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September 10, 1980 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-10

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6

OPINION

gage 4
s.
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan,

Wednesday, September 10, 1980

The Michigan Daily

Vol. XCI, No. 6

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

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

A beautiful UGLI
demand for a
E WON THIS one so fast there in which to hit
wasn't even time to organize It is of cour
rotest, At this rate, we might have a UGLI open un
dent Regent by December. and it is also
Not twelve hours after it was repor- across the U
t that University library directors backs in som
d planned to close the Un- now-reversed
rgraduate Library at midnight each UGLI early-
t this term-two hours earlier than the only lib
i past years-the same directors night-like th
ranged'tacks. and decided to retain Campus bus
e 2 a.m. closing time. propriate budg
All it took, it seems, was a closer look There areo
r how many students use the UGLI wholesale elim
1 e each night (about 150, librarians services, to
w concede; they had said Monday students have
t e number was about 50), some few days. Br
essure from Michigan Student that the libr
sembly President Marc Breakstone, mornings eac
d a front-page story in The Daily. Campus coali
Whatever the actual reasons for the ning one late b
ange in plans, we welcome the Students ha
storation of the 2 a.m. closing time. simply opposi
udy space is at a greater premium at are willing t
is University than seats in an Econ natives. W
l lecture. ministration-
And, although about 65 spaces will be nounce today
ned in the Union for study within North Campu
ks,they cannot begin to satisfy the listen.
Anderson gets th
Y ESTERDAY, THE League of a place in the
Women Voters wisely decided to that he wants
Tet John Anderson join President Car- least, to be he
ter and Ronald Reagan in the The preside
televised debates the League will threatened to
sponsor in the fall. The group set a debate if Ande
minimum 15 percent voter support Carter evid
level for Anderson to be included, and the theory tha
most polls, including the-one -most will work aga
recently released by Time Magazine, season, the pr
confirmed that Anderson had reached gains merely
that goal., tial:" He refu
The importance of the debates goes nedy, he hid i
far beyond the mere fact that inclusion he neglected a
lends respectability and viability to the the still-unsolv
candidates in the public's eye. In both
elections that have involved televised But the pub]
faceoffs, political pundits believe away with h
what appeared on America's television opinion polls
screens had some lasting effect on the majority of th
outcome of the election. that there be t
This time, though, there is even Reagan, quit
more at stake. Unlike the previous oc- pressure on C
casions, one of the candidates in 1980 is from the very
thought to have virtually no chance of viable candid
winning unless something quite drastic the debate," R
occurs. Anderson is hoping that the can't for the 11
debates will prove to be that something Mr. Carter is
drastic. We can. Ca:
President Carter, who stands to lose Democrats to
more from Anderson's gains than does that there is
Ronald Reagan, has been attempting who stands i
to plant briars in Anderson's path to programs Car
viability. After indicating originally It's just too
that he would okay granting Anderson apply to politi
aI

4 I P~A/1 .

victory
quiet place late at night
the books.
se true that leaving the
itil 2 a.m. costs money,
true that tight budgets
niversity demand cut-
e areas. However, the
decision to close the
-which is, incidentally,
rary open past mid-
e decision to cut North
service, is an inap-
et trimming measure.
)ther methods, short of
nination of vital student
cut expenditures, as
suggested in the past
eakstone has suggested
ary open later several
h week, and the North
tion has suggested run-
us instead of several.
ve shown they are not
ng budget cutbacks, but
o. suggest viable alter-
e hope the ad-
which is expected to an-
its decision about the
s late bus-is willing to
.e nod
debates, he is now saying
his first confrontation, at
ad-to-head with Reagan.
nt, furthermore, has
drop out of the first
rson is included.
ently is operating under
t what has worked once
in. During the primary
esident made substantial
by "acting presiden-
ised to debate Ted Ken-
n the Rose Garden, and
UI the nation's woes (save
ed hostage problem).
lic may not let Carter get
is tactics again. Public
indicate that a large
e voters think it only fair
rilateral debates. Ronald
e rightly, is putting the
arter as well: "I've said
first that if Anderson is a
ate, he should be a part of
Reagan said last week. "I
ife of me understand why
so afraid of him.''
rter simply doesn't want
be reminded of the fact
a candidate in the race
for some of the liberal
ter has tossed aside.
bad anti-trust laws don't
Cs.

use IN-iA&NIR'A. f
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New York's drug connection:,

The kids of 115th Street

0

NEW YORK-Slowly, strag-
gling like an ill-trained army, the
similarity in their dress
suggesting a military or fraternal
order, the dope kids begin to fill
the block, taking their places on
an empty stoop in the hallway of
an abandoned building. By one
o'clock the block is full of black
young men. Their white-leather
Converse sneakers with small
red stars, synthetic knit caps
pulled down over their ears,
snorkel coats, leather jackets,
and hooded sweatshirts unite
them. In 1980, the dope kids on
Harlem's 115th Street are an
adolescent black army in
America, and their objective is
something less than collective
liberation.
Conservative estimates in-
dicate that for at least four hours
a day, 365 days a year, $400 worth
of heroin is sold per minute on
115th Street. This is $24,000 an
hour, $96,000 a day, $672,000 a
week. Here 13-, 14-, and 15-year-
old black kids sell heroin almost
as fast as McDonald's sells ham-
burgers. And the threat of being
ripped off, or going to jail, or
dying is just an incentive to
figure out new and better ways of
insuring that business will go on
"as usual.
MOST OF THE people selling
dopeon 115th Street are under 16,
primarily because of New York's
1973 drug law, conceived by for-
mer governor Nelson
Rockefeller The law raised the
penalty for sale or possession of
heroin and mandated sentences
of 15 years to life for high-level
adult dealers. But the kids who
work on 115th Street are minors
under the jurisdiction of Family
Court, which hesitates to lock up
young kids, and, in any case, is
limited by law to sentences not
exceeding 18 months.
"What has happened is that the
dealers have changed their tac-
tics: They have gone inside, they
use more women, bars, kids,
things of that nature," says
Sterling Johnson, special nar-
cotics prosecutor for the City of
New York since 1975.
From November, 1976, to
November, 1979, 50,598 bags of
heroin, 24,244 tinfoils of cocaine,
34,980 nickel ($5) bags of reefer,
7,779 bottles of methadone, 29,463
assorted pills, and 61,820
hypodermic needles with
syringes were seized by officers
in Harlem's 28th Precinct.
Nevertheless, police officer John
Lluvera. of the "Two-Eight" ad-
mits, sales in Harlem-and not
just in the 28th-are booming.

