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September 26, 1994 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-26

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4 -- The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 26, 1994

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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

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.

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'I'm sick. My belly hurts. It never crossed my mind
that they would do it.'
- Michigan free safety Chuck Winters after Saturday's game
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Th SNE Y 'S AME C , WILL -FJL P L.ERT Y TOL
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MSA, AATU: one lasttime
Solution should be long-term compromise

Create

The conflict between the Ann Arbor
T Tenants' Union (AATU) and the Michi-
gan Student Assembly (MSA) continues to
simmer with controversy. Last week, a vote on
the MSA budget for the 1994-95 school year
was postponed until tomorrow so that the two
parties could settle any final differences be-
tween them. But the debate remains. The
AATU claims they are an efficient and useful
student organization that deserves a large sum
of MSA funding; many members of MSA,
under the leadership of the Michigan Party,
wish to eliminate all MSA funding for the
AATU, claiming that the University already
provides such resources for free.
The situation clearly begs for an adequate
compromise and a long-term solution. To
accomplish this, both the AATU and MSA
must address the easiest solution to the con-
flict - a student referendum on the AATU.
The plan is simple. MSA, when it votes on
this year's budget Tuesday night, should ap-
prove full funding for the AATU through
November. This funding would be based on
the monthly amount of money given to the
AATU by MSA last year. The budget agree-
ment, however, would be contingent upon a
campus-wide student referendum to be held
alongside the MSA elections in November.
The remainder of the AATU's funding for this
school year, and for future school years, would
be determined by this vote. In this way, the
student body -and not solely the members of
the campus student government-can decide
the necessity of the largest organization on
campus.
The referendum ballot would include two

questions to answer the crucial information
MSA needs before any decision is made on
withdrawing support for the AATU. First, do
students support the MSA funding of the
AATU? And second, do students support a 25
cent increase in MSA tuition fees, an increase
that would go directly to the AATU?
These questions would finally answer the
ultimate question MSA has long been con-
fronting: do students need and wantthe AATU?
If students vote no, the budget should be
reconsidered by MSA, and funding for the
AATU should be decreased but not altogether
eliminated. If students vote yes in support of
the AATU, full AATU funding should remain
for this year and years to come.
The idea of a student referendum would
solve many of the problems both MSA and the
AATU are currently facing.First, the question
of the AATU's usefulness will be taken out of
MSA's deeply partisan, political hands. Sec-
ond, the vote on funding can essentially be
postponed until the students speak, and the
MSA budget can still be passed on time. And
last but perhaps most important, the question
of the AATU's effectiveness for students -
read: should the AATU survive? - will be
answered by those who know best, the stu-
dents themselves.
This proposal is both an adequate compro-
mise and a long-term solution to this bitter
conflict. It would potentially allow for the full
funding of both currently charged student
organizations and the tenants' union. MSA
should address this idea along with other pos-
sible solutions tomorrow. Students should keep
a careful eye on the developments.

Fickle Americans care about 'here and now.'

To the Daily:
As American troops in-
vade the political utopia that is
Haiti, the bulk of America en-
ters a well greased and famil-
iar time machine. Apparently,
the same mistake that eventu-
ally severed the roots of our
beloved Bush is bipartisan and
quite contagious.
The coup in Haiti, which
happened too long ago for me
remember, suddenly caught
the attention of our lethargic
and until recently, apathetic
government. Of course, our
government has issued sev-
eral statements contesting the
ousting of the democratically
elected president, but I'm cer-
tain that at least the American
people, if not their legislators,
know that: smart bombs and
stealths may break their bones,
but words just make them
giggle. It appears that the gig-
gling may have ceased as our
troops bravely and justly oc-
cupied that little island to the
south (sorry Dominican Re-
public, I guess you're not im-
portant).
The strategy of having a

"war" to boost the rating is an
old scheme that always seems
to work. For this reason it is
often utilized by the media and
the president, because ratings
are their utmost concern.
Oddly enough, some un-
foreseen force that I am unac-
customed to (could it be hon-
esty?) causes the skirmish to
begin, and consequently end,
too early. One would think that
of all the people, Bill Clinton
would know to start a war a
year later in order to ensure
excellent ratings at the proper
time. Unfortunately for them,
this vast support only lasts from
November to January - per-
haps February if they're lucky.
Americans, always fickle,
don't care about the wars they
won yesterday; they don't even
care about the wars which they
may have to fight in the future.
The United States is filled with
people of astounding practical-
ity, who concerned themselves
solely with the here and now.
Just look at the bills, aimed at
improving the nation over time,
that were batted around by Con-
gress, only to be stripped down

