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Posted on Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 5:50 a.m.

More police on the streets needed to make downtown safer

By Letters to the Editor

Dear Ann Arbor, I have lived in your city for nearly two decades. I went to Emerson Elementary School, did a brief stint at Saline, and then continued on at University of Michigan Undergraduate and Graduate Schools. I love you! From Zingermans to Le Dog, from the Ark to Shakespeare in the Arb, I think you are tops. You have great hospitals, great schools, great parks, great people!

However, I'm concerned about your welfare. While in undergrad and even in the beginning of grad school, I had little worry about whether or not Ann Arbor was safe. Sadly, after moving to Main Street for my last couple years of graduate school this is definitely not the case anymore.

I've had numerous unfortunate encounters of being heckled and intimidated by individuals roaming the streets. In fact, I stopped walking my dog in the morning to avoid such situations.

Earlier this month I walked around Ann Arbor just to savor the last few moments I have in my favorite place only to be asked for money on nearly every street corner along on Main Street.

So why am I upset? Because I love Ann Arbor and I see it getting taken over by a drugged out, homeless population. Of course I have compassion and feel for people who are suffering with addiction or struggling financially (I am an Ann Arborite after-all), but something needs to be done to keep our streets safe. Please increase the police patrol and make the streets safer. Something needs to be done, or I fear bad things will happen.

Lauren Sigler
Ann Arbor


Jaime Magiera

Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

... and I challenge anyone to compile a list of crimes committed against citizens during the act of panhandling. (e.g. How many people have been beaten, raped or killed for not providing spare change). Unless those numbers are statistically significant, it's all in your head.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

I'm confused. The title of this letter is about safety and the content is about pan handlers (a non-threat). Quite honestly, instead of trying to rid the city of pan handlers and other oddballs, we should simply provide classes to the populace on "how to live in a city without having a traumatic experience because someone asks you for spare change". I'm an Ann Arbor-ite, and the notion that the pan handlers are threatening is ridiculous. What do you people do when you go to New York City? LA? San Francisco? Do you zip yourself up in a protective bubble? Lets deal with real issues instead of making more busy-work for the police.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

From what Ive seen, A couple of the officers could use alittle walking around to work off the belly they got. Do you only have to pass the intetial physical and then nobody cares if you can effectivly do your job when your that outta shape? Seriously they dont make me feel safe, and if their attitude towards their own well being should be taken into accout. If they cant control or help themselves how effective are they truely?


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

Panhandling is not a crime, so extra police won't solve the problem. Only aggressive panhandling is a crime and there is little of that.

Ypsi Russell

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

Why does one never read about any panhandling problem in downtown Ypsilanti?


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

It is not unsafe here. Actually you are off base if you think any place is "safe." Compared to other cities A2 is Disneyland. I did not make that up, an AAPD officer told me that.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Amen, Lauren. Thanks so much for giving voice to something that so many of us are concerned about.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

Ignore them if they ask you for money, if they persist after that, you should contact the authorities. Do not make eye contact and do not say anything to them.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5 p.m.

Do what I do. I say, "I was going to ask your for money."


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

Love that one of the people saying there is no problem criticizes the comments as being full of anecdotes, then gives his own anecdote as proof. No logic needed I guess.

Top Cat

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

My sense from reading the comments is that many men are dismissing this woman's concerns. I sometimes find that in Liberty Square, I will switch my wallet from my back pocket to my front pocket when eating lunch on a stool by a table. If I were a woman, I would not eat there alone.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

Wow, looks like you really hate those beggars. Guess they could just put them all in a special place for you (maybe concentrate them) and call it a camp? Let me get this straight. You've felt safe in AA in the past. Now you move to a different hood, and you magically feel unsafe. Maybe next time you should do your research before you move! The only consistent feature of all your failures, is you! (taken from those demotivational posters)


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 7:39 a.m.

What's funny is that Ann Arbor's panhandlers are nowhere near as dangerous or aggressive as some other cities. Get around a little bit, and you'll see it's not that bad =)


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:34 a.m.

Is no one taking notice of Camp Take Notice being closed down? Do we just wish these people to cease to exist while we simultaneously take away their community and support?


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:02 a.m.

