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March 18, 1962 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1962-03-18
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'

MONORAIL CRISIS OF '75
The Humorous Side of a Futuristic University Row

By HARRY PERLSTADT

T HE LAST MONORAIL cars for Bacon
Hall leave the old astronomy obser-
vatory on top of Angell Hall at 12:30
a.m. Most of the fraternities and sorori-
ties now located on north campus, and.
Lewis Hall, the other co-educational dor-
mitory, are all served by the monorail
system. The students have affectionately
tagged the monorail cars as "sardine
cans," and those who live on north cam-
pus are known as "commuters." Opening
gambits in most conversations now hinge
on ghastly tales of Waiting through the
snow, sleet or hail to catch the sardine
cans which are invariably five minutes
late.
It is hard to pin down the immediate
cause which precipitated the crisis over
the monorail system. But looking back
on it now, the man whose life and future
were tied up in the crisis was Alexander
Putsche, head of the Office of University
Facilities (OUF). According to The Daily
of February 23, 1975, Putsche announced
that construction of the monorail sys-
tem was to begin in April.
There would be stations at Bacon Hall,
Elbel Auditorium in the Music-Fine Arts-
Culture Complex, The Hill, the UGLI, Old
Yost Field House (except on football Sat-
urdays, when the side rail to Crisler
Stadium would be used), the Union tow-
er, and Hubbard Street (fraternity row).
"The placement of stations has been
decided after an extensive time and mo-
tion study by the Survey and Research
Center and the unanimous vote of the
OUF advisory board," Putsche said.
The first dissatisfied person to- enter
Putsche's office the next morning was
Betsy Overton, '75, president of the Wom-
en's League. She demanded*that a station
be built at the League as well as the Un-
ion. "A League station would be a great
benefit to the north side of central cam-
pus," her letter to the editor in The Daily
of Feb. 25, argued, "It completes the logi-
cal triangle of the central campus stop
with the UGLI and the Union tower. A
League station would serve Hill Auditor-
ium, the Rackham Bldg., and University
Health Service. Can you imagine your-
self walking all the way from the UGLI
to Health Service if you were deathly
sick?"
Putsche had asked Miss Overton not

A monorail car rushes students to classes

to print the letter for he clearly foresaw
the possibility of his monorail system
becoming another student issue. He re-
fused to attend the Student Government
Councilemeeting the following week which
scheduled a debate on Miss Overton's
proposal.
LEADING THE opposition to the League
Station was Thomas Tinker, '75, presi-
dent of the Union. He implored the other
Council members that if a League Station
were built "the Union grill, which recently
inaugurated a 67-inch television screen
along its back wall, would lose customers
to the League Snack Bar, which lacks
such extras as private telephones at each
table booth."
During the meeting it became clear
that Miss Overton would have the support

of the presidents of Panhellenic and As-
sembly Associations and the four Voice
liberals. Tinker could count on the Inter-
Fraternity Council president, the Inde-
pendent Men's Council president, and
four representatives of Young Americans
for Freedom (who said that since the
monorail would ruin the gothic appear-
ance of the campus, they would vote
for anything which would mean less
stations and less spending).
There were three vacant seats, and the
deciding vote should have been cast by
Daily Editor Frank Corbett, '75. But ever
since Daily Editor Tom Cooley, '68, had
turned down a Michigamua tapping and
been out-voted on his motion to eliminate
all ex-officio members of the council,
no one from the Daily. seriously consid-
ered SGC. In fact, the only notice that
the Overton motion had been tabled ap-
peared in the minutes of the meeting in
the Daily Official Bulletin.
It was here that Putsche made his fatal
mistake. After refusing to comment on the
tabled Overton motion, he sent his mono-
rail budgetary request to the Senate Ap-
propriations Committee headed by Sen.
Herkimer Gates (R-South Haven). The
only item-on the whole University budget
which Gates noticed was the increase in
monorail stations from seven to eight.
This would have boosted the University
allocation to within $1,000 of the govern-.
or's request, which was $1,000 too much

