Monday, August 3, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
RACHEL VAN GILDER
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
Unsigned editorialsreflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely
theviews ofttheir authors.
Vote Kunselman, Anglin
City Council primary gives students an opportunity get involved
Though the Ann Arbor City Council election isn't until Nov. 3,
the election that really matters is only a day away. Thanks to the
city's liberal streak, few Republican candidates enter the race,
meaning that tomorrow's Democratic primary is the real decider. But
despite the importance of voting in the primary, few students head to
the polls. While it's true that students face significant voting impedi-
ments, nothing will change until students demonstrate more interest in
RAGHU KAINKARYAM I
As the scientific community of stem-cell research. In the poll,
celebrates the 150th anniversary only half the public answered
of the publication of "The Origin correctly when asked what stem
of Species," Charles Darwin's cells were. Yet 42 percent of those
groundbreaking book describ- polled supported a ban on federal
ing the theory of evolution, a funding for stem-cell research.
Pew Research Center study has It's not a stretch to suppose that
found that only 32 percent of the many of the opponents of stem-
American public thinks Darwin cell research don't understand
got it right. The study also shows the issue. If this is the case with
that in the same year of the 40th new science, it seems impossible
anniversary of the moon landing, to imagine collective action being
only 27 percent of the public feels taken to address important issues
that the nation's greatest achieve- like climate change.
ments have come from science. It's also clear whom scientists
These findings are evidence of a blame for the public's scientific
dangerous disconnect between misunderstandings: news media.
science and everyday people. It Seventy-six percent of scien-
is clear that people need to pay tists polled believe it's bad that
closer attention to what science the media doesn't discriminate
is telling us about the world, between good and bad science
because now, more than ever, sci- and often oversimplifies scientif-
ence and technology are at the ic findings in news reports. This
heart of pressing social issues. shortconming is exacerbated by
The Pew Research Center's the "breaking news" paradigm of
July 9 poll, conducted in col- news networks, where typically
laboration with the American dignified scientific news is sensa-
Association for the Advancement tionalized, like the rush of panic
of Science, surveyed scientists over Swine, flu, and America's
and the public on several issues scientific prowess is perpetually
regarding science and it's rela- portrayed as being under threat.
tionship to society. But scientists As a result, only 17 percent of the
have a dim view of the public's public believes that U.S. scientific
understanding of science, with achievements are the best in the
an overwhelming 85 percent of world, as opposed to 49 percent
scientists agreeing that the gen- in the scientific community.
eral public doesn't know much But there is some hope. More
about science. than 75 percent of scientists
Looking at only two crucial polled were upbeat about their
issues, it's not hard to see why. profession and thought that this
Amongthe scientists polled, was a good time for science. Most
87 percent think evolution is of them were positive about the
true and 84 percent agree that Obama administration and wel-
human activity is the cause of comed the increase in federal
global warming, whereas the funding for research. But hope
corresponding numbers among means little without change.
the public are 32 and 49, respec- Scientists need to become more
tively. involved in public debate on
Surveys like the Pew study are issues related to scientific knowl-
useful in alertingus to differences edge, and the media should end
in opinion between scientists and its superficial reporting of sci-
the public, especially on scien- entific breakthroughs so that the
tific issues. It's crucial that these public can catch up with the real
divides be bridged to improve scientific world.
the quality of debate on social
issues. This necessity can be gRaghu Kainkaryam is
demonstrated with the example a graduate student.
This time around, there are two
contested seats in the primary:
Ward 3 and Ward 5. Vying for the
Ward 3 seat are three candidates
so well qualified that determin-
ing the best option is difficult.
Challenger LuAnne Bulling-
ton is an advocate for student
voices in city government - she
opposes the current ward struc-
ture, which spreads the student
population over several wards to
prevent them from influencing
City Council. But her opposition
to important green initiatives
like LED streetlights on the basis
of cost is troubling, as is her ada-
mant support for pesky building
height caps. Some city residents
fear that high rises would dimin-
but they would actually offer stu-
dents more affordable housing
and combat urban sprawl.
Another contender, Stephen
Kunselman, was a Ward 3 City
Council member for two years
before losing his seat in last year's
election. Kunselman has earned
the Daily's endorsement in years
past because of his bold and intel-
ligent positions on important
issues, including his (somewhat
infamous) support of the ordi-
nance that allowed residents to
keep chickens on their property.
He also favorsgreen space outside
the city rather than downtown,
which would allow for space
for housing. He demonstrates
the kind of practical thinking
that City Council needs. On the
downside, he seems more eager
to defeat incumbent City Council
member Leigh Greden than to get
to work serving residents.
Greden has also enjoyed the
support of the Daily in previ-
ous elections. He has an impres-
sive record of getting things
done since being elected as a
Ward 3 representative in 2003.
One recent example is his push
for necessary improvements
to the way businesses in the
city recycle their trash. But he
also supports height caps that
hinder new development. And
while he's been involved in city
collaboration efforts with the
Michigan Student Assembly,
he doesn't seem enthusiastic
to encourage students to get
involved in city government.
While Greden has served the
city well, Kunselman is the kind
of independent thinker that
City Council needs. In Ward 3,
The Daily endorses STEPHEN
In Ward 5, incumbent Mike
Anglin is challenged by Scott
Rosencrans. Anglin has a long
history of community involve-
ment stretching fromWashington
D.C. to New York to Ann Arbor.
On one hand, he voices sympa-
thy for students' inability to par-
ticipate in the city. But his push
for extensive green space in the
city doesn't seem realistic given
students' ever-growing need for
more centrally located housing.
His time on City Council has pro-
duced similarly mixed results,
with principled stances on issues
like mass transit but also plenty of
votes for the status quo.
Rosencrans certainly cares
about the city, having served
on nine committees in the past
four years. And his support for
a densely populated downtown
featuring affordable housing
is encouraging. But he doesn't
seem as knowledgeable about the
needs of the city as Anglin. It also
seems likely that he would have
difficulty implementing his ideas
given his relative inexperience.
Though Anglin's vision for
the city might not be complete-
ly viable, voters should trust in
his experience working with
in communities and his attrac-
tive and progressive idealism.
In Ward 5, The Daily endorses
The West Quad dorm fire,
set by an arsonist over a
failed drug deal.
Michael Phelps losing
due to the soon-to-be
banned Arena X-Glide
high-tech sw insuit.
Finally catching the
infamous West Quad ar-
sonist, four months later.
Still being Michael Phelps
and holding tons of Olym-
pic gold medals and world
Raghu Kainkaryam, Erika Mayer, Asa Smith,
Brittany Smith, Vivian Wang, Patrick Zabawa