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October 24, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-24

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 24, 1996

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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 board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

A fine

'(The University) seems to have a sense of community
that's unusual. People care about sustaining that sense
of community interest.'
- University presidential candidate Stanley Chodorow, in an
interview with the University Board offRegents on Tuesday
sa# on a w~all
h s alt....

City policy could deter discrimination

fighting bias and ensuring equality for
F all people in the workplace, housing
and public accommodations is a problem
that continues to plague the community.
Despite numerous efforts to curb inequity
due to race, gender or sexual orientation,
there are still local cases where discrimina-
tion occurs. At Monday night's City Council
meeting, council members proposed
amendments that would fine those who vio-
late the city's human rights ordinance. The
city ordinance would benefit greatly from
the amendments. Their passage is integral
to the fight against discrimination in Ann
Since the early 1970s, the city has had a
human rights ordinance banning racial,
gender and sexual orientation-based dis-
crimination. In fact, Ann Arbor was the first
city in the nation to enact such an ordi-
nance. The problem with the present rule is
that it lacks the ability to punish its viola-
tors adequately - the worst castigation
under the current ordinance is a one-time
$500 fine.
Beyond the fine, those who think they
are victims of discrimination may sue on
their own behalf. This option is not often
pursued, however, because plaintiffs have
no guarantee of winning and the cost of los-
ing is prohibitive.
The proposal would allow the city to
impose fines of up to $500 a day for human
rights ordinance infractions. In addition, it
authorizes other solutions for discrimina-
tion problems, such as ordering the rein-
statement of jobs and allowing admission to
places of public accommodation.
A lack of power behind the promise of
equality led a city committee to recommend

the proposal last year to stiffen the current
penalties. The committee's suggestion led
Democratic mayoral candidate Christopher
Kolb and other council members to propose
the amendments. The council unanimously
approved the changes after the first read.
The amendments must make it through a
second reading before taking effect.
Toughening up the penalties would give
the city the power it needs to fight discrim-
ination. It is imperative that such laws exist
- they defend the rights of minority groups
to live life to the fullest and they help pro-
mote the promise of diversity on which
America is based.
With the new legislation, the city's
human rights staff has developed a proce-
dure through which all complaints would
pass. First, the city would investigate the
complaints. Then, if necessary, the city
would offer mediation before issuing a tick-
et to the offender. With this procedure, the
city can prevent the power of the ordinance
from being abused or overused.
"The question is not whether it's $500 or
in some severe instance $50,000," Kolb told
The Ann Arbor News. "It's still against the
law in Ann Arbor, and if it's more than the
$500, perhaps it'll be a stronger deterrent to
discrimination.' Adopting the revisions to
the ordinance may help prevent bias
because of the increased potential for retal-
Discrimination in any form is a problem
for the whole community. Everyone must
be free to be an active, contributing member
to society -regardless of background. City
Council should pass the amendments to the
present human rights ordinance - and
show a willingness to fight discrimination.

Early bird gets the vote
States should offer early options

or the past three decades, America has
been plagued by a steadily decreasing
voter turnout. To counteract the trend,
Tennessee and five other states now offer an
early voting option. These states offer sev-
eral dates before election day when citizens
may go to the polls. In light of woefully low
voter participation, early voting makes
democracy more accessible and should be
available nationwide.
The best way to get more people to the
polls is to make voting easier. A number of
factors affect voter turnout. For example,
bad weather on election day often deters
those who lack transportation from travel-
ling to the polls. In today's economy, people
are facing unparalleled constraints on their
time. For instance, those with two jobs may
be unwilling to take time off to vote.
On election day, many precincts are
notorious for long lines. Voting over sever-
al days lessens the time commitment
required at the polls. Additionally, many
people going out of town do not go through
the process of getting an absentee ballot. In
modern society, more voting options are
necessary to maintain a truly representative
democracy. New early voting laws are one
step in the right direction.
Although some traditionalists may
oppose changing constitutional voting laws,
some creativity is needed to increase voter
turnout. In Clark County, Nev., which
includes Las Vegas, the locations of polling
places are often modified. For example, cit-
izens can vote early at places like shopping
malls - an option that reaches out to peo-
ple who normally would not consider vot-
1--1- +amn.ti n" anrv ni1A vidiarv n