Putsche scoured the campus high and
low to find theright man to head this
controversial committee, finally hitting
upon an obscure professor in the archi-
tecture and design college, Henry Thistle.
As Thistle later recalled; "I was working
with a pile of moist clay when Putsche
came in and asked me if I would head a
small committee to study something con-
nected with his office. At that time I did
not realize the full significance of the
committee, and-believing it to be an
easy task-I accepted."
According to a well-established custom,
the Thistle committee was composed of
four SGC members, five professors and
five administrators, with Putsche as a
resource associate. They met at midnight
underthe giant ferris wheel which was
set up for Michigras and on the island
in the artificial lake located in the center
of the mall where Kelsey'Museum once
stood.
The result of more than a month of
intensive work was a philosophy of the
purpose of the monorail and the relation-
ship between in-state and out-of-state
students. The Thistle Report, failed to
touch on pragmatic considerations, be-
lieving that where a philosophy existed,
practical measures would inevitably
follow.
The Thistle Report's philosophy recog-
nized that no philosophy existed concern-
ing monorail systems, or more important-
ly, the in-state and out-of-state relation-
ship. The Report stated, in part: "The
University is a. total community and
should have representation from as many
different sectors of the community as
possible. The University encourages the
interchange of ideas between the repre-
sentatives of the different sectors. The
cosmopolitan atmosphere of the Univer-
sity is essential to preserve it as a total
community, and the out-of-state students
perform an integral part in keeping back
the darkness of Midwest isolationism
from the Athens of America.".
The pragmatic measures fell, of course,
on the OUF and specifically Putsche. He
thought the report had not been thor-
ough enough, but "had presented a phi-
losophy which could be finalized in ac-
tion." Then he proceeded to float the
bonds and ordered construction to begin.
T HE NEXT FALL a remarkable change
occurred. Joint Judiciary Council now
processed all jay-walking tickets and the
fines were put in a fund for the OUF.
Parking and driving permits for students
living on north campus also were siph-
oned into the OUF fund. Eventually
Putsche met with an OUF executive coun-
cil to iron out the pragmatic parts of the
financial system. The group devised the
now-famous North Campus Student Tax.
Basically, the tax levied a flat rate on
all students regardless of in-state or out-
-of-state status, according to the distance
of their residence from the Diag. Resi-
dents of the co-educational dormitories
and affiliates had the tax assessments
added to their room and board costs,
while the independents were assessed
directly by the Office of Housing.
The conservative sector of the campus
was up in arms, crying "Transportation
without taxation," while the liberals
urged a graduated individual assessment.
Caught in the middle, as usual, was
Putsche, who could no longer please any-
one nor protect himself from the on-
slaught of attack on his authoritarian
taxation program. He resigned at the
November Regents meeting and retired
to a small university in the Southwest.
In addition to the bonds covering most
of the $50 million capital outlay, funds
for the monorail were eventually taken
from student activity fees and Plant De-
partment appropriations. Sidewalks went
uncleared throughout the winters be-
tween 1975-76 and 1981-81, but the mono-
rail system was finally completed.
HARRY PERLSTADT is a
night editor on The Paily, and a
junior majoring in political science.
rt' - "vn e. A- *^ A&... t -i &A A 'S AJ~L# '

