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March 30, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-30

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4A - Monday, March 30, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

cJ1Ie Iidiigan waily

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor MI 48109
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.
Zoning should start to look up
State development plan should account for residents' needs
Though the acronym "A2D2" sounds more like a rip-off of a
certain Star Wars robot, it's actually a proposal to regulate
city buildings. A2D2 means Ann Arbor Discovering Down-
town, a development and zoning plan currently working its way
through City Council after several years of discussion in the Ann
Arbor Planning Commission. The A2D2 plan includes a slew of sug-
gested regulations, but two proposals stand out as especially note-
worthy. For students, the proposals will affect the housing market
in Ann Arbor and determine city rules regarding environmentally
sensible buildings. As City Council and Ann Arbor residents discuss
the A2D2 plan, they should include proposals that support an envi-
ronmentally friendly, socio-economically diverse city.

Last Monday, the Ann Arbor City Council
held an open meetingto hear public feedback
on A2D2. This was just the first in a series of
City Council meetings that will determine
the final version of the plan. A2D2 aims to
divide Ann Arbor into two zones - the core
and the interface, which would each be sub-
ject to different rules. Some of the issues
addressed in A2D2 are parking limitations,
use guidelines and flood mitigation plans,
but the two most intensely discussed issues
are height caps and environmental regula-
tions for buildings.
Much of the argument seems to center on
how high the cap should be. City residents
often argue that height caps protect Ann
Arbor's aesthetic quality. But this argument
doesn't hold up against the pressing need to
expand the city - and building "up" is the
most reasonable practice. Taller buildings
are the best way to combat urban sprawl,
preventing further stratification of socio-
economic classes. When downtown hous-
ing is limited, it becomes more expensive.
Those who can't afford to live downtown
get pushed to the outskirts of the city.
For students, taller buildings mean more
affordable housing options closer to cam-
pus and the heart of the city. Housing prices
decrease as more options become available.
Havingclose, dense housing available in the
downtown and campus areas at reasonable
prices allow students and Ann Arbor resi-

dents to live closer together, encouraging
the diverse atmosphere on which the Uni-
versity prides itself. Because of these obvi-
ous benefits, City Council should not give
in to the demands to implement restric-
tive height caps. Instead, the debate should
focus on where to draw the lines that sepa-
rate the two zones.
Another important aspect of the A2D2
plan involves creating incentives for build-
ers to make their projects eco-friendly. Cur-
rently, A2D2 requires buildings to include
environmentally sound features approved
by the U.S. Green Building Council's Lead-
ership in Energy and Environmental Design
program for them to receive certain insur-
ance premiums. Students at the University
- and residents of Ann Arbor - are dedi-
cated to an environmentally friendly city.
This regulation will ensure that businesses
are making environmental responsibility a
top priority, too. Creating environmentally
friendly buildings should be among City
Council's top priorities.
City Council must stick to the guiding
principle of fostering a socio-economical-
ly diverse and environmentally friendly
downtown to make A2D2 a fitting plan for
the city. While provisions like the envi-
ronmental incentives will be good for the
city, City Council should adjust its atti-
tude toward height caps before approving

