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September 07, 1989 - Image 47

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-07

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The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 7, 1989 - Page 3

* Running the city is only a
part-time job for Jernigan

By Ann Maurer
Daily Staff Writer
Since 1987 when he upset Democratic mayor
Edward Pierce by only 1,000 votes, Republican Gerald
Jernigan has served as mayor of Ann Arbor. This posi-
tion which requires a lot of interaction and communica-
tion between the City and the University of Michigan.
Jernigan first ran for public office in 1980, losing
his bid for a seat on the Washtenaw County Board of
Commissioners. In 1982, running unopposed, he was
first elected to a Fourth Ward seat on the Ann Arbor
City Council.
Jernigan and the Ann Arbor City Council in gen-
eral are not conventional. The typical idea of a mayor is
given new meaning by Jernigan, who is only a part-
time mayor.
For the last 17 years, Jernigan has served as Senior
Investment Analyst for the University of Michigan's
Endowment Fund. He only performs mayoral duties
from 25-30 hours per week. It is the intention of
Jernigan and City Council to have the city government
run less by one individual and more by committees and
special interest groups.
"We eventually would like to see city hall run by a
group of people with politicians coming in and out,"
*said Jernigan.
In his two years as mayor, despite taking a back
seat approach, Jernigan seems to have held true to his
campaign platform, bringing about many beneficial
As mayor, Jernigan has been faced with numerous
problems and issues, and in 1989 there are three major
issues needing attention:
the budget, crime, and
The budget is always a
problem according to
Jernigan. His goal is to
gradually relieve the debt,
;and for the past two years
the city government has
been continuously taking '~~
steps to stabilize the budget.'
In February they an-
nounced the Amnesty
Program, an attempt to col-
lect 50 percent of unpaid
parking tickets issued before
1989. Jernigan said the pro-t
gram fell short of expecta-
tions. "We expected to raise
$200,000, but only received
about $90,000."
On the subject of crime, Jernigan says the two ma-
jor types plaguing Ann Arbor are assaultive and break-
ing and entering. Assaultive crimes occur mostly on the
central campus area according to Jernigan.
"We wanted to brighten existing street lights and
add lights where there were none, but residents protested
and the plan was abandoned." The breaking and enter-
ings, although unwanted are understandable to Jernigan.
"Ann Arbor is an affluent community and that fact is
not a secret."
Jernigan has followed through on a campaign
promise by increasing police foot patrols downtown and
motor patrols in public housing sites.
One problem that Ann Arbor has been immune to
in the past is drugs, but recently drug dealers have per-
meated into the otherwise sheltered environment of the
city. "The problem is emanating westward," said
Jernigan, "but so far it hasn't reached proportions."
After two years as mayor Jerry Jernigan feels he has
a pretty good handle on the problems and needs of the
city. He takes his job seriously, but he doesn't take on

the role of dictator. He is friendly, funny, and seemingly
straightforward. "I don't think one man should run the
show," he said, "it has to be a group effort or nothing
will ever come together."
Although reforms at the University of Michigan
were not part of Jernigan's platform, they are definitely
part of his daily concerns. The city has much to do with
issues at the Michigan, and the University students have
a lot of influence on the city.
"Although most students don't realize it," said
Jernigan, "they really could have a voting impact."
Jernigan says there is voter apathy in Ann Arbor, not
just by the students, but also by the over 80,000 regis-
tered resident voters - last election there was only 17%
voter participation.
Although the students don't take much interest in
the city outside campus, city officials and University
staff members are in constant touch. The University
keeps the city informed about events that will be taking
place on campus so the city can be prepared for an in-
flux or reduction of trade.
The University and the city also corroborate about
road work. For example, when doing construction on
roads leading to Michigan Stadium, the city always
plans to complete the work by the start of Football
Season. "A lot of times it just doesn't work out the
way we plan," admits Jernigan "The point is we try to
accommodate U of M as much as possible."
The city makes such attempts partly because of the
University's financial importance to the city.
Parking, one of the major headaches at Michigan,
is regulated by the city. The mayor realizes there is not
ample parking for students,
but he feels it is the
University's responsibility
to supply more. "I think U
of M should allot commuter
lots where students can park
free and then be driven by
bus to campus," Jernigan
said. "The city has no more
space to offer."
The city also makes
money from the police staff
it stations at the University,
according to Jernigan.
( Presently the campus unit
consists of seven uniformed
officers and two detectives.
In addition there are several
patrol cars that continuously
SUZI SILBAR/Daily circulate through the resi-
dential areas. So far, according to Jernigan, this team
has been sufficient. "Crime has been low in the campus
areas, and although there are a few trouble spots, on the
whole I feel things are running smoothly."
The only time the unit was not adequate was during
the NCAA playoffs. The mayor was not involved in or-
ganizing the police, that responsibility belongs to the
Chief of Police, but he feels it was an exceptional situa-
tion. "I feel the police did everything they could - they
kept people from being hurt."
They had tear-gas according to Jernigan, but they
chose not to use it for fear of causing a mass panic. "I
think they made the right decision. The crowd was
much larger than ever imagined. There were about 7,000
fans and only 50 officers."
Jernigan admits that he is aware of the city's prob-
lems and needs, but he tries to avoid becoming overly
involved in solving one crisis. It is obvious from his
demeanor that he is first and foremost a regular citizen
who seized the opportunity to make a change, more
See Mayor, Page 13

