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December 04, 2000 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-12-04

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 4, 2000

Ul fitij £iu )&ig

Alls comparatively quiet on the Western Front

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Ml 48109
daily. Ietters@umich.edu

Editor in Chief

Edited and managed by I EMILY ACHIENBAUM
students at the OEditorial Page Editor
University of Michigan
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.

Cities should be able to institute living wage

" F ears Voiced Over Prospect Romanian
Racist May Win"
"Quebec's Separatists Lose More Ground"
"Pakistan Vows 'Restraint' at Kashmir
Line of Control: Reply to India Truce Omits
Rebel Groups"
"'Mad Cow' Dis-
ease Unites Europe inY
Fear: As Affliction
Spreads and France
Panics, EU Pushes for f
Continental Response"
"The Balkans Are
Still Trouble"
So read the interna-
tional headlines in the
New York Times and
The Washington Post
yesterday afternoon.
And this was definite-
ly not a banner day for Spahn
their coverage. Just P
another day, another
paper and another set Rain
of rebel uprisings,
separatist movements and near armed con-
With large headlines and much effort put
into coverage of Election 2000 in the United
States, the world went on. And on a day not
unlike any other, there sure was a lot going
on around the globe.
In Romania, the second leading vote get-
ter in that nation's national elections is an
open and honest racist who regularly attacks
Jewish commentators and the nation's entire
Arab and Gypsy population looks as though
he may actually win the runoff election.
Running against him: A former top member
of the Nicolae Ceausescu's Communist
party referred to by his opponent as a "Stal-
inist taking orders from the K.G.B." One of
these men will lead the Romanian govern-

ment as it pursues membership in the Euro-
pean Union and a greater role in the global
Talk about picking between the lesser of
two evil.
Our friends to the north have themselves in
yet another pickle after re-electing their
prime minister last week. It seems the once-
strong separatist movement in Quebec has
lost some of its power, though they've vowed
to continue to fight for a new nation.
Meanwhile, our neighbors to the south are
having their own separatist problems. In a
positive sign for the constantly scrutinized
Mexican government, the Zapatista rebel
movement stuck out an apparent olive branch
this weekend. Saying he wants peace, the
leader of the resistance - which has fought
the government for seven years - said he
would be willing to enter peace negotiations
if the government agreed to troop movements
and previously negotiated concessions. But
the armed conflict continues, as evidenced by
the high powered rifle the leader of the group
held throughout his press conference in the
Zapatista jungle hide out.
In everybody's favorite hotspot, the Balka-
ns, unrest still rules, despite the selection of a
new, democratically elected leader who
seems to embrace democracy. The ousted
leader, indicted war criminal Slobodan Milo-
sevic, was re-elected leader of the Socialist
party, cementing his role in Serbian politics
for at least a while longer. And the leader of
the new government is going to have a very
tough time bringing any type of cohesion to
the war-torn nation.
In Kashmir, a disputed Indian territory on
the Pakistani border, two nuclear powers
are looking to settle their conflicts just
months after both tested weapons of mass
destruction in an apparent show of force
toward the other. The land, which both

sides claim as their own, is not particularly
large, yet some analysts say it is the area of
the world that could most likely lead to a
nuclear war.
And in the European Union, they've got a
problem of their own - again. A new break-
out of "Mad Cow" disease has the continent
up in arms over their meat consumption, wor-
ried that with every bite of a Big Mac, Whop-
per or back yard burger they may go the way
of cow they thought would nourish them. So
they may ban meat for a period of time, but '
they will certainly think twice every time a
friend or co-worker says, "Let's go grab a
These stories all came about in a seemingly
quiet news weekend internationally. Mean-
while, a group of well-behaved lawyers filed:
briefs and argued in front of judges in court-°.
rooms across the United States, while candi-.
dates for the presidency made plans for a;:
possible transition.
Protesters gathered in front of the highest'
court in the land cheering and chanting, with
no shots fired or buildings stormed.
There were no death threats or major:-
Everyone was well behaved, though pas-,.
The major players in this election drama?
traded barbs via the media, but never caused-
any true catastrophes, and neither appeared;.
with heavy armaments in hand during their':
This "most unbelievable time in the coun-
try's history" probably didn't even make the;
front page in some foreign newspapers.
Zero armed conflicts, zero separatist move-,
ments and not a single rebel uprising. R'
Maybe this whole process isn't quite so'
crazy after all.
--Mike Spahn can be reached via
e-mail at mspahndumich.edu.

