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February 26, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-26

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 26, 1999

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Detroit's revitalization should focus on city's character

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily. letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

HEATHER KAMINS
Editor in Chief
JEFFREY KOSSEFF
DAVID WALLACE
Editorial Page Editors

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

On the cloamck
'U' and GEO must reach agreement soon

etroit's not somewhere I'd like to pay
.V to visit," I heard one traveler at
Detroit Metropolitan Airport say to another
this month.
After moderate protest from her compan-
ion, she asked incredu-
lously, "Have you ever
been to Detroit?"
The exchange didn't
surprise me. It made
me laugh, and it sad-
dened me. Detroit wasK
never intended to be a
resort town, but it has
become almost as
unlikely to be a desti-
nation for a dinner
date as a family vaca-
tion. L urie
Many Detroiters and Mayk
suburban residentsS
have their own theories She
to explain why the city Says o
only bustles during
business hours: it' Coleman Youngkfault; it's
the suburbs'fault; it's the crime; the grime; the
blue-collar image; the racial tensions ...
But regardless of who and what is to blame
for the status quo (and I think it's safe to say
all of the above share a bit of the burden),
Detroit as a commercial center needs some
help.
Some people think the casinos will be the
city's saving grace. I don't
Some economists think the transfer of hun-
dreds of General Motors Corp. employees to
downtown offices will do the trick. Unlikely.
Some politicians think a bit of federal
money and a few empowerment zones will
turn things around. For the residents of those
areas, the money and the attention could do
wonders. For the image and commercial value
of the city as a whole, they'll barely scratch

the surface.
Even my mother thinks she knows the
secret to revitalizing Detroit. According to her
plan, we've had what we need to transform
downtown into a safe, upbeat commercial
center all along: frozen water.
Her idea revolves around -- literally - a
Rockefeller Center-esque ice rink in the mid-
dle of downtown. She envisions the rink as the
centerpiece of a downtown square that would
attract restaurants, boutiques and coffee
shops. And her idea is not as crazy as I
thought it was the first time I heard it.
Actually, it would fill several of the city's gaps
and appeal to a range of clientele:
Singles - There simply is no reason to
make the trek to Detroit when you're more
likely to run into friends on the street in down-
town Royal Oak or even Ann Arbor. Creating
an intimate and lively square will make down-
town Detroit a more likely meeting spot for
groups and individuals.
. Families - The suburban families who
spend their Saturdays at soccer games would
welcome a safe and affordable venue for
weekends.
The dinner and the theater crowd: Detroit
has one of the largest and most successful the-
ater districts in the country, and yet its influ-
ence hasn't moved further than the theaters
themselves. Couples tend to make only one
stop in the city to see their desired show, and
then they head straight home when the curtain
comes down. It would be natural to stroll
about a plaza and sip a latte or a Chardonnay
after the show, but there' no where to go.
So we'd be stealing the idea from
Manhattan, and it wouldn't be the same with-
out NBC studios in the background, but
Mom's on the right track. Maybe it's time for
a gimmick.
That doesn't mean we have to haul in tons
of frozen water from Lake St. Clair or come

up with some great new theme song; perhaps
what we're looking for is right under our
noses.
Detroit already has an image it is proud of:
Motor City, Motown music and a strong tra-
dition of African American leadership. The
city needs to use those positive themes that
outsiders associate with Detroit to fashion a
cultural hub where people want to be.
The Museum of African American History
was a step in the right direction, and so was
the Motown Museum, but enthusiasm for
these individual establishments has not been
enough to spark the kind of restaurants and
themed attractions that would make a muse-
um a phenomenon.
Fort Worth, Texas, took a risk a few years
ago, and now it's being hailed for an amazing
urban comeback and a string of museums and
performing arts centers that rivals its big sis-
ter to the east. For years, Fort Worth was the
forgotten stepchild of the Dallas-Fort Worth
metroplex, trying desperately to suppress its
cowboy drawl in the shadow of Dallas glitz.
But by someone's stroke of genius, Fort
Worth decided finally to embrace its
Cowtown heritage, and turned its downtown
and surrounding areas into a tribute to the Old
West. The result is a classy Western look.
tinged with suede fringe and silver buckles
and a cultural district that draws Dallas resi-
dents west for the weekend.
Detroit has the opportunity to do the same
thing by building on one of the images it
already has - use the Motor City and bring
the new automotive museum from Dearborn
to Detroit, use Motown and build on the exist-
ing paraphernalia, use sports and paint every-
thing red and white or blue and orange ... use
anything but the big ugly fist in the middle of
the city.
- Laurie Mayk can be reached over
e-mail at ljmayk@umich.edu.

