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January 24, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-24

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6

OPINION

e 4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

I

Vol. XCI, No. 98

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

City election tomfoolery

Saturday, January 24, 1981
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E LECTION LAW is supposed to be
a set of guidelines to keep
prospective candidates from taking
advantage of public ignorance or
apathy, from lining their pockets with
supposed campaign funds, and from
various other campaign practices that
have surfaced, from time to time, in
American electoral history. Nowhere
in the lawbooks does it say that elec-
lions ought to necessitate the expen-
.iture of public moneys for frivolity.
'et an expense that can hardly be
characterized as anything but tom-
foolery is soon to be unleashed by the
city treasury, with the blessings of
Mayor Louis Belcher and the
Democratic minority on the City Coun-
Oil.
The problem started months ago,
when two candidates - Kenneth
Newble and Jennie Johannsen - filed
their names for the Republican spot on
the Third Ward primary ballot. The of-
ficial deadline for withdrawing from
the race passed unnoticed, and the
ward's Republicans began preparing
for the primary.
Then the bombshell hit. Newble
changed his mind and was no longer in-
terested in the job; he threw his sup-
port behind his former opponent, and
racefully bowed out. Some naive Ann
Arborites might have believed that
would be the end of it, as well it should
have been. But the Democratic caucus
,n the council, with an attention to the
Newa life fi
T DIDN'T TAKE the anti-abortion
Iforces very long after the
nauguration of their political
)2essiah, Ronald Reagan, to fill the
streets of the capital, parading their
new-fornd clout and pushing their
proposed constitutional amendment
prohibiting abortion a little closer
toward becoming a reality. Some
50,000 foes of a woman's right to choose
took to the streets with their "pro-life"
slogans and signs in yet another
frightening spectacle.
But, what separated this rally, held
to lament the eighth anniversary of the
Supreme Court decision legalizing
abortion from others in the past was
the fact that this time the demon-
strators received the active support of
high-placed government officials.
Representatives from the anti-abor-
tion forces met with President Reagan
and, although they did not press for his
commitment to the proposed amen-
dment, they claimed "he agreed with
everything we said."
The anti-abortion activists also
spread out over Capitol Hill,
systematically winning the support of
senatois and congressmen through in-
dividual visits to their offices.

letter of the law that can only be
described as pedantic, pointed out that
is was officially'too late for Newble to
withdraw. The primary would have to
go on, they said, even with the only one
willing candidate.
"The state election law is very well
outlined," argued Susan Greenberg,
the Democratic councilwoman from
the First Ward. "If you can begin to
violate that law, you have to wonder
what the next set of laws to be violated
will be.
One has to wonder about a person in
a position of public responsibility who
cannot distinguish between violating a
law in defiance of someone's interests
and a technical regulation whose only
purpose here can be to punish the tax-
payers with $5,000 or more worth of
farce in the guise of a primary. The Re-
publican councilmembers seem to
recognize the distinction; they pushed
through a resolution to allow Newble to
withdraw. But Belcher, intimidated by
the possibility of a lawsuit, went along
with the Democratic minority, and left
the planned primary intact.
Any lawsuit that might be brought
could almost certainly be won, and
probably at a smaller expense to the
city than the amount the primary will
cost. It is a risk Belcher and the
Democrats ought to have been willing
to take, but bold and intelligent action,
it seems, is not politic-at least in the
eyes of some of our city leaders.
or 'pro-life'
...
Secretary of Health and Human Ser-
vices Richard Schweiker also lent his
support to the "pro-lifers,' promising
to administer anti-abortion policies in
his new department. The Department
of Health and Human Services is
responsible for providing funding for
abortions for women who cannot afford
to pay for them.
The alarming aspect of Thursday's
rally is not simply that the "pro-lifers"
turned out in larger numbers than
usual, or were more vocal, but rather
that many of the most influential
politicos in Washington are now ac-
tively supporting their efforts.
The "pro-lifers" hailed the rally as a
huge success, signalling the real
beginning of the end for abortion in the
United States. They spoke op-
timistically .about the prospects for
banning abortion )forever within the
next four years.
If the forces supporting such an ab-
surd constitutional amendment are to
be successfully fought, it will require a
renewed effort on the part of pro-
choice activists. With the new ad-
ministration and the new Republican
domination in the Senate, such liber-
ties as a woman's right to choose can
no longer be taken for granted.

