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July 27, 1994 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1994-07-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

OPINI NON
Page 4 Wedn ,sdayJuly 21, 997

EDITOR IN CHIEF
James M. Nash
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS
Patrick Javid
Jason Lichtstein

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan.
Unsigned editorials present 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.

W hat can we do about the crime,
despair and rising death tolls in our
inner cities? This week, Congress appears to
be close to coming up with its answer - the
wrongone. The House andSenateseemclose
to passing anew omnibus crime package that
would "fight crime" by increasing sentenc-
ing requirements and further legitimizing the
use of the death penalty. This would be a
mistake of the highest order. The road to
fightingcrimeispaved withprovidinggreater
economic prosperity and ensuring physical
security, not with useless symbols of lethal
injections and cruel and unusual electrocu-
tions. The widespread use of the death pen-
alty clearly misses the point, in light of the
real source of the crime problem.
The current version of Congress' $22
billion bill contains, among other things, the
showboat "three strikes and you're out" sen-
tencing requirement, and a watered-down
version of the House-backed ban on 19 types
of semi-automatic weapons. While many of

A Democratic
Crime Bill?
Focus on death penalty dooms omnibus bill

its measures are badly needed, such as a ban
on juvenile weapons possession and new
procedures to help prevent violence against
women, the focus of the bill is to spend huge
amounts of money on questionable federal
programs.
There are two major problems with this
bill: First, only 19 semi-automatic weapons
are to be banned. Second, it authorizes the
deathpenalty fordozensofnewfederalcrimes.
The real worry is that this shift toward capital
punishment will further weaken our respect

for true justice and defendants' rights in this
country. The new list of capital offenses not
only includes the crime of killing a federal
poultry inspector, but it also allows the death
penalty to be meted out for certain crimes
involving a gun that crossed state lines. This
last measure is almost certain to make some
crimes eligible for the death penalty even in
states that otherwise would not allow it.
The third major shortcoming of the crime
package is that it gives too little credit to
projects and efforts aimed at fighting crime at

its roots. Many of the more productive, for-
ward-looking measures in the package are
pathetically underfunded. For example, ol
the $22.3 billion that Congress plans to sp
to combat crime, only $60 million has beer
committed toward drug prevention and treat-
ment - less than 0.3 percent of the total.
There are a couple of positive aspects ir
the package, though. One of the bill's main
points is anaidpackage designedtoputabout
100,000 new police officers on the streets.
And the bill also helps establish "alternatives
to incarceration" programs, where young fir -
time offenders can perform community s
vice as punishment.
Overall, this bill is not "fighting crime."
Truly addressing crime in America will take
a dramatic shift away from the present "lock-
'em-up" mentality and toward a re-emphasis
on cities, families and local communities as
centers of responsible social life. This issue
demands the full attention of the Congress in
conference, without the demagoguery.

City-'U' wrangling
Ann Arbor would be Dexter without 'U'

To many of Ann Arbor's elected leaders,
the University behaves like a schoolyard
bully,swipingtoyswithimpunity.Twoweeks
ago the biggest kid on the block added an-
other plaything to its list: the $7.65 million
Eisenhower Corporate Park West building.
The purchase took the property off the city's
tax rolls, sapping an annual $37,700 in rev-
enue from the municipal coffers. This time it
was the city that acted like the spoiled brat.
The University Board of Regents' ap-
proval of the purchase on July 14 provoked
shrill and misguided statements from city
leaders. A council member publicly chided
the University for showing its "true colors."
City Administrator Alfred Gatta, in a memo
to council members, rebuked the University
for its "lack of... social responsibility to this
community."Andothercityleadersprivately
sniped at the University for its ignorance of
the city's fiscal plight.
Yes, the city has been forced to make
oftenpainfulbudgetcuts. Andyes, the loss of
$37,700 a year will sting. But city leaders
overlook the essence of their relationship
with the University when they denounce the
purchase while ignoring the University's eco-
nomic contributions to the community. The
relationship is symbiotic, with the University
drawing industry, investment and talented
people to Ann Arbor and the city providing
services to the University population.

Yetcityleaders, likeGatta, insistonpaint-
ing the relationship as adversarial. Their
motive: pressuring the University to reim-
burse the city for alltax dollarslost to Univer-
sity development. Another suggestion de-
serves more serious consideration: a plan to
levy a city-wide income tax. The income tax
would extract revenue from University em-
ployees, including those who live outside
Ann Arbor and currently pay no taxes to the
city. But Gatta's income tax proposal has
repeatedly beenquashed by the City Council.
The income tax, which would more effec-
tively harness the economic might of the
University, has been endorsed by President
James J. Duderstadt.
The city's grievances are not totally with-
out merit, however. While the University
bringsgrowthtoAnnArbor, itoftentreats the
city as a junior partner. University officials
were too quick to reject a suggestion from
Gatta that they issue an economic impact
statement for major projects. Such a state-
ment would at least allow the city to brace for
the University's next move. Even if the Uni-
versity continues to resist the suggestion, city
leaders have little reason for complaining.
When state officials were seeking a site
for the campus last century, Dexter and Ann
Arborwereontheirlist. Now, in 1994, Dexter
is a small hamlet in western Washtenaw
County; Ann Arbor is a thriving urban center.

Gender politics
Women in the political process: imperative
ramed on the television screen, U.S. Sen- of the U.S. population. Not every femi
F ate candidate LanaPollackemerges from politician brings more liberal or more femi-
a sea of cardboard cutouts, depicting the nist ideas to government - if she did, than
same smiling male politician with the same endorsing a woman would be no different
dark suit and red-striped tie. The only way to from endorsing a Democrat. What she often
change things in Washington, she says, is to does bring is a different perspective on issues
change the people you send there. Michigan as diverse as reproductive rights, education
residents can do this by voting more women, and crime. Psychological studies have con-
like Pollack, into office. cluded that legitimate sex differences in atti-
Michigan voters will head to the polls for tudes do exist: Women, on the whole,*0
the primaries on Aug. 2, and a plethora of more prosocial and group-oriented than men
women from Ann Arbor will appear on the are. Bringing more womenintopolitics could
ballot. Michigan Sen. Lana Pollack is run- affect national and state policy to the benefit
ning for the Democratic nomination for the of all. Moreover, voting patterns suggest that
U.S. Senate; Lynn Rivers seeks the nomina- women are more socially and economically
tion for the U.S. House (13th District), and liberal than men are, which bodes well for
former Ann Arbor Mayor Liz Brater is vying comprehensive health care, welfare and pe-
for the 53rd District seat in the Michigan nal reform.
HouseofRepresentatives.Inaddition,Debbie Just as other politicians represent th
Stabenow is seeking the Democratic nomi- constituents, female politicians represenk
nation for governor to challenge the incum- sizable population of Americans which has
bent, conservative anti-hero, John Engler. traditionally had little say in government.
Remember: 1992 was trumpeted as the Women received the right to vote a mere 74
"Year of the Woman" in politics, and ended years ago, and discrimination injury service
with four new women elected to the U.S. was still going on in the 1970s.
Senate. This brought the total to six women We commend these Michigan women for
senators, a 300-percent increase from the participating in the political process and wish
previous count of two. With the recent addi- them success in the coming primary. The
tion of Kay Bailey Hutchinson from Texas, legislatures of the United States might so@
the Senate now has seven women in resi- come closer to representing 52 percent of the
dence. Yet this is still only 7 percent of the population - and a government would
Senate --representing the female 52 percent emerge that "looks like America."

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