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Posted on Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Composition of Ann Arbor City Council continues to slowly change

By Ryan J. Stanton


Supporters of Jack Eaton, slated to become Ann Arbor's newest City Council member in November, throw their arms up and cheer Tuesday night as Eaton arrives at CUBS' A.C. Sports Bar & Restaurant.

Chris Asadian |

Mayor John Hieftje watched Tuesday night as yet another of his allies — 14-year incumbent Marcia Higgins — was ousted from the Ann Arbor City Council.

Democratic challenger Jack Eaton, a labor attorney and longtime neighborhood activist, defeated Higgins by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in the 4th Ward race.

Meanwhile, Stephen Kunselman held onto his 3rd Ward seat — pulling 51.76 percent of the vote against challenger Julie Grand, who had support from some of the mayor's allies.

Kunselman, a Democrat, still faces Independent candidate Samuel Devarti in the November general election, while Eaton advances unopposed.


Eaton pauses for applause as he gives a victory speech Tuesday night, thanking supporters and outlining his political ideas.

Chris Asadian |

Eaton commented on the changing dynamics on council as he celebrated his victory at CUBS' A.C. Sports Bar & Restaurant. He was joined by several supporters, including three council members he looks forward to working alongside come November — Sumi Kailasapathy, Mike Anglin and Kunselman.

"I just think we're going to continue the momentum that's been building since Steve Kunselman first beat Leigh Greden," Eaton said, referring to the 2009 ouster of one of the mayor's allies on council.

"Slowly we've changed the composition of council, so we're paying more attention to what the residents of town want instead of big projects. We're going to continue on that trajectory — we're just going to have one more vote in that direction."

Eaton and other newer council members say they're more interested in putting money toward public safety and infrastructure than projects like a new train station on Fuller Road.

Eaton and Kunselman both reiterated their opposition to the mayor's push for a new train station on Fuller Road following their victories Tuesday night.

There was a point four years ago when Hieftje and his allies held nine of the 11 seats on council, but that super majority has dwindled away — starting with Kunselman's ouster of Greden.

In 2011, Independent candidate Jane Lumm ousted Stephen Rapundalo, one of the mayor's allies. And last year, Sally Hart Petersen ousted Tony Derezinski, another of the mayor's allies.

Sumi Kailasapathy, a staunch critic of the mayor's agenda and one of Eaton's supporters, also was elected to council last year, replacing Sandi Smith, one of the mayor's allies.

Carsten Hohnke, another ally of the mayor, stepped down last year, but he was replaced by Chuck Warpehoski, who ran with the mayor's endorsement. Warpehoski has vowed to remain independent on council and said he doesn't consider himself beholden to anyone.

Hieftje still has strong allies in Christopher Taylor and Margie Teall, but they're now essentially a minority on council. Hieftje hasn't decided yet whether he'll run again next year.


Mayor John Hieftje, left, chats with Council Member Stephen Kunselman at Dominick's bar Tuesday night, congratulating him on his victory in the primary.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Kunselman, who has earned a reputation for butting heads with the mayor on some issues, downplayed their differences Tuesday night. Hieftje, who said he stayed neutral in the 3rd Ward race, actually stopped by Kunselman's campaign party at Dominick's bar to congratulate him.

"The thing is — we have a lot of similarities," Kunselman said of him and the mayor. "We both grew up in Ann Arbor and have a lot of the same passions."

Hieftje added, "I've known Steve a long time. I first appointed him to the Planning Commission before he was ever elected."

Hieftje said he had a good discussion with Kunselman about how council members might be able to come together on issues. He told Kunselman he's going to continue bending his ear about rail.

"It's never been an issue about rail or not — it's been about how we get there," Kunselman said of his opposition to a train station in Fuller Park. "And I think that's why I always press the mayor hard."

Hieftje said he's not worried about Eaton's promise to be another vote against spending money on a new train station on Fuller Road.

