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September 12, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-12

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 12, 1996

ce £tdigun d1g

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

'I honestly think things work better
if they're not mandatory.'
Vice Presidentfor Student Affairs Maureen Hartford, commenting on
a University task force proposal to expand living-learning communities

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


is over

Two valuable MSA reps. go independent

he Sept. 3 Michigan Student Assembly
meeting featured a significant political
realignment. Engineering Rep. David
Burden of the Students' Party and LSA
Rep. Andy Schor of the Wolverine Party
decided to drop their party affiliations.
Their announcements allow for a new MSA
political culture - a less partisan assembly
that is more responsive to its constituents.
Schor and Burden are two of the hardest-
working representatives on the assembly.
Schor maintains a high degree of con-
stituent contact and is an effective lobbyist
for student interests in Lansing.
Burden has worked incessantly to ensure
that North Campus issues are not ignored.
-As independents, both representatives have
much to offer MSA, but the underlying rea-
sons for their party disassociation is dis-
Because he was the Wolverine party
MSA presidential candidate last spring,
Schor's move is especially noteworthy.
During the elections, the Wolverine,
Students' and Michigan Parties' platforms
were nearly identical. Nevertheless, the
1995-96 assembly meetings were marked
by excessive partisan bickering. Instead of
working to further student interests, they
often attempted to stifle other parties' pro-
posals. As independents, Schor and Burden
hope to avoid partisan politics and look to
the entire assembly for support of their
The Wolverine and Students Parties'
decline in influence leaves a Michigan
Party-dominated assembly. Less than a
decade ago, instead of distribution suffi-
cient funds to student groups, MSA repre-
sentatives took vacations - disguised as
State should incr
ichigan roads and highways are in
trouble. Between the post-World War
II era and the early 1960s, Michigan drivers
insisted on alternatives to main roads, to
alleviate congestion. The state responded
by building new roads. However, it built
them quickly, with little regard for their
endurance. The state needs an immediate
and widespread program to repair its roads
and bridges. The best way to fund the pro-
ject is to increase the state gasoline tax
eight to 10 cents per gallon over the next
several years.
As Michigan legislators return this
month to Lansing for a quick session
between their re-election campaigns, the
problem of the state's roads should be the
top priority. There is unanimous agreement
that roads must be fixed. However, legisla-
tors and Gov. John Engler have disagreed
all summer over how much to raise the gas
Michigan roads typically rank at the bot-
tom among Midwest states and near or at
the bottom in nationwide comparisons. The
Detroit News recently reported that about
13.1 percent of state roads are rated "poor"
and one-third need new surfaces. Many
highways are at their maximum usable age
and must be replaced immediately.

Moreover, Michigan truck weight capacity
is the highest of any state. Hence, the roads
are in great disrepair.
Michigan Transportation Director
Robert Welke recently warned elected offi-
cials that without raising the state's 15-cent-
per-gallon gas tax - an amount that has not
changed in 12 years -- by eight to 10 cents,
the state may have to shut down road con-
struction and impose tolls on state, and


fact-finding missions - across the globe.
The Michigan Party is responsible for refo-
cusing MSA politics on student concerns.
Moreover, the Michigan Party has fought
on behalf of University students in Lansing
and on campus.
Although the Michigan Party has had a
positive influence on campus politics, an
assembly with only one strong party is not
in the best interest of the students. Parties
are necessary fixtures during elections for
MSA president and LSA representatives.
Independent candidates may not accom-
plish the massive fund-raising, mobilization
and campaigning efforts required.
Geoff Tudisco, the independent candi-
date for MSA president last spring, suffered
a weak showing at elections. His experience
emphasizes the reality that independents
fail against established parties.
Elected student leadership positions
need competition. In recent years, the
Michigan Party presidential nominee has
been virtually assured election. MSA needs
fresh efforts that students such as Burden
and Schor offer. Channeling new ideas into
party platforms could increase competition
- and student choices.
By leaving their parties, Burden and
Schor open a window of opportunity. MSA
can eliminate the squabbles that character-
ized it in the past. The waning power of the
Wolverine and Students' Parties signifies a
need for new parties that can field qualified
and electable candidates in campus elec-
More importantly, representatives must
work together toward meeting the needs of
their constituents - rather than entrenching
themselves behind hardened party lines.
to ruin
ease gasoline tax
add to travel inconvenience. Although
undesirable, a gast tax is preferable when
compared with tolls.
Engler has said that the proposed eight-
to-10 cent-per-gallon hike is too large.
However, the national average is eight to 10
cents higher than Michigan's. Such a raise
would not present too of much a financial
burden for Michigan residents.
A gas tax will help begin the recovery of
Michigan roads. In the past, the state has
badly planned for road repair. Roads were
often left to deteriorate slowly while most
funding went to building new roads. Even
today, the lion's share of funds go to the
building of new highways while repair
funds get whatever is left over. A reasonable
raise in the gas tax can allow for both of
these functions to continue with adequate
Another factor holding up the passage of
a new gas tax is the debate between the
Engler administration and local officials on
how to distribute the increased revenues.
Lansing should try to allocate the revenues
from the new gas tax fairly with local gov-
ernments. Conversely, local officials should
not ask for more than their fair share.
Lawmakers must make a resolution
quickly. Without one, a new tax may not

