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April 08, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-04-08

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u s it i an B ailij
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-05521

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be ngted in ol: reprints.



Political games people play:
Toying with Model Cities

"Sleeping Bear is the most urgent
park conservation issue facing the Con-'
gress this year.
"The Sleeping Bear Dunes region is
a magnificent area along the north
eastern shore of Lake Michigan. It en
c6mpasses a great diversity of natural
values and recreational opportunities.
It is a region of values which should be
protected in the public interest as the
heritage of all the people of this and
future generations.
"Sleeping Bear Dunes offers us 'a
legacy - the best remaining - of the
unspoiled Great Lakes scene. It will
serve, as few other areas in the region
can, the recreational needs and the
simple needs for green and open spac-
es when, in the not too distant future,
the Midwest is twice as populous as it is
-James G. O'Hara '
U.S. Congressman
-National Park Service
Fgti~ng to save a slpeeping Bearfromwdyng

ANN ARBOR'S Model Cities Program
stands to be destroyed hy/ those who
are seeking to play political games at the
program's expense.
The program, a sorely needed six-year
project funded by HUD, is aimed at
solving the social and environmental
problems of the city's north central area.
HUD has awarded Ann. Arbor a $.112,000
planning grant for the first year of the
program, bud planning cannot begin until
a policy board is set up.
Republican Councilman Bri'an Connelly
has called for a public hearing on the
board, ostensibly tb test how representa-
tive the Model Cities Neighborhood Policy
Board really is. Democrats voted against
having the hearing, charging that it will
achieve nothing, that it will only "pit
black against black" and destroy the
board entirely. But the Republican major-
ity in council overrode the -Democrats'
logical objections in a 7,5 party-line vote.
The hearing will be held tonight in
council chambers, and it may well stall
Model Cities planning at just the time
when the Nixon Administration is ques-
tioning the merit of the program and
considering cutting off all federal, aid.
Worse, it is causing needless delay over
the issue of the "representativeness" of
the duly elected policy board.
IT WAS ON the basis of a petition which
was supposed to represent community
dissatisfaction with the present board
that Republicans called for the public
Thomas Harrison, a Negro realtor, had
gathered the names of eight organiza-
tions on a petition, in effect charging
that the board was not representative. Of
the eight that originally signed, all but
two organizations have since withdrawn.
The two remaining organizations seem
primarily interested in obtaining their
own votes on the board. But they are
hardly representative of as many of the
area's people as such organizations as
the NAACP, HEW, HELP, and the North
Central Area Association.
IT IS RIDICULOUS-as Albert Wheeler,
chairman of Michigan NAACP and a
member of the board, points out-to ex-
pect a board to be anything but unwield-
ly if it tries to represent every single
organization in the area. Wheeler at a
meeting on the policy board last Thursday
said the board could probably add three
or four more members if it Tere dis-
covered that legitimate interest groups
lacked representation.
The best result that could possibly
result 'from tomorrow's meeting would be

such an expansion of the board, but it is
not very likely that this will happen.
There may be legitimate complaints of
lack of representation on the policy
board of groups from the western section
of the Model Cities area. If the board is
to expand, it will probably be to include
groups representative of this upper-mid-
dle class area, which is in need of plan-
ning and renovation. Representatives
from the Community Center have ac-
knowledged that this area was inade-
quately notified of the meetings which
established the present board.
THE DECISION to hold a public hearing
at this time is a not too cleverly dis-
guised ploy to emasculate the present
The Republican City Council had dis-
covered to its chagrin that the members
of the policy board were actually inter-
ested in policy-making, and that they
would not be content to play advisory
board to the council.
The board wants the powers of a City
Demonstration Agency, to determine and
administer policy for the area. Members
feel that if City Council were to act as
the CDA, council would be more respon-
sive to powerful commercial interests
than to the interests of area residents.
Harrison's concern for the "representa-
tiveness" of the board may be very closely
related to his interests as a realtor.
The present board is asking to be
allowed to assist the City Planning Com-
mission and act as a zoning board of ap-
peals with the power to place a morato-
rium on the north central area while it
plans. Otherwise, members believe, real-'
tors would buy up property in the area
during the year of planning, and the area
would consist of nothing but high-rise
apartments before any renovation could
Final authority for anything the policy-
board does would, of course, rest with City
Hall. But unless the council is willing to
let the board maintain a substantial de-
gree of autonomy, many of the present
board menibers may resign.
iT WILL BE A tragedy of the first mag-
'nitude if community control is com-
promised in Ann Arbor tonight. The hear-
ing tonight. must strongly support the
present board and its brave attempt to
gain real power. If the present member-
ship of the board is upset or the powers
it wishes voted down, the Model Cities
Program will die before it can be born.


