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September 10, 1987 - Image 53

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-09-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily, Thursday, September 10, 1987- Page 5

Students apathetic to

local

politics

By MARTHA SEVETSON
The Ann Arbor housing crunch, piled-
up parking tickets, and crumbling local
roads top the list of off-campus headaches
that plague most University students, but
very few students voice their concerns to
the city council charged with legislating
housing codes, ticket quotas, and road
improvements.
"Students don't feel like Ann Arbor
politics are really going to affect their
University experience," said Michigan
Student Assembly President Ken Weine,
an LSA senior. "This year a crackdown
on fraternity parties in the fall and the
rezoning of Burns Park were examples of
how Ann Arbor politics affect students."
The council passed a resolution last
spring prohibiting any more goup houses
like sororities, fraternities, or coops in
the area.
LESS THAN eight percent of regi -
stered 18-20 year olds in Ann Arbor voted
in the city council elections last April,
and only 287 out 451 of these votes came
from heavily student-populated wards.
Although the actual number of
University students who voted in Ann

Arbor elections is not tallied, these
figures indicate that a vast majority of
students did not cast a ballot.
If the entire student body would have
voted in the April 6 city council election,
the outcome in every district could have
been different. The undergraduate student
body alone would have had enough votes
to elect a mayor of its choice.
Most students are either registered to
vote at home or neglect politics while
pursuing their education.
"I'm only going to be here for two
more years, then I plan on moving back
to Boston," said LSA junior Lisa Hack.
"I care more about what's happening in
Boston. That's what's going to affect me
for the rest of my life."
MSA Administrative Coordinator
Richard Layman, who ran for city council
this year, said the assembly recognizes
that problem. "We try to convince people
that what's happening while they're here
eight months of the year is important to
them," he said. "Issues like rezoning are
very important to students, and the
University isn't necessarily going to take
an advocacy role for student concerns."

THE SMALL body of student voters
who are involved in city politics have
limited influence because of the political
apathy of their peers. Although council
member know what concerns students,
they direct their attention more to local
residents rather than students since they
feel permanent residents affect reelection
bids more than students.
"If (students) don't play a role in
electing, their views may not be well
represented," said political science Prof.
Samuel Eldersveld. Eldersveld demon -
strated student political power when he
had a class he was teaching organize his
successful Ann Arbor mayoral campaign
in 1985.
"People that do have the power aren't
looking to involve students," said Dean
Baker, a Rackham graduate student who
ran for Congress as Ann Arbor represen -
tative last year. "They don't want to
worry about student housing."
But Baker added, "If students are active
and organize themselves, they can be a
very serious force."
Although Baker was defeated in his
campaign, he said the efforts of the 500

student who worked for him were a
success. "We shook up a candidate who
had endorsements of four out of five
newspapers," he said. "Grassroots
organizing can be very powerful."
PI DELTA sorority members recog -
nized the influence organized student can
have on issues when they registered 200
student voters to put pressure on the
Burns Park rezoning project.
"We think a lot of politics that go on
in Ann Arbor relates to students," said
sorority member Jennifer Pam, an LSA
junior. "It seemed like students were
interested, but most are probably more
concerned with class and work and don't
want to have to deal with other stuff."
Weine said that many students fail to
vote in Ann Arbor because the University
does little to encourage students to
register. MSA attempted to set up a local
voter registration table for this year's
summer orientation program but was
unable to under orientation guidelines.
The guidlines forbid organizations from

disrupting students from their
concern - registering for classes.

main

"THE office of orientation should
have some initiative for voter regi -
stration," Weine said. "It's the most
appropriate channel for all incoming
students. When orientation doesn't do
something such as voter registration, it
abrogates their responsibility."
As an alternative, the assembly is
establishing a liaison withcity council
next fall. An MSA representative will
attend the weekly council meetings to
voice student concerns and report back to
MSA on issues city council is
discussing.
Layman said the American education
system is partly to blame for student
political apathy. "Schools are author -
itarian, and people aren't really educated
in participating in decisions which affect
their lives," he said. "Values of voting
and discussing issues of today are not
reinforced in the school system."

I

City housing shortage

Daily Photo by DANA MENDELSSOHN
The table and chairs serving the restaurants in the Tally Hall shopping Center sit unoccupied, a sign that the
mall is failing to attract needed business.

Mall's appearance keeps away
customers and needed business

By CHRISTINA BROWN
Shockingly bright colors and
garish neon lights are the first
things shoppers notice when they
enter the barren first level of the
Tally Hall shopping center on E.
Liberty St., and most of the mall's
store managers agree that Tally
Hall's appearance is keeping away
potential shoppers and badly needed
businesses.
Tally Hall has been having
difficulty finding renters for store
space since it opened in 1986.
Currently only three stores have
moved into the ground level.
Geoff Hamilton, manager of
Thirsty's, a store which specializes
in blended juice drinks in Tally
Hall, said that all the store spaces
were originally contracted to be
filled while the mall was still under
construction, but he said, "When
Tally Hall opened up, a lot of
people backed out."
Hamilton also said, "A lot of
places here are doing poorly, and a
lot of places are rumored to close
down after this coming Art Fair."
He said one store, Sub Villa, has
already gone out of business.
Joe Devereaux, owner of Eatos
Burritos in the mall, said Tally Hall
is "too loud, too neon, too pastel."