By JAMES SEDER
G EORGE ROMNEY may emerge as the
savior of the Republican Party in
Michigan in 1962 and the national party
in 1964-both apparently could use some
assistance-but a scrutinizing look at
Romney and at the Michigan political
situation compels one to conclude differ-
ently: there is a strong possibility that
Romney will be unable to fulfill either of
these roles.
Unquestionably, Romney's political as-
sets are significant. He is handsome, in-
telligent, personable, religious, public-
spirited and dynamic. He is a highly-
successful big businessman who is against
bigness. He was born in-the 20th century
equivalent of a log cabin. And perhaps
his greatest asset Is the fact that he is a
phenomenally able salesman. None of
these factors-should be ignored.
In addition, Romney has captured the
affection of the national news magazines,
national Republcan leaders and, per-
haps, the American suburbs. He has
earned the love of American Motors
Corp. stockholders and has gotten along
pretty cordially with-his workers.
But one must wonder how significant
these latter factors are in a Michigan gu-
bernatorial race. 'With the exception of
labor, all of the above groups had an al-
most pathological hatred of former Gov.
G. Mennen Williams, who won six con-
secutive terms. And nearly all of Ronm-
ney's workers live in Wisconsin.
If one reads the news publications care-
fully, he finds that in spite of Romney's
personal attractiveness, Michigan's al-
leged restlessness under the tyranny of
"king maker Walter Reuther" (to quote
Life magazine) and the fact that the
Democrats are "saddled with lackluster
Governor John Swainson," he still does
not have a commanding lead in the Mich-
igan gubernatorial race. The Detroit
News, an independent Republican news-
paper whose political polls have an im-
pressive record for accuracy, recently
found that at that time Gov. Swainson
would get 50.7 per cent of the vote and
Romney 41.9 per cent, with 7.4 per cent
undecided.
Yet upsets happen in politics, and if a
situation were ripe for an upset, this i
it. Romney is an attractive candidate; a
lot of people are thoroughly fed up with
the long-time Republican-Democratic
split and an essentially apolitical candi-
date like Romney begins to look attrac-
tive; and Gov. Swainson does have soma
problems. But it is time that someone
examined in print Romney's political bal-
ance sheet.
ROMNEY'S maiden voyage into state
politics was his Citizens for Michigan
organization, which successfully combined
with the League of Women Voters and the
Junior Chamber of Commerce to instigate
a referendum for a state constitutional
convention. At the time (1959) many in-
formed people of all political positions
questioned Romney's motives. They were
convinced that the state's problems were
-primarily political-not constitutional-
and that a constitutional convention
would have difficulty solving them, and
might create an even bigger dilemma.
And although Romney repeatedly swore
that his cause was much too great for
'him to cheapen it by getting involved In
partisan politics or running for political
office, there were those who had their
doubts.

Interestingly enough, some of the bit-
terest -anti-Romney feeling centered in
the Republicans who control the State
Senate. These men, outside of the De-
troit area, are extremely important fac-
tors in the state Republican Party. They
enjoyed referring to Romney (for the
benefit of the press) as "a leading Wis-
consin industrialist." This .was a subtle
illusion to the fact that during Romney's
tenure as president, American Motors
moved its automobile manufacturing
plants 'out of Michigan into Wisconsin.
Another aspect of Citizens for Michi-
gan which rankled politicians of both
parties was that they were convinced the
group was dominated by American Mo-
tors personnel. For example, a major
figure of the organization in Washtenaw
County was a vice-president of the Uni-
versity, who, they noted, was incidentally
a director of American Motors. In fact,
everywhere in the organization one look-
ed, key positions were held by American
Motors personnel.
A further factor hurting Romney in
politicians' eyes was that he was against
politics: the Republicans were dominated
by big business, he said, and the Demo-
crats were dominated by big labor. This
is not the type of pronouncement cal-
culated to win friends among either busi-
ness executives or labor leaders, who think
political activity is one of their responsi-
bilities as community leaders.
But, in any case, Michigan got its con-
stitutional convention and Romney is
now a vice-chairman. His fortune would
seem to be pretty firmly tied to the suc-
cess of the convention. It is still too early
to tell what kind of a document the new
constitution will be, but current guessing
is that much of it will be like the present
constitution. For example, reapportion-
ment and revenue problems-the state's
two real headaches-will very likely not be
cured. Although it is unlikely that Rom-
ney will be blamed for this, he will be
unable to capitalize on the principal issue
with which he has been identified. Nei-