T he Michigan state house
approved House Bill 4766 close-
ly along party lines on Friday, which,
if approved by the state Senate,
would prohibit municipalities from
imposing a "living wage" greater
than the minimum wage. Currently,
four Michigan municipalities have
living wage ordinances. Proponents
of the bill argue that minimum wages
should be federally regulated and
that living wages negatively impact
the economy. This bill is a bad idea:
Local governments should have the
freedom to establish a living wage.
The federal minimum wage of
$5.50 is simply not enough money
for employees to live comfortably.
As a result, many cities and munici-
palities around the nation including
Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, San
Antonio, Baltimore and Detroit, have
instituted living wages.
Currently, Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti
Township, Detroit and Warren all
have living wage ordinances that will
be overridden by this new state law.
Ypsilanti was the first to establish a
living wage ordinance, passing their
law in May of 1999. Since that time,
no negative impact on the economy
has been observed. Rep. Ruth Ann
Jamnick (D-Ypsilanti Township) said
that the living wage established in
May 1999 benefits 70,000 people
and has not scared away businesses.
Ypsilanti currently has a living
wage similar to the one proposed for
Ann Arbor's city contractors last
year: Either $10 per hour or $8.50
per hour with health benefits. Detroit
has a similar wage: $10.50 per hour
or $8.44 per hour with health insur-
The living wage considered in

Ann Arbor for city contractors last
year was vetoed by mayor Ingrid
Sheldon, citing a possible increase in
costs for the city. Despite the eco-
nomic arguments, there has been lit-
tle evidence to show that the living
wages in more than 40 municipalities
around the nation have negatively
impacted the respective communi-
ties. A study by the Preamble Center
for Public Policy of Baltimore's liv-
ing wage revealed that the wage
costs each citizen 17 cents annually
- a small price to pay for the bene-
fits enjoyed by many employees.
Some argue that an increased min-
imum wage will negatively impact
the area economically and somehow
make certain communities appear
less "business-friendly." Even if this
is the case, the local governments
that institute the living wages are
able to repeal the ordinances if the
economics seem to override the
social benefits.
The $5.50 per hour federally man-
dated minimum wage is too low to
prevent workers from living in pover-
ty in many parts of the nation. In lieu
of a national minimum-wage hike,
local living wage ordinances can
help many people earn enough
money to live comfortably.
If the bill passes, some municipal-
ities plan to try to maintain their liv-
ing wages by requiring them for tax
abatements or other municipal ser-
vices. Still, the state should not pre-
vent municipalities from establishing
living wages to benefit their citizens.
Municipalities should have the right
to establish them and existing ones
should not be taken away from the
workers already benefitting from

'There's more to frats than just Thursday,
Friday and Saturday nights.'
-.Engineering junior and Delta Chi President Andrew Lamb
on Greek commitment to community service.

Not the ste's place
Eighteen should be legal age to strip

T here's something rotten in the
state of Michigan. That's right,
politically minded college students!
Your favorite state legislature is at it
Last Thursday, the state Senate
voted unanimously to raise the legal
age limit of performers in adult enter-
tainment venues from 18 to 21. The
decision to raise the adult dancer age
limit is unfounded and unnecessary.
The measure comes as part of a
package of nine bills united in the
common purpose of regulating the
adult entertainment industry. Senators
vigorously defend the constitutionality
of the bills under the pretense that
pornography raises public health
issues from which the state is bound
by its constitution to protect. Citing
the prevalence of illegal drugs and
prostitution rings at adult establish-
ments, they say that their new set of
regulations (which also states that
alcohol-serving venues must be closed
by 2 a.m and that patrons must be at
least six feet away from performers at
all times) will reduce certain health
But this bill is clearly not about
public health; it is about the restriction
of personal freedom. Just ask the
women between the ages of 18 and 21
who have been dancing to pay their
way through college. Many of them
would probably answer with a question
of their own: Why am I allowed to
voice my vote or serve in this nation's

armed forces, but am restricted on how
I choose to earn money for tuition?
When confronted with that ques-
tion, Sen. William Van Regenmorter
(R-Georgetown Twp.) said that he did
not consider lap dancing an appropri-
ate way to finance a college education.
This type of personal judgement
should not have any bearing on a per-
son's ability to choose an employment
Some people may consider working
72 hours a week in residence hall cafe-
terias, earning eight dollars an hour to
scrape half eaten food off of plates and
dig coffee-soaked napkins out of 8-oz.
water glasses to be demeaning; others
may consider taking one's clothes off
and performing for nameless cus-
tomers to be demeaning. But regard-
less of anyone's personal opinion, it is
not the state's job to decide what is an
appropriate way for 18- to 20-year olds
to pay for their education.
The onset of legal adulthood at age
18 brings with it many responsibilities;
it should also bring the freedom to be
employed in legal establishments if
one so chooses. When you're old
enough to sign the lease, should you
not also be old enough to pay the bills?
A person becomes the sole proprietor
of his or her body when he or she
becomes an adult. Working as erotic
dancers is a matter of personal choice,
and the government has no place
restricting adults from pursuing a
career of their choice.

