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February 06, 1977 - Image 8

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-02-06
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Page Four THE'MICHIGAN DAILY SUNDAY MAGAZINEMICHIGAN DAILY SUNDAY MAGAZINE

February 6, 1977 February d, 1977

THE MICHIGAN DAILY SUNDAY MAGAZINE

._ f . ..
s Y

..
j !

Jacobson's dominates the corner of Liberty and Maynard
in 1935.

The same corner, circa 1977

t

Downtown

har
an

while'
By MIKE NORTON

forging

Pho/os by A1 AN BIINSKY
First of a Series
ON WEST WASHINGTON, a block
from Main Street, s t a n d s a
large yellowing old building, four
stories tall. In better days it was
the home of the old Earle Hotel,
but now its upper rooms are full of
dust and dead pigeons.
A fitting metaphor for downtown
Ann Arbor, some people might say.
A metaphor for the downtowns of
America, mouldering quietly away
-or dying savagely - while light,
life, and money leak out into the
surrounding suburbs.
But appearances can be decep-
tive.
In the cavernous stone cellar of
the old Earle, a swarm of workers
are busy clearing rubble, spreading
concrete, laying pipes and conduits
under the glare of naked lights.
A group of local businessmen,
with a loan from local banks, have
bought the building and are reno-
vating it from cellar to rooftop-
takipg care to preserve what they
consider the best architectural fea-
tures of the original structure.
The huge basement will soon be
a nightclub called the New Earle.
The ground and second floors are
to be a closed shopping arcade, and
the two top stories will be convert-
ed to townhouse apartments. The
pigeons will have to go somewhere
else to die.
SINCE ITS FOUNDING in 1824;
the fortunes of Ann Arbor have
gone through cycles of rise and
fall; and the downtown business
district has been the most accurate
barometer of those changes. The
two large e m p t y storefronts on
Main Street, for instance, lead ob-
servers to talk of urban blight and
the "death of downtown" as if Ann
Arbor were a miniature Detroit.
But there are important differ-
ences between Ann Arbor and other
communities of its size; to ignore
those differences is to misinterpret
much of the situation developing
downtown.
The most important of these, ob-
viously, is the fact that Ann Arbor
has since 1837 enjoyed a firm and
steady income base-the University
community with its hordes of stu-
dents, teachers and employes, and

the associated 1 i g h t industries
which have sprung up around it.
As a result, the city has escaped
most of the problems of similar
communities; the constant pres-
sure of new tenants and shoppers
has kept down the amount of un-
used housing and business space,
kept rents and p r o p e r t y values
high, and controlled the frequency
of urban-style crimes.
A 1923 zoning law passed by City
Council at the peak of Ann Arbor's
postwar business b o o m governed
the growth of the city until the
early Sixties. In all that time-

~gs onto
uncertair
city, it spurted a sudden exodus of
businesses from the downtown area
and caused the failure of many of
those that remained behind. And
the influence of the huge enclosed
shopping center has continued to
be felt; it is the major reason for
the present concern about the fu-
ture of the central business district.
'THIS T I M E, HOWEVER, things
are being done. The BriarwoOd
crisis has forced Ann Arborites to
take a close look at the downtown
area, to reassess their ideas about
the kind of place it is and the kind

downtow
... . . . . ..s e. .:'X. .
mas aimag...........................massssmmaamaaage mase x

even through the Great Depression
-downtown businesses prospered.
"To put it simply, there was no
place else for people to shop," says
1 o c a 1 historian Wystan Stevens.
"Dowtown was all there was."
IN 1959, HOWEVER, that situation
changed. Arborland, the c i t y' s
first shopping c e n t e r, was con-
structed on Washtenaw Ave., far
out in the southeastern reaches of
town, and began drawing business
away from the downtown area. The
downtown merchants no 10 n g e r
had a monopoly on trade.
The fir'st crisis was the immedi-
ate force behind the restructuring
of Main Street which took place in
the early Sixties. Trees were plant-
ed, promenades were constructed,
businesses renovated their store-
fronts. Eventually, an- equilibrium
was re-established and the crisis
passed; even the advent of Maple
Village Mall on Stadium Blvd. in
1966 raised few apprehensions.
"The businesses slipped into a
kind of complacency," said Guy
Larcom, former city administrator
and head of Ann Arbor Tomorrow,
a nglnprofit organization promoting
downtown development. "T h e r e
was talk, but no one was interested
in developing d o w n t o w n until
Briarwood came along."
Briarwood came a l o n g in the
summer of 1973. A massive regional
shopping center southwest of the