Students wait in line to vote for the presidential elections last November. Statistics show, however, that when
it comes to the April city elections, long lines like these are a rarity.
Apathy Plagues students
Campus ignores city elections

By Barrie Berson
Daily Staff Writer
"I don't know, I was really busy
and I didn't think my vote would
truly matter." This is the response
given by most students when asked
why they do not to vote in the Ann
Arbor city elections.
Ann Arbor is a 63-precinct city
comprised of homeowners, renters,
and students. Because it is a 'college
town', students comprise a large per-
centage of the population. Most stu-
dents, however, do not use their
right to vote in the Ann Arbor city
elections despite statistics showing
they do vote national elections.
"Students tend to feel what goes
on in the city doesn't affect them,"
claims Jesse Levine, an LSA senior
who ran for a city council spot in
Levine said that students are ei-
ther misinformed or uninformed
completely when it comes to city is-
sues and candidates. "Students don't
go out and vote for city council be-
cause they don't know about it."
Jon Hinchey, a reporter for the
Ann Arbor Observer, feels students
are uninformed because candidates
work with a limited amount of re-
sources each year.
He believes that "hour for hour
you get more out of non-students
because students don't think of
themselves as residents. This is the
same reason renters vote less than
homeowners - they are short term
State Senator Lana Pollack agrees
that a primary reason for a low stu-
dent turnout rate in city elections is
voter registration practices. "The city
discourages people who move a lot."
She said that same day voter registra-
tion would be beneficial in munici-
pal elections.

Senator Pollack says that federal
legislation is slowly moving to
standardize the registration, making
it easier to vote. Eventually, "the
state might eliminate pre-registration
regulations" she said.
"The concerning factor", says
Levine, "is that what goes on in
Ann Arbor is more economically vi-
tal to students than what goes on in
Washington D.C.".
For example, the city of Ann
Arbor charges a certain fee for build-
ing inspections, which effects all
students who do not live in a dormi-
tory. This decision was not publi-
cized around campus. As a result,
rents are significantly higher because
the city charges the landlords more
for inspection.
"In the long run, the townspeople
benefit and the students suffer," says
Another example of student igno-
rance concerning important city is-
sues is the city's landfill problem.
Due to the city's lack of trash dis-
posal space, mandatory recycling has
been proposed. In turn, students
might have to pay higher taxes in
order to haul trash to a farther dump.
Students involved in the Greek
system are greatly affected by being
uninformed. The issue of police and
party patrols has been big this past
year. Fraternities are now fined for
police overtime due to rowdy parties
and disturbances of the peace.
Senator Pollack's main concern
is that since Ann Arbor is not a stu-
dent's permanent residence, many
feel it's useless to register for such a
limited period of time. "It doesn't
make sense to wait until you are 30
to have a say in your government."
Levine agrees, "You are more
likely to know about issues in Ann
Arbor than at home, wherever home
may be".

The truth is that when one is a
student in Ann Arbor they are also a
resident of the city.
Hinchey said that there was a
huge decline in voter turnout five
years ago. "I compared the
November national elections to the
April city elections and the drop was
extremely sharp." Approximately 50
percent of the homeowners, about 33
percent of the renters, and only 15'
20 percent of the students who voted
in November, voted again in April.
Unfortunately, he adds, "turnout
in city election this year was much
less than in '85." Hinchey truly be-
lieves that "student turnout will
never be as high as the city hopes".
City elections are similar to
school board elections: those with-
out children in the school are less
likely to vote, said Hinchey. "City
government is a machine that picks
up the garbage and to most people it
doesn't really matter who does it as
long as they are sane and intelli-
Pollack and Levine, on the other
hand, feel that it is crucial to force
students to believe that their vole is
important, that they do count in the
city of Ann Arbor.
Last year a non-partisan coalition
called Student Vote '88 was started.
Before the presidential election, 6700
new voters were registered, which
was a huge increase for. the city.
This increased turnout in the presi-
dential election but the city elect-
tion's did not also benefit. "Once
again, students didn't feel their voice
was so vital," says Levine.
"Making students aware of the
dates and places is a starter," says
Senator Pollack. The city general
election is held on the first Monday
in April; at stake are city council
seats, mayor, local millages, and
See Voting, Page 13


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