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February 07, 1990 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-02-07

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, February 7, 1990
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
NEWS 313 764 0552

ARTS 763 0376
OPINION 747 2814


747 3336
747 4630

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.

Congress should make voter registration easier

eligible citizens in the United States is
not registered to vote - that's approx-
imately 60 million people whose voices
are not heard, whose opinions are
rarely considered, and whose presence
is all but ignored in legislatures on the
local, state, and national level. And
with the 1988 Presidential election elic-
iting the lowest voter turnout in 64
years, it is time to revamp the voter
registration process.
Two pieces of landmark legislation,
one debated by the House of Represen-
tatives yesterday and one which will be
argued on the Senate floor within the
month, are creative and innovative ap-
proaches to the topic of voter registra-
tion. They seek to register millions of
citizens who currently have no say in
how their tax dollars are spent. The
legislation, if approved, would incor-
porate registration into other govern-
ment bureaucracies, in addition to re-
forming the system by which voter
rolls are maintained.
The most revolutionary aspect of the
bill is the "Motor-Voter" provision,
under which all citizens who apply for
a driver's license or license renewal are
automatically registered to vote, unless
they specify otherwise. This provision
would automatically register the large
percentage of voting-age Americans
who drive, allowing them to more
easily participate in the democratic
In addition, schools, libraries, So-
MSU shows the power of
part of a broad college experience. But
the Michigan State University Board of
'-Trustees demonstrated just how impor-
tant sports has become by appointing
MSU football coach George Perles as
athletic director, despite vehement
objections by MSU President John
naming Perles, the trustees disre-
garded DiBiaggio's assertion that a
football coach should not also be ath-
letic director. But more importantly, the
,decision illustrates the extent to which
university administrators will go to
keep the sports revenue flowing. Perles
is an excellent fundraiser, and the
trustees did not want to alienate the
university's financial backers.
The 5-3 vote by the trustees has re-
ceived much criticism from the MSU
community, culminating in a demon-
stration in which 250 people protested
outside a board meeting. Many stu-
dents and faculty are upset that Perles
threatened to take a job coaching the
New York Jets, thereby showing his
lack of loyalty. to MSU. Others are

cial Security offices, and other gov-
ernment agencies would be required to
supply voter registration materials in
their offices. This, like the "Motor-
Voter" provision, would add millions
of voters every year.
Currently, many states reduce elec-
tion turnouts by removing registered
voters who neglect to cast a ballot in a
specific election. If implemented, the
legislation would abolish this practice,
requiring instead that states update and
verify their registration rolls by making
use of the U.S. Postal Service's Na-
tional Change of Address Program.
Periodically, voters would be sent a
non-forwardable address verification
notice. Upon return of this notice, vot-
ers' names would be verified and re-
main on the voter rolls for the upcom-
ing election.
Finally, the proposed legislation
would require all states to offer regis-
tration by mail, aiding those without
transportation or who live far from a
registration site.
. It is clear that governments on all
levels have neglected to make voting
accessible to all people. Obviously,
suffrage has been extended over the
years, but unfortunately the voter reg-
istration process is still fraught with
obstacles which keep the most unfortu-
nate in our society from casting ballots.
The current legislation would eliminate
many of these obstacles, and Congress
should be encouraged to make the

Cities shouldn't overrule state laws

By Jim Huggins
This April, Ann Arbor voters will be
asked to vote on a proposal which would
create a "zone of reproductive freedom"
within the city of Ann Arbor. If passed,
and if the state of Michigan were ever to
outlaw abortion outright, a woman obtain-
ing an abortion within Ann Arbor would
be only penalized by a $5 fine, rather than
the criminal penalties which would proba-
bly be imposed by the state.
In the coming months, I fully expect
activists from both the pro-choice and pro-
life camps to portray this proposal as a
referendum on the issue of abortion in
general. I have no doubt that pro-choice
activists will ask voters to insure that a
woman's right to an abortion will not be
altered by any action of the state legisla-
I am also sure that pro-life activists
will ask voters to defeat this attempt to
Huggins is a graduate student in computer
science and a member of the Graduate
Christian Fellowship.