would make politicians more accountable
to their entire constituency. In 1994, a mere
39 percent of voting age Americans cast
general election ballots. In this same year.
Republicans took control of Congress -
with Newt Gingrich announcing a bold plan
to reinvent America. He claimed that
Republicans were given a mandate by the
voters. In reality, a minority of Americans
gave Congress the power to attempt
changes that would have altered govern-
mental philosophy in America.
Voter turnout in the United States is
dwarfed by other Western-style democra-
cies. In the 1980s, Belgium's voter-turnout
rate was 94 percent, Austria's was 92 per-
cent and France's was 70 percent. In
Canada, Quebec's 1995 election turnout
was 93.5 percent.
Many of these nations have no single
election day. Instead, eligible voters are
given a series of days to vote. The federal
government, along with state governments,
should look to these countries as models to
follow for increasing citizen participation.
When a nationwide problem arises, the
government must seek a resolution. Voter
turnout has steadily decreased for 30 years,
and only now are politicians beginning to
address the situation. Currently, people are
not voting because - for whatever reasons
- they are unable to make it to the polls on
election day.
Early voting is an inexpensive and effec-
tive way to reach out to citizens who have
inflexible schedules, special needs that pre-
vent them from getting to the polls, or just
need more time to vote. If this program is
not instituted nationwide, the U.S. govern-
ment might hpemnm n oran uhose actions

Apology for
mistake in
Thank you for running the
ad on Oct. 11 acknowledging
National Coming Out Day. I
must admit to a mistake that I
personally made - the ad
text I submitted to you was
the one from last year,
although the names were cur-
rent for 1996.
The 1996 ad should have
read: "WE ARE YOUR
We are lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender people or fami-
lies and friends of LGBT
people ..."
Not everyone in our 1996
list is lesbian, gay bisexual
or transgendery some are dear
allies and friends.
Raimi missed
I would like to respond to
Zachary Raimi's column
"Democracy and
Demagoguery" (10/21/96),
which claimed that President
Clinton lied when he called a
7-percent per year increase in
Medicare funding a cut.
A 7-percent per year
increase in funding would
result in a net decrease in real
purchasing power if Medicare
expenses increase by 10 per-
cent per year as there are pre-
dicted to do according to the
National Academy on Aging.
Some simple math can
show that after seven years a
7-percent per year funding
increase would result in the
purchasing power of
Medicare being 18-percent
less than it is today. While
this is not a cut in total dollar
amount, it is most certainly a
cut in services and coverage;
i.e., it is a cut in what really
To answer Raimis ques-
tion, a 7-percent increase is a
cut if it fails to keep pace
with inflation. I would hope
that Raimi would get his
facts straight before he
claims that President Clinton
"resorted to demagoguery."
'Mean spirits'
and lack of

almost the first time in histo-
ry, people will be voting
more often for someone
because they don't like the
alternatives, as opposed to
liking the person who does
get their vote.
This is absurd.
I hardly find it fair to
blame either major party in
this case for causing this
mean spirit that prevails, but
I do think it is necessary to
point out some things that
come to mind.
For the majority of the
past 40 years the Democratic
Party maintained the majority
in Congress. Two years ago
that changed. The
Republicans, never having
been in a such a major power
position, decided a bit hastily
to try and institute major
changes instantly. This
caused serious friction in
Congress as Democrats railed
against this overthrow while
Republicans sought to cram
huge pieces of legislation
down the congressional drain
pipe in order to start boxing
in the president. Both parties
instantly became polarized.
For this, no one is to
blame. However, it is impor-
tant to look at where our
country stands today. The
conventions were a shining
example. This year, the
Democratic Convention had a
platform that lay in the mid-
dle ground of the political
spectrum and spelled out
some of the things that the
Democrats intend to do in the
next four years should
President Clinton be re-elect-
ed. Clearly, their platform
showed that they are willing
to compromise in order to
work with their counterparts
and create meaningful legis-
The Republican
Convention had the most
extreme platform ever seen in
the entire history of this
country. It contained five
proposals to amend the U.S.
Constitution. More than that,
a Russian journalist at the
convention said he felt it was
run stricter than anything the
Communists of Russia had
ever done. Clearly, the
Republican message is one of
unwillingness to compromise
and work with Democrats.
It would seem that the
Republican Revolution of
1994, as it is sometimes
referred to, has led to a huge
divide in the two major polit-
ical parties. For this, both
parties are equally responsi-
ble, and both parties should
be working toward compro-
mise. After all, compromise
is absolutely essential to
democracy, something that
our great country should be
all about.
In this current election
year, it is the Democrats who
are recognizing and working
to meet this call. Clearly, they
know that is only throuh

