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Posted on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 11:50 a.m.

Joan Lowenstein's critique of the 'anti' party in Ann Arbor gets local politicos fired up

By Ryan J. Stanton

In a new column that appears in The Ann magazine, Joan Lowenstein, a former 2nd Ward Ann Arbor City Council member and current Downtown Development Authority board member, offers a harsh critique of residents she suggests stand in the way of progress.

She says Independent challenger Jane Lumm's defeat of Democratic incumbent Stephen Rapundalo in last month's council election makes her sad because it "heralds an un-Ann Arbor-like conservatism in the city's increasingly aging population."


Joan Lowenstein

The column, which can be found here, already is causing a stir among local politicos.

One supporter of Lumm called it a "bizarre rant," while Vivienne Armentrout, a former county commissioner and also a Lumm supporter, writes in a blog post of her own that Lowenstein "has really outdone herself with this one."

"Her article combines disinformation with outright insults, and is even politically incorrect," Armentrout writes on her blog.

In the column, Lowenstein writes that Lumm's campaign was fueled by "skillful propaganda" from people who misleadingly call themselves independent when what they really are is "anti."

"The idea that we hear over and over from the 'anti' party — and that includes current Councilmembers Steve Kunselman and Mike Anglin — is that government should only provide 'basic' services," Lowenstein writes. "When did Ann Arbor become a basic town?"

Lowenstein offers a particularly snarky criticism of their opposing viewpoint on the project to build a new transportation center along Fuller Road, a $121 million vision that includes accommodations for trains, bicycles, pedestrians, buses and automobiles.

"Is this an independent point of view?" Lowenstein asks in the column. "No, it is the most pernicious of all: A transportation center would bring in more people, and people are dangerous if you want to huddle in a corner and hold on to what you have."

Lowenstein is a close political ally of Mayor John Hieftje and the so-called council majority, which was whittled from eight to seven with Lumm's election this year. Kunselman and Anglin also fended off challengers backed by council majority allies in the August primary, while Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, was re-elected unopposed this year.

"So if we are keeping score, the total for the season is Council Party 1: Community (or townies) 4," Armentrout concludes.

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 e-mail newsletters.


Richard Wickboldt

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

We have the basic freeedom and right to vote. The citezens in certain Wards have made their votes and decisions. I suspect in the future other Wards wil also be voting a change in how Ann Arbor moves into the 21st Century. Being on all the 'best' lists by governance is not sustainable and costly. How about trying to get on the list noting Ann Arbor with the best fire protection!

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

Joan Lowenstein is a polarizing force in a time when we need to come together to solve critical problems. If I never hear from her again that would be just great! And yes, I am a lifelong democrat.

Monica R-W

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 8:53 a.m.

Lots of internal issues in A2. Maybe its' time to have both sides of the on-going debate, on our growing political podcast ROJS Radio (thinking out loud on a internet newspaper form here)... <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Nothing like a free format to hash out all of the issues, right?


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

May I remind dear Joan before she stepped in to Ann Arbor especially 2. Ward voted mostly an Independent or Republican. She does sound like a sore looser. I am a registered Democrat and voted for Jane Lumm. If we had more people on the Councel likes of Jane Lumm we would be better off.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 10 p.m.

Her employer should be ashamed


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

Well, delusion is obviously alive and well in our community.

Tony Dearing

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

A comment was removed because it violated our conversation guidelines. Please do not post comments that include profanity or abbreviations that represent profanity.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 10:04 p.m.

Actually we removed it because we did not agree witht the verbiage

sojourner truth

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 6:27 p.m.

I have never read a more emotional, irrational, and poorly thoughtout letter than Joan Lowenstein's in The Ann, and am at a loss to believe that the majority of citizens side with that diatribe. The mayor and the majority party have too long been able to push their agenda through too easily and when the populace respionds negatively, and they have to back off,it often costs the City and developers much time and often much money . Jane Lumm is slowing that process down and making the council more &quot;democratic&quot; by giving another voice to the discussion. As for the Fuller Street Station: there are still many questions to be answered before the City should commit to such a big project. What about the legality of using parkland, the cost, what benefit it has for Ann Arbor's citizens, how much will the University benefit unilaterly, will there ever be a high speed train or will this just become a parking lot for the U Hospital? The Council is already making moves to begin building ( go by Fuller Road and you will see what progress they are making) and there has never been a referendum from the citizens. I am not anti growth, but I do believe in intelligent and sensible growth. And how is being independent the party of 'anti&quot;? And why do we have partisan politics involved with City matters anyway?


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.

Sounds like a sore loser to me. Grow up Joan! You didn't get your way, so everyone else is 'anti' and old! I didn't see Mr Rapundalo garnish any 'young' supporters. I think a grand total of 3 students voted in the UM voting precinct, and most of his endorsers were inside the city hall types, not even Ward 2 constituents.

Stephen Landes

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

Sometimes humorous response to the silliness of public officials is best. A friend happened to send this story to me today: An old prospector shuffled into the town leading a tired old mule. He walked up to the saloon and tied his old mule to the hitch rail. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other. The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, &quot;Hey old man, can you dance?&quot; The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, &quot;No son, I don't dance... never really wanted to.&quot; A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, &quot;Well, you old fool, you're gonna dance now!&quot; and started shooting at the old man's feet. The old prospector, not wanting to get a toe blown off, started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet. Everybody standing around was laughing. When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon. The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled 12 gauge shotgun and cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air. The young gunslinger heard the sounds and turned around very slowly. The silence was deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer and the large gaping holes of those twin 12 gauge barrels. The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man's hands, as he quietly said; &quot;Son, have you ever kissed a mule's behind?&quot; The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, &quot;No sir... but...but I've always wanted to.&quot; There are a few lessons for all of us here: *Don't be arrogant. *Don't waste ammunition. *Whiskey makes you think you're smarter than you are. *Always make sure you know who is in control. *And finally, don't screw around with old folks; they didn't get old by being s

Stephen Landes

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

by being stupid.

Jack Gladney

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

I agree with Lowenstein. Ann Arbor needs one-party rule, now! This is &quot;our&quot; town and no one has a right to deter us in our efforts. By any means, even if we have to inter those with &quot;anti-party&quot; views. Being a registered republican or a tea party member would be a good place to start. Non-Specific Deity save the Mayor. Long live the Mayor!


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

Lowenstien is complaining that Jane came back into the spot light under an independant lable...What do you think Rapundalo and Higgins did. This is nothing more than a public cat fight and Jane will stir the pot. The Democrat stew was getting burned. GO Jane!!


