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July 12, 1999 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-07-12

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 12, 1999

Edited and managed by EmiLY ACHENBAUM NICK WooER
students at the e Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
q University of Michigan EF
Une ieL 0/5011c not 7k , cd ck ditorft ( ,, t c/ L , o,;tie0)ioni o/the
420 Maynard Street nooorit/ othe Daiii/cso aunl ord. All olher tt I'lieteand
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (c"""""nsdo"' o " C"I7)'i""l" "J' 1 '''"theo "'oi itnThe/1' Ill h "ct",t Del/

T he conflict between the City of Ann
Arbor and motorists in general may be
slowly strangling the city's now-vital down-
town area. Last Tuesday a group of
University students and faculty conducted
both focus groups and interviews with a
diverse range of Ann Arborites in the hopes
of gathering suggestions to help revitalize
the State Street area of downtown Ann
Arbor. City officials should seriously consid-
er the study's findings and use them to
improve downtown.
Members of the State Street Area
Association prompted the study when they
approached the University in the fall of 1998
after it was announced that the Downtown
Development Authority would appropriate
$1.5 million to improve the area. This group,
along with the DDA and the University
itself, paid for the study as an inquiry into
how the downtown area could be better
developed.
This group presented the results of its
study to the city officials, as well as several

Ann Arbor officials should consider study

businesses in the State Street area. The find-
ings recommended that portions of State
Street, as well as adjoining roads, such as
Thompson St., Liberty St., Maynard St., and
North University Avenue should allow two-
way traffic.
The State Street Association believes that
making the streets two-way will both
increase accessibility to their businesses (as
well as the parking structures near their busi-
nesses) and make the area more pedestrian-
friendly by reducing automobile speeds, as
drivers tend to speed on one-way streets.
Ann Arbor Mayor Ingrid Sheldon has stated
that she is considering pedestrian improve-
ments, but that no decisions can be made
regarding this proposal until the formal
report is filed next January.

Mayor Sheldon should implement this
plan as soon as possible. In the past few
years the downtown area of Ann Arbor has
fallen into a steady decline as both cheaper
and more accessible property has become
available in the suburbs and the outskirts of
the city itself This has led to the demise of
several city fixtures such as Schoolkids'
Records and' Campus Bike and Toy.
Merchants and businesses simply do not
see the need to remain in the downtown
area when the suburbs have become cheap-
er, and often more profitable, places to do
business because they attract more cus-
tomers.
The State Street area is a perfect case
study of this problem: it is an area that is
unfriendly to traffic with its one-way streets,

isolating businesses from customers that an
directed to more convenient establishment
away from the city center. Moreover, pedes
trians must deal with drivers who race alo
the one-vay streets as if they were on a
track instead of a major thoroughfare fo:
both people and automobiles, intimidatins
people away from the bustle and hustle oft
dangerous downtown pedestrian environ
ment.
While two-way streets, less pedestriar
impediments, and more parking structur
signs will not cure the problem of suburban
ization in Ann Arbor, it may help stem th
flow of consumers to the suburbs anc
encourage businesses to remain downto a
as well as attract more people so Ann Arbp
multitude of centralized businesscs, thus pre-
serving the city's urban heart. Ann Arboi
cannot afford to lose the downtown region t
outlying areas, or it may lose one of its mair
attractions to students and visitors fron
around the world, and that would destroy the
character of the city itself.

Catc ing up
Clinton's plan for poor areas has potential

e as n a pan
Jail sentences for breast bearers are too harsh

T he statistics are well known to
almost everyone in one form or
another; the United States is currently
experiencing the longest period of eco-
nomic growth in its history.
The statistics are impressive. As of
last year, the budget surplus was $70 bil-
lion - the largest surplus on record. And
since President Clinton took office in
1992, economic growth has averaged 3.5
percent a year.
The blanket of prosperity hasn't
spread to everyone. Clinton's tour of the
nation's poorest areas, which concluded
last Friday, reminded the nation that the
economic progress it has achieved pales
in comparison to what it still has left to
accomplish. With the help of Clinton's
plan to extend private sector support into
poorer areas, the nation can start to make
the blanket a little wider.
Beginning in Kentucky, Clinton's tour
took him through stops in Mississippi,
East St. Louis and a Native American
reservation in South Dakota before fin-
ishing up his cross-country trip in
California.
The statistics from these areas are
grim: In some areas of Kentucky, as the
New York Times reported, the unemploy-
ment rate is 80 percent worse than the
national average. And, also according to
the New York Times, 60 percent of young
people in the areas Clinton visited are
neither working nor in school.
Clinton realizes thtt fedeial aid alone
cannot ute these atttetlts, and instead
has dM ised an effective pian to promote
private seete r inestoent in poorer areav
by oltering incentives to partictpting
cotnpantcs,.
Cliiiton's venture capital pirogt , 0.
called New Markets Initiative, is expect-

