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September 04, 1975 - Image 35

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-09-04

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r.Thursday, September 4, 1975

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Nine I

Thursday, September 4, 1975 THE MiCHIGAN DAILY Pcge Mn,

sI

Financial skirmishes dominate

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recent City Hal

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politics

Stephenson Wheeler

City Council: Not
wIt used to be
By ANN MARIE LIPINSKI
Daily News Analysis
Soft spoken and unassuming, Mayor Albert Wheeler is every
bit th anithesis of his predecessor James Stephenson. Lacking
in the savior faire of politicking that became Stephenson's un-
solicited trademark, Wheeler's occupation of the most pres-
tigious legislative seat in Ann Arbor has prompted a marked
change in City Council's collective nature.
Gone are the condescending grins that the Republicans dealt
like cards to Human Rights Party (HRP) and Democrat Council
members each time they voiced an opposition view. Until last
April's city election the GOP wielded its six-vote stronghold with
all the arrogance of a bartender with the only saloon in town.
The vote returns and Wheeler's presence on Council have
changed all that.
WHILE THE Republicans managed to salvage their five
Council seats, they lost their grip on the Mayor's throne in the
most hotly contested race this city has ever seen. Suits and
counter suits followed Ann Arbor's first preferential voting
mayoral election, as Stephenson tried in vain to win back the
title that voters bestowed upon a black man for the first time
in the city's history. This left Cotincjl with a 5-5-1 split, and
stripped the GOP of its monopolistic power.
Wheeler, aware that his win -was only marginal and keenly
cognizant of vocal community opposition to his politics, treads
lightly in Council chambers at the Monday night meetings. Like
Stephenson, he's not one to be pushed around; but unlike "Gentle-
man Jim," Mayor Al doesn't resort to the partisan bullying that 2
marked the Republican regime.
When the infitghting and name-calling on Council gets too
nasty, Wheeler is quick to slam his gavel to the table letting the
Council members know he won't stand for time consuming 1
bickering. He'll listen to their arguments, but not their acrid
maligning.
AND THE COUNCIL members respect this. '
Councilman Louis Belcher -(R-Fifth Ward), at one time a
caustic opponent of HRP and Democrat powers, has censored
his verbose attacks upon those parties and is now visibly willing
to negotiate with those on opposite ends of the political spectrum.
The April election decreased his GOP backup on Council by one
and he knows he can catch more bees, not to mention votes,
with honey than he can with vinegar.
The most vivid example of his tactical reform was shown
during Council's May budget adoption session. Engineering ne-
gotiations fo rthe GOP, Belcher worked actively and fairly with
the Democrats to arrive at compromises. He knew the five Re-
publican votes weren't enough to make inroads into the budget.
AND COUNCILMAN Roger Bertola (R-Third Ward), usually a
strict party-line voter, has listened attentively to Democratic
reasoning and once or twice even voted with them.
Sole HRP councilperson Kathy Kozachenko (Second Ward) is
enjoying a unique kind of change in status. During the Repub-
lican reign, Kozachenko's radical motions and resolutions merely
supplied comic relief for the conservative GOP. However, now
that she carries the decisive vote on issues where the five Re-
publicans and five Democrats are split, Council's ears are
markedly more attentive to Kozachenko's lobbying. It becomes
a matter of give and take. If Kozachenko agrees to concur with
their one of the two dominant parties, it could win her support
for a pet issue of her own.
And she enjoys every minute of the attention paid her.
THE DEMOCRATS, as well as Kozachenko, must now be
wary of falling into the same iron-clad-fist-syndrome that befell
the Republicans. While neither the Democrats nor the HRP have
the majority that the GOP possessed, Kozachenko's decisive vote
as well as the Democrats occupation of the Mayor's seat create
tempting traps that even the most astute politician could fall
prey to.
The same dictator-like stance that the Democrats and the
HRP accused the Republicans of taking for so long is potentially
just around the corner for the Dems should they land a sixth seat
on Council this April. And with Kozachenko entertaining thoughts
of not running for re-election in the student-dominated second
ward, the chances of a Democrat taking over that traditionally
liberal seat appear good.
Although the second ward was HRP's healthiest stronghold
since the party's inception in the early seventies, the HRP can-
didate for one of that ward's .two seats last April was decisively
trounced. The liberal makeup of the ward's constituency make it
virtually impossible for a Republican to win election, and unless
the HRP can market a winning candidate in the next race, the
Democrats should gain that all important sixth seat and the
coveted prize of majority power.
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(Continued from Page 3)
of the CDRS funds and other
city monies in a projected
plan
Councilman R o n a l1d Trow-
bridge (R-Fourth Ward) de-
scribed Wheeler as "fascistical-
ly holding up the whole CDRS
proceedings."
"SAY JAMES Stephenson did
something like that without
Council's consent," Trowbridge
stated, "can you imagine what
the Democrats would h a v e
said?"
Wheeler defended his position
saying that he campaigned on a
platform that promised review
of the muc hmaligned CDRS
issue, and that hi srequest to
the HUD officials was a move
toward fulfillment of that com-
mitment.
Wheeler, h o w e v e r, backed
down on his request when HUD
officials advised him to post-
pone amendent of the CDRS
budget until they approvedit.
This approval came in the last
week of June, and the Mayor
has already suggested to Coun-
cil that they begin reordering
the priorities the Republican
Council established last Febru-
ary fo rthe money.
WHEELER HAS also an-
nounced that he eve nhas his
own personal committee review-
ing possible changes, and at
press time in early July he said
he will soon begin reconstruct-
ing the CDRS citizen's commit-
tee by filling vacant positions.
In answer to charges that he
is holding up the flow of funds
by an extended review of the
appropriations, Wheeler s a i d
that he hopes to institute some
of the CDRS projects by provid-
ing partial funding before any
amendments are made.
Confounding t h e financial
scrapping between the city's
various factions wa sthe incur-
sion of serious economic set-
backs with regard to the city
budget for the fiscal year which
began July 1. Because of the
slim $18.6 million City Adminis-
trator Sylvester Murray had to
work with, city departments
suffered from skelatal budget
provisions and painful personal
layoffs.
THE PREAMBLE to the final
adoption o fa city budget was
also marked by political infight-
in gin Council chambers. Mur-
ray, who in his powerful role as
administartor is responsible for
dividing the city's coffers among
various departments, presented
Council with a budget in April
whic hhe termed "adequate but
not superior."
Almost immediately Council
Democrats, Republicans, and
sole HRP member Kozachenko,
began remodeling Murray's pro-
posal to fit into their respective
political outlines for the city's
financial operation.
In their revampment of Mur-
ray's budget, the Democrats
called for an across-the-board
three per cent cut in all depart-
ments,,as well as a salary freeze
for administrative and super-
visory personnel earning more
than $18,000. The money saved
in these areas, the Democrats
proposed, should be channeled
into the creation of a new hu-
man services or human resource
department.
EACH OF these suggestions
was blasted by the Republicans
when they offered their revision
of Murray's budget at a mid-
May press conference. Claiming
a salary freeze would force
unionization, a three per cent
across the board cut would
cause increased layoffs, and a
new human services department
woud only create more bu-
reacuracy, the GOP chided
Council Democrats for their
/'intellectually dishonest a n d