L ast weekend, the Graduate Employees
Organization voted to authorize a
strike. This motion was approved by a vast
majority of the organization, with 77 per-
cent of members voting in favor of striking.
March 15 is the date set to begin an open-
ended strike should efforts to obtain a con-
tract fail. Before going on strike, GEO
plans to hold a one-day walkout on March
10 and a half-day walkout on March 11 as a
last ditch attempt to force the University
into a settlement. For almost three weeks,
GEO has been working without a contract,
hoping to avoid a deal similar to the one it
signed in 1996, which produced a salary
increase insufficient to meet the expenses
of living in Ann Arbor. The University and
GEO must work together in this short
timetable to reach a bargain satisfying both
parties; otherwise, the effects of a strike
could devastate the University.
GEO has already shown a great willing-
ness to compromise, having lowered its
wage increase demands from 37 percent to
9 percent. But the University has not
budged from its proposed increase of 2.5
percent. In fact, the University's offer,
which basically recalculates the number of
hours that graduate employees work so that
they receive more money for more hours of
work, is not a real increase. In many cases,
the compensation for the number of hours
worked will actually decrease.
In addition, the University's proposal
demands even more of graduate employees'
already-scarce time. After all, GSIs are stu-
dents as well, attending classes, conducting
research and working on dissertations.

Many of them are willing to meet with
undergraduate students outside of class and
office hours. The University's offer, which
would require many GSIs to teach an extra
discussion section, would leave less indi-
vidual time for undergraduates and the
members of GEO themselves. Since GSIs
are the crucial link between professors and
students, this would prove detrimental to
undergraduate education.
With a strike date set, a settlement
between GEO and the University is even
more crucial. A lengthy work stoppage
would throw the academic calendar into a
state of flux, particularly hurting under-
graduates. The University's reputation as
a center of quality education is also at
stake. Better compensation will attract
the best GSIs to the University. If the
University forces GEO to strike, a nega-
tive perception may encourage graduate
students to enroll elsewhere. A failure to
reach an agreement could hurt every
aspect of the University.
The standoff between the University
and GEO must come to an end soon.
Because GEO has already shown a great
deal of willingness to compromise, it now
falls to the University to make conces-
sions, something it has so far failed to do.
The University needs to take into account
the cost of living in Ann Arbor, as well as
the amount of time and effort graduate
employees must put into their duties as
both instructors and students. It is crucial
that the University does its part to end a
dispute that, if it continues, will be harm-
ful to all students.

CHIP CULLEN

GRINDING THE N13

Ho IALL *0 0

Johnny come lately
Federal government cannot collect states' money

O n Nov. 23, 1998, the attorneys general
of 46 states, five commonwealths and
territories and the District of Columbia final-
ly reached a settlement with tobacco manu-
facturers to receive compensation for costs
the states incurred through medicaid in treat-
ing people suffering from conditions corre-
lating with smoking. The deal was consum-
mated with tobacco manufacturers Philip
Morris Incorporated, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco
Company, Brown & Williamson Tobacco
Corporation, Lorillard Tobacco Company
and the Liggett Group, together representing
about 99 percent of the industry. The agree-
ment, worth $246 billion during the next 25
years, has been a long debated issue between
the states and the federal government with
respect to the disbursement of the award
money. It is essential that state governors and
attorneys general work hard in developing
strategies to prevent federal recoupment of
these funds.
In 1996, a number of states settled their
lawsuits early and began collecting payments
from certain companies. Shortly thereafter,
the Health Care Financing Administration
(HCFA) contacted each of the relevant state
Medicaid directors, claiming that payments
received from the pursuit of Medicaid cost
recoveries from tobacco firms qualify them
for 50 percent of the financial recovery.
Naturally, this claim raised concerns from a
legal point of view.
Should the federal government attempt to
claim the funds, states will likely respond
with lawsuits. Federal law prohibits the U.S.

government from seeking reimbursement of
Medicaid funds. And since the states initiat-
ed the lawsuits, litigated them on their own
behalf and undertook the risks involved in
years of arduous negotiations, they should
reap the full returns from the settlement.
These funds are critical to the states'
implementation of effective programs to
minimize the use of tobacco products by
young people. To turn these ideas into reali-
ty, it is necessary that states decide how to
spend the full settlement money.
State attorneys general and legal scholars
alike say the federal government's case is
flawed in many respects. The Medicaid pro-
visions currently being pushed by federal
officials were adopted decades ago and were
originally designed for small claims and as a
tool to fight provider fraud. Such outright
exploitation and misuse could have never
been envisioned, nor intended. The Medicaid
reimbursement claimed by the federal gov-
ernment represented only a small portion of
settlement funds anyway, because the states'
attorneys general carefully crafted the agree-
ment to reflect only state costs.
Because the tobacco lawsuit was initiat-
ed, litigated and craftily settled by the states
to reflect state costs, its spoils should not be
usurped by the federal government - espe-
cially since it is gearing up for its own law-
suit to recover money spent through pro-
grams other than Medicaid. State governors
and attorneys general must work diligently
to preserve the settlement they worked hard
to earn.

