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June 03, 1992 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1992-06-03

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4 - The Michigan Daily Summer Weekly - Wednesday, June 3, 1992

Ehe ichi [rsnI [
OPI ' S

EDITOR IN CHIEF
ANDREW M. LEVY
OPINION EDITORS
GIL RENBERG
DAVID SHEPARDSON

Unsigned editorials represent the opinion
of a majority of the Daily's editorial
board. All other cartoons, signed articles,
and letters do not necessarily reflect the
opinion of the Daily.

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
764-0552
Editedtand Managed by
Students at the
University of Michigan

0

U ntil last Thursday, private country clubs,
golf clubs, and yacht clubs throughout
Michigan were permitted to bar women mem-
bers from enjoying many of their clubs' privi-
leges. The state legislature and Gov. John
Engler should be commended for ending this
discrimination with a bill the governor signed
at the site of this weekend's Ladies Profes-
sional Golfers Association (LPGA) tourna-
ment, the Walnut Hills Country Club in East
Lansing.
The bill was proposed last year by State
Senator Lana Pollack (D-Ann Arbor) and ap-
proved almost unanimously by both houses of
the Michigan legislature. The legislation goes
into effect immediately. The penalty for non-
compliance is the permanent loss of the club's
liquor license.
State anti-discrimination laws have here-
tofore only applied to public clubs. Private
clubs have been able to maintain a de jure
apartheidtoward femalemembers.Whilemany

Moving Fore-ward
Finally, the state of Michigan acts to correct
entrenched discrimination in private clubs

clubs allow women to join and pay full mem-
bership prices, they often relegate women to a
second rate status. These women have found
that "full membership" means one thing for
male members and another for female mem-
bers.Womenmay golf on the same course, but
at the least desireable times. They are permit-
tedintheclubhouse,butonlyincertain"mixed"
sections. Their dues are as high as the men's,
yet women can't eat in the main restaurant.
Clubmembers who support segregated tee-
off times claim that this is necessary because
womengolfers wouldslow up the entire course.
There is no evidence, however, that women on
the average take longer to play golf than men.
If speed of golfing were the actual reason
behind the segregation, tee-off times could be

allotted based on handicap. Many business-
men, of course, might find themselves duffing
around in the hot, noon sun instead of at 7 a.m.
Those who support the previous, discrimina-
tory policiesof segregated bars and clubhouses
can back up their views with no more logical a
reason than, "That's the way it has always
been."
While the inconvenience of later tee-off
times and segregated bars is obvious, the full
impact is much greater. Early morning golf
games frequently double as business meet-
ings. Deals are closed, contracts negotiated,
and contacts established either on the fairways
or over tasty alcoholic beverages at the club-
house. Women whose clients prefer to do
business at the golf course or at the club are

excluded from this competitive aspect of the
business world.
The new law should correct this inequality
in Michigan, but there is no indication that
other states will follow - the federal govern-
ment should extend the Civil Rights Act of
1964 to prevent this form of discrimination. In
the meantime, the LPGA should look to the
example of the men's tour's response to the
problem ofracialdescrimination atShoalCreek
two years ago. Initially, some players refused
to play at any club that would not permit
minority membership. It is now an official
policy of the PGA not to hold tournaments at
restricted clubs.
LPGA members continue to play tourna-
ments at clubs which discriminate against
women. The LPGA should take advantage of
its powerful position by forcing country clubs
that are on the LPGA tour to provide women
completeaccesstopriviliges thathave thus far
only been available to men.

0

Wasted opportunity Expediency vs. ethics

0

House energy bill, while m
does not address the probh
0 n Wednesday, theU.S.. House ofRepresen-
tatives followed the Senate's action in Feb-
ruary by passing along-awaited energy billibya
vote of 381-37. This far-reaching, 1500-page
bill falls short of the aims of a coherent national
energy policy - in compromising, the House
Democratic leadership did not emphasize na-
tionalgoalsofreducing fossilfuelconsumption
and recycling, instead increasing tax breaks for
theenergy industry.Thebillisatbestafirststep,
hardly the "National Energy Strategy" the pro-
posalclaims tobe, towardsomething the United
Statesis seemingly destinednever to achieve-
a comprehensive energy bill.
Several aspects of the bill merit praise: tax
incentives to promote the development of re-
newable fuels including solar, biomass, and
wind; conservation through use of mass transit
and car pools; new conservation measures, in-
cluding requirements for the govenment to use
less energy and improved energy standards for
buildings, appliances, and lights; and requiring
wider use of alternative fuel vehicles by both
government and private fleet operators. The bill
alsoexpandsrestrictions on offshore oil and gas
drilling prohibiting government sale of leases
until 2002. These provisions make substantial
progress in current programs -however, they
do not go far enough.
One important aspect of the bill that stands
out is an obscure provision revising a 50-year-
old law on electric company monopolies. It will
reduce electric bills and allow greater competi-
tionintheelectricindustry.Incombinationwith
tax incentives for electric companies that use
alternative fuels, this provision could make a
substantial dent in fossil fuel consumption.
Yet,the bill'smostnoticeableand damaging
flawisitdoesnotaddresstheproblemofoil.The
UnitedStatesstillimportsabouthalfitscrude oil
and is destined to import much more in the
future.Sharplyraisingtaxeson petroleum prod-

a linleYsome nrnges.

