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Posted on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Mayor John Hieftje and allies lose majority control on Ann Arbor City Council

By Ryan J. Stanton


Mayor John Hieftje, right, shares a laugh with water resources commissioner candidate Evan Pratt during an election night gathering at the Heidelberg in Ann Arbor on Tuesday night. Hieftje is losing his majority on the Ann Arbor City Council.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Three new faces will join the Ann Arbor City Council in November after Tuesday's primary turned out wins for Sumi Kailasapathy, Sally Hart Petersen and Chuck Warpehoski.

By way of background, that adds a certified public accountant, a former marketing professional and a nonprofit organization director to the council's ranks.

They'll replace Sandi Smith, Tony Derezinski and Carsten Hohnke — three of Mayor John Hieftje's trusted allies on council.

And that means Hieftje and his ruling coalition have three more months before they lose their 7-4 majority, an outcome Derezinski lamented as he watched the results roll in Tuesday night.


Sally Hart Petersen, who defeated 2nd Ward incumbent Tony Derezinski, talks with her supporters at The Last Word in downtown Ann Arbor.

Jeffrey Smith |

Derezinski said he fears the addition of Petersen and Kailasapathy to the 11-member council — reducing the current majority's ranks from seven to five — could have a detrimental effect on moving forward projects like a proposed train station and a countywide expansion of public transit services.

"I think that's a real shame," he said. "Because that's what they ran on — stopping various things — and I think that's the wrong direction to go."

Derezinski, who earlier this year suggested he might run for mayor after Hieftje steps down, said his only regret after losing is that voters in the 2nd Ward didn't embrace his vision for the future.

"I was really pushing for managed change," he said. "We really had a progressive agenda that I was in favor of — along with the mayor and a number of council members. Obviously in the 2nd Ward, that didn't play as well as I had hoped, and I think the resistance to change is really at the core of the issue."

It played well in the 5th Ward, though, where Warpehoski and Vivienne Armentrout competed for the open seat being vacated by Hohnke.

Warpehoski, who supports both visions for a new train station and countywide transit, ran with support from Hieftje and Hohnke and pulled off a nearly 400-vote win over Armentrout, a staunch council critic and former county commissioner. Warpehoski is director of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice.

In the 1st Ward race to replace Smith, Kailasapathy, another staunch council critic who has opposed the countywide transit and train station plans, beat newcomer Eric Sturgis with 57.7 percent of the vote.

In the 2nd Ward, Petersen pulled off what many characterized as a surprise upset with 55.2 percent of the vote against Derezinski.

In the only other contested race, incumbent Margie Teall, another of Hieftje's allies, barely squeaked past challenger Jack Eaton by a mere 18 votes.

Incumbent Christopher Taylor was unopposed in the 3rd Ward, and Hieftje ran unopposed for mayor, though he faces Independent challenger Albert Howard in November.

The only other candidate facing opposition in November at this point is Warpehoski, who is expected to easily beat Republican Stuart Berry since the 5th Ward is not GOP-friendly turf.

Two out of four

If anyone is keeping score, Tuesday's primary brought two wins for what Armentrout dubbed the old "council party" and two wins for what Kailasapathy dubbed the new "council independents."

"If you look at this election as a referendum on the mayor and his overall agenda, he only got two out of four, so that's not too great," Armentrout said after leaving her campaign's gathering at Knight's Steakhouse.


Incumbent Margie Teall's narrow victory in the 4th Ward was one of two wins for the mayor's allies on Tuesday night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"But if you look at what artillery that was aimed at me, with all of the endorsements, the outcome is not surprising," she added. "And to give Chuck credit, he ran a vigorous campaign."

By Armentrout's measure, Hieftje and the so-called council party are left with just five votes on the 11-member council starting in November.

But one of those votes, Warpehoski, already is making it clear he's not going to be a rubber stamp for the mayor. While in line with Hieftje on most issues, he vows to act independently.

"My goal right now is to build positive working relationships with everybody on council so that when we do disagree, it's not personal, it's not factional," Warpehoski said.

That's not entirely rare — even council members in Hieftje's camp still switch and vote against him on some issues, and other council members in the minority still support Hieftje sometimes.

But it's clear the dynamics on council are changing, and it started last November when Jane Lumm ousted incumbent Stephen Rapundalo, another Hieftje ally, in the 2nd Ward.

Lumm has been pushing for a public vote before the city could proceed with building a new train station on city parkland along Fuller Road.

All three incoming council members agree the envisioned Fuller Road Station project should go to a vote of the people. With their three votes, the current minority members on council theoretically would have enough support to push a public vote on the project sometime in the next year.

Hieftje said that wouldn't bother him.

"Fuller Road is a very popular project," he said. "You're going to have groups out there to support it like the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and the Chamber of Commerce. I've never had any fear of it going to voters. I think if it does go to the polls, it'll be successful."

Even if Ann Arbor voters give their blessing to move forward with the project, Derezinski fears Lumm and others, including Kailasapathy and Petersen, still would work to defeat the project.

"I think when you look at it honestly, their intent is to not have Fuller Road go ahead," he said. "This was a ploy to stop it, no doubt about it. They'll do everything to stop it and I think that's a huge mistake because the railroad is coming, commuter trains are coming, and high-speed rail is coming."

