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October 10, 1974 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1974-10-10

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

Eighty-four years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Thursday, October 10, 1974

News Phone: 764-0552

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104

W research resurfaces
in county bonding issue

THE FOLKS THAT brought you
"smart bombs", spy satellites,
and other Vietnam-tested weaponry
may soon be producing their death-
dealing wares closer to our doorstep.
To "stimulate" the local economy,
the County could permit the Environ-
mental Research Institute of Michi-
gan (ERIM) to conduct its classified
research near North Campus. The
move is convenient for ERIM since
it has long maintained ties with the
University despite official non-affil-
lation in 1973.-According to Executive
President William Brown, approxi-
mately fifty to one hundred Univer-
sity grad students and a "lesser num-
ber" of faculty members work there.
However, University officials re-
main tight-lipped about present re-
lations. Professor Rune Evelson, di-
rector of ERIM (then the Willow Run
Research Labs), from 1958 to 1970
states: "I have no idea what is go-
ing on at ERIM now. However, they
are in the neighborhood and indirect
relations do develop."
THIS MORNING, the Ways and
Means Committee of the County
Board of Commissioners will vote on
whether to award ERIM an industrial
revenue bond. If the bond is granted,
it will give ERIM a five to six per,
cent discount on the loan they need
to finance relocation. This will
amount to a three-million dollar
ERIM is presently located on Uni-
versity - owned land east of Ypsi-
lanti. It was formerly a University
research center until faculty and
student oposition to the military
research done there pressured the
University to leave in 1973.
ERIM is still conducting the sort
of research it was doing before 1973.
About fifty 'per cent of its research
involves defensedepartment con-
tracts, admits Executive President
William Brown.
ERIM's reasons for moving are that
its lease with the University expires
News: Gordon Atcheson, David Bur-
henn, Cindy Hill, Ann Marie Lipin-
ski, Robert Meacham, Becky War-
ner, Sue Wilhelm
Editorial Page: Bill Heenan, Marnie
Arts: Ken Fink
Photo Technician: Steve Kagan

in three years and the buildings built
during WWII are deteriorating. Also,
sixty-five per cent of its employees
live in Ann Arbor.
few, ERIM places not only a mor-
al, but an economic burden on the
community. ERIM enjoys a tax-ex-
empt status and the city is liable to
lose tens of thousands in property
tax revenue. According to school
superintendent Harry Howard, the
school systems could lose at least
$35,000 in property taxes if the firm
occupies Conductron Plant and about
$90,000 if it buys the Bendix site.
A study released last June by the
Public Interest Research Group in
Michigan (PIRGIM) disputes claims
of County Commissioner supporters
that ERIM will increase local em-
"Because of military researcher's
efficiency," charged Marion Ander-
son, legislative director of PIRGIM;
"the military is an inflationary force
in the economy." According to her ev-
ery billion dollars spent by the Pen-
tagon eliminates 3,200 jobs here.
THE LAND ERIM is considering buy-
ing can be used for more bene-
ficial purposes. An industrial site or a
housing development would be more
beneficial toward the community.
Research projects funded in the hun-
dreds of thousands of dollars could
be reolaced by scores of laborers at
$10,000 per year. Downtown Ann Ar-
bor is faced with a housing short-
aee which this property could help
alleviate. The city could get full taxes
from either, of these moves which
would help it and the schools -which
are the biggest losers in the ERIM
THE ONLY REMOTE advantage the
move offers is save a little ener-
gy. To permit weapons ,of war to be
manufactured in our 'midst so 'U'
profs, grad students, and retired gen-
erals needn't commute another fif-
teen minutes is wrong. The research
company only desires to tap the re-
search center of the Midwest from
within. ERIM can always deal death
in Brighton or on the East Coast.
Therefore, we urge the County Board
of Commissioners to reject ERIM's
request for bonding.

