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September 08, 2010 - Image 4

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4A - Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109



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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.
A summer cheat sheet
News you need to know to get through the semester
As summer draws to a close, students are forced to let go
of carefree attitudes and return to an academic mindset.
Students who spent the summer working, interning or
just playing in the sun must now return to the daily grind of lec-
tures, recitations and lengthy papers written on the fly the night
before they're due. But it's been quite a busy summer from the
news media's perspective. So we at The Michigan Daily thought
we'd spare you the chore of reviewing the archives by catching you
up on the summer's biggest stories and drawing your attention to

Paying more for parking

some stories to watch as they dev
The summer's most worrisome national
headline was the massive oil spill in the Gulf
of Mexico. In April, a BP oil rig exploded,
leaving an underwater well open to spill
hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into
the Gulf each day for months. Though the
well was capped and covered in cement in
July, the Gulf is still a mess of oil that BP has
pledged to clean up.
Some things have changed little over the
summer. Though President Barack Obama
declared an official end to combat opera-
tions in Iraq last week, our nation's military
presence in Iraq is far from over. And the
economy - both across the nation and here
in Michigan - is still pretty awful.
Close to home, the news has been preoc-
cupied with the approaching November
elections. August primary elections placed
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, a Democrat,
against Republican Rick Snyder, an Ann
Arbor businessman, in the running to be
Michigan's next governor. The race prom-
ises to be contentious. Neither candidate
is particularly well-known. And though
Michigan typically votes blue, the state of
the economy during Democratic Governor
Jennifer Granholm's term may lead voters to
check Snyder's name on the ballot.
Here in Ann Arbor, the August primary
elections almost always indicate the win-
ner of the November ballot- Democratic
candidates rarely face Republican chal-
lengers. True to form, Mayor John Heiftje
will retain his job after defeating challeng-
er Patricia Lesko in the Democratic prima-
ry. And only one seat on the City Council
has a Republican contender.

At the University, it was announced
this summer that the campus-wide smok-
ing ban, scheduled to take full effect in
July 2011, would be enforced at Michi-
gan Stadium this season. The University
also completed its investigation of allega-
tions of NCAA rules violations and awaits
the decision of the NCAA Committee on
Infractions regarding the University's self-
imposed sanctions.
And the University's Board of Regents
has, as usual, again raised tuition. The
1.5-percent increase for in-state students
and 3-percent increase for out-of-state stu-
dents constituted the lowest increase Uni-
versity students and their families have
seen in years. The regents' vote, unusually,
was not unanimous. Two regents out of the
eight that sit on the board voted against the
increase. But these facts are cold comfort to
students who struggle to pay ever-increas-
ing and unreasonable tuition.
In other areas, there is no certainty. Foot-
ball fans anxiously debate the state of the
Michigan football team. Students wait to see,
if Chris Armstrong, president of the Michi-
gan Student Assembly, can lead his party,
MForward, to-make MSA relevant and use-
ful again after years of scandal and disaster.
Over the course of the semester, the
Daily will track the progress of these and
other topics, providing you with accu-
rate, honest news coverage and thought-
ful editorials. But your opinion matters,
too. Express your opinion in letters to the
editor and viewpoints. The Daily's opinion
page is a place for discussion, but that only
works if students speak up.

bile we are were all laying
on the beach on summer
vacation, Ann Arbor intro-
duced zoned resi-
dential parking in
the neighborhoods
immediately north'
of Huron Street. In
June, City Coun-
cil agreed to the
action to counter
an expected influx 3
of cars from the
460 students living PATRICK
in the new North gMAHEN
Quad. As a result,
I dutifully trudged
down to the City
Service Building, handed over $50
for a year's parking, and received a
flimsy plastic decal to prevent Trian-
gle Towing from dumping my Dodge
Neon in an impound lot.
At first I was annoyed to have to
pay for street parking after park-
ing for free in that neighborhood for
six years. But after some thought,
I changed my mind. Ann Arbor
deserves props for putting a price
on its overused public asset of street
parking in residential neighborhoods.
In fact, one major problem that I
have with the new policy is that the
city is not charging nearly enough.
Also, the scheme unfairly subsidizes
the ability of residents like me to park
their cars on city streets at the expense
of the needs of commuters and student
residents of North Quad.
The fix to these problems is quite
straightforward: Create an annual auc-
tion for neighborhood parking permits.
This step would create a fair market
rate for parking, ease the city's chronic
parking problems and cut automobile
congestion.In additionAnnArborwill
expand its revenue base, increase eco-
nomic efficiency and encourage devel-
opment of environmentally friendly
forms of transport.
The city's current parking problem
is a simple Economics 101 homework
exercise. Free on-street parking in

