4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 5, 2006
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FROM THE DAILY
Sharing is caring
Age requirement for car-sharing program insensible
Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890.
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other
signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.
Editorial Board Members: Amanda Andrade, Emily Beam,
Jared Goldberg, Theresa Kennelly, Christopher Zbrozek
FROM THE DAILY
State economy in need of center's bipartisan aid
Strenuous bike treks and long waits for
buses simply to buy groceries could
be a thing of the past for students next
fall. Thanks to the University's participation
in a car-sharing program, run through Zip-
car, Inc., students may soon be able to rent
cars for personal use on an hourly basis.
This convenient and auspicious program
- which is gaining popularity in campus
communities across the country - will
provide a great service to the University
community, so long as it is accessible to
those students who are in need of it.
With few supermarkets within a sustainable
walking distance of student housing and the
occasional need for students to travel off cam-
pus for other reasons, the University certainly
could use a car-sharing program. Zipcar's
program operates by having members make
online reservations and pick up and drop off
rental cars at a campus parking lot. Although
becoming a member and renting cars will
cost money, the cost is much lower than actu-
ally owning a car or hiring a cab.
The benefits of car sharing are many, such
as cutting back on the number of cars on cam-
pus and providing students who don't own a
car the same access to off-campus areas. But
this particular program sets the age at which
a student may rent a car at 21, and thus it fails
to include those who most need a car. Only
a small percentage of undergraduates are
older than 21, and this program does nothing 6
to help those who are under that age yet face
the same need to travel.
The benefits of a car-sharing program can-
not truly be achieved unless the age-require-
ment is lowered to 18. The required age may
have been set at 21 because of the stringent *
requirements of insurance companies -
indeed, most rental car companies actually
require renters to be at least 25. However, if
the age requirement.can be lowered to 21,
then surely it can be lowered to 18 if the suc-
cess of the program depended on it?
The likeliest customers for a car-sharing
program will be younger students who have
yet to bring a car on campus. The program is
much-needed at the University and should be
a success - once the age barrier is lifted.
Despite all the politicking, posturing
and partying on Mackinac Island last
week at the annual policy conference
hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber, it
remains unclear whether Michigan's leaders
have any sense of the seriousness of the issues
the state now faces. The biting partisanship
that epitomizes state government doesn't
just paralyze our leaders, it discourages any
discussion or action regarding the changes
needed to ensure that Michigan's transition
away from its industrial past leads not to
obsolescence but to prosperity in the emerg-
ing knowledge-based economy. Michigan's
citizens would benefit greatly if their leaders
would downplay politics as usual and instead
cooperate to find sensible solutions to the
state's problems. One place to start is with the
ideas that the Center for Michigan advocates.
The brainchild of Phil Power, a former mem-
ber of the University Board of Regents, the
recently created Center for Michigan bills itself
as a politically moderate "think-and-do"tank.Its
goal is to motivate discussion of and support for
the reasonable things state government can do to
help reverse Michigan's long economic decline.
The center's steering committee includes a num-
ber of renowned names, including Metro Tunes
columnist Jack Lessenbeny and former Uni-
versity Provost Paul Courant, whose thoughtful
suggestions for the state's future deserve more
attention from the elected leadership.
The Center for Michigan is important in part
because of its commitment to find moderate
policies that can generate bipartisan support.
That's refreshing, because an age of inexpe-
rienced, term-limited state legislators elected
from districts gerrymandered along narrow
partisan lines has frozen practically all signifi-
LIVE ON YOUR FEET
cant motions in Lansing. Cons
bling over how to replace the S
Tax, for instance, or the endles
proxy battles in the nation's ct
Republicans in the state legislate
Jennifer Granholm for a predic
On the need for expanded a
education,on the importance c
cated young adults from fle
and above all on the reality tho
need more than its traditionali
base if it is ever to return to e
perity, the Center for Michiga
ideas. Undoubtedly, there wil
issues on which the Center's
perhaps too moderate for thi
Still, anything that can get the
to rise above the demands of
bases, whether on the left o
move the state's economy in
century is a change worth mal
The Center held a confer
leaders in March and recently.
