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September 06, 1996 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-06

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4- The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 6, 1996

(Tbe £rittn Pal ig

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

'Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's editorial hoard. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Leasng troubles
Landlords should work with students

'It's pathetic. There's never enough parking. It doesn't
matter if you're on campus, off campus
or anywhere else.'
- Engineering junior Chris Zent
Homeless need federal help

M oving into or out of an off-campus
M house or apartment is rarely as easy
as it should be. Landlords usually rush stu-
dents out of apartments before the end of
August and the new residents may not move
in until just before Labor Day. Thousands of
students felt the move-in strain last week-
end. Ann Arbor landlords must make
reforms to better accommodate their cus-
tomers: the students.
The major problem with off-campus
move-in is the day leases start. Most inde-
pendent landlords and property manage-
ment firms terminate the previous year's
leases sometime in early- to mid-August -
several weeks before the new year's leases
begin. Landlords claim they use this time to
clean and prepare the residence, although
tenants find that the product of such labor is
often nonexistent.
This leaves many students as leaseless
vagabonds, bouncing from friend to friend
until the ironclad day the new lease begins.
The situation forces unnecessary hardships
on the students, many of whom work or
attend summer courses.
While a few landlords will try to work
with students to allow them to move in a
few days before their lease starts, most of
them do not try to coordinate when students
move out of their old residences. This might
mean additional expenses for landlords to
coordinate and add to their cleaning crews
for greater speed and efficiency; however,
landlords continue to raise Ann Arbor rents
without improving the quality of the resi-
The starting lease dates hold other pit-
falls. Some landlords have coordinated the
tart of their leases with the new beginning
of the school year - the Tuesday after

Labor Day. However, many landlords still
operate under the University's old starting
date, the Thursday after Labor Day. This
leaves many students forced into moving in
over Labor Day weekend with only a short
period of time to accomplish everything
they need to before starting class. Even the
landlords who have reworked their lease
dates give only a day or two extra, forcing
most students to move in between approxi-
mately Aug. 30 and Sept. 1. This is simply
not enough time.
The short span of time makes the already
congested Ann Arbor streets worse. While
there is no lack of law enforcement officers
ready to punish even the most minor traffic
or parking violations, the situation would be
dramatically eased if some landlords simply
moved their lease dates further back into
August, achieving a staggered effect. It may
not be feasible or desirable for the numer-
ous property management agencies to coor-
dinate move-in dates; however, some land-
lords could make the changes of their own
accord, thereby relieving the congested traf-
University students fuel Ann Arbor's
prosperous property-management industry,
but too often, landlords do not treat students
as the valuable clients they are. Landlords
place far too many constraints on students
during the move-in period, making the
process more convenient for the proprietors
instead of the paying customers. Moving in
should be a simple precursor to the contin-
uation of the University experience. But the
current process too often overshadows the
excitement of a new home in a host of
unnecessary obstacles. Now, with several
months before the lease signing begins, is
the time to look into such reform.

As I look out my window
at the ocean in Venice, Calif.,
I see many things that sym-
bolize the "California
Dream." I behold palm trees,
waves crashing upon the
shore, rollerbladers, bicy-
clists, bodybuilders, oiled
sunbathers in skimpy bikinis
and a beautiful sunset over an
ocean blue.
Conversely, when I move
my eyes eastward toward the
boardwalk the scenery begins
to change. I spy homeless
vagabonds, beggars and cast-
aways. In short, people to
whom the "California Dream"
is a myth.
All too often the social
loop excludes these people.
Many public policy debates
fail to take homelessness into
consideration. Many would
rather ignore the homeless
and pay no attention when
they ask for assistance.
It is easy to forget that
homeless people have histo-
ries that many times are not
too different from your own.
They are abused children, for-
gotten veterans, drug depen-
dency victims and mental
health cases who received
inadequate care and ended up
on the street.
With homelessness
increasing at an enormous
rate, it is time for Americans
to focus their attention on the
issue. Home Aid America, a
California-based charity, cites
a December 1995 survey
reporting a 15 percent
increase in requests for shelter
for homeless families.
Most solutions to the
plight of the homeless rely on
removing the problem from
sight. Our nation's capital
enforces such a policy. Daily,
in Washington, D.C., officials
"clean out" Lafayette Park
across from the White House
so people cannot view the
Editors' note: This was
originally printed esterda
in the University of Southern
California s Daily Trojan.
Baker is a graduate student
in print journalism.

