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October 12, 2000 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-10-12

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 12, 2000 - 5A
Senate sends auto safety measure to president

WASHINGTON (AP) - A bill aimed, at
strengthening auto safety in the aftermath
of the recall of Firestone tires linked to 101
deaths was passed last night by the Senate
and sent to President Clinton.
The Senate passed the legislation on a
motion and without a recorded vote just 18
hours after the House approved it on a voice
vote. White House spokesman Elliot DIringer
said Clinton is expected to sign the bill.
The bill prescribes jail terms for officials
of automakers and parts suppliers who
withhold information about safety defects
from government regulators, requires gov-
ernment testing of vehicles for their
rollover risk and requires that new vehicles
sold in the near future have systems to
warn motorists about under-inflated tires.
"Tragically, I fear there will be more
deaths and injuries on America's highways
before we make it much safer," said Sen.
John McCain (R-Ariz.) who had spowsored
4stronger bill but supported the House ver-
sion as an acceptable alternative. "But I
think we've taken a major step forwaii and

one that I think will save lives and prevent
injuries."
The bill also requires automakers and
their suppliers to give the National High-
way Traffic Safety Administration more
information about accidents, warranties
and claims so it can identify problems ear-
lier.
"This has not been an easy experience
for us," said Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) who
led a House investigation into the Firestone
tire recall. "We've had so many tragic sto-
ries, but we will have something good out
of it. We will have the most extensive
reform of sato safety in 30 years and done
in record tiiie."
The bill, vwich was introduced less than one
month ago by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
faced stiff opposition from the auto industry
and business groups, among the most powerful
lobbying groutps on Capitol Hill.
McCain's efforts to bring it up in the
Senate were blocked temporarily yesterday
by two Democratic senators. But they
dropped their objections after no Republi-

can moved to stop it. The two Democratic
senators were not identified by leaders in
either party or those involved in the lengthy
negotiations over the legislation.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers ral-
lied against the criminal penalty provision,
but both endorsed the final bill.
Alliance spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist
conceded it is probably the best they could
get in the uproar surrounding 101 U.S. traf-
fic deaths and more than 400 injuries con-
nected to Firestone tires. Most of the
accidents involved rollovers of Ford
Explorers.
"We still have a lot of reservations about
it and think it's going to be a challenge and
tough legislation," Bergquist said. "But we
think it's workable."
Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. welcomed the
bill's passage.
"The resulting increase in government
and consumer access to this information,
coupled with stringent vigilance and coop-
eration from manufactures, will help ensure

that customer safety is the highest priority
with respect to all motor vehicle products,"
the company said in a statement.
The bill would create a 15-year prison
sentence for officials who withhold from
government investigators information on
defective products that kill someone. But it
includes a "safe harbor" provision that
would allow whistle-blowers to report the
defects within "a reasonable amount of
time" without being punished.
In negotiations with House sponsors,
McCain narrowed the whistle-blower
exemption to include only those business
leaders who did not know that the violation
would cause death or serious injury.
The legislation also would increase the
maximum civil penalty for a safety viola-
tion from $925,000 to $15 million.
Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater
called the bill "critically needed legislation."
Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy
group founded by Ralph Nader, opposed
the bill as too weak.
The group's president, Joan Claybrook,

"Tragically, Ifear there
will be more deaths
and injuries on
America's highways
before we can make it

much safer."

.

--Senator John McCain
R-Arizona
said the safe harbor provision would allow
guilty officials to get off the hook and
allow companies to keep information
turned over to NHTSA confidential.
"We would rather fight this battle all
over again than degrade the present law,"
said Claybrook, who spent the day with a
group of Firestone tire accident victims and
survivors urging senators to reject the bill.