Another unknown after Tuesday's primary is whether there will be enough support on council for the countywide expansion of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. The City Council voted 7-4 in March in favor of a four-party agreement that lays the framework for creation of a new countywide authority.

Once the articles of incorporation are filed, possibly later this year, the city will have an option to opt out and essentially halt the expansion. And if Petersen and Kailasapathy, who have expressed doubts about the plan, join the four who previously voted against the four-party agreement, that's a 6-5 majority in opposition.

Hieftje said he's not worried about council becoming divided on issues, though. Even in spite of the outcome of Tuesday's primary, he was in good spirits as he mingled with supporters, including a number of Downtown Development Authority board members, at a Democratic gathering at Heidelberg.

"I've never really believed that there were two distinct camps on council," he said. "I think that was overblown and I think it breaks down on the issues. I'm looking forward to working with all three of the new council members and I think we'll have a good discussion of the issues and things will work out."

Hieftje said he doesn't see the outcome of Tuesday's primary as a blow to his agenda, and that includes plans to continue pushing ahead with a new train station for Ann Arbor.

"I think the wisdom of something like a new train station, that'll come through," he said. "I don't think Ann Arbor is anything like Troy, Mich., where they turned down the federal money. I think the people of Ann Arbor will say this a great idea, particularly when they see the improvements coming online for Amtrak."

Getting along on council

Others shared Hieftje's optimism that the new council — despite some differences among individual members on certain issues — will be able to work together.

"They're all good people and I think they'll find a way to work to do what's best for the city," Sturgis said after his defeat, adding he'll be supporting Kailasapathy now. "I think it'll be some growing pains and different opinions, but I think everybody is going to try to work and there's going to be a lot of compromise."

Warpehoski said that's his goal.


5th Ward candidate Chuck Warpehoski checks election results during the Ann Arbor Democratic Party's gathering Tuesday evening at Arbor Brewing Co.

Jeffrey Smith |

"What I've campaigned on is a collaborative approach to things," he said. "What really strikes me is there have been issues that have been really controversial. The pedestrian ordinance is an example. Whatever your take is on whether that was the right way to do it or the wrong way to do it, we're all on the side of safety. We're all trying to make things safe for motorists and pedestrians."

But with three seats turning over, Warpehoski acknowledged, there undoubtedly will be a changing dynamic on council.

"One of the things I want to do between now and the general election is I want to start meeting with the people who are likely to be my colleagues and figure out what are projects we can work on together," he said. "For example, with Sally Petersen, something we both raised in the campaign is customer service. I want to sit down and work with her on what we can do together on that."

Warpehoski said he's hopeful council members can work together to solve problems, instead of taking a "you're in that camp and I'm in this camp" approach.

Armentrout said she'll wait and see if that holds true.

"He's going to have show that a lot of the promises he's made were sincere and I'm going to be watching to see that," she said.

Eaton, who celebrated Kailasapathy's victory at Conor O'Neill's on election night, said he thinks Kailasapathy and Petersen will be valuable additions to council.

Kailasapathy said she'll do her best. She called it "a new era" for the City Council — with a new emphasis on independent thinking.

"The main message that I got from Ward 1 residents is they want an independent person to get into council to look at things from an objective point of view, not predetermined, and not bloc vote, and that's my promise to them," she said. "I think the process itself is going to become more open, more transparent."


Sumi Kailasapathy, middle in black, surrounded by her campaign team at Conor O'Neill's after winning Tuesday night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Kailasapathy acknowledged she still has serious concerns about the AATA's countywide expansion plans, but that doesn't mean she's anti-transit.

"I think just giving away our perpetual millage over to a countywide board is problematic for me because I look at it as a disenfranchisement of the Ann Arbor voters," she said. "We voted ourselves for this tax so that we have good transportation within Ann Arbor, and here we are just giving that away."

Teall, who has been on council since 2002, said the fact that she won with only 50.5 percent of the vote tells her that her opponent's message must have resonated with 4th Ward voters.

"I think the people who did come out and vote are clearly not happy — I would say that voters were expressing some displeasure," she said.

She said she takes that seriously. She also said she looks forward to working with all three incoming council members, even those with different viewpoints.

"I think that the council members who were elected are reasonable and will certainly be open to learn more about the mayor's vision and what direction he wants to take," she said.

"I'm not worried about the future of Fuller Road Station," she added. "I think that things are on track. Again, if the newcomers on council look really closely at the issue, they'll learn a lot about why things are going the direction they are right now."

Petersen, who celebrated her victory at The Last Word, said she doesn't have her mind made up yet on a new train station or countywide transit — just some concerns.

"We're going to take each of those questions one by one and break them down," she said. "On Fuller Road, there doesn't seem to be a known pipeline of funding for that, so that's the first question that needs to be answered. And the second question is: Is it legal to build on parkland?"

Petersen said she looks forward to more diversity of thought and debate on council,.

"Sumi has an accounting background. I have a business background. We'll bring a different sort of analysis to the questions we're debating," she said. "And we're not always going to agree with each other."

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.



Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 9:42 a.m.

Cool, we may have some real brains there now. I hope they can tell the difference between saving lives and useless art. I know they say it was supposed to got to art, but it still a waist of finances, well as far as I and many, many people believe. I guess wasting lives and money is the "in" thing these days in our fair town of A2. So I hope with the new people in there we will get good decisions. Good Luck.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:23 a.m.

