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February 04, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-02-04

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OPINION

Page 4

Saturday, February 4, 1984

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Banking on a freeze

Vol. XCIV-No. 104

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, Ml 48109

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

Recall fever

SEN. PHILIP Mastin, a Pontiac
Democrat, made Michigan
history books when he fell victim to the
fever last November and became the
first lawmaker to be recalled from of-
fice. Little more than a week later,
Sen. David Serotkin, a Mount Clemens
Democrat, fell victim to the same
fever. This fever, brought about by a
dedicated group of anti-tax activists,
points to some serious faults in the
state's constitution which should
quickly be remedied.
Neither Mastin nor Serotkin were
guilty of malfeasance in office when
they were ousted from their positions
last year. Yet, in a rapid and heated
process a group caling themselves
Citizens Against Unnecessary State
Expenditure was able to reverse the
results of a state election in which the
majority voted to put these two men in
office.
Only 18 percent of Oakland county
residents in Mastin's district voted to
put his successors in office, and just 27
percent of the registered voters in the
area opted to push him out of office. The
figures were similarly low in
Serotkin's area. Fewer voters usually
vote in recall elections which are not as
widely publicized as regular state elec-
tions. Thus, a minority of voters in the
area were able to change the entire
thrust - of the state Senate. This
threatens. the equality of the whole
state elections process.
The anti-tax activists were able to
take two jdemocrats out of office and
manage to rally enough supporters to
place two Republicans into their seats.
The Republican victories give the
GOP a 20 to 18 majority in the state
Senate and control of the chamber for
the first time since 1974. How's that for
a change of pace.
,The recalls brought partisan politics
to the front during a non-election year.
Bickering between party members
over- the issue of successors led to
stagnation in the legislative body.
Few agreements were reached during
the period between the recalls and the
special elections.

All of this was caused by one single
vote to raise the state's flat rate in-
come tax by a needed 38 percent. The
boost in the income tax, made just as
the state was heading down the road to
economic recovery, hoped to erase a
$1,900 million budget deficit, a move
necessary in a state which requires a
balanced budget. Also, the increase
provided money to help restore some
of the appropriations to higher
education that have been cut over the
last four years.
In addition, legislators from both
parties said the recalls would probably
teach lawmakers to steer clear of con-
troversial issues and would hinder
their ability to make rational decisions
on measures beneficial to the state as a
whole.
Rep. Kirby Holmes of Utica, elected
to fill Serotkin's Senate seat, says he
will introduce legislation to roll back
the state's current 6.1 percent income
tax to the previous 4.6 percent tax. ;
So just when the state is beginning to
dig itself out of debt without en-
dangering the state's social and human
service programs, the whole balance
of the state legislature is altered and
citizens won't know what sort of
legislature to expect. University ad-
ministrators, though, can expect that
universities won't get the funding
boosts they badly need.
But who knows, if a particularly
agressive pro-tax group gets together
maybe the fever will rise again. This
time Republican senators would be
ousted - such as William Sederburg
(R-East Lansing) who was targeted by
groups upset over his vote against the
increase in the state income tax. Then
the whole process would begin again.
Although this is unlikely, the in-
stability of the situation calls for
.citizens and legislators to carefully
consider changing the state constitution
so that legislators would be recalled
only for malfeasance in office. Then
the heat of the moment and selfish
secular concerns wouldn't be able to
threaten the effectiveness of the state
legislature.

