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September 07, 1989 - Image 57

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

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The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition -Thursday, September 7, 1989 - Page 1

Cable tv bore you? Try city
politics for some excitement


*By Noah Finkel
Daily Staff Writer
Thanks to cable tv's C-SPAN,
those of us with nothing better to do
can sit for hours and observe the ac-
tivities of the members of the US

We often see them making long-
winded speeches about the national
debt, the Contras, John Tower's al-
leged drinking and flirting, or the fi-
nancial dealings of Jim Wright and
Tony Coelho.
But if that does not put you
sleep, try Ann Arbor's community
access television. You might catch
Ann arbor's law-making body, the
City Council, in action.
You can see them about every
other Monday night sitting in a
poorly-lit room discussing zoning
ordinances, Headlee Amendment roll-
backs, zoning ordinances, park mil-
lages, zoning ordinances, solid waste
disposal, and more zoning or-
Enthralling? No.
Critical to the national interest?

Stimulating? Try C-SPAN again.
It's no wonder University stu-
dents, even those who are politi-
cally-motivated and look at The
Michigan Daily for purposes other
than completing the crossword puz-
zle tend to ignore Ann Arbor poli-
Most students after all, will live
here for only eight months a year for
four years. Ann Arbor politics isn't
that exciting, and it never seems to
make that big of an impact on us.
And even for the politically-
conscious, Ann Arbor politics aren't
very attractive. If a student is going
to get involved, it would make more
sense to get involved in an issue at
the national or international level in
which the stakes are higher and pas-
sions and emotions fuel vigorous
But university students should
not turn a deaf ear to this city.
For one thing, many of the ac-
tions taken by the council have an
impact on students as Ann arbor res-
And for the politically-interested,
Ann Arbor is an excellent place to
Take Jesse Levine, for example.
In April he unsuccessfully ran for
City Council in the Second Ward,
while an LSA senior.

Levine is a little different from
most student political activists, who
are deeply concerned with issues
such as abortion and Apartied.
Instead, he became fascinated by is-
sues facing Ann Arbor, such as the
city budget deficit and the overflow-
ing landfill.
Those issues may seem boring
compared to others, but as Levine
put it, "National and international
issues are very important, but I'm a
practical guy. (Ann Arbor) is where I
can make my biggest impact."
"You talk about Greenpeace,
we've got environmental problems
right here," he said. "You talk about
the homeless and the lack of afford-
able housing, we've got a problem
here... You talk about the national
budget deficit, Ann Arbor's got a
city budget deficit."
Most student activists dive right
into the big national and interna-
tional issues. Many become disillu-
sioned when they discover it is diffi-
cult to make a difference on such
Not so for Levine and others who
get involved in Ann Arbor politics.
The results of their actions can be
immediate, tangible, and extremely
And much more satisfying than
watching C-SPAN.

.. R
* W
my ~

Continued from Page 3
ballot issues.
Any U.S. citizen 18 years of age
lor older who has resided in Ann
Arbor for at least 30 days prior to
election day is eligible to vote.
As Jesse Levine argues, "students
don't go out and vote for city coun-
cil because they don't know about
it". But in reality, "voting on a local
level is so much more powerful, it
counts so much more. Put it this
Continued from Page 3
than an ambitious, upwardly-mobile
A native of Flint, Jernigan
graduated from high school there and
then joined the Air Force where he
was stationed in New Mexico and
France for four years. After the Air
Force he attended junior college in
Flint, then went on togMichigan
State University for a bachelor's de-
gree and Western Michigan
University for a Master of Business
Administration degree.
He began working at Michigan in
1972. "I hadn't been here (in Ann
Arbor) except to drive through on
football Saturday's, but I saw it as a
chance to move to a nice town," said
Jernigan quickly admits that even
though he attended Michigan State,

way, it is 4000 voters as opposed to
51 million."
Residents may register at the City
Clerk's office in City Hall, at the
public library, at a Secretary of
State's office, or with a volunteer
deputy registrar.
The only way student voting will
increase is if publicity and encour-
agement increases first. If students
are unaware of the dates and the loca-
tions, uninformed about issues, and
provided with false details, the city
will never gain a large student
turnout. U
his loyalties lie with Michigan.
Jernigan said he never had a
burning desire to become a politi-
cian, and he can't pinpoint any polit-
ical influence during his youth. "All
I knew was that I didn't want to
work on an assembly line." His par-
ents, along with most of Flint, were
Democrats, but once into his
political career, Jernigan said the
people he was dealing with tended to
be conservative.
A former city GOP chairman,
Jernigan became involved with the
local GOP in 1977 through attorney
Edward Hood, who was then a
Fourth Ward City Council represen-
tative. In 1980, he made his electoral
debut, running a kamikaze write-in
campaign for a solidly Democratic
county commission seat for the sole
purpose of keeping a off the county
party executive board.

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