ed to generate $5 billion in private sector
investments by offering $1 billion in
Federal tax incentives. This is a positive
plan that will encourage companies to
invest in the United States, instead of
taking their business overseas.
Clinton's plan has received the normal
amount of criticism, with naysayers'
calls of "too little, too late."
Syndicated columnist Carl Rowan
dubbed the poverty tour an "act of futili-
ty." Referring to similar quests by Robert
Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to extend
economic prosperity to the poorer sec-
tions of the nation, Rowan remarked that
"the same areas are mired in the same
joblessness and hopelessness."
Still, since Lyndon Johnson made a
trip to the Appalachian region, the
Appalachian Regional commission
reports that the poverty rate, once at 31
percent, has dropped to 15 percent, just
two points higher than the national aver-
age.
With $5 billion in expected invest-
ments form the private sector, there is
reason to believe that the improvement
will continue. Clinton's plan is a step in
the right direction.
With significant incentives from the
government, American companies will
be encouraged to invest in the poorer
areas of the country. It may be that more
will need to be done, but Clinton's plan
is still a much-needed advancement for
America's poorest areas. So long as
C lirston's focus is mtintaitne in the
fttire id the ceuntry's f lrgttenC 1-
eis are not fisrgtten gintI tileei
hope for the econoemiclly disadsantagid.
regins. Some mllay say "teo little tOO
late," pertups it is hetter to say "1etter
I ite than never."t

O0 fficials in East Lansing Mich.,
ought to refer to the old adage "two
wrongs do not equal one right." Both the
city and Michigan State University have
taken a hard line in the wake of last
March's embarrassing riots. In their
push to punish as many rioters as possi-
ble the city and MSU have stepped way
out of line.
The city first attempted to subpoena
photos and videotape from the Lansing
State Journal and local television sta-
tions respectively -- threatening them
with the possibility of search and seizure
by police if they did not comply.
Now East Lansing is doing the same
with female MSU students who bared
their breasts during the riots. While the
charge of indecent exposure can land an
individual in prison, this rarely happens
in cases similar to those of Eva Roberts
19, and Stephanie Kent 19, who both
served short prison terms for lifting their
shirts during the riots as they were held
aloft by cheering men. None of the men
have been prosecuted.
District Judge Richard Ball, who sen-
tenced Roberts, admitted to Detroit
News columnist Laura Berman that East
Lansing's ordinances did not even define
what exactly constituted "indecent expo-
sure" and instead invoked former United
States Supreme Court Justice Potter
Stewart's conment on pornography: "I
know it whet I se it."
A tough ctackdoi CII everyone who
police cal prove as evci r''tely
involved in tite March riOts mayV ildeed
preyen t e miutbeirsts afteinaii, tast
[at sin cificias ea po11int oue ,etris
like Chia iwvhih itas no experieed
std.ent-i ntIe tumii since > ms-
cred e pr-deminely pitesters imre

than ten years ago.
It may be easy to justify harsh law-
enforcement tactics on grounds of effi-
ciency, but it is another matter entirely
to validate those tactics on moral
grounds.
East Lansing is not going to recll
its once-enviable reputation as a pro-
gressive city of freethinkers bytsending
young women to prison for an act that is
completely legal in the most of Europe.
Even in the United States, the women
would likely be prosecuted lightly or not
at all under different circumstances -
Roberts was expecting this pattern
would hold when she showed up at her
trial date, only to be sentenced to )
days in jail (of which she served 17),
starting immediately.
It is certainly understandable why
East Lansing officials are so short on
sympathy - rioters caused millions of
dollars of physical damage and struck a
long-lasting blow to the reputations of
East Lansing, MSU and the of all of
their respective affiliates.
What shocked that country and the
world about the riots in March was not
so much the "lewd" behavior of so*
women, but the property damage that
was caused mostly by certain men.
The attitudes of Roberts and Kent
towards what was happening around
them may be objectionable, but it is
actions, not attitudes that have embar-
rassed East Lansing and MSU and it is
the actions of some that night that
should be dalt with harshi.
The reh riot, as coltetmptble @l
irr spe .l is was, shic d not be
an ered by East Lansig vs ith equally
conem'nptible and irrespoN.ibie egal
measures

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