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No Shortage Of Opposing Viewpoints On Candidates Night

No Shortage Of Opposing Viewpoints On Candidates Night image
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Political views ranging from the exI treme left to right of center were exIpressed during last night's League of Iwomen Voters City Council candidates Inight. It was the largest contingent of candiI dates to appear at the annual affair with I five persons from each of the three parI ties- Republican, Democrat and Human I Rights- in attendance. Some 100 persons I were in the Council Chamber to listen lo I the sometimes lively discussion. The major split among the three parI ties appears to be on the financial issue, I with Democrats favoring a local one per cent income tax (though they said they ' would work for a graduated income tax on the state level), Republicans favoring a tightening of the belt in City Hall to meet anticipated déficits, and the Human Rights party opposing any form of taxation outside of a steeply graduated income tax which is not now permitted under state law. Republican candidates were the only rones to speak in favor of the PackardBeakes bypass bond proposal ($935,000) which will appear on the April 3 ballot, with Democrats and Human Rights candidates opposing the issue. All 15 candidates did agree on one issue - that there must be more facilities for the handicapped. Receiving the greatest degree of audience reaction were answers to a question submitted asking if candidates would support a city ordinance making it illegal to discrimínate against homosexuals in housing, employment and public accommodations. Republican Third Ward candidate C. William Colburn said he does not believe the city can legislate morality. "I would support an ordinance of that nature, but I have no strong feelings one way or the other." Republican Fourth Ward candidate Bruce Benner Jr. received hisses from the students in the audience when he said homosexuals ought to be classed with handicapped persons. "They need help," he said. "Perhaps I don't know enough about the subject to comment," BenneF said, adding that he would not support the ordinance. The Second Ward Human Rights candidate Nancy Wechsler said her party supports such an ordinance, stating government has no right to write laws regulating sexual expression. "All forms are normal," she said. FoUowing is a resume of the comments nTghí VariUS candidates Jast FIRST WARD Robert Foster, Republican: The two primary issues facing Ann Arbor revolve around fmance and growth, Foster said in lus opening statement. "It is clear the voters have spoken on the income tax. I feel they believe they aren't getting their tax dollars worth and would like to see the city hve within its revenues," the local attorney said. I &- - 7 f r ,íwwa-wr- Foster said council candidates who are calling for new programs or expansión of existing programs are misleading the voters. With the city's financial condition, Foster said, this cannot be done. To help meet the financial crisis, Foster said the city should go to a curb-side refise pickup program and should cut the innual subsidy to the Ann Arbor Transortation Authority. On the issue of growth, Foster said he 'avors a program whereby developers would have to obtain School Board approval before proceeding with a housing project. He also called for creation of an snvironmental affairs commission, and supported the Packard-Beakes bypass proposal. John Kirscht, incumbent Democrat: Noting council has faced a number of financial problems over the past three years, Kirscht said this is no reason to dump programs w h i c h citizens have worked hard to establish, such as the Model Cities Program, Human Rights Department and the city's transportation system. On the bus system, Kirscht said council cannot allow it to fall much below its present level of service or it will disappear as an alternative to the automobile. He said the city's code enforcement program is also extremely important but said the job is not getting done properly because the department is understaffed. I "Police-community relations must also J be continued and expanded if possible," J Kirscht said. A supporter of an income 1 tax, Kirscht said the city must continue I to seek an equitable method of financingl local government. I Jerry De Grieck, Human Rights Party :fl The First Ward candidate of the fledgj ling HR party said he worked for 12 years in politics and until 1969 was a Democrat when he "saw the light." Prob■ lems facing Ann Arbor require more than Isimply voting on the part of councilmen, jhe said. "The Human Rights Party is ofIfering an alternative in this year's elecItiöfl." I He said he was opposed to the PackardiBeakes bypass, stating destruction of Jcity areas must stop. Growth must inI c 1 u d e ecological considerations, De I Grieck said. I "The Human Rights Party is against ■ crime, but the city is blindly putting more and more money into the Pólice De■partment and this won't solve the probBlem," he said, charging that pólice ha■rass young people and blacks. Like other BhRP candidates, De Grieck said city Bgovernment must provide more for huIman needs such as child care, health Bcare and transportation. SECOND WARD Michael Morris, Democrat: Ann Arbor I is in a financial crisis and things are getI ting steadüy worse, Morris said, pointing Bto the "serious possibility" of four-day ■ work weeks for city employés which he I said in actuality is a polite way of asking ■ them to take a 20 per cent pay cut. Responding to Human Rights Party calis for a graduated income tax, Morris ;aid the only income tax the city can E pass is the one per cent flat rate tax I mitted by state law. The state I ie party will undertake a petition drive I to get a graduated income tax proposal I on the November ballot, Morris added. V Stating the city lacks comprehensive I planning, Morris said the consequences I of rapid growth are quite evident and I have played a large role in creating the I city's financial problems. I Morris said the council must control I the city's growth, must approve public I hearings on site and area plans, and said I there is no real need for the I Beakes bypass now. Thomas Burnham, Republican: The I GOP Second Ward hopeful highlighted I the drug problem as being one of the I most serious facing Ann Arbor. There are drug addicts, he said, "anyone on the I Diag recently knows they do exist." He said the city does not have money for drug education and treatment programs, but said federal dollars for such efforts are available and the city should move rapidly to obtain this money. He also said the city lacks funds for ecology programs, but noted j man Marvin Esch is writing a bilí whieh would provide federal funds for local programs. "No one wants to see the central business district die," Burnham said, but added that current zoning of the downtown will lead to this. "We need serious, long-range planning for the downtown area," he said. Burnham said the city should undertake a controlled growth policy, and said it should combat the crime problem by. seeking funds for an intensive street 1 ing program similar to successful ones in I other cities. Nancy Wechsler, Human Rights Party: I She said her party runs open, democratie meetings which makes it a "grass roots" party. "Women, the young, students, the poor, blacks, and those disillusioned by the other two parties are our people,"' she said. Miss Wechsler said what the two major parties say now has no relation to what they'll do when on council. "By voting for Democrats or Republicans, you don't know what you're getting," she told the audience. The crime problem must be attacked by getting at the inequities in our society, she said. "We will work to repeal all victimless crime laws." She a'tso said the city must set up heroin and methadone centers. Expressing confidence she will win in the Second Ward, Miss Wechsler said the April 3 election is the first real test of the 18-year-old vote. THIRD WARD Genie Plamondon, Human Rights Party: Young people for a long time believed there was no way of getting involved in electoral politics, Mrs. Plamondon said, but added things have changed recently 'nétxt P)Qe PleBStr