You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 5:56 a.m.

Grand goes on the attack against Kunselman at 3rd Ward candidate forum

By Ryan J. Stanton

Stephen Kunselman used the words dignity, respect and honor Wednesday night to describe how he's conducted himself on the Ann Arbor City Council for nearly six years.

"If re-elected, I will continue to work cooperatively and graciously with my colleagues with an emphasis on open and vigorous debate of all issues," he said.

But his political opponent, Julie Grand, painted a different picture of the third-term council member, suggesting his style is more combative than collaborative.

"My opponent has said that this city is at a political crossroads, and I completely agree," Grand said during a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters at CTN studios.


Julie Grand and Stephen Kunselman were cordial throughout most of Wednesday's forum. Grand waited until her closing statement to level a series of criticisms at Kunselman.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"Voters are being given a choice this election between a proven communicator who has exhibited thoughtful leadership," Grand said, referring to herself, "and an elected official who promotes an us-versus-them mentality that focuses on creating problems rather than solving them."

Grand, chairwoman of the city's Park Advisory Commission, is trying to unseat Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, in the Democratic primary on Aug. 6.

The two candidates were cordial throughout most of Wednesday's forum. Grand waited until her closing statement to level a series of criticisms at Kunselman.

"It's time for a change in city politics by electing someone who is fair, thoughtful and balanced, rather than re-electing a man who admitted that he doesn't come prepared to his own City Council meetings," Grand said, taking another shot at her opponent.

Kunselman said he does come to meetings prepared and Grand was misrepresenting a comment he made at an Ann Arbor Democratic Party forum.

As for the suggestion that he promotes an "us-versus-them" mentality, Kunselman pointed out Grand is a political ally of Mayor John Hieftje, who has lost some of his allies on council.

"I don't know about 'us versus them' — maybe it's about the fact that the powers that used to be have lost a lot of respect, have lost seats at the council table, and maybe it's their frustration and they're taking it out on me," he said after the forum. "But they only have themselves to blame."

Kunselman, who is pushing for heightened restrictions on the amount of tax dollars going to the Downtown Development Authority, has butted heads with the mayor and DDA board members on the issue. Grand said she considers herself a supporter of the DDA.

Even though the DDA is in line to collect roughly $4.5 million in downtown tax revenues this year, Grand said a lot of downtown tax revenues go back to the city and other entities.

"When the DDA is doing their job and bringing more development and supporting local businesses in the city, those tax contributions are going back out and not only supporting our downtown … but it also gives money to our neighborhoods to pay for roads, to pay for schools," she said.


Stephen Kunselman


Julie Grand

For example, she said, 13 years ago there was $4.5 million in the DDA district that was given to schools. In 2013, she said, it was $10.5 million.

Kunselman said he'll continue to press the DDA to show fiscal discipline. The DDA's recent decision to spend $200,000 on consultants to develop a streetscape plan for downtown — at the same time that the city is being asked to contribute $200,000-plus from its general fund for new streetlights on Main Street — illustrates "just how out of whack the DDA's fiscal priorities are," he said.

"I will continue to advocate for investment in our neighborhoods in order to stabilize property values," Kunselman said. "For too long our neighborhoods have been neglected while politicians and political appointees have been speculating on how to build big buildings downtown. It's time to focus on our neighborhoods and repair and maintain our aging infrastructure."

Kunselman cited among his accomplishments keeping city fire stations open, stopping transfers of restricted funds to the public art fund, adoption of a new city budget that added public safety staffing, and hiring a broker to try to sell the city-owned Y Lot downtown.

Asked about city-owned property in the downtown, Grand said the city shouldn't just sell properties to the highest bidder. She said it's important to have a long-term vision.

Grand said she'd proactively communicate with residents to come to informed and consensus-driven decisions.

Further criticizing Kunselman, Grand said she and her opponent have a fundamentally different idea of the level of constituent communication required of a council member.

"As a resident of the 3rd Ward, I deserve better — all of us in the 3rd Ward deserve better," she said, suggesting Kunselman doesn't communicate well with residents.