Org a
CLASSIFIE military re-b
searchers, the kind w ho b
arouse the wrath of the anti- '
war campus just a few yearsi
ago, want financial help fromf
the county government so theyI
can move- back to the Univer-
sity. ,
This week anti-war groups be-r
gan organizing, and the tele-
phones of county commission-i
ers ringing, over the Environ-t
mental Institute of Michigan'sI
(ERIM) application to Washte-f
naw County for $3 million int
tax exempt industrial revenuea
ERIM is the former Willowd
Run Laboratories of the Univer-
sity of Michigan, developers of
electronic battlefield weapons
for the Pentagon in the Indo-
china War. -
are being wishy-washy, avoweds
radicals sticking to their study
groups and splinter groups, butc
despite feet as sticky as tarE
babies', some people in the locals
movement have gotten started.
All that anyone needs to gett
started is memory.
The Willow Run laboratories:
were separated from the Uni-
versity in January 1973 after
years of faculty-student protest.
With the help of the state legis-
lature, the labs were set upI
as a non-profit tax exempt cor-I
The administrative separation
didn't end the classified work,I
however, and it didn't end the1
role of University researchers1
in furthering it. The chief result
seems to have been removal of
the labs from anti-war protest
and the scrutiny of a student-
faculty committee which, al-
though it didn't know muchl
about Willow Run's operations,<
knew more than anyone else.
CURRENT information on the
weapons being developed atI
Willow Run is non-existent, but1
summaries of research carriedr
on there three years ago men-<
* lasers as target designat-I
ors, the kind which guided theI
pinpoint-accurate "s m a r t"I
bombs used against North Viet-1
nam in the Christmas 1972
* infra-red sensors, which de-a
tect ,planes, missiles and par-
ticularly vehicles and numan
beings under jungle cover by
the amount of heat they-emit.
s acoustic and seismic sen-
sors, used to target U.S. air-
craft weaponry against troop
movements and vehicles along
the Ho Chi Minh frail.
*hsensors to detect the launch
site of missiles, like the Svet-
built surface-to-air missles
which hindered the U S. bomb-
ERIM President Dr. William
Brown says that in 1974 "more
than half" its budget still came
from clasified military c o n -
tracts; the proportion has re-
mained steady in recent years,
and according to ERIM li-era-
ture, its present work builds on
its past.
NOW ERIM wants to move
closer to the University and
the rest of Ann Arbor's rili-
tary-industrial establishment.
I The reason ERIM gives is that
its lease on the University-own-
ed and deteriorating quaxters'at
the Willow Run airport east of
Ypsilanti is running out in 197.
Money from the county bonds

a media, leafletting and rally
blitz to raise consciousness,
build a demonstration Otober
16 in front of the county biid-
ing, and initiate the further ef-
fort probably needed to stop
NOW FOR some more me-
"If this is a separation, then
it will have to be a real .epara-
tion," declared University Vice-I
President for Research Geof-
frey Norman firmly in 1972, af-
ter five long years of protest+
against war research. "Our re-
lation to Willow Run will be no
different than our relation wth
Bendix, Parke-Davis or other
local research corporations."
Indeed, Prof. Norman, indeed.
The fact of the matter is, of
course, that the University en-
joys cozy relations, even prom-
iscuous ones, with the local re-
search corporations to wlh it
is attached by complex finan-
cial, cybernetic and old-boy ties.
Among other things, the Univer-
sity sends out professors and
graduate students to work at
these places, grants adjunct pro-
fessorships to their employees
and occasionally acceprs re-
search grants from them.
JUST LIKE it does now wth
ERIM. Neither party admits to
precise figures on the situation,
but according to Brown fifty to
one hundred graduate sudens
are presently working at Willow
Run, most of them from the
University. In n anguarded
University's Division on Re-
search Development guessed
"eighty or ninety."
The number of proessors
working as "consultants" at
Willow Run is suposed to be
less, but no University or ERIM
official has been willing to make
an estimate.
Then there's the single knoiwnr
case of a tenured 13ivercity
professor, Emmet Leith of the
Engineering School's Depart-
ment of Computer and Electri-
cal Engineering, who also re-
tains majorrresponsibilities at
Willow Run. According to vice-
president Norman in 1972, this
practice was not going to be
FINALLY there's ta Yingle
$10,000 ERIM grant to the elec-
trical engineering department
this year, for an unchssfied
study on electron beam guns.
Electrical engineering is the
unit historically most closely
involved with Willow tun, and
undoubtedy still is. Ahoogh de-
partment professors swear up
and down they knw nothing
about it, from the numbers in-
volvedrit wouldrappearthat stu-
dents are working on degrees at
Willow Run under supervision
from their professors, wo tnus
continue classified war research
through proxies.
Electrictal enginering, it
might also be added, also holds
the eight remaining classified
contracts in electronic battle-
field research still going on at
the University. According to a
public file in the Senate Assem-
bly office, work continues at the
Cooley and Radiation Labora-
tories on North Campus into"
such subjects as sonar detection,
jamming, electronic counter-
counter measures and covert
"WE'RE PROUD of all our
work," ERIM President Brown
told this reporter. We had ask-


features the same infra-red op-
tical scanning devices used, not
only in Indochina, but by U.S.
spy satellites.
DR. BROWN is young and
quite a salesman. If you can
dig it, he says the laboratories'
purpose is to develop the re-
search and development (R&D)
capability of the state of Mich-
igan. We talked to him one
night a few weeks ago, just
after a city council meeting at
which he had received, with one
dissenting vote from Human
Rights Party councilwoman,
Kathy Kozachenko, council's
unofficial endorsement.
Dr. Brown says the reason
ERIM would like to move to