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The kids of the

Tenderloin:

Making it any way they can

SAN FRANCISCO - The times ahead,
economists tell us, could be bad. We're in for
a serious recession-maybe a full-fledged
depression-and for most of us that prospect
means sacrifice.
But what about the people at the true bot-
tom of American society, the people who
already float outside the mainstream? What
would a depression mean for them?
Their numbers are on a steady rise today,
and among them are increasing numbers of
youths, living their lives far beyond the
margins of normal youthful experience.
THEIR FUTURE is all too likely to be an
extension, with minor variations, of an en-
dless, precarious day. Deserted by, or having
abandoned their "real" families, they often
rely deeply on new friends, transients like
themselves. They remain loyal until they get
bored or burned; then they move on.
Meanwhile, they say they're making it "on
the road" and "in the streets"-these kids are
surviving.
Here in San Francisco, they come to the
Tenderloin, located between the Civic Center
complex and-the elegant downtown shopping
center, an area of welfare hotels, hard porn
movie houses, strip clubs, second-hand
stores, and pawn shops, where Greyhound
and Airporter buses deposit visitors from all
over the world. The wandering kids among
them often end up hanging out on nearby
street corners, relying on their their wits and
plying their own improvisations of the classic
skid row scams.
One legitimate resource they are learning
to depend on is St. Anthony's Dining Room, a
Catholic mission relying wholly on donations,
which feeds a hot, nutritious meal to 700 to
2,000 people every day. The manager of the
"Antoines," as the kids call it, estimates that
with the advent of the '80s, more than 65 per-
cent of their diners are under 30 years old.
JEFF PEARSON, 23, has been eating at
"Antoines" off and on ever since he lost his
job. He lives in an apartment in the gay area
of Polk Street. Although he doesn't include
himself, he is pessimistic about the fate of
young people like him. "These kids will never
leave the Tenderloin. Not that they should or
shouldn't, they just won't. If I come back here
20 years from now, a lot of these kids will still
be here, or in similar places in other cities.
"Most of them are runaways, burnouts,
skid row types, hippies, deadbeats-people
who are already cast out, who live in the
streets. What happens to them when the
depression hits? These kids have no dreams.
How could they? People with dreams are in
universities. But these kids-no matter what
their ages are-they're old, tired."
According to Jeff, many of the Tenderloin
kids live in the "Drunk Park" that Mayor
Feinstein unofficially set aside for the winos
to sleep in. There the cops don't hassle them
and the winos are kept away from people's
homes and where they work. Now,
everybody's happy.
"What do I do? Well, I like to draw." Then
he added perfunctorily in an aside, "I guess I
should get another job."
VALERIE POOLE MAY end up in the Ten-
derloin as one of Jeff Pearson's predictions,
but according to her, she "grooves on her
life," although already her cheeks are grey,
her eyes droopy. She's pudgy, the buttons on
her sweater are fastened to the wrong holes;
a safety pin holds up her pants. Valerie is
high, and each time she wafts into the dining
hall wall she laughs. She'll be 16 in July.
"All I want to do is go back to Azle, near Ft.
Worth in Texas, to be with my dad. But I can't
leave the city. What a drag.
"I ran away from home when I was eleven

By Pauline Craig
"I've lived in the streets so long," Valerie
continues, "that I know who to trust. The
bums, the lung-hairs, or else the
punks-they're all right. They'resthe ones
who've got the money. One of my boyfriends
was a hippie dealer-he always had at least
$500 on him. But the slickos in three-piece
suits-they never got no money."
"I HUSTLE," she shrugs and giggles.
"There's nothin' to it. If I need mon'ey, I go up
to a man and ask 'Ya got anything for me?'
Then we go to a hotel and I make him give me
$50, sometimes before, sometimes after. They
always pay. If they don't I show 'emn my
knife-I always have it on me. Nobody don't
do nothin' to ya if ya have a weapon.
"Who cares if.there's a depression? That'll
just bring more customers down to us.
Whenever the economy gets wacky, people go
to movies and to hookers to escape."
Mickey O'Farrell, 23, has a black eye and a
six-day stubble. "My jaw's been busted in
three places," he grins. "Can't shave or
chew. Can only eat beans and 'mashed
potatoes.tTherekwas a little scuffle between
me and the cook at the Apostle of the Sea, a
merchant seaman's place where I lived until
the cook threw me out."
Mickey left his wife and two daughters back
in South Boston, "They were livin' with
another man when I got back from the Navy.
There was nothin' I could do. Tina and Bar-
bara will be two in March. I got their names
totooed on my arm."
MICKEY AND his friend Eddie "from
Philly" found a place to sleep in their sleeping
bags where the wind can't get to them under
the Bay Bridge. "We have a lovely view of the
tankers," he intones in his second generation
brogue. "Me and my friend Eddie panhandle
whenever we need anything. Thenwe go to
the Union Square with our friends. We all sit in
a Frisco Circle, toss our money in a pile, then
buy a bottle and pass it around. You never
starve in San Francisco."
Walter Alexander mutters English phrases
from his school notebook as he waits in line
for dinner. "I must learn English to get a
job," he says. "I want to be janitors or to
paint the buildings."
Walter is from El Salvador. "There is much
fighting so I must go away. I live in the
Fillmore with the community colors (blacks).
Is good to live there." His family remains in
San Salvador. "They want to come out now,
but they cannot get the (immigration)
papers. The United States says no more
people can come to here from El Salvador. It
is very sad, I think. '
"I want ninos-it is necessary to have a
family, I think, but I don't have. I have many
friends. These (people at St. Anthony's) are
all my friends. In El Salvador my friends, the
juventud (youths) live for the revolution. I do
not. I do not think there will be a revolution. I
hope yes but I do not think. People in El
Salvador live in a depression social. It is
necessary to open the eyes, to open the mind.
There will not be a revolution military, but
maybe a spiritual revolution, yes."
TEN DAYS AGO Joanne, 16, and Lynn, 19,
left Tacoma, Washington, by bus to come to
San Francisco. Lynn left her infant daughter
with her mother. "I'd be satisfied just to get
married," she laughs, covering her mouth so
her new boyfriend, Jim, won't hear. Joanne,
with big brown eyes and round cheeks, an in-
nocent still, says that, "In Tacoma, we hang
out in pool halls. At least in San Francisco we
have some excitement."
Both girls are flirting with the prospect of