and barely passed. Please Bill,
end this "crisis" quickly and
base your re-election campaign
on something else.
Since I'm aware of the
fact that I tend to delve into
cynicism a lot more than some
people would like me to, I'd
also like to present this other
theory on why we're in Haiti.
Fortunately, this theory that I
currently believe, shows that
the president has benevolent
reasons for starting the war so
early. About a week before the
invasion of Haiti, America was
struck with a near-mortal blow:
the baseball season was can-
celled. Rather than have
America rot and decay through
the dog days of summer and
suffer through the riveting at-
tack of insatiable pennant fe-
ver, our president is willing to
risk his political career to soothe
the pains of the average work-
ing American.
Way to go Bill, another
campaign promise kept.
Adam Sherman
LSA first-year student

democracy at
Dome -not
just abroad
Statistical data released last week
confirms my suspicions: we are now
a nation of cynics.
I couldn't pretend to be surprised
when I read that, according to a Time
Mirror Center poll, only 33 percentot
Americans think elected officials care
about what the public wants (com-
pared to 47 in 1987).
And I wasn't shocked when I saw
that only 42 percent said government
is run for the benefit of all people
(down from 57 in 1987).
But what does this say about ou
government?
These sentiments do not come out
of nowhere, and they are not unsub-
stantiated. We are people more
flooded with information - from
newspapers, television, cable and
computers - than any generation
before us. The news media does have
problems with sensationalism and an
overzealous lust for reporting sleaze
but at the same time its reports are
based on something.
In the last few years alone, (I won't
even touch Iran-Contra and the S&L
debacle) a major Senate leader was
accused of harassing dozens of
women; the chair of the House Ways
and Means Committee was indicted
for embezzlement; two U.S. repre-
sentatives were indicted on the same
day in mid August - one (from Chi-
cago) for allegedly having sex with a
teenager and the other for extorting
funds while he was mayor of
Compton, California.
I couldn't understand the uproar
over the Whitewater scandal. I was
living in Costa Rica when it broke and
maybe I missed part of the story read-
ing it in Spanish. But it just didn'@
seem odd that people believed the
President and his wife may have made
some money in an unscrupulous way.
I had no way of knowing if the Clintons
actually did anything wrong with the
Whitewater property, but I had just
come to assume that you don't get to
be president of the United States with-
out breaking a few laws and makin
some money in less than legal way
That may not have been fair, but
considering the actions of govern-
ment I've seen since I was old enough
to pay attention, it is understandable.
And this cynicism does not only
come from the crooks.
I was in Washington this summer
and paid close attention to the two
biggest discussions of the day: th*
crime bill and health care reform.
Suffice it to say, my first close exami-
nation of our nation's government
wasn't pretty. The crime bill eventu-
ally did pass at the end of August, but
not before its heart was torn out by
political posturing. I was originally
mad that the $22 billion anti-crime
package would have made more funds
available for building prisons than fo
prevention programs. So just imagine

my reaction when political bickering
and finger-pointing for the cameras I
forced bill supporters to slash almost
all the prevention (called "pork" by
opponents) from the plan.
The same political grandstanding
has also stalled health care reform-
the most courageous piece of social
reform legislation in years. I'm sure
something will pass (or I know some
Democrats who will have a very hard
time even thinking about reelection).
But I wouldn't bet on seeing any
actual results. There's too much
money to be made the way things are
working now.
I'm sorry, but it just seems to me
that winning reelection and makin4
money is far too much a priority for
far too many. Clearly, the Times Mir-
ror poll shows that most Americans
agree.
So what do we do? The corrup-
tion. the nolitical favors, the nower

Term lmits and the GOP
Campaign finance reform, not term limits, is key

I

O n Tuesday, in dramatic election season
flare, the Republican candidates for
Congress will gather on the steps of the U.S.
Capitol to present their "Contract with
America." This contract will outline 10 legis-
lative proposals that Republicans will bring
to the floor of the House of Representatives
and the Senate in the first hundred days of the
105th session of Congress.
Topping this controversial list will be the
proposal of a constitutional amendment man-
dating congressional term limits. Although
an overwhelming majority of Americans -
looking to stamp out the corruption in govern-
ment - support term limits for Congress, in
reality this so-called solution will only serve
to worsen the problem.
There is abundant evidence to demon-
strate the crippling effects term limits will
have on the government and the nation. First,
the congressional system is based completely
on seniority, giving senior members choice
committee selections and delegating more
power to members from smaller states, so
they can better aid their constituencies. Term
limits would - in eliminating this system -
create utter chaos. The constitutional amend-
ment would create inexperienced committee
chairs and leaders ignorant of the congres-
sional system. Imagine a Speaker of the House
who is ajunior representative, or a chair of the
Senate Appropriations Committee who is a
freshman senator. Term limits would create
such frightening situations.
Furthermore, the collective inexperience
of Congress would nearly cripple the system
of checks and balances, allowing the execu-
tive branch to become the virtual dictator of
the government. Given the lack of seniority
, Alacntv I-:1.:-rit -,1Am. - nrn-cc ti-.