In better economic times I'd be for some of these projects, like public art, etc. Laying off firefighters and police officers, closing fire stations, etc. is just unacceptable. The roads are in horrible disrepair. We still have the bridges on Stadium unfinished. What's with that? These things hurt business, since I don't go to various businesses I used to frequent. They need to take care of the panhandling problem. I've have aggressive panhandlers bang on my window before I even got out of my car on Liberty. In broad daylight, yet! I decided not to get out and went elsewhere. Given the economic climate, I wonder if we will ever get high-speed rail. I'm for high speed rail, but I'd like to wait and see. The library lot conference center got my notice and it's why I'm happy to see someone to oppose these grandiose projects that the taxpayer could end up paying for and that are out of character with Ann Arbor.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 9:52 a.m.

Bridges take time to build, if you want it to last 30-50 years. It's a lot of work and complicated projects. just hammering in the huge anchoring pieces, which it takes its own time, and A2 is mostly clay so that makes it much more complicated to get these anchors in place. They have to be resting on the bedrock , in-which could be hundreds of feet deep, i do believe. That bridge has to be raised to a minimum of 14 feet above state st, for big trucks can get threw there. they said at the beginning of the project it was going to take some time. It's not a simple task.But it will resemble the Broadway Bridge, and I lived right up the street from there when it was being buit, and it took some time to get done.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

Regardless of how we feel about the A2 City Council, we should be thankful that it could never be as arrogant, self-centered, lazy, and self-entitled as the Detroit City Council. It does have its moments, though...


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

What a cop out! The council members want a referendum on the train station??? What about a good old fashioned up or down vote from the council?? Are they afraid of that outcome?? A referendum sounds like a desperate move by the opposition. Personally I think moving into the 20th century is a good idea especially before it becomes too distant a memory...


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 10:10 p.m.

Just shows me that the 5th ward is the best ward!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

"Derezinski, who earlier this year suggested he might run for mayor after Hieftje steps down, said his only regret after losing is that voters in the 2nd Ward didn't embrace his vision for the future." I think he has that backwards. He is supposed to be embracing the voters vision for the future, not the other way around. Finally a movement for change in Ann Arbor. I have long held that if the majority was discontented they would not keep voting the same people into office. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

Congrats to Sumi and Sally P "You will see a new Ann Arbor" :)

A Voice of Reason

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Dear New Guard, If the University wants to hire you, please decline. If they want to invest in your husband or wife's business, decline. You are working for the Ann Arbor tax payer and not the University. Please bring ethics to the job!!!

Fifth Warder

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

Mayor Hieftje, with his Bachelor's degree from EMU, and Circuit Judge Timothy Connors, with his controversial courtroom antics documented at , are among the highest paid part--time employees at the University of Michigan. The City of Ann Arbor has leases and service agreements with U-M and the local Circuit Court hears a myriad of cases in which U-M is a party. Neither of these two bozos should be working at U-M due to clear conflicts of interest.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Dear Mr Gazinski, Sorry that you feel that way but it was time for a change within the city government. The train station thing should be put on the back burner until we can get our Police and Fire Departments back up to the standards that the tax payers pay for. And stop spending money on stupid art things. If I remember correctly, a few months back the Fire Chief had stated that the Tower truck that runs out of the Downtown station is old and in dire need of replacement because the frame was cracked. That is where the tax payers money should be going for, to make sure that those who are here to protect our city have properly working equipment to do the job with out having to call in another Department for a tower truck. My fingers are crossed that both Public Safety Departments get what they need and deserve before we spend anymore money on art that nobody will come and see if we don't have the personnel to protect them.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

In somewhat related news, the Arizona senate issued a statement mourning the loss of Hieftje's majority. "Whatever are we to do without John's guidance on issues important to Arizonians?" asked spokesman Bob Onion.

Lemmy Caution

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

Well I voted in the First Ward and wondered how the best that the erstwhile council machine could do was put up an enthusiastic and optimistic tennis instructor who lacks even a bachelor's degree, and didn't make up for that with sterling experience. In the face of that, it was hard not to vote for a knowledgeable CPA with an extensive professional background. Of course CPAs make mistakes too: we'll see. If the CPA was tainted by an ongoing association with the toxic and unnecessarily divisive Lesko machine, the tennis instructor was tainted by a whiff of serious amateurism and first-timerism.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

"Derezinski said he fears the addition of Petersen and Kailasapathy to the 11-member council — reducing the current majority's ranks from seven to five — could have a detrimental effect on moving forward projects like a proposed train station and a countywide expansion of public transit services" Maybe that's why they were voted out.............? Hard to believe the citizenry would not mindlessly side with you Mr. Derezinski?


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

I don't want to make it easier for "those people" to get to Ann Arbor by train. I'll start going downtown again—every day—if there's a park next to the AADL. Promise! I want to blow the budget on more cops, even while the crime rate is going down. I am AGAINST EVERYTHING that Hieftje has ever voted for. I AM THE PARTY OF NO! Hear me roar!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

Maybe just a twang of bigotry too................

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

i hope theese new ones have a brain+repeal that evil APPROACHING crosswalk law!