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

WOW bizarre angle on life and this is the poster child letter outlining the problem with politics today It's all about me. or my party Is she responable for the giant hole and 5th ave being a mess for 2 years. Is she is responsable for siphoning off DDA money to supplement the city budget- oh i guess i shouldn't complain or question her or anyone else about city services or how the city is spending money. WOW I have lived in the city since the 60's we have had plenty of mixed councils minorities and majorities what we have now is one sided; your either with us or your an anti; very un-Ann Arbor attitude in my opinion. I always thought what made Ann Arbor unique was the dialogue and exchange of ideas; it was friendly debates, and the city functioned and felt like a small town. now it is bitter my way or else, we pass meaningless legislation just because. And please do not cite crosswalks in California, Brighton, our neighbor to the north has a great down town and cross walk system and have had it for over 10 years! Question to Lowenstein and I am serious; Could young people be leaving the city because of the direction it has taken in the last 10 years with you and the leadership that has entrenched itself in city hall?? - seriously


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

I guess what i'm trying to say it is a lack of respect for not only opposing views but for people that are different than her- If she were a republican she would be fired immediatly

Vivienne Armentrout

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

It has been interesting reading all the comments and also watching the poll numbers. (I'll leave to others to debate the validity of such polls.) Today I read an academic paper about group consensus mechanisms that rang some bells. I'm not sure that the full article is available to nonsubcribers, so I apologize if not. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Also, a review and analysis is here <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> The article uses both experimental and theoretical work to examine what happens when a powerful minority takes charge of the group consensus. &quot;Conflicting interests among group members are common when making collective decisions, yet failure to achieve consensus can be costly. Under these circumstances individuals may be susceptible to manipulation by a strongly opinionated, or extremist, minority.&quot; But their conclusions are that presence of a large number of uninformed individuals damps out this manipulation and makes the group decision more democratic. As the review summarizes, &quot;Their presence allows the majority to wrest control back from a manipulative minority.&quot; My application of this to Ann Arbor is that while we have a small group of very influential decision-makers in power, once the general public (in contrast to insiders on both sides of an issue) is brought into the discussion, a leveling effect occurs that swings the discussion back to a common-sense direction that better represents the interests of the public at large. I am heartened by the sensible viewpoints expressed in many of these comments. Of course some people will say that the minority is our &quot; community&quot; viewpoint, rather than the Council Party. But discussion is good.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.

Could please dispense with the hyperbolic editorialization on its surveys? It's spot on — go Joan! I'm offended — she should apologize ...seriously?? Can't we just indicate whether we agree or disagree without anticipating what we might be thinking beyond that? Ridiculous!


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

Totally agree and they seem to do it every time. Whenever I try to vote there is not a choice that reflects my feeling.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

That would be too news-like for this blog. They're trying to be hip. You're right, though. Can't somebody disagree but not be offended?

hut hut

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

If I may misquote Lowenstein, &quot;We're smarter than you old people. You don't get it. We know what's best for everyone and you don't because you're senile. We need these kids to pay the bills&quot;. Not that they know what they're doing either, but we need the money.&quot;


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

I think it is more like, &quot;We are smarter than all you people.&quot; Not just the senior citizens. It is a common ideology in this town and of the liberal agenda, that they know what is best for the world, country, state, city., etc and just sit back and don't complain because they are the smartest people in the world and can do nothing wrong. Thus when the idiotic crosswalk experiment seriously fails, they choose not to withdraw it but to simply amend it somehow. Just sit down and shut up until they announce the fix.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

Dissent and differing opinion is now attacked by liberal idealogues like Lowenstein. It's not just her, you can see it everywhere. If people really think that group think and blindly focused, agenda driven government is the way to go then I don't know why everyone is complaining about the school board and all of the raises. You sent a message to the new superintendent that we are a wealthy district by giving her a $75,000 raise over the last superintendent and preach about fairness and equality and then when she hires a deputy superintendent for $140,000and gives the others a raise to that level to be &quot;fair&quot; everyone cries foul. What a messed up city...........

Jon Saalberg

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:06 p.m.

It all started with the parking deck to nowhere, and a DDA that thought we needed it, and a mayor and council that rubber-stamped it, against all reason… Oh, and the famous (or is it infamous?) Old West Side fence… And the West Park debacle… How about a haiku to the vagaries of Ann Arbor irrationality? Anyone?

just a voice

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

the ann doesn't allow feedback, LAME!

hut hut

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

Nor does Jeff Meyers Concentrate Media blogs who are friends and supporters of Lowenstein.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

Born and raised in Ann Arbor, 70 plus years. It is one of the greatest towns in the country (have traveled a good deal) -- however, I believe that the current mayor and city council are out of touch with the reality of what the citizens of the city are requesting. In time of plenty, the extras such as art, new this and that may be fine, but when funds are tight, we need to resort back to the basics of life -- this is true for any of us. First and for most is the safety of the citizens, i.e. a fully staffed fire department and police department, streets should be kept in good repair, parks need to be tended to, water/sewer etc. That's the way of life. Not coming up with inane laws such as the &quot;pedestrian&quot; one which in effect caused more problems. When the well is full of funds again, maybe some of the extra projects could move forward, but please for once be realistic to what is &quot;really needed&quot;. Thank you.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

So typical of the small and annoyingly vocal &quot;Ann Arbor as a product&quot; crowd. They are the annointed ones that know what is best for our town so we elderly tea partiers (or whatever) should just pay our high taxes, shut up, and let them mold the city into one big theme park that demonstrates to the rest of the world just how darned wonderful and progressive we are here. I love it when people accidentally say what they really thing. Thanks, Joan. I'm sure there are others on DDA and council that share your misguided position.

Dark Dichotomy

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 11:40 a.m.

She's right about one thing. Ann Arbor is not a &quot;basic&quot; government town. The services we all thought were basic just a few years ago, like the Humane society, Lawnet, police officers, firefighters, social services and many other &quot;basic&quot; services, have already been cut from the budget. BTW, is there really a &quot;God given&quot; right to drive a car without restraint? I mean I don't really remember that one from church.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

I can't believe you used God in your post and it's still here................

Dark Dichotomy

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.

Honestly I can't believe that this woman is so out of touch with out current city budget delemas. I was born and raised here, but times have changed. We don't need art, we need infrastructure. We cut police, firefighters, the Humane Society, LAWNET, teen programs, programs for the homeless, etc. and this woman wants public art? Tell you what, they spent $750,000 on a piece of metal in front of city hall, maybe if she goes and stares at that for awhile at least someone might get some value out of it. Even though my tax dollars have paid for it, it seems pretty worthless to me. Though that may be because I would rather have a dozen police officers looking out for me, rather than seeing a pretty hunk of metal when ever I go to fill out the police reports for the crimes that occur when no one is looking. How is it that the whole world is in an ecomonic crisis but this woman hasn't noticed?


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 11:25 a.m.

people get what the council and DDA are for....people get that the character here is at risk. Is that anti? No-it means no carte blanche-the language of categorically saying people are &quot;anti &quot;is laziness. Our officials should be more diligent. Citizenry need to hold their feet to the fire...I think that will be happening.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 6:23 a.m.

Lowenstein is right on cue with her comments. I for one has had enough of the tea party mentality and it is not confined to Ann Arbor. It is EVERYWHERE in the state of Michigan, from Lansing, where Governor Snyder and his pals run the show, to even Detroit, where the mayor seems to rub everyone there the wrong way from conflicts with the city unions to his and Snyder's rejection of the light rail startup. I won't even begin to mention all the backward laws Snyder and his fellow Republicans has passed since January. We are in as backwards and as selfish a state as we have been in for years and if this trend continues and infrastructure continues to crumble, we as a society will reap exactly what we sow.

hut hut

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:41 p.m.