"I don't worry about the Fuller Road Station too much," he said. "I think when Amtrak is going 110 mph in 2016 and ridership is going up the way they've seen in other parts of the country, people will come around. And we haven't decided exactly on the location of the rail station — that's going to be actually up to the federal government to make the final decision when they award the funding."

Hieftje said he wasn't surprised at the outcome of either race Tuesday night. Though he was supporting Higgins, he said he always suspected Eaton would win.

"He's been campaigning for three years, and Marcia was on council for a long time through one of the very toughest periods in the city's history," he said. "She had to make a lot of difficult decisions."

Hieftje said it didn't help Higgins that she's dealt with a lot in her personal life that has kept her from communicating as well as she might with constituents.

Higgins couldn't be reached for comment.

As for Eaton joining council, Hieftje said he thinks they can find some issues they'll agree on. He noted the overwhelming majority of council votes are unanimous.


Kathy Griswold, Eaton's campaign manager, gleefully smiles as favorable poll results come in Tuesday night.

Chris Asadian |

Kunselman said he really likes Eaton, who has been a supporter of his over the years, but he's also going to miss Higgins.

"Marcia Higgins has been the one council member who I hold the highest respect for out of everyone over the years that I've served," he said. "And I will continue to always hold her in high regard because she has put community first above politics."

Kunselman said he thinks his message of devoting city resources to neighborhoods resonated with voters and that will continue to be his focus.

"I don't think anything changes dramatically at this point," he said. "The council's been going in a direction of trying to focus more on our neighborhood needs and our public safety issues, and let's not forget our CFO projected a deficit in our budget in 2015, so it's not like we're out of the woods when it comes to finances. We still have issues we have to deal with."

Kirk Westphal, who is running as a Democrat in the 2nd Ward in November against Independent incumbent Jane Lumm, was at Grand's campaign party Tuesday night at Sava's Cafe.

"I think council needs people who come to the table with an open mind and I think Julie would have been that candidate," he said, expressing disappointment over the results. "There's only so much we can control going on in this state and in Congress, but I think we can make an effort to keep our council discussions rational and depoliticized, and I hope to bring that theme to my race."

A total of 9.24 percent of the 19,405 registered voters in the 3rd Ward and 9.58 percent of the 20,009 registered voters in the 4th Ward turned out for Tuesday's primary.


Council Member Sumi Kailasapathy, D-1st Ward, works with others to get the final poll results in Eaton's race Tuesday night.

Chris Asadian |

Al McWilliams, president of Quack!Media in downtown Ann Arbor, said he fears a minority of residents decided the races.

"What I want is for Ann Arbor's elected officials to be representative of the actual majority in Ann Arbor," he said. "On both the winning side and the losing side, we have too few votes."

Grand gave a brief speech after the results came in, telling supporters she's worried about the future of the city.

"We had a message that was about really listening to people," she said. "It was about people feeling disconnected and trying to get them connected back to the city. We had a message about finding great policy solutions by doing our research and by listening, and I think it resonated with a lot of people, but unfortunately it didn't resonate with enough."

In addition to Westphal and Lumm, a third candidate — Independent Conrad Brown — is running in the 2nd Ward race in November. Brown and Devarti, who is challenging Kunselman in the 3rd Ward, are both members of a group calling itself the Ann Arbor Mixed-Use Party.

A third member of the Mixed-Use Party, Jaclyn Vresics, is on the ballot in the 1st Ward, running against Democratic incumbent Sabra Briere. Another Independent candidate not associated with the party, Jeffrey Hayner, also is on the ballot in the 1st Ward.

Mike Anglin, D-5th Ward, is up for re-election, but he didn't face opposition in Tuesday's primary and he doesn't have a challenger in November.

Related coverage:

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 8, 2013 : 6:57 a.m.

Congrats to Jack and Steve - Mayor Pander Bear just keeps slip-slidin' away - thankfully!

Jay Thomas

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4 a.m.

"Eaton and other newer council members say they're more interested in putting money toward public safety and infrastructure than projects like a new train station on Fuller Road." So police, fire, roads and taking out dead trees, are more important than choo choo trains (which only make it easier for people to live elsewhere while collecting an Ann Arbor paycheck)? About time!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:59 p.m.

