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Posted on Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

Ann Arbor City Council candidates debate trust and transparency in city government

By Ryan J. Stanton


Tony Derezinski, D-2nd Ward, is defending his seat on the Ann Arbor City Council against Democratic challenger Sally Hart Petersen on Aug. 7.

Ryan J. Stanton |

A discussion on trust and transparency in Ann Arbor city government led to a feisty exchange between two 2nd Ward candidates for City Council on Saturday.

Sally Hart Petersen, who is running as a Democrat against incumbent Tony Derezinski in the Aug. 7 primary, took issue with Derezinski after he spoke about the importance of holding neighborhood meetings to get feedback from residents.

"You have to have ward meetings," Derezinski said. "You have to go around the neighborhoods that you represent. I've had I think four or five of them already in my ward — one at Paesano's and it got too big, so we also went to my house where I had one there."


Sally Hart Petersen is asking voters to look at her business and marketing experience over her challenger's municipal government and law experience.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Petersen questioned the openness of those meetings.

"With all due respect, Tony, I know you have your meetings … but I've never been invited to a Ward 2 event at your home or at Paesano's," she said. "You may think it's transparent, but the message is not getting out."

Derezinski responded by subtly questioning Petersen's allegiance to the Democratic Party.

"My ward meetings are advertised, including on Democratic Party things. So if you had been an active Democrat, you would have known about it. They're there," he said.

He also suggested if Petersen had paid closer attention to local issues affecting the city, she would have known about the meetings.

"I've been at a lot of meetings and neighborhood groups all over," Derezinski said. "And who has been there besides me? A lot of Democrats."

Trust and transparency were the overarching themes of Saturday's candidate forum hosted by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party at the Ann Arbor Community Center.

Four contested races for the Ann Arbor City Council will be decided in the Aug. 7 primary and all eight Democratic candidates appeared at Saturday's event.

Four of the candidates are running with support from political allies of Mayor John Hieftje and the ruling council majority: Eric Sturgis, Margie Teall, Chuck Warpehoski and Derezinski.


Fifth Ward candidate Vivienne Armentrout is running as a Democrat against Chuck Warpehoski in the Aug. 7 primary.

Ryan J. Stanton |

They each face an opponent with a different agenda — one not necessarily in line with the mayor and his allies on council.

In the 1st Ward, Sturgis is competing against Sumi Kailasapathy, a certified public accountant, for the open seat being vacated by Sandi Smith.

In the 4th Ward, Teall is defending her seat against Jack Eaton, a labor attorney who argues the city has its spending priorities out of whack.

In the 5th Ward, Warpehoski is facing off against Vivienne Armentrout, a former Washtenaw County commissioner, for the open seat being vacated by Carsten Hohnke.

The outcome of the Aug. 7 primary has the potential to significantly alter the political dynamic on council and determine whether the ruling council majority continues to have the power to push ahead with projects like the proposed Fuller Road Station.

More differences between the candidates came out on Saturday as debate moderator Mike Henry, co-chair of the Democratic Party, asked about their personal styles.

Kailasapathy said she'd bring a healthy sense of skepticism to city government, which she doesn't think is open and transparent enough. Sturgis said he has trust in the city's current leadership and thinks the city goes out of its way to be transparent.

"We should be on the premise that everybody here is doing this for the right reason," he said. "I definitely think this is one of the most transparent governments in Michigan."

candidate_forum_071412_RJS_Eric Sturgis.jpg

First Ward candidate Eric Sturgis is taking on Democratic opponent Sumi Kailasapathy in the Aug. 7 primary.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Sturgis pointed out, for example, that eight public meetings were held to give citizens an opportunity to give input on the 618 South Main apartments project before it was approved.

He also noted every City Council meeting is televised and replayed, and every detail of the city budget is available at city hall and online.

Kailasapathy said she still doesn't think the city puts out enough information before decisions are made. She referenced the debate over putting a hotel and conference center on the Library Lot, which came out of a public process that lasted nearly two years from 2009 into 2011 and included numerous public meetings and a city website dedicated to posting information.