of place it should be. It has spark-
ed new interest in such topics as
public transit, parking, and the
preservation of historic buildings;
it has brought out a number of new
concepts of city living.
Stevens, for one, considers the
overall effect of Briarwood to have
b e e n positive. "Downtown reeled
from the impact of Briarwood," he
said. "But it's recovering. It's true
that there's a constant turnover of
businesses, but it seems to be of a
healthy nature."
"It cleared out a lot of the dead-
wood," agrees Louisa Pieper, staff
member of the Ann Arbor Historic
District Commission. "We've got
live, young people down here now,
people who are interested in down-
town as a physical entity. Briar-
wood,? What is Briarwood? It has
no history."
But the situation downtown is
far from being idyllic, either. Few
residents of the area, few officials,
and fewer merchants believe the
district can survive the decade un-
less bold action is taken soon to
make downtown Ann Arbor a bet-
ter place in which to live, work,
and shop.
When, it comes down to concrete
proposals, however, opinions begin
to diverge.
CITY OFFICIALS a g r e e, for in-
stance, that there is a serious
shortage of quality housing in the

past,
Sfuture
downtown area. But as to how that
problem is to be overcome, whether
it can be dealt with by constructing
high-rise apartment buildings ar
by using existing structures, there
is little unanimity.
There is also the matter of the
many i m p o s i n g buildings down
town which no longer meet fire
and safety codes. Are they to be
torn down to make way for new
buildings, as some have suggested?
Or should they be preserved, re-
modeled 1 o n g the lines of the
Earle Hotel and given a chance for
new life? The answer one gets de-
pends on the position and persua-
sion of the person one asks?
In September of 1975, the City
Planning Commission adopted a
Master Plan for the "conservation
and development" of downtown
Ann Arbor, w h i c h was approved
unanimously by City Council last
February. It calls for development
of the Liberty StreettCorridor con-
necting the State Street shopping
area with the central district, a
traffic control plan, an improved
mass transit system, and a strong
commitment to new parking facili-
ties on the edge of the downtown
area.
The plan has already run
aground on the question of park-
ing; angry citizens have attacked
the funding program established
to finance the p a r k i n g scheme,
forcing at least a temporary halt
to its implementation. In addition,
resentment seems to be building
about the Master Plan's provisions
for downtown traffic flow. Oppo-
nents of the plan c 1 a i m it will
change Ann Arbor beyond recogni-
tion; its supporters reply that only
such measures can bring new life
to the central business district.
One way or another, the face of
downtown Ann Arbor will have
changed substantially by 1980. The
new federal building at Liberty and
Fourth, the Michigan Square de-
velopment at Liberty and Division,
the steady come-and-go of small
businesses and large buildin;! willn
make the downtown area a differ-
ent place than it is today.
Whether or not it will be a better
place, however, remains to be seen.
Mike Norton is a Daily Managing
editor.

,,Pardi
By PAUL EISENSTEIN
THEN STEVEN KINNAMAN was drafted in
1965 and sent to Thailand, he was a strong
supporter of the burgeoning American involve-
ment in the Vietnam War. Today he's in exile.
President Carter's p a r d o n of all draft re-
sisters has pointedly left all deserters out in the
cold. But Kinnaman, who fled the army-first
to Laos and then to Sweden---is not one to sit
by the wayside and shake his head dejectedly.
Last week, Kinnaman visited Toronto as a
representative of exiled American war resisters
living in Sweden, at a conference called in re-
action to Carter's pardon announcement. Thou-
sands of young men who could not make the
pilgrimage to Toronto have stakes in that con-
ference-Joseph Jones, for example, a deserter
like Kinnaman. and Richard Ricketts, a sym-
pathetic resister. The experiences of all three
are described here.
* . * *
"I survived from day to day," Kinnaman be-
gan, eager to talk about his desertion and what
life has been like since.
"I worked on farms. I taught English, Lao-
tian . . . I did whatever was necessary to sur-
vive, short of stealing."
KINNAMAN HAS spent ten years in exile, four
illegally in Laos, and more recently as a
resident of Sweden. But when he was first
stationed in Thailand in 1966, his maor regretj
was the fact that he didn't get Vietnam duty.
"I felt I could serve my country best there," he
remembers. "I'm from a typical working class
family from Indianapolis-I never even knew
about anti-war protests when I first went into
the service."
His enthusiasm with Thai culture however,
soon put him on the wrong side of the military
command. "I made a lot of Thai friends. I'even
wanted to learn the language and took it up
on my own. I learned to dress like they did,
eat their foods . .. and I received a lot of flak
for my actions.
"My commander gave us a lecture: he was
really putting down the Thais-making fun of
their dress, telling us how bad their food was,
making fun of their religion. All this time, my
friends, some of whom spoke good English,
stood there saying nothing. I was appalled by
this racism."r
"I began to be the target of company har-
rassment. I guess they thought. I was a sub-
versive. I wanted answers. I got oppression. I
began to feel that the war was wrong and that
we had no reason 'being there."
IINNAMAN'S JOB was to direct planes headed
on bombing missions against North Viet-
nam. The fact that he had read denials about
thnce same missions in the newspapers further
diminiohed the military's credibility in his eyes.
But the last straw came when, with only five
months left of military duty, Kinnaman found
out that he was being reassigned to the battle
zone as an infantrvman-"I decided to desert."
Kinnaman began his ten-year odyssey by
r.eking his rnekack and heading for the Lao-
tian border. He entered Laos, knowing that
nep he ern* d the border, there would be no
turnir back.
Havino some knowledge of native languages,
VIVAnmat1 bshle to find one way or another
to survive-dav by day-for four years. Al-
though he was an illegal alien, the authorities
seemed to turn their backs on him-until his
final months. Suddenly an investigation was
launched into his activities, and he was told he
would have to leav'. Somehow, he says, he
sceraped up $60 from his friends, as well as a
false Dassport. He crossed back into Thailand
where he caught a plane bound for Sweden.
QIX YEARS a Swedish reside.nt, Kinnaman now
has a job,. His wife and chilren are Swedish.
After the eno1 of the war, when the subject of
amnesty was first broached, Kinnaman was