misleading" budget revisions.
The alternative budget pro-
posed by the five Republican
councilmen shuffled $341,431 in
Murray'snbudget without alter-
ing the balance. The largest al-

teration made by the GOP was
their $178,930 addition to the
police department budget. They
also upped the budgets for the
fire department, District Court
and Parks and Recreation.
Kozachenko's HRP budget jug-
gled $1.1 million in Murray's
proposal, calling for large de-
creases in administrative opera-
tions and police department ex-
penditures, while raising budget
allocations for human service-
type projects including low in-
come housing and day care.
THE EXTENSIVE reworkings
of the administrator's budget,
however, were all in vain. In
accordance with the city char-
ter, seven votes are needed in
order to institute any changes
into the administrator's budget
proposal, and with the current
strongly partisan 5-5-1 split on
Council, mustering seven votes
for anything is tantamount to
scaling Mt. Everest. It can be
done,but it's a long, hard climb.
Therefore, while no one party
emerged victorious, three heat-,
ed hours of deliberations at the
last Coucil meeting in May pro-
duced a modest $60,000 in com-
promises amongthe Council
members, which were instituted
into Murray's budget. However,
the changes were so minor that
the administrator's proposal was'
left virtually unscathed for all
practical purposes.'
The result was a budget which
included the elimination of 45
city jobs-10 to 15 of those re-
quiring actual layoffs, with the
remainder coming through na-
tural attrition.
PREFACING his affirmative, i
though merely symbolic vote
wit ha final ja bat the admin-s
istrator's proposal, Wheeler told
Council, "Even with the revi-
sions we have made, I am not
at all pleased with this budget."
Throughout the duration of1
the budget hoopla, city officials
were taking up arms for a re-
newed battle with one of Ann1
Arbor's strongest financial pow -l
ers -the University. For years
the city has been claiming that
the University has been grissly
negligent in paying the city for
services rendered. However,
University officials continually
refute these arguments, claim-
ing that the University is an in-
valuable asset to the city and
that it provides adequate fund-
ing for city services by supply-
ing numerous cultural offerings
and a wealth of employment op-
portunities.
While the feud i san old one,
it gained renewed steam in late
May as the financial problems
plaguing the city gained in-
creased urgency in the face of
the May 27 budget adoption
deadline. City officials, looking
desperately for resources to
swell Ann Arbor's streamlined
budget, called upon the Univer-
sity to increase their payments
to the city for services. The Uni-
versity's "contributions" were
no longer adequate, said city
officials.
UNDER HEAVIEST attack is
the University's stand on the
financing of police and fire de-
partment protection.

