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September 11, 1989 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-11

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Page 4

Friday, September 8, 1989

Wb'U icbkau i aig
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. C. NO. 1 Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All othtr
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.

By Cathy C


Know your rights

THE FIRST time you take a shower in your
new apartment you discover an unidenti-
fiable type of slime growing from the
ceiling. The carpets are dirty; paint is
chipping off the walls. The only emer-
gency exit from the second floor other
than jumping is an unstable looking lad-
der propped up against an exterior wall.
You pay your rent a week late and your
landlord charges you a $30.00 late fee.
You ask your landlord to do some repairs
and after two weeks of no response he or
she arrives without notice as you are about
to step into your slime-covered shower.
All of these are violations of your rights
as a tenant.
You as a tenant can control the quality
of your housing. You can Ademand that
your rights be recognized, and that you
receive adequate compensation when
they are not.
Landlords are obligated to provide
tenants with a copy of the Tenants Right's
handbook published by the city. Failure to
d a is nimi hln by n f-mr- ac Ina a l

should either be put into escrow at a bank
or into a separate savings account until the.
issue is resolved.
If the tenants are responsible for paying
the heat, city law requires the landlord to
caulk and weather strip all doors and win-
dows and insulate the attic. Failure to
weatherize is grounds for withholding
rent and a complaint should be filed with
the Housing Inspection Bureau.
Landlords do not have the right to enter
a tenant's residence without reasonable
advanced notice. Once tenants have made
an agreement such as a lease and moved
in, the apartment is their home and un-
authorized entry constitues an invasion of
privacy and trespassing. Landlords fre-
quently charge students for cleaning, late
rent, violation of illegal lease contentions,
and tenant organizing by keeping security
deposits. This is illegal. Security deposits
are only supposed to be used for damage
not expected during the normal course of
living, or unpaid rent or utility
bille Dir iern lm.3

One of the most talked about topics of
conversation this summer is Spike Lee's
film, Do the Right Thing. At the exit-
ways of movie theaters, from crowded ta-
bles at bars, even from the living rooms
of middle-America come the questions of
- did Lee's film mean to insight violence
in the streets? What was the underlying in-
tent of ending the film with the quote
from Malcolm X? Did all those angry
Black people really have to burn down
Sal's Pizzeria? Glaringly absent from the
debate is any discussion of the brutal
killing of Radio Raheem at the hands, or
at least the nightstick; of the New York
City Police. The debate has focused on the
loss of property, instead of the loss of a
Black life.
This blatant disregard for the loss of a
Black life (even when the loss is confined
to a movie screen) should be of no sur-
prise. It is merely another function of a
racist society, in which institutions and
their agents are permitted to devalue, target
and disrupt marginalized communities. We
should not expect the public to pay atten-
tion to the fictionalized killing of a Black
youth, when no public outrage exists over
the real beatings, killings and.general bru-
tality that happens on a daily basis against
people of color and other oppressed groups
in society.
I remember no mass condemnation of
the New York City Police when in 1984
Eleanor Bumpers, a Black grandmother
was shot repeatedly by police during an
eviction. There were no sustained protests
in January 1989, when on national televi-
sion, a Black undercover police officer was
pulled over by the Long Beach, CA po-
lice, cursed at, threatened with a night
stick, and eventually had his head smashed
on a plate glass window, all for allegedly
using offensive words and resisting arrest.
I recall no major media stories of the
January 1989 killing of Lillian Wresse, 65
and Lloyd Smalley, 71. Wresse and
Smalley were a Black couple that died in a
fire started in Minneapolis, MN when po-
lice threw a "thunderflash stun grenade"
into an alleged crack house. After the raid,
police sources revealed that department in-
telligence knew the couple was in the
apartment, but the officers conducting the
raid did not read the report. The depart-
ment's Internal Affairs Division found no
evidence of wrongdoing.
I missed the protests over the November
1988 incident in which a Latino woman
attempting to get the badge number of a
New York City police officer who was
beating a Black man already in handcuffs,
was arrested. She was then subjected to ra-
cial slurs, punched and kicked and later
fondled in a patrol car by one of her arrest-
ing officers. There was never an adequate

