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June 17, 1969 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1969-06-17

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Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Doily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in al: reprints.

TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 1969





(U I



The aspiring quest
of Norman Mailer




flock to the polls to cast either a vote
of confidence or a ballot of contempt for
the impudent upstarts that have chal-
lenged the rigid New York City party
hierarchy. Norman Mailer, novelist-jour-
nalist-film-maker, and Jimmy Breslin,
columnist, are candidates for the Demo-
cratic nomination of Mayor and Presi-
dent of City Council. While their chances
seem slim and the impact of their candi-
da~y small, their platform can only be
described as visionary.
It is easy to ridicule the Mailer-Bres-
in candidacy. After all, who are the can-
didates? Mailer, considered a devilish-
rake and publicity-hound by most people,
has only become an established national
figure because of his erratic behavior.
Breslin, a two-bit columnist at b e s t,
only recently made it big when he sold
a book to the movies. These are not re-
presentative of the men American wis-
dm thrusts to the position of public
The mass media has decided that the
campaign is just another episode in the
ego-trip of Norman Mailer the public
personal ty. Others no doubt believe that
Mailer and Breslin are unfit because they
lack the qualifications the office de-
mands. Many are resentful that the two
have not shown the proper respect for
their political predecessors and have not'
served the required apprenticeship and
granted the necessary loyalties to the
party of their choice.
Indeed, a few hold steadfastly to the
view that Kurt Vonnegut was right when
he said that the novel as an art form'had
declined to such an extent that Mailer
and other novelists were forced to act out
their characterizations in public. Most,
then, would conclude that Mailer is only
capitalizing on his public reputation.
ALL OF THIS shows how deeply the
cliched and stereotyped mind per-
vades our society; how difficult It is for
new visions to be inserted into the stale
American body politic. Lindsay and Wag-
ner offer up only the specter of failure;
their politics, wliich is to say, their lack
of political initiative, provides us only of
the opportunity to watch urban decay
strangle the future of our megapolis.
The plight of New York strikes a deep
and sensitive chord within all of us, re-
gardless of residence; its future is o u r
destiny, its joys our delights, its enter-
tainment our recreation. The death of
New York, or any American city, would
spell the end of our own corroding and
declining public spirit.
If somehow the miraculous does occur
- and Mailer wins - he will be free to
impose his own vision: New York City as
the 51st state.
Mailer's politics stem from the convic-
tion that the party hacks and careerist
scoundrels can no longer (if they ever
could) benefit the City. Their continua-
tion in power, the continuation of t h e
structure that pushes them to power,
steadily diminishes the possibility t h a t
New York City can become a "livable"
place for Puerto Ricans and blacks as
well as affluent professionals, manager-
ialists, and bureaucrats. The pain and ur-
gency of City problems are so overwhelm-
ing as to defy 'politics as usual.'
And, although politicos long ago co-
opted this line to secure their power, the
City's plague is still very much with us.
Mailer and Breslin argue, then, that it is
impossible to "change this city for the
better without creating a new political
EVERYONE KNOWS OF the problems of
the megapolis and the extent of liter-
ature on the subject mocks the pretenses
of the imagination. Still, air pollution

worsens, crime in the streets soars daily,
new construction of highways only brings
greater congestion and cities appear to
be losing their ability to meet welfare
Public housing is a sham, municipal
financing floats on speculative markets,
city police verge on racism. Political
Niro who?
QPIRO AGNEW said the. other dlay that

