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November 01, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-01

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, November 1, 1984

The Michigan ©oilyl

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

- cfen towards disarmament

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Vol. XCV No. 49

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
'Yes' on nuclear free A2

A nn Arbor voters have a chance
to make this city a nuclear free
zone and become the first city to do so
in which weapons research is conduc-
ted. Residents should not pass up this
opportunity to voice their displeasure
with Washington's vacilation on the
question of limiting the 50,000 or so
nuclear weapons this country has
stockpiled. Supporters of Ann Arbor
::: City Proposal 1 are justified in their
claim that peace must begin at home,
if no where else. Vote "yes" on the
Nuclear Free Zone Act.
City voters have recognized in past
years their personal responsibility in
y " urging Washington to stop the arms
race. In 1982, city voters backed a
state-wide nuclear freeze referendum
by more than a 3 to 1 margin. This sent
a powerful message to the nation about
this community's legitimate fear of
nuclear war. A nuclear free zone
proposal, however, would be an even.
more powerful signal of this con-
cern-for it is more than a symbol. It
shows a community is making a real
effort at defining ethical and legal
guidelines to prevent further creation
of weapons of which a major purpose is
the destruction of human life.
Opponents of the free zone are afraid
that the proposal's wording is too
vague and could stifle the intellectual
inquiry so prized in this University
community. Yet, the University has
already shown its desire to put
limitations on the nature of classified

research done here. The Board of
Regents approved guidelines to
prohibit classified research "the
clearly forseeable and probable result
of which. . . or any specific purpose of
which is to destroy human life."
Proponents of the nuclear free zone
rightly point out that the majority of
weapons research is classified and
argue that the city proposal would only
cover classified research which is not
protected by the First Amendment.
Their argument is the most convin-
cing. And the opposition's worries
should be excused.
Under the proposal, a five-member
city commission would be formed to
review contracts with the Departmen-
ts of Defense and Energy within city
limits. This will ensure enforcement of
the law if it is passed. The commission
has a great deal of responsibility in-
vested in it, but there is little reason to
believe that power will be abused. The
judicial process will act as a check on
its power and will guarantee a fair
system.
It is true that city residents in this
election are not voting on a nuclear
war or an arms race. If they were, the
choice would be obvious: city voters
and the American public abhor both.
What is before the voters is a measure
to prevent some people and businesses
in this area from bringing more
weapons into a world which already
has the capability to destroy itself
many times over.

By Jonathan Ellis
Two hard questions underlie much of the
current debate about the nuclear free zone
proposal in Ann Arbor.
First, would the passage of the Ann Arbor
Nuclear Free Zone Act contribute significan-
tly to its ultimate purpose, making a nuclear
war less likely?
SECOND, are there potential dangers in the
design of the act which outweigh the danger
which the proposal seeks to address?
If these questions are asked distinctly, the
result could be a basis for voting next
Tuesday. Realistic thought about how
nuclear disarmament can be advanced, and a
close examination of the act itself, are
required.
There is plenty of commentary available,
slick and otherwise, but in the end such
questions are answered by each voter in-
dividually. Here are my answers.
YES, A nuclear free Ann Arbor directly
supports the movement toward nuclear
disarmament.
I do not argue that the elimination of
nuclear weapons, town by town in this coun-
try, could easily be coordinated with disar-
mament by other nuclear powers. But
neither do I believe that beginning town by
town here means our unilateral disar-
mament.
Rather, a nuclear free zone in Ann Arbor
would be an analogue, not merely a symbol.
Symbols convey a meaning separate from
their substance. An analogue itself represen-
ts that which is being communicated.
AS AN analogue, a nuclear free zone
declares that people want to end theeworld-
wide nuclear arms race by declaring that
they will end it here. But the first steps
toward a goal do not imply that all further
steps will be the same.
It would not be necessary for every city in

the U.S. to follow our example in order to
bring about large scale nuclear disar-
mament. We only need a critical number
because the focus is on our government
leaders.
Fundamentally, it is their will to disarm
which is lacking, the willingness to take that
risk to the world balance of power as it now
exists. We, the people, can provide the will
and the courage.
HOW WILL our government leaders hear
our will? We have already passed nuclear
freeze proposals in cities and states of every
size and in every region.
I believe government leaders will respond
when they see how serious we are. This is
what the nuclear free zone in Ann Arbor
means. We are willing to do what we are
almost never willing to do in a free society-to
exercise our freedom by making an outright
prohibition within our community.
This leads to the second question about
Proposal 1 on the Nov. 6th Ann Arbor ballot:
just what kind of prohibition is the Nuclear
Free Zone Act?
THE INTENT of the proposal is clear, to
prohibit in Ann Arbor activities' which in-
crease the ability to wage nuclear war. The
argument has not been about its intent, but
about the possible effects of the act.
The commission of three Ann Arbor city
councilpeople and two private citizens which
the act creates has only three powers: it can
review public documents; it can make
recommendations to the appropriate legal
authorities; and it can maintain information
about funding for alternative projects to
prepare for nuclear war.
At the point the commission formed an
opinion that the act was being violated, the
matter would be taken over by the courts with
all their civil liberties protections based on
elaborate mechanisms resulting from
decades of precedents.
THIS LAW, if passed, would not operate in a