"As a constituent of my opponent, I have never received a proactive email, newsletter or knock on my door," she said. "You heard him tonight say 'go to your local papers' — that's outrageous. It is your job on City Council to help communicate what the issues are to your constituents."

Kunselman said any resident can contact him by phone or email and he'll always respond. Other than that, he said there's information on the city website and local news sites.

"What I would suggest is find a news source that you trust and go to it frequently," he said, mentioning different places where residents can get information. "I even have a website, and I keep it maintained to some degree, but I'm only making reference to other news organizations because they tend to cover things a lot better than I can, since I still have a full-time job."

Kunselman, a lifelong Ann Arborite and University of Michigan graduate, has been the energy conservation liaison for U-M since May 2004.

Grand, who has lived in Ann Arbor 15 years, is a lecturer in health policy studies at U-M Dearborn. She holds both a master's degree and Ph.D. in public health from U-M in Ann Arbor.

For the last six years, Grand has served on the city's Park Advisory Commission. She has been closely involved in the plans for improving the North Main-Huron River corridor, including the push for a greenway anchor park at 721 N. Main St. and a new riverfront park on the MichCon site.

"As chair of the commission, I've enjoyed solving problems and engaging the public," she said. "And I've been energized by the opportunity to directly improve the quality of life for all citizens of Ann Arbor through our 157 parks and natural areas."

Kunselman has a long track record of service, including past involvement on the Planning Commission, Environmental Commission and Park Advisory Commission. He now serves on the Labor Committee, Brownfield Committee, Taxicab Board, Cable Commission and Audit Committee.

The two candidates answered multiple questions on the topic of transportation Wednesday night, including one about the Ann Arbor Connector study that's looking at options for a high-capacity transit system in Ann Arbor —either light rail/streetcar or bus rapid transit.

"It certainly has a lot of positive elements, whether it's light rail or bus rapid transit, but I think we have to recognize that it is primarily driven to serve the University of Michigan campus," Kunselman said, adding he still has questions about how much it will cost and how it will be funded.

Grand said she's supportive of rail if the numbers make sense and if significant partnerships can be leveraged.

Both candidates said they support the expansion of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority — now called the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority or A3TA — to include Ypsilanti.

They offered somewhat different responses when asked about possibilities for more proactive policing in Ann Arbor.

Kunselman said he supports the police department's position that it needs more funding to be proactive, but he said it's going to be a number of years before the city's budget stabilizes enough so it can bring back a number of police department employees.

Grand said it's important to note the city's crime rate is going down. She said she'd like to see more proactive policing in neighborhoods and downtown, but she's concerned the city isn't using the best metrics for determining the added value of hiring more police.

"If we go from 146 to 152 police officers, for example, how much safer does that make us feel as a community?" she said. "And how much safer does that actually make us?"

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:28 a.m.

pjn, by definition, ad hominem is not always inappropriate. Especially in the case of public political figures whose actions and even words can impact many people, an address "to the man" can be very relevant and needed. politicians are notorious for straying from their publicly expressed principles and platforms, and their track records are fair game for comment. Positive comments in support of a candidate are also "ad hominem", and there are plenty of those posted without complaint from anyone.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

I feel Mr. Kunselman proved himself to be a grandstanding unprincipled opportunist over the "cab" issue, as reported in these pages back on Feb 7th of this year. He will apparently say whatever he thinks will benefit him politically and fabricate false issues; and along the way, taking spiteful swipes at one of Ann Arbor's home-grown National award-winning companies, SelectRide, attempting to portray them as a danger to women in Ann Arbor simply because of the type of licensing they chose to have. His petty utterances were just short of libelous. What is a fact is that Mr. Kunselman used the sexual assault incidents referred to as an opportunity to portray himself as a "heroic defender of the safety of the women of Ann Arbor", and to assault the reputation of a solid decades-old Ann Arbor transportation company, out of personal spite. Kunselman happens to be City Council's rep on the City's Cab Board, which had 3 or 4 years to address the real issue of out-of-town "gypsy limos" stealing local business and overcharging many customers, but did nothing. For 3 years, nothing, to address an issue that was repeatedly brought up at Cab Board meetings. Being on the Cab Board, he was annoyed that Select Ride/Yellow Car finally opted out of the City's licensing scheme and he used the alleged safety issue to publicly vent his spite on the company, never addressing the actual issue. Vote Julie Grand for City Council.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

