The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 27, 1994 - 3
WASHINGTON (AP) - Presi-
dentClinton's seizing of the initiative
on crime and welfare reform has
knocked Republicans off balance -
suddenly on the defensive on issues
that have been dependable GOP weap-
ons against Democrats for a quarter
Clinton's efforts are causing con-
iderable worry within a Republican
Party already at odds internally over
how to position itself in the coming
health care reform debate, and con-
cerned that GOP hopes for gains in
this year's midterm elections could
With Clinton promising to push
three popular issues through Congress,
Republicans find themselves in a
*quandary not unlike last year's North
American Free Trade Agreement de-
bate: They can help Clinton to victory
and watch him get most of the credit,
or try to block the president and run
afoul of voters anxious for action on
crime, welfare and health care.
"There's a potential, if (his State
of the Union) speech was sincere, for
aremarkable coalition that could pass
a lot of stuff," House GOP Whip
S4ewt Gingrich admitted.
"He can try all he wants, but the
Democrats in Congress are not going
to let him take the issues of crime and
welfare away because their special
interest constituencies won't let them
go in the direction the public is de-
manding," said GOP pollster Robert
"It won't be easy, but we'll get
Othere," Democratic National Commit-
tee Chair David Wilhelm said. After a
White House meeting with Clinton,
Democratic congressional leaders
made similar predictions.
"Clinton's speech isn't going to
be one of the great ones in history, but
he was pretty effective in positioning
himself more solidly than he was be-
fore in the eyes of the middle class by
linking the three issues of health care,
*welfare and crime," said Kevin
Phillips, a GOP theorist often critical
of the party leadership. "I think Re-
publicans have gotten themselves in
some real trouble here."
"He doesn't have the votes on the
Democratic side," said Senate Re-
publican leader Bob Dole. "He's go-
ing to have to drop a lot of these price
controls, mandates, the mandatory
health care alliances, before we make
any real inroads."
However, even Dole conceded in
an NBC interview that in the end, "we
can probably accommodate most of
what the president is talking about."
festival and religion
By PATRICIA MONTGOMERY
FOR THE DAILY
The Hindu Students Council
(HSC) held its first agricultural and
religious festival on campus last night.
About 30 students took part in Pongal,
Puja and Prasad, which are three cus-
tomary ways for some Hindu follow-
ers to commemorate this yearly event.
Pongal is the Harvest festival. Puja
is the ritual performance. And Prasad
is the feast for social gathering.
"It's a time for celebration," said
LSA first-year student Sanjeev Javia.
"If you don't have time to go to a
temple, you come to Puja."
Along with the day's events, ob-
servers recognize Indian indepen-
dence from the British rule that oc-
curred on Aug. 15, 1947. Established
on Jan. 26, 1950, the holiday honors
the Republic Day of India.
One major theme of the Hindu
festivity is the only way to learn about
the heritage is through celebration.
HSC organizers said the event
hoped to join Hindu followers and
University students together to par-
ticipate in acknowledgment of the
44th anniversary of Indian indepen-
Despite the somber atmosphere,
HSC member Michelle Vallabhanath
said she enjoyed the occasion. "We
celebrated a very festive but religious
occasion today," she said.
Students of all religious back-
grounds were welcomed to take part
in the holiday and festival.
Kris Vezner, an Hungarian Law
Student, said he is interested in learn-
ing more about Hinduism after at-
tending the event.
"It is a celebration as well as an
educational experience. I wanted to
learn about Hinduism through the
people themselves and how they ex-
perience Hinduism in their life as
opposed to taking an academic course
about the religion," said April, a Ger-
man-American University staffmem-
Mihir Meghani, HSC national co-
ordinator, said he was pleased with
the turnout and hopes to see a greater
assembly of interested people from
all ethnic background forfuturecoun-
Kantha Vallabhanath performs the ritual Puja ceremony last night at the MLB. Vallabhanath, along with other
members of the Hindu Students Council provided food, flowers and special offerings to the Hindu deities.