@Ryan Stanton - thank you for your article. A number of commenters have referenced the train station. Perhaps I missed it, but I have seen no information that suggests that the proposed costs for the conceptual train station design redo aren't still being sought. Ryan could you please confirm this one way or the other? Thanks very much!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:07 p.m.

The mayor and company lost my respect when they built that terrible parking garage. I can only hope that we never have an ugly conference center to accompany it and put our tax dollars at risk if the conf center goes belly up. The parking garage is a big eyesore/impediment on 5th, hard to get into the post office and out, and from what I hear now AA mainstays may need to move as their costs of operating go up, up, up due to the garage's impact. Seva is moving to the Westgate area, one of the main reasons to go downtown in the evening will soon be gone. Perhaps we can move the Michigan Theater out to Westgate, too, and then there's no reason to go downtown in the evening. Plus, no panhandlers to deal with.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

"Eaton and other newer council members say they're more interested in putting money toward public safety and infrastructure than projects like a new train station on Fuller Road." You mean infrastructure... like train stations? :-p


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

Infrastructure includes road maintenance, as well as flood control. Expenditures require care because residents pay the bills. For every hundred dollars not added to a homeowners tax bill (or rent) local businesses will benefit when city taxpayers have a little more money to spend. Any increase in property taxes can force some long term residents to move out of Ann Arbor. More housing supply won't benefit homeowners who don't leave. I have heard comments about this even from people in upscale neighborhoods. It's important to use taxes collected to pay for basic maintenance and protection. If money flows madly via no bids and for programs that please and enrich a few, the basic needs won't be fulfilled unless taxes are raised or staff is cut. IMHO, we need to concentrate on basic services and not gouging local taxpayers.

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

Just a brief update — I'm told by the clerk's office that Vresics now has filed enough signatures to get on the ballot as an Independent in the 1st Ward. I've updated the story accordingly.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

I guess that Vresics figures that with so few Ann Arbor citizens voting in elections that anyone has a chance to win. Why not?

Widow Wadman

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:59 p.m.

Thanks for keeping us posted, Ryan.

Colorado Sun

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

City Council can do two important things: (A) pass an ethics ordinance Jack Eaton wants to intoduce; (B) block the haphazard manner in which board and commission appointees are nominated and considered. Some of the worst "clinkers" of Hieftje appointed recently: (A) Nader Nassif - DDA member currently out on bond on a rape charge, his law firm received six-figure no-bid legal services contracts from City of Ann Arbor; (B) Jeremy Peters - multimedia specialist, Hieftje supporter and Democratic Party insider appointed to Planning Commission, his key "qualification" was filing a Secretary of State grievance against mayoral election challenger Albert Howard for alleged campaign violations (which was dismissed): (C) Eric Sturgis - Taxicab Board appointee who missed almost all meetings and later resigned, his key "qualification" was filing to run against Sumi Kailasapathy in what would have been an otherwise uncontested First Ward seat in 2012; (D) Ray Detter - Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council chairman who had not realized all seats on his council expired as of October 2012 and continued to convene monthly meetings until a citizen discovered this embarrassing and unprecedented situation after a FOIA request response by the City Clerk in May of 2013. City Council implementing a diligent and transparent appointments process in lieu of rubber-stamping the Mayor's nominations will advance the public interest.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:13 a.m.

I agree there needs to be ethics, and there needs to be a more robust vetting of mayoral appointees.