No matter their politics, we now have a new term used to describe anyone with whom you disagree, Tea Party.

hut hut

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

The Tea Party slur used against those with whom you disagree is just that, a discussion and debate stopping slur.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

Tea Party? This nowhere near our side of the fence. I just saw a comment by a poster I know (I mean KNOW know, as in real life) to be extreme left, and he agrees with me on this, and we are in agreement with others all across these comments, all across the political spectrum and all across town.

Tony Keene

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 6:22 a.m.

Joan has served the Ann Arbor public for a long time, in several different roles and I believe she works for the good of the community and in the service of the Democratic party. She also controls a lot of political cash and goodwill. As a lifelong Democrat, typically I agree with most of her political agenda. However there is a pattern that is emerging in Ann Arbor politics, that is the result of a one party town and whatever political conceit and/ or misjudgment, that led her to write that column/opinion is indicative of a Fox News editorial, unfair and unbalanced. This opinion by Joan reeks of a magazine bought and paid for by political interests. I cant verify this but I would bet we could find Joan's Crony's fingerprints on the Ann's bottom line. I am ashamed to be a Democrat if this is what the leadership in the party has to offer. Is it time to reform the local democratic party so we can actually have a party that speaks Democracy instead of Oligarchy.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

Do you really object to the one-sidedness of Fox News? Or do you favor one-sididedness, but only when it is that of your own camp? You attack a publication for daring to air an opinion piece you disagree with, an claim that this is evidence of a sinister conspiracy.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

No, George Bush's fault.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

Funny how you manage to bring Fox news up on an article written by a Dem. in a Dem rag. Next, will it be Ricks fault that Joan spewed her bile?

Stuart Brown

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:46 a.m.

What a sulker!

Stuart Brown

Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 7:32 a.m.

No, demistify, it's the kettle calling the pot black. I had to sit there and watch Joan refer to people on my side of an issue as &quot;sulkers&quot; as if she never sulks. Guess what, she does! Also, Joan did not get her way that night; her pattern is that she lashes out at her opponents with cheap shots when she can't get her way.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

The pot calls the kettle black.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:16 a.m.

I guess Ms Lowenstein forgeot that Jane got the Michigan Daily Endorsement. Guess all those students can now join the subset of the elderly.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:27 a.m.

Remember to vote...


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:05 a.m.

I wish Joan would run for council, so I could vote against her. This is typical of our council. Only the will of the people if it happens to agree with how the concilmember is told to vote.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:54 a.m.

Joan Lowenstein has always been off base, especially with legal issues. As an example of this, she compares Ann Arbor's failed pedestrian crossing ordinance with California's, which is commonly observed by drivers because it is a state law. She criticized two council members for supporting the need to make sure essential (not basic) services are appropriately funding before non-essential services are funded, such as an over the top police building and an over priced water fountain. She exhibits to a very ominous trend we are seeing grow nationwide, an attitude of &quot;our way or the highway&quot; where if you do not agree with our position, you are just wrong, there is no room for cooperation or compromise. It seems kind of childish to me that an elected official writes an article like hers because the voters chose a specific candidate. I prefer workers over whiners.

Tony Livingston

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:33 a.m.

I agree that her article was very strange. It was so anti senior citizen I could not believe what I was reading. Really patronizing.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:27 a.m.

Hey ERMG, what's that thing you say about the DDA?

A A Resident

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:43 a.m.

Lowenstein's tirade? My first guess is that it's a result of being out of touch with real people, and the real world. Otherwise, I would think that she would know better than to risk exposing such conceit to public scrutiny.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

I also am a lifelong liberal Democrat who voted for Jane Lumm. I know both Jane and Joan but voted for Jane because of the outrageous pedestrian crosswalk ordinance that was passed by a City Council that was oblivious to the flaws in the ordinance. How many accidents and injuries have already mounted up because of this asinine ordinance?

Stuart Brown

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:45 a.m.

Peter, you just don't get it! Hieftje does not want to spend any money on residents. Residents exist in Hieftje's world to be taxed, fined, fee'ed and then ignored. You should be demanding stop lights at busy pedestrian crossings; that will make Ann Arbor pedestrian friendly. The pedestrian law the Council just passed is bad for both pedestrians and drivers because it reduces safety for both groups.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:56 a.m.

I think if it were only one, that would be enough, especially since rear end accidents often cause injury to passengers of both vehicles.

Peter Baker

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:50 a.m.

&quot;How many accidents and injuries have already mounted up because of this asinine ordinance?&quot; Not many.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 12:27 a.m.

Apart from the flimsy effort to incite a political food fight, this is a miserable piece of barely disguised opinion-flogging--what is being reported here? Nothing.

Kai Petainen

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 11:23 p.m.

i don't see the problem with an aging community -- one would assume that's one great reason as to why the university hospital should expand (and just did). it's not just ann arbor that is aging... sad as though it may be, the baby-boomers will start dying in bundles within 10-20 years.

Cendra Lynn

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 10:57 p.m.

We are scared of people? That's a stretch. I didn't know we were scared. We just don't want Hizzoner and sycophants taking our park and recreation land and using it for this train station. When did A2 become a basic town? Sometime in the 1830s, I think. Kind of nasty to take away our basics, like fire and police protection, hide money in the budget, then spend and borrow for projects that will only line the pockets of developers or add to the resumes of folks who want to move on. Back to basics would be a good start. Making up statements about our motivations is juvenile.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 10:51 p.m.

The question isn't whether services need to be cut. The question is why did we get to the point where we actually have to cut services in the first place. Two different questions all together. The answer: Neil Berlin, Roger Fraser, .et, .al and a host of others negotiated unsustainable wage and benefit packages that they either were not sophisticated enough to understand or worse, did understand and consented to them because they would collectively benefit. Now the &quot;super-majority&quot; City council of the past 10-15 years is another matter.....they just plain were not sophisticated enough to ask the tough questions required. They were too concerned with global social issues and making sure everyone &quot;had two chickens in their pot&quot; and this stuff went right through. So if you want to know why your pot holes are not being filled and the trash on State Street isn't being picked up....or what happened to community policing - i.e. cops on bikes downtown ......just go ask Joan Lowenstein.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

Too much focus on the fixable problem: voters have the power to cause consequences for political office holders who do not perform well or who do unethical or criminal things. The real problem with this system is that it's now become a lose-lose situation: the so-called liberals are actually the &quot;best bet&quot; for citizens even though they sometimes go too far in providing government services. But the so-called &quot;conservatives&quot; are outright charlatans: they've insulated themselves from public reaction by taking their rewards from corporate paymasters AFTER they've been booted out of office. The &quot;conservatives&quot; have adopted the Can't Lose No Matter What system: there's never any consequences (only huge paychecks, bonuses, &quot;retirement plans&quot;) for any failures or even crimes committed. Perfect example: Rick Snyder. He'll have enough money tomorrow no matter what the voters do: he has several lifetimes worth of wealth socked away RIGHT NOW. If you survey the finances of the majority of conservative office holders: you'll find they have the same guarantees of permanent Fat Living Forever. SOME liberal legislators and governors have the same cushy guarantees (Nancy Pelosi being the most notorious). I doubt though that any city council members are multimillionaires - so, yes, they are more accountable. This isn't &quot;Mister Smith Goes to Washington&quot; folks: it's another version of The Emperor Has No Clothes&quot; - only substitute &quot;No Accountability&quot; for clothes.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

What about the lecturing salary the Mayor receives from the U of M. That is defineley a perk of his job, not from selling real estate. And then the mayor bends over backwards to appease the U. Giving them whatever they want for fuller road but then paying them for space around the stadium bridge.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 10:20 p.m.