While the University contract-,
ed last fiscal year to provide
funding for 23 police officers, it
offered funding or only 11 jobs
or this fiscal year. Claiming it
hasn't been receiving continuous
service from 23 officers, the
University has merely arranged
to increase its own security
force.
While Murray and Police Chief
Walter Krasny both concede
that the city has not physically
placed 23 oficers on campus at
all times, they are quick to point
out that the University's secur-
ity officers do not have the nec-
essary legal power granted to
the city's police officers, and
that 11 officers cannot provide
the University adequate service.:
"UNFORTUNATELY," com-
plained Krasny, "we're not in a
position of refusing them serv-
ice," simply because the Uni-
versity does not pay for it.
Looking for a possible out to I
this reality as cited by Krasny,
Councilman RogerdBertoia (R-
Third Ward), a long time critic
of the University's funding ef-
forts, has suggested a slow-
down in city response time to
non-emergency University prob-
lems.

following a presentation made to
the Regents by city officials,
President Robben Fleming said,
"When we talk to the people in
Lansing about this, 'we get a
complete brush-off. They tell us,
that the University is an invalu-
able asset to the city, and if we
want to pay more for services-
and i fwe do-they claim that!
we must have more money than
we need and then they end up
lowering our appropriations."
REGENT Deane Baker (R-
Ann Arbor) argued more abras-
ively with the city representa-
tives, saying the presentation
was "an inaccurate, one-sided
case."
Caiming the report highlighted
only the "penalties" the city in-
curs because of the University's
existence, Baker listed the Uni-
versity Hospital, the $200 million
in salaries that the University
pays to city residents employed
by the institution, and the num-
erous cultural activities provid-
ed b ythe University as balanc-
ing assets.
In a final statement to the
Regents, Wheeler requested that
the University make an imme-
diate direct payment of $1.5 mil-
lion for this fiscal year to cover

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{

"If the Administration Build- costs of police, fire and other
ing were burning, and I knew services provided by the city.
there were no people in it, Id H
say 'let the son-of-a-gun burn,' HE' ALSO suggested that a
and send the fire trucks to a joint committee of Regents and
bush fire on the other end of council members be established
town," said Bertoia. o develop long-range policies
regarding equitable fiscal rela-
eUniversitytionships and practices between
ALTHOUGH the University the two parties.
allocated $250,000 last tyearrtito
the cito $2financ firyear to While most of the Regents
the city to fiance fire lepart- were in accordance with Wheel-
ment services, it has so fare'srpbatoetuajin
made no public commitment re- er's proposal to set up a joint
garding financing for the comn- committee, nave of them ex-
gding ar.Despiteti fat, M- pressed a willingness to provide
ing yearDespitethefactthe city with the increased fund-
ray is counting on the Univer- ing
sity's reallocation of the same
$250,000 fee, and added it to the At the conclusion of their dis-
fire department's budget. cussion the Regents simply told:
In deendin itsthe city representatives that
In defending its position, the the ywould "get back" to them
University has continually point- with a response. At press time
ed to the control the state legis- the city had still not received
lature has over its purse-strings. any word from the University.
At theJ mpRiapt^rna"^,n, ^4- I-1%++---

tit ine dune xegents meeting, ( And

so, the battle rages on.

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3 eggs, Hash Browns,
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Ham or Bacon or
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3 eggs, Rib Eye Steak,
Hash Browns,
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Chinese Pepper Steak
Delicious Korean Bar-q Beef
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East Rolls
Home-made Soups (Beef
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Chili, Vegetable Tempura
served after 2 O.m.
Hamburger Steak Dinner-
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Spaqhetti in Wine Sauce
Beef Curry Rice
Baked Flounder Dinner $2.25
141b. Rst. Beef, Kaiser Roll $1.69
/4 lb. Ham on Kaiser Roll $1.39

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