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Parent Issue
Day
14
Month
December
Year
1973
OCR Text

media and by direct contact, Tribal Funding will also charge the Republicans, the owner and the realtor with criminal conspiracy if the owner now refuses to sell them the building. There have been many skirmishes in the struggle with the Republicans over the years. But even the ardor of Jack Garris's Concerned Citizens Committee and Jim Stephenson's 1969 campaign to "run the radicáis out of town" have not been able to stop successful cultural programs like the Sunday free concerts from being established, nor did the attacks on the concertsby the Republican-controlled pólice in the late sixties. The Republicans have fought long and hard against self-determination programs for Ann Arbor's young people, but now, they, of all people, say Tribal Funding's contract is being cancelled for "non-performance. "Non-performance' isa cover-up, in thegreat Repub lican tradition. While only a minority of the city as a whole, the Republicans hold a majority vote on City Council because the HRP and Democrats split the progressive vote last April. The Republicans have tried a variety of mea sures to keep Tribal Funding from buying a People's Bal!- room. First they leaked the address of the building to the press. then various State St. merchants called the owner, the realtor and the Assistant City Administrator to pressure them into not selling, and finally, when there was no legal way to stop the purchase, they voted to cancel the contract. William Colburn told the Social Services Committee of City Council that he knew from "secret sources" that there was no way the owner would rent to Tribal Funding. Republican Richard Hadier said he would like to see all the revenue sharing contracts cancelled. The latest move is on the part of a group of local businessmen who are trying a quickie purchase of the building for a restaurant. The Republicans are using a number of different excuses to justify cancellation of the contract. When pressed for a legally sound reason they allude to some secret, hidden clause that exists in a place tluit only they know about. They don't seem to have sought any sound legal or political advice before making tlns move. The City Attorney's office has made no reccomendation on this issue, strange since they usually investígate any action that might cause the city to be sued. First the Republicans said the cancellation was for "non-performance." Perhaps realizing that argument was shaky they now say its beca use Tribal Funding is illegally and knowingly occupying. offices in an area not zoned for offices. When Colburn brought that up at City Council, lst ward Democrat Norris Thomas asked them, "Where's that in the contract1" "It's not in the contract," said Colburn. "Then its not a breech of the contract," said Thomas. "You can argüe that in court and see how far you get," retorted Colburn. "It's not going to get to court. It's going to be dismissed on a motion for summary judgement," ended Thomas. There have been public offices at the HUI St. houses since 1968. Never once has a zoning violation notice beenreceived at Hill St, as is required by law before any action is taken. And Democratie Councilwoman Carol Jones recently dropped the news that a Republican member of the Board of Education, Duane Renken, has office space in the same zone. The other issue the Republicans tried to use against Tribal Funding was the fact that the First Zenta Church, operated by the Rainbow People's Party, was renting space to Tribal Funding "to fill its own coffers." In fact that was the issue that started the entire investigation into Tribd Funding in the first place. The first rumblings came out of a City Council Social Services Committee meeting attended by Carol Jones, 2nd ward Democrat, JerryDeGrieck lst ward HRP and Republicans Richard Hadier and WiUiam 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, and instead tocused right away on 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 and Tribal Funding." The committee proceeded to cut off all the revenue sharing payments asking for a written report of all Tribal Funding'sactivities. (Printed in a special supplement to this issue of the SUN). "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 wliich would have given Tribal Funding a year after it purehased the building 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 other 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-upat the next City Council meeting. Stephenson asked Colburn if there were any reports from the Social Services Committee and Colburn said we had some questions about Trbial 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 laterstory', "Youth 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 were 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. Colburn finally made the announcement that he would initiate a resolution to cancel Tribal Funding's contract. He had just left a meeting with state officials about the dire state of the city's f i nances. The revenue sharing money had all been luniped into the city's general fund and was being used for operating capital by the city, which is deep into debt. Colburn obviouslythought he'd save the money for the city. Ho wants to put it into Concentrated Code Enforcement. Jerry DeGrieck says this may signal a Republican effort to slasli ot her revenue sharing contracts they don'l like. "They want to use this as an example of liow the Democratsand the HRP fucked up in allocatiiu the revenue sharing money," he said. Glen Harris's Ann Arbor News story sel the perfect stage for the Republican's next move. It was f uil of calculaied misinformation. It sa id that t he Tribal Funding Board of Directors was the same as thai of the First Zenta Church, which was controlled by t he RPP If he had mvestigated, which he lias since the art iele first appeared, this information is simply aoi true. Only two mmebers of First Zenta's board are also on Tribal Funding's, and now no members are on both boards. The real faets 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 and Ballroom on Washington St. burned down. The lease contained a clausè that specified the rental would only be on a temporary basis, until Tribal Funding found a more suitable place, and that Tribal Council should move as soon as possible. The rent was $250month, $200 less than that allowed by the contract as the allotment for rent for the offices. Two hundred 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 S75O has been received for rent, not enough to line the pockets of a collective of 13 adultsand 7 children. And besides, the offices would be moving to the new Ballroom building if the Republicans hadn't cancelled the legal agreement. The People's Ballroom first opened in Ann Arbor in September of 1972, in a building on Washington St. immediately adjacent to the site proposed for the new Ballroom. The old building has since been bulldozed over by the city. The Ballroom was located in a Community Center which housed Ozone House, Drug Help, the Free Clinic, Tribal Network, and other activities. The entire floor, stage and restrooms for the:People's Ballroom were created inside the old Fischer-Cadillac garage by the People's Music and Ballroom Committee. Regular dances were held every Friday and Saturday nights with music by the best Ann Arbor bands, dancing by anyone who got the dollar admission together and security by thePsychedelic Rangers. These dances and the other activities carne to a fateful end last December when the Community Center was destroyed by fire. The aftermath of the fire brought to the surface contradictions between the Tribal Council and C-4 groups. There had already been disagreement over the Ann Arbor SUN moving into the basement since some of the service organiations (Ozone House, Drug Help) did not think smoking dope on the premises was permissuble. foi their line of work. The SUN has a policy, like most alternative newspapers, of smoking dope during the production of the paper. It's no big thing. After the fire, Tribal Council thought the city fire department had not done its best to put out the fire. using shoddy methods of work that permitted more of the building to burn than necessary. Tribal Council called for an investigation into the fire deparrtment. The C-4 organizations though that the lire dept. had done an acceptable job. Many of them cautioned against stronc criticism of the frremen and denied any relationship to the investigation. They thought that denouncing the fire dept. would only créate hostility with the city, which would retalíate by cutting off funding for their programs. Eventually members of the fire department themselves carne out and called the department disorganized, understaffed and dangerously inefficiënt. The Chief Steward of the Fireman's Union and some fellow members issued press releases to the SUN, the Ann Arbor News and the Michigan Daily about the situation. However, the antagnoism between C-4 and Tribal Council continued. Both groups realized that they should not work in the same building together and each set about looking for new quarters. Meanwhile, the rumors and innuendoes about the SUN, the Rainbow People's Party and Rainbow Multi-Media, some of whose members work in Tribal Council, continued to spread. The SUN has been attempting to give some explanation for these attacks in the last few issues to refute charges that the RPP, the SUN or Rainbow Multi-Media are "rich" or out for "personal monetary gain.'' In fact, as we have been saying, the opposite is true of the continued on page 1 9 .