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March 01, 1983 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-01

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I

OPINION

r-

Page 4

Tuesday, March 1, 1983

The Michigan Daily'

How to be an All-American

By Barry Witt

SThose of you who were out of town
;during Spring Break missed some
:really big doings up north last week.
No, the biggest news wasn't li'l An-
thony's decision to forego his studies in
favor of fame and fortune, disappoin-
ting Papa Bo who had brought Carter to
Ann Arbor for a valuable physical
education degree.
The big news came out of City Hall,
where Ann Arbor Mayor Lou Belcher
learned that his fine municipality ear-
ned All-America City honors this year.
Boy, talk about excitement.
After being overlooked for the last 16
years (Ann Arbor was last honored in
1967), the city beat out such notable
contenders as Times Beach, Mo.,
Cicero, Ill., and Miami.
MAYOR LOU and a delegation of Ann
Arbor dignitaries flew out to Seattle
last summer to present the case for
their city to the National Municipal
League. The Ann Arbor group based
their presentation on three key features
of the town:
" The Energy Advisory Board,
which has developed a plan to harness
hydroelectric power from the mighty
Huron River and promoted the city's

recycling program, in which the
University-Ann Arbor's largest
producer of waste-refuses to par-
ticipate;
" The Michigan Technology Council,
a coalition of University, city, and local
business representatives that is trying
to make Ann Arbor the nation's 41st
Silicon Valley; and,
" The Michigan Theatre, for which
city voters approved a tax increase last
spring to preserve the building.
AT LEAST those were the projects
that everyone knew the judges looked
at when awarding the All-America
distinction.
What Mayor Lou and his All-America
promotion committee didn't know was
that a small citizens action group en-
tered a whole other set of city
achievements for the judges' con-
sideration. It was this five-point secret
presentation that brough the panel over
to Ann Arbor's side:
" The Downtown Club, former home
of the city residents whom Mayor Lou
can't handle;
e State Street, from Briarwdod to cen-
tral campus-one couldn't ask for a
smoother introduction to Ann Arbor;
- The Hash Bash and the $5 law (Hey,
Mr. Mayor, if you repeal the law, they'll
repeal youraward);

League, which does little more than
provide officials from cities across the
country a fun little conference to attend
every few months in touristy spots such
as Seattle, Houston, or Washington D.C.
The All-America distinction each
year goes to the eight or 10 cities that
put together the nicest presentation
highlighting the few good things they
have accomplished.
In high school, I had the good fortune
to be jetted from my Chicago suburb to
a Natural Municipal League conference
in Louisville to represent my city in the
1979 contest. My city was showboating
its youth and senior citizens programs,
so it carted a half-dozen municipal-
minded teenagers and another half-
dozen old folks down to the conference
to demonstrate what wonderful people
we were.
OTHER 1979 nominees presented
some interesting details about their
communities. Baltimore-the only city
that really deserved a citation they
year-had just completed its im-
pressive Harbor Place development
and showed it off with a 12 foot by 12
foot mock up.
Other cities' accomplishments
weren't quite so grand. The best part of
one display-I think it was Roanoke,

pity
Va.-were these delicious little ham.
and biscuit sandwiches. I spent a lot Vf
time in this area of the display room.,+
ANOTHER TOWN featured a
videotape of happy people riding along
a bicycle path and doing other happy
things to the tune of a Judy Collins song.
Most of the towns had buttons and;t-
shirts and other stuff spouting "I love
Topeka" or whatever.
My own hometown is now going
through one of those miraculous multi-
million dollar "downtown redevelop-
ment projects," so I'm sure we'll go for'
the prize in another few years.
But this year was Ann Arbor's turn.
City officials are certain that all the
trouble was worth it because all the
notoriety associated with the award is
sure to bring new businesses to town. If
you fail to see the link, you've got com-
pany.
Any business worth its tax break can
see that silly award for what it
is-recognition for the best PR job by a
city in a given year.
If Ann Arbor enters again this year,
though, I volunteer to represent the
city. Those biscuits sure-were good.
Witt is the Daily's editor-in-chief. I

Is this All-American?

" The annual neo-Nazi neo-riot (the
judges asked for a repeat performance
this year); and,
" Shaky Jake.
Unaware that these were the points
that put Ann Arbor over the top in the
competition, the mayor boasted of all
his city's fine accomplishments at a

press conference Friday. After noting
how progressive Ann Arbor is, the
mayor said, "No wonder they call us
the arrogant asses, and justly so."
Honest, he really said that.
IN ALL seriousness, the All-America
city contest is a farce. The competition
is sponsored by the National Municipal

Sinclair__ ,

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

I4

Vol. XCIII, No. 116

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

A
tr
repre
M*A*
:provi
1capab
Aan sit
audie
Wh
almo
its hi
real,
devel
situat
and n
obvio
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dealt
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:ted-b
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M*
:becau
.stereo
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:to a
:audie