Detroit Free Press reporter J
its executive director. Hopefu
generate the intellectual and
ing needed for the legislature
hostility with which it hasi
university funding in recent y
tility needlessly inflamed b
press reports such as Bebow
"Big waste found at state ui
highly educated workforce w
component of Michigan's eco
Even under Bebow's leadersh
for Michigan must help convi
leaders to increase the state's
the human capital upon whic]
future will be built.
ider the squab-
ulture war that
are send to Gov.
ccess to higher
f keeping edu-
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Project a 'waste of time'
at the state will TO THE DAILY:
manufacturing The Restaurant Workplace Project is just one
conomic pros- more example of an organization that seems to
n has the right have noble intentions but in the end is nothing more
1 be particular than a waste of time and resources, as demon-
positions are strated by the statistics provided in Local programs
is page's taste. aid area migrant workers (05/30/2006), as well as in
state's leaders the organization's online brochure. The research
their extreme the group conducted gave little insight into the
r the right, to working conditions of immigrants in Ann Arbor
to the current because it did not survey any non-immigrant work-
king. ers for comparison. The average Ann Arbor immi-
rence of state grant restaurant worker is paid $6.50 to $8.50 per
named former hour, and "one in five works more than 50 hours
ohn Bebow as per week," according to the group's surveys. This
lly Bebow can data means nothing without non-migrant data for
political back comparison. I can only assume that comparison
to reverse the data was either intentionally omitted to mask the
truth or that members of this organization have no
regarded state knowledge of the scientific method.
(ears - a hos- The group also made claims about the "unsafe
y misleading working conditions"thatmigrantworkersface.Don't
's own article, non-migrant workers face these same conditions at
niversities.' A the same establishments? According to the survey,
ill be a crucial many migrant workers feel that they are treated dif-
nomic revival. ferently than non-migrant workers who perform the
tip, the Center same duties. Itis thus demonstrated that non-migrant
nce the state's workers are working alongside migrant workers, and
investment in under the same workplace conditions.
h its economic The organization needs to evaluate its research
methods and provide solid, meaningful statistics if
it means to develop credibility or facilitate any type
JON OQUIST of change in Ann Arbor's restaurant workplace.
JON ()IJI$TChris Clifford
School of Dentistry
YOUe SAY Ethics standards lacking at
,LsesC? State Board of Canvassers
To THE DAILY:
The bi-partisan State BoardofCanvassersoversees
Michigan elections. Last July, three of the four the
board members found that a group opposed to equal
opportunity for women and minorities used system-
atic deception in its effortto amend Michigan's Con-
stitution to outlaw all forms of affinmative action.
On Dec. 7, 2005, a court ordered the board
to meet immediately and change its vote. On
Dec. 14, the board met but before a proper vote
could be taken, the fourth member, the Repub-
lican Chairman, adjourned the meeting without
the consent of the rest of the board. She then
refused a request to reconvene so that the board
could vote as ordered by the court.
As a result of deliberate distortion of what hap-
pened at the meeting, fellow board member Paul
Mitchell and I face criminal charges. Every Amer-
ican school child is taught that everyone is entitled
to a presumption of innocence, a day in court and
especially, an opportunity to defend themselves
against false charges, like the ones we now face.
Most recently, some state senators have piled
onto our existing troubles, claiming that it is a "dis-
grace" and a "sullying of the system" for Mitchell
and I to even defend ourselves against the charges.
Recently retired Supreme Court Justice San-
dra Day O'Connor has chastised the radical right
wing ofher own Republican Party for such attacks
on protections provided by the judicial system,
describing them as the first step on the way to
America becoming an authoritarian state.
The "disgrace" here in Michigan is that the
radical right wing has paid no more attention
to Justice O'Connor's rebuke than to its sixth-
grade civics lessons.
The letter writer isa member of *
the State Board of Canvassers.
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Daily marred by poor
proofreading and structure
I'm curious about the comments made in a letter
to the editor last week (Sports editors should make
better use of space, 05/30/2006). Is the Daily, in
fact, a respectable college newspaper, as she seems
to argue it is? What fun would that be? Besides,
I thought the lack of proofreading of content and
structure would have dispelled that assumption.