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October 09, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-10-09

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

' i a 4 3 ttu
Eighty-three years' of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan


failure of free enterprise housing

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104

News Phone: 764-0552



SGC endorsements

Residence Hall: Thomas Lounsbury ,
Undergraduate: Daniel Fishman, Jeff
LSA: Marcia Fishman, Rosanne Lapinski
Law: Ed Hall
Engineering: Doug Keith
THIS. YEAR'S campaign for Student
Government Council, which ends
with three-day balloting starting today,
has unfortunately followed all two close-
ly in the footsteps of recent.SGC election
It has been characterized by name-call-
ing and slander of the rankest order
while the substantive issues that affect
students have once again been relegated
to the background.
Editorial Staff
Co-Editors in Chief
DIANE LEVICK.......................Arts Editor
MARTIN PORTER.......... ......... Sunday Editor
MARILYN RILEY ....... Associate Managing Editor
ZACHARY SCHILLER..............Editorial Director
ERIC SCHOCH............... Editorial Director
TONY SCHWARTZ.................Sunday Editor
CHARLES STEIN......................City Editor
TED STEIN......................Executive Editor
ROLFE TESSEM ................... Managing Editor
STAFF WRITERS: Prakash Aswani, Gordon Atcheson,
Dan Biddle, Penny Blank,'Dan Blugerman, Howard
Brick, Dave Burhenn, Bonnie Carnes, Charles Cole-
man, Mike Duweck, Ted Evanoff, Deborah Good,
William Heenan, Cindy Hill, Pack Krost, jean Love,
Josephine Marcotty, Cheryl Pilate, Judy Ruskin,
Ann Rauma, Bob Seidenstein, Stephen Selbst, Jeff
Sorensen, Sue Otephenson, David Stoll, Rebecca
DAILY WEATHER BUREAU: William Marino and
Dennis Dismacheck (forecasters)
Sports Staff
Sports Editor
Managing Sports Editor
BOB McGINN.............Executive Sports Editor
CHUCK BLOOM.............Associate Sports Editor
JOEL GREER...............Associate Sports Editor
RICH STUCK..............Contributing Sports Editor
BOB HEUER.............Contributing Sports Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Jeff Chown, Brian Deming, Jim
Ecker; Marc Feldman, G e o r g e Hastings, Marcia
Merker, Roger Rossiter, Theresa Swedo
STAFF:'Barry Argenbright, Bill Crane, Richard Fla-
herty, Cary Fotias, Andy Glazer, Leba Hertz, John
Kahler, Mike Lisull, Jeffrey Milgrom, Tom Pyden,
Leslie Riester, Jeff Schiller, Bill Stieg, Fred Upton
g Ss Staff
Business Manager
RAY CATALINO......... ...... Operations Manager
SHERRY CASTLE . . ...........Advertising Manager
ANDY FIENBERG ................ Finance Manager
D 4VE BURLESON ................... Sales Manager
DEPT. MGRS.: Steve LeMire, Jane Dunning, Paula
ASSOC. MGRS.: Joan Ades, Chantal Bannlhon, Linda
Ross, Mark Sancrainte, S u a n n e Tibero, Kevin
ASST. MGRS.: Marlene Katz, Bill Nealon
STAFF: Sue DeSmet, Laurie Gross, Debbie Novess,
Carol Petok, Mimi Bar-on
SALESPEOPLE: W e n d i Pohs, Torn Kettinger, Eric
Phillips, P e t e r Anders, R o b e r t Fischer, Paula
Schwach, Jack Mazzara, John Anderson
News: Deboroh Mutnick, Chris P a r k s,
Cheryl Pilate, Ted Stein, Sue Stephen-
Editorial Page: Ted Hartzell, Zachary
Schiller, Eric Schoch
Arts Page: Diane Levick
Photo Technician: David Margolick

