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October 29, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-10-29

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4 - Friday, October 29, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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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.
Hieftje for mayor
Incumbent has experience, progressive initiatives
t's easy for citizens to forget about city elections. But in the
shadow of the race for the governor's office, two Ann Arbor
residents are squaring off to be the city's mayor for the next
two years. Incumbent Mayor John Hieftje faces opposition from
challenger Steve Bean, an independent. The outcome of the race will
influence how the city approaches environmentally-friendly initia-
tives and improving public transit - things that students should care
about and will affect their everyday lives. Students must head to the
polls on Tuesday to cast their vote for Ann Arbor's next mayor.




Listen to be heard

Hieftje has been mayor for 10years. In that
time, he has served Ann Arbor well. Under
his supervision, Ann'Arbor has installed
LEDlights throughout the city; increased the
number of bike lanes and is in the process of
adding more; the city government now oper-
ates on20 percent renewable energy and the
city has won several awards for its environ-
mental programs. In 2007, he was appointed
to the Michigan Climate Action Council by
Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Hieftje plans to
continue to work with the University on con-
struction of the Fuller Road Transportation
Center, which he believes will one day serve
as a central hub for commuters moving both
within the city and across the state.
Steven Bean is the independent chal-
lenging Hieftje. He has served on a variety
of city commissions - he spent nine years
on the city's Energy Commission. He's also
served as the sustainability community
chair and is a member of the solid waste
committee and the transportation com-
mittee. He currently serves at the chair of
the Environmental Commission, of which
he's been a member since 2000. He aims to
increase the city's use of renewable ener-
gy. He argues that the city can be more
aggressive in its use of renewable energy.
He would like to educate the city on the
nuances of peak oil. Bean is also interested
in working with the Ann Arbor Transporta-
tion Authority to increase the frequency of
buses and how late the buses run.
In many ways, Hieftje and Bean are
much alike. Both candidates seem open
to increasing student involvement in city
government. They encourage students to
get involved with committees and commis-
sions. Hieftje, who also teaches at the Ford
School of Public Policy, has even appointed
some students to city committees.

Both candidates also place special empha-
sis on moving forward with the city's green
initiatives, and both haveyears of experience
in pushing for green initiatives. They'd both
like to continue to push DTE, the energy
company that owns many of the city's street-
lights, to install LED lights.
But Bean says that the city must make a
strong commitment to environmental ini-
tiatives. He argues that the approval of the
5-storey underground parking lot on South
Fifth Avenue wasn't compatible with the
city's supposed desire to decrease the num-
ber of cars in the city. And perhaps he's right.
But Hieftje's dedication to going green is not
in question: His years of pushing for green
initiatives and his success on so many of
them from bike lanes to lights to recycling
are evidence of his passion for environmen-
tally-friendly initiatives.
Aside from his work with green initiatives,
Bean seems to lack knowledge of what the
city can do to make Ann Arbor more appeal-
ing to young professionals. Hieftje, on the
other hand, wants to encourage more art
programs that will draw young profession-
als into the city. And he supports increasing
housing downtown that young people would
be interested in moving into.
Though Bean clearly has a passion for the
environment and there is a place for him in
city government, he lacks Hieftje's breadth
and depth of knowledge about city issues.
Hieftje seems more willing to work to create
a city culture that will draw in young pro-
fessionals. Hieftje is also more well-versed
in urban planning and supports housing
developments downtown that would offer
students more (and hopefully cheaper) hous-
ing options. Because of his experience and
proven progress on green initiatives, the
Daily endorses JOHN HIEFTJE for mayor.