By Sam Day
MADISON, Wis. - Peace activists here
may be opening a new strategic front - tryin-
g to freeze out the money which goes to
produce nuclear weapons. And though some
of the tactics involved look familiar at first
sight, as it catches on across the country this
new approach may involve more action in
legislative halls and board rooms than on the
streets or in court.
Last month, for example, a dozen or so
singing and chanting visitors entered
Madison's United Bank and Trust. Before
police finally ejected them, they.had let em-
ployees and customers know that the bank,
like most financial institutions, helps fuel the
arms race by investing in companies that
manufacture nuclear weapons. Disarmament
Now, a Wiscopnsin organization, has been
emphasizing such connections for six months
now.
LAST AUG. 9, on the anniversary of the
atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the group went
to the city's largest bank, First Wisconsin,
and passed out leaflets saying the bank's trust
had $75 million invested in companies
manufacturing just two nuclear weapons -
cruise and Pershing II missiles.
On Oct. 24, a day of international protest
against European deployment of those
missiles, dozens of demonstrators sat down
all afternoon in the lobby of First Wisconsin.
Over Christmas, they sang carols in all the
downtown banks, including one with
somewhat modified lyrics - "Here we come
a-caroling inside our local bank, in Pershing
contributions it has the highest rank," and so
forth.
United Bank Executive Vice President
James Holt responds, "It's not up to banks to
get involvedwith politics or the ethics of what
kinds of companies it should be investing in.
"All we're doing is investing our customers'
money; we'll invest however they want us to.
Disarmament Now should go talk to

customers, not us."
BUT SIMILAR stirrings elsewhere in the
country indicate that Madison's ."Bank on
Peace" campaign may herald the opening of
a new, widespread attack on nuclear'weapons
investment.
A national peace group called Nuclear Free
America, headquartered in Baltimore, has
assembled a list of the 44 companies most
deeply involved in nuclear weapons produc-
tion and is urging the 35 US. communities
which have declared themselves "nuclear
free zones" to divest themselves of such
holdings.
One such community, the Washington,
D.C., suburb of Takoma Park, Md., already
has passed an ordinance forbidding the city
from doing business with nuclear weapons
manufacturers.
THE LIST includes many firms best known
for popular consumer goods but which also
are contractors for nuclear warheads - like
At&T, DuPont, Monsanto - and nuclear
weapons delivery systems - such a Ford,
General Electric, Goodyear and Honeywell.
Mobilization for Survival is calling on its
national affiliates to gear up for a nuclear
weapons disinvestment campaign similar to
those organized in past years against U.S.
corporations doing business in South Africa.
Sister Mary Frances Schafer, national
president of the Roman Catholic Sisters of
Charity, announced recently that 13 Chicago-
area congregations responded to the Catholic
bishops' pastoral letter on the arms race by
selling off $1.3 million in stocks and bonds of
nuclear weapons manufacturers. -
WHILE BANK lobbies provide a highly'
visible setting for this campaign to raise
public awareness of corporate involvement in
the nuclear arms race, the most inviting
targets are institutions such as churches,
colleges and pension funds, which are more
susceptible to public pressure.
A case in point is the Wisconsin Investment
Board, which holds $8.5 billion in securities
from the pension payments of the state's

teachers and other public employees. Some
$596 million (or 7 percent) is invested in
major nuclear'-weapons contractors.
This investment, while sizeable, is not so
large a portion of the total as to present an in-
surmountable disinvestment problem, notes
Dennis Boyer, legislative representative of
Wisconsin's largest public employees union,
the American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employedes.
THE UNION, which -strongly endorses a
nuclear weapons freeze and publicly suppor-
ted a recent call by Wisconsin's Gov. Anthony
S. Earl for non-violent civil disobedience
against the nuclear arms race, is considering
a disinvestment campaign.
So, too, are peace activists in several
Wisconsin churches that have called for a
nuclear weapons freeze.
Activists who see nuclear weapons invest-
ments as a promising new focus for the peace
movement are quick to point out that
"cleaning up" a portfolio need not entail
financial loss.
Five national mutual funds, for example,
rule out investments in weapons manufac-
turers. The largest, Calvert Social Invest-
ment Fund of Washington, D.C., had assets
of $21 million and a return of 18.27 percent as
of mid-November.
"You don't have to give up anything in ter-
ms of yield, safety, or access to your money
in order to make socially responsible invest-
ments," says Julia Parzen, chief financial of-
ficer of Working Assests Money Fund of San'
Francisco, with assest of $2 million, which
refuses to handle paper from companies in-
volved in nuclear weaponry or energy. She
and other investment counselors say it is
quite possible to do well while doing good.
Day is former editor of the Bulletin of.
Atomic Scientists and a member of
Disarmament Now. He wrote this article
for the Pacific News Service.

