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September 30, 1977 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-09-30

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iDaily

~o WI~J6 A

Eight
Vol. LXXXV II, No. 20

ty-Eight Years of EditorialI
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48

Freedom
109
News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

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Risk and regulation

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AFTER YEARS of debate and wor-
m ry, the form of DNA research
which entails certain risks, will begin
in University laboratories within
weeks.
There is little doubt that the testing
is one of the most controversial topics
Tto stir the campus in years. It deals
t'with the most basic elements of life:
the tiny strands of genetic information
Tell that to

he next

Wolverine
you see:
WHEN MICHIGAN Stadium roars
at the sight of a hundred maize-
and-blue clad footballers, the applause
will be for the Wolverines. No bunch of
politicians is going to change our minds
about that.
The Michigan House of Representa-
tives voted this week to make
the (cringe) white-tailed deer the
state's official animal. If the Senate
passes the measure, it will be law.
We have nothing against the white-
tailed deer. Certainly the creature out-
numbers the hunted-out wolverine
overwhelmingly. As a state animal,
the gentle, beautiful deer may indeed,
be a fine choice.
But don't tell that to Michigan's front
line. They'll chew you alive.
Let's put it this way. White-tailed
deer are terrific. But we'll match any
one of Bo's Wolverines against'any ten
of the House of Representatives' white-
tailed deer.

which combine to form and determine
the nature of living cells. Obviously,
such a scientific inquiry is of the most
fundamental importance to the field of
genetics. Scientists at several
academic and government institutions
throughout the nation have said that
the research may lead to a basic un-
derstanding of many diseases, in-
cluding cancer, as well as explore in
depth. a mysterious frontier: the
human cell.
But critics of the research have
aroused fears that the research might
make possible some sort of biological
engineering, or that it could produce
dangerous contaminants. Many have
made the research the focus of a de-
bate over whether scientific research
should be pursued when risk is in-
volved.
Regardless of these arguments,,and
they were debated heartily by Univer-
sity committees for months here on,
campus, the research will begin soon.
What now must be considered are the
precautions with which the experi-
ments will be performed.
The experiments to be launched in
the Medical Science II building and the
Natural Science Building have been la-
belled "moderate risk" research. A
more dangerous level of experiment
will not be conducted on campus. The
"moderate risk" research will be safe-
guarded by guidelines set by the Na-
tional Institutes of Health, but critics
have called for tighter rules.
We are not geneticists at The Daily.
But the various review committees' re-
ports make one point clear even to the
layman: DNA research -is not to be
dealt with carelessly. Just the mystery
of the thing should ensure that it is
treated with scrutiny and caution. The
University should spare no expense or
seeming inconvenience to make sure
the research is safe.

L- 1 Fs.

How. far can thepssg?

The celebration continues over
the resignation of Bert Lance in
many media circles. The
piranhas of the press have picked
his carcass clean, delighting in
their thoroughness and eagerly
anticipating another victim.
Lance's political castration by
the media clearly illustrates the
resurgence of the press as a
powerful factor in public policy,
and of the serious danger to both
individuals and the entire nation
when that power is abused.
THE LAST ten yeIrs have seen
the reemergence of investigative
reporting as a major journalistic
function. The work of people like
Jack Anderson, Bob Woodward
and Carl Bernstein has skyrock-
eted journalism once again into
the forefront of political life, as
more than simply an observer
and commentator.
Not since the muckraking days
of the early 1900s, when Ida Tar-
bell, Lincoln Steffens, Upton Sin-
clair and their peers exposed
trust manipulations, municipal
corruption and unsanitary labor
conditions has the press been so
effective as instigator of change.
And this is as it should be. Such
investigations can nudge the
government into taking construc-
tive action.
This is more or less what oc-
curred at the start of the Lance
affair, until the press turned it in-
to a vendetta. Reporters began
uncovering apparently shady fi-
nancial misdeeds committed by
Lance during his tenure as a
Georgia bank executive. The re-
porting was excellent; digging
deeper and deeper, the journal-
ists found more and more pos-
sibly illegal actions, as well as
Lance's attempts to cover them
up.
THE MEDIA gave ample
coverage to the investigation,

