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December 12, 1979 - Image 27

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-12-12
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,. -

The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, Dec

Protest moves inside as
A 2courts controversy


O N OCTOBER 3, 1974, Ann Ar-
bor entered the "70s." That
was the day Briarwood, the
huge shopping mall in the
fields around I-94, officially
But the opening was almost an anti-
climax compared to the fights over
whether it should ever have been built
at/all. It would lead to urban sprawl by
pulling the city to its outskirts, ex-
claimed environmentalists and no-
growth advocates. And downtown mer-
chants worried that the slick, climate-
controlled center would draw away
their customers.
Briarwood stands as a tangible
monument to the conflicts and
arguments that characterized the
decade in city government. In a town
where nearly everyone gets involved in
something, citizens and politicians
fought over everything from the dope
law to how the mayor should be elected.
THE 60S have come to be known as
the decade of protest in the streets. The
frequently violent upheavals of that

following year, by a 6-5 vote, the
Democratic-Human Rights Party
(HRP) Council majority passed the
now-famous $5 pot law. The law made
possession and, in some cases, sale of
marijuana a misdemeanor, subjecting
offenders to a parking-ticket type
surmons and a $5 fine - only one
dollar of which would go to the city.
The law was short-lived, however.
The next year, following the election of
a firm Republican majority on Council
as well as a GOP mayor, the $5 fine was
repealed. Undaunted, HRP members
got the issue put on the April 1974
general election ballot. Thanks to a
heavy student turnout, the dope fine
became part of the city's charter by a
margin of fewer than 1,000 votes. -
The HRP, however, had become
something of a nuisance to the city's
Democratic party, since it siphoned off
valuable votes in a town nearly equally
divided between Democrats and
Republicans. The Democrats planned
to overcome this handicap with a new
preferential voting system. But it

a court order to put Wheeler in office.
A circuit court judge finally rule
that PV was constitutional, but not unt
almost seven months after the election
In the following April's off-year elec
tions, PV was unceremoniously can
celled by the city's voters. And th
rapid demise of the city's only viabl
third party, by now renamed th
Socialist Human Rights Party (SHRP)
made PV a moot issue.
Thus, Mayor Wheeler looked forwar
to election night 1977 in hopes o
knowing once and for all if the voters o
Ann Arbor wanted him to be mayor
But the events of the evening were har
dly typical election night fare, and i
was to be another election where th
"real" winner would never be deter
The turnout was low - only slightly
more than 21,000 - and the tallies wer
completed fairly early. They showe
SHRP candidate Diane Slaughter wit
356 votes, Wheeler with 10,560, an
Republican challenger and Mayor Pro
tem Louis Belcher with 10,559.

Kicking off his presidency as an
"outsider," Jimmy Carter elected
to walk the entire parade route
folowing his inauguration at the
Capitol on Jan. 20, 1977.

in the aftermath of the nation's worst nuclear catastrophe, Joanne Noel and her daughter Danielle, age four, tend
their garden as the reactors at Three Mile island stand ominously in the background. The Noels were one of several
families evacuated from their Middletown, Pennsylvania home during the Three Mile Island accident.



Nation loses vigor for reform

Township 20 d!'
to rev eal flw oral (k
ShoPP7 iJ eeje

"alienated young people"-grown
slightly cynical.
No one is quite certain of the origin of
the "crisis in confidence" syndrome.
Many social scientists and political
pundits conclude the mishandling of the
Vietnam War ignited a pessimistic and
cynical attitude among Americans.
Vietnam was this country's first losing
effort on the battlefield. Instead of
hurrying home to welcoming parades,.
returning soldiers searched for solitude
and salvation.
The 70s was also dominated by
America 's growing disillusionment
with the federal government. Unlike
the 60s when Kennedy with his Frontier
and Johnson with his Great Society
assured Americans that government
could solve national crises, the 70s
alienated citizens firom their leaders.
THE WATERGATE scandal shat-
tered the previously invincible myth of
the presidency. Since the birth of the
nation, Americans came to revere the
president, trusting him with enormous
power and resources. Richard Nixon
erased that idolatry, perhaps forever.
As America lest faith in its gover-
nment, it lost its vigor for effective
reform. People cultivated change in
themselves instead of outwardly. The
"cynical 70s" was also called the "me
decade:" Fad diets, jogging, raquet-
ball, liquid protein, hair transplants,
perms-all were touted in endless
commercials and splashy ads that
promised to make the old younger and
keep the young, young. The struggle to
change a nation turned into the struggle-
to find a job and achieve individual suc-
cess in a land whose success and power
suddenly was not so readily
Finding jobs, however, became



easier for at least one major segment of
the population--women. But even as
women were making strides in the
male-dominated job market, a simple
statement of women's equality has con-
sistently met adversity. The Equal
Rights Amendment has been stymied
by opponents such as the Mormon
Church and. the efficacious Phyllis
Schafly, Through marches, rallies, and
lobbying; feminists convinced Congress
. to approve a time extension for ratific-


