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January 17, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-17

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OPINION
Saturday, January 17, 1981.

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Higgins

-

Vol. XCI, No. 92

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

© 19 H NL'6'

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Looking at Milliken's plan

6

IN HIS STATE of the State address
on Thursday, Governor William
Milliken outlined a significant tax-cut
proposal similar in tone to his ill-fated
Proposal C. Although he developed the
proposal without consulting legislative
leaders, Milliken has indicated that his
plan is flexible and open to debate.
What the governor really wants, it is
clear, is to present a clean, simple plan
to the voters-regardless of its
origins-that is likely to be approved in
time for relief from July property tax
billings.
Milliken has the right idea. His plan,
which would cut most property taxes
by more than a third, would utilize a
one-percent hike in the sales tax tohelp
replace lost revenues. Although the
sales tax weighs somewhat more
heavily on those of lower incomes, it
has been shown that a one-percent in-
ciease is quite manageable. (For in-
stance, the increase would cost
someone earning $20,000 a year only
$70.) Further, the sales tax is paid by,
tlhe many tourists to our state, easing
tle revenue burden on Michigan
residents.
SThe plan has three additional
features to recommend it. First, it is a
genuine tax reduction (revenues would
be decreased by $250 million) rather
than a tax shift-the proposal will
therefore appeal to the growing sen-
timents that government is too large
and must be trimmed back.
Second, the plan offers to knock the
wind out of inflation by calUing. for
mandatory rollbacks in local millage
rags equal to annual. increasesbin
property tax assessments. This would
effectively freeze assessment rates
against inflation unless local officials
voted to permit increases to take ef-
fact.

Finally, Milliken's proposal offers a
special property tax exemption for
senior citizens, meaning that about 95
percent of Michigan homeowners age
65 or over would pay no property taxes.
There are problems with the gover-
nor's plan, however. By its very
nature, it calls for a huge reduction in
state revenues, the burden of which
must be borne by state and local
governments equally. The effects of
this reduction on schools, already ex-
periencing severe funding problems,
gives us pause.
Also, because the plan features a 35
percent property tax cut, rather than
an across-the-board assessment
exemption, it favors upper-income
homeowners. Proposal C, which would
have provided for a $7,100 assessment
exemption, would have favored lower-
and middle-income homeowners who
need tax relief most desperately.
To illustrate: Persons with a $15,000
income and an annual tax bill of about
$500 would receive $77 in net tax relief
under Milliken's new plan. Under
Proposal C, they would have received
about $245 in relief.
But those with a $50,000 income and a
$1,700 tax bill would have a net tax
reduction of $340, compared with $80
under the earlier ballot proposal.
Clearly,' then, Milliken's plan
requires legislative discussion. We
hope our representatives have com-
passion enough for the beleagured tax-
payers of the state to resist political in-
fighting and work with the governor on
a single tax relief proposal.
I tiley refuse and another confu ing
ballot fiasco similar to that in Novem-
ber results, the oppressed Michigan
taxpayers will not sit still for long. A
full-blown tax revolt is primed to ex-
plode.

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Ke on the rise

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A hero's horrible reward

The last months of 1979 and the year 1980
brought a reemergence of a particularly
virulent white racism to the very center of
American society and politics. Throughout
U.S. history, there have been periodic groun-
dswells of mass support for anti-black, an-
ti-semitic, and/or anti-Catholic ideas: the
nativist Know-Nothing movement in Nor-
thern cities during the 1840s and 1850s; the
white reaction against black reconstruction in
the late nineteenth century; the xenophobia
and racist/anti-Semitic dogma of the
"second" Ku Klux Klan of the Harding and
Coolidge administrations; the segregationist
South's "Massive Resistance" to the civil
rights legislation of the 1950s and 1960s. Only
the terrible Red Summer of 1919, when hun-
dreds of blacks were slaughtered, lynched,
and in some instances publicly burned, ex-
ceeded the racial crises of the more recent
past.
Examples of this new' level of racist terror
are almost endless: a cross burning at the
home of a Somerset, New Jersey, black
community activist in November, 1979; the
vicious execution of 22-year-old Jimmy Lee
Campbell, a black deaf man, by two white
hunters because "they failed to bag a deer in
their day's hunting trip," in Oroville, Califor-
nia, January, 1980; a nine-year-old black girl
shot in Wrightsville, Georgia, in the wake of a
rally demanding an end to housing and job
discrimination; four black churches firebom-
bed in Far Rockaway, New York, in May,
1980; two black teenagers killed by sniper fire
in Cincinnati as they walked to a neigh-
borhood store in June, 1980; the near-fatal
shooting of Vernon Jordan, executive director
of the National Urban League, at a motel in
Fort Wayne, Indiana; two young black men
killed by sniper fire in Salt Lake City, where
only days before a burning mattress was
thrown on the steps of a black church, and the
mysterious murder of at least eleven black
children in Atlanta, Georgia.
PARTICULARLY TRAGIC were the racial
incidents in Youngstown, Ohio. Throughout
October, 1980, there were widespread rumors
that the Klan intended to plant a bomb at a
black high school. Several blacks were
chased off the streets by gun-wielding whites.
Black-owned automobiles were deliberately
shot. Finally, a group of white youths decided
to shoot "a couple of niggers" at random.
Their victim was a young teenaged black girl
who had been playing along the sidewalk in
front of her home. The father of one of the