through Congress by pulling procedural and
parliamentary tricks. The president - aided
by a staff experienced with the congressional
system - would be able to set the legislative
agenda without being directly held account-
able for such legislation to the people.
Congressional staffers could also become
a problem if term limits became ubiquitous.
Under such a system, new members, taking
office with alarming frequency, would need a
mature hand to guide them through the wiles
of Washington. Enter the experienced staffer
who has been working on Capitol for years,
who knows the good lobbyists and the bad, the
"in" crowds and the out. With one fell swoop,
the legislative process would be turned over to
a group of people who are in no way held
accountable to the American people - staff
members thereby defeating the very reason
that term limits were originally implemented.
Instead of soothing their frustration by
implementing this blanket restriction, citizens
must turn to the most powerful weapon to hold
representatives accountable for their actions
- the vote. While corruption in government
undoubtedly weakens this weapon, term lim-
its are not the answer to this problem. Rather,
the answer lies in strong, comprehensive, cam-
paign finance reform that would prevent spe-
cial interests from continuing the common
practice of disproportionately impacting -
and often obstructing - the legislative pro-
cess.
The real solution to preventing corruption
in Congress is not to limit the terms of its
members. It is first to allow passage of the
campaign finance and lobbyist reform legisla-
tion currently bottled up on the Hill, and
second, to curb voter cynicism and make them
- -~or ~fc h i . 1 1.. ,,1 :. l. iti tc:4 n ...m.. -

The Daily is
an awful
newspaper
To the Daily:
In the two years I've read
it, The Michigan Daily has not
had much of a reputation for
accurate, thought-provoking
journalism. (At least I have not
thought so.) But Sept. 16's
Michigan Daily ranks among
the least enlightening editions
yet.
The front page cited an
addressby President Clinton
- far from being an accurate
source - voicing concern to
"preserve stability" and "restore
democracy" in Haiti. Transla-
tion: ensure that Cedras and
Francois take orders from us
instead of keeping power for
themselves. (Ironic sine the U.S.
government trained and funded
Cedras and Francois in the first
place, but this pattern is typi-
cal.)
Then the Daily gets differ-
ent opinions (spineless gener-
alities, that is) on Clinton's
speech from University stu-
dents, one of whom (a Republi-
can) has the gall to say that
"Aristide has a history of hu-
man rights violations." Let's
see. During his eight months in
power, Aristide restored order
to Haiti's foreign exchange re-
serves, decreased Haiti's debt
and increased Haitian wages.
Gosh, with human rights viola-
tions like these, who needs in-
vasions?

Then finally, as I turn to
the op.-ed. page, I read a dis-
gusting reference by Flint
Wainess, alluding to "a liberal
media bent on covering
[Clinton] ... by reporting [his]
little scandals so they can ig-
nore his big ones." I may be
going out on a limb here, but
I'm guessing that Flint is a con-
servative.
I'm also guessing that Flint
doesn't appreciate how much
the dominant media supports
conservative interests-a natu-
ral consequence of corporate
and conservative interests own-
ing and funding the dominant
media. Show some respect,
Hlint. And don't let me catch
you accusing the media of be-
ing "liberal" again.
Mitchell Szczepanczyk
LSA Junior
State House
dismantles
Proposal A
To the Daily:
While the cat is away the
mice will play! During the past
summer while you were away
on vacation, the Michigan leg-
islature performed several she-
nanigans to undermine Proposal
A. They dismantled several tax
savings provisions which had
been guaranteed to the taxpay-
ers in March.
Proposal A capped inter-
mediate school district millages
at 1993 levels but the Michigan
Education Association pres-

sured our legislature to change
that provision. Of course they
caved in to the MEA and ap-
proved legislation to increase
mills for intermediate school
districts.
How can we trust the poli-
ticians who promised tax cuts
but then quietly sneaked in tax
increases while their constitu-
ents were unaware of the mis-
chief? Why do they violate their
promises?
Proposal A guaranteed
bonding mills would only be
used for major construction.
You can imagine the MEA and
school superintendents pres-
sured the legislature to change
that provision. They again dem-
onstrated their jello nerves of
clay and approved legislation
so that bonding mills may be
used for minor repairs and the
acquisition of equipment. This
nefarious behind-the-door ap-
proach is the exact opposite of
what we were promised in Pro-
posal A!
Apparently we should be
content with the huge property
tax cuts we received this sum-
mer.
Moreover we should never
expect the politicians to keep
their word and deliver the re-
forms approved by the voters
in Proposal A. That would be
too much to request from the
hypocrites in Lansing!
Larry D. Vandermolen,
PH.D.
Professor of Political
Science

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