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October 27, 1979 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-10-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Citizens panel still 'organizing'

(Continued from Page 1)
decision to resign.
A source associated with the Person-
nel/Human Rights Department who
'asked not to be identified said it was
lack of communication, rather than
friction, plagued relations between the
department and the commission's for-
mer chairman.
HUMAN RIGHTS/Personnel Depar-
tment Director Robert Treadway also
denied rumors that he did not get along
with Alexander.
The source said Alexander did not
communicate with the department
even on matters such as scheduling the
monthly Human Rights Commission
,meetings.
Alexander rarely visited the depar-
*tment in City Hall, according to the
source.
"NEVER HAVE I seen such coldness
toward the department," the source
,said.
The Human Rights Commission
recently developed a one-page list of
goals it wants the Human Rights
Department staff to achieve. The list
includes bringing City Hall personnel
into compliance with federal hiring
guidelines, developing a handbook to
publicize the functions of the Human
Rights division, and conducting
reviews of city contractors' progress in
instituting affirmative action.
The city's anti-discrimination
ordinance requires a review every six
months of city contractors' affirmative
action programs, but Human Rights
staff members say they have fallen
behind in the review process due to in-
sufficient funds and staff.
"WE THINK WE should clean up our
,own house before we start, cleaning up
other people's houses," said com-
mission member John Powell, the sole
panel member who would consent to an
interview.
Powell also said the commission is
concerned with defining its role. "We
,are trying to re-interpret what (the
.revised Human Rights ordinance)
really means. I think that's
legitimate," Powell said.
Powell explained that the com-
mission's function is unclear due to the
.nature of the discrimination problems
-which exist today in the city.
- DISCRIMINATION is on an
."economic plane," he said. "It's not the
color of the skin, it's the color of the
money."
For instance, Powell said "the tem-
porarily poor" students are affected by

{
economic discrimination in Ann Ar-
bor's tight housing and retail markets.
Critics of the mayor's appointments
to the Human Rights Commission, such
as former Mayor Albert Wheeler, said
the appointees should represent a
broader cross-section of the com-
munity.
MEMBERS OF the commission who
have been serving since Fall, 1978, in-
clude an attorney, a real estate agent,
the director of medical services in
University Hospital's Department of
Social Work, and an assistant to In-
terim University President Allan
Smith.
Wheeler said the present commission
members "don't see the issues very
clearly."
"I don't think they know what's going
on,'' he added.
RECENTY-appointed commission
.member David Hagens is the Assistant
Pastor of the Bethlehem United Church
of Christ.
Hagens, whose church Belcher atten-

ds, said he accepted the mayor's in-
vitation to join the Human Rights
Commission in order to "perhaps serve
Ann Arbor and see what the political
life here is like.
"I didn't go onto the commission
because of any civil rights type
reason,'' Hagens said.
HAGENS SAID the "horrible" con-
dition of some of the city's housing was
the only intance of widespread human
' rights violations that he has become
aware of during his two months on the
commission.
Another new commissioner, Barbara
Curl, said she joined at the mayor's
urging. Curl is the general manager of
the Campus Inn and a member of the
city's Chamber of Commerce.
Since there have been no commision
meetings since she has been appointed,
Curl said she could not identify
problems of discrimination in the city.
CITY DEMOCRATS often have ac-
cused Belcher, a Republican, of making
only Republican appointments to boar-

ds and commissions.
Democrats say the mayor appoints
those interested in politics to the board
rather than people interested in the
topic covered by the particular panel.
Democratic Councilmember Ken
Latta said Belcher had "totally failed"
to achieve a Republican-Democrat
balance on city boards and com-
missions, including the Human Rights
Commission.
BUT LESLIE MORRIS (D-First
Ward) admitted that her party had
failed to submit to the mayor
Democratic nominees for the recent
openings on the Human-Rights Com-
mission.
The mayor has repeatedly passed
over Democratic nominees, Morris
said, so the Democratic party had stop-
ped sending him names of possible ap-
pointees.
Belcher said when he made the
recent appointments, he didn't know
the occupations of all his nominees.
"Basically, I didn't even realize that
they are all professionals, but as I go
down the list, I realize they probably
are," Belcher said.

The Michigan Daily-Saturday, October 27, 1979- -page 7
r E S
4

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