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October 29, 1996 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-29

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4 - The'Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 29, 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
Students to vote on MSA fee proposals

'if you don't vote, then you don't exercise your right
that people fought and died for,'
- State Rep. Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor), talking to
University students on campus Sunday
T KEE Ps Oodt AND Cowpt At....

Next month, students will have the
option to more than double their activ-
ity fee, which currently rests at $2.69 per
term. The Michigan Student Assembly
voted to put several proposals on the ballot
to benefit student groups, community ser-
vice programs and campus governments.
With perpetually rising tuition costs, stu-
dents cannot afford to take the three fee-
increase proposals lightly. Nevertheless,
funding for student groups is always in
short supply and a $1 increase per term
would benefit a majority of students.
The other two fee increases are unac-
ceptable. Students should vote no on these,
and keep the money in their pocketbooks.
This year, MSA's Budget Priorities
Committee will allocate to student groups
approximately $90,000. But it's not enough.
BPC chair Carey Morgan estimates that 100
groups will receive funding this year.
Although BPC gives money to a large num-
ber of organizations, most will receive less
than they request. It is hard for these groups
to solicit outside funds; students are
strapped for gash - thus, a limited amount
of money is available for donations. MSA
often is the only avenue groups have to
receive funds. These dollars fund innovative
programs that serve not only the members
of individual organizations, but the student
body at large.
Since $1 is a hefty raise, MSA must
make use of the money for a few years to
come. No student currently attending the
University should see another general raise
if this one passes.
The second proposal calls for a whop-
ping $1 fee increase to benefit individual
student governments, such as the LSA
Student Government. These governments
are most effective in handling administra-
tive details. The effort to work with the
On theI
Detroit job fair v
F inding employment can be a difficult
task. For felons, the task can seem
hopeless. To improve the bleak occupation-
al outlook for ex-convicts, the Michigan
Employment Security Commission, the
Michigan Neighborhood Partnership, the
Michigan Department of Corrections and
the Detroit Employment and Training
Division have organized "A Fresh Start Job
Fair," scheduled for Nov. 20, to match ex-
offenders with employers from up to 35
participating Metro Detroit companies. The
event constitutes a positive step toward
remedying recidivism and helps felons
assume productive lives after release from
According to a 1995 Department of
Justice survey of 11 states, "62.5 percent of
all released prisoners were arrested within
three years ... and 41.1 percent were rein-
carcerated." These high levels of recidivism
stem from the difficulty ex-offenders have
in finding employment. Without a legal
income source, the temptation to return to
crime as a means of sustenance is intensi-
Probation officer Nancy Berg notes that

"when you talk to (probation) agents, the
number-one thing they say about their
clients is that these people need to be
employed." The Fresh Start fair takes sever-
al measures to ensure that these former
inmates do, in fact, find employment.
Besides providing a forum for felons to
meet employers, the fair also will offer help
with resumes and interviewing techniques
to to aid them in subsequent job searches.

administration to improve curricula is a typ-
ical productive function. However, these
endeavors do not require much money. The
smaller student college governments do not
use all of the funding they currently receive.
The governments could fritter away the
extra money on pizza to entice participants.
The last ballot proposal is a $1.50
increase for Project Serve and the Black
Volunteer Network. These groups offer
community service activities and contacts
to students - Project Serve's Alternative
Spring Break is especially noteworthy.
Although Project Serve provides invaluable
services to students, it is under the auspices
of the University. Other University depart-
ments or programs, such as UROP or the
Office of the Registrar, usually go through
the administration to receive funding - so
should Project Serve. Student fees should
be used exclusively for student groups. If
tuition isn't enough to fund University
departments, the problem belongs to the
administration - not to MSA.
The Black Volunteer Network is a stu-
dent group. BVN is not satisfied with the
current level of funding. The $1 fee increase
for MSA would ensure that more money is
available for groups like BVN - but BVN
should go through BPC like every other
If all of MSA's ballot proposals pass, the
University student fee would jump from
$2.69 to $6.19 per semester. An increase of
this magnitude is nothing short of prepos-
terous. Students should only vote yes on the
first proposal ($1 for general MSA funds).
In the future, MSA must be more consider-
ate of student needs. Money is tight for stu-
dents and a disturbing pattern is emerging.
If the fee increase for student groups pass-
es, MSA should refrain from requesting
more student funds for a while.
A11 help ex-cons
vism problem in the Metro Detroit area.
Another obstacle former inmates face in
securing employment is a lack of mar-
ketable skills. A 1995 Capitol Hill study
shows that "approximately 40 percent of
prisoners in the federal prison system do
not have a high school-level education."
The lack of education often precludes them
from attaining employment upon release
and forces them away from the work force
- and toward crime.
Another study reveals that "inmates who
spent at least a year in prison and success-
fully completed one or more education
courses in a year, demonstrated a 15.7 per-
cent reduction in, the recidivism rate over a
three-year period."
The matter of educating ex-offenders is
central to them leading productive lives.
The Fresh Start fair also effectively
addresses this issue by providing access to
job training - which is especially impor-
tant at a time when state governments are
slashing funds for prisoner training and
rehabilitation programs.
The program's main sponsor, MESC,
also plans to provide financial incentives

