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Council Hopefuls Debate Human Relations Status

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Disagreement over the extent of the human relations problem here and the possibilities for major disturbances this summer was evident among candidates at the League of Women Voters City Council Candidates Night last night. All 10 candides made formal statements and answe.ed written questions from the audience of about 75 persons during the 212-hour session. The major issue discussed last night was human relations and the current controversy over the use of the chemical spray "Mace." Fifth Ward Republican Can didate Linden C. Pettys said there "is a great deal of frustration in our cities, and this frustration rests within ourselves. The fact is, white people have a better opportunity tfl work through their frustrations than does the Negro, and this gives us to believe tliat all have the same opportunity." He said society "in subtle ways does not help the minority to advance. When the ífy g'röups realize life is passing them by, they have no alternative but to blow up. I don't believe we have reached this peak in Ann Arbor. We the majority have to realize that we have to allow the rest of the community to grow as we have. I don't know how to do it but it has to come from our hearts." On the question of using "Mace," Fifth Ward Democrat LeRoy A. Cappaert said the pólice should not use it as a punitive weapon. "Some in the community are calling for this," he said. "The task of the pólice is to apprehend, not to Ipunish. We have to listen to some of the things that are be ing said loud and clear. We have to have law and order but if you don't add justice then you have the wrong system." Fourth Ward Democratie candidate Russell West said he was "greatly impressed" by the Human Relations Commission's profile'of civil rights in Ann Arbor. He said it was the city government speaking through the HRC and was an analysis of the problem here. "The need for helping minorities is here without the threat of a long, hot summer," h said. He termed "Mace" a "newly devised threat." He saic that even though long-lastin harmful effects have not bee proved, "the psychological ef [eet is real." James E.' Step'.:=nson, Repub lican candidate in the Fourt [Ward, said "only a lawful ciety can build a better society." The trend has been to shift the responsibility from the individual to the community, Stephenson said. "Responsibility must ultimately reside in every individual." Second W .rd D-mocrat Ernest L. Quenon chastised city government for ignoring Negro leaders during quiet times when they are the ones called upon to quell disturbances and prevent trouble. "We have established a police-community relations committee and these leaders are strangely absent either because they are uninvited or are not participating for reasons of their own. This same committee said there wasn't much of a police-community relations problem here. We must get the Negro leaders involved in this dialogue." James C. Riecker, seeking e-election on the Republican icket in the Second Ward, said he believed "the likelihood of a major break here is unlikely. 'his doesn't mean we shouldn't be taking a long look at our human relations efforts." He aid there are some serious concerns about thedirection the HRC is taking, stating that the commission should take more ositive approaches rather than nerely pointing up cases of discrimination. On the question of using 'Mace," Riecker said "no weapon is completely safe" and said further studies should be made on "Mace" to determine if i does have long-lasting harmfu effects. First Ward Republican candidate Mrs. Norma Kraker said she was also not in favor of using "Mace" until proven completely safe. "But we can't lave an incident every time a pólice officer attempts to make an arrest. I don't feel the summer will be as easy as Jim (Riecker) thinks it will be; I believe we're in for a bad summer." Mrs. Kraker added that she did not understand why "Negro leaders are refusing to sit down and discuss problemsj with others they do not believej are leaders. We need moderation on these problems, we need moderates from both sides to come out and help us. It is not good enough just to read about it in the papers." Third Ward Democrat Max Shain said the ultímate solution to the human relations prpblem is "the acceptance of Negro members into the community." He said any attempt to ;emporize will only make the iroblem more serious. He iermed the evidence presented on "Mace" as merely that paid 'or by the manufacturer of the product and said he would present to the council all available evidence on the spray. "There s no evidence that it is safe and that it does not have longerm harmful effects." He said Pólice Chief Walter E. Krasny and the council were wise to suspend use until further information ran be gathered. Richard D. Remington, First Ward Democratie ccandidate, said if "Mace" had been declared á new drug it would never have been permitted to be placed on the market. "It shouldn't have been released in the first place," he said. He added "We do have problems here in Ann Arbor, but I don't have any easy answers to propose." He advocated listening to Negro leaders in attempts to find solutions to these problems. 'I hate to see us arming ourselves. We need mutual trust and understanding." Third Ward Republican Candidate Joseph W. Edwards said that some of the "plus" actions the city has taken to solve minority group problems are the passage of a fair housing ordinance, creation of an HRC and the proposed construction of public housing units. He said he did not see the possibility of "things all coming unstrung here," and added that everyone must understand that there must be law and order. "It is up to all of us to recognize that a riot such as occurred in Detroit last summer would be in the worst interests of all citizens of the city," Edwards said. Another major área of concern for both candidates and the audience was city building code enforcement with Democratie candidates generally critical and Republicans supporting the current practices andfl level of enforcement. Quenon said, "There is ter-l rific pressure for apartment construction and instances such as Albert Terrace and the 26story building (on S. University) indícate that the building and zoning codes are not enforced and that the city lacksi the will to enforce them." He called for tightened ad-t ministrative procedures in dealing with developers, a review of the building department which he called "either careless, inefficiënt or incompetent," modification of codes to "créate buildings in a desirable way, adoption of a general development plan, and periodic inspections of existing rental I housing. West also concentrated on I the city's varied 1 ties in the housing area, 1 ing code enforcement. He said 26 different agencies plus the city administrator and attorney I are involved now and called for II reorganization to gain efficiency. Riecker, Quenon's opponent, called the code enforcement issue raised by Democrats a 'red herring.' He said codes "shouldl be strictly enforced- and theyj are." Quenon replied that the cityl administration "bent the codel when it created the one-bedroom myth of Albert Terrace. It isn't a 'red herring' when the city administration calis in the Building Officials Conference of j America to make a study of coordinating code enforcement." I West added that there is no requirement for registration of rental dwellings, that 3,032 are registered, and that 85 of these are uninspected. Twenty per cent of the registered housing is non-certified, he said, adding that the difficulty sterns from having three agencies and a coördinator of code enforcement "but no line of authority bei tween them." I Mrs. Kraker said Ann Arbor "does do better than almost any city" and that it started code enforcement in 1944 after a major fire. She said she thinks the Building and Safetyl Department "tries to do a goodl job." She cited "antiquatedl laws" as a problem and saidl she supports the appointmentl last Monday of a council inves-l tigating committee in this area.l All candidates expressed sup-l port fot public housing in gen-I eral, with most supporting thel current nine-site plan. I Mrs. Kraker, in commentingl on opposition to the University's sale of a site on Green Rd., said this property won't have ito come off the tax rolls- it is already off under University ownership. She also said she opposes a city income tax because, the city expects no general tax