"Decisions were made behind the scenes whether there was going to be a conference center or hotel," she said. "And then you put that out and ask the people, 'Do you want a conference center?' That's not transparency. That is not public debate."

Teall took issue with Kailasapathy on that point.

"There's a great deal of transparency on City Council," she said. "The process for the Library Lot was very open and transparent, and I don't know how many times I can say that and people will still say that it wasn't. But there were public meetings throughout this process.

"There were no closed meetings about it. It was all open."


Margie Teall is defending her 4th Ward seat against Democratic challenger Jack Eaton on Aug. 7.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Teall said she thinks the city is much more transparent now than when she started on council a decade ago. She said neighborhood meetings that developers are required to hold now as part of the development process have been very successful.

Henry asked Teall why she thinks there's a perception among some residents that there's a lack of transparency then. Teall responded bluntly: "I think it serves their interests."

Armentrout said if the city is going to choose to involve the public, it should take into account what the public has to say, and she's not sure that happens all the time.

"I think the City Council has moved in recent years really quite commendably to an effort toward the appearance of transparency by making information much more freely available, which I really appreciate," she said.

"In the case of the conference center, it was really nice that they established a website, all of the proposals were put on the website, and there were open meetings," she added. "However, the opinions of the public were actually never solicited."

Warpehoski said one of the challenges the city has in the age of information is the "drinking from a fire hose" effect where a tremendous amount of information is available now. But he thinks the city needs to make sure it's effectively disseminating that information.

"What I've found serving on, for example, the district advisory committee for the AATA is that very few people are up for reading the 180-page document," he said.

In terms of making tough decisions, Warpehoski said the city needs to solicit public feedback as well as as expert opinions and analyses.


Eaton agreed the City Council actually does work well together, pointing out most votes are unanimous or nearly unanimous.

Ryan J. Stanton |

In his role as director of the Interfaith Council for Peach and Justice, Warpehoski said he often has to deal with differences of opinion and that takes deep listening. He said he actively works to create a culture of trust and openness and he'd do the same on council.

"One of the ground rules we often set is assume good intent," he said. "Everybody at this table, myself included, we're here because we have a vision for Ann Arbor and we want to serve. This isn't a position for power and glory. This is a position of service.

"Even though we might disagree, we're all coming together to serve our community and having that trust and good intent helps to establish that culture of trust."

Teall thinks the council already does a good job in that regard.

"On the whole, we work things through pretty well, and I think our mayor really facilitates that very well on council," she said. "I think there's a perception of a lot of bickering, but I don't think we bicker so much as what might be demonstrated in the media."

Armentrout said she's served on a lot of committees over the years and she believes in expressing mutual respect to all members of a group.

"I believe in making decisions based on data and on the merits of the case and then arguing politely what the case is," she said. "I'm very process-oriented."

Eaton agreed the City Council actually does work well together, pointing out most votes are unanimous or nearly unanimous.


Sumi Kailasapathy, left, and Chuck Warpehoski are running for open seats in the 1st and 5th Wards, respectively.

Ryan J. Stanton |

But he said debate and dissent should be welcome.

"It's important for council to have a robust discussion in front of the electorate on issues of great importance, such as spending priorities," he said.

Eaton said that isn't happening enough.

"I believe there is a majority on council that comes to meetings with a pre-determined outcome and so the discussion that happens is too late," he said. "The public hearing that happens is too late, because the decision has been made."

Sturgis said he wouldn't want to come to meetings with his mind made up or ever be indebted to anyone.

"I want to listen to what people say. I've offered to do once-a-month community meetings, going out, reaching out," he said.

He recalled his time working on the Rochester Historical Commission where there were six Republicans and himself, the lone Democrat. He said he was elected treasurer over a Republican because of his ability to bring sides together.

Derezinski recalled a recent conversation he had with Mike Anglin, a council member with whom he doesn't always agree.

