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October 26, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-26

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4A - Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890
413 E. Huron Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed
articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
For now, it's Stabenow
Incumbent senator has a better outlook for the state
n case you hadn't heard, there is an important mid-
term election on Nov. 7. After six years of Republican
rule, the odds of ending the GOP's unitary-executive
government have never been greater. If the Democrats can
pick up 15 seats in the House and six in the Senate, the Bush
Administration will finally face the most important check
on executive power - meaningful Congressional oversight.

What you do in
Missouri matters
to millions of
Americans like me."
- Actor and Parkinson's sufferer
MICHAELJ. FOX in an endorsement
commercial for Democrat candidate
for U.S. Senate in Missouri Claire
McCaskill, speaking to the need for
stem-cell research funding.

4 Ea


Too humble for

For Democrats to gain control of the
Senate, they must hold their incumbent
seats up for re-election. That means
Michigan's incumbent Sen. Debbie
Stabenow needs to defeat her Republi-
can opponent, Oakland County Sheriff
Mike Bouchard.
An analysis of Stabenow's voting
record shows a senator who is prag-
matic - perhaps to a fault - and who
is always mindful of the next election.
For example, Stabenow says she voted
in favor of the Bush Administration's
detainee bill because she wanted to
establish a structure for the handling
of prisoners in Bush's so-called War
on Terror even though she was uncom-
fortable with many of the bill's provi-
sions. It seems more likely that given
her opponent's law enforcement cre-
dentials, Stabenow didn't want to hand
Bouchard a campaign issue.
Stabenow voted for the 2005 bank-
ruptcy reform bill to make declaring
bankruptcy harder, even though it did
not contain an exemption for those who
claim bankruptcy as a result of student
loans or health care costs. Once again,
pragmatism trumped principles for the
Michigan State alum.
Stabenow also voted in favor of a con-
stitutional amendment to ban desecra-
tion of the American flag. Despite a U.S.
Supreme Court ruling that declared
flag burning a constitutionally protect-
ed form of free expression, Stabenow
views courting the votes of Michigan's
veterans as more important than pro-
tecting free speech. We hope Stabenow
will reconsider her position on this in
the future.
Stabenow's opponent is proud of his
Big House renovations
have been transparent
from start to finish'
I strongly disagree with the assertion by
The Michigan Daily in yesterday's editorial
(Shadydealings, 10/25/2006) thatnthe planning
for renovations to Michigan Stadium has been
"secretive." In my 12 years at the University,
I have never seen a project more transparent
from start to finish than this one.
At every phase of the project, preliminary
plans have been shared with the news media
and the public weeks or even months before
the University Board of Regents was asked to
vote on each phase.
Therehavebeenextensive opportunities for
feedback during the past two years including
fan surveys, chances to for public comments
at regents' meetings, face-to-face meetings by
Athletic Director Bill Martin with groups of
fans and the hundreds of letters that alumni
and fans have sent to the regents, University
President Mary Sue Coleman and the Athletic
Although one potential speaker was given
erroneous information about the sign-up pro-
cess for public comments, he was given the
chance to speak anyway and this mistake in
no way has prevented any individuals from
communicating their opinions to the regents.
The University has actively considered all
the feedback, both positive and negative. In
fact, the majority of the feedback has been
supportive of the renovations, including the
addition of suites and club seats. There is a
small but vocal group of opponents to the
project, and University leaders have spoken
with them at length and considered their
input carefully. In the end, Coleman must rec-
ommend to the regents the course of action
she believes is in the best long-term interest
of the University.
In developingthe current renovation plans,
Bill Martin and his staff conducted extensive
research and financial planning, considering
and rejecting numerous alternatives that did
not meet the University's goals or included
too much financial risk. The "Big House Plan"
is not a viable alternative - the financial