Fifth Warder

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

Down at Arbor Brewing last night, there was a phrase coined to address the apparent change of control of City Council. The "Council Party" is out. The "Anglin Machine" is in! All hail the Anglin Machine!!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

What a cop out! The council members want a referendum on the train station??? What about a good old fashioned up or down vote from the council?? Are they afraid of that outcome?? A referendum sounds like a desperate move by the opposition. Personally I think moving into the 20th century is a good idea especially before it becomes too distant a memory...

Fifth Warder

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

How much did Tony Derezinski's landslide defeat have to do with his role in the Dream-Nite Night Club closure? Dream-Nite had a large amount of supporters, as Sam apparently refers to. City Attorney Steve Postema had been boasting recently to police personnel about his most recent courtroom victory, but at what cost to John Hieftje's control of City Council? The Dream-Nite saga is far from over in the court system. Sumi and Sally are pledging changes in city government. Both are pro-business and have expressed criticism over Hieftje's control of City of AnnArbor affairs. Ann Arbor loves you, Sumi and Sally.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

Maybe now "Bongz & Thongz" can REALLY be bongs and thongs.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

Love your nicknames for the wasteful capital projects, Mr. Ranzini!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

@Thanks, Vivian!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

Congrats Sumi and Sally.Job well done,hopefully Prince John will never be able to force feed his agenda down the citizens throat anymoe.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

I'm a black man living in the city of Ann Arbor where the black population is repotedly 25% of the city resdents, but not a single person of color was encouraged to seek elected office.I wonder why that is so.Recently Ilearned that the only establishment in the city where blacks felt comfortable going to was closed down by the city powers that be,and not a single voice was raised by anyone.Maybe strength in numbers is a myth.Come on brothers and sisters yts time for us to stand together and bring reality back to the city.. that we are a force and we need to be recognised as an essential part of the communitty.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

Blacks only make up 7%, not 25%. If you decide to help increase black participation in city government, that's fine with me. However, this black person won't be voting for someone just because they're black. If Chuck were black, I still would have voted for Vivienne.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

Spot on Sam. To the latte liberals of Ann Arbor blacks are objects mere pawns to manipulate as they social engineer the community. Talking about discrete racism it oozes from every Starbucks and hybrid vehicle in a 5 mile radius of the UM campus.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

How do you know that not a single person of color was encouraged to run? What does the percentage of people of color have to do with it anyhow? Anyone can run. Not because of the percentage of whatever but because it is still a free country and you can run for any office you like. Not that the democrat or republican machine would support you. That's a whole different issue and more related to retaining the status quo. More and more outside the staus quo are making headway though. We might just be waking up from our voting slumber.........


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

good point!! the seems like the black population in Ann Arbor and county have been segregated too a great degree. Life for black in Ann arbor is hard. bush threw away affirmative action!!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

Sam, I would encourage you to pursue this while it's fresh in your mind. Some people find it helpful to start volunteering on a city board or commission (there's a list of these on the city's website). Talk to the leadership of any organizations/clubs you belong to. Also, please talk to current or past city council people and learn about its history—it hasn't always been all white. Their phone numbers and emails are on the city's website... or just introduce yourself after a city council meeting. It's good that you raise a the Dream issue (I'm assuming this is what you're referring to), however my understanding is that the owners of that place have a documented lengthy history of legal "irresponsibility."


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

"but not a single person of color was encouraged to seek elected office" And you know this how? Its not always about race.

martini man

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

This has nothing to do with the "primary" BUT ..isn't that ART VAN ad on the home page about the most annoying thing ???


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

Oh heck yes. Almost as annoying as ads on toilet paper.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

Three of Mayor John Hieftje's trusted allies on council. This is really great news to keeping Ann Arbor a little more on board with what the voters want. Can't have people in league with the Mayor agreeing with him all the time now can we? Time to see some change.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

Mr. Stanton, This is a primary, not the general election. Warpehoski has not won the council seat yet. Ward 5 does have a repuplican on the ballot.

Ellis Sams

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

Stuart Berry is the republican candidate for the 5th Ward council seat. If 5th Ward voters can overcome their reflexive aversion to republicans, they will elect Mr. Berry, a man interested in solving city problems, not advancing the mass transit fantasies of the mayor and his followers.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

Nice to see a couple DINO's elected to the council. The Socialist mayor can no longer force feed his agenda.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

Jack may not have won, but the fact that he only lost by 18 votes sends a clear message to the mayor and Margie - watch your step, or next time it'll all be over. This sends a crystal clear message. I hope they get it, but I doubt they will. Too busy advancing their "agenda", to see the electorate moving in a different direction. One more election cycle should finish the house-cleaning at Hieftje Hall.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

City place is what made the mayor loose his edge. He was his way and not the way of the voters.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

Who in their right mind would even want a position in city government. What a major hassle and PIA. What drives these people to "serve" I mean we appreciate or not, what you all do but good grief. Why?

Honest Abe

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

Want to get rid of Ann Arbor's problems? Get rid of those extreme, left leaning, liberals. Problem solved.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

There is a hint to the type of representation we will get from Ms. Teall and Mr. Warpehoski in the photos above. Self-centered and staring at phones to find out what people think of them... I know it is just a photo selection, a slice of time captured for publication, but I'll bet it is not too far from the truth of the matter, like all pictures.