The U.S. auto industry has to emerge much more
lean, mean and competitive than it already is."
- President Barack Obama, commenting on the auto industry's
financial situation, as reported yesterday by Reuters.
So whts yor soltion Yeah>haI'a whtelIdthoght C
Hih roes are destroyingithe podaffrde Someone has as aeon
image of A nArbor' This is student hous ngthat makes econoc and
Tree Town, not Skyscraper enronmenaleas f
yTow ULL, tha ~1.L1 ~peaoetamgJense
Townu.. wl. ad you wryabtan
The Bing exception
D uring my time at the Daily, they instill the right values or simply ly before entering the mayoral race),
I've noticed that any editorial seek to create workers for the boss's or whether his misstatements about
concerning the city of Detroit assembly lines? We balanced that when he got his college degree matter
draws an unusual danger with the immediate needs of more thanthe fact thathe actuallygot
amount of ire from schoolchildren and chose to support one (and then did enough in his life to
our readers. Appar- that particular charter school initia- warrant two honorary degrees), an
ently, much of this tive. The deciding factor was the man important consideration seems lost
campus sees the behind the plan: Dave Bing. in the madness: Bing is unquestion-
Daily's editorial Bing has brought the right sort of ably the most promising candidate
voice as a product attention to Detroit all his life. Still for a city that needs promise.
of suburban opu- best known for his time as an all-star
lence that has no guard for the Detroit Pistons, Bing
business comment- IMRAN played for Detroit in a particularly
ing condescend- tryingtime period - the aftermath of W hen it comes to
ingly on Detroit's SYED 1967's 12th Street Riot. In an era that
broken schools or heralded the end of Detroit's days as Detroit Dave Bing
particularly juicy a flourishing American metropolis,
political scandals. Bing won not only scoring titles but means business.
But there is one example of an edi- also respect for the city when it most
torial on this page praising a new ini- needed it.
tiative in the city that has stuck in my Upon retirement from basketball,
mind for four years. As the man who Bing did what most modern athletes I understand why the aforemen-
was the driving force behind that ini- would certainly chafe at - he settled tioned distractions manage to draw
tiative comes back into the news, I down in the city he had played for scrutiny from voters. It wasn't so
wonder just how much he can do. and started a new career. The prod- long ago that I found myself sick to
In the fall of 2005, the Daily edi- uct of that - The Bing Group, which my stomach every time I saw Mitt
torial board broke with longstanding is a group of manufacturing compa- Romney on TV citing his business
precedent to come out in support of a nies that employs hundreds of union- moxie as a qualification for the presi-
plan for 15 charter schools to be built ized employees in Detroit - is almost dency - or worse, touting himself as
in Detroit (A plan worth following, as impressive as Bing's basketball a son of Michigan. Bing faces a simi-
09/13/2005). Overcoming our gen- achievements. lar stigma, which may explain why
eral concern about charter schools And now Bing wants to be the unions have thus far refused to back
taking away students and resources mayor of Detroit. The first-place him (and why he drew the endorse-
from the public system, the editorial finisher in the primary election last ment of the generally conservative
board argued that Detroit's students month, Bing will tip off against inter- Detroit News before the primary).
shouldn't have to wait for the mas- im incumbent Ken Cockrel Jr. on May Butuwhile we may rightlybe skepti-
sive, failing public school system to 5. Having followed the campaign rel- cal of businessmen moving into poli-
correct itself. atively closely, I think it's clear just tics or of apparent carpetbaggers in
We recognized, of course, the how much Bing can do: As much as general, it's time for Detroit's voters
danger of allowing too many rich we let him. Unfortunately, that might to make an exception for Bing - just
businessmen to offer flashy pri- be the problem. like this page did four years ago.
vate alternatives. Schools that are As Detroiters debate whether Bing
the product of the ego and wallet of is a carpetbagger (he most recently - Imran Syed was the Daily's
expectant barons may have adequate lived in the suburb of Franklin before editorial page editor in 2007. He can
facilities and resources, but would moving into a condo in Detroit short- be reached at galad@umich.edu.
Remembering 'U' activism


Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca,
Satyajeet Deshmukh, Brian Flaherty, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke,
Sutha K Kanagasingam, Shannon Kellman, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee,
Matthew Shutler, Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder


Cooperation is essential for
In a recent letter to the editor (Earth
Hour exemplifies anti-progressive principles,
03/27/2009), Victoria Miller opposes turning
off the lights for an hour to help the Earth. She
asked the readers to consider that "by flipping
that switch, you endorse the movement for
man to withdraw, to stop changing the envi-
ronment, and to exist in a primitive, 'natural'
Victoria, with six billion people now on the
planet, humans are not about to withdraw even
if we all turned every light off for a week. Also,
please remember that manmade changes include

the release of deadly toxins, the clear cutting
of forests, the extinction of animals and the
destruction brought by climate change. There
is a balance, and all the wonderful conveniences
you gush about won't mean as much if you come
down with cancer, if you can't find food or if your
house is destroyed by a tornado in January.
The Earth is out of balance because of people.
All ofushave aresponsibility, like itornot,tohelp
restore the Earth and slow, destructive, man-
made changes that are mostly due to technology.
The conveniences that some worry will be taken
awayby"tree-huggers" will be meaningless if we
don't work together toward the same common
goals: good health, a happy life and prosperity.
Yes, Victoria, there is cooperation.
Jacques Mersereau
Library staff