"He said, 'You know, Tony, what you bring to council is civility.' That's a very important thing to me because that's what makes it functional," Derezinski said.

"Respecting each other. Never taking away somebody's dignity when you disagree with them. And then giving value to everybody's different points of view."

Derezinski recalled his time as a state senator in the 1970s when the Michigan Legislature was controlled by Democrats and Republican Bill Milliken was governor.

"We did a lot of good work at that time. We passed the Open Meetings Act, the Freedom of Information Act," he said, stressing it took compromise.

Continuing on the topic of transparency, Derezinski said the city puts loads of information on the city website for anyone to download.

"The city has a tremendous website," he said. "You can track every project that comes before the Planning Commission or the planning department."

Petersen said the city needs an ethics policy dealing with issues like conflicts of interest to help guide council members in their decision-making.

"It's easy to say we'll all just collaborate and get along together, but the reality is it's a lot more difficult than that," she said. "Having the guidelines would instill trust in the government."

VIDEO: Closing statements from Saturday's Ann Arbor City Council candidate forum

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.


Michigan Man

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

This entire democratic crowd is weak. Old, white, unhappy and nothing new to offer. Just look at the pictures. Not a smile, happy face or anything inspiring from that group! Boring! What happened to the "All American" status Ann Arbor enjoyed in the 50's, 60's and 70's? Quality of life in Ann Arbor trending downward and pretty easy to understand why looking at this bunch.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

The "weakest" of the bunch is only 26. This bunch has various problems and issues, but "age" is the least of them.

David Cahill

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

Diane, you should really be more careful. In her closing statement, Sumi said she had a "correction" to what Eric claimed about the lack of debt. She said he was "wrong" - which he was. She did not say he was "lying". The videos tell the tale. I'm sure First Ward Dems will look at them and decide.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

Transparency and honesty would be very novel ideas for all governments. But I don't think they understand that. Sorry, but as years pass it is getting more difficult to have any faith in the workings of government.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 6:52 a.m.

Thank you Ms Lesko for being so fortright in your reviving the e-mail scandal involving the city council "hot shots".This should have been the event to have all the city xouncil members involvrd resign because it was unethical and disgraceful.Also the city attorney should have been terminated for giving bad advice to the city council on this issue.. this is the type of corruption that we have to deal with on a regular basis...Time for a major overhaul of some of these officials who abuse their power.

Patricia Lesko

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:48 a.m.

It was because of Council member Margie Teall's long-term misuse of email during open Council meetings—to script debates, rig votes and otherwise trample on Open Meetings Act laws—that the City of Ann Arbor was sued. The city was subsequently forced to settle the suit on behalf of Teall, Leigh Greden, Tony Derezinski, Christopher Taylor, Marcia Higgins and Carsten Honhke (all of whom were caught up in the email scandal reported on by the Ann Arbor News). So, really, transparency is not Ms. Teall's forte. Emails released in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have caught John Hieftje asking Amtrak officials to give him permission to write the letter then "sent" by those same officials to Council members "in support" of a new transit station in Ann Arbor. FOIA requests have revealed that Teall, Hieftje and their Council slate targeted popular riverside parks for development, including Gallup, Bademer and Riverside. Transparency is a problem in our city government, because the lack of transparency suits the political ambitions and interests of those currently in office, including Ms. Teall. There are persistent problems with conflicts of interest, as well, among those currently on Council. Thus, we Teall's votes in favor of no bid contracts to her friends who then provide glowing endorsements, and her votes in favor of no bid contracts awarded to those with whom she serves on Boards and Commissions. The question is not whether transparency is a problem; the question is whether voters understand how much money the lack of transparency fostered by Ms. Teall, in addition to her conflicts of interest, cost every year.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 6:17 a.m.

Thank you. It is not easy to aggregate all this info and I am sure that many voters appreciate your input. It is all too easy to let these doings fall down the memory hole...


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:32 a.m.

Primary Election prediction: Teall and Kailasapathy will win in blowouts over their respective opponents. The Tony D/Sally race is a toss-up in the Second Ward. The Armentrout/Warpehoski race is also a toss-up just like when Vivienne ran against Carsten Hoenke in 2008.

