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December 07, 1994 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-12-07

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 7, 1994

oIz irbgr4jun &ilg

'I do not micro-manage.'

420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan

Jessie Halladay
Editor in Chief
Samuel Goodstein
Flint Wainess
Editorial Page Editors

Cold War

- LSA Dean Edie Goldenberg

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

The city next door

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thecasual observer, thepersonnel changes
within the Office of University Relations
may seem a matter of academic concern -or
no concern at all. After all, the new suits in the
Fleming Building are mere facsimiles of the
old University bureaucrats who looked down
at their city and county counterparts with con-
tempt.
Or are they?
After several months without a liaison to
local government, theUniversity ishiringJames
Kosteva as director of community relations,
effective Dec. 19. Kosteva, a former Demo-
cratic state representative from Canton, can
and should bring a much-needed change in
relations between the University and the com-
munities it impacts.
Last spring, the University lost Peter
Pellerito, its liaison to local government, to a
private-sector pharmaceutical firm in Califor-
nia. Instead of quickly moving to replace
Pellerito, the University attempted to spread
his duties to other officials in University Rela-
tions - a tactic that, although cheaper, ulti-
mately harmed the University's standing with
the outside world. Associate Vice President
for University Relations Lisa Baker, who will
be Kosteva's boss, handled many dealings
with local government. But Ann Arbor city
officials were left with no single representative
to contract when problems arose.
The summer provided a dramatic example
of city-University relations gone awry when
the University purchased a major office build-
ing, removing it from the city's tax rolls. The
city administrator said he was not informed of
the impending purchase until the night before
the University Board of Regents approved it.
And city officials renewed their push for a
local impact statement, which would require
the University to notify them of moves that
would affect the community and of the conse-
quences of those moves.

But as Baker pointed out, issuing a local
impact statement would be a burden on the
University. This is especially true considering
the lack of personnel for local relations - but
that will change with Kosteva's hiring.
When Kosteva takes office, he and city
officials should quickly open lines of commu-
nication. The reshuffling in the Office of
University Relations and the dissolution of
the Office of Government Relations cut off
several vital communication links. For ex-
ample, city and University officials no longer
hold monthly, closed-door meetings to dis-
cuss areas of mutual concern.
Kosteva also must recognize the role that
students, as constituents of both the Univer-
sity and the city, play in bridging differences
between the two. Although students lacked an
advocate in local government, Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly city liaison Andrew Wright
has worked tirelessly to bring matters of stu-
dent concern to the City Council table. Wright
has also worked with University officials, but
many of his proposals have met a frosty re-
sponse.
The University has barred Wright from the
monthly meetings between the city and the
University, saying he does not represent ei-
ther party. The argument is true but self-
defeating. For too long, the University has
shirked student input into local affairs. Kosteva
should change that.
Kosteva brings a wealth of experience in
coalition-building to his new job. Pellerito
was cordial and impeccably honest, but lacked
the warmth and sense of community neces-
sary to connect to local leaders. Kosteva should
repudiate the University's high-handed ap-
proach in dealing with city government and
treat his Ann Arbor counterparts as equals.
Only then can the city and University con-
structively work to solve problems - before
and after they arise.

The secret task force

hen Washington D.C. Federal District
Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth im-
posed a fine on Clinton administration offi-
cials for their participation in the closed-door
health care task force of 1993, he violated a
cardinal rule of the playground: never kick a
man when he's down. Nevertheless, while it is
tempting to use the fine as a springboard to
simply pile on the administration, a more con-
structive tack can be found in taking this op-
portunity to revisit what went wrong in the
health care debacle of 1994 - and what dis-
turbing fundamentals the closed task force
revealed about the Clinton administration.
Charged with piecing together one of the
most important bills to be submitted to Con-
gress in American domestic policy history, the
taskforce was flawedfromits inception. Hillary
Rodham Clinton and Ira Magaziner, with a
reputable knack for systems analysis but not
for policy making, chaired the 500 member
task force, and it quickly became clear that
they planned to shut its doors to the public.
Under the 1972 Federal Advisory Committee
Act, this would be illegal - unless the task
force was constituted solely of government
employees, which the administration knew
was not possible as they embarked to reinvent
one-seventh of the American economy.
Andsoitwent. When the taskforce emerged
with its wholly non-incremental approach to
reforming health care, it became clear that
closing the task force was not only illegal, it
made for atrocious policy. ,
First, it violated every central tenet of open
government. The 1970s was the decade of
opening up government, as the Nixon admin-
istration proved to the country that centralized
power was a recipe for disaster. On the Federal