and showed that the Senate
committee that confirmed Lance
did not do a very thorough job of
checking up on him, and proved
that ample cause for a new gov-
ernment investigation existed.
Up to that point, the press per-
formed its function admirably.
Then the piranhas scented that
the prey was wounded and
charged in for the kill. Lance was
smeared daily over the front
pages of every newspaper. Al-
legations about his banking prac-
tices were bandied about the net-
work newscasts, and in all the
major news periodicals.
This campaign hindered and
perverted the government inves-
tigations. The media put tremen-
MICHAEL E
dous pressure on the government
and wasn't overly concerned with
propriety. Furthermore, it put
the Carter Administration se-
verely on the defensive.
To this day, none of the alle-
gations about Bert Lance's pri-
vate or public banking record
have been proven true in a con-
gressional hearing or in a court of
law. Yet the press chose to ignore
the legal process and put Lance
and Carter through trial of its
own.
THE HUNT failed to turn up a
shred of solid proof of Lance's

guilt. Despite this, the press de-
clared him guilty and called for
his resignation well before the
Senate had completed its legally
sanctioned investigation.
The investigations by the press
and subsequent inquiries in Con-,
gress and the Justice Depar-
tment have shown there is justi-
fication for suspicion that Lan-
ce's banking activities were ille-
gal or at least unethical,. Under
these circumstances, it was wise
for Lance to resign, for it would
not be feasible for a person un-
der suspicion of crime to work in
a Cabinet office.
But the way the man was virtu-
ally railroaded out of office, un-
der the most humiliating of cir-
3EC K MAN
cumstances, was inexcusable. It
provides reason to consider curb-
ing the press' new found power.
How far Whould an investiga-
tive journalist go in his pursuit of
exposure? To the limit, some say.
Richard Reeves, a respected po-
litical journalist on the "Tonight
Show" the evening of Lance's
resignation, was asked whether
he thought the press had over-
stepped its bounds during the
Lance affair. Reeves said he
thought the press handled it well.
A function of the press is to dig in-
to the backgrounds of public of-

ficials, he went on to say, to be a
watch dog for the people.
OTHERS AGREE the press
has a responsibility to act as a
watchdog up to a certain point,
but not to the extent of continu-
ously crusading against any and
all public figures, as if infatuated
with its power.
Still others are convinced that
the press, by misusing its influ-
ence, has shown that restraints
on its freedom are necessary.
The battle over the First
Amendment is coming to a head,
and the press is rapidly placing
itself in an untenable position.
This summer, it added to its woes
with yellow, sensationalist cov-
erage of the "Son of Sam" man-
hunt in New York. Now, with its
role in Lance's demise under at-
tack, the press is running a
course towards self-destruction:
THE PRESS has assumed ex-
traordinary powers of persuasion
in the last decade. Not since the
days of William Randolph Hearst
has it exhibited the power to
break a major political figure as
it has with Lance and Nixon.
A strong press is of incalcula-
ble importance in a free society.
But it must be a responsible
press. It cannot continue to act
like a school of predatory pi-
ranhas, wantonly seeking to de-
stroy people's reputations and ca-
reers.
Perhaps the allegations made
in print will turn out to be correct,.
For the sake of freedom of the
press, one hopes they do. Be-
cause if they don't, the press
could be put on trial for its ex-
istence. And it is doubtful wheth-
er any media coverage would be
much help in that case.
"
Michael Beckman is an LSA
junior.