to the county of jobs, income,
tax revenues, attendant econ-
omic prosperity, etc.
To back up the argument,
Brown has threatened to "ook
toward Brighton" in Livingston
County, or even more to the east
or west coast, if the county
doesn't approve the bond, al-
though he's also said he would
try the Ann Arbor City Coun:il
for the industrial bonds frst.
Supporters thus play on egi-
timate fears for blue collar and
unskilled workers when they iose
their jobs, but with ERIM the
case is otherwise. A majority
of Willow Run employees a r e
highly skilled technicians, mo-
bile and versatile enough to find
new jobs.

new quarters it badly needs to
expand its operations could be
Failure to obtain cheap gov-
ernment public financing would
force ERIM into the private
bond market, making its move
vastly more expensive and dam-
aging the firm's position via a
vis other research firms corm-
peting for federal contracts.
Arbor will keep it farther from
the "critical mass" of R&D
capability which it says it needs
to survive.
Anti-ERIM organizing r a y
create uncertainty in federal of-
- fices as to the firm's ability to
carry out future contracts.

STUDENTS CONFRONT a Naval recruiter in part of a pattern of protest that shoved classified
research into hiding at the University.

Ann Arbor is that rougnly 65
per cent of its 450 emplhyees
live there, also because it would
get the operation closer to the
"critical mass" of R&D capa-
bility centered in such firms
as Parke-Davis, Bendix, KMS
and of course, the University.
But what Dr. Brown really
likes to talk about is how Bos-
ton, San Francisco and Wash-
ington D.C. are getting more
than their share of the federal
R&D pie, how lack of a '"mid-
western perspective" prejudices
research values and creates so-
cietal imbalance, and how it
deprives Michigan of the kind
of entrepreneurial talent which
follows R&D money.
If the "midwestern perspec-
tive" is responsible for the wea-
pons developed at Willow Run,
however, we want nothing of it.
And as for the entrepreneurial
talent responsible for develip-
ing those weapons, we've :een
enough of that too.
isn't just moral. There's also
good evidence that the Kind
of work done at ERIM, wheth-
er for war or- peace, is detri-
mental to the economic xAlI-
being of the average working
class stiff.

"While a majority of the county commissioners who will vote on
the bond appear to favor it, anti-ERIM organizers are working on
several sometime anti-war Democratic commissioners w h o could
swing the decision the other way."
-s- t.;.- .-.-. -/
.v::r.:: t:." r::::v:,": : :......:......... ......................r::> -:.".:>+::.. :.

NOR SHOULD the myriad of
graduate students evidently
working on their degrees out at
Willow Run be encouraged to
continue in this line of work.
Not only is it detrimental to
their morals, but it also appears
to be at the expense of less-
privileged members of the wcrk-
ing class.
Nor should the thr it that
ERIM will move away from the
area be taken seriously, for the
simple reason the labs "could
probably not survive out of
close proximity to the Univer-
sity anyway.
If ERIM moves to Brig iton,
which is about the farthest sway
it could move from its brain
pool, most of its employees will
stay where they are and con-.
mute to work, just like 65 per
cent of them now commute from
Ann Arbor to Willow Run.
bonds ERIM wants are part of
an unholy coupling between
local governments and industry
in order to subsidize the "free
enterprise" system.
Although the county has never
offered bonds like this before,
it is authorized to do so by the
state legislature. The county
lends its name to a bond issue,
nlacine it in the municiol cate-
gwrv. Since the interest on muni-
cinal bonds is tax free, invest-
ors can be persuaded to bty
them at low interest rates.
EIM, not the county, will re-
nav the bonds, but the interest
it wil have to pay will ba about
h-alf the rate it would have to
pay in the private bond market.
as a public interest corpration,
however, comes its awn tax-
exempt status from feder l in-
come and- local property levies.
Since the Conductron faculty
is assessed at about $900,000
value, purchase by the tax-
exempt ERIM corporation will
cost Ann Arbor and its scho)ol
district approximately $50,000
a year in -taxes. The Bendix pro-
perty's tax assessment is near-
ly three times greater, so re-
locati- there would cost tax-
payern early three times more.
In lieu of taxes, ERIM has of-
fered to pay a voluntary assess-
ment like the one paid by the
local Veterans Administratnon
Hospital. The hospital is worth
an estimated $528,000 in county,
city and school taxes a year, in-
stead it pays the city $11,000
a year for fire protection.
THIS KIND of arrangement
not only shifts tax burden onto
smaller, less powerful prareity
owners - county commissioners
already report receiving irate
phone calls from ratepayers
concerning this - but also ex-
empts the corporate structire