swung into effect, and the states passed varia-
tions of open meetings act legislation. But in
an ironic twist, the 1980s became not the
decade of open government, but the decade of
trying desperately to thwart sunshine laws.
The Clintons came to Washington promising
a new era -- "putting people first." But em-
bracing the centerpiece of the Clinton domes-
tic policy, the administration alienated public
and congressional opponents alike.
An administration that had conducted its
meetings under the scrutiny of the public lens
would have realized: 1) the business commu-
nity, initially providing a large impetus for
reform, would simply not support sweeping
mandatory alliances and 2) Republicans would
never allow a left-in approach to solving the
health care crisis that read like the Iliad and
included arcane cost containment "solutions"
such as global budgeting.
In other words, an administration behind
closed doors was an administration destined
to be alienated from public and congressional
opinion. Thus, the Clinton administration
emerged from the task force thinking they had
a solution to any health care problem policy
gurus could conjure up - alas they were
startled to find that the GOP wouldn't work
with them after they had shut the GOP out of
the entire formulation process. This was ad-
ministrative naivete at its zenith.
In hindsight, it is always easy to criticize.
But this is one the administration should have
seen coming a long time ago. Open govern-
ment is good government: it both cleanses the
political process and usually makes better
policy.
Perhaps that is the lesson the Clinton ad-
ministration should be taking away from the

Don't boycott
the Daily,
criticize it
To the Daily:
This is in response to who-
ever put up those flyers trying
to incite everyone to "boycott
the Daily." A boycott is gener-
ally an economic tool used in
order to pressure a producer or
seller of a certain product to
respond to consumer demands,
implemented by influencing
people to not purchase that pro-
ducer or seller's goods, for
whatever reason.
The Daily is free. By "boy-
cotting" the Daily you achieve,
well, pretty much nothing, con-
sidering that the Daily does not
depend on revenue (at least not
from University students) in
order to survive. How is this
supposed to tell the writers,
editors, etc., at the paper any-
thing? Now I am not saying that
your purposes in doing this are
off-based; in fact, I agree with
basically everything in the flyer
pertaining to the quality of the
paper. The most effective way
with which to get a message to
the people who run the paper is
to send letters - lots of them.
Don't be discouraged! The
Daily wants our letters! They
tell us this in every issue. So
send them some. Here's an ex-
ample:
Dear Daily, I am appalled
that a school of the size and
reputation of the University has
such a horrible student paper.
Your editors are basically in-
competent, and junior high stu-
dents could easily compete with
the writers. Your editorials of-
ten lack support, poignancy and
conviction. Many of the staff
writers need lessons in basic
punctuation, sentence structure
and a widening oftheirvocabu-
laries. Please stop writing ter-
rible articles. Thank you. [your
name here
So don't hesitate. It's easy.
If you think the Daily is so bad
that sometimes it angers you,
let them know.
Please - write about it be-
fore they do.
Jesse Ackles
LSA first-year student
Engin- LSA
is no joke
To the Daily:
Re: Erik Bergs's letter to
the editor, 12/5/94.
Erik, Erik, Erik. How igno-
rant thou hastbecometh in your
haughty arrogance. LSA stu-
dents are, yes, truly disadvan-
taged relative to their allegedly
superior engineering counter-
parts in regards to Hewlett-
Packard's failure to market any
such tool capable of providing
the panacaeic virtues which
their calculators provide engi-

Morality and
values will
not stop AIDS
To the Daily:
I am writing this letter in
response to the cynical and
untrue remarks made by Mark
Fletcher on Dec. 5.1 think that
Mark and the College Republi-
cans are taking the entire mean-
ing out of last week's AIDS
Awareness Week and making
it look like something "im-
moral" and wrong.
I have one thing to say:
putting aside the obnoxious and
uncalled for remarks, it must
be realized that morality and
family values will not stop the
spreading of the AIDS prob-
lem. Education and awareness
are two of the ways which will
effectively reduce the spread
of this disease. I hope that all of
you who do not agree with me
will see how important educa-
tion is, for this disease is not
one of homosexuals or IV drug
users, but one which affects us
all, moral and immoral to use
the College Republicans
words. Please take time to think
about this issue and the reality
of it and then maybe you will
realize how this is something
that everyone is affected by -
and can only be solved with the
proper education and aware-
ness of the FACTS.
Jae-Jae Spoon
LSA sophomore
Politicians
preaching
values are not
inclusive
To the Daily:
After reading Jason
Lichtstein's Dec. 1 column, I
agreed with his assessment of
the failings of the Democratic
campaign. However, I don't
think the answer is to turn
American politics into a battle-
ground over "values." I have
always found it ironic that the
Republican party, which sup-
posedly stands for the ideals
upon which our government
was founded, espouses "val-
ues" (a term which is, of neces-
sity, kept vague), which is dan-
gerously close to a violation of
separation of state and belief.
Beyond this fundamental prob-
lem, it is also true that in a
nation as diverse as ours, any
attemptto systematize "values"
would be arbitrary. Besides the
self-righteous tone of the claim
to such authority, it is not the
government's job to say any-
thing about "values," but rather
to protect the right of all to
choose their beliefs freely. If
there are some who don't like
being part of a society in which

