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March 14, 2011 - Image 4

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4A - Monday, March 14, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com A

4A - Monday, March 14, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom ~

U

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

Four heroes

STEPHANIE STEINBERG
EDITOR IN CHIEF

MICHELLE DEWITT
and EMILY ORLEY
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS

KYLE SWANSON
MANAGING EDITOR

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.
'Emergency power plav
Michigan EFM legislation subverts voter will
State Republicans silenced the outcries of opposition on Wednes-
day when they passed emergency financial manager legislation,
which grants exclusive powers to governor-appointed officials
in emergency situations. The bill passed in the Senate and will go back
to the House for minor changes before it's placed on Republican Gov.
Rick Snyder's desk. The new bill far exceeds the level of control that
a non-elected official should have, and with its passing there will be
many decisions that Michigan voters won't have control over.

devote this column to thank-
ing four very special people:
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), Gov.
Scott Walker
(R-Wisc.), Rep.
Michelle Bach-
mann (R-Minn.)
and former _
Arkansas Gov.
Mike Huckabee.
Our nation
owes these IMRAN
people a lot. We SYED
owe to them the
survival of the
core of Ameri-
can greatness - the vitality of our
democracy. We should never forget
what these special people did for our
country in its time of need. Let me
explain.
America is great. Yes, the reces-
sion was bad, but even at its deepest,
90 percent of us still had jobs. Yeah,
the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have
been bloody and costly, but odds are
that most of us were not personally
affected enough to continually care.
Even with all that going on, it's easy
for the average American to just go
home, turn on the game, grab a beer
and forget everything.
Let that apathy continue long
enough, and this country would lose
the last remaining tinges of demo-
cratic activism and dialogue that its
founding was rooted in. But fear not
because four heroes have saved us
from that awful fate.
Thank you, King, for reminding
America of what we cannot afford to
become. It had been too long since we
had a good, old-fashioned witch-hunt
around here, and your congressional
hearings on "the radicalization of
American Muslims" really hit the
spot. After years of subtly question-
ing the loyalty of every American
Muslim and the place of Islam in

the pool .of possible life choices a
freedom-loving American may make,
the Right finally had the chance to
spread its wings at those hearings.
Turns out thatgiving Republicans
control of the House (which made
King chair of the Committee on
Homeland Security) was just what
we needed to do. The lunacy of the
extreme Right's position on social
issues will continue to be brought
to the fore for the next few months.
Thank you for lettingus voters take a
good long look at what we cannot let
this countrybecome.
Thank you, Walker, for being the
first of the Tea Party fundamental-
ists to succeed at implementing the
ludicrous agenda the crazies have
been barking about for a couple
years. You accepted no compro-
mise from cowering Democrats, no
matter how much they caved. You
showed no mercy, and you won.
Whereas your fellow Republicans
only subtly blamed unions for every
problem this country has had since
the dawn of time, you are a man of
action. Thank you for reinvigorating
the working class and for waking up
the sleeping giant that is labor vote
- in Wisconsin, but also across the
country and especially here in Mich-
igan. Come election time, they'll be
sure to pay you Tea Party folks back.
My thank you to Bachmann
could be for any number of things;
no one has a more decorated record
of obliviously invigorating the pro-
gressive cause than the woman who
never met an issue she couldn't mis-
understand and misconstrue. This
particular thank you, however, goes
to Bachmann for introducing the
"Lightbulb Freedom of Choice Act."
Back in 2007, Congress imple-
mented new standards for light
bulbs; they had to meet a base level
of efficiency, or they'd be phased out.

But, as Bachmann pointed out, "The
government has no business telling
an individual what kind of lightbulb
to buy." Never mind that the govern-
ment isn't actually doing that. Never
mind that using an efficient light
bulb is a nearly effortless way to save
money and the environment. Never
mind that Bachmann is adding to
the bureaucracy she claims to hate
by proposing a useless bill.
We owe them the
survival of U.S.
democracy.
And finally, Huckabee. You lov-
able teddy bear with the venomous
fangs of a viper. Your contribution
is the most direct to the immediate
future of our democracy. By igno-
rantly questioning and deriding
President Barack Obama's multicul-
tural background, you have made
him - the most powerful man in
the world - look like a victim. The
Obama political machine didn't
need any help, but thank you, Mike
Huckabee, for reminding voters how
much you and your party hate any-
one who is a little different.
These four individuals, and the
hundreds of others in government,
cable news and talk radio who spew
similar evil, have saved this coun-
try. The electorate might have been
lulled into a blissful nap, but they
have shaken us awake - just in time
for the 2012 election.
We owe them everything.
-Imran Syed can be reached
at galad@umich.edu.

