‘Make Ann Arbor Bright’ to fight campus crime

To the Daily:
In response to last week’s news article about campus crime (Students robbed at gunpoint, 02/13/07), I’d like to point out that crime is one of the major issues that the members of Make Ann Arbor Bright are working hard to alleviate. Crime has started to run rampant on campus. Streetlights in Ann Arbor are critical to the safety and peace of mind for University students and their parents. Most people at the University travel home late at night, and the only protection they can hope for is light to guide their way.

Campus blue light emergency phones deter crime effectively. The addition of light poles will do the same for the most poorly-lit areas. In particular, the triangular intersection of East University Avenue, Tappan Street and Prospect Street is in dire need of up to six streetlights. Ann Arbor is not fulfilling its ordinance requiring a streetlight for every 180 feet in this intersection.

Make Ann Arbor Bright is addressing this problem and has already successfully lobbied the City Council to approve what is known as a “special assessment district” in this area. These districts have been set up only because Ann Arbor has suspended the addition of street lights due to financial problems. Make Ann Arbor Bright has accomplished the possibility at least of adding six new street lights but with one obstacle in the way: Ann Arbor will require many years of funding for these street lights to be installed.

The group intends to further lobby the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy in order to see whether either will grant funds for this project. Make Ann Arbor Bright is also considering going to the University Board of Regents to see if it would provide this funding because the issue of lighting in off-campus areas mainly targets students of the University.

Tyrone Schiff
LSA sophomore

Pointing out Church’s intolerance not unfair

To the Daily:
In response to Daniel Phalen’s letter to the editor in Monday’s Daily (Daily opinion unfairly criticizes Church’s intolerance, 02/19/07), I would like to point out the absurdity of the idea that the Catholic Church’s intolerance was “unfairly criticized.” It should strike readers as contradictory that Phalen wants them to be more tolerant of the Church’s intolerance.

The harsh truth is that the practice of not allowing same-sex couples to jointly adopt is both discriminatory and intentional. And it is not surprising. The Church has a longstanding tradition of being more concerned about everyone’s sex lives than discrimination.

Equally unsurprising is the forced retirement of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. Although it is possible his retirement was simply due to his age, the Church has shown its willingness time and again to retire or excommunicate priests and bishops who challenge its power. Even child molesters in the Church do not get this harsh treatment – as long as they publicly support Catholic dogma.

Phalen espouses the black-and-white attitude of the Catholic Church with phrases like “Catholics are typically not in the business of choosing between the lesser of two evils,” and “The Catholic Church is concerned with ideals . Problems arise when we settle.” But the problem is that the Church is concerned with ideals at the expense of facts. The religious Right claims that adoption by gay people has a negative effect on society, but no evidence is ever given, and it is too seldom asked for.

We must be intolerant of the Church’s intolerance as long as necessary. Only then will its position on homosexuality become untenable, just like its past positions on slavery and fair treatment of women.

Brian Wagner

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