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August 10, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-08-10

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NYC has will-to-live through crises

Ily T. 1. AlMAN -
Terrwi: bomb hi ish s and sensational,
unsolved nmrders: htn:kouts, with thou-
sands trapped in cl 'rtors and subways;
mass tastings inflicOg the coup de grace
on dying slim; setgy heat waves with
temperstres o 11)4 in the shade - this
is New York tCitr's summer of discon-
tent.
New Yfrk', critics always have pre-
dicted this supernova of a city would
collapse inward on itself, becoming a
black sol- of himanity. New York's par-
tisans assert oIly when the going gets
tough d-es 'his city really reveal its
jaunty c-spicity to take whatever fate
inflicts, and come hack for more.
Bitt the unremitting series of calami-
ties - criiminal, technological, meteoro-
logical :ad social - that keeps punching
New Yirk in the stomach this summer
has proved that both the boosters and
boners are wrong.
NEW YORK is sticky and unpleasant
right now. But it is fiscally healthier
than it wtas only a year ago, and less
socially tartured than some other Ameri-
can cities with much better public rela-
tions images.
But all that is of little consolation
to New Yorkers now. The shooting of

two young Brooklynites by the notorious
".44 Caliber Killer," the eerie spectacle
of jet airplanes descending on Kennedy
airport to find not illuminated runjvays
but total blackness, the mobs of ghetto
youth looting their own neighborhoods,
the sight of thousands fleeing a bomb
scare in the twin towers of Manhattan's
110-story World Trade Center-all these
summer melodramas have demonstrated
something that New Yorkers, who take
pride in their toughness, don't like to
admit.
The city is vulnerable. Its human eco-
system is as defenseless against the
marauding catastrophes of nature and
man as a coral reef is against preying
starfish, or a beehive against a blast
of DDT.
Virtually every ethnic group imagin-
able lives here, from Algonquin Indians,
who build the skyscrapers, to Brahmin
Indians, who not long ago consecrated
a temple to Vishnu in Queens. Harlem,
not Soweto or Lagos, was the world's
first great modern black metropolis.
There are more Puerto Ricans in New
York than in San Juan.
WHAT THE U.S. as a whole so far
has refused to acknowledge is simply
that a society this diverse, this dense,
this complex, this fragile and this im-

piortant to the country as a whole only
can function properly with a national
coinmnitment to some minimal degree
of social progress, with some mini-
mum guarantee of social services.
Now not just New York, but the
entire American system of commerce,
industry and culture of which New York
is the center, is paying the price for
refusing to face up to such a commit-
ment. In recent weeks, New York's
social contract not only has melted in
the heat, events here have revealed
the enormous long-term costs when a
nation simply refuses to pay the short-
term bills for keeping its most important
city in proper running condition.
U.S. tax dollars have subsidized pea-
nut farmers in Georgia, while urban pro-
grams have been adandoned. Federal tax
monies have been spent where they are
needed least - to build up the rich,
white suburbs and the conservative,
booming Sunbelt states at the expense
of the liberal, ethnic cities of the North-
east and Midwest.
Unlike Paris or London or Moscow,
New York - which remains America's
social, economic and cultural capital-
is no national showcase. Instead it has
been turned into a case study of all of
America's most callous social failings.
THE QUESTION posed by New York's
summer troubles, therefore, is not wheth-
er the rest of the country will "bail out"
New York - but whether America's
neediest citizens can go on subsidizing
those sectors that need help the least.
For every $7 New York City pays in
taxes to the federal government, it gets
back only $1. Even before the black-
out, the city was an object lesson in
the social costs of looting-not by ghetto
dwellers, but by state and federal gov-
ernments and by corporations and in-
dividuals, who every year take out of
New York far more than they put back.
While chastizing New York for its
budgetary recklessness, the rest of the
U.S. goes on refusing to establish work-
able national welfare, child care and
public' health systems.

The result is that progressive -New
York - which for 150 years has wel-
comed, fed, housed, educated and as-
similated wave after wave of immi-
grants - remains a magnet for all those
social outcasts the rest of America re-
fuses to care for.
IT WAS ONE THING for New York
City to absorb a century of European
immigration, and pass the immigrants
on, Americanized and with basic skills,
to the rest of the country. It is quite
another to expect New York, by itself,
to pay off the accumulated, backbreak-
ing wages of 350 years of American rack
ism - let alone devise a municipal
solution for the continuing U.S. nation-
al refusal to grant Puerto Rico either
the benefits of independence or of state-
hood.
"That's New York's problem" is the
traditional response in both Washington
and Albany, the state capital, And that
tradition has been fully preserved this
summer.
In the end New York City received
a trivial $11 million for post-looting re-
construction. And because the black-out
was a man-made disaster, not a natural
one, the city also was denied the emerg-
ency relief funds places with far less
serious problems routinely receive when
4 river floods, or a forest burns down.
New York City - bleeding heart lib-
eral of a city that it is - does have
a free summer lunch program for the
poor. And this is yet another social pro-
gram that legislators from other districts
say must go, if federal and state aid
to the city is not to be even further
reduced.
Somehow New York mahages to stir-
vice it all. The extraordinary thing is
not that New York has so many prob-
lems, but that the rudiments of civili-
zation cling on here as tenaciously as
they do.
T. .. AImano wh > ohas wri//en for
/he Washington Pas/, New York Times,
Los Angeles Tmes, f/arper's and New
Tiges, ii ri/es for /he Pacific Niuv Ser-