The mayor, city council, and the DDA, working together, have created a small city that garners numerous national mentions every year as one of the most livable cities in the country. Just a few examples: 2013 "Smartest Cities in America" #15 Ann Arbor, 2013 "Top 50 Cities Leading the Economic Recovery" Ann Arbor, Area Development Magazine 2013 "10 Best Cities for Young Adults" #2 Ann Arbor, Kiplinger 2013 "10 Coolest Cities in the Midwest" Ann Arbor, MSN Travel 2013 "Best Cities for New Grads" Ann Arbor #2, Kiplinger 2012 "Best College Towns" Ann Arbor #9 2012 "Best Cities for Education in America -- Ann Arbor #10 2012 "America's Best Small Cities"-- Ann Arbor, Money Magazine 2012 "Best Cities for Successful Aging-- Ann Arbor #7 Milken Institute 2012 "Most Creative Cities"-- Ann Arbor #4 The Daily Beast


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

Julie Grand's closing ad hominem attacks on Kunselman were inappropriate and cast a very negative light on the pleasant but shallow persona she presents on her web site and in the first 30 minutes of the debate. Lacking relevant experience or substantive ideas, is this her ultimate strategy?


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

Another article on this topic:


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

The last thing Ann Arbor needs is to allow another FOM (friend of the mayor) on council. Council needs members that will vote for the citizens not what pleases the mayor the most at the moment.

Colorado Sun

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 6:18 p.m.

Grand's husband was a campaign donor to Clifford Taylor in his 2008 run for the Michigan Supreme Court. He practiced anti-trust law at the prestigious Miller Canfield law firm that Clifford Taylor works for since losing to Diane Hathaway. Miller Canfield represents banks, insurance companies and industrial concerns. The Grands are Democrats? LOL


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

And Kunselman, Peters, Kailasapathy, and Eaton appear to be about as green as Charles and David Koch.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

I had no idea that Grand was running for Student Government. Let me guess, she was prom queen and some others were not.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

I am always amazed at how shallow these "debates" are and how they are usually focused on a handful of issues. While the DDA is a very important issue, there are many more issues to be considered. I find that local politicians lack any general plan, a published agenda, planks of a platform, and react to "issues" in the form of questions instead of describing their vision of the future. Both Kunzelman and Grand appear to fall into this trap. I don't know enough about Grand to make an informed decision, and while Kunzelman has a record, the city lacks political diversity so it was it is usually difficult to separate views (with some exceptions). I will keep listening and waiting, but until I hear something that makes me want to go and vote in the primary for an actual candidate, Mickey Mouse will once again get my vote, because I will exercise my right to vote.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

Daniel -- Obviously, you have not visited Stephen Kunselman's "Issues" page on his campaign website. Please do: I would send you to Julie Grand's webpage also but I could not find it. For more information on Julie Grand's views of the issues you might try going to: By the way, voting for Mickey Mouse is no different than not voting at all. Not voting at all only increases the value of every other vote and abrogates a responsibility and a right for which many young American's fight and lose their lives. If you want better candidates then get politically involved in their recruitment and selection.

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

The format of the debates give very little leeway to the candidates to state their case. They have only a minute or two at the beginning and end. The rest is all questions.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

Julie Grand is not only inexperienced, but she is also a hypocrite. She has resorted to the same baseless personal attacks that she accuses others of doing to her. A platform of vague talking points and child-like idealism may get you a few votes, but it wont win an election.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

Speaking of baseless personal attacks...


