A N N   A R B O R   I S   O V E R R A T E D . (a blog.)

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2003-09-30 - 12:39 p.m.

Not everyone is displeased with A2 martial law. "Keep it up!" an LSA sophomore in today's Daily letters page urges the AAPD. "Here I want to thank the Ann Arbor Police Department and the Department of Public Safety for doing such a good job of cracking down on student drinking." Without the drunk-walking citations, "this university will be in a mess because even though we have a first world faculty and facilities, some of our students have a third world mentality."

First world facilities? We know people start slacking off on the exercise thing around this time of year, but never to have set foot in CCRB at all...?

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2003-09-26 - 10:30 p.m.

"Ann Arbor Police arrested four men after a pizza delivery man was robbed at gunpoint early this morning," The Ann Arbor News reports. Nice work, AAPD! But wait - read on, and you'll notice that it was actually the U of M police who found the robbers' car, which led to their capture. Not that most readers will find this story at all. The News, in keeping with their "If it bleeds, it gets buried in the 'Police Beat' column" policy, leads with a story about how there are four fewer students in the Ann Arbor Public School District this year than last year.

A letter in the Daily is less than impressed with the tactics of the party patrol: "In its vision statement, the Ann Arbor Police Department claims to adhere to the principles of trust and partnership with the community. If the police around here want to receive any respect at all from the students and restore some of the lost trust in authority, they need to listen to their own vision statement and figure out how to handle a campus of 30,000 students more constructively."

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2003-09-24 - 1:05 a.m.

The Daily finally reports on the student who was assaulted last weekend - but they bury it in the middle of a story about another attack that occurred in Ann Arbor Monday when a homeless man wielding a knife threatened a student, who managed to escape. After giving a cursory explanation of last weekend's apparent attempted rape, the reporter gets back to the story about the knife attack with the following near-non sequitur: "Although the assailant for the Sunday attack was not identified and was not reported to be homeless, the Monday report surprised many University students and homeless residents." The entire rest of the article explores "tension" between students and the homeless - students are "very concerned with their own little worlds," one homeless man opines.

The piece concludes with a male university student's opinion that "Ann Arbor is still a safe place to live." No female students are quoted on whether they feel safe with a would-be rapist wandering the streets. But perhaps to the Daily, being concerned would just reflect a preoccupation with one's own little world.

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2003-09-23 - 6:50 p.m.

In a column about the importance of choosing one's words carefully that appeared in today's Daily, Aubrey Henretty repeats a tempting but inaccurate canard - that the situations in Alanis Morrissette's song "Ironic" are not actually ironic. But situational irony, usually defined simply as a contrast between expectation and outcome, is a broad enough category to encompass just about everything that happens in the song, at least as far as we can remember. We're not sure exactly why this "fact" is so remarkably persistent, but we feel it our duty to debunk it wherever it may appear.

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2003-09-23 - 5:30 p.m.

Ypsi's water tower wins the most phallic building in the world contest.

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2003-09-22 - 1:39 p.m.

Ann Arbor real crime watch (from The Ann Arbor News "Police Beat"): a female student walking by Central Campus on Saturday night/Sunday morning was accosted from behind and forced to the ground by an apparent would-be rapist, whose attack was stopped by the intervention of a bystander. The scores of tickets given out every weekend night, most likely including that one, for such offenses as noise violations, walking drunk and drinking beer on the strip of lawn between the sidewalk and the street - by officers specifically patrolling the streets looking for parties - simply defy any attempt at a wry observation here.

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2003-09-22 - 3:37 a.m.

The Daily's latest account of Ann Arbor's descent into a police state leads with an eyebrow-raising but unexplained statement: "the risk and penalty for alcohol-related citations are on the rise." The risk, sure - tickets are up 18 percent over last year. But has the penalty - that is, the fine - actually increased? The article doesn't say, but if it has, it may provide an explanation for the sudden leap in citations other than the city's official "nice weather" party (so to speak) line.

We have to take issue with the graphic that accompanies the story, a drawing of an affable frat-boy type holding a very open container of beer. Based on some of the reports we've been seeing lately, a picture of a person standing on his porch after a party is long over might be more appropriate. The headline is "Drinking becoming more risky"; "Walking down the sidewalk becoming more risky" would probably be just as accurate. We expect the News to take a droll "heh, guess you have to fight for your right to party" attitude, but the Daily might avoid reinforcing the idea of students as good-natured but reckless adolescents who need to be kept in line. They do quote Student Legal Services director Doug Lewis, whose advice bears reprinting here:

"Many kids don't know their rights or the law," he said. As citizens, students have the right to remain silent and are free from an improper search, he said. "It is not until you do something illegal that the police can stop you. You must do something like having an open intoxicant or even littering."

