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September 06, 1990 - Image 52

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-06

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Page 10-The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 6, 1990

Ann Arbor still safely
left of political mean

by David Schwartz
Daily Opinion Editor
In the 1950s, University of
Michigan students protested the fir-
ing of three professors who refused
to answer questions about their ties
to the Communist Party.
In the 1960s, the city of Ann Ar-
bor and the University of Michigan
spawned Tom Hayden and Students
for a Democratic Society (SDS), and
served as a locale for protests against
the war in Vietnam.
In the 1970s, the protests and sit-
ins persisted, and liberals continued
to control the Ann Arbor City
But in the 1980s, Republicans
gained control of the city council,
and students who called themselves
the Con3ervative Coalition gained
control of the Michigan Student
Assembly, the University's student
government. And all this took place
while students on campus protested
the intolerant racial climate at the
So are Ann Arbor and the Uni-
versity - a town and campus which
have long been associated with fierce
progressivism - buying into Rea-
gan's world of deficit spending and
coddling of big business?
On the surface, many would say
that Ann Arbor has taken a definitive
turn to the mainstream. Marc
Selinger, who in 1989 was editor of
the conservative Michigan Review, a
monthly student magazine, wrote in
an editorial for the Detroit News that
conservatives had taken over the
campus. Among the evidence, he
listed the success of the Conserva-
tive Coalition, in the 1989 student
government elections, in which con-
servative candidate Aaron Williams
captured the presidency.
Others point to the success of
Republicans in Ann Arbor politics
as a harbinger of the city's political
and social slant in the 1990s. In the
spring of 1989, the GOP gained a 7-
4 majority on the city council while
retaining the mayoral seat, held by
Republican Gerald Jernigan.
But as conservatives gloat and
liberals fret, most overlook the pos-
sibility that little has really changed.
After all, how much could a city that

many compare with Berkeley, Cali-
fornia, suddenly turn into a bastion
for right-wingers?
The answer is, not as much as
people seem to think:
Thousands of Ann Arbor resi-
dents participated in Earth Day 1990,
and the city attracted speakers like
Ralph Nadar, just as it did in the
original Earth Day 20 years ago.
Though not at the forefront of envi-
ronmental awareness, the city of
Ann Arbor is seriously contemplat-
ing initiating a program of manda-
tory recycling.

Before the 1988 Michigan
Democratic primary, candidate Jesse
Jackson spoke at the University's
Crisler Arena, and received more
support in Ann Arbor than anywhere
else in the state but Detroit. Jackson
went on to win the Michigan pri-
mary, the only state in which he fin-
ished first.
The annual Take Back the
Night rally, in which women de-
mand the right to be free of fear and
abuse caused by men, continues to
attract thousands of Ann Arborites
each spring.
Though Ann Arbor voters re-
cently overturned the decades-old $5
fine for possession of marijuana, the
penalty for smoking pot is still only
$25. In the same election, citizens
voted to make the city a Zone of
Reproductive Freedom should the
state ever outlaw abortions.
Shanties protesting apartheid
in South Africa and the treatment of
Palestinians in the Occupied Territo-
ries, among others, continue to dot
the Diag in ever-increasing numbers.
. So why, then, have conservatives
ascended to power both in the city
and at the University? Ann Arbor, to
be sure, is no longer a city made up
solely of liberal professors and other
left-leaning intellectuals. But voting
changes among city residents can
most easily be linked to the success

of Republicans like Ronald Reagan
and George Bush on the national
level, a success which has rubbed off
on local GOP candidates.
Still, the balance of power in city
politics may be shifting back to the
liberals. This spring, a Democratic
challenger ousted an incumbent on
council, cutting the Republicans'
majority to a precarious 6-5. And re-
cent Democratic defeats can easily be
attributed to ballot questions dealing
with the controversial issue of rent
control, which the Democrats sup-
ported and for which they subse-
quently suffered a political thrashing.
On campus, the success of the
Conservative Coalition was precipi-
tated by three liberal parties running
in the same election; most CC can-
didates won with less than 30 per-
cent of the student vote. And though
the conservatives promised to end
liberal mismanagement of student
government, they failed to end the
persistent bickering on the assem-
Consequently, the Conservative
Coalition's dominance of student
government came to an abrupt halt;
last spring, liberal Jennifer Van Va-
ley and most of her Action party
slate were elected to seats on MSA.
So what lies in store for the
Contrary to recent speculation,
liberalism in Ann Arbor is not dead,
and most students at Michigan have
not suddenly become closet Republi-
cans. Liberalism in Ann Arbor may
have stagnated in the '80s, but it's
making a comeback. Incoming stu-
dents anxious to experience the
city's legendary political climate can
take heart - a political conscious-
ness, and a liberal one at that, still
pervades the intellect of Ann Arbor.

)ne of Ann Arbor's two food co-ops. Dave thinks Ann Arbor is still liberal and what more proof does one need than
i food co-op. Alex talks about many things in his column, but he mentions co-ops as well, making this photo the
)erfect tool to tie the page together.
Your ticket to success from
an alu-m who knows it all

If I could tell you one thing to
help you master Ann Arbor (and ob-
viously I can because I've been
granted this space in the paper to
say, in fact, many things about Ann
Arbor, but I digress) it would be pay
your parking tickets.
But, I don't have a car, you may
interject. Pay your tickets anyway.
Everyone (owners of cars, car
thieves, bicyclists, people who don't
even know how to drive) gets park-
ing tickets in Ann Arbor. There is
no way to escape them.
Don't even think they won't
catch up with you. You have better
odds of having a medicine ball sud-
denly crash through your living
room wall interupting a family game
of Chutes And Ladders than escaping
the wrath of the Ann Arbor Parking
Citations bureau.
As you stroll down South Uni-
versity this fall, take note of the ex-
tensive renovations done there. The
entire project was funded soley by
parking fines my friend Peter and I
amassed over four years in here.
Ann Arbor is a whole lot more

than parking hassles. Besides being
an anagram for Bra Ran On, this
wonderful city is, to many, a liberal
haven in the conservative midwest.
Ann Arbor is so liberal (how lib-
eral is it? it's so liberal that there is
a city ordinance requiring each resi-
dent to have at least 1.78 bumper-
stickers supporting Latin American
sovierenty, a free South Africa, a
cleaner enviorment or animal rights
on their Volvo.
There are two food co-op's in this
town. Now I don't even know what
a food co-op is, but we have two of
them and that means we're pretty
darn liberal.

One very positive offshoot of
this liberalismality is the number of
parks around. The parks are great to
ride bikes, play basketball, take a
date late at night - almost any-
However, do not sleep on the
hood of your car with a bagel and the
USA Today sports section in your
hand in the parks. I once did this un-
til a member of Ann Arbor's finest
came to rouse me for "camping out."
Oh, and another thing, do not try
and remove bread thats stuck in the
toaster with a metal object like a
fork unless the toaster is unplugged.
Ann Arbor is a city of duality. It
is at once both the birthplace ,of the
chipati and Bob Seger. It is both the
home of the University of Michigan
and Concordia College. Where else
is the penalty for smoking pot
(recently made more stringent) still a
lesser fee than the charge for using
your bank card at another Magic
Line machine?
You want culture, Ann Arbor is a
vertable panoply for the arts. This is
See ALEX, Page 14

. 1

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