tion. The ERA, however, still needs the
approval of three state legislatures to
meet the 1982 deadline.
FOR BLACKS TOO, the concrete
moves toward equality, have
progressed slowly in this decade. In the
60s something called "black power" was
born-it was personified in a group
known as the Black Panthers. In
February 1970 a California lawman
declared, "the Panthers are dead." But
in response to the growing prediction

that the Panthers were involved in a
war they couldn't win, former Panther
Virtual Murrel said: "The next
generation may not be Black Panther in.
name. But they will be Black Panther in
In the course of the decade the Black
Panther philosophy has, for the most
part, withered away. Like the rest of
the nation, blacks have found it more
practical to concentrate on individual
success instead of broad social change.
-Michael Arkush Amy Saltzman


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America's global role:
loss of powerinfluence

United States has stood by like a pitiful,
helpless giant watching long-time allies
in Nicaragua and Iran eroded by inter-
nal discontent, allowing Soviet and.
Cuban adventurism to go unchecked in
Angola and Ethiopia, and seeing the
once almighty dollar being routed on
foreign exchange circuits.
The United States has, in a sense,
come full circle,'┬░since 1970 and the
height of American interventionism, to
1980, and a new trend of isolationism
and retreat to our own shores. From a
time when the U.S. resorted to full mili-
tary engagement in Southeast Asia and
political subversion in Chile to protect
American interests, we have come
around to accept, as President Jimmy
Carter said, that this country "can no
longer control events on foreign
THE SHIFT IINthe cold war balance

of power was first signalled in the
jungles of Vietnam. The "most power-
ful nation on earth" could not win a
guerrilla war in an undeveloped coun-
try, and suddenly some basic precepts
about America's world role were thrust
into doubt. What is power, if it could no
longer be defined in terms of a nuclear
weapons stockpile? And how could the
United States ever make good on its
global commitments if we had proven
either unable or unwilling in Vietnam to
risk a nuclear war with Russia by
bringing our own nuclear deterrent out
of mothballs?
Almost at once, America's western
allies began questioning our resolve
while taking steps to assure their own
defense. West Germany began reap-
proachments to the East under the.
Social Democrats'.Gstopolitik; Japan
began her own rapproachments with

l.tebrace tem. and
decade seemed, for many, the only
means of promoting quick change.
There was no less protest during the
70s - at least not in Ann Arbor - but
most of it took place within the more
traditional forums of City Council
chambers, or, increasingly, local,
state, and even federal courts.'
The first major court case of the 70a
was initially filed in 1968 by eight
University students against then City
Clerk John Bently. The students were
angry because the city had special
residency requirements for students
who wanted to vote, making it more dif-
ficult for them to register than non-
In the summer of 1971, the Michigan
Supreme Court ruled unanimously that
the special voting requirements
violated both the state and U.S. con-
stitutions. The law was struck down,
clearing the way for University studen-
ts to have a real impact on city politics.
THAT IMPACT was quickly felt. The

proved to be the subject of the city's

next major cout case inf197 5.AMAZINGLY, the one-vote win held
PV, as it was called, allowed a voter up through two recounts, and Wheeler
to indicate a second choice onhis or her was once again sworn into office. But
ballot in a race with more than two Belcher filed suit, alleging
candidates. If no candidate emerged irregularities including several con-
with a majority, and if the voter's first tested absentee ballots and one possibly
choice was the obvious loser, his or her malfunctioning voting machine.
vote would be thrown out and his or her Business as usual continued with the
second choice would receive credit for suit pending until July, when a student
the vote. intern accidentally discovered that
WHEN ON election night it became some 150 people who actually lived out-
clear that Carol Ernst, the HRP can- side the city's limits were accidentally
didate, had lost miserably, her second registered to vote because some
choice votes were divided between registrars used faulty street guides.
Democratic challenger Albert Wheeler More than 20 of them cast ballots in the
and Republican incumbent James "one-vote election."
Stephenson. Not surprisingly, Wheeler By the following fall, Belcher's
received some 85 per cent of the lawyer had located 20 of the voters and
redistributed votes, which gave him the brought them to court in an effort to
majority necessary for election. The discover how they voted. Visiting Cir-
Washtenaw County Board of Can- cuit Court Judge James Kelley ap-
vassers,. however, refused to issue a proved of the line of questioning. When
certificate of election. It took several University junior Susan VanHattum
law suits and counter-suits, and final . ud to reveal her vote on con-

a %
ra tto
puritY .9g a-p

Supreme Coui

N MAY, 1970, President Richard
Nixon announced to a television
audience that U.S. troops had
just invaded the neutral country
of Cambodia, to prove to the world that
the United. States was not "a pitiful
helpless giant."
In 1979, almost a decade later, the

. _

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