The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 9, 1999 --7A
ities receive positive,
negative marks in study
LANSING (AP) - Michigan's cities are doing a bet-
ter job tackling crime, health, jobs and education, but
still are having a tough time holding onto residents and
businesses, according to a new legislative study released
The Status of Michigan Cities report was prepared for
the state House Bipartisan Urban Caucus, a group of
about 50 representatives concerned with urban condi-
tions. Members of the group say they hope this will be
the first of an annual report that will help state lawmak-
ers shape urban policy.
"Many times we hear anecdotally what is needed for the
benefit of our cities," said caucus co-chair Buzz Thomas Ill
(D-Detroit) "Now we have an objective report in black Ind
The report on 13 cities found people and businesses more
likely to locate in suburban and rural areas than they were 10
years ago, leaving cities with fewer residents and a smaller
share of business property value.
On the positive side: crime, health, unemployment and
high school graduation rates have improved over the last
decade - although they still lag behind the rates in sur-
The report covered topics such as ozone levels, bond rat-
ings, home ownership and student-to-teacher ratios in public
To summarize the results, the authors compiled what
they admitted was a somewhat arbitrary index of urban
well-being. The index measures 12 variables, most com-
paring a city's progress to the state of the surrounding
Overall, the index of urban well-being fell from a base of
100 in the late 1980s to 97.5 today, a 2.5 percent decline.
"I think it suggests what most people in the cities
know - they are improving. They are not hemorrhag-
ing," Thomas said. "But they are falling behind their
rural counterparts in some areas, and there is room for
The 13 cities studied -- Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Detroit,
Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing.,I uskegon,
Pontiac Saginaw, Traverse City, Warren and Wyoming -
were chosen for size and geographic diversity and represent
21 percent of the state's population.
Lansing Mayor David Hollister said everyone in the state
should be concerned about the status of cities, since healthy
cities attract people and keep them from sprawling into less
"We want our green space maintained, but to do that we
need an enlightened policy in our cities," Hollister sad.
What that enlightened policy would be has yet to be deter-
mined. To maintain objectiveness, therefore contains no leg-
islative suggestions, and members of the urban caucus say
they have yet to talk about an agenda.
Rep. Bill Byl of Grand Rapids, the Republican co-chair of
the committee, said he is most concerned about the difference
in industrial property values.
Business property value in the cities rose 3.5 percent from
1988 to 1998, compared to 6 percen: in the surrounding
In 1988, of all business property value in the 12 counties
where the 3 cities are located, 72 percent was in the cities; by
1998 the percentage had fallen to 54 percent.
"To me, it bears out the necessity for legislation like renais-
sance zones ... and the brownfield legislation that allows.
industrial clean-up in urban areas," Byl said.
Pontiac Mayor Walte Moore agreed that those programs
help urban renewal, but he would also like to see the legisla-
ture make an effort to give all public schools the same amount
of money for each student.
"Education for our children is something that should be
equal across the board," he said. "It's something I see as an
investment. If we don't pay for that on the front side, we're
stuck paying for welfare or in the prison systems or for other
Young murder suspect's trial
won't be delayed for appeal
PONTIAC (AP) - A judge has
refused to delay the trial of the state's
youngest-ever murder defendant so his
attorneys could appeal the admissibility
of his confession to the U.S. Supreme
Lawyers for Nathaniel Abraham
said Tuesday that they may file an
emergency appeal with the Supreme
Court in hopes of excluding the con-
Nathaniel is one of the youngest peo-
ple charged as an adult in the country.
He was 11-years-old when he was
charged in the shooting death of 18-
year-old Ronnie Green Jr., who was
killed Oct. 29, 1997 outside a Pontiac
Abraham was charged with first-
degree murder and assault with intent to
commit murder, and two felony
In a taped confession to Pontiac
police, Abraham admitted shooting
Greene with a .22-caliber rifle, police
say. Psychological tests show the boy is
developmentally disabled and functions
on the mental level of a 6- or 7-year-old,
making Abraham's confession inadmis-
sible, his attorneys say.
In May, Judge Eugene Moore threw
out the confession, ruling that Abraham
was unable to understand his rights
when police questioned him. The
Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the
ruling, and in July, the Michigan
Supreme Court refused to hear a further
Abraham's attorneys requested a
delay while they appeal to the U.S.
Supreme Court. Moore denied that
request Tuesday, allowing the trial to
begin as scheduled Sept. 21.
"There is no point to take it to a high-
er court," said Lisa Halushka, chief of
the juvenile division at the Oakland
County Prosecutor's Office. "The
Michigan Court of Appeals wrote a
well-reasoned opinion based on a body
of case law."
Defense attorney William Lansat
admitted the chances the Supreme
Court would agree to hear the case
are slim. The court hears only a
small percentage of applications for
"I have to be candid. It's a long
shot,""Lansat told The Oakland Press.
At issue is whether Abraham under-
stood his right to remain silent and con-
sult an attorney during police question-
His defense attorneys argue that
Nathaniel's statements to police should
be withheld because he did not know-
ingly and intelligently waive those
Another of Abraham's attorneys,
Daniel Bagdade, said growing ques-
tions of how to treat young suspects
make the case important enough for the
nation's highest court to hear.
Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan stresses the need for integrity in business dealings during a speech yesterday to the
Gerald R. Ford Foundation in Grand Rapids.
Greenspan: Honesty leads to
success in life and business
The Associated Press
Leo Duroucher may have thought that "nice guys finish last,"
but Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan begs to disagree.
"Without mutual trust and market participants abiding
by a rule of law, no economy can prosper. Our system
,,m.i.'A n ,A .fmant allt on indivitdual fair dealing,"
mutually beneficial exchange," Greenspan said in his
remarks, which were released in Washington.
"In virtually all transactions, we rely on the word of those
with whom we do business," he said. "If a significant number
of business people violated the trust upon which our interac-
tions are based, our court system and our economy would be
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