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November 15, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-11-15

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Corporations roll into land development

t e ti an Bail
Eighty-three years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104

News Phone: 764-0552


Thwarting the boycott

WE DEPLORE the move Tuesday by the
University Housing Council (UHC) to
re-introduce non-United Farmworkers
Union lettuce onto the tables of Uni-
versity's dormitory cafeteria. Fortunate-
ly, the Housing Policy Committee must
now consider the move. We hope the com-
mittee will reverse the UHC decision and
continue the boycott.
The argument that the University;
should no longer participate because a
minority of students oppose it is absurd
on the face of it. In the all-campus elec-
tion last October support for the boycott
was registered. Despite the fact that rel-
atively few students voted, the election
is the only concrete evidence on which
any action should be based.
Advocates or throwing out support of
the boycott say the rights of a student
minority are being trampled upon. But
what is at issue is the living and work-
ing conditions who have been struggling
for years to carve out decent lives for
themselves through the United Farm-
Workers Union.
BDY FORCING non-union lettuce into
dormitory cafeterias, the rather in-
significant right of a minority of stu-
dents to eat lettuce is being used to tram-
ple on the rights of Chicano farmwork-
ers fighting for meaningful standard of

The additional argument that the de-
cision is an individual one and not insti-
tutional is bogus as well. Lettuce would
be bought and prepared by University
Housing, not individual students, and
thus it is indeed an institutional decision.
Even had the October vote been closer
than the 258 to 192 in support of the boy-
cott, we must look towards our govern-
ments for moral leadership rather than
to simply carry out the biases and pre-
judices of a minority of their constitu-
UHC has failed in this role.
And UHC's decision also ignores other,
varieties of lettuce available, including
romaine lettuce and union lettuce.
cision, however, is the greed of the
vociferous minority who feel their appe-
tites should supercede the rights of un-
derfed and underclothed Chicano farm
A final ironic note is that nearly at the
same time the UHC decision was being
made, Richard Chavez, brother of Cesar
Chavez, was speaking on the diag. The
UHC decision stands out as a symbol of
the callous attitudes of many comfort-
able middle class Americans toward the
plight of farmworkers and Chicanos who
supply them with much of their food
every day.

(Editor's note: The following is the first of
two articles on the increasing involvement of
large corporations in land development in this
country. Today's artacle outlines some of the
economic f'orces w~hich have prompted their
involvement. Tomorrow's article will look at
the philosophies such companies are following
and the results.)
AS URBAN AREAS in this country grow,
consuming more surrounding land (For-
tune magazine has estimated 3,000 acres per
day), it becomes more important that land
be used wisely, and thus it is increasingly
valuable to know who is planning and fin-
ancing the development boom across the
In the last few years, it has become ap-
parent that huge American corporations not
previously involved in real estate and de-
velopment are beginning to acquire land,
and local builders are financing residential
and commercial developments, "planned"
communities, shopping center complexes
and large office buildings.
However, corporate involvement in real
estate development is a striking change
from the situation that existed as recently
as ten years ago.
Until that time, scholarly works noted, in-
vestors such as insurance companies made
their decisions largely on the basis of esti-
mated costs, risks and monetary returns.
COSTS AND RISKS in real estate were
regarded as high, largely because such
companies felt they had little control over
land values, and felt themselves at the
mercy of local governments.
Not only could the values of specific pro-
perties depreciate quickly, resulting in large
amounts of money locked into profitable
ventures, but privately owned lands are
subject to the whims of authorities who
might wish to use the land for such things
as public housing projects.
Insurance companies, after all, are ob-
ligated to policy holder and stockholders,
and the risky nature of real estate was
not considered acceptable. Most states also
limit the amount of real estate insurance
companies can hold to between five and ten
per cent of their assets. In addition, such