nOct. 20, two members of the
Israeli Defense Force spoke
on campus about Israel's role
in the Middle East. This event was
sponsored by StandWithUs, an edu-
cational group that
works to "ensure
Israel's side of the
story is told..."
according to the
group's website. A
few minutes into
the presentation,
members of the
audience stood up
and removed their TYLER
jackets, revealing JONES
red t-shirts with
signs taped onto
their chests. On
these signs were names of dead Gazan
children, the date of their death and
the word "Silenced" underneath.
It is safe to say that at this point
the two IDF presenters recognized
the hostility in the audience. But
their presentation continued. After a
few minutes, the t-shirt-clad protes-
tors stood again and walked from the
room. As they moved to the door, one
of the soldiers requested the group
stay and ask questions. With the
exception of a few confused audience
members and the two IDF soldiers,
the room was left practically empty.
I suppose if the goal of the pro-
test was to draw shock and awe, the
demonstration was a success. But the
issues plaguing Arab-Israeli relations
today demand more serious action
than shock and awe. Dramatics will
not solve problems..If real progress is
to be made between Arabs and Israe-
lis, understanding must be a priority
- an ideal apparently lost on the Oct.
20 protestors.
These demonstrators marched out
of the IDF presentation to protest
Israel's actions during Operation Cast
Lead, a military offensive carried
out on December 27, 2008 to combat
rocket attacks from Hamas in Gaza.
According to Amnesty International,

about 1,400 Palestinians were killed
in the assault, as well as 14 Israelis.
Regardless of the side you support, it
is safe to say neither is truly innocent
in this conflict.
To bring light to the protest, a video
was taken of the event and uploaded
to the Internet. In the video, we see
a speaker facing a round of applause
at the end of the demonstration as he
commends the participants because
they "left the room empty," and sent
"a really big message." But both Arabs
and Israelis have lost children in this
conflict. Both sides have fallen asleep
to the sounds of exploding mortar
rounds. Homes are destroyed and
children die when opposing sides fail
to discuss and listen. This is no time
to send big messages with dramatic
walkouts - both Arabs and Israelis
have tried for too long to communicate
with high explosives and ammunition.
If there is one thing this conflict has
enough of it is big messages.
Ahmad Hasan, one of the student
protest coordinators, explained to
me in an e-mail interview that the
protestors "did not agree that mem-
bers of a military whose actions have
been so overwhelmingly condemned
by respected and reputable organi-
zations should even be welcomed on
our campus."
But if any substantial progress is to
be made regarding this deep-seated
conflict, dialogue is necessary. We
can't close the doors of campus to
those who hold a controversial view.
Until the two sides can acknowledge
differences, accept past errors and
work to achieve a common good,
there will be no peace. If we turn
away an individual or an organiza-
tion simply because they are in the
opposition, the conflict will remain
the same.
In the e-mail interview, Hasan
went on to explain, "For me to stay
and simply pose questions would
be dishonoring and unjust to the
silenced innocent who were, in the
end, never given the chance to ask a

single question."
I certainly empathize with the
protestors who only sought to do
what they thought was right. But this
issue is not about honoring the dead
or holding firm to past injustices. If
tomorrow one Palestinian child still
has to fear bombings or one Israeli
family must second-guess their trip
to the town market, the protest was a
failure. Society must stand to support
a cause in hope that tomorrow will
be better than today. Had the dem-
onstrators stayed, asked legitimate
questions and created a dialogue, per-
haps progress toward understanding
and resolution could have begun.
is about Staying
in the room.

This is not about supporting Israel
or condemning the IDF - in the 62
years of Israel's existence, both sides
have accumulated blood on their
hands. More than sending a mes-
sage through dramatics or illustrat-
ing to the other side just how little
you value their views, enemies must
talk. Understanding is about staying
in the room, even if your opponent's
words make your blood boil and your
fists clench. It's about staying in your
seat and listening to what the other
side has to say.-Movements of activ-
ism are simply not enough to enact
change - protest accompanied by
plans of action, dialogue and discus-
sion is how we will save lives. What
the protestors need to understand is
that discussion - no matter how dif-
ficult - is the only way to give your
movement a voice.
- TylerJones can be reached
at tylerlj@umich.edu.