The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Wednesday, August 10, 1977
News Phone: 764-0552
Plaftnned par"enthood exec.
irector should resign
AS THE ONLY AGENCY in the county providing low
cost family planning, the Washtenaw County League
for Planned Parenthood offers such services as abor-
tions, vasectomies, pregnancy tests, family counseling
and birth control information.
But in-house fighting is seriously affecting the quali-
ty of patient care there. The Daily believes the best
way to resolve this problem is for the Executive Direc-
tor, Jack Sinleton, to resign. If he does not resign, we
feel the Board of Directors should fire him.
On July 5, over 20 staff members quit the agency
en masse because the board refused to fire Singleton.
Under Singletotn's administration, staff members said,
working coinditions within the agency had become in-
tolerable and low morale had seriously threatened the
quality of patietit care.
Sitigleton has been the agenicy's director for the past
19 mointho. Since he first took his job, staff morale has
plummeted. Enpluyes have accused him of mismanage-
ment, liarassment of employes and violation of griev-
ance proc(edurcs. He fired Dr. Johen Eliot, the popular
medical direcior since 1973, who was largely responsi-
ble for tit design of the clinic.
1HE CtLINIC NO LONGER has the complete confidence
of severil medical doctors in the area. Dr. Clark Smith
of Hlilludale said in a letter, "I can no longer ethically
refer patients to yotir clinic."
Clinic staffers lave also indicated their lack of con-
fidence its the administrative procedures of the agency.
On August 1, a grotip of Planned Parenthood staff
members wrote a letter to the Board saying "business
is not as usuat" at the clinic. "We can not continue
quality work indefinitely in an atmosphere of daily ten-
sion and prolonged uncertainty," they said. They add-
ed there is an absence of executive inititive in address-
ing problems in the agency.
Many staff members say the problems which forced
the first mass resignation have not been resolved but
have instead been compounded. They have indicated
that if Singleton does not resign soon another mass
resignation could take place. Their walkout could shut
down the vitally-needed agency. But staff members
have pointed out they would rather have the agency
close its doors than administer improper health care
to patients.

t

Letters to The Daily

i

abortions
To The Dailyt
In recent weeks, the U.S. Su-
iree Court has been sharply
criticized for its recent Medi-
caid-abortion ruling, by those
who believe that abortion should
be available to all women, re-
gardless of economic status.
While I too am a strong sup-
porter of Medicaid funding for
abortions, I believe that it is
the wrong people who are tak-
ing the brunt of the criticism.
It is not the Supreme Court
Justices who shouldybear the
blame. After aill, they did not
decide whether cutting off funds
for abortions was a good idea,
but merely riled that such a
cut-off, when already voted by
the legislature, was pot forbid-
den by the U.S. Constitution.
Instead, it is the elected leg-
islators we ought to be blaming,
the ones who actually decide
whether to stop the funds. And
it is especially the votes of the
legislatorsnwilling to take a
firtm s t and on the abortion is-
sue, yet grandstanding for the
public with a vote against the
helpless poor, that should be
scorned. Unfortunately, our own
Congressman, Carl Pursell, is
one of those guilty ththis shame-
ful performance, the kind that
gives all politicians a bad name.
I do not agree with those peo-
ple who favor a constitutional
amendment banning all abor-
tions, but at least I respect
them for taking an up-front
stand on a tough moral issue.
But those who refuse to sup-
port the amendment for fear

of losing a few liberal votes,
yet greedily try to make politi-
cal points with the other side
by denying to the poor that
which they are afraid to deny
to the wealthy, show their lack
of any firm conviction what-
ever. 44
It is about time that people
on both sides of this abortion
issue quit being fooled by vacil-
lating politicians like representa-

tire Pursell, and -even more
shamefully on this issue, Presi-
dent Carter. We elect these peo-
ple to show leadership; not to
tell us that things are unfair,
but to try to help make them
better. Kicking the poor when
they're down is an easy way
to make political hay, but a
sad way for elected "leaders"
to act.
-George Hastings

t145t L4.eWT rTHEBENO OF -WE erNek W 1UNNEL

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