pass until the "lame duck" session after the
November election. This will further delay
the rebuilding project that is already years
behind schedule.
Michigan needs an immediate increase
in the state gas tax to save its crumbling
roads. Drivers are fed up with dangerously
worn highways. Further delay in Lansing
will only postpone needed repairs.
Michigan legislators should act responsibly
-- - - + - . l Y - NS bT['I /!1Y .P<

Every four years some-
thing amazing happens in the
United States. It all starts with
the fact that our nation'slead-
ership is peacefully
exchanged in a free election
- an exchange such as that is
almost unheard of in the
majority of the countries in
the world.
But if that isn't amazing
enough, what is really amaz-
ing is that less than half of the
people who are eligible to
take part in deciding who will
rule the country actually make
the effort to go vote.
A little more than 200
years ago, thousands of
Americans gave their lives for
a chance to have a voice in
their government. These men
and women used the cry of
"no taxation without repre-
sentation" as they fought in
the Revolutionary War.
Today we freely give away
the right those people fought
Today we take it so lightly
that we can vote, that many of
us would rather go to a movie
than take the time to educate
ourselves about the issues and
the candidates. And many of
us would rather sit at home
and watch TV than take 15
minutes to vote forsomeone
who might make a difference.
The fault doesn't lie
entirely with the voting popu-
lation, though.
The primary fault lies
within the political system
itself and the media as an
The system has led to two
political parties - supposed-
The Republicans and the
This article was printed
recently in The Daily
Collegian, Pennsylvania
State University s
student newspaper

Democrats are actually so
similar that it's often difficult
to tell them apart.
Not too long ag~o, the
Democrats could be counted
on to nominate a socially con-
cerned liberal and the
Republicans would almost
definitely nominate a busi-
ness-oriented conservative.
Today we have two men
racing as quickly as possible
to the center - Clinton
destroying the safety net the
government promised its
poorest citizens. Dole cor-
rupting his voting base with a
nod toward abortion rights.
Who's the liberal'? Well,
neither, really. Who's thefas-
cist? Newt, of course, but that
doesn't matter right now.
The political system has
done its best to make the
whole election so excruciat-
ingly boring that less than one
out of every four citizens
casts a vote.
Then the media gets into
the picture. Now the goal of
the media is to inform the
public, but rarely is that goal
so poorly achieved as during
an election.
The problem is that most
news media tend to buy into
the idea that there are only
two parties. (OK, they have
covered three more recently,
but they still treat Perot like a
Such narrow coverage
compounds the strength of the
main two parties and crushes
new and different ideas before
they ever have a chance to
gain a foundation.
Here's where the voter
comes into play.
Voters need to take a more
activesrole in the election
process. When the media fail
to cover the full range of can-
didates, take five minutes to
write a letter or make a phone
call to that paper and tell them

of their failure.
And if the coverage is still
lacking, take a few more min-
utes to look intothe various
other political parties your-
self. (For a quick start,
ment/Politics/Parties/lists more
than 20 "third" parties' home-
What this all comes down
to is that there really are more
than two (or three) political
parties. And many of these
parties are closer to being a
true representation of your
beliefs than the Democratic or
Republican parties.
There is a tendency for
voters to cast their ballots
only for Democrats or
Republicans because, they
say, those are the only parties
that canrpossibly win. But the
only reason, that only
Democrats or Republicans
will win is because those are
the only parties people vote
If more people voted with
their conscience instead of
limiting themselves to two
parties, the whole system
would change. Because
almost 20 percent of those
who voted in 1992 voted for
Perot, the Reform Party has
received considerable cover-
age this year.
Similarly, due to the size
of theLibertarian Party mem-
bership, that party has also
received more coverage.
What we need is for more
people to really buy into the
idea of "no taxation without
representation." If more peo-
ple would vote for the candi-
date that truly represented
them, not artificially create
two (very'similar) parties, the
system would work better for