Editorial on
concealed weapons
lacked basis
The Daily's editorial on concealed guns
("Concealed danger" 12/1/00) shows that
no one on the editorial staff did any inde-
pendent research on the matter before writ-
ing it.
I challenge the Daily to get a list of
everyone who applied for and received a
concealed weapons permit in Washtenaw
County during the last few years. Then find
out why each person was given a permit
and then find the reasons for denial on all
the applications that were not accepted.
The results are surprising, mainly because I
know the information is unavailable. The
county permit board will not release that
information even under the Freedom of
Information Act.
Therefore when the Daily gives us sta-
tistics in its editorial about the demograph-
ics of the people that get permits, I know
that either the numbers were made up or
the Daily is taking the word of someone in
the county government without being able
to verify it. The reality is that the permit
board in this county only gives permits to
people with political connections or ex-law
enforcement ties and that is a violation of
the concept of "equal protection under the
The Daily should send 20 law abiding
citizens without any government ties down
to the county board to apply for a permit
and have each one of them state that they
carry large sums of money and need pro-
tection. I would be willing to bet that not a
single one of them get a permit.
The real facts are that more than 30
states now have a "shall issue gun permit"
system and yet crime has not increased nor
have permit holders gone on any shooting
rampages as the Daily's editorial predicts.
People have a fundamental right to protect
themselves and their families and legisla-
tion such as House Bill 4530 needs to be
passed whether liberals like it or not.
Finally I find it amazing that a newspa-
per that is always going on about freedom
of the press, so willingly ignores our state
constitution, namely Article I, Section 6:
"Every person has a right to keep and bear
arms for the defense of himself and the
state." That simple statement should be
clear to anyone with an IQ over 60, includ-
ing the Daily's editorial board.
Weekend section
missing girls' favorite
'80s cartoons
I loved the "Childhood Nostalgia"

star), Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake
(who didn't say, "Have a berry good
day?"), My Little Pony (only the toy that
all girls had more of than any other toy),
and Care Bears. Then there was the whole
Disney afternoon, with Gummi Bears,
Duck Tales and Chip & Dale's Rescue
Rangers. And finally, we all know that
She-Ra was way more interesting than He-
Man (Or that could just be gender bias ...).
'Demagoguery' in
Daily editorials is
I am writing in response to the Daily's
editorial "Concealed danger" (12/1/00). The
passionate, albeit baseless, arguments only
serve to perpetuate the misinformation preva-
lent regarding concealed carry legislation.
Such demagoguery is unacceptable in an
institution of higher education.
I would like to direct Daily readers wishing
to be more informed on the concealed carry
issue to the following article: http://www.rea-
son.com/0001/fe.js.cold.html and the research
of John Lott (Yale University).
I hope the editors take the time to become
more informed on this issue and are more
resistant to other social myths in the future.
It is fine to come out and say "I hate guns,"
but to present arguments without merit is
irresponsible and only serves to further polar-
ize the issue.
Labor code needed
before additional
contracts are signed
The Daily reported on Friday in "Labor
Committee Prepares Final Code" that "the
committee voted 8-2 to approve the language
of the newly revised code." While it is true
that the committee took a vote, this vote was
specifically on the "basic needs" language in
the code not on the entire code itself.
Because this section was the final piece of

the code that needed to be reviewed by the"
committee it is true that the entire committee
agrees on the code as it now stands. In fact
one of the two dissenters on the specific
wording of the compensation clause made the
motion to recommend by next week the final
code to University President Lee Bollinger for,
While it is a good sign that the committee
has finally finished reviewing the language of
the code, the task of writing the code into
licensee contracts still remains. It has been near-'
ly two years since Bollinger released his policy
statement on sweatshops and labor standards.
For all intents and purposes, the current
language of the code reflects his sentiments
in that statement. For this reason the
administration should have no trouble
quickly implementing the current code. At
the last Board of Regents meeting"
Bollinger himself told me that "I keep my
promises." In order for him to keep the
promise made by his policy statement in
March 1999 this newly finalized code must@
be implemented.
Each week that passes more contracts
are being signed without this code of con-
duct. Seeing as there is a finished code
awaiting recommendation there are no.-
more reasons for this delay to continue. It'-
is up to Bollinger to receive the finished
code and quickly implement it.

CO LL E &E DORM 1,A)(M1U5 ur'y
r T Ao. nA .

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