NJP
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WEX, MR. ARAFAr WE DO
"AVE SOME OE \M FOM
PAEST IMAN LEATES
TO TE CaENEVA PEACE
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You AREN'T A MjERp
ALKE . C. ARE ou A
~~~- - ------
BUSINESS STAFF
EDITORIAL STAFF DEBORAH DREYFUSS.. .................... Business Manager
ANN MARIE LIPINSKI JIM TOBIN COLLEEN HOGAN ..................Operations Manager
Editors-in-Chief ROD KOSAI 4 ............................ Sales Manager
LOIS JOSIMOVICH.... Managing Editor NANCY GR ................. ..........Display Manager
>GEORGE LOBSENZ Managing Editor ROBERT CARPENTER .. Finance Manager
~STU McCONNELL..,.. .......... Managing Editor PETE PETERSEN ... ..... Advertising Co-ordinator
JENIFER MILLER Managing Editor
MIKE NORTON .. Managing Editor SPORTS STAFF
-KEN PARSIGIAN ............. Managing Editor SO T T F
BOBROSENBAUM Managing Editor KATHY HENNEGHAN ......... ... Sports Editor
MARGARET YAO. Managing Editor TOM CAMERON ........................ Executive Sports Editor
SUSAN ADES ..... Magazine Editor SCOTT LEWIS. .......... ........Managing Sports Editor
~.JAY LEVIN................... Magazine Editor Don MacLACHLAN .................. Associate Sports Editor
ELAINE FLETCHER Associate Magazine Editor JOHN NIEMEYER..............Contributing Sports Editor
.JEFFREY SELBST. ....................Arts Editor
Weather Forecasters: NIGHT EDITORS: Paul Campbell. Ernie Dunbar, Henry Engel-
MARK ANDREWS and MIKE GILFORD hardt, Jeff Frank, Gary Kicinski, Brian Martin.Bob Miller,
STAFF WRITERS: Susan Barry, Rick Berke, Brian Blanchard, Brian Miller, Dave Renbarger, Errol Shifman and Jamie
Michael Beckman, Lori Carruthers, Ken Chotiner, Eileen Daley, Turner
Rton DeKett, Lisa Fisher, Denise Fox, David GoodmanP O O R PH T F
Michael Jones, LnA Jordan, Janet Klein, Garth Kriewall,Geg PHOTOGRAPHY STAFF
c Krupa, Doblilas Matunonis, Patti Montemurri, Tom O'Connell, ALAN BILINSKY....................Chief Photographer
Karen Paul; Stephen Pickover, Kim Potter, Martha Retal- ANDY FREEBERG.............Chief Photographer
lick, Keith Richburg, Julie Rovner, Dennis Sabo,* Annmarie BRAD BENJAMIN............... Staff Photographer
Schiavi, Paul Shapiro, Elizabeth Slowik, Mike Taylor, Pauline JOHN KNOX ..Staff Photographer
Toole, Sue Warner, Linda Willcox, Shelley Wolson, Mike Yellin, CHRISTINA SCHNEIDER Staff Photographer
e and Barb Zahs
V.:.,........', .......:..:.aa:a ::: ::..:::.:.::::...::::.
-S. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .::. .

TENANTS RISING:.

Sky-

high rates at A

Woods

By STEPHEN HERSH
Last month, the rent for the apartment
where Herbert and Susan Hames live went up
by $50 a month. That raised the monthly cost
of their two-bedroom apartment on the out-
skirts of the city to $260. "This town is notori-
ous for rent," Herb said. "But $50 a month!"
The sudden and steep rent increase was an
outrage, the Hameses felt. But if the couple
suffered an outrage, at least they had com-
pany. Rents have shot up all over the city as
new leases have gone into effect in the past
few weeks. And the Hameses don't have to
look far to find other tenants who share their
rental woes - throughout the Ann Arbor
Woods housing complex where they live, ren-
ts have just taken an enormous leap.
SHARP RENT increases hardly qualify as
news in this city any more. They certainly are
painful, but tenants who live in Ann Arbor for
any length of time grow to expect them. The
cost of local rents inflated by 300 per cent
between 1950 and 1976, while the general rate
of national inflation during those years was
only 133.2 per cent. Ann Arbor's median rent
is now about 72 per cent higher than the na-
tional median.
The Ann Arbor Woods apartments are lo-
cated on Medford Road, on the south side of
the city. The complex of small, beige brick
buildings is modern-looking, and, if not
