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Parent Issue
Day
17
Month
January
Year
1975
OCR Text

A major battle between Council Repubh cans and Democrats s shaping up around revenue shanng funds. The city will be receiving approximately S2.4 million in Commum ty Development Reverme Shanng Funds this year, and a citizen's committee under RepubMean C. William Colburn has allotted only 20 percent to community services, like health care, food, child care, and programs for the handicapped and elderly. The CDRS funds are aimed primarily at low and moderate income people's needs, replacing previous federal programs such as Model Cities, and various housing and employment programs. Vocal opposition from citizens is likely to begin next Monday, January 20, with a scheduled public hearing. Over half the requests for money carne from city human service gamzatons, and their representatives are expected to fight the proposed allocations. For several weeks, an ad hoc committee of these groups has been meeting to draw up an al ternative plan which will add additional revenue to the social services category. Working with HRP Council member Kathy Kozachenko, these groups have tried to elimínate some of the proposals which will not directly benefit low and moderate income people as the original grant had required. The current proposal must receive Council approval before it will be sent on to the federal government. Both the Democratie and Human Rights Parties will be pushing for changes in the citizen committee's proposal, with an emphasis on social services. Problem areas are expected to be housing, where a request by the city's public housing for $200,000 to use towards mprovements was halved; environmental protection, where $50,000 is to be used for downtown pedestrian ways, trees and drainage and another $50,000 for general downtown improvements; and public works, where much of the funding is planned for mprovements which should be part of normal city operating costs but have suffered during the city's current financial shortage. Chances are good the Republicans will cept very few changes to the proposal, as they have long favored such projects as downtown improvement and are known for their opposition to public funding of human service programs. The Democrats are saying privately that the decisión now will not make much difference anyway. With funds not expected to arnve from Washington until after April, the Dems expect the future Council under a Democratie majority will alter the plan in the spring. At that time, money can be added to the social services category. STUDENTS LOSE IN FOOD STAMP SHUFFLE Lines have dominated the local scène n the past two weeks. On campus, the registration Mnes stretched across the diag, as students returned trom holiday frolics across the globe. Most Mnes were a lot less pleasant. With unemployment hitting 1 1.2% across the state, the longest lines have bean for the unemployment office. The increasing numbers of unemployecl has btought action by the governor to open new Michigan Employment Security Commission Offices around the state, including plans for another in the hardhit Ypsilanti area. As lines have grown around unemployment, so have the ones at the Department of Social Services, as more and more people are looking for food stamps. People have been arriving as early as 6:00 a.m., in order to guarantee being seen by a social worker. Despite recent increases in personnel, the DSS staff has not been able to cope with the mounting number of requests, and people are sent home each day only to return another day to be processed. Two proposals, out of Washington, ftom the Ford administration, to cut back the food stamp program may soon have some effects on that long line. The first, implemented last week, will prevent students whose parents declare them as dependants from applying for food stamps separately from their families. With 2,100 University of Michigan students already on the food stamp program, cuts are expected under the new ruling. Food stamps for students have long been unpopular in Washington, and every possible effort has been made to stop students from having them. In fact, the original legislation prohibited students from applying, but that was later overturned by the Supreme Court. Students still find it more difficult than families that apply. A second change, which would have raised the amount charged for food stamps, while lowering the income limits for eligibility, is temporarily stalled. The Ford administration plans to mplement the change in early March; but the new Congress seems determineti to stop such an action. The national legislators are arguing that at a time of high un employment and rising prices, access to food stamps should be made easier, not harder. And, should Congress fail to act by March, the Consumers Union, a citizen's action group, has already announced its intention of taking the government to court. In the meantime, f you make a small income or have noni at all, check out the possibility of getting food stamps. National estimates indícate as many as one-third of all eligible recipients never even apply. If you plan on applying, get to the DSS office early. The begin seeing people at 7:30 a.m. (Just a quick note on a few other lines. At the selective service office, lines are up, with most eighteen year olds again signing up just in case the draft should be returned. And at the County Clerk's office, 288 fewer people lined up for marriage licenses in 1974 than in 1973. At the same time, 145 more divorces happened this past year in the county.) NEW LIFE FOR BUMPY ROADS Mayor James Stephenson has come up with an interesting proposal for employing some folks, by suggesting that Ann Arbor set up a special pothole crew for dealing with its disastrous street situation. Operation Pothole will be off to an start on January 20, when the city will open a new phone number to take pothole complaints. 