mediocrity seems the order of the day.
And, to add to all of this, we have even
lost our ability to know each other, as
the only community that exists within
our cities becomes the community of
flight, or the community that finds it-
self in resistance to urban renewal.
Our public spirit has been debased by
the engine of capitalistic greed, our com-
munities torn apart by the forces of mo-
bility, our life-styles destroyed by t h e
dictates of mass-regimented conformity
and sterility.
"The face of the solution," Mailer tells
us, "may reside in the notion that the
Left has been absolutely right on some
critical problems of our time, and the
Conservatives have been altogether cor-
rect about one enormous matter - the
federal government has no business
whatever in local affairs."
Why should City residents, for every
five dollars they contribute, receive only
one dollar in tax monies? Why should
the City pay for the services provided to
"the good farmers and small-town work-
ers of New York State" that only detest
the climate of the City and rarely miss
the opportunity of stabbing urgently
needed City programs in the back with
compromise? "The connection of N e w
York City to New York State is a mar-
riage of misery, incompatibility, and
abominable old quarrels," says Mailer,
and only one course of action for the City
exists. New York City must become a
THE NEW CITY-STATE would provide
I a more effective mechanism for at-
tacking the "ills of overproduction." Cars
would be banned from Manhattan there-
by diminishing air pollution; a monorail
would be erected around the islnd to fa-
cilitate mass transit; that dreadful docu-
ment, the City Charter, could be scrapped
for a state constitution - one that would
give the city-state new authority and
power that its attachment with New
York State has denied it.
Money, of course, is only a small part
of the struggle and unless t h e r e is "a
structure to pour it into," Mailer conclud-
ed to a man on the street, "it's like pour-
ing concrete on the ground."
If there is a key aspect to Mailer's ima-
ginative program, it is symbolized by the
cry, "All power to t h e neighborhoods."
The largest difficulty for man in the
twentieth century, Mailer tells us, is iso-
lation from community a n d alienation
from self. In the city-state, people could
come together and constitute themselves
upon any principle they pleased.
Neighborhoods, if they so desired, would
manage their own municipal services,
their own police, educative institutions,
and welfare, or could a 1 i g n themselves
with friendly boroughs across the way. No
neighborhood, he insists, would come into
existence because the Mayoralty (through
urban renewal), or the planners, or the
technocrats dictated. The development of
the city would proceed along lines toward
the development of community.
POWER TO THE neighborhoods, Mailer
concludes, would represent a reloca-
tion of old political directions. Borrowing
from the left, "it says a city cannot sur-
vive unless the poor are recognized," their
problems underlined as a threat to the
whole, and privatism eschewed for com-.
munity action.
Yet it would take into account conser-
vative principles too. "It recognizes that
a man must have the opportunity to work
out his own destiny, or he will never know
the dimensions of himself, he will be
alienated from any sense of whether he
is acting for good or evil . . . a man must
have the right to live his life in such a
way that he may know if he is dying in a

state of grace."
Vote The Rascals In!


as I
lay b
2 an(
ted n
off f
pitt t
the i
it w'
of th

By DAVID WEIR giers, as told by August, an as- ed that bo
MASON, MICH.sortment of State troopers, Na- gunned to
tional Guardsmen, other Detroit Paillef
I'm going to fight this case patrolmen, and a group of sur- Temple,s
ong as I got breath in me." viving "victims" of the motel in- Senak "sh(
. Rebecca Pollard cident. ly at the
m: The Algiers Motel Incident From this testimony, a picture him were
John Hersey emerges of August as a fright- Court by
** * ened cop who, in Lippitt's words, Mascio bet
R MRS. REBECCA Pollard, "wasn't very well-prepared f o r advisedc
he fight ended on Tuesday. what happened during the riot." rights.
ly two years after her son was When August, Paille and Senak
ally beaten and murdered arrived at the motel that night, DID TH
ng the Detroit riot, the man they didn't find any trace of snip- giving Aug
admitted shooting him w a s ers. It has since been learned crime? W
that the "snipers" existed only in brought a
te fight began when ex-police- the imagination of a frightened insufficien
Ronald August and his part- National Guardsman named The- viction?
Robert Paille and David Se- odore Thomas. The an
all whites, entered the Al- What they did find, however, questions
Motel annex early on the were ten black men and two white was not a
ing of July 26, 1967. They en- girls, all staying in various rooms weighted f
the motel to investigate re- in the Algiers Manor House, an Augustfrom a s m
that "the Army is under annex to the motel.
'y sniper fire. impressed
y snip-r fire." With the help of an undeter- n-
en the threerDetroit patrol- mined number of state policemen conduct in
drove away from the mn o t e 1 and Guardsmen, they "interrogat- what slope
time later, the bodies of three ed" the twelve about the "snip- noxious w
g blacks - Auburey Pollard, ers." community
Temple, and Carl Cooper - The trial testimony projects a Also, Ju
)attered and bloody in rooms grisly image of police terrorism pitt to sho
d 3-A, and brutality, which the police riot in ort
was nearly a weak later - on officers called a "game." ment that
31, 1967 - that the three The residents were lined against tions" exh
emen finally got around to a wall, while Senak and several were there
rting the deaths. After con- unidentified officers walked up whateverf
ng together and retrieving se- and down the line, beating them It was n
conflicting reports, August with clubs and guns. At one point, most all of
.tted shooting Pollard in Senak broke a shotgun over Pol- were black
-defense", and Paille admit- lard's head. THERE
nurdering Temple. When it became clear that the question a4
helpless victims of this p o li c e presenting
VARIOUS trials and hear- "game" were unable to give any choices -
since then, the testimony of information about the alleged on the first
st and Paille has implicated snipers. Senak, Paille and Thomas The evic
k in much of the violence began taking them one at a time it difficult.
took place at the motel. into side rooms. tion and r
nak himself has never said a Once in the room, the policemen the Pollar
about the killings. Paille got told the blacks to lie down on gree or n
rom any charge because he the floor and be quiet. They then would hav
't advised of his constitu- shot several times into the ceiling of the evic
t rights before he confessed. and walked back out to the line, choice.
gust was charged with first- boasting of "killing another one." Beer wou
ee murder. decision to
fense Attorney Norman Lip- AUGUST claims that he had however, a
then got to work and argued no part of this "game," but that edly that
the trial be moved, away from he remained back against a wall consider t,
Detroit area because the watching the proceedings with tained tot
sed passions of the residents numerous other state troopers and
ting from wide publicity of Guardsmen, many of whom were
ncident. laughing.
hen the trial finally got un- August testified that Senak
ay on May 14 of this year, turned to him and said, "This
as in a scenic small-town one (Pollard) wants to see an of-
house in Masor, Michigan - ficer. Do you want to shoot one
of Ingham County - with too?" Senak then handed him a
e William Beer presiding. shotgun. To the Ed
ter hearing five weeks of tes- August said he then took Pol- EZRA R
ny, the jury found August lard into room 3-A "to protect Saturday's
;uilty. And as far as the facts him," and that Pollard grabbed ministratio
e case are concerned, it ap- for the gun, forcing August to Larcom co
that their decision was an shoot him. their polic
table if unfair one. The circumstances surrounding release, M
the other two deaths - those of his true co
[EIR DECISION was based on Carl Cooper and Fred Temple - ployee. T1
partially-reconstructed v e r- are still unclear and probably will charge. Ha
of what happened at the Al- never be known. Autopsies reveal- is where t]