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

As a resident of Ward 3 there is no other option than to vote for Grand. Kunselman is not only divisive, but completely rude and denegrating, IF he responds at all to you. I have an email from him telling me that the issue I had written to him about was too complicated for me to understand. And that was the sum of his response. Really? really? I've written to him other times to never even gotten a response. He's a bully who is simply grandstanding for his own causes. As far as voting for a townie vs anyone else? Grand has lived here 15 years folks. Just because someone went to high school here does NOT make them better qualified. And, just because some one agrees on principle with some of the Mayor's issues and the DDA does not make that person a pushover or puppet. Kunsleman HAS GOT TO GO! VOTE GRAND!!


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

A2Annie-- Your poor experience with Stephen Kunselman is unusual, which makes one wonder what was the content of your emails to him By the way, can you explain what you believe are Kunselman's "own causes"? What is it that you like so much about Julie Grand? What causes does she support that you like? Julie Grand would never have been appointed to the Parks Advisory Committee if her views were not similar to the mayor's views. What skills did Julie Grand bring to her committee assignment? What skills make her an excellent candidate for the City Council?

Colorado Sun

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 5:17 p.m.

God bless Steve Kunselman. He and his wife, Letitia, have been active members of the community and have been an asset to Ann Arbor citizens. He has a proven track record of helping citizens with problems and is honest and a dedicated officeholder.

Jon Saalberg

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

If in that ward, I would not vote for someone who is a big supporter of the DDA, the grandmasters responsible for the $50M underground folly and the disintegrating light poles.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

Could someone please explain how the DDA gave millions to the schools? I must have missed that news story.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

Wow, this thread overwhelmingly convinces me I made the right decision to move out of the city and into a township


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

I would love to give Stephen a vote. General City Fund should not be , too much, diverted to DDA. Fund is for the interest of the general public, but not for a small group of people who don't have keen sense of fiscal responsibility.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

Kunselman indeed said to the AA Dems that he doesn't need to read. He was also against spending money on affordable housing before he saw the community support for it. He claims to have a planning degree but is against planning and just wants to sell city property to the highest bidder. He shoots from the hip and some old-timers like that, but Grand is the candidate with more vision.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

Until I hear what Kunselman plans to do to improve downtown, I see Grand as the better candidate for a vibrant city center.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

StraightTalk -- If you attended City Council meetings or watched them on CTN 16 then you would know better than to state that Stephen Kunselman doesn't need to read. He addresses specific issues considered by City Council and is familiar with the facts and is rarely challenged by his colleagues on Council. By the way there is good spending on affordable housing and bad spending on affordable housing just like there is good planning for the city and bad planning for the city. Like most of us I am sure that you want the city to avoid wasteful spending. Which of Grand's visions do you like the most?


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

"Claims" nothing. • UM Master of Urban Planning 1990 So when it comes to planning do you prefer that or someone from academia with a public health background? Knowledge and experience or "vision" and other unquantifiable things like that?


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Julie Grand: "If we go from 146 to 152 police officers, for example, how much safer does that make us feel as a community?" she said. "And how much safer does that actually make us?" The answer depends on whether you need an officer, and whether all others are busy, at the exact moment you need them. I won't insult any reader here by stating, "Just because my house is not on fire, no one in Ann Arbor needs a fire department." As far as crime rates declining, there is interesting and prevalent information about many municipalities burying and reclassifying crime information, in a fraudulent attempt to appease residents. Maybe that's happening here, as well. I am not the only one questioning this scenario in Ann Arbor. Finally, if more officers are not needed in Ann Arbor, why is the DDA funding additional officers for downtown? I'd much rather have them deployed city wide. Wouldn't you?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 2:58 a.m.

The crime statistics cited by the mayor don't count graffiti incidents. Last I checked vandalism is still a crime. Police officers I've talked to have informed me that they don't have sufficient time to file police reports on all crimes that are reported to them. Crime statistics will under report if some police reports are not filed.