ROMNEY'9S
ROUGH ROAD
A Hard-Headed Evaluation
of, His. Political Prospects

of one foiled by the forced beyond his
control, since he has personally intro-
duced many of the compromise measures
-perhaps necessary for any action at all
-which imitate the present provisions,
particularly on reapportionment.
Another of Romney's problems is the
extreme polarization of Michigan poli-
tics around a very liberal Democratic
Party and a very conservative Republican
Party. Unfortunately for Romney land
the Republicans), the Democrats are in
the majority. There is a seeminglymob-
vious solution to this problem: move
somewhat to the left and attract all the
independents and a few Democrats. That
way, the Republicans would have a real
chance of winning in statewide elections.
But this approach was tried twice by
Paul Bagwell, the, Republican nominee
who ran against Williams in 1958 and
against Swainson in 1960, and it doesn't
work. One possible explanation is that the
22 Republican senators like having veto
power over the actions of the governor.
If aRepublican governor were elected,
the powers of these senators ~would be
reduced.
The governor would be in a better posi-
tion than they to do favors for their con-
stituents, and for interest groups. Thus,
they have been somewhat less than ad-
vancemen for the Romney bandwagon.
In fact, their only recorded favorable
comment to date has been their applause
for Romney's decision to forebear any
comment on measures before the Legisla-
ture, so he can concentrate all his atten-
tion on the work of the Convention.
THE NATIONAL press did correctly re-
report one aspect of the Romney
story: Swainson indeed is in political
trouble. He is not popular with the vot-
ers. (Although he has never been par-
ticularly popular before, he has yet to lose
an election.) Perhaps more serious, Demo-
cratic Party leaders have been develop-
ing deep antipathy toward him.
But the Romney build-up could very
well be the best thing that ever happened
to the governor; the party, particularly in
Wayne County (Detroit), has developed
real bitterness toward Romney and is
fighting mad. If they stay this angry,
Swainson could carry Wayne County by
the 350,000-400,000 vote plurality he
needs to be assured of victory. This would
be especially true if Romney happens to
run behind his party in outstate areas.
Swainson has some other assets. The
governor is an adroit politician. For ex-
ample, he skillfully. pressured Romney
into choosing publicly to advocate the
income tax proposal recommended by
Citizens for Michiganinstead of the sales
tax approach of the Republican Party.
In Michigan elections one cannot ignore,
either, the power of the political ma-
chine which was developed by the Demo-
crats under Williams. It has a habit of
regularly punching out election victories.
But there is one aspect of the governor's
political situation which presents an enig-
ma. This is the position being taken by
Gus Scholle, labor's - big political gun.
Scholle, president of the state AFL-CIO
Council, is an old political warhorse who
doesn't make many mistakes, but he may
well be making one on Romney.
Scholle has been bitterly opposed to
Romney and the Constitutional Conven-
tion for a number of years. His fight has
been so bitter and unrelenting that he

may have
has persus
He believe
marily di
tionment
veto the e
thinks R
problems
Scholle
attacks or
vention a
Romney's
his candid
"The big c
put on ax
God in c
Michigan
climax to
seen."
Scholle':
ture the R
at the san
it in the
Democrat
apparent
Albert Col
Republica]
tle. It mi
boomerani
Swainson
salesmans
publicans
jority of t
litical pos
his presid
definitely
To hav(
presidenti
governor-
coping wit
And Mict
carious. A
new solut
gap measu
the same
they enaci
come fro:
Republica
Romney.
Without
revenue
which hi
Swainson
Romney's
He wou
lem of gr
politically
over the lh
--which I
from the:.
Thus,
Romney u
the Legisl
ideologica
same tim
the man
aid. If Ro
deserves t
But uni
political tj
claim to t
based on
and the
analysis.

for Gates. Gates then staged the longest
filibuster in the history of the Michigan
Senate: 49 hours and 23 minutes. As a re-
sult, the Regents were informed at their
March 18 meeting in a note from Gov.
Neil MacHyne, fifth ruler of Williams
dynasty, that the state would be unable
to finance the monorail system.
THE SYSTEM was to have been the last
state-supported program of the Uni-
versity. For the past 10 years, the Uni-
versity had slowly shifted its financial
base from the Legislature to the Alumni-
Phoenix Project Council and perpetual
funds. Now, just as the University was
preparing to go independent, the Legis-
lature yanked out its support twoyears
early.
One of the Regents then came up with
the unique plan for financing the mono-
rail system-build a League Station, float
a bond and pay it off through student
fares. She suggested a nickle fare for in-
state students and a dime for out-of-
state students. The motion carried unani-
mously. The Regents also directed
Putsche to organize. an advisory commit-
tee to study how the students should be
assessed the fares. -

the La
ber oj
Relatim
staff.

George Romney

I

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