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November 02, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-02

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Page 4

Friday, November 2, 1984

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Young and up for election


By Kenneth Wittenberg

Vol. XCV, No. 50

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Levin for the Senate

The voters of Michigan have an
easy choice for the United States
Senate. They can vote for the incum-
bent, Carl Levin, who has proved his
ability to conscientiously and power-
fully represent the interests of the
state of Michigan, or they can vote for
the astronaut, Jack Lousma, whose
political knowledge and experience is
limited to a superficial spouting of his
party's line. Lousma has no real
political experience, and there is no
reason to expect any competence from
him as a representative of Michigan's
Levin completes his first term
having fought to extend unemployment
benefits, relieve Michigan's unem-
ployment compensation debt, and limit
auto imports. Lousma, on the other
hand, recently confided to a meeting of
Japanese business leaders that he
owns a Toyota.
Levin has pushed to make military
contract bidding more competitive and
supports only modest increases in the
military budget. Lousma belongs to
that group of dreamy-eyed conser-
vatives who support the MX missile
system, the B-1 bomber, and the Star
Wars missile defense program while at
the same time call for a balanced
budget amendment. He sees no con-
tradiction between massive armamen-
ts spending and fiscal restraint.
Michigan, and this nation, need
political realism of the sort Car Levin
can provide. As long as Lousma and
his political ilk pursue their grandiose
military fantasies, fiscal responsibility
will remain a dream.

Lousma is particularly ill-suited to
represent Michigan. In fact, less than a
year ago he wasn't even a resident. He
was called from the sunnier climes of
Texas to do battle against what the
.Republican Party views as a
vulnerable Democratic candidate.
Lousma's insensitivity to Michigan's
political realities goes far beyond his
powerful tax-cutting urges (he is a
strong supporter of state proposal C)
and his encouragement of auto impor-
ts. Lousma has naively asserted that
"an average high school boy" could
grasp the problems of Michigan with
three hours briefing.
There are no simple solutions to this
state's problems and Michigan needs
to be represented by someone who un-
derstands that. Carl Levin has demon-
strated his political knowledge and ex-
pertise in the Senate. On the campaign
trail, Jack Lousma only demonstrates
his naivete.
Most likely for a lack of any ideas of
his own, Lousma follows Reagan ad-
ministration policy to the letter. He
supports constitutional amendments
restricting abortion and allowing
prayer in schools and he supports aid
to anti-government rebels in
Nicaragua-policies which Levin
should and does oppose.
There is an outside chance that
Lousma will win if he can cling tightly
to the coattails of a strong Reagan
victory. His chances are slim,
however, because in no way does he
deserve to be elected.

Picture this: a young man in an expensive
European suit is standing outside a shopping
mall in suburban Detroit. He approaches a
woman with her two children. "Hi, my name
is Ken Wittenberg and I am running for coun-
ty commissioner."
The woman starts laughing and avoids eye
contact, like someone from Candid Camera is
playing a joke onher. "You're too young."
"No, ma'am, in fact I have much more ex-
perience than my opponent." She continues
chuckling and walks away without taking the
literature he is handing her.
It's just a routine encounter in the life of a
teenage politician.
I AM RUNNING for Oakland County Com-
missioner as a Democrat in the 15th District,
which includes all of Farmington Hills,
Franklin, and a large portion of Bloomfield
Many strangers are astonished when they
learn I'm running for political office. But I'd
have to say the people whowwere most sur-
prised I was a candidate were my friends.
Sure, they knew I had worked at the Oakland
County Democratic Party all through high
school, that I was a Congressional intern a
couple summers ago, and that I had been involved
in Gary Hart's campaign for president. But
even my peers didn't expect I would take the
big step of actually running for office. Of
course, my parents and their friends
unanimously echoed, "What a great ex-
It all started in May when I went back to
work at the Oakland County Democratic Par-
ty after my first year at the University. The
chairperson of the Party asked if I'd be in-
terested in running for county commissioner.
I thought, "Why not? Everyone should be
dragged through the mud at least once in
their life."
I started attending the county commission
meetings regularly. In late May, I was sitting
in the Democratic Caucus before the meeting.
In walked the long-term Republican incum-
bent I would be challenging. I attributed her
somber demeanor to having heard I would be
her opponent in the fall. But alas, there was
something even greater bothering her.
SHE EXPLAINED, her voice cracking at
times, that she wasn't running for re-election.
She had a warning for the Democratic com-
missioners: "I'm a lame duck, not a dead
Meanwhile, I couldn't believe what I was
hearing. I thought I would be up against an
entrenched incumbent but now it was a wide
open race. She had made copies of her letter
of non-candidacy, which she proceeded to
hand out personally to everyone in the room...
but me. She handed the piece of paper to the
person on my left and the person on my right.
I think I noticed her slip one to the janitor as
she left the room. I had, for the first time in

