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Posted on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 11:59 a.m.

Jack Eaton announces campaign for Ann Arbor City Council in 4th Ward

By Ryan J. Stanton

After losing to Democratic incumbent Margie Teall two years ago, Ann Arbor resident Jack Eaton is back taking another shot at running for City Council.

Eaton announced on Friday he will be filing petitions to run in the August Democratic primary for a chance to represent 4th Ward residents.

Eaton, a 27-year resident of the Ann Arbor area, has lived in the Dicken Elementary School neighborhood on the city's west side for 14 years. He originally came to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan.


Jack Eaton will take another shot at unseating Ann Arbor City Council Member Margie Teall in this year's elections.

Ryan J. Stanton |

In a press release announcing his campaign, Eaton, a labor attorney, cited concerns about cuts to public safety services in Ann Arbor. Eaton said his campaign will center around rebuilding and sustaining Ann Arbor as a community that serves its residents.

"We must establish sensible priorities, rebuild our safety services and maintain our infrastructure," he said. "We are now in a position where we can restore public safety staffing and begin to address our infrastructure needs."

Eaton said he would advocate budget priorities that put services to residents before "extravagant projects."

An early member of the Friends of Dicken Woods, Eaton also founded the South Maple Group and co-founded the Neighborhood Alliance. He was part of a group of activists that lobbied the City Council to halt a hotel and conference center proposal on the Library Lot.

Eaton said while he believes a healthy downtown is important, he also believes the city must find a way to balance downtown efforts with the concerns and interests of neighborhoods.

As the city recovers from the recession, he said city officials must pay particular attention to rebuilding the services that were cut to balance the budget in recent years. He believes the city should work to protect and maintain parks and recreation facilities.

He also wants more openness in city government, arguing the city could do a better job of tapping the ideas and energy of its citizens.

Eaton ran as part of a slate of four challengers headed by mayoral candidate Patricia Lesko two years ago. They were hoping to overthrow Mayor John Hieftje and three council members, claiming the incumbents had mismanaged the city's budget and lost sight of basic priorities, but they all were defeated in the primary.

Teall had 1,448 votes (69 percent), compared to Eaton's 642 (31 percent) with all precincts counted.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sat, Mar 31, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

Good news. We need more balance on Council and someone who cares about reasonable development downtown and in the surrounding areas, and will hopefully oppose the predatory, mindless, and opportunistic kinds of development that are scarring the city. Ms Teal has been a great disappointment and it is time for a change.

Patricia Lesko

Sat, Mar 31, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

@Roadman, while I have a great appreciation for Jane Lumm as both a person and an individual who has stepped forward to serve on City Council, count me out as a "key organizer" of her landslide victory. That credit goes to her many, many volunteers, donors and, of course, the voters of Ward 2, who decided it was time for a change. Mike Anglin, like Jane, has a very, very large group of people who help him with his campaigns, but I'm not among that group, either. Once again, the bulk of the credit goes to the Ward's voters who obviously see Mike's engagement, votes and responsive representation as what they want from a Council member.

Joseph Welch's Ghost

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

Such tired criticism. I have news for Ann Arbor's critics – the City has weathered the worst economy in 70 years with services and infrastructure intact if not expanding. The Mayor and Teall have been around for a long time and their priorities have been spot on – provide the best services we can afford today, plan and develop infrastructure for tomorrow. They can run on a record of foresight and success.


Wed, Apr 4, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

I guess that you are unaware of the ever deepening financial hole that City Council and its administrator and its spawn, the DDA, has created over the past five years. Soon the cost of servicing the $50 million bond issued to build the underground library parking structure will increase markedly along with several other bond issue payments. The cumulative debt payments will strain the city's budget and introduce the risk of deficit spending that will likely lead to new millages or a city-wide income tax. Will this please you?

Steve Hendel

Sat, Mar 31, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

"... the City has weathered the worst economy in 70 years with services and infrastructure intact if not expanding...their priorities have been spot on – provide the best services we can afford today, plan and develop infrastructure for tomorrow." Au contraire, Joe; services (e.g. police, fire, parks maintenance, 'holiday tree'/leaf pickup, etc.) have progressively contracted over the past several years while infrastructure, both actual (the new/expanded City Hall, the Library lot parking structure) and theoretical (e.g. the 'train station to nowhere,' WALLY, etc.) has expanded. Yes, the Mayor and his allies have been around a long time, and I think perhaps what has historically happened in situations where one ruling group has been elected and reelected has happened here in little Ann Arbor; the 'ins' have become so comfortable wielding power that they think they can do anything and not have to explain it or justify it in terms of overall priorities.


Sat, Mar 31, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

Best art service.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

There has been some discussion of Margie Teall possibly retiring from her Fourth Ward Council seat. But I've heard no definitive information either way. Margie's husband is a heavy hitter in the Democratic Party who cannot serve on City Council due to his federal employment (Hatch Act restrictions). I have been generally supportive of Jack's efforts and his recent support of Jane Lumm in her attempts to unseat Steve Rapundalo, but he suddenly did a 180-degree turnabout and supported controversial Fourth Ward Council member Marcia Higgins in her 2011 re-election effort after being the primary promoter of independent Hatim Elhady, the 2009 opponent of Higgins in the Novemeber elections. Jack Eaton has been a part of the loosely-knit group of Council Party critics that has included Vivienne Armentrout, Karen Sidney, Glenn Thompson and Pat Lesko that have tried to oust the City Hall establishment. They can be credited with being key organizers of the Mike Anglin and Jane Lumm landslide victories in 2011.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sat, Mar 31, 2012 : 2 a.m.

