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June 06, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-06-06

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"The Stephenson Smooth Shuffle"

A l)OWN-TO-EARTH, no nonsense ad-
ministrator. A man who puts "Good
Government" ahead of "partisan politics."
This is the emerging image of Mayor
James Stephenson. It is an image which
was constructed during his recent cam-
paign, and has been carefully nurtured
since his election. And he's made it fair-
ly believable . if you don't know much
about city government.
Two recent examples of the emerging
Stephenson style stand out.
chris parks
AT MONDAY night's council meeting,
the GOP announced plans to ax liberal
Democratic planing commission member
Ethel Lewis. Democratic council mem-
bers cried foul, pointing out that failure
to re-appoint Lewis was a blatantly poli-
tical maneuver.
Stephenson's response was a masterpiece
of political bull.
He told radio commentator Ted Heu-
zel the next morning that he has always
felt that ideology should not enter into
the appointments process - that the city
should be glad it has public spirited citi-
zens willing to selflessly devote their
time etc., etc.
Lewis, he said, has served the city well
in her term, but should not be expected
to carry the burden alone.
THE FACT IS that Stephenson's pedan-
tic civics lecture has no relevance to the
way politics in this city is played by
the Democrats, Republicans or HRP. tIe
would have us ignore this point, but to
do so would necessitate a heavy-handed

rewrite of history.
Republicans pack committees with Re-
publicans and Democrats pack them with
Democrats. It's a game Stephenson knows
well and plays with facility.
Two years ago when the Democrats
were in power, the then mayor Robert
Harris appointed a Ward Boundary com-
mission heavily weighted in favor of the
Democrats.
James Stephenson, then a councilman
from the fourth ward, spearheaded a GOP
drive aimed at stalling and obstruct-
ing the operation of the committee with
the hope that new elections would result
in a GOP majority on council which could
force a change in committee ideological
composition.
The maneuver proved successful when,
after last year's election, the GOP - along
with HRP - forced major changes in the

composition of the committee.
Missing from Stephenson's actions in
this affair was his new-found belief that
ideology is not an important factor in
committee membership. His current posi-
tion sounds good only if you are unaware
of the hypocrisy which underlies it.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE of the "Stephen-
son Smooth Shuffle" was the defeat of a
resolution calling for the recognition of
Gay Pride Week - a measure which
had been approved by a Democrat-HRP'
coalition on council last year.
Stephenson explained Monday night that
he opposed the resolution on two bases:
(1) Such resolutions are "extraneous" and
take away time which could be spent on
"relevant city business," and (2) It has
not been clearly established that gays, by
their sexual preference, have made a

significant contribution to the city.
Once again, to the generally ignorant,
this sounds fairly logical.
It's hard to argue that ceremonial re-
solutions tend to be silly and "extraneous"
in general. And it is also technically true
that no searching appraisal of the role of
gays in the community was offered as evi-
dence to support passage of the Gay Pride
Week resolution.
But again, the Stephenson style thrives on
omission. What he does not say is that
the GOP has never questioned routine,
ceremonial resolutions in the past when
they were voted for the benefit of "ac-
ceptable" groups such as Jaycees and
their ilk. Nor have these group's contri-
butions to the community ever been sub-
jected to any searching appraisal prior
to their being officially honored.
Its just one of those things which city
councils do, as a matter of course. It is
pro forma and routine.
But Stephenson was dead set against
having the city of Ann Arbor recognize
the existence of gays as a vital and
real part of the community. Once again
he sought to cloak his purely political mo-
tives in the mantle of efficiency and no-
nonsense government.
DON'T BUY ANY used civics lectures
from this man, and beware of Republicans
(or anyone else for that matter) bearing
"Good Government."
Because politics is still politics and poli-
ticians are still politicians. And if the
people of, Ann Arbo believe they're get-
ting sound, non-partisan government from
James Stephenson, they're being slickered
by one of the best.

MAYOR JAMES STEPHENSON: His current position sounds good only if you
are unaware of the hypocrisy which underlies it.