Numerous candidates have based their
campaigns almost entirely on the al-
leged corruption of President Lee Gill,
While The Daily and SGC are both inves--
tigating charges against .Gill, to date no
concrete evidence has come to light prov-
ing that heis guilty of any wrongdoing.
Still, he has been the target of some of
the most vicious charges in SGC elec-
tion history.
VOTERS WILL also be going to the polls
with the prospect of facing the most
confusing electoral system yet created by
the paper-pushers who infest the student
government. Known as the 10-10-10 plan,
the system will create a council of 42
members with individuals elected from
various school, divisional and residential
Trying to get things approved by such
a large and potentially unwieldy organiz-
ation will be extremely difficult.
It is unfortunate that the plan is being
introduced at a time when the council
has shown its first .genuine sign of revit-
Though not without problems, the
council has takensteps in the past
month which have once again cast it in
the role of campus leader. Under Lee Gill,
the body has been quick to act and in-
volve itself in major issues.
WHILE ITS DECISION to take a back-
seat in the tuition strike may have
been a tactical error, the mere fact that
it supplied both verbal and'financial sup-
port to the effort has been significant.
The agreement made with President
Fleming which guarantees a bi-weekly
meeting between Fleming and the coun-
cil is another impressive first. Once the
epitome of the outside critic, Gill has
learned to operate effectively within the
governmental framework of the Univer-
He is currently working on an agree-
ment to set up policy boards with stu-
dent members in each of the vice-presi-
dents' offices.
With this in mind we confine our en-
dorsements - with one exception - to
members of Gill's Students Rights Party.
Though all do not possess great experi-
ence in student government,.they are the
candidates most likely to continue the
gains made by the present council.
'THEY ARE THE candidaes most com-
mitted to the principles of student
power, minority rights and progressive
Jeff Schiller, the lone Campus Coali-
tion candidate to receive our endorse-
ment, has been an intelligent and capable
member of the present council. He alone
among candidates of his party has shown
restraint with regards to the charges of
SGC corruption - choosing to refrain
from comment until results of curi'ent
investigations are made known.
We have not made endorsements in the
Rackham and co-op races since we were
unable to interview all the candidates in-

has a housing problem, at least to those
people who aren't part of it. Ann Arbor's
rents, the second highest in the country,
continue to rise, while private housing con-
struction in the campus and near-campus
area has come to a halt. Landlords are
walking away with large profits and tax
savings while buying the houses they rent
out with the rent they collect from ten-
ants, to sell them later for speculative
Tenants are paying tribute rather than
rent. Landlords are making booty rather
than profit. Within the next week, t h e
Human Rights Party will start their drive
to obtain 3,500 signatures to put rent con-
trol on the ballot next April, where it can
be passed and enacted free of City Coun-
cil interference. Many of the problems of
the Ann Arbor housing market are address-
ed by the law's provisions: profit floors
and ceilings, interest rate and financing
controls, profit inducements for mainten-
ance work, tax saving rebate, repair work
mediation, tenants' rights clauses, and anti-
abandonment procedures. It is a large im-
provement over the "fair return" and "max-
imum base rent" laws that have been
initiated in other cities in the past.
WHAT REMAINS to be demonstrated is
that rent control is a response to a prob-
lem created by free enterprise. This is the
traditional hurdle rent control must over-
come in the minds of the voters. "Free en-,
terprise" is more than an economic sys-
tem; it is a reactionary ideology., To tell
Ann Arbor's tenants to wait for free enter-
prise - a sort of corporate Santa Claus -
to solve our housing problem is equivalent
to teling somebody with a headache that
they can end their pain by blowing their
brains out.
"Yes, in this immense confusion, one
thing is clear - we are waiting for Godot
to come . . . we will hang ourselves tomor-
row unless Godot comes." And so it is .with
the market. We are told to wait for the
market tolower rent itself, by the creation
of new supply. This is a traditional land-
lord argument promoted by the economic
thinking that spawned the robber barons
and the Hoover Administration.
IN FACT, new supply has historically
caused rents to rise, not fall. This is be-
cause many of the costs of erecting a
building have gone up notoriously in the
past ten years. Mortgages acquired ten

years ago were financed at six per cent
interest. Now, that figure is closer to
10 per cent, and promises to go higher
when mortgage interest ceilings are LIfted
at the behest of the President. This means
that mortgage payments that will be made
on the house will be permanently costly.
Consider, for example, one landlord's ap-
peal (confidentially, up to this point) to the
city assessor: "Due to keen compeition in
the area, we have not been able to raise
rents as we should . . . result: no profit.
Our only hope is continued inflation so that
we can raise our rents while maintaining
constant mortgage costs and hope to do
better." This is in fact what landlords do.
Every year new housing is created, every
year built with more expensive financing,
materials, and labor. This forces n e w
housing to be more expensive, and there-
fore higher rent must be demanded. Thus,
new housing can force rents up, not down.