companies seem to have held the opinion
that real estate investment was not en-
tirely proper for "respectable" companies.
Thus what involvement there was came
usually in the form of large downtown of-
fice buildings for "name" tenants. However,
this was hardly a commitment to maintain-
ing or revitalizing a central business dis-
IN GENERAL, corporate investors.in the
late 1950s and 1960s considered themselves
followers, not leaders, of current land use
trends, namely the flight to the suburbs and
urban sprawl.
This picture is confirmed by the 1968 re-
port of the federal Advisory Commission
on Intergovernmental Relations, which not-
es that 62 per cent of new industrial build-
nig and 52 per cent of new stores and other
such commercial construction between 1960
and 1965 took place outside the central cities
of the larger metropolitan areas. And even
when investing in "new towns" the site
selection process was conducted "purely
from the standpoint of its economic sound-
ness" rather than any concern for social
public welfare, the report says.
However, it would appear that rather
recently real estate investment has ac-
quired an infinitely better image in cor-
porate and financial circles.
ONE NEED ONLY look at such know-
ledgeable publications as the Wall Street
Journal, Fortune magazine and House and
Home and note articles with titles like
"Look Who's Rushing Into Real Estate,"
"The Future Largest Landlords in Amer-
ica" and "Prudential Insurance to Lift In-
vestments to $3.9 Billion in '73."
Obviously a change has taken place but
only among the largest of the potential in-
vestors. For the life insurance industry as
a whole, for example, only three per cent
of admitted assets were tied up in real
estate in 1957 and again in 1971. However,
for institutions like Prudential the increase
has been substanital. Direct investment in
real estate and joint ventures grew from
$90 million as recently as 1971 to $250 mil-
lion last year.
Attempting to answer the "why" of ex-
panded corporate involvement also pro-

vides answers to such questions as "who"
and "how."
IN THE homebuilding business, recent
developments have produced the so-called
"merchant builders" who combine in one
company the entire range of land purchase,
site improvement such as stretes and utili-
ties, house construction and sale, and "com-
munity builders" who own and develop
very large parcels of land for commercial,
industrial, residential or combinations of
such uses - including amenities not norm-
ally found in suburban developments.
"In the last few years, it Ias
become apparent that huge
American corporations not
previously involved in real
estate and development are
beginning to acquire land
a striking change.."
...... .... .i :.:',L: ..'; .titit ...:: ... ...:''"3} ."}"r:':. i?}. . .. i.v.{"}1:i7
Both of these types of builders require
large sources of capital who can afford
to wait the two to ten years necessary for
the profits to start rolling in.
Corporations are also finding their own
situations amenable to real estate develop-
ment. One factor has been the need to
stimulate product demand. Many industries
increased their capacities in expectation
of a 1960s boom only to have the Vietnam.
War produce a tight credit situation. So
such companies as Masonite and Kaiser In-
dustries have banded together in financing
operations to "encourage" homebuilding.
IN ADDITION, many corporations have
entered the homebuilding field to engage
in product promotion and testing. Accord-
ing to Fortune, Boise Cascade purchased
the Perma Bilt Corporation and its lands
to provide a test market for second homes
and resort residences. Gulf Oil originally in-
vested in the new town of Reston, Va., to
get the right to erect 47 service stations
in the community.

Another incentive is an abundance of cash
with no place to go. Such industries as
alumnium and cement are faced with over-
capacity and are in an oligopolistic situa-
tion, so that craeting new capacity would
not be profitable and mergers might result
in anti-trust action. Investing in building
industries, which use their products, is
thus an attractive alternative. Real estate
also provides opportunities for diversifica-
tion without anti-trust hassles.
Some corporations are using previously-
owned land which they had planned to use
for corporate purposes. Humble Oil Co. is
using such land to build Clear Lake City
on the outskirts of Houston.
Chysler Corporation, in an effort to "up-
grade dealer locations," cash in on valua-
ble excess holdings, and "widen its real-
ty base," has embarked on a planned com-
munity, a luxury housing development, a
town house development (Geddes Lake here
in the city) office buildings, and shopping
centers. Its 1968 estimate was that its real-
ty subsidiary's assets would reach $1.5
billion by 1975.
That estimate points up the basic reason
for the change of attitude about corporate
investment in real estate: There is lots of
money to be made. In a tight money situa-
tion, wealthy corporations are exploiting a
strong bargaining position to demand what
amounts to all the current income for at
least the first four to five years of a pro-
ject's life.
In addition, real estate has come to be
regarded as an excellent hedge against
inflation, earning more money for as in-
surance company than a similar investment
in common stocks.
Corporations have the money and now
the inclination to invest in land and its
development. Considering the large-scale
nature of the building industry today, it is
apparent that corporation involvement will
become even greater in the future. The
next question is, with what standards and
philosophies are these corporations ap-
proaching this involvement?
Martha Dean is a teaching fellow in the
Political science department.