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

It was probably Teall trying to figure out how to use a phone to contact one of her Constituents who haven't heard from her in years despite repeated attempts to call her, email her, write to her, etc. In short, ask for her help as their Representative. Winning by 18 votes may have given her a short-term shock, but she will return to her old ways of ignoring her Ward, voting in lock-step with the Mayor, and refusing to listen to the Citizens who elected her. Hasn't she always?


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.



Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

I'm sure Margie was just busy, replying to e-mails from her constituents...


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

Dear Mr. Stanton, Your election analysis theme statement is that Mayor Hieftje has lost majority control on a2 City Council. How exactly do you perceive/anticipate the voting lines of the newly configured council body to support your idea? Cheers, a2grateful

Elijah Shalis

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

When are they going to repave Stone School road? We don't need a new train station.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

Now the new city council needs to get rid of the "retreats" where policy is determined and decisions are made out of the public eye.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

Is this what the Downtown Development Agency is? (A way for Mayor to pay off his supporters) "he was in good spirits as he mingled with supporters, including a number of Downtown Development Authority board members, at a Democratic gathering at Heidelberg."


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

You people in the 5th ward really missed the boat. You could have had a very intelligent and experienced person to represent you, yet you opted for Captain Kumbaya with the huge AATA connection. In my 4th ward we almost got it right this time. Only 18 votes - any chance you may start answering e-mails now?


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

12%, huh? Aargh.

Fifth Warder

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

Ann Arbor loves Vivienne Armentrout. With Chuck you will have a Hieftje puppet.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

I agree, Brad, 18 votes is what makes this really hard to take. No, she won't start answering e-mails now. Why change now, she's been in the same seat for ten years now. Sad that only 12% of Ward 4 voted; this was an important race. 2,342 votes 19,318 registered voters in Ward 4


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Recount in Ward 4!! Only 18 votes seperate the 2.... We need Jack Eaton! Out with Teall


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Ann Arbor City Election? What could go wrong?! LOL!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

I hope that the new faces/ voices on City Council will be a constructive influence on the direction that the City takes. And NOT what we see the Republicans in Washington, D.C. currently doing now which is acting as the Party of "NO!!!!" Virtually NO compromise, NO alternatives, NO leadership, NO good ideas, NO value to the vast majority of their Constituents or anyone else.... I have a lot of respect for those who put themselves forward for roles like City Council Member. Even when I do not always agree with or can vote for them. It is usually clear that these individuals care deeply about Ann Arbor and the area. Such people certainly do not run for City Council for the stipend money the role pays. I hope that the new faces/ voices on City Council will be responsible, responsive, respectable, and keep Ann Arbor moving ahead....


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

How can you be so blind? Your party controls the Senate and the Presidency, and your President doesn't even go to congress anymore for legislation, he rules (like a king) with executive order. Beware old progressive, as you are creating a kingdom, not a democracy. Blaming Repubs, is like Jenny Granholm blamming governors from 8 years ago. Your part is and has been in charge. No budget, no energy policy, no foreign policy, yet YOU are in charge. Wake up.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

My hope is that they bring an attitude of running the city as a business and not what is trendy......or artsy.......


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

"running the city as a business" --- Be careful what you wish for. The current Great Recession was entirely the product of "businesses" bent on selling scam financial instruments. Maybe a city run as an honest business would be the better wish.

Mary Koral

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

We absolutely must have have the Fuller Road station. Take it to the voters. I am distressed that Eric did not run an aggressive campaign. Sumi is charming and, no matter what she claims, a fiscal conservative against the arts and what makes Ann Arbor vital. Work to keep our city. Mary Koral


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

"We absolutely must have the Fuller Road station." Please explain why? And how has Ann Arbor survived so long without it?

Rod Johnson

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

Why "must" we?

David Cahill

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

In November, the shattered hulk of the "council party" goes from control into opposition. Will the "council independents", as Kailasapathy calls them, be able to form a loose working coalition, or will they fall to squabbling among themselves? Only time will tell.

Fifth Warder

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

Maybe Sabra can tell us, David.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

Good point David.

Nosy V

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

I rode past city hall, fire station and the public library on my way to work and never felt more proud to be an Ann Arbor resident. The people's democracy was voiced yesterday, she said that we will not be beholden to the misguided agenda of the 1% and that the 99% will continue shape this city. I hope this will signal more people, especially young people, to get involved in local politics, seeing as how change can and will happen.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

Chuck Warpehoski has been supported by Hieftje and Hohnke. For a real change Vivienne Armentrout would have been the right choice.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

What A2 said. We got change when the Rickster was elected and look what surprises he has passed on to us. He raised my state income taxes by $1200 by axing the property tax credit which is hugely regressive, gave large tax breaks to business and cut education by 15% last year. By the way, I don't have any $100M IRA's so this tax increase hurts me.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

Change purely for change's sake is rarely good. "Gee, I think I'll vote for candidate X because he wants to make a big change and impose martial law after 9 pm to make the city safer." More than 56% of our ward's voters think Mr. Warpehoski is the better choice. And so it shall be. (Note I said nothing whatsoever about whom I voted for.)