many neighborhoods close to cam-
pus makes demand exceed supply -
which is the reason it's impossible to
find a parking place duringthe dayon
streets in the Old Fourth Ward neigh-
borhood around Catherine, Law-
rence and East Kingsley.
Putting a price on parking will
lower the quantity demanded. If
forced to pay more, citizens will re-
evaluate their options. Suddenly
car-pooling, the bus or living closer
to town might look more attractive
than street parking. This in turn will
reduce externalities associated with
free street parking - heavy traffic,
pollution and excess wear and tear
on roads, all of which create a dragon
the local economy.
But the problem is finding a proper
way to set a price on parking. The cur-
rent neighborhood system falls short
for two reasons. First, the city vastly
under prices parking. In the Old Fourth
Ward, private parking spaces adver-
tised onCraigslistoverthesummerran
from $80 to $100 per month, roughly
20 times greater than the current price
of residential parkingpermits.
Second, the current residential
parking system unfairly subsidizes
car-owning residents in the neigh-
borhood at the expense of non-car
owners and others who might wish
to park - notably commuters and the
students living in North Quad, who
live within 100 feet of the Old Fourth
Ward across Huron Road.
Auctions would solve these prob-
lems and inequalities by forcing pro-
spective parkers to decide how much
they value parking and creating a
free parking market. Divide the city
neighborhoods near central campus
into distinct parking zones to reflect
differing levels of desirability. The
seven current residential parking
zones could serve as a basis for these
divisions. Once a year, anyone who
wants the right to permanent street
parking on weekdays submits a bid to
park for the next year in the zone of
their choice.

For example, let's say we have
a yearly auction for the approxi-
mately 600 spaces that make up the
Old Fourth Ward and North Central
neighborhoods (yes, I counted them).
If 1,000 people bid, the top 600 bids
get parking, and the yearly rate is set
at the price of the 600th bid. A lottery
could break ties if necessary. The city
could also issue exemptions for dis-
abled drivers.
Parking auction
would create
revenue for city.
The auction would also cre-
ate significant yearly revenue. For
example, a reasonable back-of-the
envelope estimate of the minimum
winning bid might be $1080 (at $90
per month). That means that the
Fourth Ward alone would generate
roughly $650,000 in additional annu-
al revenue for Ann Arbor.
The city could use these proceeds
to create a permanent street-repair
fund and reduce the need to ask
voters for special funds every sev-
eral years. Perhaps it could boost the
regional Ann Arbor Transit Author-
ity's budget to improve mass transit
links like the bus routes between Ann
Arbor and Ypsilanti that are perenni-
ally under threat of elimination. Or
the city could cut property taxes.
But whatever the city does with
the extra revenues, Ann Arbor can
burnish its reputation as an environ-
mental leader, improve its revenue
situation and stop discriminating
against students by making coddled
residents like me pay the true value
of parking. I
- Patrick O'Mahen can be
reached at pomahen@umich.edu #

Aida Ali, Jordan Birnholtz, Adrianna Bojrab, Will Butler, Michelle DeWitt,
Will Grundler, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga, Tommaso Pavone,
Leah Potkin, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith, Laura Veith
Connect the DOTs

Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be fewer than
300 words and must include the writer's full name and University affiliation. All submissions
become property of the Daily. We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
Hold Enbrie accountable


Regional rapid transit isn't exactly the sexiest
topic to bring up at party. (I have found that few
policy debates actually help me "bring sexy back"
on a typical Friday night). But with the Aug. 2
announcement that the Obama administration
will begin an environmental impact study on a
light rail on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, I have
a hard time containing my excitement.
The environmental impact study almost
assures that not only will construction begin
relatively soon, but there will also be federal
support to match the private donations already
collected for the project. This is an incredibly
large and tangible step that is satisfying to
those of us who have hoped for rapid transit in
the Metro Detroit area but have been left only
with empty promises. We will no longer be
left with the People Mover, an overly glorified
monorail that goes in a circle, or a bus system
that takes an hour and half to go four miles.
But the light rail isn't without obstacles.
Even with the combined public-private dol-
lars, the backers don't have enough money to
actually make the light rail regional. As of the
current plan, the rail begins in Hart Plaza in
downtown Detroit and ends at the vacant state
fair grounds at 8 Mile and Woodward. The pre-
vious regional light rail project extended all
the way to11 Mile and Woodward.
While it's fairly simple to understand that
without more funds there can be no more
expansion to the rail, this is an all too beaten
path for those from Metro Detroit. Too many
times have good ideas seemed to dwindle
and die in the graveyard that is the 8 Mile
divide. Too little cooperation and compromise
between Detroit's city leaders and suburban
officials has left the region trailing behind
every other metropolitan area. Transit is no
exception. Simply look at the fact there are
two different bus systems that run in Metro-
Detroit: Detroit Department of Transporta-
tion, the Detroit city bus system, and Suburban
Mobility Authority for Regional Transpor-
tation - more commonly known as SMART
- which is the suburban system. These exist