A

4

Once approved by Snyder, the EFM will
have the ability to control a wide array of gov-
ernment spending. According to a March 10
Detroit News article, among other powers,
these one-year appointees will now be able to
sell government assets, toss out local ordinanc-
es and take total control of school curricula.
Twenty amendments proposed by Democrats
were rejected by Republicans, including an
attempt to limit an EFM's salary to that of the
governor's, which is $177,000.
This bill further removes citizens from
government and looks much less like democ-
racy, especially the kind that Republicans
espouse. These officials have one person to
report to, and that's the governor. And while
these positions may be in place for emergen-
cy situations, the definition of such events is
obviously subject to interpretation. There's
no way to ensure that there will be no abuse
of EFM power. Republicans may dictate that
having to negotiate with a union qualifies as
an emergency, and under this new legislation
the EFM would be able to terminate union
employee contracts.
Iteexsn like the state-trgislature is trying-
to avoid the turmoil that overcame Wiscon-
sin's government in recent weeks and bypass
the step in which citizens can try to influence
government decisions. With EFMs, decisions

would be made, and voters would have no
choice but to sit back and deal with the conse-
quences.
Among the more alarming powers, EFMs
will be able to undermine the decisions of local
elected government officials. It is even more
authoritarian for these EFMs to be able to con-
trol school curricula, since there's no guaran-
tee they will have a background in education.
Detroit's EFM, Robert Bobb, has been an effec-
tive adjudicator for Detroit and was appointed
and reappointedby former Democrat Gov. Jen-
nifer Granholm, but even an exemplary EFM
should be barred from dictating what schools
teach.
Snyder has been comparing Michigan to
Wisconsin and wants to prevent Wisconsin's
recent crisis from manifesting here. This new
bill may be a way to avert the same mess, but
it is also avoiding a true democratic process.
For appointed officials to be able to subvert the
power of elected officials shows a disregard for
the will of voters.
Unfortunately, once the House finishes
revising the bill, it will land on Snyder's desk
-and-will-likely be signed into law. If the policy
takes effect, Snyder needs to work with local
governments and schools to make sure that
implementation of an EFM is a mutual and
beneficial decision.

4

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Will Butler, Ellie Chessen, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer,
Melanie Kruvelis, Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley,
Harsha Panduranga, Teddy Papes, Asa Smith, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner

-I

DEANDREE WATSON |

Why I want to be MSA president

LETTERS TSEND L
GEO isn't economically
beneficial for GSRAs

ETTERS TO: TOTHEDY
ate students' coma
include both a mi
scale tied to the r
pay and benefits a
wonders how GEO

TO THE DAILY: the federal govern
The Graduate Employees' Organization is ment established t
currently pushing for the unionization of grad- abuse of graduate
uate student research assistants, but is this tions. GSRAs wou
economically advantageous for the students? for GEO to bargai
GEO promises three main potential benefits of ernment has alrea
unionization. higher rate than G
First, GEO will force the University to cover Student Instructo
the one-time $200 Student and Exchange Visi- to pay out of poc
tor Information System fee for international month for theoret
students. However, GSRAs will get to pay GEO tle or no return?
$260 per a two-term year for every year they According to d
are at the University. Human Resources
Second, GEO will provide mediation ser- average 2,000 GSI
vices, but these services are already provided with a typical ap
by the University's Human Resources depart- Using GEO's tablec
ment. In addition, one wonders how often pay $132.12 per ter
this benefit will be used considering there are year in dues. Multit
layers of protection in place for GSRAs that and the union is lo
minimize the need of mediation including the mum of a half a m
rotation system, departmental committees and in forced dues. I sa
the Rackham Academic Dispute Resolution every time GEO me
Board. All of these are currently provided to rights of GSRAs." N
GSRAs free of charge. from unionization?
Third, GEO will be able to increase wages
and benefits. GSRAs are usually paid by feder- Melinda Day
al grants, which set clear standards for gradu- Rackham student

AILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM
pensation and benefits that
nimum and maximum pay
ate of inflation. Given that
re federally mandated, one
will be able to bargain with
ment. The federal govern-
hese regulations to prevent
students at various institu-
Ad have to pay $260 a year
n for what the federal gov-
dy dictated and has set at a
EO's contract for Graduate
rs. Do GSRAs really want
ket more than 30 dollars a
ical promises that yield lit-
data from the University's
department, there are on
RA appointments per term
pointment fraction of 0.5.
of dues, a typical GSRA will
m or $264.24 per two-term
iply that by the 2,000 GSRAs,
oking at bringing in a mini-
illion dollars more per year
ay remember that $500,000
entions, "standing up for the
Who really stands to benefit