Vote Hohnke, Derezinski

Aida Ali, Jordan Birnholtz, Adrianna Bojrab, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis, Michelle DeWitt,
Ashley Griesshammer, Will Grundler, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley,
Harsha Panduranga, Tommaso Pavone, Leah Potkin, Asa Smith, Laura Veith

long with a contested mayoral elec-
tion, voters in Ann Arbor will vote to
fill City Council seats on Nov. 2. The
City Council is made up of two representa-
tives from each of its five wards. The candi-
dates for Wards 1, 3 and 4 run unopposed.
The seats in Wards 2 and 5 are contested.
here are three candidates vying for
the Ward 5 seat: Independent New-
combe Clark, incumbent Democrat
Carsten Hohnke and Republican John Floyd.
Floyd is the only Republican in Ann
Arbor to throw his hat in the ring for this
year's city council election - and this isn't
his first campaign. The city is overwhelm-
ingly Democratic and City Council is
entirely comprised of Democrats. A Repub-
lican candidate offers a nice challenge to
the city's status quo.
But Floyd's views of students concerns
and Ann Arbor appear convoluted and out
of touch. It seems that Floyd would like to
freeze the city as it was half a century ago -
an Ann Arbor that doesn't serve today's stu-
dents' needs. He doesn't support downtown
housing developments. It seems he would
rather leave dealing with students exclu-
sively to the University. But students are a
huge economic contributor to this city, and
the city must consider their needs.
Clark, a 29-year-old real estate developer
who is currently pursuing an MBA from
the Ross School of Business, has solid and
specific proposals on increasing student
involvement in Ann Arbor policy-making
and student safety. A member of the city's
Downtown Development Authority, Clark
believes in making downtown an inexpen-
sive place for students and graduates to live.
In an effort to model the kind of commit-
ment the city and state should show to the
arts, Clark intends to donate his salary to
charities supporting the arts if he is elected.
Clark has promised to not seek re-election.
And while many of his ideas are promising,
it's uncertain if two years is enough to see
them to fruition.
Incumbent candidate Carsten Hohnke
is seeking re-election because of his desire
to serve his community. As the owner of a
local spa and fitness center, he has man-
agement and budgetary experience. In his
last term, he sat on the Greenbelt Advisory
Commission and worked to expand Ann
Arbor's recycling program and institute
single-stream recycling that has already
led to an increase in recycling. He also

favors downtown development to increase
the supply of student housing. He doesn't
have Clark's youth and idealism, but he
has shown that he can get things done,
and has goals to continue reducing how
much the city puts in landfills.
During his tenure as a councilmember,
Hohnke has produced results. And though
Clark is an idealist, it seems unlikely that
he could live up to Hohnke's reputation
of getting things done in only two years.
In Ward 5, the Daily endorses CARSTEN
his year's candidates for Ward 2 are
Democratic incumbent Tony Der-
ezinski and challenger Emily Sal-
vette, a Libertarian.
Salvette, the chair of the Libertarian
Party of Michigan, intends to focus on fiscal
responsibility. She doesn't favor increasing
taxes, and she has proposed paycuts for city
council members in the hopes of helping to
maintain the budget. She also recognizes
that the only way to decrease the cost of
rent around campus is to increase the sup-
ply of housing, and doesn't support height
caps that often place a stumbling block in
the way of development. Despite this, she
doesn't seem tuned in to what students need
and want - including a safe, well-lit city.
Derezinksi is probably the city's most
experienced council member. He's spent
years serving at various levels of govern-
ment, from a stint in the Michigan legisla-
ture to several years on the city council. In
order to find a way to balance the city bud-
get, he is interested in considering a city
income tax so that individuals who com-
mute to the city to work contribute to fund-
ing the services they use. He's specifically
interested in continuing the city's push for
more bike lanes. He'd also be open to re-
evaluating the current layout of the ward
system, which separates the student vote
and makes it difficult for students to make
their voices heard. Derezinski understands
that making the city accommodating to
developers is crucial to decrease the cost
of rent - though he supports what he calls
"reasonable" height caps.
After serving in the legislature and spe-
cializing in law practice for many years,
Derezinski has the experience necessary to
be successful. Derezinski's understandingof
Ann Arbor and students' needs is encourag-
ing, and Salvette just can't compete. In Ward
2, the Daily endorses TONY DEREZINSKI.