Beautiful backdrop

Student recalls debate ticket decision

® Northeastern student tells
about getting Nader a ticket to
the presidential debate
By Christian Meagher
Northeastem News (Northeastem University)
BOSTON (U-WIRE) - In 1862, when President
Abraham Lincoln met the abolitionist author, Harriet
Beecher Stowe, he proclaimed her "the little lady that
wrote the book that started this great war." One hun-
dred and thirty-eight years later, presidential hopeful
Ralph Nader may one day call Northeastern student
Todd Tavares "the 21-year-old that gave the ticket that
brought down the two-party system."
The story of Tavares' fame is rife with accident and
luck. His roommate was accidentally awarded a free
ticket to the Oct. 3 presidential debate on his former
school's campus.
Uninterested, the roommate gave Tavares the ticket.
Tavares, a recent political science transfer from Bristol
Community College, accepted the offer, seeing it as a

great opportunity to learn more about his major.
His girlfriend, Valerie, also expressed interest in
going to the debate, so the two desperately tried to get
her a ticket. In their search, they called the Campus
Action Network to see if the program had any extra
tickets. Tavares was unable to locate an extra ticket, but
as luck would have it, the search would yield new
choices.
On the eve of the debate, Tavares' phone rang; it
was the Massachusetts Green Party. Campus Action
had informed them that Tavares was looking for a tick-
et; the Green Party wondered if lie would give up his
ticket for the party's candidate, Ralph Nader.
"I knew right away," Tavares said of the decision. He
donated his ticket to the Nader cause.
Tavares had heard of Nader's campaign, but didn't
fully embrace its message until he attended the Fleet
Center rally on Oct. 1. He was inspired by Nader's
questioning of the exclusivity of the presidential
debates. Currently, a candidate has to have 15 percent
of the popular vote to take part in the debates.
Nader believes this is a paradox because a third-

party candidate cannot get enough exposure to poten-
tial voters without the debates. Tavares thinks this cur-
rent system produces a less-informed voter.
"If you don't have the complete picture, how can
you vote responsibly?"
But the Debate Commission did not see Nader's or
Tavares' way on debate night. With ticket in hand,
Nader was denied access to the debates because the
commission official thought he would be a distraction.
Tavares says that Nader's belief that the current Ameri-
can political atmosphere is overbearing, bipartisan and
keeps issues hidden from the voters was evident at the
denial of entry.
"Well, they sure proved (Nader) right," he said. "I
view ignorance and democracy as mutually exclusive
and by allowing this ignorance to continue it is killing
democracy."
Tavares says that he has adopted Nader's cause and
will be voting for him in November. He hopes that the
sacrifice of his ticket will make others aware of the
injustice and possible devastating effects, but is humble
when asked about his role in the campaign.

JUJSTIN FHTZPATRtCK/04mvy
School of Nursing senior Lauren Hilsey chats with School of Education juiyor
Emily Gribben yesterday in the Law Quad.

Alcohol P(
i 1
'kls Cal Si
teNisha Gates
(California State University at Chico)
CHICO, Calif- Adrian Heideman
died before he got to wear his fraterni-
ty letters.
Heideman, an 18-year-old Califor-
ia State University at Chico student
and Pi Kappa Phi pledge, was pro-
nounced deadi by Chico police early
Saturday mdrning in his fraternity
house, a victith of what police are call-
ing an apparent alcohol overdose.
Heideman, a freshman, was found
passed out in a basement bedroom in
the house on Po Chico Way after a
night of drinking hard alcohol with his
fraternity brothers. When friends
found him not breathing at 1:21 a.m.,
*hey called 9-1-1, stated a police press
release.
But by the tim-e Chico police arrived
on the scene, Heideman was already
dead.
"I came back from work at 2 a.m.
and there were emergency personnel
everywhere," saidl Brandon Bettar,
president of Pi Kappa Phi. "I was told
that one of our members had died
rom what is being speculated as alco-
hol poisoning."
According to the Butte County
Coroner's office, av enever cause of