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 12:16 a.m.

a2g, I am not giving journalistic assignments. I am simply stating that I think it is dishonest and demagogic to accuse people of criminal behavior without the slightest shred of evidence for that. You make the charge, you back it up. And you seem to have nothing.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 8:22 p.m.

Sorry, your need for journalistic expose will not be fulfilled at this web site. . . You'll have to go elsewhere for that. However, there is a local reporter that wrote an interesting article on this very topic, complete with local sources and examples, if you have desire to investigate further. Since you seem keen on giving journalistic assignments, I'll happily reciprocate. Here are some public safety trivia questions for you: How many local fire departments were required to extinguish a recent fire in a simple single-family Burns Park house? What departments were they? What were the response times? Do you consider this level of fire protection worthy of your family, commensurate with the level of taxes you pay?


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

How about some examples relevant to Ann Arbor? Y'know, the place we are talking about.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:01 p.m.

Here are some examples: Or, google "manipulate crime data" and read until your heart's content. Cheers!


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 5:13 p.m.

' I won't insult any reader here by stating," And then you go ahead and state it.... And yeah, it is pretty insulting to our intelligence. Equating the idea of not needing a fire department, with a questioning of whether we need to go from 146 to 152 police officers. AS for crime rates??? Could you do a little more work before you slander people? Is there a fraudulent effort to hide what is actually a rising crime rate? Give some evidence. IF you have none, then you do not really have the right (in my personal opinion) to throw out charges like that. That is the lowest form of demagoguery.

Maria Huffman

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

I have always respected Stephen Kunselman's steadfastness. I think police officers are a good idea. Six more officers is a valuable metric in and of it's own right.

Maria Huffman

Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

Tano, I don't understand your argument. Be more specific, please.


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

I see. That is what you mean as "a metric in and of its own right". A metric that measures nothing in the real world. A metric that simply exists as numbers. Bigger numbers are better than smaller numbers. Nothing else need be considered. Is that about it?

Maria Huffman

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

If you are up 6 officers versus down 6 officer the difference is about an 8% variance of your staff (a span of 12 officers out of about 150). Six officers one way or another is noticeable.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

A metric of what?


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

Council members Lumm and Kunselman support a resolution that will REDUCE the increase in TIF payments to the DDA in future years and leaves more tax money for use by the AATA, AADL, Washtenaw Community College and the city. The resolution does NOT reduce the funds that the DDA receives. The resolution will also impose 8 year term limits on DDA members who presently remain with the DDA until they decide to leave or they anger the mayor who can then replace them. Meanwhile, the DDA receives no oversight and only answers to the mayor who also is a DDA member. The DDA has spent tax dollars "loosely" providing gifts to private interests and financing expensive parking facilities like the $47 million underground library parking structure and the soon-to-be completed $9 million 245 space Village Green Ann Arbor City Apartment's parking structure. Only one-third of Village Green's parking spaces will be committed to public parking. Much of the TIF monies received by the DDA is consumed by debt payments for the parking structures. In fact the DDA has been producing deficit budgets for years and has avoided insolvency only by draining its reserve fund which is almost depleted. The DDA is the favored child of the mayor. So it was not surprising when the mayor requested that the resolution not be considered until after the elections in November. Following the mayor's request, miraculously, Julie Grand and Kirt Westphal declared candidacy for Ward 2 and Ward 3 to oppose Stephen Kunselman and Jane Lumm, respectively. The mayor has appointed Julie Grand to the Parks Advisory Board and Kirt Westphal to the Planning Commission. Both are expected to align themselves with the mayor, including commitments to the DDA, high-density development and rail. If Julie Grand and Kirk Westphal win in the November election, then the mayor will have regained a clear majority of votes in City Council and will be able to continue his personal plans for Ann Arbor at tax payer expense.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

And do we want yet another Burns Park resident on council? Nothing against them, but Grand would make four council members (counting the mayor) living in the same neighborhood. Four of eleven votes. I'd prefer to see the representatives a little more spread out over town.


