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November 07, 1978 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-11-07

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Page 4-Tuesday, November 7, 1978-The Michigan Daily
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom
Vol. LXXXIX, No. 53 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Judge Peterson's PBB ruling

Mexican students: The undefeated

ruling on the Cadillac PBB
contamination case has left the public
with two basic questions: Why did he
rule that PBB has no ill effects on
humans and why did he decide the case
just one week before the November
The case involved a Falmouth, Mi.,
farm couple, Roy and Marilyn
Tacoma, who filed suit against the
Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan
Chemical Company after their dairy
cattle were poisoned with PBB-tainted
The Tacomas took the courageous -
but costly - step of killing several
hundred head of dairy cattle, after
the animals started showing signs of
PBB-related illness. They refused to
sell the cows for meat, despite
assurances from agriculture officials
that it would be safe to do so.
The couple decided that they would
rather absorb a financial loss, rather
than endanger the public's health with
contaminated beef.
In the suit, the Tacomas sought to
recover the damages from the Farm
Bureau and the chemical firm which
had been responsible for the PBB
contamination in the first place. The
case dragged out over several years of
hearings, motions, delays, and lengthy
testimony by scores of expert
To observers familiar with the
growing evidence of PBB's
debiliating effects on ani-
mals and humans, Judge
Peterson's dismissal of the Tacoma's

suit was difficult to comprehend.
There was simply very little factual
basis for, his statement that PBB's
dangers have not been established.
Tests on animals have shown that
PBB causes nervous and skin disorders,
swelling of joints and hair and nail.
abnormalities. Cows have also been
found to suffer sharp declines in milk
production as a result of eating PBB.
If the ruling itself is hard to justify,
the timing of Peterson's action is even
harder to explain. It is difficult to avoid
the impression that the ruling was
timed to give incumbent Governor
William Milliken a last-minute boost in
his tough reelection battle.
Judge Peterson could not have been
unaware of the central role which PBB
has played in this year's gubernatorial
campaign. He must have heard the
barrage of attacks from Democratic
challenger William Fitzgerald against
Gov. Milliken's mishandling of the
PBB disaster.
Under the circumstances, any
prudent, responsible judge would have
postponed his ruling until after the
November vote so as not to color the
outcome of the election.
It would be hard for Judge Peterson
to dispell the impression that his ill-
timed, ill-conceived decision was
aimed at rescuing the state's top
official from the mire of PBB.
The Tacomas, meanwhile, have
indicated they plan to appeal
Peterson's ruling. We hope higher
court officials will show the wisdom
Judge Peterson's action so clearly

This October, across the United
States and all the Americas,
people commemorated the tenth
anniversary of the Tlatelolco
massacre. This was a brutal,
planned attack by the Mexican
army on demonstrators in
Mexico City, in which hundreds
of defenseless people were killed.
However, that massacre was
only one episode in the dramatic
story of the Mexican student
movement, which was as vital
and courageous during the sixties
as was our own. In one sense, that
story is still ongoing, and today,
when political stirrings are again
to be seen on our campuses, it is a
story that we should not ignore.
The movement began in 1968,
when a high-school brawl in
Mexico City was surpressed by
the policy with unnecessary
brutality. Out of this incident
grew a, gigantic upsurge of
university students -rotesting the
lack of democratic rights in
Mexican society. Their demands
were simple: the dissolution of
the Granaderos, an especially
brutal wing of the police used
against demonstrators and
strikers; the firing of the police
officers responsible for the high-
school incident; abolition of the
laws limiting political activity;
indemnification for the relatives
of the students killed by the
police; and the release of
political prisoners, including two
union leaders who had been in jail
since 1959 for leading a railroad
Also fueling the movement was
,a sense that Mexican society was
not delivering what it promised.
Most of the students came from
the lower middle-class, and had
hoped to rise in society through
their expansion in Mexico, the
students felt that opportunities
were slipping away from them
because of the unequal
distribution of wealth: An ever-

greater amount of the national
income was being monopolized
by a US-supported upper-class.
(Three-fourths of Mexico's trade
is with the US, and like so much
of Latin America, she is

By Mark Prejsnar

Tlatelolco. But it was not the end.
Mexican society as a whole
was both angered and cowed. One
student recalled:
"A policeman climbed up on
the platform to speak at a

The Mexican students have doggedly
earned the right to carry their banners
bearing the proud slogan: "Better to die on
one 'sfeet than to live on one's knees. "


electricians' and other campu
employees begin a series o
strikes on different campuses
Their demands: child care
decent salaries, so teacher
.would not have to take seconi
jobs outside the university
greater academic freedom
housing programs; and bette
health care.
These strikes were massivel;
supported by the students; thu
began for the first time a reall
organized alliance between th
students and labor. Visciou
repression hascontinued, bu
many demands have been wo
and some strikes hav
This new labor/studen
movement has begun to look lik
the massive '68 groundswell: I
1977 there were demonstration
of 150,000 people. The Mexica
students have doggedly earne
the right to carry their banner
bearing the proud slogan
"Better to die on one's feet tha
to live on one's knees."
On the evening of November 2
9, the University of Michiga
community will -have a uniqu
opportunity to learn about th
Mexican student movement an
related topics. Noted historian
and political activists from th
US and Mexico will speak i'
Schorling Auditorium in th
School of Education Building, a
part of a teach-in on "Mexico
Contours of Crisis." Among th
speakers will be Hecto
Marroquin, one of the leaders c
the student movement in th
early 1970s, who is fighting to b
allowed to reamin in the US, an
who fears for his life if he i
forcibly returned toMexico.
Mark Prejsnar is a rrenmbe
of the Ann Arbor Committe
for Human Rights in Latia