The Eyes of Justice Team

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

Thank You for this info. The needs to go back to doing "Open Houses"


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

Thankfully two voices of sanity will join the city council. Congrats to both winners last night!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

All this complaining about the mere 9% who voted ignores that primary elections are notorious for low voter participation, mainly because it's only the die-hard politicos who are interested in them at all. Heck, it's hard enough to get the majority of people to care before a general election! I didn't vote yesterday because, well, I'm admittedly a hard core free market conservative guy and neither of the moderate to left-wing options in the 4th Ward appealed to me at all. That doesn't mean I support the ridiculous public art projects (I don't, not even a little) or the train station (just think it's a waste of money period) but likewise I don't agree with a lot of tax-and-spend folly that happens in this town (157 parks, the greenbelt, are you kidding me?!?). But I certainly wasn't going to vote in a Dem primary... just the thought of it gives me hives. I suppose Eaton was the better of the two... but good luck getting me to vote FOR a labor attorney (again, hives). If there were two GOP options or even any millages/ballot proposals I would have been first in line to vote in that primary, guaranteed (only to see the GOP primary winner lose in November, I am used to seeing my votes not matter all that much in this town, it is what it is). I'm fine being the dark horse saying, "I told you so" at the end of the day. :-)


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

@MikeyP If you are really interested in selling small neighborhood parks for development, you will first have to do something about the onerous fees for making city water and sewer connections, and curb cuts. This free-market you dream of is not very free, if the costs to begin to develop a property are more than the cost of the property itself.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

All politics is local. A lot of the discussion here was pretending there are only two sides in all of this: those who want more spending for infrastructure/services vs. those who want more for art/pet projects. What about those who don't necessarily want more spending at all, just more efficient spending of, possibly, less money (or at worst the same amount)? There are other ways of looking at things, ways that none of the candidates really appeal to. I brought up the 157 parks issue because it's related to the transit station issue (some object to it because it would replace a park... which has been a parking lot since I've been here so I don't quite understand the objection but whatever) but it's illustrative of my viewpoint. Do we NEED 157 parks? Could we make do with half that? "B-b-b-but my neighborhood park!" There are three city parks within crawling distance of where I live, I think we could somehow make do with only one or at most two. These parks don't generate revenue, in fact they cost the city money to maintain, selling and taxing that property (and saving on maintenance) might be a good idea, but it's anathema to even suggest it politically of course (though I'd vote for a candidate who did just that).


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

Mikey P - As an afterthought I find intriguing that you had no interest in voting in the "Democrat" primary elections and yet took time to read this election report and then decided to expend a considerable effort in writing a comment.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Since I do not believe that many, if any, national political party issues penetrate down to our local level, I have discounted party labels, especially since I can decide who I like based on each individuals statements and actions as City Council members. Will you please explain to me what purely Republican and Democratic issues you see as being pervasive in Ann Arbor?

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

I asked Kunselman before the election about his reputation for butting heads with the mayor on some issues. This is what he told me: "I'm not anti-mayor by any means. I mean, John Hieftje is a well-respected politician and I disagree with a number of his methodologies and some of his positions, but to say 'anti' I think that's too strong of a statement. I think there are those who follow the mayor and those who are more independent, and you can put me in the independent camp."


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:01 p.m.

@Ryan Stanton - thank you for your article. A number of commenters have referenced the train station. Perhaps I missed it, but I have seen no information that suggests that the proposed costs for the conceptual train station design redo aren't still being sought. Ryan, could you please confirm this one way or the other? Thanks very much!

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

Kunselman also commented on whether there are "teams" on council anymore. "Initially, in my first experience on council from '06 to '08, it became pretty apparent there was a team of council members that basically decided that, because they were the majority, they would decide everything. And if you were with them, that was great, and if you weren't, they just excluded you and worked against you behind the scenes. They had obviously a very deceptive public persona. "I think today there's a huge difference in how our politicians or elected officials at the council table are taking their roles. I don't think there are teams anymore. We are a bunch of independent-minded council members who are elected to represent particular constituents' interests, and people are taking that more seriously than they had in previous eras of council."

Jaime Magiera

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

I'm a 4th ward, 25-year resident of Ann Arbor. To say that "the residents" won is a bit disingenuous. As a resident, I support projects that will foster rail, that will foster upward building in downtown and that will foster public art. Perhaps these things can be done in ways that will be a better fit for the all residents of the city (e.g. more focus on high-rises that cater to families and young professionals - with better aesthetics , fixing the potholes so residents have less resistance to public art projects that come up, etc.). So, although the idea that this shift represents "the will of all the residents" is incorrect, I hope we can have some balanced city council interactions that don't completely ruin opportunities for Ann Arbor to continue growing population, culture and technology-wise.