prices unfair
to students
Recently, while I was try-
ing to print a program from a
University computer, I
received a window saying
that I could no longer print
because my funds had run
This came as a surprise
because it had never hap-
pened to me last year. It was
also a pain, because I had the
program and some graphs
due the next day and the pro-
fessors wanted hard copies.
From running around
campus trying to figure out
what to do, I discovered the
Each month, students get
$10 as a sort of printing
allowance. This year, because
the price per pane was raised
by 100 percent, it costs eight
cents to print each page.
This means that every
month you can only print 125
pages. This isn't really very
much when you consider
that, for example, the pro-
gram I spoke of earlier
(including all the junk that
goes with it) is something
like 20 to 30 pages, and that I
have other classes with their
own demands.
Also, if you are like me
and dial in to the University
to do e-mail or Netscape,
you lose $4.40 from that
account (flat rate) even if you
call just once! If you dial in
for more than 20 hours per
month, then you lose more.
Say you only do occasional
e-mail, such that you're far
from that 20 hour limit. In
that case, you now have only
$5.60 in your account. I
haven't done the math, but it
probably works out to some-
thing like 60 to 70 pages per
month that you're down to
after dial-in costs.
In my case, I could only
print two programs per
month, and I'd have to get
them right on the first print.
Also, I'd have to explain to
my other teachers that from
now on I just can't give them
hard copies of any papers or
projects and hope that they
don't mind if I e-mail it to
Just from talking to other
students in some of my class-
es, I've found I'm not alone
on this. The solution? You
have to set up a self-funded
account with the Information
Technology Division. I
learned this from one of the
computer consultants on
What they didn't tell me
was that the ITD office does
not take cash, so I had to*
once again borrow a pass-
word from a friend so I could
get my homework in on time

it goodfor?
W hile the presidential candidates
go back and forth arguing about
domestic issues, it seems as if their
discussions on foreign policy only go
as far as what should be done about
legal or illegal immigrants in the
United States.
this is not the
extent of our for-
eign issues, and I
would like to hear
more about the
truth behind
America's mis-
sions abroad.
Specifically. I
always wanted to
know what was
the purpose and MPATANISHI
ultimate result of TAYARI
Operation Hope in
Exactly what is our policy on inva-
sion and intrusion? Why were we so
quick to go into Somalia for "humani-
tarian" efforts, while ignoring other
fighting all over the world?
Specifically, the Bosnia situation was
ignored for many years by the interna-
tional community. So, why this coun-
As I remember it, an outgoing
President Bush made known his deci-
sion to deploy American troops for a
humanitarian mission in Somalia,
Africa, as he sat in a National Security
Council meeting the day before
Thanksgiving in 1992. His so-called
objective was to "stop bloodshed and
looting and get food to starving peo-
ple." As troops left for Mogadishu dur-
ing the Christmas holiday, he further
imposed that they were doing "God's
Not surprisingly, incoming President
Clinton was both cautious and sup-
portive of being dragged into this
uncertain political territory, and for
good reason. Although several differ-
ent issues came to account for Bush's
decision to send troops to Somalia,
this United Nations intervention by an
American-led coalition was really not
surprising at all. It all but screamed the
advancement of Western imperialism
- a much easier task following the
fact that the world is no longer bi-
Deeming Bush's agenda as selfish is
greatly supported by both historical
and contemporary evidence.
Historically the selfish reasons for
foreign intervention and foreign aid to
these Third World countries was typi-
cally based upon Western states trying
to keep communism from expanding,
as shown through the great decrease in
foreign aid following the end of the
Cold War.
Presently, I find it hard to believe
that Bush, widely known for his attack
on welfare and the poor within his own
nation, would OK the U.S. occupation
of Somalia for purely humanitarian
reasons. There are several other states
needing someone to intervene and do
"God's work." Why not send troops to
Cambodia or why not send troops to
stop the massacres in Bosnia at the
These situations just mentioned were
much worse than the situation that was
going on with Operation Restore
Hope. The name of the mission itself
indicates the rampant images of Third
World countries - usually those of
color - as being downtrodden and not

being able to function without
European or other Western interven-
In addition, it is not surprising to me
that when the last of the American
troops pulled out of Mogadishu five
months after they went in, little change
had been implemented beyond pre-
scribing newfound international fame
to the local warlords.
Although some may argue that cog-
nitive limits, rather than ethnic biases,
affect state policy decisions, I would
disagree. This would imply that limits
of which states are cognizant - usual-
ly through the media - have a strong
bearing on policy-making decisions.
It indicates that states are so wary of
their appearance, and the level of
approval in the eyes of their citizens
and prominent persons in other coun-
tries, they make policy decisions that
will fare well within these groups.
Well, I find it hard to believe that
most states make important decisions
based on peer pressure -- especially
nations with as much national and
international power as the United
Although the media has great influ-
ence over the American people, the
executive government has an underly-
ing and unseen role in the control of
the media. They essentially feed
American media what it wants them to
know and broadcast, thus quietly lim-













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