By Manning Marable
white youths admitted later that he allowed
them to use his truck, even though he knew of
their plans in advance.
At the root of many of these incidents is the
black community's historic enemy, the Ku
Klux Klan. In its "glory days" of the early
1920s, the KKK entered state and local elec-
tions with great success. During 1922 and 1923
the Klan elected governors in Oregon and
Georgia, a U.S. Senator from Texas, and hun-
dreds of sheriffs, states attorneys, mayors,
judges and police commissioners. In 1924 it
helped elect governors in Colorado and
Maine, won almost complete control of the
state of Indiana, and claimed between 3 and 5
million members. On one notorious occasion
in August, 1925, over 40,000 robed Klansmen
marched down Pennsylvania in Washington.
Between the Great Depression and the eve
of the modern Civil Rights movement, the
Klan almost disappeared as a national force.
Yet, according to U.S. Justice Department
statistics, from 1954-1965 the KKK was
"responsible for 70 bombings in Georgia and
Mississippi, 30 Negro Church burnings in
Mississippi, the castration of a black man in
Birmingham, 10 murders in Alabama, and 50
bombings in Birmingham."
AFTER A BRIEF period of decline, the Ku
Klux Klan returned as a national force of
political importance in the mid-1970s. The
hallmark of this newest version of the In-
visible Empire might be termed "respectable
racism." Klan leader David Duke is typical of
the trend. "(Exchanging) his mask and white
robe for a three-piece business suit, (Duke)
cloaks white supremacy in misleading
slogans such as 'reverse discrimination' and
neighborhood schools.' He urges his
followers to file law suits and the 'use the
legal system to reverse the gains of the civil
rights movement.' "
Even though the facade of respectability
exists, the gutter tactics of Klan terrorism
remain the same. In 1977 the Klan made
headlines by running vigilance patrols along
the U.S.-Mexican border in a well-publicized
effort to keep undocumented Mexican
laborers.from entering the country.
In 1978 the Klan mounted a major political
offensive in northern Mississippi against the
United League, a grassroots coalition of black
activists and residents.
IN 1979, THE Klan was active in the U.S.

Navy yards in Norfolk, Virginia,
distributing racist literature and attempting
to incite riots between black and white
sailors; working closely with anti-busing for-
ces in campaigns to halt public school
desegregation; brandishing sawed off
shotguns and submachine guns, shooting at
SCLC marchers at a Decatur, Alabama Civil
Rights demonstration; cruising through the
black neighborhoods of Birmingham while
shooting randomly into blacks' homes;
firebombing houses in Atlanta and burning
crosses at black'churches, schools and homes
in hundreds of cities across the country.
In April, 1980, two Klansmen fired their
shotguns and wounded four black women on a
street in Chattanooga, Tennessee, shortly af-
ter two burning crosses were discovered in
the black community In July, one of the
Klansmen was convicted on a reduced
charge after he admitted shooting his gun.
The other two Klansmen were acquitted on all
charges.
The most publicized incident of Klan
violence occurred in Greensboro', North
Carolina, on November 3, 1979. Ap-
proximately 75 anti-Klan demonstrators were
meeting in a black housing project in
preparation for a march. About 4 armed
Klansmen and Nazis drove into the project
and provoked an argument. As demon-
strators scattered, the racists began shooting.
Five unarmed people, all members of the
Communist Workers Party, were killed and
eleven were wounded.
Only 16 out of 40 Klansmen and Nazis at the
shooting were indicted, and of that number
only 6 were eventually tried. The district at-
torney refused to order two U.S. government
agents who had infiltrated the groups to
testify as witnesses. Defense attorneys forcei
all blacks off the jury, and an anti-Communist
Cuban exile was selected as jury foreman.
Despite overwhelming evidence on television
videotape, the all-white jury found the two
Nazis and four Klansmen not guilty of riot or
murder. The Greensboro executions and the
subsequent acquittal of the murderers
seemed to many activists to provide legal ap-
proval for future Klan/Nazi terrorism.
Manning Marable is a leader of the newly
formed National Black Independent
Political Party and teaches black politics
at Cornell University's Africana Studies
Center.