Gov. candidates debate new school funding proposal
defends her role in
cutting property tax
for school funding
EAST LANSING (AP) - Three
of the Democrats running for their
party's nomination for governor ganged
up yesterday on fellow candidate Debbie
Stabenow for her role in slashing school
Stabenow, astate senator, sponsored
the amendment passed by lawmakers
last July that wiped out property taxes
for school operating costs and set off a
five-month search by lawmakers for
"You were snookered by John
Engler into implementing his agenda,"
charged Howard Wolpe, a former mem-
ber of congress from Lansing.
Stabenow defended her role in the
property tax cut as a bold move to head
off an attempt by Gov. John Engler to
cut property taxes by $1 billion without
replacing the money for schools.
"We stepped forward this summer
with something that was bold to force
him to be constructive instead of de-
structive like he always is," she said.
The issue dominated thefourDemo-
crats' appearance on public television's
"Off the Record" show.
Afterward, Stabenow, of Lansing,
said the three zeroed in on the issue
because they believe she's ahead in the
"I think there's always a focus on
the person that's perceived as the per-
son to beat," she said.
After passage of Stabenow's prop-
erty tax measure, lawmakers crafted
two proposals. One, to be voted on by
the public March 15, has an increase in
the sales tax to 6 percent from 4 percent
as its centerpiece. The second, which
will go into effect if the sales tax in-
crease is defeated, centers around an
increase in the income tax to 6 percent
from 4.6 percent.
Wolpe said the Legislature's adop-
tion of the property tax cut without
alternative school funding set off a wave
of anxiety over whether schools would
be able to open next fall.
"A gameof political chicken gotout
of control," he said.
Wolpe compared Stabenow to an
arsonist who starts a fire and then wants
credit for putting it out. "That's not the
kind of leadership I think we need," he
Lansing attorney Larry Owen char-
acterized it as reckless.
"Debbie, you don't jump off the
cliff first and then hope somebody hands
you a parachute on the way down," he
pered his criticism the mostof the three.
He stressed his role in helping create a
new funding scheme to replace the old
property tax system.
"Whether the senator was snookered
or whether it was badj udgment or what-
ever it was, it still was an irresponsible
action to take," he said.
Stabenow agreed that's not the way
she likes to do business, but it was time
to break 25 years of gridlock.
"At some point, when you look at
the realities ofpeople losing theirhomes,
seniors having to lose their homes be-
cause of high property taxes, children
not getting the education they need, at
some point you have to draw a line in
the sand and say, 'Enough is enough.
It's time to do something more,"' she
Stabenow said most of the anxiety
was generated by her political rivals.
She predicted the issue will fade once
voters get lower property tax bills later
this year and schools see more equi-
With new call for peace, Israel, PLO restart negotiations early
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - An Israeli
delegation arrived in Cairo late Tues-
day for an unexpected resumption of
talks with PLO officials on beginning
The move was a surprise since the
parties had said Monday that negotia-
tions were being suspended until after a
meeting this weekend between PLO
chair Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres.
The early resumption of talks sug-
gested new proposals might be under
study for implementing the Sept. 13
accord that calls for Palestinian au-
tonomy in the Gaza Strip and the West
Bank town of Jericho.
The talks follow optimistic state-
ments by Israeli Prime MinisterYitzhak
Rabin about the outcome of Peres'
meeting with Arafat in Norway last
Israeli troops were to have begun
pulling out Dec. 13, but the withdrawal
has been delayed by disputes over con-
trol of border crossings, the size of the
Jericho area and security for Jewish
Speaking to reporters after a two-
hour meeting with Foreign Minister
Amr Moussa of Egypt, Arafat praised
Egypt's effort to bridge differences be-
tween Israel and the PLO.
The latest Egyptian step was a visit
by Moussa to Israel on Monday in
which he reportedly carried Palestinian
suggestions for breaking the deadlock
in the talks.
Egypt's Middle East News Agency
later quoted Arafat as saying that Moussa
brought important results from Israel
and that the talks in Cairo could con-
tinue until tomorrow.