Ghost of Tom Joad

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

too bad we can't have a decent challenger to Hieftje. I would love to vote for someone else, but I have yet to see anyone worthwhile running. I'd prefer someone who isn't a fundamentalist, bible thumper


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

In Ward 2, Tony Derezinski blames the ward's voters for not supporting his progressive vision for the City. That is not accurate. Tony missed the point of many, many comments made publicly that what the voters in Ward 2 wanted was someone who represented them and who put their interests before City Council. They simply wanted true representation, not someone pushing expense and often wasteful, costly projects without looking for less costly alternatives first. He also could have won more voters if he had responded to letters and emails from his constituents.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

Yeah!!!! At last! I thank my neighbor Democrats since as a Republican I had no say in this decision....but AT LAST is all I have to say.

Middle America

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

This is Ann Arbor - there is absolutely no difference between Democrats and Republicans here. Thanks for voting.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

Remember, you can vote in either primary, as long as you don't split your ticket. I'm also a R but voted in the D primary because that's where all the action was that matter to me.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

Warpehoski i would say the same if i lost. say what you want people to think. then once you get in. which i doubt you will revert back to what you have done in the past. this is what politicians do. say things they want the voters to read so they vote for them. then do something different. be this way for years and will not change. good luck! they voted you out for a reason. so if i was you i would say out!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

"Derezinski, who earlier this year suggested he might run for mayor after Hieftje steps down, said his only regret after losing is that voters in the 2nd Ward didn't embrace his vision for the future". taken out of the article. i tried to say lost in your ward do not try for two in a row.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

he is thinking about running for mayor! hope this clears this up.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.


Urban Sombrero

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

I'm thrilled. The only way I could have been happier would have been if Vivienne Armentrout had won. Otherwise, this is good news for Ann Arbor!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

i agree with you. she would have made a them think before they voted as a click! i liked the way she said in my words. out of control!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

Best news since sliced bread and the ouster of Jimmy Carter.

Stephen Landes

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:44 a.m.

Derezinski is upset that our Ward didn't follow HIS vision. He was not elected to last time to push his vision on us, but to represent OUR vision on Council. Now he is off the Council and he has only his inflated self-centered image to blame for his loss yesterday.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:40 a.m.

"Fuller Road is a very popular project," he said. "You're going to have groups out there to support it like the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and the Chamber of Commerce. I've never had any fear of it going to voters. I think if it does go to the polls, it'll be successful." Think again...

Basic Bob

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 4:45 a.m.

They should call it Fuller PARKING LOT. Just because you can throw a frisbee there on the weekend doesn't make it a PARK.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

Just a reminder - everyone should be calling it the "Fuller PARK" project, because that's what it is. They want to take land in the PARK, not the road.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

think again. why do you think you took a hit. was not the weather outside. FULLER ROAD was a big reason. good luck see you in nonmember

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:32 a.m.

The Ann Arbor Democratic Party had its election night event at Ann Arbor Brewing. The party leadership was there along with the senior democratic elected officials such as Rep. Jeff Irwin and County Commission Chair Conan Smith. The Mayor had his election night event at the Heidelberg and all his close allies hung out over there all night. The Mayor finally put an appearance in at the Ann Arbor Democratic Party event just as we were all leaving and about to walk out the door at 11pm. Are the members of the Mayor's Party really members of the Democratic Party? Who do they stand for and represent other than themselves and their own ambitions? When they pursue policies that 80% of the people oppose, are they in synch with Democratic or even democratic principles? For example, Thursday night at city council they will make a million dollar equipment purchase for the fire department that assumes the adoption of the 3 fire station plan, when the last word they announced publicly before the election was that the plan to close three fire stations and reopen the one near the Mayor's house in Burns Park is on hold, because over 80% of the citizens oppose this plan because it is bad public policy. It is for reasons like this, that when members of the Mayor's Party lose, we all win!


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

@jsc. if you don't know that the Grefs are huge Dems...well, I don't know what to tell's not a big secret. (fyi...I applaud them for taking a position...not against them being Dems).


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

How is it that the Grefs are big supporters of the Dem Party and why does the AA Dem Party always hold functions at ABC when it is a known fact that the Grefs are big supporters of Governor Synder and campagined in support of him? Don't forget, in Ypsilanti (where they reside), the single largest donor to Snyder's campaign was the Greff family. Combined, Matt and Rene Greff donated $3,984. This is acceptable to AA Dem Party members? Seems pretty antithetical to the Dem Party's "supposed "agenda. I think it's ironic that the fees the AA Dem Party pays (or has paid) to rent the ABC for their events pretty much subsidize the donations the Greffs make to the Republican Party since they own the ABC!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

And here I thought all these posts on this site decrying the lack of fiscal responsibility both here in AA and nationally originated from people simply being fed up with the same old same old. Well, I apologize. I didn't realize it was you who is responsible for this wave of change.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

@SEC Fan wrote: "I just don't believe this tactic, is or will, be constructive." The headline of the story says it all, "Mayor John Hieftje and allies lose majority control on Ann Arbor City Council"!! As a leader of the revolution, I think the voters have spoken. And yes, they, we, you and I had a lot to be frustrated about starting with inadequate fire and police protection, deteriorated roads and ill-conceived plans for signs at cross walks that don't accurately convey local law and making major roads into town two lanes instead of four, spending millions to put a $120 million train station on parkland without a vote of the citizens (or a source of funding for the city's match), illegal gag orders on city employees to stifle transparency in government, $100 million in wasteful capital projects (Rog Mahal & Garage Mahal), and last but not least the $750,000 Huirinal. I have written extensively about all these things to bring the truth of how poorly our great city is run by the Mayor's Party to the attention of the public. I speak up about these things to make the city better, because we can do better! To do better we need better leadership in our city. This election moves us closer to that goal I hope.