&quot;The idea that we hear over and over from the 'anti' party — and that includes current Councilmembers Steve Kunselman and Mike Anglin — is that government should only provide 'basic' services,&quot; Lowenstein writes. &quot;When did Ann Arbor become a basic town?&quot; Well, how is cutting basic services good for Ann Arbor or any city for that matter?


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:10 a.m.

I prefer the term &quot;essential&quot; over &quot;basic.&quot; Essential services and non-essential services. You stack them from most important to less important and fund each to the level that is appropriate. The problem with this is that people differ on what essential services are. Ann Arbor liberals have long held social agenda items as essential, thus the spending on low income housing, &quot;green space,&quot; pedestrian supremacy, etc. When things are good there is little problem, everything seems to be appropriately funded but as we see here and in many other cities and states, those long time funding decisions cause huge liabilities and in times of fiscal strife, result in funding decisions that seem quite odd based on the ideology of your council in regard to what essential services need to be funded. I have always concluded that what AA city council is doing is okay since it appears to be supported by the voters who typically re-elect the same council members. Ms. Lumm's election may show a trend in one ward only and alone she will not be able to accomplish much even if she, Kunselman and Anglin can form an alliance.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

Kudos to Ms. Lowenstein for touching on the right elements affecting our current city government and voter responses to it. She's right on when talking about those opposing the transit center: &quot;privacy&quot; and isolating oneself in a closed (by dint of wealth) community are trademarks of the sociopath and psychopath - as well as for corporate criminals like those responsible for THIS recession. People who fight unifying projects for communities are trying to build their own isolation from the judgement of mainstream society. Witness the gated community phenomenon and &quot;suburbanization&quot; - people moving &quot;to the country&quot; but living in high end developments which themselves destroy wildlife habitat and reinforce isolation from &quot;dangerous urban environments.&quot; Ms. Lowenstein inadvertently takes one side track in her opinion piece: she connects &quot;retirement age&quot; with conservatism. This is NOT a natural connection as anthropologists have proven. The elders in any society are entering the last phase of life, during which the impulse to &quot;do for the community&quot; springs forth. More involvement with one's community at around age 55 is an evolutionary development: older people are safer and more secure within the circle of the community - and they trade their learned wisdom and often actual work for this advantage. The misperception is understandable: it springs from the unnatural and warped psychological warfare perpetrated by right wing elitists.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 9:13 p.m.

Ms Lowenstein doesn't seem to understand who she works for, typical tree hugger. The only reason Democrats hold power in this city is because the liberal, not fully educated students are allowed to vote in this city. Otherwise the divide is about 50/50. Most elderly citzens in this community, long for the old days when republicans and business people were in control and things were much better than now. Truth!!!


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

If he is wrong I think it is because conservatives all moved from a city that spends too much and makes odd decisions. Thus the massive development in Pittsfield, Dexter, Chelsea and Brighton.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

Tom Wieder, You boast of Obama getting 80% of the Ann Arbor vote, right after working hard to elect one of the other 20%. You got so much into that spirit that you emulated a Republican die-hard, screaming &quot;You lie!&quot; in the middle of a speech by a Democratic officeholder.

Tom Wieder

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

You are so wrong. Student turnout is a fraction of what it once was. Ann Arbor has become more Democratic, voting 80% for Obama. Look at any recent November general election and you'll see that EVERY precinct in the city, including those with no significant student population, votes for virtually every Democratic candidate, from the top to the bottom of the ticket.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

Ah, sentimental attachment to the non-existent &quot;Golden Age&quot; raised its grizzled head once again. Buying into the right wing elitist mythology isn't a mark of wisdom OR knowledge. Atlas never shrugged: because he was the god charged with holding up the world on which humanity resides. It was his job, he wasn't forced to do it - his own goodwill toward humanity was his motivation. Only the elitists want to shrug off their duty to their fellow man - a perfect profile of the sociopathic way of life.

Ron Eugene

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

It was time for a change, this is further evidence that it is needed. There is the new city hall. There is the underground parking by the library that wasn't going to be anything but parking, now it will have something built on the foundation. There is the pedestrian fiasco on Plymouth Road, where someone will get seriously hurt and vehicles have already been rear-ended. Or how about those pensions where folks retire with more money then they were making before retirement. One could go on; however, there isn't any real need. If voting to end the nonsense &quot;heralds an un-Ann Arbor-like conservatism in the city's increasingly aging population&quot; then so be it. I am not a conservative but I am violently against what this council seems to cook-up. As a lifelong Democrat I resent her assertion that I have become more conservative.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:36 a.m.

To extreme lefties like her, just about everybody else is conservative, relatively.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:57 p.m.

I voted &quot;don't really care&quot; because there is simply nothing that can be done with people like Lowenstein, so why agonize about it. Her comments are offensive, ridiculous, and, most importantly, wrong. Ms. Lowenstein can go sit in her corner and be &quot;sad&quot;. What I find troubling is that she is part of the DDA -- an organization that spends an awful lot of the people's money -- over which we have no direct vote. I hope voters remember Ms. Lowenstein's diatribe during the next election and vote out council members and the mayor who support keeping her on the DDA.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

I think the state should change DDAs, making them independent bodies from a council, not appointed by a council, and strictly limited to its core duty-improving the downtown- not being pawns to a city that can suck out its funds to balance a budget.

Stuart Brown

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:33 a.m.

Why don't we just get rid of the DDA? Then we don't need to worry about where Joan sits; what a sulker!

Nancy Shiffler

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

One of her more interesting comments was to describe all of the Lumm supporters as not only old, but &quot;elderly.&quot; As to Fuller Road Station, she misses the two basic questions: Why are we using city parkland to build a parking structure for the University? and How will a 1000-car parking garage for University employees encourage them to take a train to work rather than driving their cars?


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:44 p.m.

The parking garage and the train station are in many ways different plans. The train is supposed to be one of these high speed trains the city is supporting, in my opinion, because the President wants them. If a high speed train ever materializes, it most likely will not be a commuter type train except for riders who live near the station where is starts. A train with lots of stops- which would be required for UM commuters, is not going to be a high speed train. The train is supposed to be a high speed train from Detroit to Chicago with a stop in A2. Don't know about other stops, but if people in Jackson, Albion, Marshall, Battle Creek and South Bend get the political thing going and demand stops, that will not be a high speed train. Also, at least three state governors have rejected federal funding of train systems because they are very expensive to support and not considered worth the expense. My opinion is A2 should be looking to set up a commuter train system if possible since so many commuters to A2 live in Chelsea, Dexter, Brighton, Ypsilanti and Milan, all areas with tracks in place. That would ease parking needs, save commuters the cost of parking fees and create jobs when satellite businesses pop up at the train stations. I think with gasoline being so volatile and hot potato politically the chances of gas prices rising to critical prices, (like in Europe) is a good reason to plan for local commuting systems which can become popular very quickly.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

I had never heard of &quot;The Ann&quot;, and based upon this drivel I clearly won't be reading it ever...