Visual decline
Political parties must reform conventions

homeless from the White
House lawn.
It is understandable why
cities would want streets to
appear clean and safe. What
boggles the mind is why pro-
posed alternatives for home-
less people remain unconsid-
ered. Such "out of sight, out
of mind" policies do not solve
problems; they simply create
more. The United States
needs policies to correct the
problem, not hide it. Private
institutions currently offer the
wisest solutions to the prob-
lem. Churches, charities and
shelters do very fine work in
dealing with the homeless.
They try to give those without
food and shelter a place to eat
and sleep. Yet this is not
enough. Charitable organiza-
Our government
should provide for
the homeless.
tions are inexorably pleading
for more funding, and spaces
to sleep are constantly scarce.
The rising number of
homeless people far outpaces
the fund-raising ability of
charities. In many cases, gov-
ernmental organizations even
work against private initia-
tives. It is time to consider
massive free housing and
counseling alternatives to
solve the dilemma of home-
lessness. Would this constitute
a big federal governmental
program costing a lot of
money? The answer is yes.
Yet there is a difference
between a government that
interferes by telling people
how to run their lives and a
government that benevolently
intervenes by helping people
in times of crisis.
When the Northridge
earthquake struck California,
leaving many people without
shelter, very few complained
when the feds came to the res-
cue. For themost part, the
economic cost remained
unconsidered. Citizens
expected government to help
people back on their feet and

back under a roof. The time
has arrived to start viewing
the homelessness problem as
a national disaster and to give
people an alternative to living
on the streets.
As far as the cost goes, it
would most likely be very
expensive, forcing cuts in
other programs, such as
defense. One can even apply
some "Republicrat" logic to
the subject of cost. As the
argument goes with welfare-
to-work programs, if you
force people to go back to
work, then the economy will
grow and in the long-term off-
set any short-term cost.
Giving people an opportu-
nity to have a roof over their
heads will also regenerate
short-term cost. Welfare bills
that force people to find jobs
before benefits run out would
apply to those in housing and
counseling programs.
If people worry about
those who are out of work,
they should worry about giv-
ing them a place to live and
recover. After all, it is hard to
receive a paycheck if there is
nowhere to send it. The mil-
lions rejoining the work force
and the immeasurable social
and economic benefits will
offset the short-term losses.'
Not only economic con-
siderations factor into free
housing and counseling. A
program that serves to
decrease loitering in promi-
nent areas should appease city
governments. There is nothing
wrong with the government
implementing large programs
to help those in need.
It happens all the time.
People just seem to complain
when the government sup-
ports those written off as
vagabonds and vagrants. Even
if it is impossible to recover
the economic cost, this should
not deter the government from
two of its stated objectives-
to insure domestic tranquility
and to promote the general
Why should I not be able
to look out my window and
feel that at least America is
trying to realize its dreams?

Bob Dole 0
taxing tale
N o one ever expected the young,
poor, injured man from Russell,
Kan., to become one of America's
leading politicians and most recogniz-
able faces. But Bob Dole beat the
odds, tackling adversity with as much
tenacity as a lineman sacking a qu4
terback, and he
may now become
president of the
United States
U nt d S a e.Indeed, his is a
remarkable story
He grew up dur~
ing the Great
Depression, living
with his large
family in the small
basement of theirZ"
house. He went off ZACHARY
to war and M. RAimi
returned nearly
dead. After several years of recovery,
he went on to rise to great heights in
politics, although he never won the
ultimate prize: the presidency.w.
His story reminds us that the elusive
American Dream is within reach, that
hard work counts, that determinati0
matters. It is a tale of a fiercely ambi-
tious man who has learned the price of
sacrifice, who has stared death in the
face and kept on going. He has traded
almost everything in his life in order to
serve the people - and he appeared to
do all this with humility, if not grace.
Although uninspiring on the cam-
paign trail, Bob Dole had the opportu-
nity to be the candidate that Americans
claim they want: someone who isn't
"packaged" by political consultan
someone who cares more about gov-
erning than campaigning, someone
who is not slick, but honest.
Think about it: In today's media-
obsessed political environment, where
a picture is worth a thousand votes,
Dole trudged along, refusing to
change his image to meet the demands
of television and its fickle audience.
He even calls himself "Bob Dole."
But somewhere along the road9
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Dole hit a
major pothole;hentraded his most hon-
orable qualities for political expedien-
cy. Just days before the Republican
convention in August, he flip-flopped
on his career-long opposition to sup-
ply-side economics he embraced the
Reaganesque policies, and backed
away from his position as a deficit
hawk. Then he selected his longtime
rival, Jack Kemp, as his running ma*
further symbolizing his quick conver-
sion to Reaganomics.
Suddenly, Dole's rhetoric became
hollow and his achievements seemed
smaller. His best qualities - integrity,
commitment and honesty - disap-
peared. Even his most ardent support-
ers had a hard time accepting the
"new" Bob Dole.
Many argue that all politicians sacri-
fice their principles in order to win
election. While some politicians may
make occasional changes in their poli-
cy positions to suit electoral needs,
most do not change 35 years worth of
commitment in a matter of days just
because they trail their opponents in
the polls.
Before the conversion, Dole was a
role model. Whether you agreed with
his policy positions or not, no one
could argue about his strong sense
values, which include hard woi,
integrity and decency.
Now, one is left to wonder what kind

