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Convention 'Won' By McCarthyites

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Local supporters of Sen. Eugene McCarthy are claiming a moral victory after last night's marathon Washtenaw County Democratic Convention which recessed at 6:55 a.m. today. McCarthy supporters, in the waning hours of the convention, walked away with the majority of the Ann Arbor delegates, alternate delegate and unofficial delegate seats to the Michigan State Democratic Convention Aug. 30 and 31 in Grand Rapids. According to several McCarthy supporters such as Jerome DuPont and Alan Jones, some 38 of the 57 member delegation are either active supporters of the presidential hopeful or are "leaning" in his direction. The sole purpose of last night's convention had been to have the recently elected and re-elected precinct delegates in Washtenaw County select delegates to the state convention where the state Democratic ticket and electoral college candidates will be chosen, according to George W. Sallade, county chairman, official delegate to the state convention, and chairman of the county delegation to Grand Rapids. But the majority of the time and effort of the precinct delegates was spent on the County Democrats platform and resolutions to take to the state convention. A loose coalition of the Black Caucus and the Second District Chapter of the Michigan Committee of Concerned Democrats (MCCD) toppled an "establishment" candidate for the convention's permanent chairman, John L. Toomey, who is running for county prosecutor on the Democratic ticket, by supporting Bunyon Bryant, onetime chairman of the local chapter of the Congress On Racial Equality (CORE) and a social worker. By a roll-call vote of 128 to 70, Bryant won. As permanent chairman he replaced all but one chairman of the three convention committees, credentials, rules and resolutions, with delegates backed by the Black Caucus and the MCCD. Meri Lou Murray and Mrs. Emma Wheeler, local chairman of the NAACP, replaced Leroy Barner and Mary McCarthy as co-chairmen of the credentials committee while H. C. Curry and Gerald Faye replaced Gerhart L. Weinberg as co-chairmen of the rules committee and Ulrich W. Stoll stayed to work with Ezra Rowery who replaced Charles F. Gray as co-chairmen of the resolutions committee. Despite the upset which could have led to division in the party ranks, the convention decided to accept Bryant and his choices by unanimous assent and went on to adopt resolutions on the Vietnam War, marijuana, police regulations, the Kerner Report, housing, purchasing power for the economically depressed, foreign policy, the principle of free education, Eastern Michigan University community relations, discrimination in employment, abortion, the poor people's march and joint U-M and Ann Arbor efforts in housing. They supported Abe Fortas nomination, as chief justice and endorsed Warren Huff as a candidate for; MSU trustee. Two related resolutions, one, the majority report from resolutions committee, and the other, a floor resolution proposed; by Mrs. Jean King, were adopted by the convention urging the national Democratic Convention to nominate a presidential candidate who will take a strong line against the war in Vietnam and who will stand for law and order with justice. , The convention delegates narrowly defeated a substitute resolution endorsing Sen. McCarthy as the national party's presidential nominee by a tied vote of 71 to 71. The deciding vote could have been cast by convention chairman, Bryant, a known McCarthy supporter, had it been a main resolution, according to parlimentarian, Lawrence Berlin. Those favoring a McCarthy endorsement argued that such a resolution would tell the national convention that the Democrats want a change and that McCarthy alone can capture the independent vote to win the November election. Some other McCarthy supporters such as Mrs. King and DuPont allied with the late Sen. Robert Kennedy's supporters such as Thomas Murray and party regulars to oppose the resolution on the grounds that the county convention should not get involved with endorsing candidates and fostering factionalism within the party. Even after the end of the convention a question hovers over what stand the county Democrats took on Vietnam. County Chairman Sallade claims that only a technicality of parliamentary procedure keeps a strong Vietnam resolution from being the official resolution. A substitute resolution, which received a 56 to 55 vote in support of it, said: "Therefore be it resolved that the United States acknowledge at the Paris talks that the only legitimate negotiating points are (1) the orderly but prompt withdrawal of U.S. men and military materials from South Vietnam; (2) amnesty for those in South Vietnam desiring it; and (3) self-determination by the Vietnamese themselves. To accomplish these aims, of course, negotiations must be expanded to include representatives of all the Vietnamese people and especially the National Liberation Front." That resolution, sponsored by Black Power, McCarthy, Kennedy-McGovern and anti-administration advocates, attempted to replace a resolution from the majority report of the resolutions committee. The majority report called for stopping all bombing in Vietnam, a four point settlement of the war 'in Paris talks and a gradual withdrawal of forces from South Vietnam. Its supporters said "it avoided pitfalls." Another proposal, which aroused heated argument and which was followed by a general walk-out of the Ypsilanti Township delegation and Washtenaw County Sheriff Douglas J. Harvey, was a resolution on marijuana introduced in committee and twice defended on the floor by Dr. Edward Pierce, a McCarthy supporter. The convention adopted the resolution calling for a "crash program, of scientific evaluation of whether or not marijuana has harmful effects and to revise "current laws so punishment for the possession and usage of marijuana fits the crime".