Patricia Lesko

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:05 a.m.

One candidate in Ward 2 has supported Republican candidates and enjoyed the financial support of state and local Republicans: Lifelong "Democrat" Tony Derezinski. Washtenaw County Clerk campaign fiance records show that Tony Derezinski took donations from the former Chair of the Michigan Republican Party Ron Weiser ($500), his wife, Eileen ($500). Tony D. took money from Mark Boonstra (now Chair of the Washtenaw County Republican Committee). Dem Rene Greff, co-owner of Arbor Brewing Company, donated to Derezinski in 2008, and went on to donate almost $4,000 to Rick Snyder in 2010. University of Michigan Musical Society Director Ken Fischer also donated to Derezinski in 2008 and to Snyder ($300) in 2010. According to campaign finance records on file with the State, Derezinski is a donor to the Friends of Eastern Michigan University PAC. Records show that PAC gave multiple donations to Republican Randy Richardville, including a $1,000 donation, as well as donations to the Michigan Senate Republican Campaign Committee and Mark Ouimet. Tony Derezinski has a paper trail of supporting Republican candidates a mile wide, and a trail of accepting money from Republican big wigs a mile deep. In addition, along with Ward Five Democratic candidate Chuck Warpehoski, Derezinski is a player in the effort to "re-imagine" Washtenaw Avenue using the oldest Republican game plan in the book: the public-private partnership. ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, loves the public-private partnership model, the use of which Derezinski recently identified to the Press as his "major accomplishment." Ann Arbor Dems for ALEC, one of whom is trying to smear his opponent as not being a "real" Democrat. Typical.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

As I read this I don't see a single example of Tony supporting a Republican. He received donations from people (including an active Democrat in Graff) who apparently also supported Republicans. He gave to a group that advocates on behalf of EMU. Is there an example where he actively supported GOP candidates financially or otherwise?


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:34 a.m.

Spoken as a True American.....two thumbs up on that statement!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 2:27 a.m.

@David It is not spin but logic. I was sitting there too. Eric and Sumi have been debating apples and oranges. At the League of Women Voters debate as well as throughout the AAdems debate Eric has said the same thing. Eric says the budget is balanced and there is a surplus. He does not choose the best word and says therefore the city has no "debt" when he means no loss or no deficit. Sumi jumps at him and says but the city does have debt in it's pension liabilities etc. and that Eric is lying. He is not lying he is just talking about the income (revenues minus expenses) rather than the liability issue. She could have corrected him without accusing him of lying, but that never appears to be her way. I admit Eric does not have an accounting degree and if Sumi didn't either it would just be a miscommunication. But Sumi is a CPA and should know better. She knows that she is talking about something different and she is being disingenuous to say otherwise. I am not worried at all that if Eric won that he does not know accounting, afterall the city pays people to know that stuff. But I am very worried that a CPA would purposely present the issue this way to the public. Can you trust her to tell the truth or will she just spin the situation to create the story of her choosing while pointing to her degree.

David Cahill

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

You can't reinvent history, Diane. Give it up. I was sitting right there during the whole debate. Eric came after Sumi because he didn't believe she was right when she referred to the unfunded pension debt. It turns out that Eric was the one that was wrong. You can't spin Eric out of this. You're just corkscrewing him further into the hole he created for himself.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

Chuck Warpehoski asks us to judge his credentials by his record as the Director of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. That calls for a definite thumbs-down. The only thing in which the ICPJ has shown any interest is passing anti-Israel resolutions. One faction of the ICPJ (its erstwhile Middle East Task Force) has been implementing that policy by harassing a local synagogue during its services (just pause to examine the implications); Chuck has not supported that caper, but he has refused to denounce it. The ICPJ has never noticed the genocide in Sudan. It is silent on Syria. The City Council needs members who will apply themselves to master the unglamorous details of local governance. It can do without the distraction of pontificating (ineffectively and divisively) over foreign affairs.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:23 a.m.

