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June 02, 2003 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-06-02

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 2, 2003
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109 SRAVYA CHIRUMAMILLA JASON PESICK
letters@michigandaily.com Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
EDITEDAND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THfE Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of
UNIVERSiTY OF MICHIGAN SINCE the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
1890 necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

I

ast week, Gov. Jennifer Granholm
stood before the Detroit Regional
Chamber's conference on
Mackinac Island wearing sunglasses
and declared to awreceptivesaudience
that what the state's largest city needs is
more youth-appeal. Despite criticism,
this, coupled with the upcoming facelift
for Detroit's riverfront, is exactly what
the city - and the state - needs.
It would be too easy to criticize
Granholm's idea and even easier to
mock her delivery of it. Much like a
recent Pepsi commercial, where a kid
discovers his parents in a mosh pit, it is
often painfully embarrassing when one
of "them" tries to act like one of "us."
What Granholm is trying to do, howev-
er, is long overdue as her predecessor,
the un-hip and out of touch former Gov.
John Engler, ignored these vital issues
for far too long.
As she observed at the conference,
young people are moving out of
Michigan at a higher rate than all but

"Team cool" in da house
Attention to young workers vital to region's success

three other states. It is with the economy
in mind that she aims to retain the youth
we have now and attract more from
abroad. Even if she was "fakin' the
funk" with the new rims and the high
five to Detroit Mayor Kwame
Kilpatrick, her new "Prime Minister of
Cool," she deserves respect for her
gutsy performance and an idea so bold it
just might work. The time has come for
Michigan politicians to begin to pay
attention to the issues important to
University students.
Forces from the past, like U.S. Rep.
Mike Rogers (R-Brighton), disapproved
of the governor's speech and stated that
attention should remain focused on tra-
ditional political issues, such as crime,
education and public services. He

claimed that Granholm's plan was "con-
tent-free." Rogers is correct in saying
that these issues are important, but
without a robust economy and a sizeable
young constituency, these problems are
only destined to worsen. In addition, the
crime rate, for example, is a far cry
from what it used to be and a few cyber
cafes and trendy studio apartments will
only continue this trend.
Also encouraging is that Smith Group
Inc. will be heading a slightly more tan-
gible project of urban renewal. The 150-
year-old Detroit architectural and engi-
neering firm with offices in Detroit, Ann
Arbor and across the nation, is in charge
of the final stages of designing and engi-
neering the new face of a massive stretch
of public land along Detroit's east river-

front from the Renaissance Center to
Belle Isle. These plans promise to create
a more friendly and inviting district,
affording the state's cherished youth rea-
sons to stay in Michigan.
Nipping on the heels of this blessing
of an urban renewal project is a similar
proposal to overhaul the west riverfront
from the Cobo Center to the Ambassador
Bridge. The combination of the two pro-
jects and the governor's new attitude and
willingness to work with the Detroit
mayor are welcome changes for the city.
Apparently, Detroit is in for some
serious image counseling. This presents
an opportunity for students to get
involved and support what could prove
to be the repositioning of Detroit into a
city that young workers and recent
University graduates desire to live in.
The governor is singing with perfect
pitch on these issues, and the redevelop-
ment projects only improve the odds
that slowly but surely, Detroit may be
undergoing a true renassiance.

4

4

Sensible government role
United States should follow Canada's lead

Let them in
Helping immigrants gain college education important

The Canadian government has
moved forward with legislation to
reduce the penalties imposed on
individuals found with small amounts of
marijuana while increasing penalties on
individuals found with large amounts.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien and
numerous elected officials are in favor
of changing current marijuana laws, but
the law has yet to be passed. By taking
these developments into account, U.S.
governing bodies would create more
sensible drug policies and correct the
current misplacement of priorities that
characterizes U.S. drug policies.
Severely punishing an individual for
making a choice that harms no one but
himself is unfair. Exacerbating the
problem is the United States' and
Canada's current laws, which make any
marijuana possession arrest appear on a
criminal record. Canada is attempting to
rectify this injustice by making posses-
sion of small amounts of marijuana a
simple fine, similar to a traffic ticket.
Even though a global consensus is
forming that the individual has the
choice of what to put into his body, not
the state, the United States seems to
prefer prosecuting, punishing and sully-
ing the reputations of individuals who
make the choice to use marijuana.
The "War on Drugs" that the United
States fights is not only futile, but is
also incredibly absurd. The United
States government spends enormous
sums of money to fight a losing battle
because of Washington's refusal to reex-
amine the situation. It is inconceivable
to believe that giving a person a crimi-
nal record for possessing a small
amount of marijuana is sensible drug

