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March 31, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-31

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OPINION
Page 4 Thursday; March 31, 1988 The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVII, No. 122 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Support tenant rights

Shredders hide militarism

I

IN SUPPORT OF fair rent in Ann Ar-
bor and tenants' right to organize, peo-
ple should protest the abusive treatment
of the Pittsfield Village Tenants Union
(PVTU) by McKinley Properties.
McKinley Properties has allowed the
420 unit Ann Arbor complex to fall into
extreme disrepair while continuing to
raise rents.
In response to the poor living condi-
tions and violations of the city housing
code, the tenants of Pittsfield Village
organized a tenants union and went on
rent strike after inaction and abuse from
McKinley properties. The landlords re-
fused to make needed repairs or to
bring the buildings up to city housing
code.
McKinley was attempting to gentrify
the complex. The company raised rents
to affect the class of people who could
live in the apartments without making
any improvements.
As part of a strategy to purge the
members of the PVTU and to raise the
rents McKinley has refused to renew
leases of tenants who had lived there as
long as 25 years. There is no difference
between a refusal to renew the lease
and an eviction.
As those tenants on rent strike even-
tually reached settlement (of at least
two months free rent), the landlord -
in every case - asked for either a ter-
Israel's cl
IT WAS REVEALED LAST WEEK that
Israel is holding over 3,000 Palestinians
in detention according to the Israeli
Prime Minister Shamir. In addition, the
Israeli army now bars the press and for-
eign officials from entering the occupied
territories. These steps indicate a differ-
ent strategy: hiding brutality from the
outside world.
This approach is not new. Many
journalists in the occupied territories
have complained of harassment by the
Israeli army. The army has beaten a
reporter, confiscated film, and broken
cameras. The Israeli army also reserves
the right to censor or shut d o wn
newspapers, and declare certain refugee
camps off-limits to reporters. The
media, however, was never previously
barred from the entire occupied
Israel's motives behind this are clear.
In the words of Henry Kissinger last
January, "Israel should bar the media
from entry into the territories involved in
the present demonstrations ... and put
down the insurrection as quickly as
possible - overwhelmingly, brutally,
and rapidly." This advice coupled with
Shamir's statement last week that
"harsher measures" are needed against
the Palestinians, gives an indication of
what is to come.
One method Israel has used to quell
the riots is random arrests. Three thou-
sand Palestinians are under detention so
far, 700 of which were interned in the
last week. The Israeli courts permit them

mination of the lease or a writ of evic-
tion as terms of agreement. Although
McKinley was refused the writ in all
cases, the property company refused to
renew the leases of all the tenants who
were involved in the PVTU.
The retaliatory evictions are a clear
violation of the Retaliatory Evictions
Defense, which is part of the Tenants
Rights Act of 1968. This defense
guarantees that a landlord cannot termi-
nate a tenancy in retaliation for tenants
attempts to secure or enforce rights
which arise from the tenancy. In other
words, a tenant cannot be evicted or
denied a renewal because they have
asked for repairs or improvements
stipulated by the lease or housing code.
The PVTU case demonstrates the
need for strong rent stabilization legis-
lation which links any increases in rent
to maintenance of the buildings and fair
treatment of the tenants. Rent control
would also prevent the immediate gen-
trification of apartments around Ann
Arbor and make it easier for lower in-
come people to find affordable hous-
ing.
Today at 4:30 p.m., a demonstration
will be held at the McKinley Properties
office at 543 North Main to protest the
gentrification and retaliatory evictions
at Pittsfield Village and to support the
need for rent stabilization.
ampdown
to be arrested and held without trial,
without charge, or without bail for up to
six months. This detention period was
just extended from a previous limit of
18 days.
Israel has also prohibited the 1.5 mil-
lion Palestinians in the occupied territo-
ries from either leaving their home or
leaving their village. The 65,000 Jewish
settlers living in the occupied territories
have no restrictions. The settlers are also
permitted to openly carry weapons,
whereas any Palestinian doing so can be
shot on sight.
The media's handling of the conflict
has been far from satisfactory. When
the first Israeli soldier was killed while
on duty last week, all the major media
carried gory accounts or pictures of the
soldier, and focused on the Palestinian
brutality. The focus should have been
on how this was the first Israeli soldier
to be killed since the riots began. Over a
hundred Palestinians have been killed so
far, supposedly by Israeli soldiers in
self-defense. The death of any one
Palestinian never receives the sensa-
tional treatment this event did.
Currently, The Israeli Army has shot
or beaten to death 122 Palestinians.
Thousands more have been wounded
and Shamir has steadfastly refused to
any sort of international peace confer-
ence as proposed by Yasser Arafat and
the United Nations. The occupied terri-
tories don't need "harsher measures,"
but negotiations.

