the Republican stall which has slowed
the implementation of federal grants for
low income housing. '
NOW CANDIDATE BALZHISER is try-

4
0
N

ing hard to reform the image his record
has created. Recently, he proposed a city
ordinance (the Balzhiser Ordinance)
which would make it illegal for landlords
to "willfully, fraudulently and maliciously
withhold, convert or refuse to return a
damage, rent security or other equivalent
deposit..
Balzhiser must realize that the law as
he proposed it would make prosecution
practically impossible. A complainant must
show the impossible: that the landlord has
"willfully, fraudulently, and maliciously"
withheld the deposit.
But the toothless proposal has apparent-
ly overcome initial opposition. It passed a
first reading at Monday's City Council
meeting.
And Balzhiser continues to ride the crest
of success in traditionally Republican Ann
Arbor. He exudes the casual confidence of
an, already elected official.
But with more students registered than
ever before, with the cit growing out of
its status quo tendencies, Balzhiser's vic-
tory is far from certain. To an increasing
number of voters Balzhiser's saccharine
politics are turning sour.

4

I .

A,

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Beaufort County scandal

Harris replies to,

Tenants

Union

DR. H. PARKER JONES M.D. wins the
Lestor Maddox Chickenfeather Award
for the week.
Dr. Jones M.D. Is the health officer of
Beaufort County, S.C., which recently
earned raves in a Senate hearing as the,
'home of worm-infested stomachs and
disease-deformed arms and legs.
All but one of the 15 Beaufort County
doctors immediately signed a statement
denying charges that hundreds of black
people were dying from malnutrition and
vitamin deficiency diseases.
And they cleared up a misunderstand-
ing about whether they would treat poor
blacks who couldn't pay the, waiting room
fees.
"Certainly we have the responsibility
to treat poor people," they said. "But we
doh't have the responsibility to go out
and beat the bushes for, them, or give
them extended treatment at our ex-
pense."
THIS PUT THE, responsibility directly
on Dr. Jones M.D. who responded
cheerfully that there wasn't enough star-
vation in the county to merit "special
attention."
Last week a disbelieving reporter
teamed up with Dr. Donald Gatch, the

outspoken country doctor who hadn't
signed the statement and who had testi-,
fied at the hearing, to challenge Dr.
Jones M.D.
Gatch showed the reporter victims
of pellagra and rickets, diseases which
didn't exist in the United States today
according to the textbooks.
They saw pre-teen girls whose hair-
lines receded an inch or two from normal
and boys whose skin was rough and crus-
ty. "Protein and vitamin deficiency," ex-
plained Gatch.
Gatch noted that many people who die
from starvation in Beaufort County are
recorded as deaths from natural causes.
Beaufort County's infant mortality rate
of 63 per 100 is one of the highest in the
nation.
NEVERTHELESS Dr. Jones M.D. in-
sisted that no special medical services
were necessary and refused to allot extra
funds. Gatch and the reporter then asked
Dr. Jones M.D. and the other doctors to
accompany them on a visit to several
homes riddled py disease and hunger.
"No doctor is going to do that," re-
plied Dr. Jones M.D. "Personally Iknow
I wouldn't. To me it would just be. too
distasteful."

To the Editor:
T HE RENT STRIKE Steering
Committee now asks all citi-
zens concerned with changing the
balance of power in the Ann Arbor
housing market to withhold sup-
port from me until I give "un-
qualified support to the Rent
Strike and the Tenants Union."
Responding to my prior remark
that the public interest i not
identical with the present or fu-
ture interests of members of the
Tenants Union,the Steering Com-
mittee compares me to the shep-
herd who must see how hungry
the wolves are before feeding them
the sheep.
I think it is unfair to me and
unfair to the members of the Ten-
ants Union to ask them to boycott
my campaign. I have explained
that I am not opposed to rent
strike's which aim for tenant union
recognition or for elimination of
unconscionable p r o v i s i o n s in
leases.However, I cannot go along
with the goal of "substantial rent
reductions" if it means that these
reductions are to be achieved re-
gardless of the fairness or unfair-
ness of the rent level at a partic-
ular apartment.
I THINK IT is irresponsible for
a candidate for mayor to get into
the endorsement business. I do not