dependent on her northern
neighbor in many ways.) Indeed,
by the 1970's, combined
unemployment and
underemployment affected over
50 per cent of the population.
The students' demands found
an echo in much of the rest of
society. The demonstrations held
in the summer of 1968 drew over
200,000 people, many of them non-
students. Unions and groups of
workers at particular enterprises
tool out newspaper ads declaring
their solidarity with the students.
(Direct involvement, on the other
hand, was likely to cost people
their jobs, and so many shoed
away.) When student marches
were attacked in the streets of
Mexico City, housewives would
pour boiling water from their
apartment windows on the heads
of the police.
The climax came with

meeting in Atzcapotzalco; he
said he was a decent person, took
his uniform off, and stamped on
it, and then asked us for money to
go back to the part of the country
where he came from. He was so
angry that tears were streaming
down his face." (NACLA Report
on the Americans, Sept. - Oct.
1978, p. 21).
The '68 movement was
suppressed. But not until further
shootings had taken place,
together with mass arrests,
torture, and the covert murder of
student leaders, and the
organization by the government
of the Halcones ("Hawks"),
fascist-style gangs that would
mercilessly attack any student
demonstration. Yet the campus
movement only temporarily went
In 1971 it emerged in a new
form. Teachers, researchers,



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Michigan rough rider

H. Scott Prosterman

The previous decision: Guns or butter
The present decision: Headlee or Tisch
The subsequent decision: Cops or ceramics

"essential" services shall fit.
The basic intention of Jarvis, Headlee an
Tisch is a sincere one, in light of the notoriou
waste and inefficiency which ha
accompanied the expansion of al levels o
government. Quite simply, they seek to limi
the available revenue, thereby forcing tha
government to become more frugal in it
spending habots. However righteous thi
intention may be, the arbitrary measure
ta en by Jarvis, and presumably by Headle
an Tisch, recognize the problem at hand
but are destructively clumsy in dealing wit
it. If this analysis is inaccurate, then schoolt
libraries and museums are a direct product
wasteful government operations. (They wer
the first to go in California.)
Michigan's version of "The Great Ta
Revolt" is represented by Headlee and Tisc
and in a sense by the Voucher plan. Tisc
calls for a tax cut, while Headlee makes mor
stringent tax cuts, and implements
legislative spending ceiling as well. Th
voucher plan, originally conceived by Milto
Friedman in the early 60's as an alternative t
public education, withdraws public suppo.
for schools, and re-distributes that money
parents in the form of vouchers. Sta
education money would then be at parent
disposal, to use as they see fit.
But has anyone bothered to ask where th
Voucher money is going to'come from
either Headlee or Tisch is passed? If w
expect to see the merits of freedom of choic
in education, we must ask what kind (
education will be available, when the allotte
money for schools will be cut nearly in half.
Regardless of the effect of these thre
measures on the educational system, a mor
dramatic decision will face this stat'
lawmakers if Headlee or Tisch passes: Whi
services shall be cut and by how much?
When it comes to a choice of keeping th
Ann Arbor Fire and Police Departments i
S-1 .--- --- -n ;;"9 +a W i

The Daily endorses:
U.S Senate, Carl Levin
Governor, Zolton Ferency (write in)
U.S. Congress, Earl Greene
State Senate, Dr. Ed Pierce
State- House, Rep. Perry Bullard
Attorney General, Frank Kelley
Secretary of State, Richard Austin
County Commissioner, Dist. 14, Kathleen Fojtik
County Commissioner, Dist. 15, Catherine McClary
State Supreme Court, G. Mennen Williams
and Gary McDonald
University Regents, No endorsements

It has often been observed that a popular,
vote on a special resolution is an easy way for
a state legislature to avoid the throngs of a
"rock and hard place" political issue. With
the recent proliferation of statewide special
elections relating primarily to tax-issues, it
has come time to ask: What -red-blooded
electorate would vote themselves a tax-
increase even in the best of times, for the
most worthy of causes? Furthermore, who in
their right mind would reject a tax-cut for any
In passing such tax issues onto the public
for approval, the lawmakers are
acknowledging their own reluctance to deal
with unpopular measures, regardless of their
necessity. they find themselves caught up in a
dilemma of: "I know we need all the revenues
we can get, but if I vote for this increase then
I'm through," and "I know we need all the
revenue we can get, so how could I vote for a
taxv* 1nd Dna4 orrnmcnt servieso bn he

three: to shift some of the financial burden of
government back to the citizen. bu
California passed Proposition 13 by the
most overwhleming landslide ever for
a special petition (approximately 70
per cent). With such magnificent approval
by the electorate, who should there have been
such a vocal and widespread reluctance, as
there was when it took effect less than a
month later?
Dare I suggest that Propposition 13 was
mis-represented? I dare not suggest
otherwise. For example one of the strongest
selling points of the Jarvis amendment was
the notion that renters and apartment
dwellers would directly benefit from the
savings of decreased property taxes, through
reduced rents. However, when rents were
being raised, ironically coinciding with the
implementation of Proposition 13, landlords
took to begging ignorance about the purpose
of 13. as though then weren't intended tn h

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