in Mason, Michigan

th had been beaten and
death at close range.
admitted to shooting
stating that he and
ot almost simultaneous-
man." Charges against
dropped at Recorders'
Judge Robert E. De-
cause he had not been
of his constitutional
E COURTS succeed in
gust a fair trial for his
rere the right charges
gainst him? Was there
t eivdence for a con-
swer to all of these
is no. The murder trial
fair trial because it was
from the beginning in
avor. The all-white jury
nall town was obviously
by the ex-policeman's
appearance and s o b e r
contrast to the some-
py and occasionally ob-
itnesses from the black
adge Beer allowed Lip-
)w movies of the Detroit
der to stress his argu-
sted and the troopers
afore justified in using
force was necessary.
no coincidence that al-
f the faces in the movie
ALSO IS a serious
s to Beer's reasoning in
.the jury with only two
coiviction or acquittal
t degree murder charge.
dence in the case made
to prove "premedita-
malice-aforethought" in
d killing. A second-de-
manslaughter c h a r g e
e taken better account
dence and given a real
uld not comment on his
limit the alternatives,
and he stressed repeat-
the jury was only to
she "facts" as they per-
the first-degree charge.

The jury was obviously unim-
pressed by several black witnesses
who testified against August.
Prosecutor Avery Weiswesser re-
peatedly apologized for the ap-
pearance and the behavior of
some of his witnesses, many of
whom were survivors of the Al-
giers incident.
THERE ARE A number of un-
answered questions about t h e
court's handling of the case. Paille
and Senek, for instance, spent
only one night in jail before be-
ing released on $5,000 bond.
Despite his confession to the
Pollard killing, August has never
been janled or curtailed in a n y
The prosecuting attorneys have
not handled the case very enthus-
iastically. Wayne County Prosecu-
tor William L. Cahalan said he
refused to prosecute police officers
and his deputy, Avery Weiswas-
ser, admitted he was hesitant
about taking the case.
And in his final, argument to
the jury, Weiswasser used so me
curious logiq in urging August's
conviction. He said that August
had "betrayed his fellow police-
men, most of whom exercise their
authority legitimately."
Weiswasser then referred to the
"jackass extremists who call po-
licemen 'pigs'" and said that it
was especially important to con-
vict August since he "took the law
into his own hands."
He was arguing, therefore, not
to curb excess police powers, but
to increase overall police credibil-
ity by prosecuting one who tarn-
ished the policeman's image.
pects of the case are the repeated
harassment of members of the
dead youth's families as well as
survivors of the motel ordeal by
Detroit policemen. Many of these
people have been arrested and
some even jailed on a variety of
charges over the past two years.
Invariably when they get to
police headquarters, they are
questioned aobut, "what happen-