know .what goals or' what tactics
the Steering Committee may adopt
at some future date. I do not know
to what extent it may find the in-
terest of its members at war with
the interest of third persons who
are neither landlords nor members
of -the union. I do not know if we
shall see violence before the strike
is over.
I and my fellow Democrats have
fought to expand the supply of
federally subsidized low-income
(public) housing and moderate-
income (Colonial'Square-type 221
(d) (3)) housing. We have fought,
to get a decent transport system
so that fewer tenants need live in
walking distance from campus.-We
are fighting toreplace the frivol-
ous Balzhiser Ordinance proposal
with a series of measures that
would actually rectify the damage
deposit situation. We are drafting,
and will soon introduce, legislation
that would outlaw certain uncon-
scionable lease clauses. We will
soon introduce state legislation
doing for tenant collective bargain-
ing what the Wagner Act did for
labor collective bargaining. We are
trying to get public hearings to
air current rental market abuses
and the full range of legal meas-
ures that might correct them.
I AM PUZZLED why the Steer-
ing Committee finds it so essential

to get my "endorsement"-even
at the price of defeating me and
the Democratic Council candidates
so that Prof. Balzhiser and the
Republicans can rule two more
years. I hope those Tenants Union
members who do not take their
political opinions from the Steer-
ing Committee will make an in-
dependent judgment as to which
of the candidates will do more to
bring justice to Ann Arbor's rental
market.
-Robert J. Harris
Prof. of Law
Democratic Candidate
March 11 °
Strikers for Harris
To the Editor:.
TN YESTERDAY'S Daily a letter
frof three members of the
Rent Strike Steering Committee
criticized the positions on the rent
strike taken by, both the Repub-
lican and Democratic candidates'
for mayor. They suggested that no
citizen , who supported the rent
strike should vote for either of
the candidates unless that can-
didate gives "unqualified support
to the Rent Strike and the Ten-
ants Union."
Although' we recognize that
there are flaws in each candidate's
position, several ,of us intimately

involved in the Rent Strike do not
believe that these flaws should
deter students from voting. In our
opinion the position taken by can-
didate Harris offers a realistic pos-
sibility of fairly and eduitably
solving many of the problems that.
confront tenants in Ann Arbor to-
day.
While both candidates have of-
fered plans for dealing with the
illegal withholding of tenant's
damage deposits, most independ-
ent authorities agree that of the
two, only Prof. Harris' escrow fund
proposal offers a realistic solution
to the problem of damage deposits.
Prof. Balzhiser proposes that the
"willingly,' maliciously and fraud-
ulently", withholding of damage
deposits be made a misdemeanor.
However, past experience with
landlord misdemeanor laws (such
as housing code violations) in-
dicates that enforcement problems
in this area are almost insur-
mountable. Even assuming that
enforcement mechanics could be
improved, it would be very difficult
to prove that withholding of a
tenant's damage deposit was
"willfullly, maliciously, and fraud-
ulently" done even in the most
blatant cases. Finally, under the
Balzhiser proposal, a tenant must
pay the legal costs of recovering
his deposit from a recalcitrant
landlord.
IN CONTRAST, the Harris plan
would establish an independent
escrow agency 'to hold damage)
deposits for the. term of the lease.
This money would' automatically,
be returned to1 the tenant thirty'
days after the termination of the
lease. This shifts the burden of
proving damages to the landlord.
Prof. Harris has said that he
would use his proven lobbying
abilities, (as demonstrated by his
successful efforts in behalf of the
Michigan Fair Housing Law and
Tenants Rights Laws), to gain for
tenants the right to collectively

bargain with their landlords. This
is the foremost stated goal of the
Rent Strike.
In their letter Messrs. Cohen
and Berry and Miss ,Holmstrom
ask to whose public interest Harris
owes his- all9giance. Admittedly, It
is difficult for those involved in
an economic struggle to view other
people as neutral, but in fact a
great majority of the citizens of
Ann Arbor have not taken a de-
finite position on the Rent Strike.
The mayor must be in a position
to considerrtheir interests as well
as the interests of the disputants.
The mayor sacrifices this ability
if he gives "unqualified support"
to either side.
Prof. Harris has shown in the
past that he is sincerely interested
in tenant's right and his realistic
proposals' concerning the current
problems in Ann Arbor indicate
that he is working and will con-
tinue to work to solve these prob-
lems. In light of this we feel that
the interests of Rent Strike sup-
porters will be best be served by
a vote for Bob Harris.
-Craig Moody, Jim Barnes,
John Powell, Frank Eamon,
Tom Jennings, Bob Olson,
Dave Schraver, Greg Curtner,
Perry Bullard, Judy Kahn,
Brett Dick and
Eric Schneidewind
Rent Strike Legal Defense
Committee
.March 11
Coed-;fraternities
To the Editor:
CONTRARY TO a report in a
recent-.issue of The Daily, Phi
Epsilon Pi will not be the first
co-ed fraternity on the Michigan
campus. Alpha Rho Chi, profes-
sional undergraduate fraternity
# for architecture and the allied
arts, initiated its1first woman
member Sept. 2, 1967.
--11) Wahlberg
Feb. 21