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Does anyone know if members of the various commissions are also populated by mostly Burns Park residents? I believe the mayor appoints all commission members.

Larry Baird

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

"And I've been energized by the opportunity to directly improve the quality of life for all citizens of Ann Arbor through our 157 parks and natural areas." Ok, remind me again how building a 1000 car parking structure on Fuller Park or converting parkland to other purposes such as building a train station and parking lot for Amtrak is going to improve our parks??? As Chairperson of the Parks Advisory Commission (PAC), Ms. Grand essentially turned a blind eye to the failed Fuller Park/UM 1000 car parking structure. Then last year City Council voted on a proposed city charter amendment to provide better protection to city parks to help ensure that 1000 car parking structures could not be built on city parks without a citizen vote. Ms. Grand's response as reported on August 10, 2012: "PAC Chairwoman Julie Grand said the commission met on Wednesday afternoon and unanimously decided Lumm's proposal wasn't a good idea." I am still amazed at PAC's initial silence on the initial Fuller Road Station Parking Structure and then last year's weak excuses for not supporting a Charter Amendment to better protect Ann Arbor's parks!


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

In a one-on-one with Grand, she had little response to my concerns about short-sighted downtown development and city council having no reins on out-of-control out-of-town developers other than she was a consensus builder. We need thoughtful, independent spokespeople who have a view of civic engagement that includes having strong priorities and values, speaking out and disagreeing when priorities are in question, representing their constituents, and not going with the flow to be agreeable. I have the sense that she and another council rep are good people who are play-acting at being government officials or perhaps have been socialized to be nice and not stand firm on values, issues, decisions that require backbone and some contentious discussions. I am supporting Kunselman.

Joseph Welch's Ghost

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

Kunselman knows full well that DDA had offered to pay the full amount for the emergency repair of the streetlights. Kunselman and Council instructed DDA to spend half that money on affordable housing, knowing that the rest would come from the city's general fund.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

City Council can not "instruct" the DDA about how it spends money. City Council can beg but they can not direct. And, yes, the lack of supervision and accountability is a problem!


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

Know why they had this forum first at 7PM? Because the challenger is clearly not ready for prime time.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

Kunselman keeps complaining about downtown investments and mocking the area as "a food court." Downtown Ann Arbor is what drives our region, and what separates us from the has-been urban sprawl that has helped to give the surrounding area such a bad reputation globally. Any enjoyment that living in this area provides me comes from the entertainment I find in visiting this "food court." If my money is not wanted, however, I would invite Kunselman and his bring-back-1955 allies to please write me a check. We've heard from the conservatives that we shouldn't vote for people simply because they're an ally of the mayor, but I'm still waiting to hear is what their actual vision for downtown is.


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

When I came to the area from out of state for my job interview, I was highly apprehensive about moving here at first. I came to downtown Ann Arbor for dinner, saw all of the culture with fascinating bars and restaurants with street side dining downtown, and that is what convinced me to give MI a chance. The fun that I continue to have in downtown A2 is what keeps me from returning head hunters' phone calls and emails...


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

That's certainly the party line. Guess what? This has been an attractive place to live for a long time, even before the proliferation of restaurants. Let's not ascribe too much of our success to the "dining hub nor the DDA..


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

Downtown, aka "the food court" and "the tourist area," is what makes this an attractive area to live, and is a major factor in convincing skilled, high demand professionals passing through U of M to stay in the area and contribute to our knowledge economy.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

Drives our region? That's ludicrous. You've taken "downtown-centricity" to a new level there. If there is anything downtown driving the region it's the university, not the tourist areas.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

We don't need even more grand standing for the non-accountable, non-elected DDA.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

I have to wonder those supporting Kunselman have actually met and talked to him in person. Having had the displeasure, I would guess not.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

Since come consider themselves so much better informed than those low class voters, perhaps Ann Arbor governance should be revised to permit self-nominated experts to appoint the Mayor and Council. Certainly, posting comments on is sufficient qualification to rule the world.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