away from the issues that gov-
ernment is supposed to be han-
dling.
On the same page, Mark
Fletcher claims that the Repub-
licans want to "encourage re-
sponsibility," when obviously,
in a democracy, the choices that
we make, and the beliefs which
govern them, are a matter of
personal responsibility, not the
government's. It is not a politi-
cal issue. The only people who
want the government to "help
explain the problems they face
in daily life," as Lichtstein
quoted, are those who aren't
willing to face these problems
themselves. That's their prob-
lem, not that of the entire na-
tion.
Not that I see any genuine
cause for concern, since I don't
believe that either the Republi-
cans or the Democrats stand for
any "values" at all, other than
increasing their own power. If
I'm wrong, then I suppose those
of us who still believe in free-
dom of belief will have to find
yet another continent to go to,
as many of our ancestors were
once forced to do.
John Morgan
LSA senior
Kudos to the
Daily
Editorial Staff
To the Daily:
Kudos to the Daily editorial
staff forgetting the facts straight
about Newt Gingrich and Re-
publicans on Tuesday. Granted,
"The 'new' House" did use lib-
eral cliches such as "voodoo
economics" and "draconian
welfare proposals" to describe
the Gingrich platform, but I will
disregard that flaw; liberals do
need time to grow. The rest of
the editorial was excellent.
Congratulations and keep up
the good work.

prisoners in
Puerto Rico
We take our political freedom
seriously in the United States. De-
spite some unfortunate episodes,
we rightfully take pride in our sub-
stantial liberties, enshrined in the
Constitution and upheld by law and
tradition for the past two centuries.
We make much of our ability to
take the high ground against coun-
tries like the Soviet Union, where
one's political opinions could land
one in jail or worse. It hardly occurs
to us to question the unstated as-
sumption that imprisoning some-
one for their politics is not only
unconstitutional, it goes against the
very fiber of what we think this
country is about. It is thus not sur-
prising to feel shock and indigna-
tion when faced with the incontro-
vertible fact that there are indeed
politicalprisoners in the United
States.
While our political prisoners
come in all shades and perspec-
tives, from Native American to
African American to European
American, one group stands out as
contributing more than their fair
share ofpolitical prisoners currently
held in U.S. jails. Right now, there
are 17 Puerto Ricans incarcerated
for their political beliefs. None of
these people have ever been con-
victed, never even been accused of
a violent crime. Yet most of them
have been in jail for 14 years, more
than the time served by the average
murderer. Their crime, on paper, is
seditious conspiracy. Their crime,
in fact, is advocacy of indepen-
dence for their country.
Puerto Rico has the dubious
honor of being the last significant
colony in the world. As part of the
Spanish American war it was in-
vaded by U.S. forces in 1898, and
has remained under U.S. military
rule ever since. But much like our
Iown founders, Puerto Ricans have
never accepted their colonial status
without a fight, and the indepen-
dence movement, born with the
U.S. invasion, has been a thorn in
the side of seventeen U.S. presi-
dents. The United Nations has re-
peatedly called on the U.S. to
decolonize, and therest of the world
reacts with some amusement when
we call on othercountries to respect
the sovereignty of neighboring na-
tions, a call that is understandably
viewed as cynical and hypocritical.
The Puerto Rican independence
movement consists of thousands of
Puerto Ricans who wish to see their
country break free of the anachro-
nistic yolk of colonialism by be-
coming an independent nation. The
U. S. government has reacted to
this movement with dramatic po-
liticalrepression, including thejail-
ing of its leaders.
It had been argued that an inde-
pendence movement in Puerto Rico
is an unacceptable threat to U.S.

Cold War plans, and thus must be
fought with whatever means neces-
sary. Perhaps the Cold War plan-
ners were right, not necessarily
morally or ethically, but politically
correct in their concern that an in-
dependent Puerto Rico may have
threatened U. S. hegemony in the
hemisphere - another Cuba could
not have been tolerated. And just
maybe that concern could have been
translated into the need to maintain
political prisoners - again moral
or ethical question aside. But to-
day? A threat from an independent
Puerto Rico? What might be the
reasoning behind maintaining po-
litical prisoners today?
Indeed, the refusal of the U.S.
government to release Puerto Rican
political prisoners appears to be
nothing more than a holdover from
the Cold War mentality, does noth-
ing forthe U.S.interms of practical

S

:1

Michael R. Wheaton
Letter king

01

01

I

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