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November 29, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-29

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4A - Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890
413 E. Huron St.
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.
Let the students go home
'U' should cut class the day before Thanksgiving
ast Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, was a lonely
day on campus. Although classes were technically in ses-
sion until 5 p.m., many students took off early to make
their holiday travel easier - and understandably so.
As a result, many professors can- Students and professors alike have real-
celled class. With about one-third ized the need for change. The fact of the
of the student population coming matter is that many, if not most, students
from outside Michigan, the University skip class on Wednesday. Professors who
needs to acknowledge that the day before need to get to their own holiday desti-
Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of nations and anticipate low attendance
the year and simply cancel class. already cancel class. But professors may
It is no secret that Thanksgiving is the not make this decision until late in the
most heavily traveled time of the year. term when students have already bought
Analysts expected 25 million people to tickets and made reservations.
jump on a plane this year in the week of The flagship state universities in Iowa,
Thanksgiving, 3 percent more than last Indiana and virginia have changed their
year. And as demand rises, so do prices. calendars to accommodate their stu-
According to one airline industry group, dents' needs by offering a full week off for
the average price for a round-trip ticket Thanksgiving. A week-long break would
was $355 - an increase of 6 percent from have its advantages, though it would
last year alone. The American Automobile require adjusting the academic calendar.
Association advises that the earlier in the Eliminating the day before Thanksgiving
week travelers leave, the better. That is from the academic calendar would be a
tough advice to follow for students who simple action that would make a real dif-
cannot miss class. ference to students.
Zip -ping around A2
Zipcar a useful resource in city, but needs changes
Southeast Michigan isn't exactly known for its stellar
public transportation. Yet between walking, biking and
the free use of AATA buses with the flash of an M-Card,
many students in Ann Arbor can function fine without a car. But
for those who bring cars to campus to make the occasional trip
to the grocery store or to an event out of town - car-sharing is a

Sorry, haters, God is not finished with me yet."
- Rep. ALCEE HASTINGS (D-Fla.) in a statement released Tuesday following incoming House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) decision not to appoint him to chair the House intelligence committee in
light of his alleged involvement in a 1981 bribery scandal, as reported yesterday on CNN.com.
When good towns go bud

've recently come up with a fun
gameuto play around Ann Arbor's
Main Street area while dodging
bikers on the sidewalk and small chil-
dren leaving presents at those "fairy
doors," which kids find so entertain-
ing and I find so annoying. The rules
are simple - as you walk down the
street, estimate the lifespan of each
business you
self: Where doE
I see this store :
five years from
now? Five
months from
If it's one
of the older,
upscale res- EMILY
taurants that
dot the few BEAM
blocks of the -
heart of Ann Arbor, aim high. Gratzi,
The Chop House, Real Seafood Co.
and Palio - interestingly enough, all
owned by the same company - are
doing just fine, and other pricey res-
taurants keep moving in. If it's a new
boutique or a fancy tapas bar, give it
at least a few years. But if the business
already looks like it doesn't belong,
like Subway, it's probably best to guess
in terms of months. (But I'm cheating
- Subway already announced it was
Why all these changes? Ann Arbor
has done an excellent job of build-
ing a vibrant downtown that attracts
visitors as well as new residents. I
know a lot of people who first thought
about the University after spending
an afternoon in the city, and I count
myself among them. In high school,
my idea of a downtown was Farming-
ton's, where a discount movie theater,
a cafe and a strip mall could be, and

