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June 05, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1971-06-05

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egv 041418,gan Bail
420 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Edited and managed by students at the
University of Michigan
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual
opinions of the author. This must be noted in all reprints.
Saturday, June 5, 1971 News Phone: 764-0552
NIGHT EDITOR: MARK DILLEN
New housing at the U.'?
IN ITS REJECTION last week of a proposal by the UCU
(University Credit Union) Corporation for financial as-
sistance in the construction of 600 units of ultra-modern,
low-cost housing on North Campus, the state showed a
lack of foresight that could hurt Ann Arbor in the long
run.
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority
(MSHDA) 'told representatives of the non-profit corpora-
tion - composed of several University-based credit un-
ions - that although the plan was excellent, 600 units
was too large a load for the government's pursestrings
to bear at this time.
MSHDA suggested instead that UCU look i n t o the
feasibility of a less grand plan involving about 400 units
- only half of which would receive government subsidy.
UCU officials are understandably disturbed at MSH-
DA's reaction. For, in not permitting the construction of
600 units, MSHDA effectively makes it impossible for UCU
to take advantage of quantity buying of fixtures - and
so keep rents down.
UCU HAS FREQUENTLY stated it will not go ahead with
its plans unless it can be assured that rents will be
low enough for families with meager incomes to afford.
Whether low rents will still be possible after the suggest-
ed MSHDA plan is yet to be seen, but obviously they will
not be as low as they would have been in the UCU plan.
Besides the question of low rents, UCU is concerned
over the possibility that it will be forced to abandon many
of the proposal's innovative concepts, in order to comply
with MSHDA's suggestion.
Committed to the goal of providing low-income Uni-
versity students, employes and retirees with cheap but
beautiful and practically designed housing, UCU spent
months formulating a unique and superbly designed plan.
Far from being "just another low cost housing plan," the
UCU project would be situated in a picturesque area of
North Campus. UCU's architects devised a plan involving
a unique semi-circle of townhouse "clusters," with one
medium or high rise complex in the middle.
Among the luxury innovations incorporated into the
plan was one featuring underground parking permitting
each tenant to park within a few yards of his door -
which would be accessible from the underground lot. Such
planning is evidence of UCU's remarkable effort in evolv-
ing the plan.
UCU was formed with the sole purpose of helping to
alleviate the city's severe housing shortage, and its inno-
vation and resourcefulness can even be spotted in its
formation.
It was formed last January by the Student Credit
Union, University Cooperative, University Employes Cred-
it Union and the University Hospital Credit Union to take
advantage of a 1967 state legislative act authorizing state
chartered credit unions to sponsor state or federally as-
sisted housing for their members. T h e department of
Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Housing
Administration and MSHDA would provide financing -
paying most of the interest on loans for at least a large
portion of the project.
In forming the non-profit corporation, UCU was at-
tempting to get additional housing for the city through a
yet untapped source. The 600 units would have greatly
helped the situation, as it would come on the heels of a
plan for 200 low-rent units sponsored by the Office of
Student Services through a HUD subsidy, which was ap-
proved by the Regents in April.
Still, the housing shortage of the city remains criti-
cal.
One OSS spokesman, in fact, has said it would take
no less than the immediate construction of 5,000 housing
units for the city and the University to catch up with the
problem.

Early next week, UCU officials will probably travel
to Lansing to meet again with MSHDA. Hopefully,.UCU
Will have decided to try for the construction of the 400
units, for, clearly, such an amount is better than nothing.
BUT THE MAJOR decision rests with MSHDA. The state
must recognize the long-term housing needs of its
cities,- and make present sacrifices for future gains.
MSHDA should approve whatever plan UCU proposes,
despite any temporary drain it may cause on the public
pocketbook. Indeed, after rejecting the initial plan, it
cannot afford to make the same kind of mistake twice.
-ROBERT SCHREINER

State government as theater

By ALAN LENHOFF
THE CURTAIN RISES
ACT I, SCENE I. The State Capitol building, Lan-
sing, Michigan.
Michigan Daily reporter approaches building.
Pauses at foot of steps to listen to young man
preaching atheism. Continues toward main en-
trance, carefully sidestepping group of middle-aged
women carrying signs reading "Abortion is legalized
murder."
Reporter enters building. Building is packed solid
with fourth grade classes and Girl Scout troops.
Reporter smiles at some Girl Scouts dressed in
little green uniforms. Troop leader gives reporter
disapproving look. Reporter feels like convicted child
molester, continues through building.
SCENE II. Reporter notices construction work in-
side building. Workman tells reporter he expects
the building to be bombed by radicals as soon as
renovation is completed. Reporter acknowledges pos-
sibility. Workman whistles at passing secretary who
pretends not to hear. Secretary still wears wool
dress in June.
Reporter pauses in hallway to catch his breath.
Sits on bench across from 30ish looking woman.
Man approaches, asks woman what she is doing
there. Woman says she is lobbying for real estate
tax reform bills.
Man asks her to also lobby for his bill. She's never
heard of he bill before, but promises to help him
anyway. Very polite.
Reporter leaves.
SCENE III. Reporter enters House gallery. House
is in session. Guard warns reporter not to use
his tape recorder. Guard warns reporter not to stand
in the gallery. Guard tells reporter he must be
quiet. Guard tells reporter he must not lean on
railing. Guard tells reporter not to sit next to fourth
grade students. Reporter puzzled by last command,
but does not question.
Reporter sits down. Hears representative on the
floor ask "Can your town's vice-squad work ef-
fectively under the restraints we are considering
right now?" Question arouses reporter's interest.
Reporter leans over railing to look at House. Repre-
sentatives sit quietly behind their desks, some sleep-
ing, some hiding behind newspapers, others in var-
ious states of mental unawareness . . .
Guard warns reporter not to laugh again. Re-
porter leaves.
SCENE IV. Reporter sits in office waiting to talk
to home-district senator. Two men enter and
talk at length. They are members of the powerful
state insurance lobby. They discuss whether to take
the reporter's senator out to dinner.

"No," argues one, "he's not on any of the right
committees."
"I know that," snaps the other, "but look how
fancy his office is - he must have some power
here." Lobbyist then recites a short maxim about
how wall-to-wall carpeting is always the path to
power.
Reporter senses chance to embarrass lobbyists.
Reporter begins fumbling with tape recorder. Lobby-
ists turn toward reporter, wonder if he has been
taping their conversation. Reporter smiles. Report-
er tells one lobbyist he looks familiar, asks his name.
Lobbyists turn green. One insults the reporter's
appearance. Reporter returns to his seat. Lobbyists
leave.
QCENE V. Reporter decides he's had enough. Asks
state policeman the way back to Ann Arbor.
Policeman asks where reporter's car is parked. Re-
porter afswers that he is hitchhiking. Cop grunts,
points out direction. Reporter thanks cop, sticks
out his thumb.
Ten minutes, 20 minutes pass. Reporter now has
a sore thumb.
Reporter finally gets ride with corporate liberal
type - complete with sideburns and Volkswagen.
Driver asks where reporter is going. Reporter says
Ann Arbor. Driver stops car. "You're going in the
wrong direction," he says. Reporter gets out.
Reporter sits on curb, thinking of cop. Reporter
considers becoming stowaway on school bus.
CURTAIN

r

-r
! - ~
-;
VI

4

"Hi, folks, Dick Nixon here-yes sir, Dick Nixon, the name
you can trust, located here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
Washington, D.C., the largest car dealer on the East coast
with just' the car you've been looking for-ixon's the
name ....

*

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