vacuum, but rather, would function among all
the other relevant laws, and the justice
system itself. The effects of the act will be
determined both by its language and by our
larger system of political rights.
I believe that the Nuclear Free Zone Act itself
is constitutional and will be administere
constitutionally. The interpretations of the
act made by its opponents may well be uncon-
stitutional, but it is their scenarios not the act
itself which the constitution forbids, and
which the courts will reject.
In my mind, this is the only category of
danger which has been raised that is worth
considering alongside the danger of nuclear
war-the impact of the act on civil liberties.
After reading the act and considering the con-
text of its implementation, I am convinced
that fundamental civil liberties are not e
dangered.
BUT WHY make any prohibition, even a
narrowly drawn one? The answer for me is
that we are a species which saw, forty years
ago, what a nuclear bomb could do, and then
proceeded to make 50,000 of these bombs. We
need to stop.
The Ann Arbor Nuclear Free Zone Act is a
good way to stop right here.
I am reminded of what the late Sen. Rober
Kennedy said at the Univeresity of Witwate
srand in Johannesburg, South Africa to
students protesting apartheid, and which I
later heard him repeat in many speeches
across this country: each time we stand up
for what we believe, we send forth ripples of
hope, and crossing each other from many dif-
ferent centers of energy and daring, they
build a current which can sweep down the
mightiest walls of resistance or indifference.
Passing the Ann Arbor nuclear free zone
proposal can be our time to stand up.
Before coming to this city in 1969,
Ellis worked on the U.S. Senate and
campaign staffs of Robert Kennedy.
He is now at Canterbury House.

Cramer
W~jHOI~FUMC FI oRTE NEXT4YEARS:

Support county parks

,

A vote "yes" on Washtenaw County
Proposal 1 is a vote to allow area parks
and recreation facilities to be properly
maintained. It would give a one-
quarter mill property tax renewal to
the Washtenaw Parks and Recreation
Commission which is responsible for
managing the area's nature trails and
centers, bike paths, fishing and other
special programs. Attendence at coun-
ty parks in 1983 averaged 71,000 people,
those people should not turn their
backs on the parks at the voting booth.
County Proposal 1 deserves
wholehearted support.

Residents' approval of this proposal
will allow the parks commission to ob-
tain matching funds and state grants
for recreational areas. And though
this millage would cost a family an
estimated $6.81 a year, it is well worth
the money to provide for an enhanced
quality of life in this community.
Take a trip to award-winning In-
dependence Lake Park or the garden
and nature center at County Farm
Park, but don't forget to stroll to the
polls on Nov. 6 and preserve these
special areas.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY
Student.
To the Daily:
On Nov. 6, 1984, the students of
the University will play a very
important role in the future of
this University. On the Michigan
state ballot, there will be a
proposal intended to reduce the
level of taxes in our state and to
make all tax increases thereafter
subject to approval by the voters
of Michigan. Wrongly named
Voter's Choice, this proposal will
affect all students of this Univer-
sity adversely. So let me briefly
outline what this proposal will do
if passed.
First and foremost, this
proposal will increase
everyone's tuition here at the
University by at least 20 percent
and possibly as high as 60 per-
cent. These figures are from the
administration, which is not

have to be trimmed, due to lack
of state resources. This will only
add to the growing population of
wealthy students able to attend
the University, while leaving
those unable to attend due to
financial difficulties with less
financial assistance.
Finally, it will threaten
Michigan's credit rating, which
happened to be the worst in the
nation in 1982, but has recently
surged to be one of the best in the
nation. If this were to happen,
Michigan could once again be in
economic distress due to lack of a
good credit rating, which is
BLOOM COUNTY

necessary for economic growth.
This proposal also threatens to
take away the premise of
representative government,
which is what our whole gover-
nmental structure is based upon.
By taking away the legislature's
ability to tax, you are removing
an essential part of governmental
authority. This would only in-
troduce chaos into our system,
and set up a precedent for
minority veto. That is
democracy?
In conclusion, I would recom-
mend to the students of this
University, and all others that

may read this letter, to v
against Proposal C. It is not only
the responsible thing to do, but it
is also the essential thing to do.
Proposal C only sets a precedeni
for irresponsibility, reducec
governmental effectiveness, anc
greatly enhances the power of a
minute minority unaffected b3
this proposal.
-Mark William;
Octobe
Williams is chair of t
Michigan Student Assembl.
legislative relations commil
tee.
by Berke Breathich

Vote against Proposal C

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