were, enjoyed weekend ... after week-
end ... after weekend. Downtown Ann
Arbor is Farmington - times twelve.
The thing about successful down-
towns is that they don't just attract
individuals - businesses are enticed
to consider opening up a new res-
taurant or a new office. New shops
replace old ones. Rents go up. Hous-
ing becomes more expensive. Fancier
restaurants and shops that can afford
the higher rents move in. The down-
town becomes more upscale, and the
cycle continues.
It's tempting to interpret this trend
as success breeding success. But what
it's actually breeding is more exclu-
sive businesses that can make a lot
of money off a few customers. And
so while the Subway on Main Street
looks for a lower-rent block to call
home, we now have the latest Edible
Arrangements franchise. When giv-
ing flowers gets dull, Ann Arborites
can head downtown to order a unique
treat - a bouquet! Made out of fruit!
After all, nothing says "Go Blue!" like
a $69 bouquet of grapes, cantaloupe,
honeydew melon, strawberries and
pineapples cut to look like daisies, all
perfectly arranged in a keepsake foot-
ball container.
And that's where Jane Jacobs, a
pioneer in urban planning and design,
comes in. According to Jacobs in "The
Life and Death of Great American Cit-
ies," Ann Arbor's success could be its
downfall. Main Street works because
of its diversity - not the kind of diver-
sity University administrators are
always talking about, but the variety of
shops, restaurants and entertainment
venues that draw people to spend an
afternoon or evening here. Rent may
be high, but the restaurants fill up, and
pedestrians mix in front of and inside
restaurants and shops all day long.

But after a certain point, the new
businesses destroy the diversity that
once attracted them. Get enough res-
taurants and cafes in there, and you
don't have a downtown - you have an
upscale restaurant district. For some,
that's an exciting place to be come
mealtime. For the rest, it's rather dull.
The unique character that defined
the downtown area becomes harder
to find. Fewer people come, and more
businesses go under. A few more res-
taurants, the only profitable business-
es left, move in to replace them. After a
certain point, Main Street, the former
Has downtown
Ann Arbor jumped
the shark?
heart of the city, becomes irrelevant.
For now, Main Street is usually
filled with workers, shoppers and din-
ers. Ann Arbor's commercial vacancy
rate is holding at 10 percent, a lot lower
than other Michigan downtowns, and
some cherished downtown establish-
ments - Sam's, Fleetwood Diner, Con-
nor O'Neill's - are still around. But
with Vinology Wine Bar and Restau-
rant offering residents weekly oppor-
tunities for $35 wine tastings and
Peartree moving in from Chelsea to
offer residents "shabby chic" shopping
complete with sections catering to
puppies and babies, residents need to
seriously consider what can be done to
prevent Ann Arbor from jumping the
shark - if it hasn't happened already.
Emily Beam is a Daily editorial
page editor. She can be reached
at ebeam@umich.edu.


perfect alternative.
ipcar, an hourly rental car service,
recently teamed up with the Uni-
versity to offer discount short-term
rentals to the University community. Car-
sharing efforts like Zipcar can provide
University students with a practical and
cheaper alternative to bringing a car to
Ann Arbor.
Zipcar is currently being test-driven
in the community, offering six cars in an
attempt to gauge the amount of demand
for a short-term rental service here in Ann
Arbor. After a $30 sign-up fee, students pay
$8 an hour or $60 a day to rent a car - gas
is included. Everything is done online, and
the cars are stored on University lots near
campus. Compared with the cost of mainte-
nance and parking, it's a bargain, especially
if students carpool. Not only students stand
to gain from this partnership: As more stu-
dents go car-free, it will reduce demand for
already scarce parking spaces, even if only
marginally in the short term.
Zipcar has been successful in several
cities, and the company has already estab-
lished partnerships with at least 19 uni-

versities. However, Zipcar's market would
expand significantly if car-sharing was
available to all students. Currently, only
drivers at least 21 years old can join Zipcar.
This requirement eliminates a large group
of potential customers, namely underclass-
men drivers and dorm dwellers who might
benefit most from car-sharing. As students
who participate in efforts like The Detroit
Project might know, the University allows
students who are 18 years old to drive the
school's vehicles. Both the University and
Zipcar could benefit from finding a way
to relax this age restriction, and students
should pressure both parties to do so.
Keeping a car in Ann Arbor can be incon-
venient and expensive, but there are times
when public transportation or borrowing
a friend's car won't do. The partnership
with Zipcar offers can fill in the gaps in
AATA service, enabling more students to
get by without acar. Unfortunately, by the
time most students are old enough to use
a Zipcar, chances are much greater they're
already accustomed to having their own
car around.

Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu

t 5-1ATOl[lsT,5 AT-
? ack< DF-5 rv -
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 Mitch-
ell, Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Katherine SeidElizabeth Stanley, Jennifer
Sussex, John Stiglich, Neil Tambe, Rachel Wagner.

Pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian
viewpoints tend to isolate students
I commend Christopher Zbrozek and his column,
The worst debate on campus (11/28/2006). While the
Daily effectively promotes students' freedoms to dis-
cuss the Arab-Israeli conflict, the continuous back-and-
forth articles from students or groups like American
Movement Israel and Students Allied for Freedom and
Equality do not foster dialogue. These student groups
often seem too eager to respond to any statement or
implication in an article they find problematic, and
then go on to attack the writer.
It is for this reason that I have never responded to
viewpoints I find offensive. The forceful language used
on both sides can instill a degree of fear in responding.
On countless occasions in my four years here, I have
disagreed with pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian col-
umns, but I refrain from writing a response.
I am Jewish and I have strong ties to Israel, but I am
not a Zionist and I will not support Israel and its occu-
pation. Further, I will not defend acts of violence on
the part of Palestinians. I am one of the "moderates" to
whom Zbrozek refers, and he is correct in stating that
my genuine belief in dialogue and understanding brings
little progress. I do not want to write a viewpoint only
to be attacked from Jewish groups for not being Jewish
enough. Similarly, I do not want to see counter-responses
from Palestinian supporters claiming I am a Zionist.
I applaud student participation in submitting view-
points into the Daily and I fully support the Daily's
commitment to freedom of speech, but I cannot con-
tinue reading defamatory and unproductive responses
regarding the conflict. They only further isolate and
confuse students who, like me, would like to better
understand the political situation and believe that
some form of resolution is possible.
Zbrozek said it perfectly when he wrote, "Here, the
attacks ... that typically characterize the debate mirror
a similarly depressing cycle of violence in the Middle
East." If Michigan students cannot dialogue civilly
among one another, how can we even begin to think
about a possible end to violence and the beginnings of
peace in the Middle East?
Emma Levine
LSA senior
On Israel-Palestine dialogue,
both sides must find starting point
Christopher Zbrozek's column yesterday (The worst
debate on campus, 11/28/2006) contained some salient
criticisms about the current state of Israeli-Arab dia-
logue on campus. Unfortunately, discourse often
breaks down into a blame game free of accountability
on campus, which prevents intellectual and productive
debate from ever becoming dominant. However, by
using his status as the editorial page editor of an unbi-
ased newspaper to vent his frustrations on a topic from

which he himself is distant, he diluted and detracted
from his message.
There is a tangible point at which intellectual cam-
pus debate on this question must begin. That point is
the acceptance of an Israeli state with safe and secure
borders alongside a Palestinian state with equally
secure borders. Any solution or discussion on campus
that does not share this goal counterproductive and
illegitimate. While the intricacies of such an agreement
are, and should be, up for debate, the general premise is
not. The instant that Palestinian leaders demonstrate a
serious commitment to peace and a two-state solution,
it will happen.
Israel has its problems, as anyone in Israel will tell
you. But over the past years, Israel has repeatedly
voiced its desire for a Palestinian state. Just this past
weekend, a landmark ceasefire was reached between
the Israeli government and the Hamas government
in Gaza in an effort to halt unnecessary deaths on all
sides. Moreover, this past week Israeli Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert signaled his willingness to participate in
a prisoner swap with the Palestinians.
The reality on the ground is very clear. In the Middle
East, the continued conflict and death serves the inter-
ests of nobody, Palestinian or Israeli. On campus, finger
pointing, radicalized dialogue and a lack of account-
ability detract from our ability to have an honest and
positive dialogue. This, I believe, is where dialogue
should begin. An intellectual and engaging conversa-
tion is not lost forever, but we must not try to start it
from opposite corners of campus.
Aaron Willis
LSA sophomore
The letter writer is incoming chair of the American Movement
for Israel.
Teenage girls need to procreate;
keep Plan B out of their reach
I'd like to applaud the FDA's decision to restrict the
sale of Plan B, the morning-after contraceptive pill,
to customers who are 18 years and older (Plan B at a
pharmacy near you, 11/28/2006). My harem of teenage
wives exists for one purpose and one purpose only: To
provide me with heirs. If Plan B were to become avail-
able to my wives, the continued proliferation of my
dynasty would be threatened.
Nathan Stiennon
LSA senior


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