Silence speaks loudly

In an effort to contain growing outrage over Israel's overt
disregard of international law and human rights, the Israeli
military has launched a PR campaign that sends its former
soldiers to the U.S. to speak about their personal experienc-
es. Last Wednesday, Ann Arbor bore the dubious honor of
providing the platform for a military with a history of war
crimes to rationalize its actions.
At 4 p.m., students, faculty and community members
seated themselves in the room of the Michigan Union in
which the two Israeli soldiers would speak. At 4:05, when
the first soldier began his narrative, the room was full to
capacity. As the first soldier, Omer, started speaking, nearly
all of the event's attendees stood up, taped their mouths shut
and revealed red shirts bearing the names and ages of chil-
dren killed during the Gaza invasion. Omer continued giv-
ing his presentation to a sea of red-garbed, silent protestors
and went on to claim that Israel goes out of its way to avoid
targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure when engag-
ing in counter-terrorism. He spoke of how proud he was to
have served in an army with a moral code that preserves
human life. About 15 minutes into Omer's speech, the pro-
testors stood up in unison and filed out in silence. As they
walked out, two students held up signs that read: "We stand
today for those who have been silenced" and "Stand with us
against injustice and walk out on oppression." Several of the
remaining attendees also rose and left. By 4:20 the roomwas
nearly empty, with only about eight people still seated.
The events' attendees were protesting the presence of
representatives from Israel's military, called the Israel
Defense Forces, who are accused of war crimes by the Unit-
ed Nations and condemned by major human rights orga-
nizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights
Watch and Israel's own B'Tselem. Last year, Israel caused
outrage with its aerial bombardment and armed invasion of
the impoverished Gaza Strip in 22 days during December
2008 and January 2009, killing over 1,000 civilians includ-
ing more than 300 children. In the three-week war, Israel
destroyed nearly the entire civilian infrastructure in Gaza -
even attacking hospitals and ambulances - despite the fact
that medicalvehicles, personnel and buildings are protected
under international law. in addition, Israel's military shelled
the U.N. Relief Agency's compound in Gaza City, which
stored and distributed aid and medicine.
According to a U.N. fact-finding inquiry, the Gaza cam-
paign intended to destroy the civilian economic output of

the Strip and exacerbate the suffering of a populace that
has already endured by Israel. This siege continues to block
basic supplies from entering Gaza, and has brought the local
economy to a near standstill. The siege is condemned by
both the U.N. and leading international human rights orga-
nizations as illegal because it engages in collective punish-
ment and uses starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.
In May 2010, Israeli Special Forces stormed a humani-
tarian flotilla heading for Gaza while it was still in inter-
national waters. The flotilla was carrying aid including
medical and school supplies, aiming to break the siege of
Gaza and to bring the world's attention to the dispropor-
tionate suffering of Palestinian civilians. The flotilla was
crewed by over 600 activists from 37 nations, including a
Nobel Laureate and a Holocaust survivor. The Israeli mili-
tary went on to kill nine activists aboard the flotilla and
injure dozens more.
In an effort to contain the international fallout from
Israel's actions, the Israeli government has launched what
is essentially an international propaganda campaign. This
campaign attempts to shift attention away from recent
events by focusing on Israel's technological and biomedical
achievements, its humanitarian aid to other countries and
a framing of the attack on the flotilla and Gaza invasion in
terms of'self-defense.'
Ann Arbor was the latest stop in this rebranding cam-
paign. Moreover, the soldiers present on Wednesday
weren't merely representatives of a military that has
committed war crimes, they themselves could be traced
back to the violence. The organizing group StandWithUs
described the second soldier present on Wednesday, Shai,
as a member of the "elite Givati infantry brigade." This bri-
gade was investigated by the Israeli Military Police for an
airstrike during the Gaza invasion that targeted a civilian
home, killing 21 civilians - including some women and
children - and wounding 19 more.
On Wednesday, the silence spoke clearly: the justifica-
tion of atrocities will not be welcomed at Michigan. Simi-
larly, the international community's continued outrage
with Israel's government signifies the approach of a day
when the audience willing to listen to its self-exonerations
will also disappear.
This viewpoint was written by Waleed Farwana and Mike
Sayre on behalf of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality.

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