* intuitively absurd.
WHAT'S MORE, new supply bringing
about lower rent is reduced from specula-
tion to crystal-balling when seen in light
of the fact that there has been virtually
*no new supply in the campus-central area
in the past five years. Why?
One explanation. is found in a city ad-
ministration official who felt, confiden-
tally, that nobody would commit "an intelli-
gent nickel" to housing construction in this
area at this time. A second rationale is
found in another appeal to the City Asses-
sor: "Since the student uprisings of 1969,
there has been little activity in the sale of
student apartments in Ann Arbor", refer-
ring, of course, to the 1969 rent strike.
In short, economic and political consider-
ations have led Ann Arbor's landlords to
leave the campus area behind, and move
on to the greener pastures of out-commuter

........... . -.... . *. . *.*.*.........." "~ ' ............. . . . .
...... . .
"To tell Ann Arbor's tenants to wait for free enterprise-al
sort of corporate Santa Claus-to solve our housing prob-
lem is equivalent to telling somebody with a headache that
they can end their pain by blowing their brains out."

case of New York City, where rent control
is accused of having created slums. The
fact that there were already poor persons
uprisings in Harlem in 1943, and promoted
by the same conditions that brought them
about 20 years later, seems to have eluded
the argument.
One might go on to ask that if rent
control promoted disrepair and abandon-
ment in New York, what promotes it in
Roxbury? South Side Chicago? To the land-
lord, a house is not a home - it is an
asset, like a stock, a bond, or a bank ac-
count. As one landlord has it, ". . . the
real value of income producing property
is determined by the amount of income
it produces (and not how nice it may
Given that fact of the real estate market,
it is not surprising to find maintenance'
overlooked. Whysshould funds be commit-
ted to maintenance if they bring no -atis-
factory return? The reason that housing
deteriorates is because in avoiding main-
tenance expenditures, the landlord receives
a greater profit, and the house becomes
worth more! Once again, the profit motive
produces the opposite of the desired effect.
A rent control law that tied profit to main-
tenance would be infinitely better than the
situation we now have.
BUT STILL the tenant is told to wait for
Godot, to wait for the new supply, the light
at the end of the tunnel, for the "self-cor-
recting' mechanism to bring about a new
Golden Age in the housing market. Will
new housing, constructed with financing ob-
tained at the highest interest rates ever in
this economy's history, help bring down
rent? Will landlords pr'ovide housing for
poor people out of their benevolence?' Will
the profit motive reverse itself and repair
the housing stock?
Each proposition is as doubtful as the
next. The landlord's solution to the land-
lord problem is a Trojan horse. The solu-
tion to the housing problem.lies in stopping
the developers' juggernaut, not it waiting
for it to make right the disaster it has
left in its wake.
Ev Ehrlich, who was a member of
the Rent Control Study Commission,
is a member of the' Human Rights
Party, and the Union for Radical Poli-
tical Economics.

When "continued inflation" operates this
way, the landlord already in the market
can catch up, by being "able to raise
rents," and "do better".
THEORETICALLY, say the free mar-
keteers, new supply will create vacancies,
which force the landlord to lower rent, in
order to fill up the units. But as Pierre
St. Amour, a landlord member of the frded
and forgotten rent control study commis-
sion, will attest, it is "not profitable" for
the individual landlord to lower rent to fill
vacancies. The revenue gained from the
new tenants who have filled the vacancies
will not compensate for the reduction given
to the tenants who would have paid the
"too-high" price, and the landlord w o u 1 d
lose money.
Now, this might be a different situation
if landlords were about to go broke, but
it seems they're not. In fact, the land-
lord in the above appeal, who sought to
raise rents to help fight inflation, is mak-
ing more than 40 per cent per year profit
on his investment in the house when tax
savings are included. The concept of com-
petition creating new supply leading to low-
er rent is as practically impossible as it is

THE PROBLEM of new supply is in no
way limited to "student" areas. In fact, the
problem in student areas reflects the fact
that new housing construction is geared
not to students, not to black people, not to
poor people, but to upper and middle in-
come white out-commuters. This is the
direction of Ann Arbor as a community. As
an Ann Arbor landlord told the study com-
mission: "For the poor person . . . there's
no way private enterprise can build for him.
He went on. to say that "the worst tenant
is a young tenant."
Given these attitudes, low income people,
black people, and students are faced with
a serious dilemma. They can either pay,
ransom for their housing to a landlord and,
more important, a system that expresses
contempt for them, or they can act to
force the market to serve their interest as
well as that of the wealthier white interest
to whom it now caters.
that an uncontrolled market will provide
maintenance services better than a con-
trolled one. The proof of the pudding is the


new Game

for the


OF ALL THE games being played in
Washington perhaps the one that is
most interesting is no longer Beat the
Press, but Use the News.
Even though Beat the Press is an old
favorite, let's go over the rules one
more time to make it perfectly clear.
One side is called the Administration. The
other side is comprised of Newsmen. The
Administration gets the first move, but
nobody knows what it is. They have their
own board. It could be bombing the guts
out of Asian farmers, subverting national
elections or settling anti-trust cases.
If some enterprising Reporters want to
play they have to find out what the Ad-
ministration did. There is no real time
limit, except that if the Newsmen do not
enter the game soon they lose by default
and what we get is History.
The Reporters might ask a massacred
civilian what went on, but usually they will
talk to Sources. In many cases the Sources,
often members of the Administration op-
posed to their team's first move, will call
the Reporters.
THE REPORTERS may get a story or
two out of their sources, but by that time
the Administration gets more moves. They
may send a Cabinet Member to commit
Perjury in front of a Congressional Com-
mittee, they may claim National Security
or they may Wiretap their own players and
the Reporters with Plumbers.
The Administration is piously against
News Leaks. They prevent government
from doing the job they will not tell us
In its most developed form, even the FBI,
the CIA and the Supreme Court enter the