0ee brutal
response as to why in January 1989, a
Miami police officer shot Clement
Anthony Lloyd, a 23-year-old Black man,
to death after Lloyd ran a stop light on a
The lack of concern or action by the
general public to vicious acts of brutality
on the part of the police, is not limited to
large cities and urban areas. Even in
"Birkenstock .U.S.A." - Ann Arbor,
Michigan, a city and campus known for
its activism - there is a deafening si-
lence around the issue of police brutality.
There were no protests when a Black
professor on the way to a graduation was
stopped and taken to headquarters by the
Ann Arbor police because they believed he
was, or at least resembled, a bank robber.
I remember no media stories of the 1987
incident in which two Black men were
falsely accused of stealing a gold chain
from a jewelry store in Tally Hall. When
the men were approached by police and
asked to come upstairs, one of the men re-
fused to return to the store for something
he knew he did not do and proceeded to
question the appropriateness of the offi-
cers' conduct. Subsequently, this gentle-
man was arrested and driven to the police
station even after the store owner reported
to the police that he had found the missing
chain. Allegedly, six months later that
- g C



uo so is uni snUiiDan a uy a ni as agas. Lurtis not a
$500, but it is incumbent Q Cleaning is not re
upon the ten- ing. Security dep
ant to com-Q v cannot exceed on
plain to the a half month's re
city Housing the landlord cha
In-s pec t ion too much dep
Bureau. either ask for it1
Many build- or move in an
ings in Ann Ar- duct if from
bor do not meet next rent
the housing code ment.
due to lack of To get
maintenance or fire security de
code violations. If back the to
the landlord is un- must giv
willing to improve landlord a
the situation tenants warding
can call the Housing1dress,
Inspection Bureau. w r i t i
Landlords are obli- within
gated to provide clean, S Xsj' days
tenantablehousing at theAnAmov
time of possession. Fail- A prole o U
ure to do so is either Within 30 days of
ground for withholding date the tenant moves out, the lan

e and
nt. If
d de-
e the
a for-
f the

The MichiganDail
ity now
same officer received a promotion.
There have been no calls by public offi-,
cials for an investigation into the numer-,
ous stories and subsequent lawsuits in the,
Black community around police beatings
of Black youth, or the daily harassment-
experienced by members of the Black
Clearly, the violence is there, the ques-.
tion becomes what our response will be
This summer Spike Lee told us to "do the
right thing." However, for many that is an;
ambiguous answer providing little dire
tion. I suggest that a clear unmitigated re1
sponse is due. We must inform the police,
and other institutions, that the violence
perpetuated against people of color and
other exploited communities will no
longer be tolerated. No longer will thei
public sit idly by while police wreak
havoc against our children and family
members. As a community we will de-
mand accountability, take to the streets if
necessary, but the brutality will end. W
have reached a stage where if necessary we
will police the police - even here in
"Birkenstock U.S.A." - Ann Arbor,
Cathy Cohen is a graduate student inr
Political Science and a member of the
United Coalition Against Racis,
15 A
5AC 5
1"A D

ceutical companies reap huge profits, lim-
iting access to life saving drugs for those
who cannot afford them.
Pursell, a senior member of the House
Appropriations Subcommittee of Labor,
Health and Human Services and Education, ,
is in a position to implement these
changes. But Pursell's malice towards
what he describes as a "narrow segment"
of the population is manifest. It is very
easy for Pursell to dismiss this "narrow
segment" since so many of them are gay
men, people of color, or IV drug users.
When white, presumably straight men are
affected by a little understood disease, the
government can find large sums of money;
overnight -witness Legionnaire's disease.
But Pursell, like many in government;
sheds few tears over the painful deaths of
must replace medicine for
d drugs have to be available
the oppressed.
We must realize that money spent now
on AIDS education, research, and treat-
ment will be preventive medicine: educa-
tion can prevent further infection, and re-
search and treatment may prevent those al-
ready infected from becoming fatally ill.
Also, spending less money now will only
increase astronomically the amounts
which will have to be spent in the future I
in order to effectively combat this disease.
Pursell is clearly wrong when he claims
that it is logical to reduce AIDS spending,


