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March 24, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-03-24

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

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Eighty-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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by Jim tobin

..and they want to keep their jobs

Thursday, March 24, 1977-

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
The lectoral College: A,
real threat to majority rule

IN 1824, Andrew Jackson won a plur-
ality of the popular vote, but John
Quincy Adams became President of
the United States.
In 1876, Samuel Tilden won a ma-
jority of the popular vote, but Ruth-
erford Hayes won the presidency.
In 1888, Grover Cleveland sought
a second term, and had apparently
won when he garnered "a plurality of
the popular vote, but Benjamin Har-
rison was the eventual victor.
The reason the wrong man won
in each of those elections is anti-
quated voting system known as the
Electoral College. But if President
Carter has his way, problems like
these will trouble us no more. Tues-
day, Carter asked Congress to abol-
ish the Electoral College, and make
provision for the President to be elec-
ted by direct popular vote. The Daily
emphatically endorses that proposal,
and we further hope that Congress
will act quickly to end the reign of
the Electoral College.
It has been 89 years since the Elec-
toral College actually' changed the
outcome of an election, and many
legislators have been reluctant to
change the system because "it nev-
er makes a difference anymore any-
way." But the, point is that it still
could make a difference, and we
should do something to avoid that
possibility before it becomes a reali-
AT NEARLY happened in the
1976 election alone should be
sufficient for congresspersons to rec-
ognize the need for immediate ac-
tion. If Gerald Ford had changed
some 15,000 votes in" Ohio, Hawaii
and Mississippi, he would be in the
White House today, even though Car-
ter would have won 51 per pent of
the vote. Fifteen thousand votes may
seem like a lot, but that sum is in-
finitesimal when one considers the
over 80 million ballots cast nation-
wide in the election. The Electoral

College also nearly tossed the 1968
election into utter chaos. If independ-
ent candidate George Wallace had
managed to control a few more states,
neither major candidate would have
had a majority of the electoral vote,
and the election would have been
thrown into the House of Representa-
tive. Once there, almost anything
could have happened with all the
wheeling and dealing that would have
gone on.
But, these are not the only defici-
encies of the Electoral College. There
are several less obvious faults, includ-
There are still several states which
don't legally bind electors to vote
in accordance with the popular vote
in their state. In 1972, for example,
elector Roger McBride cast his vote
for the Libertarian Party candidate,
even though his state voted Republi-
toral votes are awarded in a block,
with no regard for the margin of vic-
tory. So, if a candidate were to win
California by a single vote, he/she
would receive all 45 of that state's
electoral votes.
TORAL VOTES. The minimum num-
ber of electoral votes assigned to a
state are three - one for each ,sena-
tor, and representative. This means
that an extremely sparsely populated
state might be over-represented in
the Electoral College. Even if a state
had only one inhabitant, he/she would
have three electoral votes.
The Electoral College has caused
more than its share of problems in
the past, and could wreak havoc on'
future elections if it isn't abolished.
It is an antiquated and inequitable
system of choosing our most import-
ant public official, and beyond that
it is a direct threat to democratic
rule. It has hampered us long enough,
and Congress should back Carter in
eliminating it as soon as possible.

HERE WAS SOME action during the AFSCME
strike that most of us missed. Too bad. While
we were all sleeping in dirty dorms as our bodies
tried to digest the rations of those emergency
menus; somebody else was having a ball down at
the University motor pool next to Crisler Arena.
They were cutting up truck tires and bashing in
And when the Ann Arbor police laid hands on
some of these guys, it was a surprise to no one
that they were bona fide members' of AFSCME
Local 1583, doing their part for a just and speedy
settlement of their contract dispute with the Uni-
versity. Neither was it a surprise when administra-
tors said they were going to fire about twenty
strikers who got caught.
Now the union is screaming, and that is the least
surprising of all.
newspaper, comes the cry, "Forgive and forget,
you meanies! Let's put this awful mess behind
us in the spirit of good will and cooperation! What
are you trying to do? Disrupt the campus? Bust
the union?"
Let's turn those questions on the union for a
second - by vandalism, AFSCME members did
at least as much as University administrators to
spurn good will, to disrupt the campus, and to
make their own union look bad. This stuff happens
a lot during strikes, but it only hurts the union's
cause. And it's wrong.
You can learn a lot about homo sapiens by
paying attention to a strike and its immediate
aftermath. Here's how the drama usually gets

played out, and how it was played out here in
the last several weeks:
* Union goes out on strike, amid righteous de-
clarations of struggles for justice.
* University says strike by public employes is
illegal (correctly), amid indignant proclamations
of poverty.
* Union, amid righteous declarations of strug-
gles for justice: "Okay, it's illegal. So what? It's
illegal for those University supervisors to drive our
trucks without licenses."
* University, amid humble proclamations of pov-
erty: "Like hell it's illegal for them to drive trucks.
In Michigan, management personnel can drive trucks
as long as it's not in the pursuit of their liveli-
hood." And they're right.
* Union, amid particularly fervent declarations
of struggles for justice: "Okay, but you're screw-
ing us over. We're on the. right side of all this and
you're starving our kids."
* University, whose humble proclamations of
poverty have begun to fade somewhat at the bar-
gaining table, says, "We're trying to run a Uni-
versity and you're shutting the place down. Who's
screwing who? We're trying to educate the kids of
the people who are paying your salaries."
And then the two bargaining teams sit down
behind a closed door, as they did last Friday night
at the Holiday Inn East, and hammer out a settle-
ment. The talk of justice recedes, the poverty
pleas turn into solid cents-per-hour,and the whole
thing is over.
THE POINT IS, a strike is a simple power