Tom Hollyer

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:10 p.m.

To RUKiddingMe... salary info for UM personnel is freely available at The Michigan Daily website in the Salary Supplement. In 2010, the mayor was paid ~$33,000 as a part-time lecturer in the School of Public Policy.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

I understand the frustration; I just don't believe this tactic, is or will, be constructive. Not to be offending or condescending, but these attacks come across as personal and a bit petty.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

Things that make you go "hmmmm": Mayor lived on Traver, one of the first streets to get "traffic calming" was Traver (his house conveniently centered between the four speed bumps). Mayor moves to Burns Park, virtually mothballed Station 2 scheduled to re-open.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

Steve - only party insiders care about nonsense like who attended what political gathering. To answer your question, hopefully those on the council represent the will of their constituents, rather than the mayor, their own ambitions...or certainly any political party! I personally don't care what party my council rep belongs to, so long as they represent me and my views on city matters. Since local issues are so completely different from state and (especially) national ones, I don't know why we have partisan city elections to begin with. They should be nonpartisan.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

@SEC Fan: After helping to elect the Mayor the first time he was elected, I worked for years with him behind the scenes very quietly, but it didn't work, so I changed tactics as I stated in my first "Common Cents" column in


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

Speaking of the mayor's lifestyle, I wonder if anyone (like would be able to find out how much of his income comes from: 1) U of M (which makes it weird that he's able to vote on U of M-centric things like the Fuller parking structure/train station) 2) Other commissions/groups, like the Recycling thing he helped found but is APPARENTLY no longer a part of, but got them the A2 contract


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

you keep making my point. "The party is only as strong as the people who support it and make it vital." And yet, you believe that the party has no responsibility to support it's people? Either he is part of the family or not? If he is, then - publicly - the party needs to start supporting him. Now, if you want to take him behind the woodshed and discuss his policies out of the public eye, then please feel free. But if you are speaking as a rep of the party, publicly airing your dirty laundry is not helpful to your cause. Regarding the AA Dem Party not being able to raise $77. I totally believe and understand it. This string is a perfect example of one of the contributing factors. They're isolated...and continue to isolate themselves. The mayor isn't "working" together with them? often does the AA Dem Party work with others? The WCDP for example? Maybe ya'll should do a little introspection and think about why ya'll can't get more than $57 from all the others in attendance (subtracting your $20). You really gone put all the blame on the mayor?

Middle America

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Also, Unusual Suspect, did you notice that question mark at the end of that sentence in my first comment? That means I was asking you a question - I was not highlighting something you said in your comment.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

@SEC Fan: The room rental fee at ABC was $77 last night. Because the people in the Mayor's Party chose not to go, the A2 City Democratic party I think didn't even cover the room rental through donations of those present, despite the $20 bill I dropped in the bucket. A party becomes strong because people: candidates, voters, elected officials, support the party. The party is only as strong as the people who support it and make it vital. The fact is that the Mayor has treated the city Democratic party with disdain and held them at arms length for many years, hence one of the reasons why the party can't raise $77 at a single event on election night.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

@ Stephen. My point is that the Dem Party is supposed to support its candidates. Did the party coordinate its party with the Mayor or just schedule it at it's typical go-to Dem HQs in AA (ABC)? ABC is a place that hosts a great many Dem functions. ABC (the Grefs) is a big supporter of the Dem party, so it's understandable. But the Mayor is the mayor of the entire city. Perhaps as mayor, he should hold functions at more than one location. Regardless, if the Dem party feels he is not part of the "family", then why don't they disenfranchise him? But publicly espousing that he isn't supporting the party while claiming him as a member is a bit disingenuous.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

@Middle America: Thanks for your clarification!

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

Middle America, did I say anything about wealthy?

Middle America

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

I should have noted that my comment was directed at Unusual Suspect. Apologies for the confusion, Stephen.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

@SEC Fan: The Ann Arbor Democratic Party announced the location of its election party in advance to its members. Many of the city leaders were there. The Mayor rarely comes to city Democratic Party events. He rarely comes to the city or county annual party meetings. @Middle America: I only mentioned where he lives because it is *conveniently* nearby to the fire station that will open when the other three fire stations are closed. FYI, the salary for serving as our Mayor is I think $45,000 a year, so that isn't the reason why he was able to upgrade his lifestyle after being elected.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

Interesting point of view. The Dem Party held "it's party" at ABC, while the Dem Mayor and the Dem candidates held "their party" at Heidelberg. Here I thought the Party was there to support the candidates they are putting up for election. The mayor did run - and was allow to run - as a Democrat, correct? Or are you saying the the Democratic Party has officially removed its support of the Mayor?

Middle America

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

"The mayor lives ion Burns Park? Why does that not surprise me?" Criticizing the fact that he is wealthy? You sound like one of those liberals you hate for "attacking" Mitt Romney and his fortune.

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

The mayor lives ion Burns Park? Why does that not surprise me?