deny the unborn the right to exist that all
of us enjoy.
But I fear that another issue will be
completely ignored during this debate:
namely, whether or not a "zone of repro-
ductive freedom" would be just. To pro-
choice activists, I ask, "Would it be just
that a woman in Ypsilanti could be ar-
rested for having an abortion while a
woman in Ann Arbor would receive a slap
on the wrist?"
To pro-life activists, I ask, "Would it
be just that a fetus in Ypsilanti would be
granted the right to live while a fetus in
Ann Arbor could be denied that right?"
Such an ordinance would encourage lo-
cal communities to define their own stan-
dards of morality. Would we like to see
small towns create local ordinances over-
riding state civil rights laws, permitting
discrimination against people of color?
Would we like to see small towns create
local ordinances overriding state health
regulations, permitting unsafe working
conditions because of the influence of a
few local politicians? We would never

want to encourage this kind of behavior -
and yet, would we choose to act in this
manner with regards to abortion?
This act would show incredible con-
tempt for the efforts that our state legisla-
tors would have to go through to in order
to pass any laws regarding abortion which
could be passed by both houses and signed
by our governor. In essence, the city of
Ann Arbor would be saying to the state of
Michigan, "We don't like your laws, so
we're going to ignore them and make up
our own."
The definition of justice should not
change as one enters the city limits of
Ann Arbor. If abortion should be legal, it
should be legal in all cities. If abortion
should be illegal, it should be illegal in all
cities. Let those who feel strongly on this
issue continue to fight for their point-of-
view to be enacted into law - but let
them fight this battle on the state or na-
tional level, and leave the idea of local
"zones of justice" alone.

collegiate athletics
complaining that the Jets offer was
only a ploy for Perles to force the
trustees to give him the athletic director
But the real issue is how the trustees
bent over backwards to placate their
football coach. Universities are first
and foremost educational institutions,
and it's astounding that the MSU
trustees would side with their football
coach rather than their president.
In addition, the trustees ignored
equal opportunity and affirmative ac-
tion hiring regulations when selecting
Perles. State universities are supposed
to conduct a search process and inter-
view candidates before making person-
nel decisions, policies which the
trustees completely disregarded.
The MSU decision highlights the
trend among universities to place more
emphasis on athletics than on aca-
demics or equal opportunity. Institu-
tions of higher education should spend
less time pleasing disgruntled football
coaches and more time working to
lower tuition and turn out well-edu-
cated students.

Pursell attacks Daily for printing bogus letter "

To the Daily:
Published in the January 31st edition
of the Daily was the text of a fraudulent
letter sent to the newspaper on a facsimile
of my official congressional stationary,
bearing a reproduction of my signature. I
find the newspaper's presentation, place-
ment, and treatment of this material offen-
sive and highly suspect.
A member of the Daily's editorial staff
contacted my press secretary on January
30th to confirm authorship before publish-

ing the letter as a "Letter to the Editor."
At that time, she was informed the letter
was bogus and that the matter was under
federal investigation.
Despite receiving this information, the
Daily proceeded to publish the fraudulent
letter, with a headline and short editor's
note questioning whether the letter came
from my office. No mention was made
that the matter was under investigation by
the proper federal authorities.
I take personal umbrage at the newspa-

per's published suggestion that readers
"judge" for themselves whether I had
penned the article. There was nothing to
judge - the newspaper had been told the
letter was a forgery.
Since the Daily found this bogus letter
of sufficient interest to publish it as opin-
ion, perhaps it now can encourage the true
author to take responsibility by signing
his/her work.
Carl Pursell
U.S. Representative