struggle with both sides hammering at the oppo-
nent with every tool they can grab. There is some
justice on both sides, but there is skullduggery
too, and one just has to choose which balance one
likes best.
But there are a few simple rules of the game,
and they have to do with decency. Violence and
vandalism only mess things up. Strikes, however
burdensome, solve labor problems, but when strik-
ers break windows or when cops bounce picketers
around, there is benefit for absolutely no one. It
quadruples the resentment on both sides.
What happens the next time around, when the
new contract comes up for renewal in two years?
"We got away with it last time," say strikers. "Let's
bust some windows this time." If over-eager Ann
Arbor police officers were disciplined, (and they
probably didn't get the severe reprimand they
deserved), then these few strikers deserve at least
the same for busting up property.
A spirit of cooperation. That's absurd. Union
members flaunt guidelines of cooperation during
the strike and then call on the University to for-
give. That's like stabbing a guy and then telling
him not to scream so loud.
Today's "swawqp gas" is the firstof Daily co-edi-
tor-in-chief Jim Tobin's columnns. This opinion is a
rebuttal to yesterday's piece on the firings in the
wake of the AFSCME strike. Although yesterday's
was the official stance of the paper, there was con-
siderable dissent among staffmembers, and Jim is one
of those who disagreed with the majority opinion.

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ISR survey: Just a small
step in the right direction

got a housing crisis. After spend-
ing over a year and $39,000 in re-
search money, the Mayor's Blue Rib-
bon Commission on Fair Rental Prac-
tices has produced a report confirm-
ing what anyone who has ever look-
ed for rental housing in this city
already knows - housing is scarce,
it's expensive, and much of it is in-
The issue of whether the money
should have been spent at all is moot.
The city likes documentation, and
probably would not have proceeded
without it. Mayor Wheeler has con-
sistently said he wants to wait until
the facts are in.
Well the facts are in, and the pica
ture they paint is not attractive. The
average rent per dwelling, according
to the survey, is $193.33, and the aver-
age rent per tenant is $157.35.
If those figures sound a bit out
of line, remember that the report
covers the entire city, including some
fairly expensive rental housing out-
side the central city. But one must
also keep in mind that central city
apartments are older (i.e. cost more
for utilities), more crowded, and often
in poor repair.
MAINTENANCE complaints among
tenants demonstrated a prepon-
derance of small problems, not all of
which occur in any one apartment
or house. But any individual house,
the survey indicates, is likely to have
at least one maintenance problem -
thin walls and inconsistent heat lead
the list.
Even the committee admitted that
the odds against the private rental
market being able to right itself were
'overwhelming.' It is apparent that
if the city's housing crisis is to be
eased, the city must do it.

But in a tight housing market such
as Ann Arbor's, maintenance of cur-
rent conditions is not enough. Steps
must be taken to alleviate a shortage
of housing so acute that only seven-
tenths of one per cent of the city's
rental housing is vacant at any giv-
en time, and rental rates so high
one-third of the average tenant's in-
come goes to pay it.
TWO OF THE committee's proposals
are particularly important because
they deal with the University, which
has long shirked its responsibility to
house its students economically.
One was simply a resolution de-
manding that the University accept
that responsibility. The other pro-
posed that both the University and
the city insure mortgages on non-
profit and limited income housing in
the central city.
The city should look some form
of rent control, possibly patterned
after the Tenants Union/Trony lease
of two years ago. Rent increases in
the Trony contract were tied to prov-
able increases in expenses.
Federal funding programs for pub-
lic housing should be explored, and
the University should expand its dor-
mitory space and try to bring its
rates back into line with other Uni-
In short, it is time to act on a
crisis which has only now been docu-
mented, but has plagued the city for
many years.
News: Joan Chartier, Ron DeKett,
Mark Eibert, Lani Jordan, Ann
Marie Lipinski, Mike Norton, Mar-
garet Yao
Arts: Lois Josimovich
Editorial: Ken Parsigian
Sports: Cindy Gatzziolis, Mike Hal-
pin, Rick Maddock, Errol Shifman
Photo- John Knox

