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August 11, 2003 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-08-11

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 11, 2003

UbleJOr itu *dig a

letters@michigandaily.com Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
STUDENTS AT THE Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
SINCE 1890 necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

The city of Ann Arbor is to be com-
mended for its effort to establish
greenbelt of sprawl-free land around
the city. Last week, Gov. Jennifer
Granholm's Land Use Leadership Council
expressed the need to preserve open spaces
and farmlands against development.
Granholm established the council to provide
recommendations for reducing out-of-con-
trol urban sprawl, a significant contributor
to decaying urban centers, vanishing farm-
land and traffic congestion. The leadership
that Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje is show-
ing by proposing his greenbelt initiative to
the city's voters is in the spirit of the land use
council's findings and must be a model for
governments across the state.
With urban sprawl occurring several
times faster than southeast Michigan's
population is growing and costing more
than the tax revenues it brings in, it should
come as no surprise that the region is host
to so much urban decay. Getting a handle
on urban sprawl is necessary in order to
revive the state's cities and to save the

Wide open spaces
Ann Arbor leads the state in curbing sprawl

state's environment.
It is necessary for county, township and
municipal governments to work out a region-
al development program that will approach
land use on a regional scale, an important
foundation for establishing regional
economies that are both accessible and sus-
tainable. Ann Arbor voters should embrace
the goal of a greenbelt and support it if and
when it appears on the ballot. Citizens in
Ann Arbor proper should encourage their
government to show support as well, realiz-
ing that a region's economic vitality is not
independent of its central city.
Around the state, jurisdictions should
adopt programs similar to this Ann Arbor
Parks and Greenbelt Program. Other
options include urban growth boundaries,
successful in cities such as Portland and

beneficial to preservationists and develop-
ers alike. Regional subsidization bound-
aries, such as in Grand Rapids, where
municipalities will not subsidize new devel-
opment beyond a boundary is an idea that
state officials should seriously explore.
It is critical that greenbelt and other
checks on growth do not force new devel-
opment even further outward. The pur-
pose of preservation programs is not only
to establish where development may not
occur, but also to decide where it may
occur responsibly, designating build and
no-build zones on a regional scale. In
their awareness of how open-space
preservation programs wield regional
influence, it is the responsibility of Ann
Arbor and surrounding jurisdictions to
ensure that new development that results

within the city is beneficial to the popu-
lation at large. Public assets such as parks
and neighborhood retail districts are
important, but affordable housing and
diverse housing options for all income
levels are crucial to a sustainable econo-
my. Preventing housing rates from surg-
ing should be a priority for the city.
There are many Michigan citizens
opposed to policies that the land council
recommends and that Ann Arbor may
decide to implement. It is important to rec-
ognize, however, that the council contains
members with diverse viewpoints, and in
order to balance legitimate concerns held
by those on both sides, not everyone will
be happy with the final report.
While a great challenge, many cities
across the country are making progress
in slowing sprawl. Overall, development
must be both contained and diverse. Ann
Arbor is learning that in order to remain
vibrant, it must combat urban sprawl and
prevent population drainage that results
in severe decay.

Ignorance is blindness
Connerly's California proposition should be defeated

Paying the pedagogues
Teachers across the state deserve a raise


With all of the craziness going on
with the gubernatorial recall elec-
tion in California, an important
proposition also on the ballot is not gaining
as much national attention as it should. Ward
Connerly, the University of California regent
who gained national fame as an anti-affir-
mative action crusader, is not only trying to
ban the use of racial preference in the state of
Michigan, but he is now campaigning for the
passage of California Proposition 54, a pro-
posed change in policy that would bar the
state from collecting racial data from its cit-
izens. While its supporters are trying to pass
the proposition off as a solution to the state's
racial strife, in reality, it will only make it
more difficult for California officials to
tackle racial issues in a meaningful way.
Racial data are valuable in order to
gather information on the racial discrepan-
cies still facing this country. These ques-
tions enable researchers to know if dis-
crimination still exists in parts of society.
Without being able to gather racial statis-
tics, it will be difficult to tell if colleges
are accepting diverse student bodies and if
minority students are scoring below white
students on standardized tests. The lack of
racial data would severely hinder any
attempts to combat both racial discrepan-
cies and racial discrimination.
Race is still an extremely controversial
and powerful issue in U.S. society.
Connerly's Proposition 54, formally known
as the Classification by Race, Ethnicity,
Color or National Origin Initiative, would
make enforcing anti-discrimination laws
more difficult, as authorities would not have
data available to them enabling them to view
examples of racial discrimination, such as
hate crimes. In many respects, Connerly is
right that the proposition will make