By Ingrid Kock
An ad in last Friday's Daily was blunt:
"If you're working on thermonuclear
weapons design, binary nerve gas delivery
systems, strategic cryptographic or com-
munications security systems, strategic
defense initiative of other projects under
DOD sponsorship, we recommend the
GBG cross-cut 200 high security (paper)
shredder..." The ad was no joke. Commu-
nications Electronics was prompted to run
it by FBI agents in Michigan who an-
nounced that the University was a "target"
for Soviet and Chinese espionage agents
because of its top secret research.
The FBI is whipping up cold war
rhetoric "commie spy" talk, and Commu-
nications Electronics is apparently taking
a lesson from General Electric, Hughes
Aircraft, and the University of Michigan
itself to try and cash in.
Can research on thermonuclear weapons
design, chemical weapons and the
Strategic Defense Initiative really go on at
the University? Of course it can. For
example, Professor Isadore Bernstein from
the School of Public Health tests mustard
gas on human and rat cells. In his project
proposal to the Army, Bernstein outlines
the effects of the poisonous agents he
works with: "Ingestion or injection of
these agents can lead to severe
gastrointestinal effects, fasiculation,
difficulty in breathing, depression of the
respiratory center and death".
According to Professor Bernstein, his
research is for defense against the use of
mustard gas. But we should ask professor
Bernstein: whom will he protect from the
Ingrid Kock is a University alum who
works for fair rent in Ann Arbor.

deadly effects of mustard gas? Will
Professor Bernstein provide chemical
weapons defenses to the Nicaraguans in
case of a possible U.S. invasion? Is he
now providing it to the Iranians who are
being attacked by Iraqi chemical weapons
(obtained from Western Europe)? Or, will
his chemical weapons "defenses" (in the
event that he is not simply constructing
more deadly types of poison mustard gas
in the School of Public Health) be used by
U.S. military personnel as they drop
mustard gas on the unprotected people of
Latin America, Africa, Asia, or wherever
cold war hysteria brings the U.S. to fight
communism?
What do the FBI, weapons research, and
paper shredders have to do with a suppos-
edly free and open university? The
University administration's blind determi-
nation to obtain defense dollars puts the
University into a vulnerable position po-
litically. As the peace movement
strengthens on this campus, military re-
search is an obvious target. Is is possible
that the FBI wants to hide the growing
militarism on campus not from the Chi-
nese and the Soviets but from us? Just as
the CIA representatives squirm from the
light and refuse to address their "mission"
when they come to recruit on campus, the
weapons researchers and the University
administrators don't want their secrets to
escape from behind the closed doors of
weapons laboratories and the Fleming
Administration Building.
The regents decided a year ago to dump
University research guidelines that banned
classified research destructive to human
life. Of course the research guidelines had
become a fraud - the University admin-
istration cheated and manipulated its way
around these basic decent standards so as to
make them almost useless. But it is note-

worthy that by rejecting the guidelines,
the regents made clear their position that
research destructive to human life is ac-
ceptable at the University of Michigan.
This action is comparable to the statement
that the administration made to the effect
that racism is unacceptable at the
University of Michigan when it retained
Dean Steiner after his racist remarks.
Unfortunately, all of this talk about en-
emy spies, paper shredders, and the re-
gents' cavalier attitude make weapons re-
search seem like a game. It's not a game.
Real people will die if Bernstein's poison
is ever used. Real people will die if the
hordes of professors going after Star Wars
money succeed in building a new genera-
tion of weapons that could not only be a
component of a first-strike system, but
would consist of lasers, electron beams,
and x-rays that could be launched at the
Third World. And of course, real people
are dying now all over the world, includ-
ing in our own community, because one
trillion dollars a year are spent on arms
while basic human needs go unmet.
Thankfully, there is a new wind blow-
ing. There is a subtle but growing accep-
tance and openness in this country to new
ideas of change for a peaceful and just
world. In order to take heart to proceed to
overcome militarism, and the related
injustices of racism, sexism, and homo-
phobia, we should look at a victory that
was won last week on another campus. At
the Gallaudet University for the Deaf, stu-
dents obtained the resignation of their
hearing president and continue to struggle
to replace members of their board of
trustees with deaf trustees who are more
responsive to their needs. The bottom line
for the students at Gallaudet is "No com-
promise." Let's adopt the same position in
pursuing our ideals of a peaceful and just
university.