Jaime Magiera

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:41 a.m.

Part II: I used to live on South University. I'm familiar with how the demographics and property has changed over the years. I would agree that the demographic for the high-rise housing is imperfect. As I stated previously, we need to direct it to be more acceptable, financially and environmentally, to small families, young professionals, etc. There are a variety of methods for doing that. Note also that the market will eventually mediate this. If the student population doesn't continue buying into those spaces, the rent will have to be lowered to accommodate others. That will in turn force the city to make some decisions on the taxes, etc. if they want to avoid blight. So, the situation isn't hopeless. We just need to be vigilant. In closing: I'm actually quite informed, thanks.

Jaime Magiera

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:32 a.m.

Veracity, you didn't provide many facts. You provided opinions on small bits of information. From my perspective... Rail: No particular location is set in stone yet. That's been made clear (see: this article). In terms of the $66 million investment, that's reasonable considering the ultimate benefits. Note that new rail projects have been successful in many other cities across the country. Lots of new systems are being built. Most of these cities have at least half-a-dozen stops ( Commuter trains are actually quite adept at accelerating/decelerating at designated stops. This paper outlines how stops are as often as every 2 - 4 miles: That paper also notes a speed of 55mph with such stops. That's still superior to a car, bus or walking in terms of time, efficiency and environmental impact. Lastly, we've had a rash of car and pedestrian accidents throughout the city over the past few weeks. The time has come to rethink city travel. Between the dangers and the environmental costs, single-occupent driving needs to be diminished. Public mass transit is the most sustainable of solutions. Public Art: Lets take the most recent example: the Stadium underpass. The city put out a RFP. No one local responded. The city provided several sessions for public comment and input. They then chose from the four finalists. It should be noted that the Dreiseitl piece was actually mostly local talent. Dreiseitl only got a portion of the money. The rest went to an electronics company in Hamburg (Michigan), a fabricating company in Warren and some local Ann Arbor workers ( I think non-detailed art, so as not to be distracting, is useful in locations that would ordinarily be gray cement. It's actually quite noticeable to me (e.g. Chicago has some great examples). Lastly, public art is a necessary function of culture. With the right budgetary decisions, we can accommodate infrastructure and public art.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

Jaime, it appears that only hateful and one-sided comments are appreciated here. Your ideas of supporting the concepts of improving Ann Arbor (but not necessarily the current methods of how it is done), seem to be beyond the grasp of the rabid posters that only vote to oppose people and things, and not look toward positive solutions.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:21 p.m.

Why weren't you worried about "balanced city council interactions" when everyone on the council was in the mayor's pocket? Sounds like you want rubber stamps, not balance.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

What a fanciful view of Ann Arbor! RAIL: Very expensive and not cost effective; City tax payers may be asked to pay $66 million to construct a railroad station on Fuller Road; only one track that goes East/West and five stations to attract a handful of commuters living within ten minutes of a train station; traveling not nearly at 110 miles per as each train must slow down and stop at each station and must slow when crossing each of the many grade crossings; Public Art: Selected by an small but elite group of mayor appointments to the Public Art Commission whose record is to spend as much money as possible for contracts with out-of-state and out-of-country artists based entirely on prior art production and with little public input that ultimately does not effect art selection; Results so far include $770,000 Dreiseitl fallen beam monstrosity "fountain"; $150,000 upside-down umbrella inside the Municipal Building and $360,000 for etchings of trees for the Stadium Bridges. And Argo Cascades? Upward Building: All recent highrises are designed as student housing with few redeeming factors; as additional buildings undergo construction saturation is likely with one or more buildings likely to go bankrupt; the high cost of land and construction means that any young professionals, young families and empty-nesters will have to earn at least $100,000 annually to afford living downtown; forget the possibility of affordable housing. Please become familiar with the facts and implications of your favored approach to advancing Ann Arbor into the future. Reality is tough on your present beliefs.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

