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Repubs Threaten Tribal Funding

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"If I had my way I'd break the contract even if Tribal Funding had fulfilled it," Republican Richard Hadier told a City Council Social Services Committee Meeting. Ever since the one million dollars in federal revenue sharing money was allocated by the Democrat-Human Rights Party majority on City Council last spring, the Republicans have been looking for a way to cut off some of the funds. They've been particularly hot to cut off Tribal Funding, due to its association with the Rainbow People's Party, who the Republicans have identified as their primary enemy in Ann Arbor. Now William Colburn, 3rd ward Republican Council member and aspirant to the mayor's chair, has proclaimed that the Republican majority now controlling council will revoke Tribal Funding's contract for non-performance. Tribal Funding has called this move illegal and will respond with the appropriate legal measures. Tribal Funding, the legal entity representing the Ann Arbor Tribal Council, received a total of $17,000 in federal revenue sharing money to provide a People's Ballroom and offices for the Tribal Council committees. Colburn is charging that Tribal Funding has not put on the 24 dances required by the contract, even though the contractas only specification is that the dances be held before June 1, 1974. Tribal Council has been searching for a building ever since last December 14th when the Community Center on Washington St. burned down. They have investigated 12 sites so far and have found them either inadequate or the owners unwilling to rent to Tribal Council. Consequently there has been only or dance. The Republicans' move to cancel the contract comes on the eve of the purchase of an adequate, centrally located building for the People's Ballroom and Tribal Council offices. Since the purchase of this building would make the other 23 dances possible, its clear that its not non-performance on the contract that the Republicans are worried about. What they're really worried about is the purchase of a large building in the downtown área to be owned and operated by Tribal Funding as a People's Ballroom. Tribal Funding, the Children's Community Center and Corntree school so far appear to be the only organizations using federal revenue sharing money to make long term investments in property. The thought of the Tribal Council creating a long-term, ongoing selfdetermination program for rainbow people right in the heart of Ann Arbor's business district, was incredible to them. Owning a building would mean having absolute control over its use with no city or university to díctate or snatch it away. The Republicans are more comtortable dealing with organizations that use their revenue sharing for salaries as do organizations like Drug Help and Ozone House. The first rumblings of this affair came as a City Council Social Services Committee investigation into the fact that Tribal Funding rented temporary space from the First Zenta Church, operated by members of the Rainbow People's Party. The tri-party committee consists of Carol Jones, 2nd ward Dem., Jerry DeGrieck, lst ward HRPand Republicans Richard Hadier and William Colburn. Even though the committee's job was to review the revenue sharing contracts, according to Carol Jones they had not decided on any way to systematically do that, instead focusing right away on the subject of Tribal Funding. "Jerry DeGrieck first brought it up," she said. Jerry however denies that he did, stating "The Republicans were out for Tribal Funding all along. But I did have reservations as to the rental between First Zenta Church and Tribal Funding." The committee proceeded to cut off all the revenue sharing payments asking for a written report of all Tribal Funding' s activities. "After the presentation we were all satisfied that there was no breach of contract," said Carol Jones. "And we all understood that it wasn't to become council business. The committee did however ask for changes in the contract, one which would have given Tribal Funding a year after it purchased the ding to give the required 24 dances and one Colburn insisted on that would somehow insure that the building wouldn't be taken over and used for ther activities after the contract with the city was up. "We all understood that this wasn't council business" said Carol, "but it was just like a set-up at the next City Council meeting. Stephen'. son asked Colburn if there .. were any report s trom the . .. Social Services Com. mittee and Colburn ..said we had some . questions about , '.. Tribal Funding, but they were answered and we're going to make some changes in the contract." That was the statement that.put Ann Arbor News reporter Glenn Harris on the trail of his later story, "Youth's Group's Payments Held Up, Battle Brewing Over Fund Use." The story was full of inaccuracies and amounted to a slur on the Rainbow People's Party, insinuating that they wer e lining their own pockets with revenue sharing money. Meanwhile a series of calis were made by State St. merchants to the owner of the building Tribal Council wanted to buy for a Ballroom, in addition to a series of calis received by Mike Rogers, Ass't. City Administrator. All this time Colburn seemed sure that Tribal Funding would not be able to buy the building. He said he had sources that indicated the owner would never sell to them. Colburn finalJy made the announcement that he would initiate a resolution to cancel Tribal Funding's contract right after he had left a meeting with state officials about the dire state of the city's finances. The revenue sharing money had all been lumped into the city's general fund and was being used for operating capital by the city, which is deep in debt. Colburn obviously thought he'd save the money for the city. He wants to put the remaining $16,000 into Concentrated Code Enforcement. Jerry DeGrieck says that this may signal a Republican effort to slash other revenue sharing contracts they don't like. They want to use this ing contracts they don't like. "They want to use this as an example of how the Dems and HRP fucked up in allocating the revenue sharing money.',' he said. Glenn Harris's Ann Arbor News story set the perfect stage for the Republican's next move. It was full of calculated misinformation. It said that the Tribal Funding Board of Directors was the same as the First Zenta Church Board of Directors was the same as the RPP. When, if he had investigated, this is simply not true. Only two members of First Zenta's board are also on Tribal Funding's. The real facts conceming the rental are: The First Zenta Church only rented to Tribal Funding in August of 1973 after Tribal Council had failed to find suitable office space since December, 1973, when the Community Center burned. The lease contained a clause that specified the rental would only be on a temporary basis, until Tribal Council found a more appropriate place, and that Tribal Council should move as soon as possible. The rent was $250month, $200 less than that allowed by the revenue sharing contract as thex allotment for rent and for the office. Two hundred and fifty dollars is much less than the First Zenta Church could have made by renting out the rooms to individuals, as it does with the rest of 1510 Hill St. To date a grand total of $750 has been received for rental from Tribal Councfl. Accusations like these, that the Rainbow People's Party or Rainbow Multi-Media or the Ann Arbor SUN (all separate organizations, by the way) are "hip capitalists" or "rip-offs," have been spread in the Ann ArboT community ever since their programs have become visible and effective. Some of the prime movers behind these charges are "radical" organizations like the HRPor "service" organizations like Drug Help. Only last Monday, November 26, the SUN was on a live callin talk show and Mark Richardson óf Drug Help called in accusing the Blues and Jazz Festival of ripping off the money they owed to Drug Help. lts not hard to figure out where Colburn may have got his information when he told Tribal Funding representatives that, "People in the community have been saying you're a rip-off." It has become apparent that the Republicans are now using the rumors to fuel and to justify their own attadc on Tribal Funding. Ann Arbor SUN - located ut 208 S. Fitst St.. the SUN was formerly published by the Rainbow Peuple's Party, but has been published more recently asan independent newspaper, and is composed of only a few RPP members and a lot of of her people from around Ann Arbor. Rainbow Multi-Media - A non-profit Corporation, producers of the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, engaged in non-profjt cultural, musical and graphic arts productions. Consists of some RPP members and a host of others. Rainbow People's Party - a communal organiation " dedicated to creating self-determination programs in the economie, cultural and political spheres. All its members live at 1520 Hill St.