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

Derezinski... fears..... reducing the current majority's ranks from seven to five — could have a detrimental effect on moving forward projects like a proposed train station and a countywide expansion of public transit services." One mans "fear" is another mans dream Mr. Derzinski. Don't let the door hit you in the rear on your way out of city hall. Maybe your replacement will actually care about my tax dollars being used wisely for a change.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Yep, Tony - that was sort of the whole point of it.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

Totally agree.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

Too bad they couldn't have made it a clean sweep by voting for Armentrout. But, this is an important day for the City of Ann Arbor. Some accountability will return to a council that has basically served at the pleasure of the Mayor for years now. In hard times, Ann Arbor plowed forward with projects (Fuller Rd station), ordinances (unworkable pedestrian crossing law), and expenditures (art funding) that were out of touch with the needs of the populace while ignoring safety (fire and police layoffs, station closures, panhandler problem). Right now, I'd recommend that the 5th Ward give Mr. Berry a closer look and don't lock step behind Mr. Warpehoski just because he's a Dem.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

About darn time! as Barzoom said, HOPEFULLY they'll start listening to what the voters want. Hint: Start by being fiscally responsible in a recession!

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

Disenfranchisement is taking away a citizen's right to elect the government. Now the meaning seems to be extended to include the right to micromanage the governing process and the entitlement to distribution of government benefits. I believe this is incorrect. Challenging a citizen's right to vote at the polls is disenfranchisement. So is disqualifying ballots on technicalities. Representation on the transit authority which has been negotiated with the city council does not qualify. Find a different word, one that actually fits instead of pandering to fears of repression.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:19 a.m.

It's really refreshing to see some kind of change happen. Any new blood that's not already proven to be a puppet or ridiculous. So now we need to watch for suspicious unexplained reversals of opinions and/or weird over-the-top and/or sneaky attempts by the mayor to influence voters (e.g. his lettermass-mailed to some particular group of residents gushing about the need for the train station; I still don't know how that mailing list was generated; I was not on it). It's a pain, but, you know, eternal vigilance and whatnot. It would be great if one of the first items would be tallying a true total of money spent already on the train station. Also, a formal audit and review of the PAC and Percent For Art expenditures would be great. And a reversal on spending $150,000 to put "public" art inside a building where people only go to pay bills and tickets, and then spending more money on moving where they get patted down and have to put their phones and metal objects in lockers, on the (extremely unlikely) offchance someone actually goes to the building JUST to see art. You know, start with the absolutely clearly obvious ridiculous stuff, then work toward normalcy from there.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:18 a.m.

thank you ann arbor. the message was sent and we have one more in nov to make sure they know how we feel. once again thanks ann arbor. parks, crosswalks, bike paths etc. need to be either fixed or put on the back burner. i am sure some will not agree with me but this is the way i feel and voted so.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 10:57 a.m.

To me, Tony Derezinski's loss is a loss to the City. Ann Arbor is at the cusp of important changes that will make the City a more vibrant one with opportunity for the young professionals who want to settle and work here and who are needed to increase the vitality of our environment. I hope the newly elected Council members will not put a halt to that.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

I reached out to Tony several times about issues affecting my neighborhood, such as frequent power outages. Not once did I hear back from him (Jane Lumm, in contrast, sent me a page-long email within 24 hours). I'm believe Tony's a fine person, but if you can't so much as acknowledge concerns raised by your constituents, then you need to go. Sally has repeatedly said that communication with residents would be a priority, so she got my vote. I wish her good luck.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

Tony Derezinski's loss is a reflection that Ward 2 voters want a new voice to advocate what the needs of the city really are...not the Mayor's individual agenda. That is why we have a democracy...the voters choose who to represent them. Good luck to Sally Petersen. I hope she is a strong representative for city council.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:19 a.m.

wait until he sees what happens if he run for mayor!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:01 a.m.

I hope you're not describing a new train station as the mechanism by which Ann Arbor will be made "more vibrant" and a center for "young professionals to settle."

Mr. Me

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 10:54 a.m.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Albert Howard

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 10:48 a.m.

Congratulations Mayor John Hieftje on the reality check. I look forward to our first debate!


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

oops... wants** No " ' " intended, but why stop someone from calling out someone who is breaking a law????

Middle America

Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

Sorry about those comments, editors. I was just trying to explain campaign laws to Albert.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

You and me both, Mr. Howard. Should be ...interesting.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

Anybody who makes propecies should not be allowed to use the word "reality".


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

@MiddleAmerica, I think the "one-trick-pony clause" comment was referencing why your comment may have been removed.

Middle America

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

At least Hieftje hasn't publicly stated time and time again that he is intolerant.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

The current mayor already DID ban my belief of the need for fiscal responsibility.

Middle America

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

How would you feel if a candidate for mayor wanted to ban what your beliefs?

Middle America

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

Pointing out his intolerance is a "one-trick-pony"?

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

Perhaps it qualified under a one-trick-pony clause.

Middle America

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:35 a.m.

That got deleted? All I asked was if he was going to finally address his past statements about banning the Quran at the debate.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 10:28 a.m.

Maybe now there will be some people in our city government who listen to the voters.

Lemmy Caution

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

One would think that if anyone gets re-elected, they must be not alienating their constituents too much. What's your point, exactly?


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

you're just "resistant to change"...