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

I admire your broad-mindedness. You have never seen the publication, but the fact that it had the gall to publish an op-ed that you disagree with is enough for you to decide to boycott it.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8 p.m.

What many of the commenters here don't seem to get is that &quot;anti&quot; is the only thing that the participants in the Lumm campaign had in common. Jane Lumm is a Reagan Republican, so it is to be expected that she would rally Republican support. On the other hand, her candidacy was launched with the endorsement of 3 Councilmembers (Anglin, Briere, Kunselman) who oppose the mayor from the other end of the political spectrum. Most of the active campaigning came from the left wing (by Ann Arbor standards) of the local Democratic Party, with an agenda of wresting party control from the more moderate element that includes Hieftje and Loewenstein. It adds up to political infighting, not reform.

Monica R-W

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 10:09 a.m.

&quot;It adds up to political infighting, not reform.&quot; Now, I don't know personally about the rest of your post but, on the sentence cut and paste above....your spot on! Political bickering in public allows the panthers seeking to pounce on the other side of the 'far-right fence' jump in. Seems like that's what occurring in A2 politics right now (from the outside, looking in). The grass is not always greener, on the other side. Stand at the fence (middle) for awhile. Observe what the grass on BOTH sides of the fence looks like before jumping over completely, IMHO.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

&quot;Anti?&quot; Anti what? I think it means anti slamming on the brakes of inefficient spending and decision making.

Stuart Brown

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:30 a.m.

demistify said, '..that &quot;anti&quot; is the only thing that the participants in the Lumm campaign had in common.' Another distortion! The main issue was over should the Council represent its concerns to residents or should resident's concerns be represented at Council? The choice between Lumm and Rapunds was the difference between day and night.

Tom Wieder

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:13 a.m.

As usual, you have your facts wrong. Neither Anglin, nor Briere, nor Kunselman endorsed Lumm. incorrectly reported that and promptly corrected it - in August. You never saw an endorsement from any of them on anything distributed by the Lumm campaign. The active campaigning for Lumm came from the &quot;left wing&quot; of the A2 Dem Party? Really? So, Peter Eckstein, Leslie Morris and Mike Morris, Nancy Kaplan, Ann Schriber and I represent the &quot;left wing&quot; of the Democratic Party? hardly. Lumm's a Reagan Republican? More like an Obama Republican, since she supported Obama.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:34 a.m.

&quot;Jane Lumm is a Reagan Republican&quot; Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Sabra Briere

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

Much as I enjoy politics -- and I do -- I abhor dis-information. To the best of my knowledge, neither Mike Anglin nor Steve Kunselman endorsed Jane Lumm. I know I did not. The report in was corrected. Look it up.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

Lumm's area is a little bit different than the rest of A2, so to cast her as an anti- or a neo-con may be short-sided. Admittedly, I don't know much about her, but it's probably an insult to compare her to Kunselman. He's unresponsive and, while ROme's burning his major effort was to make sure people can raise chickens in their yards. If only there was another choice in the past election besides the t-bagger that ran against him


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

In case you somehow missed it, Kunselman endorsed Lumm from the start.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

Well Ms Lowenstein you have done what I thought could not be done. You have single handily brought factions from all over the map together to denounce your position. I find myself agreeing with so many I had thought as off the wall as you!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

Ditto jcj !


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:38 p.m.

So let me get this straight... It's bad to be &quot;anti-&quot;... ? (It's good to be &quot;pro-&quot;?) She certainly seems to be &quot;anti-&quot; a lot of things, doesn't she?

Patricia Lesko

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

Ryan, Joan's piece is a letter to the editor. Evidently, because her piece had so many journalistic deficiencies that were not caught prior to publication, Kyle Poplin decided it could qualify as an edited column the factual accuracy of which The Ann was willing to stand behind. Vivienne's piece points out several of those factual inaccuracies, as does the piece on A2Politico—an analysis that is slightly spicier (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> than Vivienne's dissection of Joan's error-filled missive. Joan's letter to the editor insults the city's Ward 2 voters because they're &quot;old,&quot; &quot;stingy,&quot; and &quot;conservative&quot; — I guess that's just the Democrats?

Tony Livingston

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

But aren't you the &quot;angry&quot; woman who ran for mayor? How did that feel?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

Here's how Ms. Lowenstein's article should have read: - Ann Arbor has an &quot;increasingly aging population&quot;. - Ann Arbor wishes to &quot;attract young, industrious, intelligent and civic-minded people.&quot; People are divided on how to deal with this situation. Some feel that the current tax levels are too high given the services received, which among other things makes Ann Arbor an unaffordable place to live for many workers, young families with children, etc. Others feel the city should continue to tax at the current level and perhaps increase taxes in order to support new &quot;non-basic&quot; projects like Fuller garage, county wide transit, public art, etc. It's a difference of opinion is all it is. No need for name calling

Michael Hartwell

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

I am a Townie, I have been a proud townie since I moved to Ann Arbor in 1967. All the DDA wants to do is turn Ann Arbor into Southfield without the romance. All the DDA and the so-called conservatives want to do is turn Ann Arbor into a profit generator. A fine example is the Ann Arbor Skatepark. We (my son and I) worked with the fellow skaters and their parents to get an Ann Arbor Skatepark when my son was thirteen. He is now a twenty-five year old combat veteran. Ann Arbor still has no Skatepark because Skateboarders and their ilk do not fit the mold of rich &quot;conservatives&quot; trying to build high rise condominiums and make sure Ann Arbor is a clean vacuum for the football crowds.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:18 p.m.

Please explain how Ms Lowenstein can write blatant personal attacks and not be censored but bloggers can offer opinions and they are deleted? What a double standard! If I don't agree with something and decide a personal attack is appropriate, do I need to become a &quot;contributing&quot; journalist....what a line of horsel puckies!

Monica R-W

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 10:03 a.m.

Gype, Personally, I don't agree with Ms. Lowenstein entire dictation but, blogs in their true intend are Op/Ed's. Now, if you want to promote the 'Far-Right' point of view in A2, start your own blog. has guidelines that are clearly posted for what's acceptable and what's not for their comment section. (This statement does NOT imply that I walk lock-step with all the views of but, it's their resource and THEY can write the rules).


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:03 p.m.

She is considered &quot;news&quot;. We are not.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:06 p.m.

One person voted in that is not a liberal Democrat and faithful follower of the high and mighty mayor, and suddenly she has a revelation that there is too much conservatism in Ann Arbor? There needs to be more conservatism to balance our political governing. When all we have is a bunch of rubberstamps, we have no checks and balances.

Monica R-W

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 9:51 a.m.

Correction.... ....I would feel sorry for 'A2' not A3, being its' neighbor to the West.

Monica R-W

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 9:50 a.m.

&quot;There needs to be more conservatism to balance our political governing. When all we have is a bunch of rubberstamps, we have no checks and balances.' Bickerers on BOTH these types of statements. Find a true middle and work together. If conservatism (i.e.-far-right agenda) creeps its deceitful way into A2 gov't...I would feel sorry for A3, being its' neighbor to the West.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

As usual your &quot;poll&quot; question leaves much to be desired! What do you think of Joan Lowenstein's column in The Ann? You ask the question but don't give much of an option to really let you and her know what we think of her opinion!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7 p.m.