ICA T TNT!.2 ,
-1 C6ERWAt\J
The Pali
Third of Five, Parts
founders, to use the Biblical idiom, drove the
Palestinians of Jaffa and Haifa and Galilee and
the Negev out from their land.
Yet even within the borders established then,
which the Arab states are now prepared to accept,
the problem of the two peoples has not gone away.
In many ways the problem of Israel's Palestinian
minority poses a far hreater threat to the cause
of Zionism, and to its ideals, than it did in 1948.
Indeed, the major threat to Zionist aspiration
today is no longer external Arab hostility, but the
very existence of a large, well-organized and un-
assimilable non-Jewish population within Israel it-
It affects everything from the attitudes of Is-
raeli youth, who increasingly regard menial labor
as "Arab" work, to Israel's domocratic stability.
Within Israel's multi-party system, the danger al-
ways exists of the Palestinian members of the
Knesset gaining the balance of power.
THE PROBLEM IS VISIBLE almost everywhere
inside Israel, from the Palestinians sweeping the
-streets of Haifa to the de facto segregation of the
Jerusalem school system. But nowhere is the dis-
crepancy'between military success and political fail-
ure more conspicuous . and more ominous for hopes
of a permanent peace settlement - than in north-
ern Israel.
There, the Golan Heights - taken from Syria dur-
ing the 1967 Six-Day War - tower above Lake Tiberias
and the farmlands of Galilee like some immense bar-
ricade erected to hold back a flood. The Arab popu-
lation has been expelled, the promontories covered
with Israeli defenses, the empty Syrian villages re-
populated with fortified Jewish settlements.
Today in Galilee there is no external military threat
at all. But behind the bristling Golan defenses - in
Galilee and the Jezreel valley - Israel has suffered
one of the most disturbing political defeats in its en-
tire national history. And without so much as a single
Arab shot being fired.
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2 1

der most of Israel's victories on the battlefield mean-
While the Jewish population of Israel today is in-
creasing at a rate of 1,5 per cent per year, the non-
Jewish population is increasing at a rate of 5.9 per
cent. Since 1948, the non-Jewish population has grown
from 150,000 to nearly 450,000 in a nation of 3.5 mil-
lion people.
Despite the announced Israeli policy of converting
Jerusalem into an overwhelmingly Jewish city, the
Jewish proportion of Jerusalem's population declined
last year. In 1974, the Jewish population of Western
Galilee and the Jezreel valley increased by 759 per-
sons, while the Palestinian population grew by 9,035.
In an official report made public last September,
Israel Koenig, governor of the northern region of Is-
rael, warned that the Palestinians in that region
were steadily gaining power "through methods that
were followed by the Jewish settlers before the cre-
ation of the state."
Not only, he complained, were the Palestinians win-
ning control of more and more municipal governments
by peaceful, legal means, but "organized operations
for the purchase by Arabs of real estate in the northern
areas" were beginning to threaten Jewish predomin-
ance there.
Gov. Koenig also lamented the growing Palestinian
proclivity for higher education. He found particularly
ominous a Palestinian "hunger strike in front of the
United Nations headquarters, as some people are do-
ing with regard to the Jews in the U.S.S.R."
Koenig's recommendations for dealing with non-Jew-
ish Israeli citizens were similar to policies outlined
by Israeli Gem David Maimon for policing the Pales-
tinian refugees of the Gaza Strip.
HIGHER EDUCATION for Palestinians, Koenig ar-
gued, should be discouraged. Government agents should
infiltrate legal political parties in which Palestinians
were active. Palestinian leaders who threatened Jew-
ish interests should be removed from public life and
replaced by officials willing to serve Jewish interests.
Taxes on non-Jewish Israelis should be increased
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A considerable distance still separates the Gaza
conditions of barbed-wire enclosures from the Koenig
recommendations for Galilee. But as the Koenig re-
port demonstrated, one of the chief effects of military
rule over a subject people has been not to enhance
Israeli-Palestinian understanding, but to predispose
Israeli officials toward using discriminatory martial
law tactics even against Israel's own non-Jewish citi-
In his report, Gov. Koenig complained about low
tax receipts from Palestinians. But in those areas
where Palestinians haye won control of their own
municipal governments, the fiscal results are even
more disconcerting to the Israelis.
Tax revenues from Palestinians have soared, and
Palestinian voters have, in some cases, tripled their
own tax burden to pay off municipal debts and fi-
rance new public works.
For an Israel that no longer attracts major Jewish
immigration, that faces continuing economic prob-
lems, and whose government is shaken by charges
of corruption, this growing problem of Palestinian
power seems one that no borders, however defensi-
ble, can solve.
The Palestinians of Galilee have learned that eman-
cipation, which never arrived in the form of Arab
armies, is never going to arrive in the form of bomb-
toting guerrillas either.
Instead they have learned, as the Palestinian mayor
of Nazareth, Tewfiq Zayyad, recently told a visitor, "We
must organize ourselves and depend on ourselves, if
we are to survive as a people."
"WE WILL NEVER REPEAT the mistakes that pro-
duced the historical catastrophe of 1948," a Palestinian
resident of Jerusalem said recently. "We will never
flee and leave them empty lands to claim as their own.
Let them annex the city and fly the Israeli flag here
forever. I will stay, my sons and grandsons will stay,
whatever they do to us.
And in Nazareth, Mayor Zayyad said in a recent
interview that even if a Palestinian state were et-
tablished on the West Band; the Palestinian minority
in that part of Israel would remain where it was. "We
naturally do not intend to leave our country." he said.


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