record in law enforcement. However,
Bouchard has difficulty talking about
issues other than security from ter-
rorists and criminals. Bouchard has
boasted of Michigan's Sex Offenders
Registry Act as the fruit of his work in
the state Senate, a bill which ensures
even those convicted of minor offenses
remain blacklisted for decades.
Bouchard also does not seem to grasp
the principle of comity and deliberation
embodied by the U.S. Senate. One of his
most salient criticisms of Stabenow is
that she has personally authored only
one bill in six years. When one consid-
ers - which Bouchard apparently hasn't
- that the Republicans have controlled
the Senate for most of Stabenow's ten-
ure and that having a co-sponsor from
the other party is a must for legislation
to pass the Senate, Stabenow's dearth of
personally authored legislation is more
Michigan needs a senator who can
speak intelligently and formulate poli-
cies on the most pressing issue facing the
state - its struggling economy. Stabe-
now has plans to strengthen Michigan's
economy for the 21st century by increas-
ing access to higher education and
ensuring trade agreements are properly
enforced. She also voted against the use
of force in Iraq - a decision that makes
her look wiser with each passing day.
All told, Stabenow is far from an ideal
candidate. Nevertheless, Michigan vot-
ers would do well to take a page from
our incumbent senator and act prag-
matically on Nov. 7 by voting for thor-
ough oversight of a reckless presidential
administration. The Daily endorses
model underlying it is unsound, and it fails to
account for many factors that would raise its
cost and reduce future revenue.
The renovation plan being pursued by the
University has been thoughtfully developed
in order to keep the Athletic Department com-
petitive and improve the game-day experi-
ence for all fans without putting an additional
financial burden on average ticket holders.
Julie Peterson
Associate vice president for media relations and
public affairs
B-side restores reader's
faith in Daily Arts
For the first time in at least a decade, I can
say that I love the arts articles in the Daily.
The B-side writers are savvy and sophisti-
cated and are not only familiar with earlier
generations of music and film, but can wax
eloquent on their qualities. It's apparent the
articles are thoroughly researched.
I don't know how it happened; perhaps
they've been raiding their parent's record
collections and renting classic films through
Netflix. Lloyd Cargo's On the Road Again
(10/19/2006) is just one recent example. One
would be hard-pressed to find a finer piece
on road music (and other helpful hints for the
young road warrior) in a college newspaper.
From the Vault, in which writers review clas-
sic films, is another excellent feature. Kris-
tin MacDonald's recent review of Cool Hand
Luke (09/21/2006) is just one good example. I
applaud the B-side writers and look forward
to each issue.
Julie Herrada
Senior associate librarian
Please write us a letter,
less than 300 words.
We might even print it,
unless it's absurd.
(Sung to the tune of
"On Top of Old Smokey")

The birchbark trim and Native
American artifacts that once dec-
orated the meeting space atop
the Michigan Union tower are gone.
Footage in "Fight Like Hell," a docu-
mentary about Michigamua released
earlier this year, shows that the room
where members of the Students of Color
Coalition held a 37-day sit-in in 2000
now features unadorned white walls.
Michigamua, as such, no longer even
exists; the group retired that name ear-
lier this year.
To all outward appearances, The
Organization Formerly Known As Mich-
igamua - that's what the kids are call-
ing it these days, as it has yet to choose
a new name - has moved beyond its
troublesome past. And yet any associa-
tion with the group remains anathema to
a good proportion of campus. Yesterday,
the Daily ran a news story (Two campus
groups and the student between them,
10/25/2006) detailing how Tony Saun-
ders was removed as the chair of a Black
Student Union committee for being a
member of TOFKAM. (It's not the catch-
iest acronym, is it?) Other members of
the senior society were expelled from
their activist groups earlier this year.
Those are harsh reactions to a group
that says it exists to offer "humble ser-
vice" to the University. Indeed, if the
group has moved beyond its past racial
insensitivity - which, for the record, I
believe it has - that kind of response is
difficult to justify.
I'm able to believe that the group
has reformed, however, because I've
researched the issue extensively and I've
spent hours arguing about the organiza-
tion - partly out of genuine interest and
partly because my boss, Daily Editor in
Chief Donn Fresard, joined the group.
Most students, however, have no rea-
son to spend so much time worrying
about a clique of self-selected campus
leaders. People tend to fall into one of
two groups. There are those - prob-
ably the majority on campus - who have