Better be careful MS Lowenstein you just insulted the &quot;elderly&quot; vote in Ann Arbor. Your college cronies can't get you everything you want!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

So anyone's point of view that does not line up with hers is &quot;anti&quot; ? Well using that &quot;logic&quot; she must be an &quot;anti&quot; because her view sure as well you know does not line up with mine!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:44 p.m.

Joan Lowenstein? Yawn . . . She's just the poster child for the city's aging streets . . . Here's what she really said in that interview, between the lines, of course: &quot;I really love the DDA . . . We get to go shopping for really fun stuff . . . We have this giant credit card, and ZERO accountability . . . It's just the best! I get to be a Hieftjian chieftain with full immunity . . . Those stupid, clueless voters can't touch us . . . That's why the DDA theme song is by MC Hammer . . . I really like his pants . . . Nah nah nah nah, nah nah, nah nah: Can't touch this!&quot;


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.



Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

I just got an image of all of them in their parachute pants dancing with the fast shuffle to the left then I've lost my appetite! LOL


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:57 p.m.

Thanks! Love it!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

To be honest, I saw her backing one area of new law, and a bunch of new spending projects. I agree that the government should do more then &quot;provide[] nothing but water, sewers, roads and police&quot; but I would like to have those priorities taken care of before we start talking about &quot;more public art, concert halls, theaters and libraries.&quot; ( I do like libraries most of theses, they seem to be the most accessible and useful to the john q. public) Additionally, we are &quot;one of the most educated populations in the country&quot; so why are the decisions the voting public made so bad? The phrase two minds are better then one comes seems to fit, and in this case the minds of the voters may well have been better then yours.

Monica R-W

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 9:31 a.m.

Yes, JSA. The flip-side of that coin is turning directly to the other side. Only downside to that is one gets a far-right agenda that wouldn't tell the voting public their true intent until elected into office. I.E.-Rick Snyder, one state-wide televised debate, public funding dollars going to a privatized SPARK entity (that some Ann Arbor-nites feel is the best thing since slice bread) and a hometown online news resource that endorses the guy....who less than one year later...has a 19.3% performance approval rating. (Sorry but, that's the truth.) Still looking for the happy middle here myself and, have yet to find it.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.

Unfortunately Ms. Lowenstein and her group do not believe or support democratic principles. They believe that they know better are offended by the voters rejection of their belief that that they are always right. It happens on both sides of the aisle when one party has been in power so long in a situation that their arrogance overpowers their common sense and ability to listen.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

Just read Jane's piece. I'm under 30, own a home in the city and do not agree with her. However, I am probably a subset of elderly, only because everyone is. Also loved the use of hyphens un-Ann Arbor- like Drivers in other states, such as Cali- fornia, and part- nering with the University of Michigan and the federal government to build a transportation center that includes commuter rail and bicycle and auto- mobile parking. Is this an independent point of view (Also as of now this plan only is a gigantic multi-level structure for the U, and as for the partnering, were the submissive partner per usual).


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

Ever hear of hitting the space bar by mistake? Judging by most of the remarks here, there appears to be enough in the content for you to analyze w/o picking on the hyphenation.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

Im guessing at that &quot;un-Ann Arbor- like&quot; was not done by automatic hyphenation


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

About the hyphens: these were probably words that in Joan's originally submitted manuscript were cut off on the right side of a line by automatic hyphenation, and the the online magazine Ann's own editing system left them in there when the layout was automatically reformatted. I'm just guessing, but I've seen this happen very frequently in the computer publication age. I really doubt that Joan intended for that kind of punctuation in the final product. Just a thought. And, I only brought this virtually irrelevant issue up because another poster mentions it.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

Ms. Lowenstein doesn't get it. You fund the basics first. Police, Fire, etc. As we were taught in high school and college people react to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Basic needs first, then safety, then and only then Art and other &quot;self actualization&quot; projects. Ms. Lowenstein seems to want to turn the pyramid upside down. That is why Ms. Lumm won. Laying off police and fire, before cutting art programs is putting the world on its head. Right now Ann Arbor needs to get the basics right, then they need to clean up the processes around zoning, permitting and allocation of city funds. Then and only then can they take on some of the art and other projects they seem to kill city council meetings on. In short &quot;ground control to Major Tom&quot;

Tony Livingston

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

The city also needs to tackle their retirement programs that are bankrupting the city. There is a curious lack of discussion about this problem.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 9 p.m.

You are so right. Ann Arbor can't even accomplish basic services without either eliminating/cutting them because they are too expensive, or seeking millage to pay for them, or raising fees. Cases in point: - Eliminate fall leaves collection - Eliminate holiday tree collection - Putting police protection into the water treatment facility so it can be recovered with water rates (ironic, isn't it given the police layoffs?) - Multiple attempts to raise parking rates and extended hours of operation - Using street millage to pay for the art program, then cutting back on street repair. - Attempting to charge street light electricity to local residents. - Laying off police and fire to unsafe levels. - etc, ad nauseum We need good reasonably priced basic services first

David Briegel

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:47 p.m.

Who knew DonBee was a David Bowie fan?!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

Wow, wow and wow! This woman is WAY off base. How dare she presume how I feel and why I voted the way I did!! I am a female democrat in my 40's (don't know - is that considered part of the &quot;aging population&quot;?). I voted for Jane Lumm. I think this is just further proof that Mayor Hieftje has built a city government that can't see beyond their own thoughts and ideas. It is long past time for a change. I look forward to the mayor and many council members being replaced in the next election. Without question, the DDA needs to go. The Ann article is pure propaganda, so it makes me laugh to read that Joan Lowenstein claims propaganda was involved in Mr. Rapundalo's loss. He lost because he didn't share information with his constituents to see how they may have felt about decisions being made regarding our community. I know people who know Mr. Rapundalo and they all say the same thing - he is very bright and does have many good ideas, but he believes that he knows best and his constituents just don't understand what is best for them. I love Ann Arbor because people are passionate about their beliefs and what happens to the city. I'd rather see some opposition, open discussion, willingness to modify, willingness to listen in order to discover why people feel the way they feel. It sure sounds better than belittling people who don't agree with you.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

The &quot;so called&quot; council majority? Isn't a council majority when they all vote together on almost every issue?

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

I usually disagree with everything Lowenstein has to say, especially regarding her DDA activities. However, Lumm's election has ushered in a type neo-conservatism that is somewhat atypical for Ann Arbor. While I think it's a bit far to accuse Lumm of lying to get an elected I do share Lowenstein's frustrations. Things do need to change, here, in Ann Arbor, but I don't think the solution is along party lines any longer.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

A note on Jane Lumm - I would not put her in some sort of alliance with Anglin, Kunselman, and Briere. I think she is an island right now. She has the opportunity to decide how she uses her seat; remain an island, partner with the &quot;Anti&quot; crowd, or build a bridge to the majority - and perhaps pull them ever so slightly towards the middle of the spectrum.


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 12:03 a.m.

Jane has been more Democrat then anyone in the counsel. She is not afraid and she will always consider the City of Ann Arbor and its future. Thank you Jane.