Accosted? Threatened? Intimidated? Drugged out? Wow. And Ann Arbor is supposed to have an educated and tolerant population. I see a biased, prejudicial, arrogance, resulting in class separation and exaggerated claims from people who treat their animals with more dignity than those "drugged out homeless" people.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:32 a.m.

This is the safest place I have ever lived it almost frightens me that I might become complacent. I've run through downtown in the early morning hours, I love it, and I'm not heckled. It's possible I'm jaded by cities and it's hard to explain, but it's a street smart balance of ignoring the panhandlers but knowing my surroundings. At the very least don't make eye contact or say anything back to them (ie: "no" is not an answer, you just opened yourself up to them).


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

That is exactly it. You don't have any obligation to talk back to someone asking you for change. Don't talk to them and ignore them. If they touch you or try and stop you from leaving the area you can and should report it to the police. They sometimes ask me for money and I just act like I don't hear them and keep walking. It works and I have not been harassed for doing so one time


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:07 a.m.

A2newbie, I've lived in several big cities (as well as a few small towns), and I've been mugged, badgered, flashed, threatened, pickpocketed --if you'll accept the coinage--and harassed in various ways in cities all over the world. I agree with you that A2 is less dangerous than NYC, for example, or Monterrey, or Naples, or Marseille, and yes, I know that being street-smart can sometimes fend off unpleasantness. Can you reasonably expect street smarts, though, of someone like 'Meggie,' who wrote in this comment stream about taking her little grandson out for a walk? Would you want your own grandmother exposed to some of Ann Arbor's not-very-nice panhandlers? The fact that we're not all that likely to be murdered, or even mugged, on the streets of Ann Arbor isn't really the point, it seems to me--what's important is the kind of environment we're willing to accept. And that's apart from the question of whether or not we concede that panhandling and living on the street are acceptable for those who are doing it. We built and now maintain the Delonis Center and offer other social services as well--wasn't that because we agree that homeless people need an alternative to begging on the streets, whether they're making us unsafe or not?


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:44 a.m.

A2 - Are you a man or a woman? You do not identify yourself. The author of the Letter is a woman. This is real Black and White and your respons is Grey. If you are a woman, good for you. If a man, then NO wonder you are not accosted, etc.. running thru the streets.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 11:46 p.m.

This even worse than graffiti.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 9:31 p.m.

Although there are ~70 comments here, this entry in the AnnArbor.Com blog has been recommended just once since it was posted before 6 this morning. I see this as evidence that our citizenry are embarrassed by this situation. I join Lauren Sigler in asking that this embarrassment be dealt with by our elected officials and first responders.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

Want to know what is scary? I rarely get accosted by a panhandler in downtown Ypsi. Ann Arbor? Another story. Anytime we go downtown for dinner, I will be accosted at least once by a panhandler, most I know from past experience. I guess having having an abundance of panhandlers in your downtown area makes a city socially progressive.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

In addition, did Ypsilanti have the heart to build a new, large homeless shelter? Of course not, they just ship to AA.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 10:02 p.m.

Or maybe the people in Ypsilanti don't have as much money and aren't appealing targets?


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

I'd just like to thank all of the MEN commenting on this board for enlightening all of us about how "overstated," "overblown," and "unfounded" this WOMAN's discomfort is. My, what cajones you all have! I highly doubt that those of you men criticizing this discomfort understand at all what it's like to be jeered at. Perhaps panhandlers ask you if you can spare some change--I can entirely understand why you would think that this isn't terribly intrusive and why such an interaction should be tolerated. But that isn't what they shout at women; instead, we get: "Hey, Sweet Thing, why don't you smile for me!" No one says this to YOU, do they? This has been the kind of experience I and many other women have had increasingly, and whether you like it or not it DOES make us feel unsafe. And you all must understand that this doesn't happen "once in a while." This is something you ask us to tolerate every day, several times a day. Is that really what you want, and is it really what we should have to go through just to walk to CVS or down Main Street?

E Claire

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Spot on! I posted something similar in a response before I saw this. I'm in my 50s and I still get this crap so it doesn't surprise me that a 12 year old is also a target. Its sickening.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:53 a.m.

