Out with a Whimper

The education bill's dead; long live the education bill

AS POLITICAL STANDOFFS go, the impasse between Gov. Arne Carlson and DFL legislators over the K-12 education-spending bill was a remarkably undramatic way to force a special session. Carlson, a lame duck in search of a legacy, announced days before the regular session's Monday night deadline that he would veto the bill if it didn't include money for private-school tuition tax credits. But with a huge budget surplus, near-universal support for hefty increases in education spending, and a summer to go before the bill would even begin to impact the plans of school administrators, legislators were in no hurry to compromise. Even when the inevitable compromise comes during a special session in June, the principle of the credits will initially be more important than their usage. Thus, the frantic arm-twisting and log-rolling that is normally a staple of session deadlines was largely absent from the proceedings.

In his post-session press conference, Carlson tried to spin his support for private-school tax credits into a mechanism for helping impoverished children and "making the state an economic partner with families." It was a particularly ironic comment coming just moments after his praise for the welfare-reform bill passed this session. Welfare reform will have the practical effect of dissolving the economic partnership between the state and thousands of poor children. They may have trouble getting three meals per day, but if the governor has his way they'll at least have the opportunity to go hungry to a private school.


A BASTION OF '60s liberalism for more than a quarter-century on the West Bank, the New Riverside Cafe finally ceased to exist last week after years of financial uncertainty. Rumors of the Riv's demise had been rampant for months. Last year, the collectively managed cafe staved off bankruptcy through the good graces of a large anonymous donation. But a sizable tax bill and declining business depleted that money in short order. By this spring, nearly all of the longtime workers at the cafe had left, and those who stayed were often being reimbursed through free meals. According to one employee, the prospect of a Starbucks coffee shop moving into the space made New Riv workers more determined to stay in business.

A lot of great acoustic music, political activism, and vegetarian food passed through the cafe during its long life, and all will be missed now that it is gone. Amid the condolences, however, it's hard not to note that the Riv contributed to its own downfall by not practicing what it preached in terms of community and diversity. In recent years, the aging hippies in the West Bank neighborhood have gradually been supplanted by students and immigrants from around the world. Other restaurants, most notably New Chili Time, acknowledged the shift in community demographics by adding African food to their menus. But for some reason, the New Riv didn't have the capacity to change with the neighborhood. And so now it's gone.

A "wake" celebrating the Riv is scheduled for May 24 starting at 4 p.m.


LAST WEEK'S UNION vote at the former University Hospital and Clinic resulted in 58 percent of so-called "nonprofessional" employees voting for representation by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Technical employees voted the union down by a slim margin. Fairview had countered union organizers with a Kansas City union-busting consultant, Management Science Associates ("Scab Sandwich," 4/30). In the weeks leading up to the election MSA and Fairview stepped up their campaign against the union, distributing flyers comparing a vote for AFSCME with a vote for the Nazi Party. "Given what we were dealing with," says Gladys McKenzie, Business Agent of AFSCME Council Six, "the win was a huge victory."

The union is now preparing for contract negotiations with Fairview and given the tenor of the battle so far, it promises to be a tough fight. On the table, McKenzie says, are a range of issues from health insurance to staffing and patient care to wage structure. Workers at Fairview University have been without a contract since the Fairview buyout in January.


This week in history:


EAU CLAIRE, Wis.--AP--Two professors at Wisconsin State University, Whitewater, who signed an anti-Vietnam war advertisement were promoted Friday by the State College Board of Regents.

Mrs. Ruth Schauer was advanced to full professor and Mrs. Elsie Adams was made an associate professor, both in the Whitewater English Department.

The promotions had been held up by the regents pending an investigation by Atty. Gen. Bronson C. La Follette as to whether the advertisement in the Whitewater student newspaper violated state and federal laws. La Follette held it did not.

Nine professors signed the ad, which urged noncooperation in the Vietnam war. Mrs. Schauer and Mrs. Adams were the only ones up for promotion.

Mrs. Mary Williams, a regent from Stevens Point, who asked that the promotions be held up, contended that the ad was based on "fuzzy thinking."

--Minneapolis Tribune, May 20, 1967



"DEMONSTRATORS against the Vietnam war are effective only in destroying the unity of the country."

Next Page »