heard a little about t
its reforms are good
the controversy ove
another thought. Th
however, who
think the group's
history of racism
means it remains
tainted, perhaps
incorrigibly so.
For those in
someone in the
group please
hurry up and
choose a new
name already?) it-
must be tempting toi
ingcritics. They'll nev
line of reasoning woul
still face a backlash d
We'd better just forge
wrongly think we're s
serving the Universit
That's the easiesta
also exactly the wron
For years now, Mic
hindered as much b
to secrecy as by itsr
past. The group's cri
pointing to apparent
Native American art
Union tower during
evidence that therev
commitment to refo
critics are wrong, bus
a way to prove that,
tive organization o
concerned with deft
with taking actions t
a wary campus.
The lack of transp
Saunders kept his n
bership list released
April. Most honorar
society keep their
The group hasn't all
come to its meeting
Daily have trouble g
the group to speakc

their own good
he society, decided one has any idea what the organization
enough and given actually does, because its commitment
r the group nary to humility precludes taking credit for
ere are also those, its service.
This ideal of"humble service" mainly
ends up fueling the ongoing animosity
toward the group. Helping others anon-
ymously is a noble goal, and it's one the
X members of the group could have car-
ried out without controversy if they
Slchose to form a quiet service organiza-
tion from scratch.
The group's past, however, guaran-
CHRISTOPHER tees that it faces a higher level of scruti-
ny than possibly any other organization
ZBROZEK on campus. But if its members respond
to the attention they face by being open
ignore the remain- about their activities and showing that
er be appeased, the they have nothing to hide, interest will
ild go. Our members inevitably fade away. The student body
espite our reforms. is inherently transient and tends not
et about those who to have a strong institutional memory.
till racist and go on After a few years of transparency, the
y community. group could choose a slow return to the
approach - and it's old idea of humble service - and few on
gone. campus at that time will see any reason
chigamua has been to object.
y its commitment Michigamua members through the
racially insensitive years have been fond of talking about the
itics don't trust it, importance of tradition. Well, here's a
lapses such as the tradition the group might want to recall:
ifacts found in the In the bad old days, Michigamua litera-
the 2000 sit-in as ture frequently said the group's purpose
was never any real was to "fight'um like hell for Michigan
rm. I think those and Michigamua." Drop the offensive
t I don't really have pidgin English, and that's not a bad dic-
because the secre- tum. If the group's members want to do
ften seems more what's best, both for their group and for
ending itself than their University, they should rethink the
o earn the trust of group's commitment to the notion of
"humble service."


parency continues.
same off the mem-
to the Daily last
y members of the
affiliation secret.
lowed outsiders to
gs. Writers at the
etting members of
on the record. No

Christopher Zbrozek can be reached
at zbro@umich.edu. Daily Editor in Chief
Donn Fresard normally edits columns on the
opinion page. Because of his involvement
in the organization formerly known as
Michigamua, he did not edit this column.