You are partially correct, Demistify. Chuck did denounce as unreasonable and confrontational the Jewish Witnesses for Peace and the American Movement for Israel when both counter-demonstrated his protest against the invasion of Gaza in 2008-2009. His group outnumbered both counter-demonstrating factions by about 10-1 as to each during thar protest. Both of those groups have been critical of his handling of the Israel/Palestine issue. Mayor Hieftje attended a dinner sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County on the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding and later met with the pro-Palestinian demonstators outside the building the dinner was held at. Ann Arbor City Council has passed resolutions on the Iraq conflict and considered issues involving Israel on several other occasions. The Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice is Ann Arbor's oldest active human rights organization. Chuck has been a hard-working leader of that group and he is endorsed by many community leaders such as Mayor Hieftje, Conan Smith and Michael Woodyard to name a few.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Mr Derezinski - please be careful with that whole "allegiance to My Party" thing - that has gotten the human race into some very dark chapters. And by the way, it often starts just as you did in trying to isolate and question the loyalty and fealty of the enemy ... "Look at them! ... surely they are not as good, as loyal, as well -intended as you and I and other members of "The Party". Mr Derezinski please work at keeping your eye on the ball - that is trying to regain the trust of the people and the sense that the people' s work and the people's best interest trumps Party for you every time.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:39 a.m.

All candidates hold graduate degrees from prestigious universities - except one - Eric Sturgis. Armentrout holds a doctorate in botany; Eaton and Derezinski have law degrees; Teall a masters degree and Sumi Kailispathy a masters degree also. Sturgis concededly has an associate degree from Oakland Community College. He is 26 years old and still has not achieved a bachelor's degree. He has issues with voter registration, confusion on where he goes to school, confusion on filing for elections as a precinct delegate candidate. Donating to a Republican gubernatorial candidate while sitting as a Democratic precinct delegate, his mother uprooting his opponent's campaign signs and so on and so on and so on. The concept of Eric Sturgis being elected to City Council is downright scary. He would be a loose cannon. First Ward voters should avoid voting for him - even if it means writing in a candidate, voting for Sumi Kailaspathy or not voting at all. Say no to Eric Sturgis.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 10:36 p.m. have a graduate degree ( as do several of your faves:e.g. AATA hate-ad boy and his wife ; and numerous of the Phelps family hate cult... oh and also shivell)... does that qualify you for office ?? Some would strongly argue not. Or at least one would.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.

If you list the graduate degrees of any of the candidates you should list them all. Sally Hart Petersen (Ward 2) has an MBA from Harvard. Especially under the city's current situation and the recklessness of the City Council in fiscal matters, a candidate with an MBA background is a plus.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

So, graduate degrees are needed to run for these positions? Why are so many attorneys running for these positions? I believe we are being led by the wrong people, but yet, the majority rules. Go figure!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

Tony D - of all people talking about transparency in the city council is a big joke.. I couldnt believe my ears....if i recall recent events you as the head of a certain committee was dubbed with the task of making certain reccomendations and you failed to do do a fair job miserably. As a matter of fact that committee was shrouded with dire secrecy maybe to the point of conspiracy... Go Sally... retire Tony to obscurity


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

It does not matter to me at all if a Democrat or Republican gets into office. All I expect is fiscal responsibility, the ability to listen to the voters, visionary leadership and a willingness to correct all of the poor decisions of the past that are holding our city back. Art is nice, but at the demise of adequate road repair and citizen protection is a signal that the current group is clueless. Replace all of them!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.

Sounds like Councilmen Derezinski and the other Democrat candidates like Transparency as long as it is advertise in the Democrat News! I don't subscribe to it so I never hear about these Ward Meetings! Thanks Councilmen Derezinski for your Trust and Transparency!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:44 a.m.



Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:39 a.m.

As a Republican what do you care about Democrat Ward meetings? According to your statement Councilman Derezinski "trusts" you? To what "trust" do you refer? Or did you intend to state that you trust Tony Derezinski and believe that he is very transparent?