Moussatold reporters he would take
part in the meeting between Peres and
Arafat, planned for Saturday in Davos,
Uri Savir,director-general of Israel's
Foreign Ministry, and Yoel Zinger, a
ministry adviser who has been negoti-
ating details of the withdrawal agree-
ment, arrived on a special flight after 8
p.m. Neither would talk to reporters at
No information was released on
where the talks would be held. The two
sides have sought to avoid reporters
during previous talks in Cairo.
Also Tuesday, Israeli negotiators
met separately in Washington with their
counterparts from Jordan, Lebanon,
Syria and the PLO as part of the overall
Mideast peace process.
The talks were at undisclosed loca-
tions, part of a new policy to create a
more relaxed atmosphere outside the
glare of publicity.
Among the issues being discussed
is whether the Arab parties would sign,
separate treaties with Israel.
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik
Hariri said Tuesday in London that his
country and Syria have agreed that they
would only sign a deal together. "This
is for the national interest of Lebanon
and for the national interest of Syria,"
Syria backs Hariri's government and
is the main powerbroker in Lebanon,
with 40,000 troops in the country.
Engler and House leaders release
*school tax proposal for March ballot
LANSING (AP) - Gov. John
Snglerand House leaders have worked
out a deal on the ballot language for
he March 15 school tax proposal.
The language released yesterday
will be presented to the Board of State
Canvassers tomorrow. That panel
eadlocked 2-2 along party lines last
riday on three different versions of
:he ballot wording.
Ballot language is considered cru-
:ial because it's the last thing voters
See before they cast their ballots.
The centerpiece of the ballot plan
pushed by Engler is raising the state
Sales tax from 4 percent to 6 percent.
If that fails in a March 15 state-
wide vote, then a backup plan goes
Onto effect. That core of that plan
includes raising the income tax from
4.6 percent to 6 percent. Both plans
also would raise some other taxes,
including taxes on property transfers.
TheRepublican canvassers backed
language that spelled out what the
income tax increase would be if the
sales tax plan was rejected.
Democrats opposed that since it
wasn't part of the ballot proposal and
said the other tax increases linked to
the ballot plan should be mentioned.
That left the panel locked in a
House Democratic Leader Curtis
Hertel, of Detroit, filed a lawsuit
Monday in the Michigan Court of
Appeals. He asked the appeals court
to order the canvassers to approve the
language he suggested or to order the
canvassers to come up with their own
language, but restrict it to what's in
the ballot plan.
The compromise language was set
out in an agreement released yester-
It was signed by Hertel, House
Republican Leader Paul Hillegonds,
of Holland, and Engler's legal coun-
sel, Lucille Taylor.
It showed that both sides had com-
promised. All three versions presented
to the canvassers said the sales tax
would be increased from 4 percent to
That's still mentioned in the title
to the proposed wording, but is gone
from the body of the language.
Thursday, January 27th
Q Graduate Employees Organi-
zation, Rackham, East Confer-
ence Room, 7 p.m.
Q Korean Student's Association,
Michigan Union, Welker Room,
Q Intervarsity Christian Fellow-
ship, Michigan Union, Ander-
son Room, 7 p.m.
Q Islamic Circle, Lane Hall, Room
2N_ 6 n m
Q Career Options in Social Work,
sponsored by Career Planing and
Placement, Michigan Union,
Kuenzel Room, 7p.m.
Q Deciding Your Career, spon-
sored by Career Planing and
Placement, 3200 Student Activi-
ties Building, 4:10-6 p.m.
Q Jewish Feminist Discussion
Group, at Hillel, 1429 Hill St.,
Revue of the Statement of Students' 'Rights' and Responsibilities
6:00 pm The Pendleton Room of the Michigan Union
Fld for by the Students' Rights Commission of Ih' Mirhiqon St miront As':rfr bly
ExeCutivePositionsA lbe a
Q Second Annual Freedom Fo-
rum, sponsored by the Black
Student Union, Angell Hall, Aud
D, 7 p.m.
Q Statement of Student Rights and
Hearing, Michigan Union,
Pendelton Room, 6-8 p.m.
Q The Medical School Interview,
sponsored by Career Planing and
Placement 3200 Student Activi-
" President I