Last spring, MForward emerged as a group of dedi-
cated individuals united by a common aspiration to
improve student governance on campus and commit-
ment to making the Michigan Student Assembly a true
advocate for students of this university. This spring,
we're reaffirming our values with a new slate of indi-
viduals determined to advance the MForward agenda of
ideas, action and community.
This is why I have decided to run for president with
MForward, along with LSA Junior Brendan Campbell
as my running mate and a phenomenal ticket of student
leaders from across every section of campus. Collec-
tively, we share the goal of re-energizing student par-
ticipation in governance as a means of affecting change
with benefits that will reach every corner of our campus
community.
Our work begins with establishing new forums for
exchanging ideas. As a whole, we hope to create a more
accessible, transparent and efficient coalition of student
representatives. In order to better communicate with
and assess the needs of our peers, we plan to broadcast
MSA meetings, hold monthly presidential addresses and
host frequent town hall gatherings that connect stu-
dents with University administrators. In these settings,
we can both express our ideas so that they may fall sub-
ject to discussion and debate among the community, as
well as elicit feedback and suggestions from those whose
interests we're strivingto serve.
We also would like to emphasize our relationship
with other student-led organizations, as we consider
them vital to the vibrancy of our campus fabric. By intro-
ducing rolling funding opportunities and holding office
hours in multiple locations around campus, organiza-
tions will have increased access to our resources. Fur-
thermore, we intend to open our legislative process to
student groups by creating a system that allows student
organizations to pass resolutions through MSA.
Once we have implemented these tools for increasing
our engagement with the student body, we will actively
fight to enhance the campus community through our
commitment to improving accessibility and affordabil-
ity. Alongside student organizations, we intend to create
new programming and outreach initiatives to connect
with communities currently underrepresented at the
University.
By reaching out to high schools across the state, we
will unify the voices of students to establish networks of
peer support. Such dialogue, coupled with advocacy for
more education grants for students of different minority
groups, has the potential to diminish the gap between
high school and college that can become insurmount-
able to so many of our state's youth. In our actions, we

hope not only to create opportunities of higher educa-
tion thatpreviously didn't existbut also seek to diversify
and enrich our campus culture.
In terms of affordability, cuts to funding higher
education have led to tuition hikes that hurt students
across every demographic. Because the members of
MForward believe so passionately in fighting for the
needs of the students we represent, we see it as our
responsibility to lead the effort of keeping these trends
in check. While we will strive to use our institutional
resources for the benefit of our peers, we also will not
hesitate to take a stand against these institutions when
students' academic careers become jeopardized by
financial constraints.
Finally, the overarching aspiration of MForward is
to build a better and more cohesive campus community.
All students deserveto feel included in the dynamic aca-
demic, extracurricular and social environments around
which our campus culture thrives, These initiatives
begin with continuing MForward's efforts to implement
open housing.
While progress has been made on this issue in that
transgender and gender non-conforming students will
now be able to live in suites with other students of their E
choosing - regardless of gender - much work still
remains in advocating for a full open housing program.
In a similar vein, we also will seek to establish a more
comprehensive system to address incidents of bias. We
see it as critical that students' safety and positive cam-
pus experiences aren't threatened by intolerant atti-
tudes toward different social identities.
As part of the largest governing entity on campus,
MForward members feel a compelling responsibility
to use MSA resources only in ways that serve to unite
students with each other, with their campus environ-
ment, with their communities and with the tools they
require for accomplishing their goals. By opening up
waves of communication between students, student-
led organizations and the administration, we have the
unique potential to facilitate connections with new and
enhanced educational and organizational opportunities.
This is why Brendan Campbell, myself and all the
MForward candidates have decided to seek positions on
MSA this year. We're students, seeking the support of
students, and promising to strengthen the student body.
If we all work together as a united force, we can further
define and embody the phrase "Leaders and the Best"
- that ever-present classification to which we so firmly
subscribe.
DeAndree Watson is the MForward
presidential candidate. He is an LSA junior.

Responsible citizens should
be allowed to carry guns
TO THE DAILY:
In Seth Soderborg's March 9 article (All
guns were not created equal, (3/7/2011), he sug-
gests that semi automatic pistols should be
banned in favor of small revolvers with a short
range and small cartridge capacity. However,
former presidents Ronald Reagan, Abraham
Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley
and Theodore Roosevelt were all shot by small
pistols with a short range and small cartridge
capacity. Former President John F. Kennedy
was killed with a hunting rifle, which Soder-
borg would permit. We must realize that
nearly all shootings occur in "gun-free" or gun-
restricted zones. The bloodiest shootings have
been at places like Columbine High School,
Virginia Tech University and Fort Hood, all
places where firearms are prohibited.
This is no coincidence. A shooting is more
likely to occur in a school than at a shooting
range. Making the United States a gun-restrict-

ed zone would put us all at risk. No law will
ever be able to keep guns out of the hands of
dangerous people: It will only disarm respon-
sible citizens.
Soderborg is comfortable with police offi-
cers carrying semi automatic pistols. Howev-
er, we must remember that police officers are
human, just like concealed pistol license hold-
ers. Earlier this year, a middle school student
- the son of a police officer - used his father's
service weapon to kill the vice principal at
his school. What is the difference between a
police officer and a CPL holder? The only dif-
ference is that police officers must take an
oath. Would making CPL holders take an oath
reassure the public?
Most police officers do very little weapons
training after certification. It's very easy for
a private citizen to amass more trigger time
than a police officer and thus be more profi-
cient with his or her pistol. We can't put a cop
on everycorner,but we have more thanenough
responsible citizens.
Peter Waszkiewicz
Engineering junior

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
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. We do not print anonymous
letters. Send letters to tothedaily@michigandaily.com

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