Remember third parties in November

S~xm uE ThKm
sports from
your own living
room couch
his campus is wvay too obsessed
with sports. Not that I have an
thing against them. Being in shapeV
cool. Team spirit, I've heard, is invalu-
able in fostering
the cooperative:
skills needed to
become a success-
ful office politi-
I wouldn't know
because I swore off
team sports after
gettingenailed in ;
softball in seventh
grade. It wasn't the KATIE
end of a promising HUTCHINS
career, anyway; I
was a third-string right fielder who
never made it to first base.
But I don't mind team sports, except
when forced into the occasional fami-
ly whiffleball game during the hol-
What I have a problem with is this
spectator mania. It's a disease that per-
vades this city, and the first sign istall
those weirdos who videotape the
Naked Mile every spring. Watching
sports keeps otherwise intelligent peo-
ple hidden away in their living rooms,
drinking beertandreating potato chips
and leaving the rest of us without
someone to hang with at the bars.
There are only two good things I c
think of about spectator sports, fo
most being cuddling. Last year I had
this really cute male housemate (noth-
ing happened) who would stay on the
couch for hours if I would allow him to
watch hockey or basketball or some-
thing. This was perfect when I was
betweenhboyfriends because I had
someone to cuddle with for long peri-
ods of time, as long as I could put up
with his insane battle cri
"YEEEEAAAAAH"s and jumping
unpredictably to high-five one of his
The other good thing about watching
sports is that it gets kids to party. I've
been to many sports parties (and even
held some) for the nachos, pizza, bar-
becue, boys and beer. As long as I
stayed far away from the TV screen, it
was all good.
But I'm beginning to feel alienate.
I've tried watching sports, and I
bored really easily. Everyone's talking
about it as if it was the latest episode
of "General Hospital" or something,
and I can't quite figure out why. But I
want to be a part of it all, and - it
being my senior year on a Big Ten
campus - I think it's about time.
So I've come up with a few sugges-
tions for reforming sports to make
them a little more exciting, or at le
My first big problem is hockey. You
can sit and watch this game for hours
without anybody scoring points. It
becomes almost painful to watch the
poor guys go back and forth, back and
forth across the ice. It's bad enough
they have to negotiate this teeny little
puck into a goal, but they're on ice
skates slipping all over the place and
they have big guys hitting them with
My solution: Get rid of the go.ui%
These guys are completely unneces-

sary, because most of the time the guy
hitting the puck misses the goal any-
way. I think that if you put forth all
that effort you should at least get a fair
chance to make it into the net. The
whole thing reminds me of a turtle
who tries so hard to get to the other
side of the dining room, gets excited
to see a brand new world, and is c9
elly picked up and tossed back inito
the aquarium by some insensitive tod-
Football is the same way. The field
should be half the length. Period. A
friend of mine pointed out to me that
field goals and punting would be
somehow jeopardized by this arrange-
ment. I don't really know what punting
is, but field goals can easily be held at
some regulation-size field on the otf
side of the stadium.W
Basketball, of course, does not need
to get up to scores of 92-91. One quar-
ter is all that's necessary. If one team is
going to win by one point anyway,
then why in God's name make it last so
long? Endurance, they tell me. It's all
about testing their endurance.
So make them run a few laps before
the game. Endurance may help decide
who the best athletes are, but I do.
have to sit there and watch them g
Finally, baseball and golf should
simply be banned from television.
Neither moves quickly enough to keep
anyone's attention, and both are so
incredibly horina they are beyond


Daily ignores
benefits of
early rush
It seems strange that
every year the editors of the
Daily take time from their
schedule to deride the largest
voluntary student organiza-
tion at the University.
The target is the Greek
community in general and
first-year student rush in par-
In my four years at the
University, I have seen the
same editorial ("What's the
rush?" 9/10/96) every year,
occasionally twice a year,
depending on the militancy
of the editorial staff.
Most distressing is that
never has the article strayed
from targeting the negatives
the editorial staff feels exist:
time commitment, money,

community is an avenue
toward other student groups
on campus.
During the past year,
Greek students could be
found working with Project
Serve and Outreach, volun-
teering at Washtenaw
Literacy and Mott Children's
Hospital, running programs
on violence against women
and multicultural awareness,
offering counseling through
SAPAC and M-PACT, and
representing the University
on its football fields, basket-
ball courts, rugby teams and
crew squads, to name just a
few of the hundreds of orga-
nizations with which Greek,
students are involved.
The students are not
involved despite the Greek
Rather, they participate
because of- and with -
the tremendous support of
our entire Greek community.
All fraternities and sorori-
;,aC nf'for n toa ln,;nit

the all-campus GPA, and the
average GPA for pledges in
the fall of 1995 was over 3.2.
Of course the decision to
rush is an individual choice,
but for every person who
says the Greek system is not
for everyone, I say that with
the 32 chapters in the
Interfraternity Council, 17
chapters in the Panhellenic
Association and nine chapters
in the Black Greek
Association, how can there
not be a place for almost any-
one? First-year students will
find the Greek community to
be a place where they can
become involved with the
University and the communi-
ty, find academic support,
grow personally and as lead-
ers, and, yes, make some
friends along the way.
If the author of any of the
editorials had spoken with
the Greek students who have
taken the Daily's-advice in
the past and asked them what
thr-v wild rhncrP ahont



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