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2003-09-19 - 11:42 p.m.

Perhaps we can judge a culture by the new words it creates. Two multisyllabic howlers from today's Ann Arbor News pretty much sum up A2 life: "agritainment" and "yupscaleshoppers."

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2003-09-17 - 12:56 p.m.

A letter in today's Daily further illustrates the lengths to which the "party patrol" will go. The writer describes being stopped by a police officer while walking down the street - the officer then proceeded to accuse his girlfriend of throwing a cup, harass her about the Orthodox Jewish faith that prevents her from even carrying a cup on a Friday night and administer Breathalyzer tests to both of them. So remember, kids, don't walk while intoxicated - better to take the car where you won't be as easily identified as a student.

Could this whole party patrol thing be an alternate plan implemented after the backlash against the AAPD's revenue-collecting traffic ticket crusade? This is probably as good a time as any to remind everyone that there are U of M students running for City Council. Not that we really need to elect them - we're completely sure that all of the anti-Patriot-Act civil libertarians on the Council will be rushing to defend the rights of students.

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2003-09-15 - 12:44 p.m.

The Daily exposes the sleazy tactics employed in the AAPD's new anti-party zealotry. A sophomore quoted in the article describes police coming over to his house after a party had ended and giving him the choice between a noise violation or a fire hazard citation, even though the officer had not personally witnessed any noise problems.

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2003-09-14 - 8:42 p.m.

Judy McGovern takes on the high tax burden shouldered by the local Habitat for Humanity. "Welcome to Treetown, where even the low-income must be at the top of their class," she writes.

Also, Ypsipanties.

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2003-09-14 - 4:26 p.m.

Alcohol, a headline in The Ann Arbor News announces, "fuels [the] U-M party scene."

The reporter describes the scene outside a fraternity house with breathless prose fit for a Newsweek article whose title is a vaguely alarming question in which the words "YOUR Kids" feature prominently. A group of women go to a fraternity party, "looking for a good time. The doorman lets them in." These two sentences form their own paragraph.

This party took place at 10 p.m. on a Saturday, when "most of Ann Arbor has gone to bed." But there were at least some townies who didn't mind - two 26-year-old "party watchers" who have never been affiliated with the university but come out to "watch the kids," especially the "Britney Spearses and Christina Aguileras."

The News runs with another article about the "party patrol" and their heroic efforts to ticket public drinkers, including a 27-year-old man drinking a beer on the lawn of a house.

"Hammer them as many times as you can," Sgt. James Baird told the officers as they prepared to begin their enforcement effort at 10 p.m. Behind him in the briefing room, the phrase "Hammer Time" was written on a dry erase board.

Hey, we've got a tip for them - on some Saturdays around South Main, you can sometimes see people sitting by their cars, drinking in plain view in the middle of the day. The practice is so widespread that it even has a name: "tailgating."

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2003-09-12 - 12:51 a.m.

A new installment in our seemingly endless series of break-in posts, but this one is a real doozy - someone was actually arrested in an A2 break-in. The perpetrators were three students who climbed through a window at the Perry Building. They could be charged with burglary, even though it's not clear if they were trying to steal anything. The crime is currently "under investigation."

A message board bills itself "the official ann arbor sucks site." A poster links to the official Ann Arbor Sucks site. Yeah, that's right.

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2003-09-10 - 10:17 p.m.

The Ann Arbor Police are moving to investigate the wave of break-ins that's plaguing the area of late. No, no, not those break-ins, the ones where student houses are routinely burglarized. The victims of these crimes are instead local stores that sell cigarettes, who are targeted by thieves stealing as much as $1,000 worth at a time. That's almost as much as the value of some of the laptop/DVD player/guitar amplifier hauls brought in by the Ann Arbor burglars who are a little more savvy about whom to target.

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2003-09-09 - 4:34 p.m.

We return from a weeklong break from this blog only to find that the AAPD isn't wasting any time carrying out their duties to serve and protect - protecting townies from loud parties by serving students with 140 tickets as part of their new "party patrol" effort. The previous weekend, 287 tickets were handed out. This initiative involves 10 officers working weekend nights to stop "underage drinking and drinking in public." That's right, A2 burglars looking for a night when the force might be a little short-handed - weekend nights.

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