the campaign, been stigmatized by my youth.
I rushed out the door to call my office and
share the excitement. Political rumor
spreads like wildfire and they already had the
latest: Her son (31 years old) was going to run
for her seat. "But that'll give you a great
campaign slogan: 'The office of the county
commissioner should be earned, not
inherited."' The policial wheels were already
THE INCUMBENT'S son won a five-way
primary in August while I ran unopposed (a
moral victory). We decided 5,000 brochures
would be our primary offense (one should be
aware that politicians refer to campaigns and
campaigning with language more ap-
propriate to sporting events or military com-
bat). Incidentally, in my literature there are
none of the standard campaign brochure
shots of "candidate with family, including
dog (borrow one if they don't have one), can-
didate looking sympathetic while talking to
four or five elderly people, or candidate
making a point (complete with hand gesture)
to union workers (with hard hats, of course). "
The reason there are no pictures is simple:
People have trouble voting for someone who
looks as young as I do.
I designed my brochure thinking I'd seen
too many political pieces with something like
"Vote for Fletcher Pickpocket" on the outside
bordered by the words "Honest," "Able,"
"Family Man." When you open it up, it
promises something like a job for every Tom,
Dick, and Harry in a "high tech" field, or first
priority for "our" district in winter snow
removal, or because Fletcher is the truly
liberal pol, a brand-new car for anyone who
can show the "need".
Playing on voter's cynicism, I went with
"Amidst all the Rhetoric, some Common Sen-
se." (open) "You've heard the promises time
and time again, and frankly, you don't believe
them. Neither does Ken Wittenberg," etc. I
offer the voter nothing I don't believe I can
deliver and I give him or her good reason for
voting for me. In addition, we also have those
"waving hands" to put in car windows (the
kids'll love 'em) and business cards.
I AM OFTEN asked (right after they ask if I
am old enough to run) if I could serve while
attending school. The commission is a part-
time job of about four hours a week and most
board members have other occupations. As
you know, a student can find the time to do
something he or she really wants to do.
I am also asked if I think I can win. Sure. I
haven't met anyone who said they wouldn't
vote for me. Now it may be that I haven't met
enough people but I have met quite a few.
I believe we need more young people in-
volved in politics today. Politics is not a
dishonorable field, although Watergate and
Vietnam have shaded our generation's per-
spective. I am involved in politics because I
believe government can be a tool to fix many
of society's problems.
Though it is not without foundation, I reject