Bush ignores the Wlight f

em of oil dependence orders their return despitt
ucts, which is critical to decreasing U.S. depen- President Bush's recent decision to return
dence on oil, was never considered by the Con- summarily all Haitian refugees without a hear-
gress as a viable option. In fact, last fall the ing is repugnant. The executive order issued by
Congress refused even to raise gasoline taxes by Bush instructing the Coast Guard to return im-
a nickel after bowing to intense pressure from mediately all Haitians fleeing to the United
the powerful petroleum lobby. The Congress States is one in a series of blunders that has
refused to take on the oil producers, instead marked the administration'spolicy toward Haiti
giving thema$800milliontax break. Itisironic since the September coup. Bush's recent move
thatwhile theGulf Warprovided theimpetusfor that denies asylum to all Haitians, regardless of
the bill, the government failed to act. Unless their possible political refugee status, is a viola-
dramatic steps are taken to remove the incentive tion of international law and inherently racist.
to remain dependent on oil, the United States According to the 1951 Convention onPoliti-
will never decrease its consumption. cal Refugees signed by the United States, a
Increased auto emissions and gas mileage nation cannot tumaway asylum seekers without
requirements were nixed as the administration allowing them a hearing to determine whether
threatened to veto the bill. This comes after they are victims of political oppression. Bush's
PresidentBushhasrelaxedstrictautostandards decision to reject Haitian refugees without at-
in the Clean Air Act of 1990. The Clean Air act tempting to discern whether they are fleeing
also encourages the use of methanol, natural economic hardship or political oppression re-
gas, and electricity to operate cars. But these veals the president as ahypocrite who can speak
goalsof the Clean Air Act and now the National with zeal about the lofty principles the United
Energy Strategy bill are easily ignored by a States was founded on but ignore those prin-
president who has not expressed interest in ciples when it is pragmatic to do so.
effecting strong environmental policy. The fed- Bush's justifications forhis violation of in-
eral government should adopt the standards of ternationallaw have been two-fold.First,he has
the California Air Resources Board which re- cited the problemofoverflowing refugee camps
quires production of large numbers of electric in his desire to stop the flow of refugees to
cars and others cars operating on methanol and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The flow of refugees
natural gas. Only in mandating compliance can has not ceased with this policy - at least 800
the Congress ensure that real progress will be Haitians have sought asylum in the week after
made by the auto and energy industries. the decision. Second, the Bush administration
DanielBecker, alobbyistfor theSierraClub, has offered Haitians the option of applying for
characterized the bill as "half a good energy political refugee status at the U.S. embassy in
package."While theCongressandtheadminis- Port-au-Prince. This last-resortmethodofgain-
tration are to be commended for acting quickly ing refugee status poses serious problems for
topass abipartisan compromise bill, thecountry Haitians who cannot afford to travel to Haiti's
is once again missing achance to pass acompre- capital, or who in trying to visit the embassy
hensive energy bill. The lamentable fact is that revealtheiroppositiontoGeneralRaoulCedras'
the bill does not go far enough, nor does it oppressive junta.
attempt radical change, which is so desperately The recent executive order conceming Hai-
necessary to move the nation's energy policy tian refugees is not only a violation of interna-
into the 21st century. tional law, but an example of the racism and

'Haiti's refugees as he
e their dissident status
economic opportunism that influence Bush ad-
ministration policy. It seems logical that if Haiti
had Kuwait's oil, the next "Gulf War" would be
near the Gulf of Mexico. In this election season,
the Bush administration has decided that the
political climate in Florida is more important
than the lives of the Haitian people.
As abhorrent as the recent decision may
seem, it simply demonstrates that one bad for-
eign policy decision leads to another. Jean-
Baptiste Aristide was the first freely elected
President in Haiti. He was elected by the poor
rural community that is currently fleeing Haiti
due to political oppression. Military leaders,
hostile to democracy, toppled Aristide last Sep-
tember. If the U.S. had given assistance to
Aristide's administration he might not have
avoided the military coup.
The second failure of American foreign
policy was the half-hearted embargo imposed
upon Haiti after the coup. Haiti's military re-
gime has circumvented the trade embargo by
importing products from many countries that
have ignored Bush's feeble pleas to support the
embargo. According torecentlyreleasedfederal
documents, atleast adozen countries in Europe,
South America, and Africa have routinely ig-
nored the trade embargo. Perhaps the United
Nations will be able to succeed where Bush has
failed and employ an effective embargo.
If the President wishes to correct the foreign
policy disaster that has led to today's Haiti, he
must begin by restoring to all Haitian refugees
therighttoahearing.Hemustalsopushforward
with a fullembargoand the diplomatic pressure
necessary to restore the legitimately elected
government of Haiti. Once Aristide is returned
to power, the refugee problem will subside.
Withoutdramatic leadership by the administra-
tion, the problem will only worsen and thou-
sands of Haitians willsurely perish while trying
to flee to the United States.

-9

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