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Posted on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 5:50 p.m.

John Floyd picks up Sierra Club endorsement in Ann Arbor's 5th Ward race; Carsten Hohnke accused of ducking debates

By Ryan J. Stanton

Republican John Floyd has picked up the Sierra Club's endorsement in a three-way 5th Ward race for the Ann Arbor City Council.


John Floyd

In a letter to Floyd on Wednesday, James D'Amour of the Huron Valley chapter of the Sierra Club wrote the club's statewide chapter officially is endorsing his candidacy.

Floyd is challenging Democratic incumbent Carsten Hohnke for his seat in the Nov. 2 general election. Also in the race is independent challenger Newcombe Clark, who made headlines for his statements at a debate earlier this week.

Floyd said today he's honored to have the environmental group's support. He said the Sierra Club is perhaps the most important political endorsement in Ann Arbor.

"I spend a lot of time outdoors, and it is gratifying to be acknowledged by a group whose name is synonymous with America's wild and beautiful places, wildlife protection, and with air and water quality, energy policy, '7 generations' thinking, and other elements of our human habitat," Floyd said in a statement.

Floyd said he believes urban sprawl is the central environmental issue in Michigan, and he expects to keep that in mind in potential deliberations and votes as a council member.


Newcombe Clark

Floyd and Clark have agreed to a candidate debate being hosted by at 5:30 p.m. next Wednesday at, 301 E. Liberty St. Hohnke so far has not confirmed his attendance and is being criticized by his challengers for that.

"The idea of an election is to foster public debate," Floyd said.

"I think myself and John still hope that Carsten finds it in the city's best interest to continue the discussion, and we'll be there next Wednesday, and hopefully he will be as well," Clark said.

Hohnke also has not confirmed his attendance at a potential debate being organized by The Ann Arbor Chronicle.


Carsten Hohnke

When asked after a recent City Council meeting whether he would participate in the upcoming debate, Hohnke said he didn't know about it.

"I'm not sure what you're referring to," Hohnke responded. "I'd be happy to entertain any debate, as I always do."

When the idea for a debate was proposed back in August, Hohnke wrote in an e-mail to that he thought there were enough candidate forums already.

Hohnke maintained that position today, noting he already appeared at a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters. He said he also plans to appear at candidate forums hosted by the Main Street Area Association on Oct. 7, the West Washtenaw Business Association on Oct. 14, and the Old West Side Association on Oct. 28.

"At some point, you have to say, 'I think that's a good set of candidate forums,'" Hohnke said. "Four seems like plenty, don't you think?"

Asked again whether he would attend next week's debate at, Hohnke said, "I'd have to check my calendar. I would consider it. I'm not saying I won't do it."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 1:33 p.m.

In response to michigan face's comment that John Floyd is a Republican and that no one should vote for him, perhaps instead of discriminating against someone because he wears a red button rather than a blue one, we ought to decide if we like him based on who he is as a person and what he aspires to do for our community. Like many in Ann Arbor, I consider myself mainly a Democrat, but I remember how, during his campaign, President Obama encouraged us all to be open-minded. He said he hoped Americans would not think of themselves in separate groups but rather would try to blend together to work toward good things. Remember him saying that blue and the red can blend together and make purple? Senator Ted Kennedy wore a bright purple scarf at the inauguration ceremony. I don't recall hearing John Floyd propose any offensive or radical ideas which would speak to his being of "the enemy party". How about we give him a chance? I know him to be a very good person who was born and raised in Ann Arbor and wants it to be a happy, healthy, well-functioning city for us all.

michigan face

Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 3:12 p.m.

Please get more information - John Floyd is a Republican through and through. He will not get my vote or any of my neighbors in the 5th ward.


Sun, Oct 3, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

From the Ann Arbor Chronicle: "After a few weeks of emails among the three candidates and The Chronicle, Hohnke confirmed in a face-to-face conversation with The Chronicle on Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 that he would not be participating in The Chronicles candidate event, not due to scheduling issues, but because he didnt feel he needed to participate in any more events than are already on his calendar." I guess that he doesn't feel the need to get anybody else's vote, either. I am a long-time Democrat and a long-time 5th Warder, but this time I am voting for John Floyd. He seems both sensible and sensitive to the citizens in his Ward.

John Floyd

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 2:37 p.m.

@Roadman Thank you for your support. @A2mom Thank you for your support, and for your affection. @Lokalisierun As I understand it, Mr. Hohnke has turned down a forum organized by Dave Askins of, as an act of will, not of scheduling. Mr. Clark and I are both attending. Check with the Chronicle for the official word. I am not accusing anyone of anything, but I am passing on my current understanding of the Chronicle's event. It's possible that events have overtaken my understanding, or that I was wrong to begin with. Check with Dave Askins at The Chron.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:29 a.m.

""I think myself and John still hope that Carsten finds it in the city's best interest to continue the discussion, and we'll be there next Wednesday, and hopefully he will be as well," Clark said." So who is exactly "accusing Honke of ducking debates?"


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 5:17 a.m.

I know John and both of his kids. They are great people and John has our families vote. He is an honest man who will do a wonderful job and he listens to our communities concerns. You have got our vote John! Keep up the good work! EVERYONE VOTE FOR JOHN THIS NOVEMBER!


Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 11:26 p.m.

John Floyd deserves the support of Fifth Ward voters this November.