LSA junior Paul Meloan describes
it as "the only place where you can
get dizzy and nauseous simply by
sitting and drinking a coke.
The mall has failed to attract the
volume of people that its owner, an
investment company call the
Formidable Group, located in
Farmington Hills, had intended.
They - as well as store owners -
had counted on Tally Hall's pull as
a mall to bring people in. David
Plato, manager of Loving Spoonful
ice cream store, said his store get
very little business.
Instead, Tally Hall seems to be
turning customers away. Devereaux
said his and other food concessions
are suffering from what he called
the "domino effect."
He said the mall's appearance
makes it difficult for the company
to fill store spaces, and therefore the
first level has remained virtually
empty. Devereaux said that if
people don't go into the mall to
shop, they won't go downstairs to
eat.
According to Hamilton, "The
owners are supposed to remodel,
and get rid of all this neon and the
circus lights, and the new name is
supposed to be Liberty Center. But,
so far all they've done is remodel

. the manager's office."
Tally Hall's manager Gail
Tinker refused to comment, and the
Formidable Group's property man -
ager responsible for Tally Hall,
Susan Delgado said, "I have
nothing to say."
Despite promises to renovate the
mall, the company has not told its
tenants when the renovations will
begin, how extensive they will be,
or exactly what kinds of changes
they intend to make.
"They say they're going to
change things; they say a lot of
things though," Joe Mencotti, the
manager of Pizza Plenty said.
Most store and concession
managers think their respective
establishments would succeed finan -
cially if they could only attract
customers into the building itself.
Most Tally Hall store managers
agree the mall's appearance must
change to attract more customers.
.Things can't stay like this,"
Devereaux said.
But a few shopkeepers, like Deb-
bie Bak, owner of the Hot Dog
Stop feel positive their businesses
will pick up. "I'm here to stay,"
Bak said.

worries
By ELIZABETH ATKINS
Many Ann Arbor residents are
worried about the severe housing
shortage and skyrocketing rents
facing the city. Unfortunately for
University students who will be
looking for off-campus housing
next year, there is currently no
solution to the problem.
Ann Arbor has a zero percent
vacancy rate, contrasted to the
national average of 13 percent, city
council member David DeVarti (D-
Fourth Ward) said.
DeVarti added that because of the
shortage, rents on houses and
apartments are increasing .about 25
percent each year, forcing many
students to pay high prices for off-
campus housing. "I'm convinced
the University needs to build more
housing," he said.
STUDENTS also face compe -
tition for housing from middle and
upper income residents. The city
attracts professionally-oriented resi -
dents because they can afford to pay
the high housing costs, DeVarti
said.
Both the city and the University
appear to be searching for solutions
to the problems. DeVarti said the
city is planning a joint project with
a local developing company and the
Salvation Army to build a low-
cost, single-room occupancy buil -
ding (SRO) on Liberty Street. He
said the SRO, the city's first, will
be the "bottom line" in affordable
housing.
Last February, University Hou -
sing Director Robert Hughes
presented a housing study proposal
to Vice President for Student
Services Henry Johnson, who then
presented the proposal to University
President Harold Shapiro.
Ed Salowitz, director of research
and development in the University's
Housing Division, said the report
will include a comprehensive study
of housing in Ann Arbor. The
committee which will conduct the
study will include two students,
city and University officials.
HE SAID the study should be
completed by the end of the 1987-
88 school year, and could result in
the building of new residence halls.
"It's time to look at the whole
situation and see whatacan be done,"
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Hughes said.
DeVarti said the housing study
is a good idea, especially if it
results in the construction of more
University housing.
As a result of the shortage,
Salowitz said new housing facilities
are going up in the periphery of the
city. "If that continues, it will

case," he said.
Jo Rumsey, assistant director of
University housing information,
said Ann Arbor is an expensive land
market and builders are reluctant to
build near campus because students
are transient and tend to wear out
housing units quickly. They,are not
a' very "attractive" market for

-k
'I'm convinced the University needs to build more
housing.'
- David DeVarti (D-Fourth Ward)

-

obviously help the students," he
said.
But Salowitz said builders do not
want to develop student housing in
Ann Arbor because of the city's
reputation as an active supporter of
rent control. "The activism we take
pride 'in works against us in this

builders, she said.
IN THE midst of the crunch,
the University's Board of Regents
recently passed a resolution to
destroy three housing units in the
University Terrace apartment
complex.

U, residents

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City rape centers counsel victims
(ContinuedfromPage3) "I never used to lock the door cases of burglary and vehicle th

.heft

In part, this is due to a higher
concentration of residences near the
University, and also because
students are perceived as not taking
adequate security precautions, accor -
ding to alumnus Ben Cohen, who
has lived in the Ann Arbor area
since the mid-1960s.

when I went here, but now, I check
it and all the windows too," he said.
A map of crime totals for
February of 1987 shows that most

were clustered around the Uni -
versity. Sexual assault and attem -
pted sexual assault' was evenly
scattered across Ann Arbor.

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