Daily editors placed restrictions on open dialogue

To the Daily:
It is perhaps fitting that Opinion Page
Editors Amy Harmon and Betsy Esch
should decide to finish their term in office
with yet another tirade against the State of
Israel ("Last words from the Opinion Edi-
tors," 2/2/90). In the course of the past
year we have seen them lambast the Jew-
ish state, sometimes almost every day, and
those of us who have attempted to respond
can remember being stonewalled and told
that they had "lost" our letters, or that the
Daily was not obliged to print a represen-
tative sampling of student views, particu-
larly if they did not agree with them.
In their parting farewell Harmon and
Esch ask, "... why, if honest dialogue is
what is desired, should limits be placed on
one of the only institutions on the campus

where such dialogue has been encouraged?"
Honest dialogue? Encouraged? If the Daily
has been printing a dialogue it has been a
one-sided dialogue, and if there are limits
on what has been printed it has been
because the Daily has refused to ac-
knowledge the legitimacy, or sometimes
even the existence, of those with whom
they disagree.
Two times, in the course of this past
semester alone, the Daily went beyond
merely cutting short or refusing to print
letters that the editors disagreed with;
rather, the Daily altered the text of the let-
ters in order to force them to conform to
the editors' own political agenda. So much
for ethical journalism.
Some students may recall that at the
beginning of this past semester, seven

Jewish and pro-Israel student groups under-
took a pledge to plant a tree in Israel for
every factually incorrect and negative *
statement made by the Daily against the
Jewish people or the Jewish state. This
past semester we raised the money for, and
planted, 61 trees.
The documentation stretches through
28 pages, and stands as our testimony to
the Daily's willingness to distort the facts,
or to even lie, in order to make their
point, and to our determination not to
stand by and just let it happen. A copy of*
the documentation is available in the
lobby of the Hillel for those who would
care to browse through it.
John Blow
Tagar co-chair

Frats should not allow drinking by minors

last places you might expect to find con-
cern over underage drinking. After all, al-
cohol has been as much a part of college
tradition as fight songs and all-nighters
since the earliest days of higher education.
Yet Northwestern students and officials
are jumping on the bandwagon together
and making a concerted effort to stem the
tide of booze flowing into the mouths of
minors. As unpopular as these efforts
might be, NU can be proud for taking an
aggressive stand on a serious issue.
First the Interfraternity Council insti-

tuted a reasonably tough (though not
tough enough) policy for fraternity parties
that, with revisions, will do much to stop
underage drinking.
Now, The Gathering Place has unveiled
its plan of attack: a list of all NU stu-
dents' names and birthdays to cross-check
IDs presented at the door. Bar employees
will check the lists randomly, which is
reasonable, given the amount of time each
check takes.
- The Daily Northwestern
Northwestern University
January 12

Blame Barry
To the Daily:
In your editorial "Barry and the Media"
(1/31/90), you blame the press for focus-
ing on the charges against Washington
Mayor Marion Barry instead of on the
sleazy way in which he was set up. There
is a reason for this.
Mayor Barry presides over a city ad-
ministration with rampant corruption:
eight D.C. department heads and two
deputy mayors have been jailed for corrup-
tion in recent years, including Mayor
Barry's former aide, Ivanhoe Donaldson.

tributable to corruption and political
cronyism. The people who suffer are
Washington's inhabitants, mostly poor,
mostly Black. The Mayor's development
policies have encouraged construction of
tourist attractions and fostered the devel-
opment of a fancy restaurant district, while
the poor neighborhoods decay in drug-in-
fested squalor. If Barry were white, he
would be rightly accused of maintaining
racist policies.
But because Barry is Black, he has
managed to duck responsibility for these

problems through demagogic claims that
he was being unfairly attacked by a racist
"white media." Maybe the "white media"
is racist, but Barry is still corrupt.
These are the reasons - not to men-
tion his apparent crack habit - that the
media gleefully attacks Marion Barry.
Washington desperately needs a new
mayor, a Black mayor with integrity and
moral authority. Getting rid of Barry has
to be the first step.
Stuart Kaufman
Political Science graduate student

States need tougher drunk driving laws

do not believe that drunken driving is a se-

right to support bills that would, among
other things, allow police to confiscate the

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