" it is not impressive that the mayor gets the overwhelming number of votes." Whether it is objectively impressive or not, it certainly is hugely more relatively impressive than the efforts of his opponents - who, over the course of many years, have managed to persuade almost nobody other than themselves.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

Just because the mayor received 80% of the popular vote does not necessarily mean that the general population of Ann Arbor agrees with the mayor's views. It means that 80% of the less than 20% of the "voting" public preferred the mayor over his opponent. I canvassed over 400 homes during the last election and was disappointed to learn that very few people were aware of the issues facing Ann Arbor or even had any interest. In fact less than 5% knew who their City Council representative was even though he had been in office for two terms already. The mayor is very congenial and looks great in TV clips and newspaper interviews. He has nurtured important individuals in Ann Arbor and can easily get his proponents to the ballot boxes while the vast majority of Ann Arbor voters stay home. With so few constituents voting it is not impressive that the mayor gets the overwhelming number of votes.

Matt A

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

Well, we know Mr. Kunselman won't be taking home any Miss Congeniality honors...


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

Lea - This is not a popularity contest or a Miss America Pageant. It is about who would best represent the interests of the hard paying taxpayers of A2. I rest my case! Vote Kunselman for 4th Ward


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

"Dedicated to her version of what is right. Which she'll get from the mayor." What is this constant crazy conspiracy talk all about? Why do so many of the usual posters here argue that if anyone is in general agreement with the mayor (which, according to the last few elections, would be about 80% of the population of Ann Arbor), they must be some mindless pawns of the great political manipulator? Do you people not realize how ridiculous these arguments sound? Ms. Grand, like all the voters who voted for the mayor, are grownups, fully capable of making up their own minds about issues, and simply happen to find themselves in agreement. Are your arguments so weak that you need to take personal shots at people?


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

LeeA2 -- I wonder about the circumstances and the actual interchange that you had with Stephen Kunselman because your description is out of character for him. What was it that displeased you so much?


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Dedicated to her version of what is right. Which she'll get from the mayor.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

Have you met and spoken with Julie Grand? I have, and my concern is that she is steadfastly opinionated and I question whether she could ever listen to let alone consider an opinion other than her own. I think she would be dedicated, but dedicated to only her version of what is right.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

Devin Gardner goes back to pass. He floats an amazing spiraling bomb to his wide receiver, who is wide open, running full stride to the end zone. Touchdown! * *A fly is hit by the football during the spiral trajectory. Somehow, it sticks on the end, pushed between the seams, and precariously holding on for dear life. Dazed, amidst the ensuing touchdown excitement, the fly exclaims to the world, "Look, I am responsible for this great aerial touchdown, engineering and conducting its transit," thereby claiming full ownership of success. "Look, everyone, I am absolutely grand!" The dazed fly spiraling out of control is the mayor and the DDA. The confused are the political candidates that buy into the folly machine's misplaced, self-aggrandizing proclamations. Dazed and confused results in misplaced priority, in practice for a decade, with fruits being so obvious now. Obviously, everyone knows that Ann Arbor's touchdown scoring success force, fueling vitality and true fortune of our great city and downtown, has been, is, and will always be UM. Please, ignore the fly. I am grateful for the true-thinking council people that question and analyze policy and consequence, from the perspective of fiduciary responsibility and citizen service. These public servants are truly grand. Thank you Stephen Kunselman, for all the years that you have served for betterment of our city, and for your independent thoughtfulness and action on behalf of the true interests of ordinary a2 citizens and taxpayers. Now, 3rd-ward voters: It's up to you. Score a touchdown for our city. Please vote for Kunselman!


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 4 p.m.