Thank you, Jaime. Moving forward with balance sounds like a good plan. Freezing and stagnating doesn't usually work in a university town.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

To say you received 65% of the vote sounds huge, until you look at the total number of people who voted. Many times in elections people take what is the status quo for granted and don't bother to turn out and that is sad.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

The total number of voters who cast ballots in this primary for a winning candidate is low, but it matters not, the results are binding, just like when less than 60% of the 7% of eligible voters (~4%) of the total population sticks the rest of us with a school bond or some other such thing. Eaton will sit at the council table in the fall, it appears, as sure as I will have a school tech bond millage assessment on my tax bill again this winter.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

Bet you had no problem with the off season special elections that have been set up in the past to push things through by the mayor and his party, no matter how low the turn out was. Sounding more like sore loser sour grapes.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:42 p.m.

Here's a vocabulary lesson: "winning". That's really all that matters at this point, isn't it? The winner sits on council. If you want someone else to win next time then I'd advise you to go out and get people to vote that way. Everything else is just blather.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

Brad LBH is kindly offering an elementary math and vocabulary lesson. 2/3 of 9% is 6%. 6% cannot be called "huge."


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

Brad Your phrase "interest me not at all" interests me. If that is the case then don't try to characterize what the majority of AA citizens want or feel or think.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

Actually I think it's pretty typical turnout for August elections. The people who didn't bother to show up interest me not at all.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Do you consider 9% are good representation of a population? I don't. The majority didn't speak because they didn't bother to show up.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

A 14-year incumbent losing 2:1 does sound huge. Because it is. Trying to explain it away is actually kind of sad.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

Hey, Dems - You get what you paid for- pun intended!!!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

9% voter turnout? LOL

Stuart Brown

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 7:34 a.m.

You need to take that with a grain of salt. There are a lot of voters on the roles who don't live in Ann Arbor anymore due to the U.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

Sadly, this comment tells you all you need to know about Ann Arbor! Al McWilliams, president of Quack!Media in downtown Ann Arbor, said he fears a minority of residents decided the races. "What I want is for Ann Arbor's elected officials to be representative of the actual majority in Ann Arbor," he said. Taken at it's face value, the fact that less than 10% of the City's registered voters came out to vote should speak volumes about where the current Leadership was taking us. If only 10% care enough about police, fire, potholes and flooding, then the other 90% must care about ART and other fluff projects that no one gives a hoot about. These election results are startling in what they do NOT show us. The people that are in the Mayor's corner have NO substance and the voters have spoken! The naysayers will scream from the highest mountain that PUBLIC ART is more worthy of our precious TAX dollars, but in the end, thankfully, the people who really CARE about this City spoke up! The "other side" conversely, could not take 5 minutes and put their latte down and VOTE!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

LBH - Some more food for thought......... "I just think we're going to continue the momentum that's been building since Steve Kunselman first beat Leigh Greden," Eaton said, referring to the 2009 ouster of one of the mayor's allies on council. Given that this 'momentum' is now 4 1/2 years and counting, I would suggest to you sir/mam that you have a lot to worry about. If this were a baseball game, it would be a complete game with 3 more outs. The Mayor knows he is toast. As for your ludicrous comment about how the city was saved during the economic downturn,.........Oh please! Wait while I search for my mini violin. The city was saved by UM just like East Lansing was saved by MSU and Palo Alto was saved by Stanford.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

They most definitely are to blame. Status quo is a powerful thing. People are rarely inspired to turn out unless they are pissed off. The small handful of the pissed off turned out and this is the result. We'll see how long it stays in place.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Ah yes - the lazy apathetic forward thinking voting bloc is to blame. You can't make this stuff up!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