Thank you M*A*S*H
iST NIGHT America celebrated because they shared the same
he end of a television show that emotions all people experience.
sented television at its best. M*A*S*H's viewers laughed with
S*H is over after 11 years of Hawkeye laughed, cried when
ng that a television series is Magaret cried, and felt sick when B.J.
)le of both dealing wiht real hum- felt sick.,
tuations and appealing to a mass A &the show was able to sure'-N.
uatio. a a l tter changes ;not only through,
nce..r
good scriptwriing, but because the old
at set M*A*S*H apart from characters were replaced with dif-
st all other television series was ferent characters, forcing the rest of
umanness. The characters were the cast to adjust as they would in the
believable, and they grew and real world. And the characters
loped. They were put in real changed within the show. Radar
tions which were not predictable beame a man Margaret became
not always resolved in the most omething more than an army brat
us manner.
and Hawkeye became less of a prac-
one level, the show was about tical-joking womanizer.
and in war people die. M*A*S*H Other television series have failed to
with death the same way it dealt make their character much more than
every other topic it confron- one-dimensional stereotypes, and thus
head on. Who could have ever have insulted the collective intelligen-
cted Col. Blake's plane being shot ce of their audiences. M*A*S*H was
while he is on hiiway home? It different; it made its audience feel and
I have been so much easier to think. And it experimented with dif-
had him make it home safely, but ferent ways to make people feel and
s not like that. think, such as the several interview
A*S*H ultimately succeeded episodes.
use its characters were not It is that basic difference M*A*S*H
otyped like those of other shows. offered that America celebrated last
,how'may have taken its audience night. Until more series cane offer
different time and place, but the television audiences real characters,
nce identified with the characters all viewers have are reruns.

A

14

;I

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Plant Department has suc

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To the Daily:
As one of those contacted by
your reporter regarding ex-
periences with the University's
Plant Department, I was incen-
sed that the article (Daily, Feb.
15) was so negative and focused

solely on reported problems.
Where, for example, were my
comments to your reporter about
the high quality of work done for
us by the Plant Department
skilled tradesmen? Their help-
fulness to us in getting things

Downtown Club errors

done? The effect on the Plant
Department of budget and man-
power cuts? I hope this article is
not an example of what your
"Ninety-Three-Years of Editorial
Freedom" is all about.
There is nothing wrong with
good investigative jour-
nalism-which I take to mean a
systematic and thorough
examination of a situation-and
the writing and publishing of all
the findings. Good findings are
just as much news as bad fin-
dings, given that news simply
means recent events or things
that have happened. We tend to
think good things happening are
the norm, more boring and less

III

1 1 1

To the Daily:
I would like to correct the
several inaccuracies in your ar-
ticle "Officials to close Down-
town Club" (Daily, Feb. 17).
First, William Hall, the
building's owner, is quoted as
saying I claim rehabilitation
costs would be $8,000. I have
never said any such thing. I have
no idea where he got the figure.
We estimate rehabilitation costs
at $250,000.
Second, Hall claims I have not
contacted him at all on this mat-
ter. Absolutely untrue. Hall par-
ticipated in many meetings of hte
Ad Hoc Committee to Save the
Downtown Club. In August, we
presented him precisely the plan
described in your article, which
combines HUD low-interest loan

anything to assist the tenants. I
am offended. Our Community
Development Department has
been working overtime,
developing a way of saving the
facility for the tenants and of
rehabilitating it, counseling
tenants, and assisting them. Our
Housing Commission has
struggled long and hard to place
the tenants Hall illegally booted
out. Our Building Department is
trying to have the building made
habitable once again. I per-
sonally have assisted tenants find
new accomodations-no mean
task, given the crisis circum-
stances. Councilman Larry Hun-
ter has done yeoman's work. We
have worked ourselves to a state
of near-exhaustion trying to clean
im~ th TPChNal hasmade onf the

Igongs

To the Daily:
The constitution of the state of
Michigan indeed grants the
Regents of the University of
Michigan complete authority
over the operation of the Univer-
sity and complete control over its
funds. That same constitution
grants the state legislature the
authority to enact the state's
budget.

cesses
appealing to the readership.
Actually, organizations (like
the Plant Department) having a
few problems are also the norm,
so you are not really ahead of the
game with negative-selection
reporting.. Reporting on all the
cats that did come home last
night is news, you can publish it,
and you will still sell papers. By
reporting only the negative news
in the Plant Department article,
you've come full circle-we now
have a shining example of what
good investigative journalism is
not.
-Owen C. Jansson
February 22
Late law
University chooses to ignore
public policy, the legislature
ought to ignore the University
when it becomes time to ap-
propriate funds for the operation
of public institutions.
There exist certain universities
that may properly ignore publie
policy in some areas. They are
known as private institutions and
subsist on tuition and alumni

M 3

I

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