Ford confirmation:


An ecological setback

been pushed through Congress, aft-
er years of opposition by environmental-
ists and tremendous lobbying in favor of
it by the Nixon administration and the
oil companies.
Although the energy crisis probably
gave the pipeline the final push it need-
ed, perhaps its construltlon was inevit-
able. The basic mood in this country con-
tinues to be that when the environment
and our inflated energy uses co'nflict, the
environment be damned (or in many
cases; dammed).
Those with such attitudes either have
forgotten or choose to ignore the fact
that after ruining the environment be-
yond a certain point, how much energy
we want or need will be irrelevent to more
basic issues of plain survival.
The problems inherent in the pipeline
still exist. The environmental impact
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
ROLFT TESSEM.................Managing Editor
Wilbur, David Yalowitz
DAILY WEATHER BUREAU: William Marino and
Dennis Dlismachek (forecasters)

statement originally produced by the In-
terior Dept. noted that even under emer-
gency shutdown procedures as much as
2.6 million gallons could escape after a
pipeline break, and that minor leaks re-
leasing as much at 31,500 gallons a day
would be undetectable.
THE REPORT ALSO stated that a sig-
nificant spill into the upper Gulkana
River during the peak of the salmon run
would likely cause fishery damages of
"catastrophic proportions." The Gulkana
flows into the Copper River, which sup-
ports one of the greatest birdlife concen-
trations in the world.
But many people are shortsighted, and
suggest birds are not worth worrying
about. So the Nixon administration has
its pipeline victory and the oil compa-
nies have the defeat of the environmen-
talists for which they have struggled so
More attempts at destruction of the
American ecology effort can be expected,
with the energy shortage as an excuse,
while overconsumption of energy is the
real problem. The battle to save the en-
vironment has only just begun.
News: J. Fraley Jr., Jo Marcotty, Eugene
Robinson, Judy Ruskin, Jim Schuster,
Charles Stein.
Editorial Page: Eric Schoch, David Yalo-
Arts Page: Sara Rimer
Photo Technician: Steve Kogan

GERALD FORD may be Richard
Nixon's last secret weapon or
his ultimate revenge against his
disaffected countrymen.
For as the Senate Rules Com-
mittee completed the first - and
possibly final - phase of its ex-
amination of Ford, large numbers
of onlookers must have felt a new
unease about the prospective sub-
stitution of Ford for Nixon in the
highest office of an emotionally
battered nation.
Yet there appeared little dis-
position among the Deimocratic
Senate interrogators to offer any
spirited challenge to Ford's creden-
tials for the Vice Presidency. Even
when potentially explosive ques-
tions were raised involving, for
example, widely-published reports
of Ford's early role in blocking
a House investigation of Water-
gate, the questioners were almost
apologetic in tone.
Perhaps the atmosphere w i I 1
change if testimony taken in exe-
cutive session confounds some of
Ford's protestations of fiscal and
general virtue. But for the mo-
ment both Democrats and progres-
sive Republicans act like people en-
FORD HAS been an amiable,
rather well-rehearsed witness with
no trace of arrogance. Indeed,
there were intervals when his de-
meanor invited remembrance of

Winston Churchill's celebrated re-
mark about Clement Attlee - "a
modest little man, plenty to be
modest about." Ford's larger size
is not to be confused with stature.
Such reflections could not have
eluded Mr. Nixon when he tapped

the Pentagon's wisdom in foreign
It may be said that in many re-
spects his domestic positions were
a carbon copy of Richard Nixon's,
and that he dutifully followed Nix-
on when the latter reversed him-