for area businesses that employ ex-offend-
ers. One plan would allow businesses to
write off 35 percent of the first $6,000 in
wages of all ex-offenders hired. This finan-
cial reward would likely counteract much of
the reluctance companies harbor toward the
employment of ex-criminals.
Fresh Start is a pragmatic step to
improve the prospects of released crimi-
nals. It targets major factors contributing to


parents need
Many a letter to the editor
has irritated me, but none has
appalled me more than
Rebecca Ewing calling
Rebecca Phillips' child a mis-
take ("Paying for others'
'mistakes,"' 10/23/96). I hope
that Phillips' child cannot yet
read and so did not read that
letter and will never ask
his/her mother if she thought
of him/her as a mistake or
regretting having him/her.
Having a child is never a
mistake. The mistake is made
when elitists like Ewing
insist that only those with the
means should be allowed to
have children. The mistake is
made when women are told
that it is immoral to have an
abortion, but it is also
immoral to have a child out
of wedlock, or having the
child places an undue burden
on the rest of society.
Helping to raise children is
the least destructive thing the
government could fund, yet it
makes up only a small per-
centage of the budget.
Women who raise chil-
dren and go to school at the
same time should be praised
for their strength and perse-
verance - getting an educa-
tion is one of the best ways
women can improve their
lives and their children's
There are many other
"mistakes" that we the public
pay for that Ewing neglected
to mention, such as Medicaid
and Medicare, which pay for
the health care, of poor smok-
ers with lung cancer and poor
alcoholics with liver damage,
and assistance to poor moth-
ers, respectively. Should we
cut these people off as well?
The heartlessness necessary
to call for this kind of suffer-
ing is unspeakable. Other
mistakes I would rather not
pay for are the bailout of the
Savings and Loansfailures,
radio and TV Marti (anti-
Castro stations scrambled by
Castro and hence useless),
military-funded radiation
testing on unknowing school
children - the list goes on.
In addition, Ewing's state-
ments could be construed as
a personal attack against
Phillips, questioning her
judgment and ability to raise
her child. Such statements
should not be printed in the
Daily. I urge Rebecca Ewing
to think hard about what she
says and realize how hurtful
+ti n lr

Dalton attempts to point
out inconsistencies in pro-
cultural and racial diversity
groups by claiming that their
stance on affirmative action
precludes their hope to diver-
sify by acknowledging the
existence of racial groups,
rather than viewing society as
a colorless whole. The point
of many of these groups is to
create a unified understand-
ing within society that dic-
tates that regardless of race,
gender, etc., our society must
look beyond these uncontrol-
lable qualities and seek to
develop a racially unbiased
outlook on itself - it is
absurd to assume that cultur-
al diversity groups hope to
form a world where race is
not acknowledged. It is
equally absurd for Dalton to
insinuate that affirmative
action policies seek to erase
all racism from society. That
would be impossible without
somehow eradicating 300
years of social development
in our country!
Affirmative action is not
about discrimination or prej-
udices. It is about creating a
level playing field in an
unbalanced world. I believe
that sacrifice is not a pleasant
thing - but if there is a
group that must sacrifice
then let it be the group which
has held power for 200 years
so that a more favorable bal-
ance can be created.
Dalton's idea that we all
should completely disregard
race and gender in academia
and the professional world
would be fine and dandy in a
perfect world. But the fact is
that there is racism in this,
society and this racism works
against the best interests of
people of color and even
women. Can we redress the
wrongs done to generations
of women and people of
color by ignoring these
wrongs? Or do we do our
best to level the playing field
by looking at those character-
istics that in the past caused
them hurt and now use them
to help them overcome the
generations of inequity? It is
completely unrealistic to say
that today's society is or
should be completely color
blind. Many of those who
would have us think so are
the white male elite that has
held the power so long and
now sees it threatened. There
are people of color who also
oppose affirmative action.
But there have always
been people of color who
would jumptat the chance to
go along with the power elite
in the hopes of gainingsome
advantage. The reality is that
if we are to create a society
that allows all people to fully
participate to the best of their
abilities, then we must open
the doors to the institutions
of higher learning that pre-
pare people for this participa-
tion in society.
If we are to celebrate the