ed at the Algiers Motel that
But by far the most regrettable
by-product of the entire Algiers
case is the disintegration of the
Pollard family since Auburey's
His father, Auburey Pollard Sr.,
and his oldest brother Chaney
went to the morgue to identify
the body. Shortly after Chaney
suffered a nervous breakdown and
was hospitalized for three months.
Mrs. Pollard claims her husband
has "never been the same" since
his visit to the morgue and the
two have since been separated.
Mr. Pollard appeared nervous
and remote during the trial at
The other two Pollard brothers
-- Tanner and Robert - have
been continually harassed by the
police. Robert is currently serving
a three-ten year stretch in pri-
son for robbing a newsboy of sev-
en dollars.
"I'm the onliest one," M r s.
Pollard told John Hersey last year,
"me and my daughter, that ain't
went to pieces."
AND IT WAS Mrs. Pollard who,
in an interview with Hersey, pro-
bably summed up the miscarriage
of justice in the Algiers case the
"You know what hurt me so
bad? Because they never was a
white motel they could have, that
the Negro police could come in
and shoot it up like they did that
Negro hotel (the Algiers), that
they walk in out of the street and
shoot an innocent guest like they
did, and get turned loose. Tell me
what would have happened if a
Negro police had walked into
an all-white neighborhood and
shot it up, like they shot up the
Algiers Motel."
August, Paille, Senak, and a
Negro private guard Melvin Dis-
mukes now face a federal charge
of conspiring to deny civil rights
to the Algiers victims.
It's the same tactic federal of-
ficials were forced to use in Mis-
sissippi several years ago.






Letters to the Editor

ROWRY commented in
Daily, "The new ad-
on assumed that Mr.
uld effectively carry out
ies. In his present press
r. Larcom h a s shown
lors." Larcom is an em-
Lhe Democrats are in
arris is in charge. That
he responsibility lies.

Did Harris indicate any disap-
proval of Larcom's report? No-
Then who is being kidded? I un-
derstand the reluctance on t h e
part of those who have been wait-
ing so long for a Democratic ad-
ministration to come d o w n on
Harris. One would think, though,
that there had never been Demo-
crats in control of cities before. Or
that the results of such control
have been really great.
The Democratic administration
notwithstanding, if those who
know the score refuse to try to
prevent Cowley's position from be-
coming untenable, then things will
be worse than ever before. If the
one city agency which works for
people, not property, is emasculat-
ed; if the one professional staff
prepared to challenge the police
is rendered impotent, t h e chief
sufferers will be the black com-
mun, ty and, secondarily, the stu-
dent community.
THERE HAS BEEN almost no
public backing for the HRC staff
vis a vis Harris from where it
should be coming. The Commis-
sion itself has been very reticent.
The New Democratic Coalition has
challenged Harris privately, but
not publicly where it counts. The
Ad Hoc Committee on Police-
Community Relations has not
publicly supported the HRC staff.
Privately, I know the support is
there. But some distorted princi-
ple prevents most Democrats from
moving forthrightly. Yet of the 30
or so people who signed the open
letter to Harris criticising him and

Money for '
To the Editor:
tance of State Rep. Richard Al-
len's proposal f o r a designated,
mandatory, financial "contribu-
tion" by graduates of state uni-
versities is overlooking s o m e
meaningful aspects.
For one, the small "contribu-
tion" might not seem like much by
itself, but added to other educa-
tional loan payments which us-
ually come due, also, after gradu-
ation, it creates a sizeable sum to
students who have been putting
themselves through school. Not all
students are as well off financial-
ly as some at Michigan.
IN ADDITION, there really are
other ways of financing education
besides the constant raising of tu-
ition and taxes. Other methods
might require more guts and ima-
gination to enact, however. For
example, if dog racing were allow-
ed in the state and a significant
percentage of the profits given to
education m a n y financial diffi-
culties could be alleviated. And the
taxpayer and/or student feels the
pinch less if some of his monetary
loss at the track finds its way to
a local university.
But for political reasons, there
won't be dog racing in Michigan-
not this year anyway. Tax a n d
tuition hikes are easier to imple-
ment, apparently.
-Ginny Lott, '70 A & D
June 15


IIWma= I --l- J-I i-t+b . L , "' V41

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