I agree with you in many senses. But from an "educated" woman's perspective, I would hope that we would have an intuitive insight into the conversation that these "MEN" who are posting don't have. We are far better than this Ann Arbor. The pilgrims brought over garlic mustard because it grew easily and was delicious. It only became invasive in the past thirty years in specific areas. And "educated" Ann Arborites are the first to host an "i feel good about myself" spectacle over a system that has a higher intelligence than we can ever fathom.. Are we not intelligent enough to ask WHY???? Can we begin to have a conversation in this town about real issues without destroying one very complex thing to let another easy convenience thrive?


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:24 a.m.

I am a women, and I go downtown once or twice a month. I have never really had a problem with the panhandlers or walking around at night. I just make sure of my surroundings and keep my eyes open. That being said, I think we do need more police because everyone has the right to feel safe where they live.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:56 a.m.

Agreed. After I replied, "I'm sorry," to a panhandler, he followed me down State Street and told me that I was a b*tch and that he hoped I got raped. This was at noon on a weekday.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:12 a.m.

@BernieP - speaking for myself, I don't need Superman. What I do need is as much concern for my safety as I walk down the Main Street/Liberty/State Street shopping/restaurant area sidewalks (with aggressive panhandlers) as when I simply cross the street (in the crosswalk with the bright local ordinance sign).


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

There has been some constructive advice; short of the "Guardian Angels" or the employment of Kimber pepper spray of how to deal with crude cowards on the street. Chivalry is not dead, but then again, not even Superman could be everywhere at once.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 9:17 p.m.

Amen! I especially hate when they do this to my 12 year old daughter. And forget about going near the bus depot and library. Bunch of angry junkies over there.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

I think your concerns are overstated. I feels safe every where and at all times in Ann Arbor. I wonder if living here for 20 years has provided you with a skewed perception of what is safe in a City. I suppose it is all in the eye of the beholder . I do not perceive the need for more police nor do I wish to fund more police.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

I posted this earlier and it has disappeared (not sure why). "Ohh Ann Arbor and their first world problems, lol"

Detached Observer

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

Actually, beggars are a Third World problem, and their increasing numbers are a symptom of the Third-Worldization of America. Did you know that in some countries, parents deliberately cripple their own children so they will have better careers as beggars . . . because they see this as their best available option?


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 5:34 p.m.

In response to the conversations about the downtown streets and graffiti troubles; I have a side business doing graffiti and gum removal. I have solicited work from the city, members of the DDA, and the various street area associations. I have also walked door to door soliciting business owners all over town.. Most of them think the gum and graffiti is the city's problem, the city doesn't call me back. The business is not doing so well. Only a few conscientious property owners keep their sidewalks and building clean, and I know at least one large management company has their own crew. The fines that are levied against the graffiti vandals are part of general revenue, not a penny of that goes towards cleanup, as far as I can tell. Meanwhile our streets are worse than those in big cities. The State Street area in Chicago has NO gum on the sidewalks, and the buildings are for the most part free of graffiti. Maybe they have a stricter ordinance? In our downtown areas, the Maynard police substation sits empty, with three $1000 mountain bikes locked inside. In Chicago there was a noticeable city presence everywhere. I only compare to Chicago because our Mayor and most of the council seem to want to emulate them in providing every possible mass tranist option, even though our buses run well below capacity most of the time. It seems that the smaller quality of life issues that make Ann Arbor a nice place to live have been left behind in the rush to create some sort of utopian tranist model city, whether we need it or not. I hope to see a few more police on the streets this summer. I also hope to see a little less begging, both from the street people, and the AATA.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:32 a.m.

Two years ago, Pioneer students spray painted Huron High Schools with purple spray paint. Some admitted responsibility and agree to pay restitution. However the "P 11" paint remains.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

There are two things that anger a panhandler. 1. Tell them you will not give them money. 2. Tell them to get a job.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

4. Tell them the world just ran out of cheep booze and medical weed.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

3. Get punched


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

I agree with Lauren. This isn't about a lack of compassion for those less fortunate, this is about being accosted by aggressive panhandlers. We go downtown frequently, and this happens every time. Our teenaged son was repeatedly badgered for money, and it frightened him. We're talking about career panhandlers who prey on the folks who help sustain Ann Arbor's vibrant downtown. Our safety is more important than their next buzz.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

A downtown resident myself, I too have witnessed and experienced the harassment. Walking my toddler grandson this week I had to steer him away from areas I know are the " bathrooms" of the homeless. From my apartment I see the outdoor "toilets" being used. We all have compassion, but this is where government is meant to be helping by directing the needy to shelter and food.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 10:59 a.m.