Coverage is
Your coverage of the pres-
idential search in the last two
weeks is much like The Wall
Street Journal's coverage of
the economy. The news cov-
erage has been insightful and
well-written, generally much
better than that of the other
newspapers covering the
story. The editorials, in con-
trast, have ranged from vacu-
ous to idiotic.
Liberals: Tell
the truth
This is in reply to David
Sirkin's letter "Capitalism
Needs Limits," (10/26/96) a
letter plagued with factual
errors and misleading spins
typical of most liberals' "per-
suasive" arguments. First, in
response to Sirkin's assertion
that the Federal Reserve
keeps unemployment at 5
percent in order to keep
wages low thereby control-
ling inflation, it is a virtually
undisputed economic fact
that actual unemployment
somewhere between 5.5 and
6 percent is acceptable, given
the necessity of what we call
structural and frictional unem-
ployment. The fomer refers to
unemployment caused by nat-
ural economic cycles where
certain workers' skills become
obsolete (steel miners, for
example). The latter is caused
by people who are in between
jobs because of further educa-
tion, being fired or simply a
search for a better job.
These two types of unem-
ployment that constitute this
5.5 to 6 percent are consid-
ered not only acceptable but
favorable, as they reflect and
encourage a growing, chang-
ing economy. Thus, the
Reserve does and should
fine-tune the economy to
reach this target.
This acceptable rate of
unemployment has nothing to
do with wages or inflation.
The FED does not "keep
unemployment at 5 percent to
combat inflation." Therefore,
the "conservative" Reserve is
not a bunch of grumpy old
men trying to see how many
people they can throw into
poverty, as the author
implied. They are simply
altering the money supply
through the purchase and sale
of government bonds in order
to control interest rates.
Sorry liberals: The Reserve
and monetary policy is not
mean-spirited, selfishand

The student
vote: Five
easy pieces
ny columnist that writes about the
Ann Arbor City Council runs the
very serious risk that nobody will read
the column writing about the map tht
divides Ann Arbor into City Counci
Wards takes that
risk to an expo-t
nentially higher
level. ButN
though it may
sound, this map is
important and
should interest
student activists
political scientists
and anybody SAMUEL
interested in our GOODSTEIN
local government.
Imagine an apple pie with five
pieces. Now take a map of Ann Arbor
and superimpose the lines of the apple
pie onto the map. What you have is a
city divided into five 'pie-shaped
wards, with the Diag as center of the
pie. The result: Students are dispersed
throughout the different wards ani
cannot form a unified political voice
in city politics. In my days as editor of
this page. 1 considered this an injustice
of incalculable proportions. Students
deprived of a voice - the horror! But
the issue is more complex than I would
once admit.
Voters registered in Ann Arbor elect
two City Council members from each
ward to four-year terms, with only one
seat per ward open in each election
The 10 seats on the council are cur1
rently occupied by seven Democrats
and three Republicans, with a
Republican mayor. Wards I (the area
north of the Diag) and 3 (the area
between Washtenaw and Packard)
have the highest concentration of stu-
dents, and predictably enough have the
most progressive City Council mem-
bers - all four Democrats. Ward 2
(east of the Diag) has the fewest stud
dents, and is the only ward with tw6$
Republican council members. Clearly,
the high concentration of students in
wardsI1and 3, and to a lesser degree in
wards 4 and 5, helps elect Democratic
council members. At the expense of
having their own ward, students help
elect Democrats in four of the five
If this sounds familiar, that's because
it mirrors the debate about race-based
congressional districts. Districti
drawn with the intent of producing a
high concentration of minority voters
increased black and H ispanic repre-
sentation in Congress, but lowered the
number of districts with Democratic
majorities, allowing the Republicans
to pick up seats in every state that
drew districts with race as a factor. The
situation is the opposite in Ann Arbor:
Students are not grouped together, an
sure enough there is no student on Ci
Council, but they have a larger influ-
ence on city politics than if grouped in
one district.
Every few years, student activists
interested enough in city politics clam-
or for a new City Council map. Using
the argument thatstudents are Ann
Arbor's raison d 'ere, they claim that
the City Council cannot be responsive
to the student voice without a council
member elected directly by students
from a "student-majority" district. Th
argument is based on the facts that stu-
dents contribute millions of dollars to

the local economy and that without the
University, the prestige and powerbof
the City Council would be measurably
smaller. Trueenough. But the fact
remains that students have a stronger
influence on city governance under the
current system. Furthermore, should
there be a "student majority" ward4
considerable barriers to electing a stu-
dent would remain. Student turnout is
not very high, and many of those who
do vote do so by absentee ballot, there-
by not impacting Ann Arbor elections.
So a "majority student" district might
fail to elect a student, or solidly pro-stu-
dent candidate, and would consolidate
the traditionally Democratic student
vote in one ward - helping
Republicans make gains on the council
This reasoning explains Republicans
support for race-based gerrymandering.
Ann Arbor has one of the most pro-
gressive city governments in the
nation. This stems in part because the
quality of life is so high in Ann Arbor,
and in part because the elected politi-
cians have a strong liberal base
thanks in no small measure to the dis-
persed student voice. The Republican
mayor, Ingrid Sheldon, would be con
sidered a Democrat in many cities, an
many of the Democrats would be -too
liberal to be electable. An employee of
the Downtown Development Authority
summed it up well: "In most cities,
people have to worry about saving
inIhc nr Cfnlhtinr n nr nnrtican ccinnc





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