.0

0I

RUMORS ARE circulating in
Europe this week that a World
War II hero, once believed to have died
shiortly after the war, may still be
alive-if not well-and living in the
Soviet Union.
Raoul Wallenberg, a Swede who
directly helped save 20,000 East
European Jews and who indirectly
assisted some 100,000 others, disap-
peared toward the end of the war when
Soviet troops marched into Budapest,
where he had been working. It was
believed at the time that the war hero,
whose mission had been organized by
an American Jewish committee, was
being detained by the Soviet military
under suspicion of being an American
spy.
Wallenberg's brand of heroism was
unusual. A college graduate (not of a
war college but of the University's own
School of Architecture), Wallenberg
did not participate directly in the war,;
but rather intervened to keep innocent
civilians from suffering the grisly con-
sequences of Nazi policy. It is not clear
why the Soviets reacted suspiciously to

the magnificent work the Swede had
been doing--on paper, at least, he
ought to have been a hero to the Soviets
as well.
Yet despite the fact that most parties
concerned firmly believed that
Wallenberg was in Soviet custody, the
Kremlin denied ever having had con-
tact with him. Reports in 1957 that
returning prisoners of war had seen
him forced the authorities to change
their story; they reported that they
had been mistaken originally, but that
Wallenberg had died in 1947.
Understandably, the Swedish gover-
nment has never accepted the Soviet
version of Wallenberg's fate. Reports
have periodically come out that
Wallenberg has been seen in Soviet
prisons, including the testimony of an
ex-prisoner that he met Wallenberg
several months after the Soviets say he
died.
A commission of inquiry is now at
work in Stockholm. With perseverance
and luck, Wallenberg may yet see the
recognition and honor he has coming.
It's about. time.

04

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Questions
To the Daily: residen
The controversy that has been want a
created in the last several weeks tions F
regarding the proposed use of Dr. borhoo
Kambly's University Center as a truth to
"halfway house" for pre-paroles examin
returning to Washtenaw County bors ar
from Michigan correctional potentia
facilities has generated many 1) Is
questions. 60-70 p
It is easy to say that the halfway

about I
ts in the area just don't
Department of Correc-
Facility in their neigh-
d. There may be some
that statement, but let's
e the questions the neigh-
re asking themselves and
al problems.
a building that can house
re-paroles a residential
y house or a Department

he halfway
of Corrections institution? student
2) By increasing the number of 6) S
convicts in halfway houses, is the require
Department of Corrections just of min(
taking a convenient way to consid
alleviate overcrowded prisons? which
3) Will people feel safe about munity
walking, day or night, getting Thou
the mail, sunbathing, leaving concep
their homes unattended? probler
4) Should residents have to en- at theA
dure a substantial decrease in Hearin
property value predicted by two 21st.at
area real estate agents and the Fire Sta
city assessors office? the stre
5) Is a residence of this size to see y
located appropriately, that is, in -

house
t facilities?
hould area residents be
ed to sacrifice their peace
d or should Dr. Kambly be
ering more positive options
would benefit his com-
9
gh I am not opposed to the
t of halfway houses, these
ms are real. I intend to be
Zoning Board of Appeals
g. Wednesday, January
3:00 p.m..in the Central
ation on Fifth Ave. (across
eet from City Hall). I hope
ou there.
-Rob Ewing

0

A woman 's lament,

To the Daily:
A friend tells me that I may not
walk him home. There have been

women and why are friends who
are men either confused or em-
barrassed if I hug them? Why is

m

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