Usual Suspect

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

So being a non-robotic voter make me &quot;anti?&quot; OK then.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

This is seriously 2500 words of &quot;If you don't agree with me, you're scum&quot;. Shut down the DDA and get these yahoos out of here, so we can try to have a real democratic government.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

&quot; un-Ann Arbor-like conservatism&quot; by whose measure? If Ann Arbor is so diverse it should be politically diverse, too. That's the problem with the so-called &quot;super democratic majority&quot; on council that has been running this city for the past decade. Some might say, running this city into the ground! So some are unhappy and showing this displeasure at the ballot box - isn't this the customary process in a Democracy? This is the kind of entitled arrogance that has led to the very dissent Joan Lowenstein apparently finds displeasing. Not too long ago, Ann Arbor was a right of center city that had equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats on council. Then the election dates were changed to allow more liberal students (non-residents) to vote. The result of this is if someone &quot;right of center&quot; has any hope of being elected, they have to run as a &quot;moderate democrat&quot; (see Higgins and others). The crazy conflicts of interest this council has 'rubber stamped' - like union members participating in the negotiation of union contracts that would ultimately benefit the negotiators - has turned a budget surplus into a budget deficit for as far as the eye can see. What is the response from those that presided over this dereliction of duty? Blame the voter!

Monica R-W

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 9:16 a.m.

Sounds like with all this bickering in A2, a underlying segmentation seeks to run an 'Gov. Snyder and his Merry Band of GOP leaders in the state House and Senate' type of Government in the city. Just a thought. Maybe the 'council' as you all call them side, aren't totally correct in their vision of A2. The other side 'townies' or 'anti's?' probably have factors in that movement that would remove temporary homeless housing from the city, because it 'costs just much too maintain'. In other words, let private industries run it type of belief. Reality, no private/corporate for profit entity never step into this sandbox (described in the above paragraph) unless it's a proven profit/revenue stream attached to it. Homelessness, don't create a profit... So, in the end, left is Far Left v.s. Far Right ideas from both sides, with no one at all truly representing the middle. Instead, both sides represent what's best interest of their pocketbooks....or wallets. Its' ashamed this is state our politics in Michigan, has got down too. Many Ann Arbor-nites boasted all across Michigan that Rick Snyder was suppose to be the 'Compassionate Conservative'. It turns out that he's bleeds a Koch Brothers/ALEC/Mackinaw Center far-right wing agenda though and though. When will true individuals that represent a 'middle of the road' agenda find light in this political arena, I don't know. What going on in A2 sounds like the same far left and right stuff, packaged in a nice bow stating, 'its a Independent point of view'. Just saying....


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:26 a.m.

&quot;This is the kind of entitled arrogance that has led to the very dissent Joan Lowenstein apparently finds displeasing.&quot; Wow. +1

Hot Sam

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:13 a.m.

I want to know what kind of Java this Jolt is drinking...there are many that could use a shot around here...

Marshall Applewhite

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

This is the best comment I've read on here in a long time.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

Higgins? Who's that? Is that the invisible council person, one of several who don't respond to citizen inquiries ?

shadow wilson

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:53 p.m.

Wow.I wish I had written that it is perfect; I mean that sincerely. There has not been diversity on council for a long time and it shows.......and I am a liberal!

rusty shackelford

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.

I don't think A2 could legitimately be accused of being &quot;diverse.&quot;


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:56 p.m.

The &quot;anti&quot; crowd, of which I consider myself a member, are independent thinkers. It's not that we only desire the &quot;basics&quot;, we want the basics covered before city council and hizzhonor start throwing millions at superfluous projects. I think she really fears the &quot;anti&quot; crowd because we won't swallow the propaganda hook, line and sinker. Independent thinkers are dangerous to the status quo of which she belongs.

so much nonsense

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.

@Vivienne Armentrout. Being called elderly is not an insult anymore than calling someone a woman or a man. It is a description of a voter. Joan's complete quote is this: &quot;Most are not only in the category of older but in the subset of elderly. There is no groundswell of young, independent voters.&quot; She is comparing elderly to young...not insulting them. The entire quote shows the true meaning. You might want to spin her words so that you can make others believe what is not there, for you own political manipulation, but the truth is still there. The gist of the article is that there is no uprising in Ann arbor of a well diverse group of people who are unhappy with the city. There is a politically motivated small group of older citizens who don't like change and who used a lot of money to turn an election in their favor. In elections where there is little turn out these things can happen. To sum up, Rapundalo losing does not mean the citizens of Ann Arbor are unhappy. I agree with Joan completely.

Tony Livingston

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

I don't see how you could miss the anti senior citizen attitude in this article. I was shocked by it. Frankly, I don't think it should have been printed. I am not a teapartier or a conservative and I would not vote for this woman for anything. She is very prejudiced.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:51 p.m.

so much nonsense, You obviously identify with Ms. Lowenstein and share her perceptions. Anyone who disagrees with you is &quot;anti&quot;, older, and obviously wrong. It may be you are old enough to remember Ann Arbor as it used to be before the current crowd came to power. It could be said just as fairly that they took a very pleasant community and ruined it with their outrageous views and lack of financial responsibility. Things change, that is life as well as politics. You can't stop it, no one can.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

How about being for Police, for Firemen, for basic services that have been cut ... to fund ridiculous things like more pedestrian signage, more public art in limited public viewing areas or by atrocious German designed broken fountains, etc. ?

so much nonsense

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:08 p.m.

I did and I encourage others to actually read it for themselves. This is an opinion piece sent into a local newspaper by an Ann Arbor resident. For some reason the &quot;anti-group&quot; appears to think that freedom of speech only applies to them. Joan's opinion is valid, appreciated by many and deserves to be heard without ridicule or character assassination. What makes your opinion any more valid than her's? If you are upset that you and others are labeled &quot;anti&quot;, then I think you need to take a very long introspective look at yourself and your opinions. Name one thing that you are &quot;for&quot; that is not &quot;anti&quot; something else. Name one thing that is forward thinking that is not against someone else's forward thinking idea.

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:51 p.m.

As I said, you have to take in the entire article to get the flavor.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:45 p.m.

Interesting column, but I agree with the commenters here that say that the opinions expressed are out of touch with the majority of the voters in Ann Arbor, if not the majority of all Ann Arborites. It's almost as if she doesn't realize this is democracy in action. I agree with Lowenstein in hoping that Ann Arbor is more than a &quot;basic&quot; city, but you can't have an exceptional city without basic services.

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

Thanks - to clarify, my statement about the column being politically incorrect was because of the strong display of ageism. Ms. Lowenstein attacked the &quot;antis&quot; or whatever because they/we are old, even elderly. Generally seasoned politicians know that you don't attack people on the basis of identity, whether age, race, or other such classifications. Here is the direct quote (from Lowenstein's column): &quot;Most are not only in the category of older but in the subset of elderly.&quot; You'll have to read the whole piece to get the full flavor.

Tony Livingston

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1 p.m.

Thanks for pointing this out, Vivienne. I thought I might be the only one in shock at her commentary. I guess 45,000 &quot;young&quot; people at the U of M is not enough for Lowenstein! I agree that her comments would not be allowed if attached to any other group. It was really strange and offensive.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 9:06 p.m.