faced with the question: Should he go home if
he could?

4e

T'd return to the U S. for visits, but I'm "not
living to come back there. I haven't been back
n en years. I couldn't be what I was ten years
ago, but others can, and they have the right
;o be."
"The American people are trying to forget the
most shameful chapter in their history and the
government is--trying to help them. I struggle
for amnesty. I believe we will receive it. The
American people felt the war was wrong. I am
the guilty conscience that won't shut up."
* .
For Joseph Jones, a draft resister living in
Vancouver, Carter's pardon means he can come
home--but is home still the U.S.?
"II'VE BEEN HERE a quarter of my life," re-
marked Jones in an early morning telephone
interview. "It's hard to live somewhere for so

i eS .R RS -
WILL $E '
-q
Exiles corder
By PAUL EISENSTEIN
Special to The Daily
TORONTO - SEVERAL hundred draft
resisters, military deserters, veterans
and sympathizers gathered here last week-
end to call on President Jimmy Carter to
expand his recent pardon of draft resisters.
See EXILES, Page 8

i

wo

u/cl
There's such
in exile in Br
because it see
than anywhere
Jones was in s'
married. His h,
settled.
But the Cart
Now Jones has
"I'll probabl
a visit sometim
parents. They'
glad I can visi
moving back o
"The one thi
pardon is that
registered for t
but that's sho
would never be
"Carter s go]
Defense study
was a deserter
to study my ca
"Carter is tr
break with the
ple a feeling t
You can't wipe
them."
There was
pardon to Rich
from the start
racist-it touc
easily pardona
A DISPROPO
came from
This is general
poor and in
of their alter
help, nor an i
in a foreign co
Ricketts ho
trend. Coming
ground, he des
and is unders
recent pardon.
Ricketts con
Both his fathe
when he went
"I became o
'67. I was act
was drafted se
ferments. The
situation-I er
"Back then
tried to resist
I found that d
"There was
to Nam. I jus
service. I had
up and go a
radical.
"I decided t
THEN RICI
leave time
vacation--from
Both spoke flu
in France.
In the loner
in Montreal. F
city can be d
the U.S. by b
daries. But foi
ture made Mi
make a new -
"I don't ha
my situation.'
few English s
However ret
still only 50 rr
ever imaine c
"Tf T was to
less than an
would it be? I

Paid Fisens/ci
m iwica lionS.

long and not have it become your home." And
so despite the fact that the opportunity to re-
turn to the U.S. is open to him, Jones says he
"doesn't see any major changes occurring in
my life right now."
Living in Canada was not always as easy as
it is now for Jones, a native of North Carolina.
He arrived in Montreal in August of 1970 and
has spent the last six years in a series of moves
west, finally settling in Vancouver.
"I lost my deferment when I graduated from
Davidson College in North Carolina in 1970. I
had a low lottery number. I knew I was going
to be drafted.
"I was thinking of joining (the Peace Corps)
but deferments .for that kind of service had
ended."
LONG AN OPPONENT of the Vietnam War,
Jones considered his alternatives.
"Some of my friends told me that going to
jail would be a good way to express my feelings.
But I'd like to see anyone who succeeded.
"I made my final decision to move to Canada
between the time when the U.S. invaded Cam-
bodia and the killings ,t Kent State."
"The first six months were bad. Anybody
who's a refugee has to get used to living in a
new country. After two months looking, I was
finally able to get a job as an office clerk at
$65 a week."
Jones later moved on to Toronto and went
back to school at the University of Toronto.
Life there was better, he said, but he still
couldn't find a job that he felt suited for so
he decided to move again.

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