0

0

isoning
rate pledge;
death appears to be alcohol-related in
a young person, an autopsy is per-
forMied in order to rule out any other
possible causes. The autopsy was per-
formed Monday morning, but results
will not be known for two weeks,
pending a toxicology report.
Bettar said that there had been a
"brotherhood event" that night, which
started at 7:30 p.m. Heideman was just
one of the many pledges that was at
the event. Bettar said the event was a
tim for brothers to come together and
hang out.
I"It was a night to get away, where
we could hang out together," Bettar
said. "No outsiders, no girlfriends. Just
the brothers."
Though drinking was part of the
gathering, Bettar said that Heideman
was never forced to continue drinking.
Heideman was not a victim of hazing,
he paid.
"There was no force to drink," Bet-
tar said. "And local and national policy
prohibits hazing. If hazing occurs, we
get our letters pulled. Hazing was not
the case."
Because of its loss of a member, Pi
Kapipa Phi is shutting down this
weok. All events scheduled for this
week have been postponed to give the
other members time to grieve, Bettar
said.

DEBATE
Continued from Page :A
Saddam in power and that the sanc-
tions imposed on Yugoslavia had
"just had a spectacular success
there."
"It is a little early to give up on
the sanctions" against Saddam, he
said.
Bush said that far from favoring
elimination of the sanctions, "I want
them to be tougher."
Bush said he also supported
administration policy toward
Yugoslavia and Slobodan Milose-
vic. "I do not think he would have,
fallen if we had not used force," he
said. "I don't think he should have
taken land forces off the table,"
Bush said, but the NATO interven-
tion was necessary. "I hope at some
point our European friends will
become the peacekeepers," Bush
added.
Gore described himself as a long-
time "hard-liner" on ousting Milo-
sevic. But Gore said he had the
impression that "genocide or ethnic
cleansing" would not impel Bush to
use troops. "Have I got that
wrong?" he asked.
"If I thought it was in our nation's
interests, I would use troops," Bush
said, adding that Milosevic threat-
ened NATO, so he would have used
troops.
Gore said lie thought it was a

mistake to send troops to Lebanon
in the Reagan administration and to
Somalia in the Bush administration.
The governor insisted that the Clin-
ton administration made a mistake
by changing the humanitarian mis-
sion in Somalia into a "nation
building" one. He also said he
opposed sending troops to Haiti, as
President Clinton had done.
He defended the interventions
ordered by his father but conceded,
"I have a conflict of interest on
some of those, if you know what I
mean."
In the second of three scheduled
debates, the two candidates sat at a
semicircular table on the Wake For-
est University campus, flanking
moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS. But
they were seated further from each
other than the rivals in the vice
presidential debate, held on an iden-
tical set at Centre College in Ken-
tucky.
Lehrer asked Bush to enunciate
the guiding principles of his foreign
policy, and the Texas governor said,
"The question is what is in our
nation's interests. I've thought a lot
about what it means to be presi-
dent," he said, "and promised an
administration that would reflect all
of our America" Bush said his
choice of former defense secretary
Dick Cheney as his running mate
was indicative of the qualities he
would seek in his appointees.

AUDITS
Continued from Page IA
"Once the program has gone to print,
there's no way to take it back. We can
write them a special letter confirming
their degree, but it's not as nice," Mars-
den said.
If students submit the forms ahead of
time, they still have an opportunity to
make up any required classes.
"It is very helpful to get forms back a
semester before to see any surprises,"
Marsden said. "We want to be able to
adjust to clear up any problems the stu-
dent has and any discrepancies that may
arise."
Warren Hecht, the assistant director
for academic services, said the audit
interviews for Residential College stu-
dents are more personal than in LSA.
Hecht said, "Sometimes we even
make them read their entrance essays
which is a little embarrassing, but for us

it's really a pleasant experience."
Regardless of the importance of the
senior audit forms, some students don't
consider it a pressing issue.
Joe Marsano, an LSA senior planning
to graduate this year, said he is sure he
will graduate on time.
"The physics department has such a
good faculty and advisers that I know
when the time comes, they will make
sure I have everything I need," Marsano
said, adding that his advisers are aware
of the requirements he has completed
and what he needs to finish the year.
Hecht said that most students know
exactly what they have taken and what
they need to take, therefore most are
not worried about submitting forms.
Students concerned about their audit
should seek advising in their pro
grams.
Senior audit forms are available out-
side of academic advising in Angell
Hall.

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