LETTERS:

Rent control will increase diversity

To the Daily:
As a concerned student in the
Ann Arbor community, I feel
obliged to discuss the im-
portant role of diversity in Ann
Arbor. Ann Arbor is a unique
city largely because of the
diversity of its residents:
students, workers, families,
Blacks, whites, Hispanics,
Asians... This diversity has al-
lowed me to encounter a vari-

ety of individuals who have
helped me learn about myself
and the world.
When confronted with rising
rents in Ann Arbor, many of
these people are forced either to
live elsewhere or live on unre-
alistic budgets. My buddy and
yours, Shakey Jake, is a perfect
example of an integral individ-
ual in Ann Arbor who cannot
afford shelter in an inflated

Rent control works

market. As Ann Arbor slowly
becomes a community of
wealthy individuals, the need
for affordable housing which
will invite lower income, di-
verse citizens back to the
community is vital. Rent sta-
bilization aimed at providing a
diverse community, fair rent,
Common S
To the Daily:
Common Sense is what
Thomas Paine titled his
revolutionary journal in the
1700s. That is what the people
of the time needed a good
healthy dose of. That is what
the debate regarding rent stabi-
lization in Ann Arbor needs
today.
The landlords have bragged
about their willingness to
spend "up to half a million
dollars." The struggle to pass
proposal C will have spent less
than ten thousand by April 4.
Common Sense.
The landlords lie about how'

as well as fair profit for land-
lords is a proposal which
benefits everyone in the com-
munity. So on April 4th,
while Shakey is singing the
blues on State street, go and
vote yes on proposal C.
-David Kalt
March 29
ense on rent
rent stabilization works. They
use statistics from the 1970s, a
time beset with inflation and
the energy crisis. Economic
realities are different in 1988.
The fact is that rent stabiliza-
tion has been beneficial for
over 200 communities around
the U.S. Why do the landlords
not have more up-to-date
statistics? Common Sense.
Look at both sides. Enter
the debate with an open mind.
Vote Yes on C April 4. Use
some common sense.
-Michael V. Smith
March 30

Students resist the extensive PIRGIM campaign:
Masses over money

To the Daily:
I am tired of hearing the
illegitimate justifications given
by the opponents of rent con-
trol. They claim that if rent
control were enacted, needed
repairs would not get done be-
cause the owners couldn't raise
rent to cover the costs of re-
pairs. Would someone please
explain to me how a landlord
can legally rent a dwelling that
is not already certified a s
habitable? In no other area of
business can one sell a good
that is out of order and then
demand extra money for fixing
it. The usual transaction for
houses which need repairs,
when the landlord refuses to
make the repairs, is for rent to
be deposited in an escrow ac-
count at City Hall until the re-
pairs are complete.
Rent control is needed in this
town because the people who
take part in its most basic
businesses, including the uni-
versity, need a minimum of
housing security. I am firmly
convinced that the owners of
the majority of rental housing
spaces in this town are rolling
in the dough. Any landlord
who cannot afford the costs of
maintaining their properties at
standard habitability is in fact
bankrupt and should have their
properties turned over to the
city. However, many of these
landlords are in fact large cor-
porations with lots of employ-
ees. If they can afford to em-
ploy full-time receptionists,

elsewhere and has failed. I have
lived in the city of East Palo
Alto, California a while ago
and rent control there worked
successfully. I think the land-
lords'lobby knows perfectly
well that they were excessively
selective and slanted in their
reports. Having dealt with
some of the rental corporations
in this town, and having read
their literature, I conclude that
the most vocal among them
feel no ethical constraint in
squeezing renters for as much
money as they can get, while
at the same time spending as
little as possible on providing
a usable product. In the coming
referendum, they deserve a clear
message from us voters that we
will not be abused any more:
We value the future of our city,
our local businesses, and our
university too much.
-Matthew Fields
March 16

To the Daily:
I am in the Marion
Correction Institution. I a m
from that area in which your
newspaper operates.
I have no family or money,
I fell victim to that killer drug
crack and I am looking for pen
pals for positive advice to help

me kick this problem in the
butt.
-Richard Beasley
198-592
P.O. Box 57
Marion Correction Inst.
Marion, OH 43302
March 26

Inmate seeks letters

IN LAST WEEK'S MSA elections, stu-
dents voted against continuing the cur-
rent refundable fee system funding the
Public Interest Research Group in
Michigan (PIRGIM). Students-who re-
sisted the extensive and expensive pro-
PIRGIM campaign should be com-
mended.
PIRGIM easily out-campaigned and
out-spent their less visible opponents.
In the process, PIRGIM plastered the
campus with posters and leaflets pro-
moting their organization. It is ironic
that a group purporting to fight waste
spent over a thousand dollars on multi-
colored posters, according to estimates.
The posters were quite well done,

artistic contest. The real issue i s
whether or not PIRGIM deserves direct
funding rather than receiving funds
through MSA like other campus orga-
nizations.
What doomed PIRGIM in the end
were allegations that funds, that were
coming from University students, were
not being used for students' benefit.
Instead the funds, some of which are
still not accounted for, were being sent
to Boston and utilized by other PIRG
organizations.
If PIRGIM wants the financial sup-
port and trust of the University com-
munity, it must demonstrate responsi-
bility. They must demonstrate that they
will not waste funds and will not be-

HI-iO.D 'E.M1 OFF RIGHT HE.RE.0"\

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