wrong aboi

gent until the dwelling is cleaned or
justification for charging the landlord the
cost of cleaning by deducting the amount
from the rent.
As soon as possible after moving in the
tenant should compile a list of damages
and assess the condition of the premises.
Landlords are obligated to provide two
copies of an inventory checklist covering
all the parts of the building that the land-
lord owns. Many lists are incomplete, so
tenants should be sure to write in anything
not in the list and keep a copy.
A tenant can withhold rent if a landlord
does not perform required repairs or
agreed upon improvements. A letter con-
taining a complete list of grievances
should be sent by certified mail to the
landlord instead of the rent. The rent

must send an itemized list of any deduc-
tions claimed and the remainder of the
security deposit, or the full deposit if no
charges are deducted. If the landlord does
not meet this 30 day requirement, the
landlord has then lost all claim to the secu-
rity deposit and must return it in full,
unless the withheld money is for unpaid
To help tenants become more in-
formed, the Ann Arbor Tenants Union
(AATU) this summer published an up-
dated version of How to Evict Your Land-
lord: An Ann Arbor Tenants' Primer. The
book contains a detailed account of ten-
ants rights and suggestions of how to
prevent potential abuses. It is available at
the AATU.
Read the book. Know your rights.

By the Lesbian and Gay Rights
Organizing Committee
Rep. Carl Pursell (R-Ann Arbor) re-
cently authored a viewpoint article in the
Ann Arbor News in which he favored re-
ducing government spending on AIDS
programs. Pursell stated that "AIDS fund-
ing has come from heightened media atten-
tion and public outcry, rather than rea-
soned consideration." However, Pursell de-
fends this conclusion by using statistics in
a misleading way and by ignoring key
Pursell claims that because so much
money is being spent on AIDS, the re-
search and prevention efforts of other fatal
diseases are suffering. However, increased
funding to combat one health problem
need not mean decreased funding to combat
another. Consider that government spend-
ing for health care is minute in proportion
to the $302 billion the government will
spend on the military in 1990. By coun-
terposing funding for one disease against
another instead of working for increased
funding for health care in general, Pursell
shows himself to be the enemy of all peo-
ple concerned about their health, not only
of people with AIDS.
Furthermore, AIDS is different from the
other diseases Pursell refers to in that
AIDS is a communicable disease which
has become an epidemic. There have been
over 100,000 symptomatic AIDS cases in
the U.S. to date, with 1.5 million more
people infected with HIV (AIDS virus).
Because HIV remains dormant for many

years before causing health problems,
many people infected with HIV are not
aware that they carry it.These people are at
risk of infecting others unless people are
educated in ways to reduce the transmis-
sion of the HIV virus. What is needed is
more education, not less. It is likely that
most or all of these 1.5 million HIV in-
fected people and the people they may un-
knowingly infect in the future will even-
tually develop full-blown AIDS.
Recent research shows that if the drug
AZT is administered early, it can signifi-
cantly slow the onset of symptomatic
AIDS in HIV infected people. This
demonstrates the vital necessity of in-
creased government funding of AIDS
treatment and research programs.
Currently, only someone with full-blown
'Nationalized health care r
profit. Doctors, hospitals, an
to all people.'
AIDS is eligible for money to subsidize
the $700 a month cost of AZT. One and a
half million people infected with HIV are
not considered sick enough to receive fed-
eral money. This must be changed through
increased, not decreased, government
spending on AIDS.
Combatting AIDS, or any health care
crisis, will require a change in the U.S.
health care system. Nationalized health
care must replace medicine for profit.
Doctors, hospitals, and drugs have to be
available to all people. Currently, pharma-

. ...........

Student Legal Services
3409 Michigan Union
Ann Arbor Tenants
4001 Mkchigan Union

Housing Inspection Bureau
City BalI
Legal Services of
Southeastern Michigan
420 N. Fourth Avenue


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7' " 7 U i .71- ,40 T"'

IX. . . .. . .


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