90% care about art, really? What a ridiculous comment. Ann Arbor made it through a serious economic down turn without being devastated by it. That was due to forward thinking, responsible leadership. You don't like art, that is just fine, be just as snotty as you want about it. The tax dollars spent on it relative to the city budget is basically decimal dust. People were satisfied with what was going on, and didn't bother to turn out at their peril. Lazy voters have stuck us with this trend in council and it will only last until forward thinking individuals wake up and realize what their apathy has wrought.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

JBK - well stated.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

"I don't worry about the Fuller Road Station too much,". That sounds eerily like a famous Dubya quote. Congratulations to Kunselman and Eaton. Indeed, this is a good day for those who who believe city concil representatives should do just that, represent their constituents and not the whims of the mayor.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

Also, trains running at 110 miles per hour when there are many grade crossings between here and Detroit may not be a good idea. Ridership won't expand to the extent rail travel between here and Detroit would be cost effective. First, it would be too costly to have frequent trips. Thus, someone working in Detroit might miss a 5:30 p.m. train and be stranded. Large cities have the density to run trains beyond rush hours, even though not as frequent. Also, vans have greater flexibility when people work at different locations in Detroit and not within a mile or two of each other.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

"Council". Sorry for the type-o.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

Wait! Wait! Hold the celebration! The mayor has a few more months with his majority on council. These victories will not take effect until the end of November. Watch crafty Heiftje try to push through several of his pet project before his majority is gone.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : noon

We just got to get rid of the pseudo independent Jane Lumm now. She's not an independent and shes caused nothing but issues by clogging progress up.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

TheInfamousOne - If the independent label does not satisfy you then what label would you apply and please justify your position. What of Lumm's many activities in City Council are objectionable you? And how has she clogged up "progress"? And, out of curiosity, and to better understand your thought processes, which council members do you revere and wish that Jane Lumm would emulate?

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

From the spin spin spin quotes presented here it's even more apparent we need a new Mayor. He still has no clue the vote yesterday was a total rejection of HIS lack of leadership and policies over the past few years. Someone buy this pure guy a clue.

The Eyes of Justice Team

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

Hey, I like your Profile Pic ;)


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

9% turn out is a total rejection? Your analytic skills, perhaps, leave something to be desired. Apathy won the day and it is unfortunate.

A A Resident

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

Does this mean we get to stop trying to be like Boulder?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

And stop acting like Portland and all these other large cities that AA seems to think are wonderful models of urban living. Fix the potholes!

A A Resident

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

Shoot, I'd just about gotten the accent nailed down.

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

Here, here!!!!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:17 a.m.

Is there any wonder the mayor hasn't made up his mind as to whether or not to run again? His Uber-projects are now dead. Who wants to be a mayor with nobody listening to him and voting against every proposal. Thank goodness, it was about time.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

Can you say "lame duck"?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

I will rejoice once most of the art funds are restored to their original buckets so that we can get our expected level of basic services back. Vote against Hieftje and fill a pot hole!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:10 a.m.

Ann Arbor City Council has been in need of a major overhaul and with the latest election results, these changes have become a reality. It is time for Ann Arbor to restore basic services and repair infrastructure.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:09 a.m.

I tend to support high turnover when it comes to elected office. I don't buy into the arguments that long-serving individuals "build ties" that benefit constituents. I believe that fresh eyes, with fresh ideas should be omnipresent at every level of elected civic government.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

The ties can become obligations that bind, especially in a smallish town.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:02 p.m.



Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:01 a.m.

This needs to continue until the mayor is no longer around. Next - replace all of the AA BOE.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:51 a.m.