Steered clear of parking garage stairwells, eh?


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Meggie the problem isn't that they need shelter and food--- they need drugs and alcohol. If you are kind and give them cash you will do them more harm than good. Mental health is also a major part of the problem-- most of these people need help --not cash.

Scott Reed

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

I've lived here for five years, and walk around the downtown area almost every day. I've never felt unsafe. More police does NOT necessarily mean better policing or a safer city. This letter is full of anecdotes and sweeping statements, and completely devoid of hard numbers.

E Claire

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

Well, Jon, women don't crowd around men making obscene remarks and gestures. No one seem to be getting it that this is probably what Lauren is dealing with.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 8:52 p.m.

I agree with Vivian, Scott: it seems that many men feel completely safe, but that women do not. The interactions our genders have with panhandlers are not the same.

Jon Wax

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

whooooa!!! wait a minute, Vivian: if a guy had said that... oh my lord the unholy amount of PC rain that would have come down. man... you guys play that card so selectively! Peace B


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

It may be that women (particularly small or frail or elderly women) find these panhandlers more threatening than men do. But even if you don't feel unsafe, Mr. Reed, do you think Ann Arborites ought just to accept having beggars--some of them aggressive-- on our streets? I don't mean that term to be insulting, but I do mean it to be frank.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Lauren - Good luck with this! The homeless population is the primary constituency that keeps re-electing our good Mayor "John Boy" and the City Council year after year. Collectively, they will not do anything, nor have they for the last 10 years. They do NOT care about your safety, nor mine. They would prefer to buy more art for the District Court and/or buy a water fountain that has not worked since day one. If you want positive change, then let's vote OUT the current administration and bring in some new faces with fresh ideas.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

Great idea Bob, but what happens when liberals find out what great place you live in , then move in and wanna make it better, you know more like Ann Arbor.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

Move to Clinton. They have a nice downtown and I've never seen a panhandler.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

Don't you worry, the mayor has stated there is no problem.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Good one, @Sonnydog09!


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

He reminds me more and more of Mayor Larry Vaughn from Jaws every day.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

I agree with the general tone of this letter - and have experienced the same type of intimidation and harassment. However, the last time (last week) it happened in full view of a police officer, who did nothing. I was approached by a panhandler in front of Palio - I politely declined, which angered him. He proceeded to follow me across the street and down to the parking area, continuing to ask for money. You can scream "Think Global Shop Local" all you want, but it will be a long time before I think of Main Street for a lunchtime shopping trip! Downtown merchants need to raise their voice before more are forced to close their doors.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 5:14 p.m.

If you felt threatened, then it was a crime and you should have reported it. Did you dial 911? Did you engage the nearby police? If you felt threatened then you probably had a right to use pepper spray.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

They asked you for money? Oh dear! But nothing happened? That was it? Did their apparent poverty make you feel uncomfortable? You could "Turn the other cheek" and ignore them. If they broke the law or threatened you, call the cops. If their asking throws you into a tizzy, they may do it just to see your reaction. Gated communities are your best option for avoiding "those people".


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

Thank you, BobbyJohn and E Claire for stating what these people seem unable or unwilling to see: women and other people perceived as vulnerable (including teenagers) are being made uncomfortable in ways that grown men simply don't experience. And it's frankly insulting for those grown men to dismiss that discomfort just because it isn't their own, and more so for you to imply that we're spoiled/stuck up/need to stay home/should seek out gated communities. We just don't want to be treated disparagingly and made to feel unsafe on the main streets of our beautiful little town. It's really not that much to ask.

E Claire

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

ps, I get this at 50 years old so I can't imagine what is being said to a younger woman.

E Claire

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

Did it ever occur to you that she is getting graphic sexual comments? Being a man, you have no idea. I've had some men say things to me, of course, only when I'm alone and no one else is around. Then they get in your face. Just turn the other cheek, eh? Have you forgotten that the rapist hasn't been caught? Get off your soapbox and think before you post.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:29 a.m.

And why exactly do the homeless have criminal records? Is it because they are criminals or because they are homeless? Many other people with felony records walk the streets of Ann Arbor and no one knows because they don't have traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, and mental health issues. There are places one can be free of these people - at home.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 10:48 p.m.