Time for skyboxes

The Athletic Department is a self-
sustaining enterprise, so from its eco-
nomic perspective, adding luxury boxes
and premium seating is a no-brainer.
These seats will provide a higher profit
margin per ticket than the current seat-
ing options. A market study cited by The
Ann Arbor News estimates the Ath-
letic Department could charge between
$45,000 and $85,000 per suite based on
the suite's proximity to the 50-yard line.
The same study found that the new club
seating could cost fans between $1,000
and $2,500 per seat based on the seat's
exposure to the outdoors. In all, these
renovations could yield an estimated $15
million per year in additional revenue to
the Athletic Department, which already
nets over $46 million annually - 73 per-
cent of the department's total revenue
- off the football program.
These additional revenues will be used
to pay for the renovation costs and help
finance future renovations to the athletic
campus. Athletic Director Bill Martin has
expressed interest in building a multi-
purpose facility between the Big House
and Crisler Arena. This facility would
immediately become the most attractive
concertvenue on campus, leading to more
revenue for the Athletic Department and
more social activities for students.
Personally, I would not mind if the
additional revenue financed the demo-
lition and rebuilding of Crisler Arena.
Our basketball program suffers in part
because Michigan State's basketball
coach, Tom Izzo, can impress top recruits
with a state-of-the-art basketball arena
while Michigan basketball coach Tommy
Amaker cannot. Michigan State also
earns more revenue through its basket-
ball facility, the Breslin Center, bringing
additional funds for basketball scholar-
ships and more competitive recruiting
ANO 01N6 6000 ST-UPS.

Building a more competitive basketball
program is only the beginning of what
these revenues could bring. The Athletic
Department could upgrade successful
club sports programs like the women's
lacrosse team - which went to the
national championship game last spring
- to NCAA Division I status. Low-reve-
nue Division I sports currently supported
by the University - soccer, swimming/
diving, gymnastics, etc. - would not
have to worry about being cut in a round
of financial belt-tightening. No matter
which side of the skybox debate you are
on, we can all agree increasing student
access to athletic activities is something
to encourage.
Renovate it, and
they will still
The arguments against renovating
the Big House are not convincing. Some
express concern over the University
potentially losing its claim to the largest
capacity stadium in the world - to which
I say, big deal. When I cheer for Michigan
football, I root for the team to win, not
to pack more asses in seats. We can keep
holding pissing matches against Ohio
State and Penn State over who draws big-
ger home football crowds, but the true
measurement of the respective programs
is success on the field.
Another counter-argument rests on
the assumption that Michigan Stadium
should remain as one of the last tradition-
al bowl-shaped stadiums without luxury
W HAT? re T HAT supposwO

boxes because the status quo fosters an
environment of misery spread equally.
However, these critics fail to realize those
sitting on the SO-yard line are already
more important economically because
they can afford to pay higher ticket prices
($350 each) and seating licenses ($500
each) than other fans inthe stadium.
Yet another school of critics argues
building luxury boxes is the first step
down the "slippery slope" toward adver-
tising within the stadium and auction-
ing off the stadium's naming rights to
increase revenues. Tome,this argumentis
the most credible of the bunch. However,
given the choice between buildingluxury
boxes or placing advertising within the
stadium and possibly changing its name,
I'll take the boxes. Auctioning off nam-
ing rights is a cheap, tacky way of adding
a few million into the bank account, and
advertising in the stadium is an annoy-
ance. Unfortunately, both are character-
istic of 21st-century sporting venues. For
the time being, I will take Martin at his
word that those two revenue streams will
not open on his watch.
I encourage Martin and the Univer-
sity Board of Regents to be more open
to debate over the proposed renovations
and to remember that while opposi-
tion to the plan may be more vocal than
those in favor, the administration will
be vindicated in the end. A decade from
now, when critics return to the Big House
and see fans enjoying the 21st-century
amenities added to Michigan Stadium,
cheering for student athletes recruited to
Michigan with new scholarship money
and celebrating the success of new sports
programs, they will say, "It's great to be a
Michigan Wolverine."
John Stiglich is an LSA senior and a
member of the Daily's editorial board.


Editorial Board Members: Reggie Brown, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns,
Sam Butler, Ben Caleca, Devika Daga, Milly Dick, James David Dickson,
Jesse Forester, Gary Graca, Jared Goldberg, Jessi Holler, Rafi Martina,
Toby Mitchell, Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Katherine Seid,
Elizabeth Stanley, John Stiglich, Rachel Wagner.

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