THE
Summer Daily
Siumer Idi/ion of
7IE Ml(CH1IGAN DAILY
Edited and managed by students at the
University of Michigan
Wednesday, June 6, 1973 News Phone: 764-0552
Poone earings
HILE IT IS somewhat reassuring to have so zealous
an advocate of Constitutional justice as Senator
Sam Ervin spearheading the investigation into the Wat-
ergate Scandal, his insistence that the Senate inquiry
not be suspended threatens the very endeavor it is os-
tensibly attempting to assist: the prosecution of those
who betrayed the nublic trust by perpetrating and cov-
ering up the Watereate crimes.
For, however effective Ervin's Select Senate Com-
mittee has heretofore been in heightening the public's
awareness of various official wrongdoings, it has become
all too clear that the continuing series of televised hear-
ings may only prime future defendants to contrive
plausible 'alihis. It rrav render virtually impossible the
task of findin't an imnartial jury, composed of people
not already inficoed with the whole panoply of heresay
and innuendo which has been the hearings' most not-
able product.
THE DAILY does not buy Ervin's contention that to
curb the Committee's efforts would compromise the
"peoples' rixbt to know." For just how informative can
the committee be) It must be content to scratch the
surface of the Watersate iceberg, bouncing around from
topic to tonic, ever fiehting the pressures of those who
wish to "exnedite" matters without laying the proper
groundwnork bforeband. In addition, members are wont
to use the hearings as either a partisan or personal in-
strument: commentators have been quick to note that
the ferocity of ouestioning has often broken down along
predictable partisan lines.
Clearly, the meager returns offered by the Ervin
committee do not in themselves justify the loathsome
possibility that criminal proceedings be thrown out on
legal technicalities.
WHAT IS NEEDED is someone to fumigate the Water-
gate investigation of even the slightest taint of po-
litical influence. We believe that Archibald Cox is such
a man, and that his work should be conducted complete-
ly free from either Senate or White House interference.
While exposing the whole sordid affair may become more
tedious and less sensationalistic in the process, we think
it far preferable to have justice delayed than justice
denied.

Letters to The Daily

Presidential precedent
To The Daily:
WHY DID Professor Paul Kaup-
er of the Law School of the Uni-
versity of Michigan omit (in The
Daily, June 1), President Andrew
Johnson from the Presidents (Jef-
ferson, Lincoln, Truman) who had
confrontations with Congress and
the Supreme Court? Was it the
psychologist's blind spot, political
bias or censorship? Who knows?
(Certainly no veteran sportswrit-
er would omit the winning touch-
down from a hard fought game in
the stadium.)
In his book, Second Consul, Pro-
fessor E. W. Waugh gives the

names of three attorneys who act-
ed as counsel for the defense of
President Andrew Johnson in 1868.
Since the impeachment charges in-
cluded his presidential veto of an
Act of Congress, it was a great
victory for the presidency that the
Senate failed by one vote to re-
move Johnson from the White
House.
One of the attorneys, William M.
Evarts, spoke before the Senate
and stated that the Cabinet had
agreed the vetoed act was "uncon-
stitutional". Why a similar re-
sponse to the Congress in 1973
should appear 'constitutionally in-
appropriate" seems very pecu-

liar, as the veto of bills passed by
both Houses is roughly parallel.
Certainly President Johnson's ac-
tion, with his Cabinet's aproval, of
vetoing the Tenure of Office Act
was clearly constitutional and leg-
al. So, conclusively, was his open
defense, handled by his chosen at-
tornies, B. R. Curtis, William M.
Evarts and William S. Groesbeck.
This incident is surely a precedent
for a President of replying to
charges made by Congress and
made to the Senate as a jury.
-Paul Hubbell
Emeritus Prof. in History,
E.M.U.
-

Maybe we could get 'em to build us a beach cabana, storage
shed, redwood fence and put in electric heating, too. We got
as many kooks and Commies here as they have out in San
Clemente.'

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