separately not due to any sort of financial, legal
or rational restriction, but because of purely
cultural divides.
Some contend that the plan must start some-
where and that this is as good as it gets at the
moment. However, as John Hertel, general
manager of SMART, explained a non-regional
light rail "doesn't maximize whatgood it could
do for Detroit...Whenyou'retalkingabout$500
million to go the extra miles, its not a whole lot
of money, but it's a gigantic leap for the region
to go that extra three miles," according to an
Aug. 11 article in Crain's Detroit Business.
There is a solution that could possibly fix
both the financial and cultural problems plagu-
ing this project - A Regional Transit Author-
ity. An RTA would not only commit itself as a
source for securing funding to extend the light
rail to suburban cities like Royal Oak and Troy,
but it would also force Detroit and its suburbs
to begin a foundation of sustainable regional
cooperation. In 2000, Michigan had put a plan
in motion to create the Detroit Area Regional
Transit Authority. Unfortunately, a judge
ruled that the plan overstepped its authority
in 2003. More recently, there have been bills in
the Michigan State House to create a new RTA
to serve these functions, but opponents inside
and outside Detroit's city limits have since
defeated these plans.
Regional cooperation with regards to transit
is the key to a revitalized Metro Detroit, as well
as a revitalized Michigan. This is true not only
because it pools resources and funds, allowing
for greater efficiency at a lower cost, but also
because transit spurs business growth. With
more business growth, students, who educate
themselves in Michigan but then leave for jobs
in other cities, may now find new economic
opportunities in the state. It's sad to realize that
due to the region's prideful yet misplaced self
interest, the Metro Detroit area is losing out on
a wonderful opportunity to connect itself, both
physically, economically and culturally.
Will Butler is an assistant editorial page editor.

When I was little, the only
thing that could pull me
out of my Power Ranger
suit was my fishing
gear. Since then
my priorities have
swung in a slightly
more academic
direction, but fish-
ing still maintains
a close second.
That's why I was V
devastated to hear
that the worst oil JOE
spill in the history SUGIYAMA
of the Midwest
occurred in my
home state.
Late in July, a pipe belonging to
Enbridge Energy Partners spewed
out nearly one million gallons of oil
into Michigan's Kalamazoo River.
Since the incident, Enbridge - under
the supervision of the Environmen-
tal Protection Agency - has gone
through painstaking efforts to rid the
river of its slip-up.
Although the Kalamazoo River
still remains uncharted territory to
me, all Michigan rivers are similar in
that they are without a doubt some-
one's favorite place to fish, hunt, walk
by or float down. I know for a fact if
Enbridge Energy had their little inci-
dent in one of my favorite rivers, I
would be out for blood.
Now Enbridge is being hit financial-
ly by the EPA, who, under the Com-
prehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act, will
hold Enbridge entirely financially
responsible for the clean-up. They're
also being hit on Wall Street, where
their stock plummeted - and hasn't
since recovered - following the spill

in the Kalamazoo River. But I feel that
the fiscal damage done to the compa-
nies and those directly responsible
for the disaster is not punishment
enough. I feel that those who are real-
ly to blame, whether it be an inspector
of a pipe or the president of the com-
pany - namely, Enbridge Energy CEO
Patrick D. Daniel - should face the
stark reality of going to trial with the
risk of jail time.
You might be reading this and
thinking how ridiculous it seems to
imprison someone for an uninten-
tional offense, but I believe that it's
warranted. Think about it this way:
First degree murder, vehicular man-
slaughter and animal cruelty are all
crimes punishable by time in prison.
Although first degree murder is pre-
meditated and vehicular manslaugh-
ter is unintentional, they each achieve
the same final result. That's why
vehicular manslaughter is punish-
able by time in prison. No matter how
you look at it, someone convicted of it
caused the death of another person.
I propose that a similar line of logic
be used with animal cruelty and the
environmental devastation caused by
Enbridge Energy, because no matter
how you look at it, an entire ecosystem
has been devastated and thousands of
flora and fauna are now dead because
of the negligence of Enbridge Energy.
Sound extreme? I completely agree
that the limb I'm standing on is about
to snap, but something must be done
to stop these disasters from occurring.
If there was some possibility of doing
time for being negligent with the envi-
ronment, you can bet that CEOs of
oil companies - and plenty of other
companies for that matter - would be
a bit more adamant that their inspec-

tors actually inspect closely and their
operators operate diligently.
Deterents like jail
time are necessary
to prevent oil spills.
There have to be ultimatums con-
cerning these disasters because our
current system, which most of the
time is no system at all, isn't work-
ing. And when the nonexistent sys-
tem breaks down, it's not the CEOs
and workers who are facing the
consequences of their carelessness;
it's the 200-year-old white oak that
chokes on the poisonous crude that's
saturated the earth, it's the blackened
Canadian goose and her chicks who
struggle to paddle through a thick
layer of sludge and it's the little boy
who's fishing hole has now become a
toxic dump.
If you're not a fisherman or have
never taken time to enjoy any of the
great rivers of Michigan, you might
still be struggling to invest fully in
my proposal, but taking a 15-minute
trip down Ann Arbor's Huron River
Drive will make my argument clear.
These are places that must be pro-
tected from avoidable mistakes and
we can prevent these mistakes by set-
ting a precedent that puts culprits of
these crimes against nature on trial
and possibly in prison.
- Joe Sugiyama can be
reached at jmsugi@umich.edu

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