Would you vote for this kid? Don't laugh, sin-
cerity and integrity know no minimum age.
the cynicism and negativism that permeates
society's attitude toward politics and
politicians. In a recent study, when asked 4
whether they would encourage a son to go into
politics, only 13 percent of a Detroit sample
said.yes. I am willing to offer my integrity
and intelligence, as well as time and effort, to
society because politics is, for me, a "higher
calling" than any profession I've considered.
Concurrently, I don't believe it is healthy
for society to have "career politicians." I
don't trust someone who may put his or her
private ambitions ahead of the aspirations-of
his or her constituents. Americans want to be
represented by someone who will listen to
them, not give them his qr her own views;
someone who cares about the life they are
leading, not the favors of those who contribute
to the candidate; and above all, know that some
one will give them the straight facts as he, or
she knows them, not evade the truth to get
I have no illusions as I immerse myself, in
politics. I know there are limits to what one
person can accomplish in government ser-
vice. But I also pledge that I will never
sacrifice what I believe is right in order to get
elected. One gentleman I met on the cam-
paign trail told me to get out of politics. "It's a
dirty business. There are no honest
politicians." He said Ihwas naive and
idealistic for believing that integrity, not
money, wins elections. He may be right and I
may be wrong. For now, I'll just keep on my
merry way toward political office. Sincerity
and integrity has no minimum age or' ex-
piration date.
Wittenberg is a sophomore in LSA and4
is running for county commissioner of
Oakland County..

Pursell for the House

D ESPITE SERIOUS reservations
concerning his defense policies,
we support Republican incumbent Carl
Pursell to represent the 2nd
Congressional District in Washington.
Pursell, who hails from Plymouth,
holds an invaluable seat on the Labor,
Health, and Human Services Sub-
committee, which provides funding for
education. His efforts to save vital
funding to the University during an era
of massive cuts to higher education are
commendable and necessary. A loss
for Pursell would mean losing pull on
this coveted appropriations subcom-
mittee, pull that Michigan desperately
Pursell has maintained a moderate
to liberal stance throughout most of his
Congressional tenure which began in
1976. He is pro-ERA, and recently in-
troduced legislation on wage
discrimination. He is pro-nuclear
freeze, anti-draft, and was steadfastly
opposed to the MX missile system until

1983 when, as his supporters put it, he
used the system as a "bargaining
chip" to gain votes for one of his pet
Regardless of his motivation, we
question such a wishy-washy and
misguided defense stance. His vote
supporting the MX remains our most
serious reservation concerning his
The Democratic challenger, Michael
McCauley, has an abundance of energy
and sincere concerns about education
and welfare. He opposes the MX and is
handy with defense statistics. A
teacher at Plymouth-Canton High
School, McCauley, however, has never
held public office. While inexperience
can foster fresh, un-politicized views in
Congress, McCauley's hedges on
naivete and lack of direction.
In light of Pursell's support for social
programs and seniority on the ap-
propriations committee which
provides lifeblood to the University, we
encourage his re-election.


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Arguments in favor of Proposal B

v L A/"

To the Daily:
On November 6, Michigan
voters will be given the oppor-
tunity to rescue a successful and
essential environmental program
by voting yes on Proposal B.
In 1976, Michigan established
the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.
This fund was to set aside a fixed
share of this state's profits from
mining and drilling on state land
for the purchase of public
recreation lands. The idea was
that profits from the short-term
exploitation of our state's resour-
ces should be earmarked for
permanent, tangible benefits
which both the present and future

As a result, although the Trust
Fund would have contained
nearly $150 million this year if left
undisturbed, it now contains little
more than $8 million. In effect,
the State Legislature has broken
a promise with our future.
Proposal B will reaffirm and
guarantee this promise. If enac-
ted, this proposal will roll the
Land Acquitision Trust Fund into
a new Natural Resources Trust

Fund whose revenues will be
protected by the state con-
This bi-partisan proposal has
the support of groups from every
segment of Michigan society, as
well as the support of Governor
Blanchard and former Governor
Milliken. We feel that it is in the
interest of every citizen of
Michigan to assure the con-
tinued existence of natural

recreation areas which are both
easily accessible, and carefully
developed. Approval of Proposal
B is essential to securing these
goals. We urge Michigan to vote
yes on B November 6.
-Jack Lipschult
October 3

the Michigan
Law Society.

is a member of

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