/

-HOWARD KOHN

On department coffee and other tenure decisions

By RICK PERLOFF
THE FACT THAT departmental de-
cisions on such issues as tenure,
hiring and curriculum are m a d e at
"coffee 'available" faculty meetings
says a lot about t h e informality of
many department structures in t h e
University.
Decisions in departments are gen-
erally friendly, informal and very rou-
tine. E v e n tenure decisions are not
confined to the departmental elite. In
fact, professors pride themselves on the
openness of their departments.
And when the executive committees
do take action, members rarely vote
formally. Instead they seek consensus.
If one or two members of a five-man
executive committee h a v e vehement
objections to promoting a professor,
the action may be delayed until more
research can be done.
Or the professors in disagreement
may file a minority report to the lit-
erary college executive committee
which makes the final decisions.
WHAT USUALLY HAPPENS, how-

specialize in the same area as the pro-
fessor under consideration.
The opinions of the professor's col-
leagues - gathered over a period of
time - -are instrume tal in making
the decision. Members of the execu-
tive committee, having mulled over the
professional opinions and looked at the
professor's academic file, generally
come into the meeting with a fairly
good idea of where the man stands in
the view of his colleagues,
IF THE PROFESSOR has published
sufficiently to enhance t h e depart-

ual members of the committee may
stop their colleagues in the hall and
ask their opinions of the man under
consideration, but rarely is any spec-
ial meeting set aside between one pro-
fessor and another exclusively devoted
to the discussion of a specific tenure
decision.
Departments just don't w o r k that
way. A professor knows he's coming up
for tenure five years in advance of the
actual decision. He knows something'
about who will be involved in the mak-
ing of the decision and he likely knows
how it will be made. He may e v e n

are subjective a n d highly personal.
That is one reason why faculty mem-
bers are so hesitant to allow students
to serve on an executive committee.
Student membership on these com-
mittees would, in the faculty's view,
remove the freedom to toss a profes-
sor's academic credentials around the
tenure table. It would take away the
informality of the weekly meetings in
Haven where professor can rap pro-
fessor and reach agreements by con-
sensus.
OR WOULD IT?
Students might be seated on an all-
student tenure committee and faculty
on a "separate but equal" body. The
students would not be evaluating the
professor from the standpoint of how
well he researches or how much rap-
port he has with his colleagues. This
would reside with the faculty.
Rather, students would be evaluating
the man solely on his worth as an ed-
ucator, mainly on his ability to teach.
Consequently the students would not
be probing issues of personality or is-

spend most of the time in the dingy
stacks of a university library.
IT IS AN educational tragedy that
departments are so concerned about
their professional reputations that
they ignore a man's ability to com-
municate his profession.
Under the r ew set-up both teaching
and research would be equally con-
sidered in making tenure decisions.
And both the faculty and the student
committees would agree m o r e often
than they probably believe they would.
If the two groups did disagree at
this juncture it might indeed be nec-
essary for students and faculty to dis-
cuss the matter at a joint meeting.
One would hope the nature of the
discussion would not be of such a per-
sonal nature to faculty members that
they wouldrefuse to bring the matter
up before students. Both groups could
present their opintons of the profes-
sor: - the students on his teaching
ability, the professors on his profes-
sional expertise - and hash out their
differences.

Le Nouveau Nixon

"too often faculty members ship over a man s
teaching skills in favor of his ability to do research for
journals that spend most of the time in the dingy
stacks of a university library.
"It is an educational tragedy that departments are
so concerned about their professional reputations that
they ignore a man's ability to communicate his pro-
fession."

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