"Ford was a congenial member of the Congres-
sional club with a highly consistent record of
reactionary votes on home-front issues and un-
swerving allegiance to the Pentagon's wisdom in
foreign affairs."
}}:4":f}: }"g , ":"b:::4:"i imi:: "}.;?y.;}";y.: .:r:ibi:" n::.;y:::::::: :. ::i :.::.w.::v

until Ford is safely installed.
That may well be the case - at
least pending new, shattering epi-
sodes such as the saga of the mis-
sing tapes.
Conceivably Ford's elevation will
reveal hitherto hidden assers - of
leadership - in the man. But the
liscernibly growing pressure among
right-wing Republicans for M r .
Nixon's departure, presumably in
the immediateraftermath of Ford's
confirmation, raises a more omi-
nous possibility.
It is that Ford is envisaged by
the Republican Right as "our own
man" - and one who will be an
utterly pliant captive of the GOP's
Goldwater-Buckley-Dominick fac-
Long before the disclosure of
tainted concessions to special in-
terests and other scandals t h a t
have brought Mr. Nixon to the
edge of political ruin he had be-
come an ideologically suspicious
character to many of his former
companions. His Moscow-Peking
journeys and his identification -
short-lived - with the Moynihan
Family Assistance Plan were here-
sies not easily forgiven by his old
It is not hard to imagine t h e
GOP rightists projecting Ford as
the manipulable man who will give
them new dominance within the
Administration and a firm base.for

operations in 1976. The coup would
be bloodless.
That scenario should restrain
thoughtless elation among those
who believe (as I do) that Mr. Nix-
on faces ultimately irresistible
pressure for resignation and are
prepared (as I am not) to em-
brace Ford's confirmation to hast-
en that day.
multiply hourly; there is no miracle
formula for his survival on the
horizon. But I am still convinced
that the healthiest solution for the
national crisis is to convince Mr.
Nixon that his support for a statute
mandating a new national election
upon his resignation would offer
him the most dramatic and honor-
able way out.
Perhaps too many "practical
men" in both parties are reluctant
to give the nation a chance to be-
gin anew, under fresh command-
whether Republican or Democratic.
But the idea may gain new ground
if the prospect of a Ford Presi-
dency is contemplated long enough.
It may even finally begin to ac-
quire appeal in the increasingly
stormy view from the White House
and Key Biscayne,
fames Wechsler is editorial page
editor of the New York Post.
Copyright 1973 - The New York
Post Corporation.

Ford for the Vice Presidency. Even
as Ford tried with plaintive earn-
estness to describe his grasp of
world affairs - some of his best
friends, he indicated, are very
important international personages
- and his gifts for domestic lead-
ership, his pedestrian if frequently
unexceptionable responses seemed
to enlarge Richard Nixon's dimen-
The truth is that at no point dur-
ing his 25 years of plodding, faith-
fully partisan service in the House
had Ford been a serious contend-
er for his party's Vice Presidential
nomination. He was a congenial
member of the Congressional club
with a highly consistent record of
reactionary votes on home-front is-
sues and unswerving allegiance to

self and began his Moscow-Peking
initiatives. Defenders of the Ford
appointment argue that Mr. Nixon
was wholly justified in honoring
so faithful a servant, and t h a t
critics of the Ford choice are really
trying to upset the 1972 "man-
date" by blocking the appoint-
ment, impeaching Mr. Nixon (or
forcing his resignation) and there-
by capturing the Presidency f o r
Democratic Speaker Carl Albert.
A SENSITIVITY to these charg-
es no doubt explains why so many
Congressional Democrats h a v e
been echoing Republican demands
for swift confirmation of Ford.
Many may be more heavily influ-
enced by the belief that there is
no chance of Mr. Nixon resigning


Letters: HRP

To The Daily:
THE LAST Human Rights Party
mass meeting (Nov. 1) unanimous-
ly passed a resolution calling for
the immediate impeachment and
conviction of President R i c h a r d
Nixon on the following grounds:
1) the illegal bombing of South-
east Asia during 1970 and 1971 and
during December, 1972;
2) the illegal impounding of funds
earmarked for housing, education,
health and medical care;
3) the use of illegal wiretaps and
other surveilance methods in an
attempt to effectively silence Ad-
ministration critics;
4 the attempt to invoke execu-
tive privilege to justify police state
tactics in deliberately keeping the
truth from the American people.
The resolution was amended to
read that "if we can't get him
on those grounds, we would accept
any others."
As more and more information is
revealed by the Administration and
as the veil covering the lies grows
thinner and thinner, it is import-
ant that all of us unite in a drive
to impeach the President and do
not shrug off the tacticsofrthe Nix-
on Administration as mere "poli-
tics". It is clear, of course, that
the political system of this coun-
try is festering with corruption
and that, more importantly, deceit
is used to cover up the most hor-
rible of moral crimes. For the
President to deliberately lie to the
.- - 2