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

@ David Eric was referring to debt as in a loss on the income statement, a better word is deficit. He is not an accountant and probably does not even know that Sumi was referring to the liabilities on the Balance sheet when responding to him. Eric used the wrong word but his meaning was clear...the city did have a surplus and a balanced budget. Sumi should know better. If she is going to tout her CPA background as a reason to vote for her, she should not put extra information into the conversation where she is actually just spinning and misleading everyone. She should have realized exactly what Eric was saying. To not realize exactly what he was saying shows that she either does not have the background in accounting she is touting or she is purposely misleading the voters. Anyone who has taken an elementary accounting class knows that liabilities aren't considered when talking about income and surplus. She injected something that was not relevant to what Eric was saying, spun it using her degree as credibility and people fell for it just like you did. Income statements and balanced sheets have different purposes as financial statements. Both are important in different ways. Again here is a reference website


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:42 a.m.

He said debt, not deficit. Why shouldn't the other candidate call him out on that? Sure, a profit/loss statement is different than a balance sheet but he's the one using the wrong terminology and insinuating a better financial picture for the city than exists (yes, itcould be worse if A2 were running a deficit but that'snot really the point).


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Based on the trouble that many cities are in with promised wages and pensions, I would venture a guess that many of these labor/wage decisions were cleared through CPA's, accountants, etc. So - do we really wish to take what an accountant or CPA says 'to the bank'? As a business person - I'd rather not. I have been very successfully running business and companies and have been taught, never to let an accountant or attorney run your business. They are very valuable talent, but they do not necessary make all of the right decisions that a good, seasoned business person would make. Just pay close attention to the cities that are declaring bankruptcy. The primary reasons are they can no longer afford to pay pensions, retired health care commitments and current contract related wages. I know for a fact that many of these 'past' decisions were cleared by financial experts. What no one seemed to do was predict that the economy would falter or that the primary source of revenue or home owner taxes would shrink.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

to eyesofjustice A P&L only tracks current status. What is suspect is the business and financial forecasts. What actuarial science and supporting conditions were used when each and every labor contract and commitment was made? As evident across many cities, it seems that incorrect science and facts were used. Thus bankruptcies and bloodshed. None of this is good at all. We need a change in what is leading our cities.

glenn thompson

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Mr Sturgis clearly describes "the notion of debt" in his closing statement, implying it is not real debt. The city has borrowed the build the Wheeler Maintenance Center, borrowed to build the new Municipal center, and backed the DDA bonds for the new parking structure. To imply the city does not have debt is very incorrect. A person with such little understanding of finance would be dangerous on Council


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

I live in Ward 2 and have NEVER heard anything from Tony D. It is a joke that he even mentions meetings with constituents. Even on the occasion when I sent him a note asking for information, I never heard back from him -- not so much as a polite "thank you for your letter." IMO Tony has done nothing for Ward 2 but to side with the Mayor and the majority on every expense the City has agreed to. He is a non-representative and totally out of touch with his constituents. Sally, by contrast, is a bright and engaged individual. I have known her from her work on civic charitable groups. She gets my vote.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:35 a.m.

From his quotes above, it seems he only cares about the opinions of democrats.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

All incumbents must go, but I sure wish this was more than a one party town. No diverse opinions. Just tax and spend.

David Cahill

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

Sorry, Diane, but the closing statements speak for themselves. Chedk out the video, which is something innovative that I'm glad provided. Earlier in the debate, Kailasapathy had expressed concern in the City's large, unfunded pension fund debt. She said we couldn't keep kicking the can down the road. She said she was a strong supporter of unions, which had created our middle class, but that we should negotiate some changes in the retirement system. In his closing statement, Sturgis said the City was running a surplus, so it couldn't have a debt. Kailasapathy pointed out his obvious misunderstanding of finance. She said one reason for electing her was her expertise as a CPA. Sturgis may mean well, but he was simply mistaken on this issue and out of his depth.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