I

Celebrating partial victory

HENRY JOHNSON, University vice
president for student services,
and Detroit jazzman Marcus Belgrave
kicked off the 10th annual Minority Ar-
ts and Cultural Festival last night.
Johnson encouraged black students to
pursue new tactics for leadership and
Belgrave provided a lot of fine music
in celebration of Black History Month.
This year more than ever there is
reason to celebrate. Not since the late
60s has the black movement recorded
such impressive gains in its influence
on the political and social structure of
America. Jesse Jackson's candidacy
and his strength in the polls - he is
currently ranked third - are evidence
of a greatly increased black political
presence echoed in the success of black
mayoral candidates, among them
Harold Washington of Chicago. Adding
to these gains was the first black Miss
America and the first black astronaut.
These successes mark a shift in tac-
tics for black leaders in America.
Jackson would never have thought of

But as admirable as leading with the
brain is, it is often not enough to
promote necessary change. For in-
stance, the brains in the University
administration acknowledge that 4.9
percent black enrollment is
distressingly low, but it will take guts
on the part of the students and com-
munity to get that percentage raised.
Conventional channels have failed
miserably. Since 1970 when the ad-
ministration announced a goal of ten
percent black enrollment, there has
been nothing more than a spinning of
wheels as administrators try to rever-
se the declining minority numbers.
Dismay has been registered, but not
enough.
Johnson's words encouraging in-
telligence over guts will hopefully not
convince those concerned about the
low numbers, or any other inequities, to
squelch the passion and vocal dissent
that are called for. Working within the
system, as Johnson is doing as a
minority administrator and as Jackson
is doing in the Democratic Presidential

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

I

Working towar

To the Daily:
I take exception to the fears
and arguments expressed by
many fellow readers regarding
nuclear war,
No one suggests that a nuclear
holocaust could result in anything
less than death for millions, if not
the complete extinction of the
human race. On that point we are
clear. Nonetheless, views con-
cerning necessary avenues to
avoid this impending
catastrophe are falling into two
distinct camps. The first suggests
that strength, i.e. military build-
up, is the only deterrence that the
Soviets can understand. These
individuals suggest that those

The past lends evidence to this on
the first account. Military build-
ups, in the name of deterrence
and safety, have throughout the
course of recorded history
resulted in wars that nobody
wanted.
Secondly, with regards to the
use of trust and unilateral disar-
mament, the vast. majority of
pro-disarmament groups have
been misinterpreted. Virtually no
one, excepting. the purist pacifist,
suggests such a treacherous and
naive program of pursuit. Rather
bilateral and verifiable disar-
mament is the proposed course of
BLOOM COUNTY

d a safe peace
action. In this way, not only can would benefit.{
we help to insure that our many of the socia
technologically_ advanced have recently wit
machines of death will be less savagely axed l
numerous and less available to administration b
all parties concerned, thereby Only then can the
reducing the dangers faced by for arms build-
the entire planet, but also we will diverted to makii
be able to finally be freed from astronomical nat,
the need to constantly pump our continues to grow
hard-earned dollars into what economy. Only ti
have become insatiable military concentrating or
machines! death and destruc
If we could only learn to set devote our streng
aside our mutual suspicions and our lives and tt
fears in order to work for a safe children. - D
peace for all persons, everyone

Only then -can
al programs we
tnessed being so
by the present
e rehabilitated.
emillions slated
up instead be
ng good on the
tional debt thact.n
and plague our
hen can we stop,
rn advances in
ction, and finally
gths to bettering.
he lives ofeour
onald R. Barthel
Feb. 3

I

by Berke Breathed

I -.-. - . -

1 r-

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