What a disgusting thing for her to say. Someday she will be one of us -IF she is lucky. Until then she can pretend that she is still young.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:35 p.m.

Lowenstein's opinions seem shaped by the need to keep a certain kin of status quo: the rule of the Mayor's cabal that is much too close to real estate interests and would like to use Ann Arbor as a playground for a few developers, no matter the consequences. Ironically, she calls the public reaction to this monopoly of power as &quot;anti-&quot; and fossilized! her characterizations of council members who do not belong to this club are silly at best. We need progressive challengers to the other members of this cabal; Lumm may not have been ideal, but she was better than the incumbent and her election did signal that there is public opposition to the dominant group on council. The vote presented here could have been designed in a better manner. Why are the choices taken from the group-think PR cliche world? &quot;Go Joan&quot; is hardly something for adults, and the notion that anyone we disagree with has to &quot;apologize&quot; is another piece of media nonsense. She has the right to her opinion, however silly and politically motivated, and should not be asked for false contrition. A simple choice between &quot;agree&quot; and &quot;disagree&quot; would do, it seems to me. But then I also like to rant, not so much about elections as about the sad state of this blog ...


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

Reading that column made me realize just how disconnected from reality some people are. Yes, every city should have public art... If the city can afford to do it without cutting basic services. Ann Arbor may not be a &quot;basic&quot; city, but all the concert halls, opera houses, and public art in the world will mean very little if the residents of the city don't feel safe to go out at night. Ann Arbor may not be Flint, and probably never will be, but just how much of our security (to say nothing of the public-safety jobs that have been cut) are we willing to sacrifice, so that we may have pretty things to look at. I also love how she compares the new police department to socialized medicine, then, a few paragraphs later, talks about the need for public funding for concert halls and theaters. That makes it clear that the author can't tell the difference between a basic necessity that the government should provide and a frivolity that can be built with private funding, if the people choose to have it. The sooner Mrs Lowenstein's cronies are removed from power, the better.


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 12:04 a.m.

AMEN to that


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

You're right, I completely forgot that one of the benefits of having a major university in your sleepy little town is that they build the cultural edifices for you. Thanks, Jim!

Jim Osborn

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 12:33 p.m.

She also wants to build things that are duplicated at the University of Michigan such as Concert Halls, Lecture or Meeting Halls, and so on. She is a big spender of my money and I rather decide how to spend it instead of her. Meanwhile, basic services are being cut.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

Lowenstein is perhaps coming to understand that she's become part of the problem, no longer part of any kind of solution. That's never a pleasant revelation, and it may account for the silliness of her piece.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

Why should an poll even have &quot;offended /apologize &quot; as options?? This is a perfectly reasonable , albeit mildly partisan, opinion piece by a rather centrist local political figure, with whom i mildly disagee on some issues , others not. So what?? ( although i'm just counting the seconds for the true lowenstein hatas to chime in with their non-local agenda ... and about whom everyone bipartisanly concerned with civility should be offended.)


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

and heeeere's stuarty! ( per my original)

Stuart Brown

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 6:17 a.m.

Nattering nabobs of negativity? Oh, how Agnew of you David; you picked a real progressive to channel from! The nattering, nabobs of negativity were the ant-war, civil rights, and progressive left movements of the late 60's, early 70's. BTW, according to Joan, the nattering nabobs of negativity have morphed into sulkers.

David Briegel

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

I'm with you on this one bedrog, every time the people get to vote, they support the progressive things going on here in River City. And then the Curmudgeon Club chimes in to complain. The nattering nabobs of negativity, many of whom don't even live here, are never happy whether it is public art or the greenbelt. Mountains and mole hills come to mind!

Usual Suspect

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:08 p.m.

Because that's the way works. It's screwy. One would think there could simply be &quot;I agree&quot; and &quot;I disagree&quot; options, but no.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

Mrs. Lowenstein has clearly outlined the problem. She and her buddies on the Council are out of touch. They have and continue to ignore the reality of today preferring instead to waste tax dollars in search for their version of utopia. She should consider a move to Berkley. She would probably be happier there as more and more voters reject her views on how government should be run.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 9:44 p.m.

FYI: Berkley is a town about 38 miles N. E. of Ann Arbor. Berkeley, CA. is located on the east side of San Francisco Bay. Berkeley - you've never been there or you'd realize it's almost a duplicate of Ann Arbor - with many U of M grads working at UC - Berkeley &amp; other high end educational institutions. Reality of today: which in fact is dominated by simplistic &amp; destructive &quot;eliminate government&quot; propaganda. The main reason some people have for reducing government isn't to save tax payers' money: it's to eliminate oversight and regulation of those individuals hiding behind &quot;privacy&quot; and &quot;privatizing&quot; walls. Those who are committed to community are also healthier psychologically: it's society which really inhibits bad (and harmful) behaviors, so it follows that strong societies are the ones with the majority committed to effective government. Reform is the option ignored by those wanting to &quot;reduce government&quot; - one leads to improvement, the other leads to impoverishment.

so much nonsense

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:17 p.m.

Bravo Joan!! I agree with every word. The strong backlash from Armentrout and others is because you make very valid points that the majority in this town agree with IMO. They (the &quot;anti-people&quot;) don't know how to discuss anything in a civil manner and always have to resort to character assassination when challenged. They get so offended when called &quot;anti&quot; and &quot;selfish&quot; but that is exactly what they are. My hope is that more people in this town will have the courage to stand up, speak the truth and support you.. Bravo Joan!


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

And somehow calling the people you dont like &quot;anti&quot; and &quot;selfish&quot; isn't an ad hominem attack?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

@ somuchnonsense- &quot;Don't know how to discuss anything in a civil manner and always have to resort to character assassination.&quot; Are you referring to Lowenstein or the people who have the gall to disagree with her?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

Yes, it is always wise to let your friends and family know about an article so they can vote....and vote often.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

Gosh, I can't BELIEVE that when you civilly tell people they are anti and selfish, they don't simply bow their heads in acquiescence to your pronouncement!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.

voter fraud


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

Take a look in the mirror. You fit the profile.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:12 p.m.

I am a lifelong liberal democrat and *I* voted for Lumm... why? The pedestrian law that the previous city council put in place NEEDS TO GO!!! City Council, do not underestimate how angry this has made voters -- we are going to vote you out 1 by 1 if this ridiculous law isn't done away with. That's not a threat, it's a reality. Just ask Rapundalo.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 9:58 p.m.

I think what's missing in this discussion and what Joan doesn't understand is that this is NOT a conservative vs. liberal issue. It's people making dumb decisions. The pedestrian law is dumb; the way they handled the public art water sculpture was dumb (not allowing local entrants vs. the prestige of an out-of-town artist). The people on the council are just being dumb about how they are going about things, and are thus making people made.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:20 p.m.

Here, here!

Simon Green

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

What happened to &quot;Dissent is the highest form of patriotism&quot;?

Jimmy McNulty

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 10:52 p.m.

That saying only works when the liberals use it. You cannot turn the tables and use it against them.

Harry B

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.

Dissent is good when it comes from a sane rational person with logic reasoning. She's a nut!