W UF9FEt, To /
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1 '1 -

Forty-four years ago this spring, President Lyndon
Johnson ordered the United States military to bomb
North Vietnam, initiating full-scale war. While the war
in Iraq is different in several key respects, the parallels
with the Vietnam War are striking. Both were thought
to be justified and winnable in a brief period, yet both
proved bitterly costly in lives, money and America's
moral standing - and both times, we have found our-
selves mired in a conflict with no clear end.
There's another way in which the wars are the same.
In both instances, there have been protests at the Uni-
versity, though these were more widespread and intense
for the Vietnam War. In March of 1965, three months
after I came to the University, Michigan held the nation's
first teach-in against the war. Instead of classes, profes-
sors and students planned to hold lectures and discus-
sions. Initially, 45 faculty members were involved, but
the number quickly grew to 200, bolstered by huge stu-
dent interest.
Governor George Romney and the Michigan State
Senate were furious about our activities. After a lot of
back-and-forth, we decided to hold the teach-in after
classes were done for the day. We used Hill Auditorium
and Angell Hall, and over 3,000 people debated and
discussed the war through the night and into the next
morning. At the time, it was one of the largest demon-
strations in the University's history.
As part of the teach-in, I spoke to a packed Hill Audi-
torium. There were students squeezed into the aisles and
anti-war chants shook the huge hall. As a biochemist, I
talked about the dangers of chemical and biological war-
fare being practiced by the Pentagon in Vietnam. Our
military was using nerve gas, agents that caused terrible
burns and blisters, and other chemical weapons against
the North Vietnamese. Never before, I told the crowd,
had chemicals been used to destroy crops, and not since
1936 had gas been deployed against military personnel
on such a large scale. Fearing that the University might
somehow be involved in what was happening,. I called
for an end to all secret and classified research here.
The next day, as we headed home from the success-
ful teach-in, we felt we had reached a broad consensus:
the war in Vietnam was unwinnable and represented a
new arrogance and aggression on the part of the United
States government. We drew the attention of schools
across the country, and Berkeley followed suit with a
teach-in that drew an astonishing 30,000 people.
Activism on our campus only grew. On the Diag, we

held a huge protest against. Dow Chemical, which was
responsible for chemical defoliants used by American
military aircraft to blanket fields in North Vietnam. In
all, the U.S. dumped about 12 million gallons of these
deadly herbicides on enemy territory, causing terrible
harm not just to the environment, but to countless civil-
ians. Our government used these agents because we
were one of the only major countries that had refused to
ratify the Geneva Protocol against chemical and biologi-
cal warfare.
A few months after, I came up with the idea for a peace
button to raise funds for the protest movement. An art- 4
ist friend and I worked out the design of a peace symbol
wreathed in holly. I sold the buttons on the Diag for 25
cents. They were gone in an hour. I ordered thousands
more and wherever I went in Ann Arbor - from the med-
ical campus to the farmer's market - I sold the buttons,
and I never seemed to have enough. We made posters
with the same symbol, which local shops and churches
put in their windows.
Protest against the war reached an even greater level
with the colossal New York City demonstration, and the
funds gained from button sales were used to pay railroad
fare for dozens of us to go to Manhattan. The current
site of the Gandy Dancer restaurant was the train sta-
tion at that time, and students, professors and towns-
people took over the whole place. We rode the New York
Central Railroad train via Canada, and the atmosphere
on the train was electric. In New York City, hundreds
of thousands of us marched, arms locked in a symbol of
unity, along with famous protestors from novelist Nor-
man Mailer to Dr. Benjamin Spock.
The Vietnam War was vastly unpopular by the sec-
ond term of the Nixon administration, and we finally
pulled out in 1975. How President Obama handles the
complex situation in Iraq remains uncertain, though he
still seems dedicated to the change he promised - and
I hope we will remain dedicated to holding him to this
promise. The University has a long and proud heritage
of standing up and dissenting when our political leaders
go astray. As is our constitutional right, we assemble and
speak freely, we criticize our leaders and we demand
change. And now that we have stood up and called for a
new direction in Iraq, let us be vigilant in ensuring that
our new president takes us there.
Irwin Goldstein is a professor
emeritus of biological chemistry.

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