es the crimes al the more stagger-
ing. The crux of the matter (from
ITT in Hartford to Chile to the
war in Vietnam to Daniel Ellsberg
to Archibald Cox) is that the Nix-
on Administration had laid bare
the guts of the American political
system. It is not "politics" in some
abstract sense but the capitalist
system in the concrete which creat-
es the conditions for Vietnams and
The Ann Arbor Human Rights
Party, in demanding Nixon's im-
peachment conviction, urges the
support of the Ann Arbor Impeach-
ment Committee in its efforts to
build mass-based community op-
position to the Nixon Administration
including as a first step the attend-
ance of the Town Meeting to be
held Friday night, 7:30 p.m. in
Rackham Auditorium.
Also, in the near future we shall
introduce a resolution at C i t y
Council calling for Nixon's im-
peachment/conviction and we urge
all community support.
Betsy Bunn
City Committee Co-chair,
Ann Arbor Human
Rights Party
Nov. 13
'11' mathmatics
To The Daily:
administrative barons of the Uni-
versity have used the argument
_rocot rl , a in ti - nQ of a

calls for
there was some uncertainty con-
cerning the exact size of the deficit,
which would ultimately be deter-
mined by the number of students
receiving residency. After all, the
University argued, it was better
to be on the safe side with a slight
surplus than to have to labor un-
der a deficit.
Having made these explanations,
the University's financial wizards
hid behind the uncertainty of the
residency situation, using it to
evade legitimate questions regard-
ing their dubious accountings. (It
is interesting to note also that, in
the skillful hands of Mr. Pier-
pont and others, the projected de-
ficit grew from $2.5 to $3.9 mil-
lion, conveniently cutting any po-
tentially embarrassing surplus by
$1.4 million.)
The long-awaited facts and fig-
ures are now known. It appears
that the University, soteager to
prevent a loss, over-calculated
somewhat and "accidentally" end-
ed up with a $3.75 million surplus
comprised entirely of cash ripped-
off from students. The magnitude
of this surplus, along with the Uni-
versity's apparent unwillingness to
refund any of it, is more than a
clear indication of bad faith; it
is but another manifestation of the
arrogant and contemptuous atti-
tude that has characterized the
administration's dealings with stu-
dents. And we as students are pow-
erless to do anything about it. Our
only recourse it to suggest how


what Dr. Fleming so piously refer-
red to as a "goal" of ten per
cent black enrollment.
-Hire additional staff to recruit
qualified students from the Chi-
cano, Asian-American, and other
third-world communities.
-Publish and distribute to every
students a comprehensive state-
ment explaining fully all financial
aspects deriving from the present
tuition/residency situation.
A Regents' meeting is to be held,
this week, including a public com-
ments session at 4 p.m. Thursday
in the Administration Building.
Student Action Committee (SAC)
urges all students to attend and
voice their feelings regarding the
disgraceful, high-handed treat-
ment they have received from the
Regents and officers of this Uni-
versity. As a further protest
against this outrage, SAC has cal-
led for a demonstration to be held
on Peoples Plaza, Friday at 11
a. m.
-Joe Frankl
Mark Schlack
Student Action Committee
Nov. 14
Farah boycott
YOU ARE probably awat3 that
there was a nationwide boycott of
Farah products. Well, there still
None of the conditions : h a t
caused the boycott have been re-
medida Wns nre 1till below nar

Kainrod Apparel, Par Exc=Td-tce,
Passport, and S U Par. Farah's
registetion numbers are 21:11 and
Check all labels carefully for
these names and numbesa. Con-
tinue the Farah boycott and don't
be fooled by these produc under
any other names.
-Michael Koen
Oct. 25
clari fica tion
To The Daily:
I JUST WANT to clarify one
point in The Daily's article (Nov. 7)
on the political rights defense fund
suit against Nixon. Claire Jean-
nette endorses the suit as an indi-
vidual and not as a representative
of the Women's Advocate office.
Secondly, endorsement of this civil
liberties suit does in no way imply
political agreement with the plain-
tiffs, the Young Socialist Alliance
(YSA) and the Socialist Workers
Party (SWP)
--Marty 'Pettit
Political Rights
Defense Fund
Nov. 7
1 fI t... .. The nail -sul


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