99HOLES may ultimately turn into an emergency number, where citizens can cali to get instant (or relatively fast) action on dangerous street problems. Further help for Ann Arbor's bumpy roads is not likely to begin until next spring, when approximately S1 million from the city's Capital Improvements Budget will be used toward a general road repair program. Beside the extra money, the city plans to begin using a new patching, which is supposed to last longer than the current "cold patch." Part of the city's problem has been the short life expectancy of patching material teaving a gaping hole within a month after it has supposedly been repaired. FENDER DENTER CORNERS Potholes may be one cause of accidents, but a recent study by the University of Michigan Highway Safety Research Institute tells where a driver is most likely to have an accident in Ann Arbor. Of the top seven accident corners in the city, better than half are in the campusdowntown areas. At the top of the list with 22 separate accidents in 1973 (the most recent year studied), was the intersection at Packard and Platt Roads. On down the list were Huron Parkway and Washtenaw, Fifth Avenue and Huron, Liberty and Stadium, Hill and Washtenaw, and tied in sixth place. División and Kingsley and División and Huron. GOLF COURSES ON PARKS IN A2 FUTURE? The $1 million for street repairs is part of a broader allocation of funds known as the Capital Improvements Budget. On January 6, City Council approved this document, along with a more long-range plan known as the Capital Improvements Plan, which charts street repairs and construction, park land purchase and development, sewage expansión, and city building projects through 1980. The CIB-P, as it is best known, has been a controversial document over the past two years. Various projects planned for future construction have been a major quarreling point between City Council Democrats and Republicans. Some of these, like the widening of State Street and city airport expansión, have previously been rejected by city voters, but remain popular projects for city officials and Republicans. At the Monday Council meeting, Democrats brought in a revised plan, which eliminated some of these schemes. Their proposal would have cut several million planned for more golf courses, widening of Fuller Road, the PackardBeakes overpass, and a new city-county building. Republicans objected to the changes, arguing that except for 1975 proposals, the Cl B-P was only a planning document. "If we brought in all the amendments we wanted to see in this document," argued Councilmember Lou Belcher, "we'd be here all night." The Democrats pointed out that the Cl B-P was used for city officials in prioritizing work, and projects included do take up time even in planning. Jaimie Kenworthy also said the document represented what city department heads wanted, rather than what the residents wanted. He claimed Republicans were unresponsive to their constituent's needs by not thoroughly going over and revising the plan. The Democrats did get five minor changes through the Republican majority, including making several of the major street projects contingent on a circulation study now being conducted by the city to determine future traffic needs. STUDEIMTS WIN PAPER WAR Community High school students have won their battle to print an article on birth control. Although teachers are prohibited by state law from circulating such information, freedom of the press laws indícate students can not be stopped by the same law. Yenta staffer, Linda Feldt, author of the article, suggested other schools should follow CHS's lead in getting birth control info out to students. MORE, MORE, MORE PAPER RADIO As might be expected, the pólice department claimed it was not participating in a crackdown on marijuana. They admit helping state and federal agents in drug busts, but claim it is all in the line of duty. Also in the pólice arena is the current controversy over the growing continued on page 18 Paper Radio continued from page 6 use of dum-dum (hollowhead) bulléis prohibited by theGeneva convention, but now being usecl by local pólice across the country. Ann Arbor pólice are allowed by contract to purchase theii own ammunition, and are permitted to buy dum-dums. HRP Council member Kathy Kozachenko plans to bring in an ordinance to prohibit future use of these bullets. Preferential voting is in and voting machines are out. Mayor James Stephenson announcecl last week the Republican Party would not f ight preferential voting in court, saying, "according to the best legal advice I 've obtained, the cost of a legal challenge would be greater than the chances of winning it." Meanwhile, two experts on preferential voting recommended that the city switch to paper ballots, for the spring election; as this method will cause less con fusión and is less likely tobe the subject of a court challenge. As the election grows closer, the Republicans are hunying to cover their tracks of the past two years. Their latest move was a rezoning of the Packard-Platt área, where a developer has been trying to put up a huge shopping complex. The GOP had promised to prevent this plan from being implemented in the conservative Third Ward during the 1973 election, then proceeded to vote for it on Council once elected. At present, the developer is fighting a citizen battle in court over the center, and so the Repubs have conveniently changed their minds. The rezoning prohibits the land from being used for such a large complex. ♦#.♦..,.„ Mass transportation is moving forward. Starting Monday, January 20, an early-morning Amtrak commuter train will leave Ann Arboi for Detroit, with another retuming in the early evening. Also, last Thursday Ann Arbor residents were introduced to a grand plan to improve transportation in southeast Michigan. The program included a week long display of future train and bus routes at Briarwood.