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September 07, 1978 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-09-07

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 7, 1178 Page 13

lected mayor after year-long legal battle

By JULIE ROVNER
The Michigan-Ohio State football
game, the Hash Bash and commen-
cement are allannual events in this
town and voting for mayor just might
become one, too.
As of today, the person who occupies
the head chair at City Council meetings
is Louis Belcher, a 38 year-old
businessman. But keep a scorecard
BELCHER BECAME mayor last
April after defeating the incumbant,
University professor Albert Wheeler,
by 174 votes of some 40,000 cast. Believe
it or not, that was considered a lan-
dslide.
Wheeler and Belcher first faced off
for the mayoralty in 1977. While the
city's political watchers predicted it
would be a close race, no one expected.

the final result on that spring night:
Wheeler-10,660; Belcher-10,559; and.
Socialist Hyman Rights Party can-
didate Diana Slaughter-356. Two
recounts and a month later, Belcher
filed suit against Wheeler, charging
that the 62 Sear-old second-termer was
holding the mayoralty illegally.
Belcher's suit centered around a
number of alleged irregularities in the
election.
THE CASE MOVED slowly until
July, when it was discovered that due to
the use of faulty street guides, some 150
residents of Ann Arbor Town-
ship-ineligible tonvote in city elec-
tions-were accidentally registered to
vote. Of those people, 20 actually voted.
By early October the voters, soon
dubbed "the township 20," had been

rounded up and subpeonaed. Robert
Jienry, Belcher's attorney, obtained
permission from visiting Judge James
Kelley of Monroe to put the 20 on the wit-
ness stand and ask them to reveal how
they had voted. Three told, but when
University junior Susan VanHattum
took the stand, she refused to say on the
grounds that.she had a constitutional
right to keep her vote a secret.
Kelley promptly cited VanHattum for
contempt of court, and she was han-
dcuffed and held briefly in the judge's
chambers. The next witness, Diane
Lazinsky, a University graduate
student, also balked at revealing her
vote and also was held in contempt.
THE TRIAL CAME screeching to a
halt as lawyers for VanHattum and
Lazinsky took their ease to the

Michigan Court of Appeals.
In-November, the Appeals Court han-
ded down a ruling which said that the 20
could be asked to reveal their votes.
Once again, the lawyers filed an ap-
peal, this time with the state Supreme
Court. Last January, the court ruled
that the constitution provides the right
to a secret ballot which cannot be
violated unless actual fraud can be
proven.
SO AFTER TEN months of legal
maneuvering, Ann Arbor voters still
didn't know who they had electd
mayor.
Finally, on February 8, 1978, Kelley
persuaded Wheeler and Belcher to put
their names on the April ballot, with the
winner to serve the final year of the
two-year term.

Wheeler

ING WILL GO TOWARD LEGAL AID:

SA implements mandatory fee

S

By MARK PARRENT'
rear there will be yet another
t fee for the privilege of atten-,
e University. Beginning this
ach student will be assessed a,
ory fee of $2.92 per term for the
of the Michigan Student
ly (MSA) and its related
ns.
is the official campus-wide
representation body whose
rs are elected by University
s once each year.
MANDATORY assessment,
eplaces a voluntary fee of $1.15
m, was overwhelmingly ap-
by voting students last April.
the main reasons for the in-
i fee is the addition of the Cam-
gal Aid office to the jurisdiction
I Aid was previously funded by.
versity to provide free legal ser-:
to law-income students. But
g ,budget cuts threatened the
until student funding through
as assured. Legal Aid will now
e free legal services to all
s regardless of income.
i Aid handles many student,
ms, the most frequent being lan-
enant disputes. Staffed by
Y full-time attorneys and law
ts from the University's Jlaw
Legal Aid also handles other
of cases, such as divorce. Legal
torneys have devised the: do-it-
If divorce plan which requires
al assistance from a lawyer.

OTHER. STUDENT services
provided by MSA include student health
and property insurance and allocation
of funds and office space to student
organizations. MSA functions as a
student advocate not only in its relation
with University administrators but also
in state issues. Recently MSA began
lobbying in Washington and Lansing for
tuition tax credits.
MSA members are elected from each
of the University's 17 schools and
colleges. The number of represen-
tatives elected from each school' is
roughly proportional to the number of
students enrolled in each particular
academic unit.
The Assembly president and vice-
president are elected as a ticket by the
student body as a whole. Technically,
the president and vice-president don't
have that much more power than
regular MSA members.
THE PRESIDENT, in addition to
chairing- the meetings, often initiates
action- and oversees administrative
work. The president also usually serves
as a figurehead and chief spokesperson
of the organization.
MSA's current president is Eric Ar-
nson, a first-year graduate student and
teaching assistant.
Several years ago, the organization,
then called the Student Government
Council, was plagued with election
fraud and embezzlement of funds. The
student government was reorganized
into MSA with new controls to prevent
fraud.

SINCE THEN, major scandals have
been absent from MSA lending to its
new respectability with both students
and University administrators. More
students voted in the last MSA election
than in any other election since MSA
was organized. In fact, a record num-
ber of candidates was recorded this
year for representative seats.
However, MSA candidates have been
criticized in the past for seeking elec-
tion only to beef up their resumes for
grad. school and job applications.'
Although MSA is still plagued by
some intra-organizational fighting, the
shouting and namecalling at meetings

that was common Just a few years ago
has been replaced by controlled debate.
DUE TO AN amendment to the MSA
constitution passed by students last
April, MSA elections will be held only
once a year rather than twice annually
as before. The annual elections will now
be held in April. Supporters of this plan
claim that it will save money as well as
campaign time for members, allowing
them to concentrate more on MSA
Opponents point out however, that in-
coming freshpersons will not be able to
vote for representatives until they have
been at the University for more than two
terms.

r

NEWCOMERS!
COME TO4A

OLD TIMERS!

Initial It!

JEWISH ACTIVITIES FAIR
THE *cOj@ EXPO
Sponsored by The *Council of Jewish Organizations
SUN. SEPT. 17j
1-3 PM, 7-10 PM
Pendleton Room in the Union
- LEARN ABOUT JEWISH-STUDENT ACTIVITIES-
Meet, Eat and Be Entertained
Call 663-3336

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