gold chain instead.
"Maybe I'll just go back to Tacoma. How
can I find work here? I quit school in the ninth
grade."
FREDDIE BOOGALOOS down the ramp to
the food line, his dreadlocks flopping down his
back and in front of his face. At 19, he suppor-
ts himself by stealing to order. Private
homes, offices, warehouses, and loading
docks are where he gets his merchandise.
A4Whatya want? Color TV? Set of sterling
silverware? It's yours." He smuggled a hot
mahjong set with authentic bamboo and ivory
tiles into the dining room tnder his pea coat.
"Chinese'll love this, mon." He slaps the
palm of a friend who slaps his back. Freddie
saunters up to a Chinese man standing alone
in line. He looks up at Freddie, startled, then
looks away.
Ramon Hernandez, 15, is about 5'3" and has
freckles all over his brown face. Three weeks
ago, "I sneaking over the (Mexican) frontiera
(border) at Tijuana. I'm a wetback," he
grins. "My friend Carlos is not a wetback. He
has a green card because he is Juichol Indian.
He is muy guapo (very handsome) but he
'likes boys, don't you Carlos?" Ramon shoves
Carlos into the man in front of him in line.
Carlos giggles and covers his mouth with a
hand with enormous long finernails. "Carlos
no speaks English-he no likes school," says
Ramon. ,
"In Mexico I am cook. I want to go school in
America to be cook. Now I can only be bus
boy.
"The other day a man hold up knife to my
neck. He says to me give him fifty cents. But I
say, 'I have no money, man.' The police see
this guy and scares him away. I am escaped.
The police OK. I no home." Ramon smiles
beaming. "I sleep anywhere."
JOHN IS 6'3" and weighs about 140 pounds.
He has long red hair and two diamond studs in
one earlobe. He's a transvestite and a male
hooker. "Well, Tuesday I sold my plasma
again-I get $17 a week that way The Wed-
nesday I borrowed my friend's child and
headed for the Financial District to panhan-
dle. I just tell people we're hungry-it always
works. They only give us a quarter at a time,
but I can get $3-4 in a couple of hours. I treat
the kid to a hot dog. Let's see, Thursday I sold
my $63 worth of food stamps to a restaurant
for $45 cash. But grocery stores or adult books
will trade 'em, too. Friday I had $20-how did
I get that? Oh. I know. I turned a $20 date, a
guy I met at the Landmark Bar (in the Ten-
derloin). The Saturday I turned two tricks, for
$20 and $30-the last guy really liked me. But
for $50 he could really have had a good time,".
John pouts.
"For two months this summer I slept out-
side, on a hill in Fort Mason. Lots of bums live
down there. Some sleep in their cars. I just
needed a blanket. Now I live with my o1' man.
He's from the East Oakland ghetto. He has a
B.A. in psychology, but he doesn't want to get
into any white man's establishment hassles.
So he steals tape decks, radios, and CB outfits
out of cars.
"Then I know this nine-year-old kid. She
goes to the Emporium and walks out with per-
fume, eye shadow, lots of makeup. A woman I
share a corner with sometimes also knocks
off $500 coats from Saks two or three times a
day."
"I just want a good job," John continues.
"Christ, if there's a depression, the formerly
rich will be down here in droves working our
territory. The new competition will drive
some of the regular girls out of work. And
hookers don't get unemployment benefits,"
he laughs.
"Maybe I'll get work in a restaurant In

-1

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