Daily Guest Writer
(EDITOR'S NOTE: John Luton is a junior
in the School of Natural Resources majoring
in wildlife management. He has done exten-
sive research into the Sleeping Bear con-
troversy, backing the research up with sev-
eral field trips to the Dunes area.)
THE OTTAWA and Chippewa Indians
used to say the precipitous bluffs ris-
ing from Lake Michigan's eastern shore
were the immobile hulk of a mother bear
pining for her two drowned cubs. T h e
huge Sleeping Bear pune and her cubs-
the off shore North and South Manitou
islands still lie immobile 25 miles west of
Traverse City in the northwestern reaches
of the Lower Peninsula.
But the bear is not sleeping; it is dy-
The National Park Service and several
Michigan legislators have been trying un-
successfully to make the dunes area a
National Lakeshore. But each time a bill
has been introduced in the last ten years
it has been killed by local opposition and
political influence.
The Sleeping Bear region has perhaps
the most beautiful and striking landscapes
found along the shoreline of Lake Mich-
igan. It is an area of startling contrasts.
Huge dunes lie atop the moraines forming
parallel headlands 400 feet above the lake
waters. Between ridges are lowlands with
concave bays and small, very crystalline
inland lakes.
A fascinating variety of plant life ac-
centuates the diversity of the area. Beach
grass and bog plants, pine forest a n d
broad leaved trees often grow together,
sometimes spread apart.
Receding glaciers carved the lowlands
and ridges 11-20,000 years ago and wind
and waves still re-shape the coast and
move the dunes today.
THIS BEAUTIFUL landscape makes the
dunes an ideal vacation spot. Develop-
ment of private and commercial summer
cottages began early in this century and
has continued at an accelerating rate,
threatening the unspoiled lakeshore with
unplanned, overcrowded ugliness, an ex-
tension of our urban sprawls.
Rampant subdivision, land speculation
and uncontrolled tourist developments
have accompanied the advance of urban