"Eaton and Kunselman both reiterated their opposition to the mayor's push for a new train station on Fuller Road following their victories Tuesday night." Perhaps with this (thank God) shift in council members and priorities, we can avoid spending millions of dollars on things BEFORE we get to realizing they're really not necessary or even slightly justified. The amount of time and money already sunk into that station is absolutely insane. "Hieftje said he wasn't surprised at the outcome of either race Tuesday night. Though he was supporting Higgins, he said he always suspected Eaton would win." Boy, the mayor sure was out there going door to door with Higgins (which I thought was VERY inappropriate). If he wasn't surprised, he must certainly be dismayed. What I wouldn't give to hear some of the conversations he must be having with all the consultant and construction buddies right now, trying to figure out what can be bulldozed through before common sense reigns. I implore people to vote for Lumm; if we can actually get some common sense and accountability into council, it might not be such a horrible depressing job; for both councilmembers AND residents of A2.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

It has been a long standing position of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party that it does not endorse any (Democratic) candidate during primary elections.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:46 a.m.

"What I want is for Ann Arbor's elected officials to be representative of the actual majority in Ann Arbor" Ah, the Silent Majority rides again. Could he be referring to people who are not actually residents and thus voters? Many people feel invested in Ann Arbor in one way or another, but live elsewhere. One of the interesting aspects of all this is the way our ward races have essentially become citywide races. You'll note that residents of Wards 1,2 and 5 were major supporters and workers on Jack Eaton's campaign (along with 4th ward volunteers and supporters), while a 2nd ward candidate is quoted in frustration about Julie Grand's campaign. (Jack also had supporters in Ward 3, but they had their own primary to worry about.) This reflects the importance of city-wide issues. As Jack said during his campaign, there are two visions of what Ann Arbor should be. Yesterday Ann Arbor residents won.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

LBH - this idea that residents want to "freeze" Ann Arbor or take it back to the past is ridiculous (though frequently stated by pro-development forces). I can't speak for everyone, but I'd say that the point is to sustain the wonderful city that we have, to keep it liveable, to promote a high quality of life (the "placemaking" craze that is now current fits us ok), to have a resilient community (hint: don't pile up a lot of debt we won't be able to pay in future), to preserve historic structures (part of the quality of life and placemaking), to have open space that renews us (QOL, placemaking again), to have a transit system that allows us to reach all parts of the city, to have a downtown that is accessible and usable by all residents and is of human scale (including new development) and to have diverse and successful neighborhoods where people of all ages can live. We want a future. We just have opinions about what that future should hold.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

LBH - Please stop mis-using the word "progressive." Thank you.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

Though it may not be what you meant, it is true what you said: *yesterday* Ann Arbor residents won. The few who were mustered to turn out are those who yearn for the sleepy little burg Ann Arbor was, *yesterday*. Sad for anybody who was seeing down town vitalization as a positive direction. The small handful of *Yesterday* Ann Arborites came from all over the city to push their agenda through getting Eaton elected and Kunselman re-elected. Smart tactics, used regularly by the TEA Party, though it is more effective in Ann Arbor because there aren't any Republicans running so it is a de facto vote. I truly hope that once people wake to what is taking place, we'll swing back to a more progressive council.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

Government for the people who already live here.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:29 a.m.

"... so we're paying more attention to what the residents of town want instead of big projects. We're going to continue on that trajectory — we're just going to have one more vote in that direction." What a breath of fresh air; listening to your constituents. This is great news for our 4th ward, and our city council. Congrats once again, Jack!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

What's funny is that they announced this morning the 350k 'art' they just commissioned for the new Stadium Bridge. How is that not a big project?????


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:23 a.m.

Yes!!!!!! The Hieftje Arbor Party is now the minority on the council. Goodbye Train Station and other ridiculous unaffordable projects.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:23 a.m.

A great first step towards towards a long over due house cleaning ...


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

It's still going to be a city run by a bunch of Democrats, there will be no real changes.................

Bertha Venation

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

AMEN! It will take all 68 of my Hoovers to do that, but well worth it! About time!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:20 a.m.

What could 'outlying his political ideas' mean? Perhaps the caption writer meant 'outlining'?

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

Good catch. Just fixed it.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

Vivian, you are correct, although politicians are often portrayed, with a fair amount of accuracy, as outlying their opponents. RU -- Both spellings are accepted.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

stench ?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:45 a.m.

They might mean "staunch" instead of "stanch" too. At least, I hope so.