Ticket prices for
'M' football
unfair on road
To THE DAILY
Hey, Michigan fans and alumni, it seems
Syracuse's athletic director has taken a play
from University Athletic Director Tom
Goss's playbook - charge loyal Michigan
fans more money to support the teams they
love. The Syracuse ticket office has decided
that all University alumni and students who
want to go the game Sept. 18 are going to
have to but a ticket for Syracuse's football
game against Central Michigan. Forget the
fact that we can watch CMU anytime we
want, they aren't worth watching anyway.
Syracuse wants to generate more rev-
enue, so like Goss, they are deferring the
cost onto the fan. Paying $55 for a game
that costs only $23 for a Syracuse fan is
unfair.
We want to support the football team, so
what should we do? Ideally, no Michigan
fan should buy a ticket to that game, since
we can watch the game on TV for free.
Many Michigan fans may choose torwatch
the games on TV next year, since Goss has
decided to raise general tickets by $8. Look
what has happened to the student section at
hockey games this year after Goss raised
ticket prices for no apparent reason.
Students do the "Blackhole Chant" when
we are losing, or haven't even scored a goal.
Sports is a huge industry. It was the
same in the days of Rome, as it now. The
question is how much money do these ath-
letic directors need, so they can sleep at
night?
KEVN HURLEY
LSA SENIOR
Column was
'absolutely right'
about Bullock
To THE DAIy:
Andy Latack hit the nail right on the
head with his column about Louis Bullock
("Classy Bullock a true leader for eM'',
2/24/99). Despite the team's forgettable
record, Bullock has always been the epito-
me of class. It must be extremely frustrating
for Bullock, a superstar in his final season,
to face the harsh reality that there will be no
NCAA tournament in his future.
Bullock is a role model for all athletes.
His ability, both on the court and off, to
maintain his composure and never overreact
are skills that cannot be taught. His experi-
ence and leadership will be missed next
year. Latack was absolutely right. It's about
time that Louis Bullock gets the respect he
has earned.
DREW BRA T
LSA FIRST-YEAR STUDENT
fUrsit -trio -i-m

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~UU3UFm

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students simulate lawyers and witnesses in
a court case and compete against approxi-
mately 400 other colleges and universities.
While students do not have to be pre-law to
join, most of them are and find that mock
trial provides invaluable experience to
courtroom procedure and rules of evidence.
Not many people on campus know about
mock trial - we receive very little support
or recognition from the University. Even
University President Lee Bollinger, former
dean of the Law School, ignores our
attempts to contact him despite touting the
importance of academics.
The mock trial team is entirely student
run. We do not have a coach - our ideas,
procedures and most of our funds are stu-
dent generated. We are always searching for
mediums to alert students, professors and
members of the legal community that our
team exists. The fact that the Daily does not
deem mock trial important undercuts every-
thing we have done and hope to do.
The mock trial team has achieved
remarkable success despite this lack of sup-
port and recognition. Last year, we placed
fifth at the national championships and won
a national title in another competition. This
year, the team is well on its way to bettering
those finishes. Earlier this year, we placed
fourth at a national invitational, and last
weekend we won first place at the regional
tournament at the University of Notre
Dame, thus earning a bid to compete at the
national championship in April. The Daily
did not report any of these triumphs.
The members of the mock trial team
deserve recognition for being one of the top
teams in the country and for representing
the University with excellence. Beyond
that, the student body deserves the right to
know that this team exists, especially those
who are interested in joining.
JOELLE RENSTROM
LSA JUNIOR
BAMN is not
tolerant of
different views
To THE DAILY:

BAMN's use of unthinking rhetoric is
clearly displayed in its Day of Action adver-
tisements. BAMN dismisses Prop 209-like
legislation as "racist' thereby stunting the
possibility of dialogue. BAMN's advertise-
ment suggests that all Republicans are racist
and that black persons can only express pro-
affirmative action views. BAMN refers to
Republican state Sen. David Jaye (R-
Macomb) as a modern day George Wallace.
In the '90s, however, "George Wallace" can-
not resegregate alone. He must "latch-up"
with former University of California Regent
Ward Connerly, "the black Republican front-
man."
Given BAMN's promoted goal of attain-
ing diversity, one would think that it could
appreciate the political diversity on the
topic of racial preferences. That is simply
not the case. BAMN and its ilk are not here
to educate. They are in a war and will win
"By Any Means Necessary.'
Such extremism is evidenced by the use of
phrases such as "preparing forces"'"defeating
the threat,"'"attack" and "defense." Those of
us who have made up our minds to disagree
are the enemy and there is no redemption for
us. If we are white, we are racists; if we are not
white, we are sell-outs. But, for those who
haven't made up their minds and remain intel-
lectually undecided, the answer is clear -
chuck the logic and pick up the outrage. There
is always a place for you at BAMN.
Perhaps we have learned something as a
result of BAMN's efforts. At best, we have
learned the art of inartful rhetoric. At worst,
we have learned the same thing.
Gi JOHN
LAW SCHOOL
Slice of Life
program helped
potential students
To THE DAILY:
I would like to commend the student
body and the Alumni Association of the
University of Michigan on their Slice of
Life program. The enjoyed the experience
of attending classes, experiencing the life of

HAVE NM A5
Ktcvi&

0- ,

Gov. JOHN ENGLER
PHONE: (517) 335-7858

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