In 1959 the National Park Service made
a survey of the Great Lakes and recog-
nized the Sleeping Bear region as one of
the twelve most important areas to be
preserved for its scientific and recreational
The long battle to try to save the area
as a National Lakeshore was begun in
1961 by Michigan Senator Philip A. Hart.
Eight years have passed since then, and
private developers continue to destroy t h e
scenery, while some legislators foment
controversy. by misinforming the area's
Recognizing the urgency, conservation
and civil groups in Michigan and nation-
wide are demanding immediate attention
to "the Bear." Last fall the powerful Sierra
Club -having won its long battle for a
Redwood National Park-adopted a strong
resolution in support of the National
THE/REASONS for creating a National
Lakeshore are obvious.
The proposed lakeshore lies in Benzie
and Leelanau counties, both of which could
benefit from a boost to their lagging
economies. Logging days have passed, and
although manufacturing and agriculture
have increased, they are slipping to se-
cond and third place in importance.
Tourism is the booming business. The
region's proximity to the 20 million inhabi-
tants of the Detroit and Chicago areas, its
appeal to sportsmen - particularly t h e
Coho salmon fishermen - and its sheer
beauty, make Sleeping Bear an attractive
vacation area.
National Park Service Studies estimate
that by the fifth year of operation, th e
lakeshore would draw more than three
million annual visits and add as much as
$20 million to the area's economy every
Part of the money would come directly
from tourists, part from government pay-
rolls and contracts and the rest from
private construction of motels, restaur-
ants, service stations and stores. Although
the park service would preserve the dunes'
natural features, the region would be de-
veloped to accommodate the vacationers it
is bound to draw.
BUT OPPOSITION, led by Rep. G u y
Vander Jagt (R-9th District), the area's
Congressman, has blocked creation of the
Many opponents of Sleeping Bear Lake-
shore are summer residents, people who
live in the area only a few months of
the year. They refuse to realize every
American cannot have 40 acres and a
mule on an undeveloped lakeshore. They
have succeeded in blocking the proposal
by a campaign of real and threatened
Businessmen in the area who spoke
out in favor of the proposal have b e e n
hurt financially by boycotts by the sum-
mer residents. Thus many businessmen
refuse to support the park because boy-
cotts could ruin their already marginal
And some legislators still sought to mis-
lead the local residents. In 1963 residents
wrote to the Senate Subcommittee on Pub-
lic Lands claiming they had been told
that the Park Service would suddenly take
land tht had been in the family for
The impression was given that after the
initial acreage was acquired, the Park Ser-
vice would continue to condemn and add
land to the lakeshore's size - that the
Park Service administrators were land-
grabbers who would not be satisfied un-
til every scrap of land was in their hands.
Opponents of the lakeshore claim that
the present 61,000 acres is too much. They
oppose setting aside areas that are not
specifically the Sleeping Bear Dunes. The
North and South Manitou Islands, sev-
eral bays and some inland lakes would be
part of the proposed park.
If just the Dunes were pi'eserved, t h e
varied landscape would be lost to land-
grabbers. Alongside the natural dunes
would be motel strips and subdivisions.

ice would be to stabilize development, not
remove it.
The bill provides for zoning to include
improved private property in the Lake-
shore area. This property could be con-
demned only if the owner used it for 'pur-
poses such as subdividing or commercial
enterprise that would adversely affect the'
lakeshore's quality.
The bill would allow the private owners
who have already built a home to stay.
Their property will be permanently pro-
tected from condemnation by the P a r k
Service; and may be sold or transferred to
heirs. Feir market value will be paid for
any private property that is acquired.
As Sen. Hart points out, "It is not pro-
posed that homes fall to the bulldozers:
the basic objective is to preserve t h e

to be preserved on a state level. Sleeping
Bear deserves federal, not state, admin-
istration standards.
TEN YEARS HAVE passed since the
Sleeping Bear Dunes region was first rec-
ognized nationally. Ten years of political
bickering and controversy, from the town
of Frankfort, south of the Dunes, to Wash-
ington. Ten years that have seen land-
grabbers despoil the countryside and force
land prices up.
Both the Kennedy and Johnson admin-
istrations, supported by former Secretary
of the Interior Stewart Udall, backed the
passage of the Sleeping Bear proposal. The
new legislation introduced by Sen Hart
and Rep. Lucien Nedzi (D-14th District),
has the backing of a majority of the local



Contributing Editor

-National Park Service

beauty and values which make this area so
by claiming that the proposal would re-
move $70,000 in tax revenues every year,
part of which would normally go to sup-
port the area's schools. But improved
private property, which pays most of the
taxes, will not be acquired by the federal
government, and the tax loss will actually
be very minor. Efforts are under way to
have the state make up any temporary
tax loss which may occur.
Besides, creation of a National Lakeshore
would increase revenues and also make
the area eligible for federal aid to schools,
insuring that the proposed park would not
cause erosion of the tax base.

residents, and many Michigan, legislators.
Secretary of the Interior Walter Hickel
has stated he is in favor of additions to
the park system, especially near urban
areas. Rep. Vander Jagt has presented
Hickel with a compromise that would sig-
nificantly decrease the area needed for
the lakeshore. If Hickel is truly in favor
of conservation he must deny Vander
Jagt's proposal and support immediate
passage of Sen. Hart's bill.
Rep. Vander Jagt has said that the
Sleeping Bear Dunes have gone through
many years of political torture. If he will
accept the views of the majority of his
constitutents, that torture can end.
The last bill passed the Senate, but not
the House of Representatives. Now is the

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