Nicholas What makes people uncomfortable has nothing to do about their poverty. It is about their intimidation and threatening behavior. Many of the panhandlers who are aggressive do have a criminal record. Just because the writer of the letter to the editor has not yet been harmed, does not mean she won't be harmed another time. Nobody has the right to come up into your face and demand money in a threatening way. She is not talking about people who hold up a sign requesting handouts.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

I bet she could almost smell them, too. The horror!

Dirty Mouth

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

Ann Arbor has always had a rougher edge to it and used to be far worse back in the late-1970s. What is alarming (and not addressed in this letter) is the uptick of "beat-down" whereby a group of young men attack another individual for no apparent reason. The most recent example of these types of attacks having taken place on Stadium, where a young man was beating by a group of "roaming" black men in their 20s in broad daylight. I am a bit confused by your use of the adjectives "heckled" and "intimidated" (by individuals roaming the streets). Do these roaming individuals heckle you and your dog? Demand money? Have you been specifically targeted multiple times? Evidently, it has clearly has taken a toll on you if you've changed your schedule.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:55 a.m.

Correction: The correct name is "knock out game".

Dirty Mouth

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 10 p.m.

Stephen, that is absolutely sick.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

It is called the "punch out game". Google it and you'll see it's a nationwide phenomenon.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

Curiously there were multiple police walking around the Mayor's Green Fair. Was it just for show or were they expecting trouble from the greenies?

Dirty Mouth

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Hippies are unpredictable.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

so sad! Stop and think, when was the last time you saw a police car,let alone a police officer in Ann Arbor?


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

Really? I see police cars all the time! Most of them are just driving patrols or hiding in speed traps for traffic enforcement.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

Two weeks ago, which was my most recent visit to downtown.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

@eone, I saw one yesterday, at State and Stadium, @9:15 a.m. Cop had pulled o er someone. That specific enough?

An Arborigine

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

@jock, I don't suggest total disregard, I object to zealous emphasis at the expense of other law enforcement.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

Yes Arborigine, since drunk drivers only kill an average of 10,000 people a year in this country, and maim countless others, we should completely disregard any and all enforcement of this phenomenon.

An Arborigine

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

They are all assigned to arresting those heathen drunk drivers. There simply isn't enough time in the day to worry about pesky assault and larceny!

Basic Bob

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

Go down State and Washtenaw about 11:00 at night. I saw three within five minutes the other night, one was patrolling and the other two had cars pulled over.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

Ask the police departments public liaison to take up occasional surveillance of the specific locations you are worried about. If the location is secluded, ask a friend to come with you as there is safety in numbers. Don't let the intimidators "win"... go back to walking your dog in the morning.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

I agree with you JBK, that our elected officials and first responder should have taken care of this a long time ago. Otherwise its up to resilience and strength of our citizenry.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:13 a.m.

Bernie - We are talking about a young lady, not a man. If she feels that she is being harassed, or verbally assaulted, what are her options? These panhandlers prey on people they perceive as weak. Most (not all) panhandlers are men. They could easily over power her. If "John Boy Walton" our Mayor would get off his backside and do something, this would be a moot point. The fact that someone has to write a letter to the editor to get some action is pathetic.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

As a downtown resident for the past 13 years, I agree with this excellent letter! I would add that the graffiti vandalism problem, while not a public safety issue, is also vexing for us. The building Wendy family lives in has been hit repeatedly at great expense. Our city was a lot more beautiful before the vandals defaced so many objects and buildings. While businesses are required by city code to remove graffiti quickly, the police don't enforce the code and the single worst offender is the city itself, which rarely removes graffiti from city signs and other city infrastructure. I asked the mayor a few days ago during the Q&A period after his state of the ciry speech at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon what more could or should be done about the graffiti vandalism problem especially with respect to city owned property? To paraphrase his answer, he responded by saying that the police are doing a wonderful job and have caught 6-8 of the vandals and he is hoping that the $25-30k fine they get hit with (and possibly a felony conviction) serves as an effective deterent to the others. He did not address the part of my question about cleaning up the city property that has been defaced or offer any other proposed solutions, which was disappointing. NYC's anti-graffiti strategy is excellent, successful and a model other cities like ours could emulate. See:


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

@Stephen, have you ever considered running for office? Seriously, you have immersed yourself in the issues of the city, and you seem to really care. Any thoughts? AA could REALLY use a leader who cares more about the city and less about art when there are far bigger priorities.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

@snark12: This sentence "The building Wendy family lives in has been hit repeatedly at great expense." Should have read "The building our family lives in has been hit repeatedly at great expense." Sorry for the bizarre spelling auto correct and bad proofreading...