A protracted battle might fuel
opposiion 4in other places where
ERIM attempted to move, or
force it to give up classified re-
search entirely.
ERIM opponents want to bash
military and technology spend-
ing at both ends, not ohly i' the
Congress where funds are ap-
propriated but out here in the
provinces where we have to pay
for it, subsidize it on our tax
rolls and bear the shame of it.
Ad Hoc Committee to Step
ERIM War Research include
the Ann Arbor -and Ypsilanti
branches of the Himan Rights
Party, the Ind, 'hina Peace
Campaign, tIe 'n Arbor Sun
and the New Morning. Media
Collective, the New American
Movement and the Young Soc-
jiost Alliance. At the time of
this writing other groups were
feeling their way into the con-
IF YOU don't want your coun-
tv government giving tax breaks
and bonding advantages to war
researchers, get in touch with
the ad hoc committee through
IPC (764-7548) or IIRP (761-
Also, let your county repre-
sentatives know how you feel.
The county commission has
eiht Democrats and seven Re-
p lblicans on it this year. Some
disnute existed at the middle of
this week over whether i sim-
ple majority or two-thirds vote
was necessary to approve the
bond issue.
The board's Ways and Means
Committee was to vote of the
bond today, October 10, but the
nnnncement yesterday that
FRTM x was considering purchase
of the Bendix instead of the Cron-,
- ductron property may result in
a tabling motion.
The earliest the issue could
reach a regular county commis-
sion meeting it now Wednesday,
Otoher 16. The ad hoc commit-
tee is tentatively planning a de-
monstration for that date at tlhe
county building.
LIBERAL Democratic com-
missioners known at one time
for their anti-war views, b i t
now leaning in favor of ERIM,
are Meri Lou Murray (A n n
Arbor, 971-6828) and J a m e s
Cregar (Ypsilanti, 485-0513).
Democrat William Winters
(Ypsilanti, 483-9406) is a long-
time union man and says he has
an "open mind" on the issue.
Democrat James Walter (Yp-
silanti, 485-571) -has voted for
the bond issue in committee but
was once known for his anti-war
Democratic commissioners
Kathy Fojtik (Ann Arbor, 761-
8343), Elizabeth Taylor (Ann

would be used to buy, renovate
and move either to the former
Conductron facility at Plymouth
and Green Roads or, as was
announced yesterday, a Bendix
Corp.-owned property across the
Both buildings are immediate-
ly northeast of the University's
North Campus, and both have at
one time or another housed elec-
tronic war-goods manufactur-
ers. The Conductron property is
presently owned y McDonnel-
Douglas, the fighter-bomber
makers. According to Brown,
either facility will allow ERIM
to make its operation -'n u c h
While a majority of the coun-
ty commissioners voting on the
bond issue now appear to favor
it, anti-ERIM organizers a r e
wgrking on several sometime
anti-war Democratic commis-
sioners who could swing the de-
cision the other way.
APPROVAL OF the bond ap-

ed what an olive-green tank
with a white star was doing
parked in the back lot of one
of his laboratories. He answer-
ed that it was being used for re-
search on infra-red signature,
just like a neighboring c o r n-
Although the laboratories' ac-
complishments stem mostly
from war research for the Pen-
tagon, in its literature ERIM
stressed spinoff benefits into
such fashionable fields as land
use planning, environmental
monitoring and resource man-
Something ERIM is most
proud of these days, for exam-
ple, is the Earth Resources
Technology Satellite. In orbit ftr
two years now, the satellite is
suposed to take census of crops,
water resources, soil types and
land use, as well as detect crop
disease, water pollution and in-
ventory new mineral resources.
According to ERIM, the pro-
ject has been funded by a num-

The assertion is contained in
a study released in June by
the Ralph Nader-organized Pub-
lic Interest Research Group in
Michigan (PIRGIM).
Drawing on a 1970 analvsis
by Yale economist Bruce Rus-
sett, PIRGIM calcula'es t h a t
each billion dollars spent by the
military in recent years has
cost Michigan approximately
3,200 jobs.
THE PIRGIM study is based
on the observation that every
dollar spent on the military, or
advanced technology NASA pro-
jects like ERIM's isn't scent
somewhere else. Since military
and NASA spending creates less
jobs than spending on consumer
goods and services, it can fairly
be said that allocations to the
military-industrial complex re-
dice the number of av iilable
Even whiz-bang wonders like
the Earth Resources Technology
Satelite become a little e s s
wonderful when the number of


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