There were many good people displayed on Jane Lumm's website as supporters but you selected just a few to highlight. If you are actually involved in local politics, you must understand the difference between being supportive at the fringes and being a "key organizer". Jane's victory was wonderful and I celebrate it, but I can't take any particular credit for it. Again, you are oversimplifying and presenting a misleading picture. FWIW, I declined the opportunity to sign the petition for GoAskVoters. It was a very different question from AskVotersFirst, which readers may not recall was an effort to make Council put the City Hall project on the ballot, which failed after gathering 6000 signatures. Again, you are presuming and lumping people together unjustifiably. We may have similar viewpoints but are by no means unitary.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

@Vivienne: Thanks for your input. Always good to hear your viewpoint. However Mrs. Lumm prominently displayed both your name as well as Mr. Eaton's on - her campaign website and Jack appeared at a debate she had during the campaign. So there is a basis for concluding both you and Jack were important to Jane's campaign. Karen Sidney is also listed on the campaign website as a "community" supporter of the campaign. You are absolutely correct in that there are a lot more persons who have joined the group wanting to oust the City Hall establishment and AskVotersFirst as well as GoAskVoters were two incarnations of that loosely-knit community that have been dubbed by some as the "Townies". Cheers!

Vivienne Armentrout

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 10:28 p.m.

Oh, please, this analysis lacks a great deal of relevant information and makes inappropriate connections. Yes, I have been critical of what I named the "Council Party", but if you are going to try to name members of the "loosely knit group" you'll need a lot longer comment. There are neighborhood advocates across the city who care about open government, services, sound fiscal policy and other issues as they arise. For example, my email list of people who worked closely on opposition to the conference center has 25 names, and that was just the "core group". Anther large group of people worked on the Huron Hills issue. And then there was the City Place fiasco, with a different, if slightly overlapping, group of activists working to save one of our Central Area neighborhoods. In each issue, a citywide group of people shared a sympathy for a particular viewpoint that was in opposition to the Council Party position, but there were different organizers and different sets of activists involved. By naming just a few people, you over-emphasize both the role of a couple of people and our connection. To my knowledge, none of the four people you named were at all instrumental in Jane Lumm's campaign other than vague support (I endorsed her heartily and wrote a modest check but had virtually no role in her campaign, which was mostly conducted from the Second Ward). I've been a supporter of Mike Anglin since he first ran in 2007 but my role in his last campaign was limited to an endorsement and a check. Mike has a close group of supporters who helped this popular councilperson win re-election. If you are truly supportive of Jack Eaton (as I am), kindly avoid this type of ill-informed comment. It was almost as unhelpful as the negative tilt that this reporter supplied to the story. And if you like to name names, you might start with your own.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

"They were hoping to overthrow Mayor John Hieftje and three council members, claiming the incumbents had mismanaged the city's budget and lost sight of basic priorities, but they all were defeated in the primary." I know you are new at the journalism thing and all but things are not the same as they were in 2010. Two Council members who've stood up to the Mayor and Teall were reelected in November 2011 landslides and another puppet Council member lost big time to an INDEPENDENT in hardcore Democratic Ann Arbor in the same election. Maybe you were saving that for another story perhaps?


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Great news .... maybe others will step up in Ward 4 and other Wards as well. Goodness knows, we desperately need change in Ward 4 where we have the invisible women who only sometime show up and when they do always vote in lock-step with "da Mayor" who has led our City down the wrong path .... to art over police, fire, roads and bridges, idling cars, pedestrian walkways, train stations, parking structures, etc. etc. Has there been a positive decision that anyone can remember supporting?

Lifelong A2

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

Eaton is running? Again? And on the same platform on which he lost -- badly -- two years ago? I'm sure he's a nice man, but he needs to devote his time and energy to a better cause. The City is in far better shape now than it was two years ago, thanks in large part to the decisions on the bridge, budget, etc., that were made by people like Margie Teall.


Wed, Apr 4, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

The budget remains a problem, especially if you include the DDA which is a spawn of the City Council. As the costs of servicing existing city bonds increase over the next few years City Council will have to fend off deficit spending and may do that by presenting city tax payers with a choice of more millages or of a city income tax.


Sat, Mar 31, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Not so sure the city is in a better spot. Yep, we finally got the bridge, and thankfully so. The safety of Ann Arbor residents is much less due to cuts in both AAFD and AAPD -- definitely more crimes being committed. Streets are still not repaired. Hmmmm.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

Not surprised by the lede: "After losing to Democratic incumbent Margie Teall two years ago..." Not surprised at all.


Wed, Apr 4, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

Why? What has Marge Teall done for the 4th Ward or for the entire city itself?