Comfortably ensconced in their new millon-dollar booths overseeing the exciting game action way, way below, the handful of global corporate executives enriched by the day's audience proceeds, collegiate intellectual rights, and a little wagering on the side, discuss the next captivating play to be phoned down to the coaches - and their radio-controlled fly. Serving peanuts to the record 222,001 fans squeezed into the stadium, Kunselman and Grand wave to the cameras as their perfect images are briefly flashed across the mega-screens towering above the cheering crowd. "ITS YOUR FUTURE! DON"T FORGET TO VOTE!" says the scrolling LED banner beneath the popular reps. - eager to grow their own wings one day.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

A brilliant post! The mayor does take credit for many things that make our city great despite his own actions which hold it back from being even better.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

"Kunselman pointed out Grand is a political ally of Mayor John Hieftje,"... that alone is reason enough not to vote for Grand.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

Both candidates want the job representing Ann Arbor City residents and taxpayers. Both have advanced degrees from The UM. And work for The UM. Both candidates also want everyone to know that the UM is a State institution that answers only to the State and NEVER to Ann Arbor residents ever Now, who wants to pay more taxes on less property to double the downtown population and their needed city services managed by the DDA in association with The UM who need a new mass transit system to move all of those young professionals between jobs at the UM, downtown restaurants, and let's-go-shopping! stores at the mall ? Great!. Now go vote for UM professional ethics candidate #1 or #2.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

Choose wisely, In Ann Arbor the primary is it, the general election (with very rare exceptions) does not matter. Who ever wins the primary has a 99% chance of being on the council. If you care, take the time to vote in the primary.

Barbara Brown

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 11:24 a.m.

I too wish I was a resident of the 3rd Ward so I could vote for Stephen. I find the difference in professionalism exhibited between the two candidates striking - while Stephen is certainly not a pushover, I think he has consistently maintained a civility in his discourse while being one of the independent voices on council that hasn't drunk the DDA kool-aid. Ms. Grand, however, does not seem able to maintain same politeness and her politics show that she will simply go along with the status quo.

4 Real

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.

Stephen maintains civility??? You don't watch the same meetings that I do! Grand is right. He creates problems to draw attention to himself to help his re election.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 10:53 a.m.

It seems that if you support the DDA as it has been operating then you should support Ms. Grand. If you support a rubber stamp for the mayor's agenda then Ms. Grand is also your candidate. Don't feel bad, though, if she doesn't win this election because she has positioned herself nicely to be appointed to the DDA by the mayor.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 10:39 a.m.

"Grand is a political ally of Mayor John Hieftje... [who has] lost a lot of respect, ha[s] lost seats at the council table, and [he and his allies] only have themselves to blame." When I asked Ms. Grand if she would have voted to allow the DDA to increase its revenue or send the money back to the general fund to pay for increased basic services, she said that she would have voted for the DDA because "she considers herself a supporter of the DDA.". Sorry, but the DDA's priorities for spending money should not be the city's priorities. As a resident of the 1st Ward, I don't get to vote, but if I were a 3rd Ward resident, I'd vote to re-elect Stephen Kunselman. I endorse him for re-election because he has pushed the city to provide more adequate funding to fire and emergency medical and police services, while the Mayor's allies have had other priorities such as funding the DDA, and diverting public funds to pay for the Huirinal and other public art boondoggles. We need elected leaders who will push to ensure our city takes care of the basics of municipal government correctly and not squander funds on low priority fripperies.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 10:32 a.m.

From her past statements, It's pretty clear that Grand will be yet another puppet for the Mayor and the DDA. Kunselman, who has been in Ann Arbor his entire life, has looked out for voters and taxpayers his entire time on Council. Grand is supported by the same old clique (Gunn, Lowenstein, Smith) that wants to sell park land, continue to skim money from our taxes for the DDA and make the city safe only for out-of-town developers. Anyone who has watched Grand on the Park Advisory Commission knows what a poor addition she'd make on Council. The headline is perfect: "Grand goes on the attack...". Last thing we need on Council is another Leigh Greden. Kunselman is doing an outstanding job and deserves another term on Council.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 10:18 a.m.

I guess it's Townie vs. Gownie.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

Interesting article on Kunselman and Grand here -


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

???Which is which? They both seem to work for the University, though Kunselman is full-time....

Jay Thomas

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

I vote for the townie.