By Jill
"YOU LOCK UP one pusher,
there's three more to take his
place," Lluvera says. "They get
minors to do the transactions. We
pick up the youth, take him down
to the youth division, and they're
back on the street until it's time
for them to go to Family Court.
Family Court usually gives them
a slap on the wrist and they're
back on the street."
"It was really much better than
it is now," says Ethel Jackson,
who has lived on 115th Street sin-
ce 1954. "The houses were kept up
very nice. A lot of the buildings

Nelson
"These kids know the law,"
says Officer Lluvera. "And with
each arrest they get smarter."
The law demands continuity of
observation in narcotics arrests.
If the police see a kid approached
by a buyer, see money change
hands, and the kid go into a
hallway, return with the dope and
hand it to the buyer, they can
arrest the buyer for possession
and the kid for sale-but not

coach to earn his daily bread.
As with the other kids who work
on the block, there is a swagger, a
bravado about Daryl uncharac-
teristic of his age. Head tilted
back, knit cal set high at an
angle, his long legs taking great
strides, he has the walk of a prin- i
ce surveying his realm with
satisfaction. Despite the con-
ditions that prevail for 'the vast
majority of people in Harlem,
Daryl possesses the complacent
air of a man who owns the world.
And maybe he does.
"Hey,would you go to school if
Syoucould make two, three
thousand dollars a day?" Daryl
asks rhetorically.
FOR DARYL, alternatives are
scarce in any case. Harlem is a
dying community-with 70 per-
cent unemployment among black
teenagers, a paucity of basic city
services, no senior high school,
and an inadequate elementary
and junior high school system.
Nearly half the population sub-
sists on welfare payments ($333 a
month maximum for one adult
with one child), Social Security,
or SSI (Supplemental Security
Income). Businesses have fled
along with much of the middle-
aged consumer population,
leaving Harlem a community of
the very old and very young.
In such a landscape, Daryl is a
big man. He has a job, lots of
money in his pocket, the respect
of his peers. He can buy whatever
he wants.
"After tasting $500 a week,
why's he going to go stack
shelves in some grocery?" asks
Officer Gerald Robbins.
John Lluvera guesses that of
every five kids selling dope on
115th Street, in five years one will
be dead from a drug-related gun-
shot wound, one will leave the
street and get a regular job, at
least one will become a junkie,
and the other two will make theirj
livings by some illegal, and
possibly drug-related, activity.
"Maybe that's true," says
Daryl. "But who's thinking about
five years away? Anyway, that
would probably happen even if I
weren't selling dope, so I got
nothin' to lose."

that are abandoned now, there
were people living in them,"
Jackson says softly, staring hard
out the window of her third-floor
apartment.
"For the last, I'd say, three or
four years, maybe more, that's
when it began to get like the
jungles,"she adds.
HARLEM HOSPITAL IS the
largest legitimate employer in
Harlem, but the heroin trade on
115th Street and countless other
blocks employs far greater num-
bers of people and generates
more revenue. The kids are
tightly organized into crews of
between four and six. Members
of each crew perform a variety of
jobs depending on. seniority, ex-
perience on the street, and ef-
ficiency.
Several will be posted on either
corner of the block as look-outs,
warning the kids to "raise up" or
"ness" (slang for cops derived
from Elliott Ness of "The Un-
touchables") when they spot the
police. Another is responsible for
taking the customers' money and
a third for handing out the dope,
usually stashed in a nearby
building. Often, sales are made in
the hallway of an abandoned
building or in one of the alleys,
when not right on the street.

possession.
"EVEN IF WE know they're
stashing dope in the mailbox or
basement, there's nothing we can
do about it. It's nearly impossible
to get a search warrant in these
cases, and without one it's illegal
search and seizure and inad-
missible in court," says Officer
Gerald Robbins of the precinct's
Special Narcotics Enforcement
Unit.
At 15, Daryl is one of the kids
who sells dope on 115th Street. He
left school in the ninth grade and
now earns more than $800 a week,
tax-free. His product is the
"P.C."-People's Choice-prob-
ably the oldest brand of heroin on
the street.
On the basketball court, Daryl
looks like any other teenager. He
is tall and thin and plays fine
ball; 10 or 15 years ago he might
.have spent his days on the court
polishing his game and hoping for
a basketball scholarship, maybe
the pros. Like most of the dope
kids, he never uses heroin him-
self.
INSTEAD, DARYL SELLS
heroin to junkies two or' three
times his age. The money is con-
stant, with little risk involved,
and he doesn't have to count on
the benevolence of a white

e.
\ t
,.-,,.,
., ,.
." ..

Jill Nelson is a New York-
based freelance reporter who
has, written for The Village
Voice and Black Enterprise.
She wrote this article for the
Pacific News Service.

4

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