of message this sends, especially to the
college students of America - its
future leaders.
It showed us that winning is every-
thing and that survival takes precedent
over principle. Who cares about the
cause as long as.you win the power?
Throughout the last 30 yea
American universities have witness
a dramatic decline of student activism.
This goes hand-in-hand with the sur-
vival mentality of American politics,
where causes pale in comparison to
winning elections.
America has been disappointed
before. Richard Nixon's resignation
and Lyndon Johnson's lies about
Vietnam are two examples. But it hurts
each time, and adds to an already cy -
ical public. In recent weeks, Dole
perpetuated the cynicism that has per-
vaded our society. We're left to think
that citizens are merely pawns in a
political game of survival.
Furthermore, today's students who
aspire to be tomorrow's politicians are
left with the impression that they too
will have to compromise their most
profound beliefs in order to succeed.
What kind of future does that leave
with? It is a scary one to pictu
Cynicism will be traded like a com-
modity and real beliefs will be cast
aside like spoiled milk.
In his acceptance speech, Dole said:
"For the fundamental issue is not of
nolicv. but of' trus~t - not merelv

T raditionally, political conventions
nominate a presidential candidate and
serve to resolve intraparty squabbles over
policy issues. The delicately scripted con-
ventions of 1996 lacked conflict and failed
to highlight the diversity within the parties.
A convention staged by party leaders is not
healthy for the parties or the nation. Both
conditions need significant reform.
One look at the television ratings sug-
gest the conventions have problems. The
combined network audience declined by 25
percent from just four years ago. A
"Seinfeld" rerun drew more viewers than a
combined audience of the Big Three net-
works on any one night of the Republican
Conventions are important to the politi-
cal system. They allow candidates to lay out
their vision for the next four years.
Furthermore, conventions traditionally kick
off the campaign season and are important
in the fund-raising efforts of both political
parties. Moreover, conventions are the ideal
place for Americans to begin to formulate
their opinions about the candidates. A
decrease in viewership translates to a less
informed populace and a lower voter
turnout. Conventions need to be altered to
fit present-day conditions.
In the past, conventions were plagued by
a lack of unity. Even when the nomination
is uncontested, the platforms have room for
varied viewpoints. Pat Buchanan's fiery
oratory at the 1992 Republican convention
has widely been credited with assisting in
President George Bush's defeat. Given
Bush's ill fate in 1992, preventing strife at
the conventions was viewed as a top priori-

tion's important purpose.
Both political parties' attempts to
achieve harmony actually shut out large
segments of their members from the pro-
ceedings. Gov. William Weld (R-Mass.)
along with Pat Buchanan were not allowed
to address the Republican delegates.
Consequently, both the moderate and right
wing viewpoints of the Republican party
were shut out of the convention. While the
Democrat's never admitted to screening
speeches, none of the speakers at the con-
vention spoke out strongly against any of
Clinton's policies. The political parties'
unwillingness to embrace an umbrella of
viewpoints has the potential to disillusion
far more voters than would a few heated
debates on the convention floor.
One way to increase voter interest would
be to shorten the length of the conventions.
The Democrats featured Christopher
Reeve, James Brady and La Macarena -
all of which allow for good sound bites, but
it lacks political substance.
Furthermore, the party platforms could
outline specific legislation rather than
broad-based goals. Presenting significant
new legislation on the convention floor
could expedite congressional approval of
innovative proposals. Moreover, parties
need to allow even those against certain
portions of the platform to air their voice.
The time is ripe to redefine the purpose
of the convention. The parties have sani-
tized the lively convention politics ofjust a
few decades ago. Specific ideas should
replace gimmicks and sound bites.
Inclusion should be emphasized in place of
maintaining a strict party line. These

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