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

Agreed. I walked over the Stadium bridge yesterday- the view is of four "SAES" tags adjacent to the bridge. There ya go mayor- free "art"- now spend that $360K on something we actually NEED. The bridge was just fine as is- minus the SAES tags, of course. Perhaps the mayor needs to take a walk in our fine city to SEE for himself.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

Do they think they are ever goingto get that money?????????? how silly.. It will be like kwame K... Have them clean it up!!.. They wanna paint.. let them paint the whole building.. and scrub it off..


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

I know the mayor said it, I'm wondering if it actually happened. ran a couple updates on the seas and mole kids, but none of them said the kids or their parents were fined $25,000. WERE they? Were any of the graffiti people caught, judged, and officially fined this amount of money?


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

Who's Wendy?

Dirty Mouth

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Dude, you need your own blog.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

I believe he also made that "1,000 tech workers in the tech corridor hub thing" claim two days in a row and we know that's patently false.

Mark Ouimet

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

@RUKiddingMe: The Mayor said it twice in two days in his "unofficial state of the city" speeches, but then again perhaps we don't have enough trust in our city leaders (per this morning's other article)... ;-)


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

I didn't see anything in the graffiti vandal stories about them getitng anything CLOSE to a $25-$30k fine. Did that actually happen? Were these 2 seas and mole kids fined 25 thousand dollars? Did ANY graffiti vandal get fined this much?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

Tiny URL to the rescue! The link is too long for, so you can get to that page using the following link:


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

Make panhandling illegal. If you set out bird feeders birds will come- if you build a pond frogs will come- and if you hand out cash to panhandlers then panhandlers will come. You will better serve your community by building an addiction center than to hand out cash.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

I'd say you did not do your homework. If you did you would of known of all the deadbeats who harass the town folk. Just life in tree town City hall could care less of its residents. Its more art over more police. Get used to it,being harassed or do as lots of others do/did, leave


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Maybe if the mayor subsidized panhandling too, they'd be less agressive...


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:09 a.m.

Homeland - I almost hurled on myself reading your response. That was way too @#$%^ funny!:) lol

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

Rename them street performers


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 6:54 p.m.

motorcycleminer....Why not just call them " art " ?

Hugh Giariola

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

Why the down votes on this? Motorcycleminer is spot-on.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

A panhandling stipend perhaps?


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

I have also been harassed by aggressive panhandlers in down town Ann Arbor. I simply avoid the area and will continue to do so until things change. If enough people don't patronize the area, the business owners will demand that the city take action.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Really? That is your solution? Um, the business owners have been demanding action, the city has nothing, other than provide them shelter! I'd give them all a free one way ticket to Florida.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

Thank you, Lauren. It seems that in the summer there is an influx of panhandlers who are particularly aggressive. They can be pretty intimidating and have frightened me at times. I've often wondered why they are allowed to loiter. You'd think there'd be laws...


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

and the tinyurl to fix the link above...


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 4:29 p.m.

I believe this covers the loitering that HM describes. Ch 108 section 9:65


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Yeah. What are the laws about it, anyway?


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 10:45 a.m.

I don't fear that bad things will happen at all. A few panhandlers doesn't make downtown dangerous. It's all in your mind.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 5:14 p.m.

We must remind ourselves that homeless panhandlers are really morally superior to the rest of us, so must must feel obligated to give them our money.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 10:41 a.m.

Well said.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

Panhandling is certainly an urgent problem that needs to be addressed, but I struggle to see downtown as being even remotely unsafe. In fact, Ann Arbor is so safe that purse-snatching becomes newsworthy. If there is any danger around here, it is driving through crummy freeways in the suburbs with poorly designed interchanges.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 7:58 p.m.

Amen!! I am too afraid to ever go downtown these days God knows what could happen!! If our money is going to pay for these people anyway we might as well put them where they belong and I think we ALL know where that is...... god bless