California colorblind, and that is precisely
the problem. Californians will be without
the ability to see race and without the abili-
ty to see injustices correlated with it.
Collecting data on race is not racial dis-
crimination; however, that misconception is
probably fueling the supporters of
Proposition 54, as well as leading many
California voters to support Connerly. The
information gathered from questions on
race is used to enable officials to enact poli-
cies that will result in equality. Connerly's
opponents need to make it clear to the vot-
ers that these data are important in order to
combat discrimination and to create a soci-
ety with equality along racial lines.
The task of educating the public on this
issue and allowing the people of
California to have a debate on the issue is
complicated by the fact that Proposition
54 will likely be on the ballot the same day
as the gubernatorial recall. By moving the
voting date forward with the recall elec-
tion, the proposition's supporters will be
unfairly taking advantage of an uneducat-
ed public. The proposition will take a
backseat to the hoopla surrounding the
recall, leaving the voters bombarded by
only the one issue. Voters need to know the
truth behind the consequences of passing
this proposition, but without enough time
to fully consider the issue, voters may cre-
ate a new law that they will later come to
regret. The people of California should
reject the proposition based on the lack of
time to consider it alone.
Connerly's fight against racial identi-
ty has gone too far with this most recent
proposition. If this proposition passes,
it will harm any future attempts to cor-
rect discrimination and end racial dis-

As our nation's future and its most
vital resource, children must be
given every opportunity to succeed
in order to improve their communities
when they grow up. Unfortunately, the
chances for our youth to bloom are
decreasing due to the fact that some of
these children's most paramount influ-
ences - their teachers - do not receive
fair compensation. An important part of
increasing opportunities for children is
assuring that their teachers are taken care
of well and treated with respect. The 4 per-
cent raise approved just this past spring for
teachers in the Ann Arbor school district is
well deserved, and hopefully, other school
districts will follow suit.
The Ann Arbor News reports that
teachers in the Ann Arbor school district
will receive a 4 percent raise during the
2003-04 school year followed by a 3.5
percent raise for the 2004-05 year. In
comparison, over the past 4 years, the
statewide average has been approximate-
ly 3 percent a year, according to the
Michigan Association of School Boards.
The four percent raise for teachers in
the Ann Arbor school district is a positive
development and should be a model for
teachers all across the state. For many
children, teachers are extremely influen-
tial in their development, both academi-
cally and personally. Teachers deserve to
be well compensated for helping to estab-
lish solid foundations in the nation's
youth, especially in situations in which
the parents do not take active roles in
their child's education and development.
In addition, the raise reaffirms soci-
ety's value of the importance of teach-
ers, which must not go unnoticed. Aside
from the tremendous influence teachers

have on children, the benefits of teach-
ing include cultivating the social atti-
tudes and interests of children. In order
to maintain high caliber teachers in the
public school system, districts must pay
their teachers well. While nobody goes
into education to get rich, too many
highly motivated and competent people
do not enter the profession because the
pay is too low.
This pay raise is legitimate for teach-
ers in Ann Arbor, and districts should
provide the same wage increase to educa-
tors across Michigan, not to mention the
country, as essentially all are performing
the same job. The general arguments that
a city is slightly smaller or does not
receive similar per-pupil grants are not
justifiable. In regard to the latter point of
contention, policymakers should work to
correct the funding discrepancy to help
bridge the education allowance gap
between municipalities.
In nearby Ypsilanti for instance, teach-
ers face tentative contracts and lower pay
because the city's schools do not receive
the same level of funding as those in Ann
Arbor. The lack of a proper pay raise on
top of the current situation adds insult to
injury. Concrete contracts and adequate
pay raises need to be fairly awarded to
teachers so they can disregard such dis-
tractions and focus on the sole purpose of
molding and preparing the nation's youth.
Teachers must not be slighted, and
their importance must not be over-
looked. The 4 percent pay raise for
teachers in the Ann Arbor school district
is only a minuscule present thanking
teachers for the valuable work that they
do every day, and teachers everywhere
should be given at least the same.

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