homey, at least comfortable. The grassy
grounds surrounding the buildings are pleas-
ant, though not expansive. The quality of the
apartments is better than that of most rental
housing in town.
Steve Slavik, of the Slavik Company which,
runs Ann Arbor Woods, told this writer that
his company was reluctant to raise the rents
last month at the apartment complex. "We're
sympathetic," he said in a telephone inter-
view "We're trvin0 tn hnld the line." Rut he

noted, "The FHA (Federal Housing Admini-
stration) recognizes six to eight per cent in-
flation nationwide. During the last five years
there should have been a 30 per cent increase
in everything."
But rents at Ann Arbor Woods have, for
many people, increased more than 30 per cent
over the past five years. When the Hameses
moved in to their apartment two and a half
years ago, they paid $185 per month in rent.
Last month's increase'was the third hike for
them, and with their rent now at $260, their
rent has gone up 45 per cent since they moved
in.
For Ann Arbor Woods resident Marvin Ber-
man, rent went up last month by $55, bringing
his monthly total up to $275. The previous
year his rent increased by $29, so over the
past two years, Berman has seen his rent rise
by 44 per cent.
ONE WOMAN, who asked not to be identi-
fied for fear of retaliation by the realty com-
pany - call her Ms. X, - said that rent for
her and her husband rose by $40 last month to
$220. Two years ago, she and her husband
were paying $150 a month, so their rent rose
by 47 per cent over the past three years.
Steve Slavik's reaction? "I'm not going to
spend time making excuses for why I raise
rents."
The Ann Arbor Woods rent hikes exceed the
bounds of fairness, even as Steve Slavik
describes them in terms of the inflation rate
recognized by the FHA. But should rents go
up even as fast as the general rate of in-
flation? SOme of a landlord's operating ex-
penses do go up with inflation - for example,
costs of labor, maintenance materials, and
energy. But a landlord also has fixed costs
which remain unaffected by inflation - such
as mortgage payments. Mortgage costs
usually make up between one-third and one-
half nf a landlord's monthly exnenses. and

gan forking over the extra cash. Tenants say
that the rental company has made some ef=
fort to cool resentment about the hike among
Ann Arbor Woods residents.
Says Hames, "He (Slavik) says he's charg-
ing the going rate - but the going rate is an
outrage."
The cost of rent is not the only problem the
Ann Arbor Woods tenants face. There are
maintenance difficulties at the complex as
well. Says the anonymous tenant Ms. X, "We
all have screens that don't fit. There are bal-
conies that are rotting, and in some cases
they're a hazard. For three or four years
there was a problem with hot water - but
that was cleared up six months ago."
Hames described the case of a former ten-
ant whose apartment ceilings leaked so much
and so persistently that "she used eight or
nine buckets to collect the leaking water."
AND LAST YEAR the Slavik Company or-
dered the Ann Arbor Woods residents to com-
ply with a new policy requiring that tenants
pay a $25 cleaning fee on moving out of their
apartments, over and above the $50 cleaning
fee they must pay on moving in to the com-
plex. The tenants organized and refused to
pay the extra fee. The rental company then
reduced the $25 fee to five dollars.
Some tenants believe that the new rent
hikes may be related to the battle over the
cleaning fees. Says Hames, "I think people
felt, after we won the reduced cleaning fees,
that the rent increases were a retaliation."
The rent hikes seem to be the main source
of gripes at Ann Arbor Woods. "It's too bad,"
Hames lamented. "Its a really nice place to
live, otherwise."

Editorial positions represent
n c rnkons. of

1

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