game - all, of course, on the Adminis-
tration's side.
The game ends when either the govern-
ment's policy or the Newsmen themselves
are found dangerous to our National Inter-
est by Public Opinion. The Newsmen us-
ually lose. If they win, hoivever, the gov-
ernment just starts a new game often
repeating the same first move, like killing
Asians, if in fact they ever stopped. So
the Administration always wins. That's
Beat the Press.
USE THE NEWS is something else. Here,
the same Administration which is piously
against News Leaks has an Enemy. It may
not be a real enemy, but just a Diversion
for the Press.
The Enemy in the latest game is the
The Administration holds information on
the Vice-President. The Press does not
like the VP because of his role in too
many Beat the Press games. The Ad-
ministration is tired of having the Press
investigate illegal bombings and corrup-
tion. So, the Justice Department and top
White House Aides decide the Public has a
Right to Know. They tell selected News-
men all about the criminality of the Vice-
President thereby violating the Judicial
The Press has to print these Facts, ,be-
cause- not to do so would be to deny in-
formation to the Public. The Administration
has the Press do its Dirty Work. That is
called .Use the News.
Thus, in some situations, the Admin-
istration can take a leak.
Bob Seidenstein is a Daily staff



AP Photo

Letters:ROTC. sex bias exaggerated'


To The Daily:
THE DAILY has once again dis-
played its talent for distorted re-
porting. Ms. Lilly's article about
barriers confronting Naval ROTC
women is truly a monument to the
faith of a true believer, a faith
well armored against the assault of
mere facts. The first bit of mis-
direction is found in the use of a
photo of an Air Force recruiting
poster to prove "subtle sexism" in
the Navy (the Air Force, as a
matter of fact, has its own pro-
gram for women, but they all wear
uniforms so I guess they all must
be the same . . .). However, this
is minor compared to what is to
'Nf T Mir -oo "c xA ;

rather Congress.
She continues her argument by
taking quotes from the N a v y
public affairs officer, Lt. Pence.
It must be admitted that she sur-
passes herself in her treatment of
him: it strains creduality to be-
lieve that he dwelled upon "float-
ing brothels" as quoted as exten-
sively in their conversation as to
warrant such extensive quoting or
for that matter that this topic was
the most cogent to her article.
A call to Lt. Pence reveals that
he did indeed discuss other things.
Of particular interest are-the num-
erous opportunities for women in
the "Shore Establishment', includ-
ing such significant posts as pro-
ject manager (proiects can range

qualifications" quite a bit less
sweeping. Her whole treatment of
Lt. Pence reminds one of Ehrlicn-
man's description of the Admin-
istration's treatment of Grav
'hanging there, slowly twisting in
the wind.'
If the proof of her first thesis
was dubious the proof of the se-
cond is a disaster. Her implica-
tion of widespread male prejudice
remains simply unproven. Besides
a vague statement by the girls in
Naval ROTC to the effect that
" They tell us not to worry ab.ut
it, things will improve,' " the exact
nature of 'it' remaining almst
carefully unspecified. In fact her
two other quotes (from males) are
both favorable towards women's in-

that Daily reporters will be led to
a reliance upon evidence rather
than upon their preconceived no-
tions of the situation.
Mark Radcliffe '74RC
Oct. 7
To The Daily:
acy and bias has become a hall-
mark of Daily reporting in recent
years, we were not terribly shock-
ed at the divergences from truti
contained in last Saturday's ardi-
cle on our campus political Marty,
the Screw SGC Party. Neverthe-
less, the article did cause us con-
siderable dismay, in that it e re-

pered with misquotes that on e
cannot help but think that the au-
thor was being inattentive through-
out the interview. Even ignoring
this issue, however, we must ob
ject to the very clear impression
conveyed by the article that SSCC
consists of "right-wing conserva-
tives." As was indicated in our
interview with the, Daily, we are
libertarians, i.e., we are inalter-
ably opposed to the initiation of
coercive force. We 'reject the very,
notion of a left-right political spec-
trum. Our stand is clearly one not
shared by reactionary "liberals"
and conservatives, both of which
groups advocate the enforcement
of victimless crime laws.
Lastly, the article's author vic-

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