I see Tony D has stepped up to the plate to bat? So a party at at Paesano's and your home counts as public relations? You don't acknowledge the people of your Ward in need , numerous people have complained about trying to contact you, with no response back! At the July 2 City Council meeting you had your buddy Stephen Postema lied to the council and the public to make yourself seem to be working harder than you are. In reality your just sitting at your favorite bar stool at Knights doing absolute nothing but hanging out with the "Good ole Boys" Times change and we need change as well.........Sally Peterson is the right person for the job!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

@David Cahill. Actually, Eric was referring to the income statement (revenues minus expenses) having a surplus not the Balance Sheet as Sumi insinuated. The fact is the city has a balanced budget and did end up with a surplus last year. Sumi is comparing apples to oranges when suggesting that Eric is not speaking the truth. Yes the city has some financial debts, but that has nothing to do with Eric's statement of fact about the income statement. Sumi is including other debt obligations into the conversation, such as pension liabilities, which have no bearing on the income statement. FYI: Since the city is a governmental agency their balance sheets are slightly different than private corporations and are not judged in the same manner. Here is a quick review website for those without any accounting background.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

Maybe the reality of fiscal responsibility scares some.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

I wonder why so many are voting down your comments? I clearly understand what you are saying, have made similar comments in an attempt to educate the readers, etc. Go figure!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

The article says: "In his role as director of the Interfaith Council for Peach and Justice, Warpehoski said he often has to deal with differences of opinion and that takes deep listening." I hope that Mr. Warpehoski can elaborate on when it is time to stop listening and actually expelling those in ICPJ who have certain opinions. For many years, a pillar of ICPJ was its Middle East Task Force. They persuaded the full ICPJ to approve a resolution promoting arms divestment against Israel. Can Mr. Warpehoski describe how the ICPJ Middle East Task Force was eliminated after that resolution was approved? It will help voters understand what he means by the term "deep listening".


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:03 a.m.

p.s. to 'no war": This blog by the main expellee from the ICPJ is interesting ( any idea who produces it ?? i sure do, "no war"!!): Among its many absurd and toxic entries ( actually there are no other kind!) the 2nd post down --involving visual depiction of the degradation of the property values of an entire neighborhood-- should make Warpehoski the favorite of all real estate agents in the area...if not you.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 10:16 a.m.

"no-war" ( except jihad presumably) : The above website portrays those expelled from the ICPJ ( as you are perfectly well aware!) Even "shallow" listening justifies their expulsion from any group that purports to value civic decency and rational informed discourse. "deep listening" could justify a one-way ticket to Guantanamo. I'm not a particular fan of warpehoski ( too self -righteous and a bit confused on the difference betweeen "innocent victims" " and miserable by their own actions") ; but he was dead right on this one.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

I like peaches

David Cahill

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

During his closing statement, Sturgis said that the City was running a surplus, and therefore there could not be a debt in the pension fund, as Kailasapathy had stated earlier. Kailasapathy responded that there is both a thin surplus of income in the general fund, and also debt of various kinds amounting to over $400 million. She said it is important to have someone on Council who understands the difference between an income surplus and big debts. Sturgis came across as not knowing elementary accounting.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

This Eric guy is weak any way you look at it - like maybe the Hieftje's 3rd choice, or something (the first two probably saw the hands writing on the Hieftje's walls and politely declined). The mayor really should choose his shills more carefully - this on isn't even remotely credible.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

@ Goober... if the numbers don't make sense, than the dollars wont make sense.....a PL statement is one of the most important things of running a organized business


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

Based on the trouble that many cities are in with promised wages and pensions, I would venture a guess that many of these labor/wage decisions were cleared through CPA's, accountants, etc. So - do we really wish to take what an accountant or CPA says 'to the bank'? As a business person - I'd rather not.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

Kailasapathy I believe is a CPA and understands how business operates(In reality a City , Is a business)I met her at a cafe Downtown she is a very intelligent person that should be a huge asset to the the Tax Payers Ann Arbor