December 19, 2004 in Nation/World

In passing

The Spokesman-Review

Daniel Brink, former state legislator, 75

Seattle Daniel P. Brink, a former state legislator and lawyer who fought battles over Democratic party structure and site selection for the Kingdome, has died. He was 75.

Brink, who specialized in property law cases, died Wednesday of esophageal cancer, relatives and friends said.

Brink served in the state House of Representatives from 1959-63.

In 1968 he sued against a proposal to build the Kingdome sports and events stadium near the Seattle Center because of concern over traffic congestion. He lost the case in court but helped promote a referendum campaign that rejected the site.

The Kingdome wound up being built south of the downtown area; it was demolished in 2000.

Brink advocated keeping representation on the state Democratic Central Committee to a man and a woman from each county, rather than adding representation based on legislative districts. He won the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, but the committee later expanded membership through a technicality.

Agnes Mansour, 73, abortion rights advocate

Farmington Hills, Mich. Agnes Mary Mansour, who gave up her religious vows rather than resign as Michigan’s welfare director in a showdown with the Vatican over abortion, has died. She was 73.

Mansour died Friday at McAuley Center, an assisted living facility operated by the Sisters of Mercy. Mansour was a member of the order for 30 years and an associate for the 20-plus years following dispensation from her vows.

Controversy arose in the 1980s over her role as a nun and as head of an agency that oversaw Medicaid funding for abortions for low-income women. A representative of Pope John Paul II gave Mansour an ultimatum to either resign as DSS director or be dismissed from the Sisters of Mercy.

Mansour said that while she personally disapproved of abortion, as long as it was legal it would be unfair to limit the procedure only to women able to afford it.

Saying she wanted to avoid causing further conflict within the Catholic Church, she asked to be released from her vows.

Her numerous awards and honors included induction into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1988.

Seymour Melman, 86, military spending critic

New York Seymour Melman, a retired Columbia University professor who argued that U.S. military spending compromised the quality of the nation’s domestic programs, has died. He was 86.

Melman died Thursday of an apparent aneurysm, said Benjamin Abrams, his research assistant.

An outspoken advocate for disarmament during the Cold War and after, Melman was co-chairman of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy and chairman of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament.

Melman often criticized what he considered the United States’ exorbitant spending on weapons and defense programs, saying the money could more usefully be spent at home. He wrote extensively about “economic conversion,” the process of turning military facilities over to civilian uses.

He opposed the current war in Iraq, and argued against the belief that World War II pulled the United States out of the Great Depression, saying other factors revived the economy.

Melman was born in the Bronx in 1917 and received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of the City of New York in 1939. He later earned a doctorate in economics at Columbia.

He served in the Army during World War II.

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