policy. The ghosts of the Reagan admin-
istration are still haunting U.S. drug
policy with the continuation of wasteful
programs and policies fighting the
exaggerated marijuana problem.
The new Canadian legislation threat-
ens the Bush administration because of
the expected increase in trafficking of
marijuana across the border. Canada's
new legislation stops placing unfair
punishments on users of the drug and
the United States would be foolish not
to follow suit. Instead of worrying about
Canada, the U.S. government would
benefit from revising its own marijuana
policies. Marijuana is neither destroying
this nation, nor are the vast majority of
individual users dangerous criminals.
Canada's proposed marijuana legisla-
tion might not be the best way of
improving drug policy, but they are sig-
nificantly superior to what currently
exists and should serve as a model for
what the United States can aspire to
attain.
The money spent on prosecuting and
punishing these individuals would be
better spent on one of the many serious
problems facing the country - marijua-
na use not being one of these. Vilifying
marijuana and its users is by no means
the best way to spend government time
and effort, especially when the current
aggressive policies cannot be honestly
labeled as anything but ineffective over
the two decades that they have been in
place.
It is time for the United States gov-
ernment to follow the lead from our
neighbors to the North and realize the
ineffectiveness and, at times, the black
humor of its marijuana policies.

regon may soon join California,
Illinois, New York, Oklahoma,
Texas, Utah and Washington by
passing legislation that allows undocu-
mented immigrants to receive in-state
tuition status as long as they have been
residents of the state for three years, grad-
uated from an Oregon high school and are
making an attempt to become citizens.
The state of Michigan should pass similar
legislation because it would remove a bar-
rier for those seeking a higher education.
Without this legislation, many talented
and qualified individuals would simply
not be able to afford a college education.
Critics of the bill complain that it pro-
motes illegal immigration and takes
resources from legal residents. This bill
will do neither because it does not affect a
student's eligibility to attend college, but
only makes it affordable for him to do so.
These students might still attend college,
but they would just face an unfair struggle
to pay for it. By allowing illegal immi-
grants to receive in-state tuition, they can
afford to attend college and look forward
to a brighter future. These educated
Americans will earn more money, pay
more taxes and become more productive
members of society.
During the early part of the 20th cen-
tury, many immigrants came to this
country with nothing, but the one thing
upon which they could rely was that they
would be able to receive a public educa-
tion. It is a betrayal to these traditions
that the United States, the land of oppor-
tunity, would place barriers in front of
those seeking to improve their lives and
the lives of their family members. Many
of the adversities faced by immigrants
such as crime and poverty can be ame-

liorated by obtaining an education and
should be encouraged rather than dis-
couraged. This country was founded and
built by immigrants, and every opportu-
nity should be available to those who are
willing to work hard.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan has said that migrant workers
are key to U.S. economic growth because
of the huge economic impact that they
have. This country depends on migrant
workers, and we should offer them the
same opportunities to advance them-
selves in society. These workers often
take jobs that most Americans will not, so
instead of showing disdain we should
show gratitude. The economic difficulties
facing Europe are an example of what
can happen as a result of extremely
restrictive immigration practices and neg-
ative population growth.
Legislation such as Oregon's is need-
ed in large part because of terrible immi-
gration laws. The immigration process in
the United States is inefficient and illogi-
cal. Quotas placed on certain nations
make it almost impossible for citizens of
those countries to migrate to the United
States. Because the United States has a
better way of life to offer to immigrants,
such a large number of people are willing
to risk their lives to cross its borders.
Instead of having laws that make sense,
we have labeled honest workers and hon-
est employers as lawbreakers.
The inscription on the Statue of
Liberty does not say give me your strong,
your wealthy and your educated. Instead,
we have asked for the most downtrodden
because it is the mission of this country
to take those at the bottom and help them
rise to the top.

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