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Posted on Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Mayor John Hieftje's majority on the Ann Arbor City Council is at risk in the Aug. 7 primary

By Ryan J. Stanton


Mayor John Hieftje and his political allies hold a 7-4 majority right now on the Ann Arbor City Council, but the ruling coalition's ability to pursue its agenda is in jeopardy with four hotly contested council races on the Aug. 7 primary ballot.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Ann Arbor voters have a big role to play in deciding the future direction of the city on Aug. 7, including whether the City Council's ruling coalition, quite literally, will be derailed.

Mayor John Hieftje and his political allies hold a 7-4 majority right now, an edge that's allowed them to advance a capital-intensive agenda for the past several years.

That has included projects like a new $50 million underground parking garage off Fifth Avenue, a nearly $50 million police-courts addition to city hall, and a multimillion-dollar public art program that some members on council keep fighting to cut back.

Hieftje's majority also is strongly pushing for a countywide expansion of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, and perhaps most controversial of all: a new train station.

"I'm looking to the future where we're going to hand this city off to a younger generation," Hieftje said. "And if you look at the younger generation, they're not driving as much — they want to use transit more, they want to live in city centers with a lot of activity."

But the ruling coalition's ability to pursue such an agenda is in jeopardy with four hotly contested council races on the Aug. 7 primary ballot.

Each of the four races presents voters in their respective wards with a distinct choice between two competing visions for Ann Arbor.

Two of the mayor's allies — Sandi Smith and Carsten Hohnke — are stepping down, leaving two open seats up for grabs in the 1st and 5th wards.

In the 1st Ward, allies of the mayor — though not Hieftje himself — have endorsed newcomer Eric Sturgis, a tennis coach and college student. Sturgis is competing against Sumi Kailasapathy, an accountant who stands opposed to the mayor's agenda.

Kailasapathy lost a close race to Smith in 2010, pulling 45 percent of the vote. Local political pundits are expecting her to do even better against Sturgis.

In the 5th Ward, Hieftje and his allies are supporting Chuck Warpehoski, an alternative transportation advocate and director of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, against Vivienne Armentrout, a former county commissioner and staunch council critic.

Armentrout, who like Kailasapathy opposes the plans to morph the AATA into a countywide transit authority and build a new train station, lost by a 53-vote margin against Hohnke in 2008, and only after Hohnke spent a whopping $20,000 on his campaign that year.


Eight candidates have lined up in four separate races for the Ann Arbor City Council. Two are open seats, and two are held by incumbents.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Political pundits are expecting Armentrout's name recognition to give her an advantage against Warpehoski, who strongly supports the AATA's expansion plans.

Two other allies of the mayor — incumbents Tony Derezinski and Margie Teall — are battling to keep their seats in the 2nd and 4th wards, respectively.

Derezinski is defending his seat against Sally Hart Petersen, who is asking voters to look to her marketing and business background over Derezinski's municipal government experience. Derezinski is an attorney and a former state senator who has been on council four years.

Teall, who has been on council a decade, is defending her seat against Jack Eaton, a labor attorney who argues the city has its spending priorities out of whack. Eaton challenged Teall two years ago as part of an unsuccessful slate and pulled 31 percent of the vote.

All eight candidates are running as Democrats.

Two competing visions

Allies of the mayor are hopeful Teall and Derezinski will be re-elected, but they're somewhat uneasy about what could happen in the 1st and 5th ward races.


Sumi Kailasapathy and Eric Sturgis are competing for the open 1st Ward seat being vacated by Sandi Smith.

Ryan J. Stanton |

If Kailasapathy and Armentrout come out on top, that means no more majority, and perhaps the death of projects like a new train station on Fuller Road.

"I do see it as a threat to the kind of direction we've been moving in, which I think is a very healthy direction," Teall said. "We do have a council that works well. My fear is council will become more divided and it will be much more difficult to move anything forward."

Derezinski said he's concerned that plans to expand transportation options in Ann Arbor, including the AATA's countywide transit plan, could be jeopardized.

"We're at a real threshold point in terms of the present and future of Ann Arbor, and with the progressive approach we've taken in the last few years, we need majority votes to keep the momentum going," he said.

Despite some obvious differences on the issues, all eight candidates agreed on the significance of the Aug. 7 primary.

"Voters are presented with a pretty clear and distinguishable choice on spending priorities," said Eaton, suggesting the ruling majority hasn't done enough to adequately staff the police and fire departments, while pushing for projects like "an expensive train station."

"What we're seeing across the four wards is the residents are feeling like their priorities need to be heard. I tell them go vote Aug. 7 if they want to see change," Kailasapathy said.

Eaton and Kailasapathy both urged the City Council in June to turn down a $2.8 million federal grant that's going to pay for the early planning stages of a new train station.

"That is a Tea Party-like thing," Hieftje said in response, likening their position to the Republican leaders in Troy who made national news last year for turning down $8.5 million in federal grant money that would have fully funded a long-planned transit center there.


Vivienne Armentrout


Chuck Warpehoski

Armentrout said it's impossible to deny there are two different views of the city, and she's not in line with the mayor's vision.

"The mayor's vision has been of a larger metropolitan center of economic development that has a lot of regional reach, and he's really emphasized commuter rail," she said, questioning whether regionalism is really a good move for Ann Arbor.

"I'm concerned about what I consider really extravagant and irrational moves," she added. "I don't see that the city needs to be paying for a new rail station."

Hieftje has been touting the city's new 711-space underground parking garage's success in enticing network security firm Barracuda Networks to expand and bring hundreds of employees to downtown. Hieftje and other community leaders believe the move will help stimulate the local economy, as those employees spend their money at shops and restaurants.

Armentrout isn't as upbeat about the news.

"We're using our parking resources to try to bring major office tenants into downtown. I don't see that as a great benefit to residents and local businesses," she said. "If you look at what that does, it actually pushes out local businesses and it's not actually bringing services that residents could use. If you had a downtown full of blocks of offices, it would be a pretty sterile place."

Armentrout added, "We've had this idea that if we can just get these big tenants coming in, we can all get rich somehow. Then we saw what happened with Pfizer."

Hieftje said he sees the issue differently.

"It's actually kind of funny that someone would say we don't need more Barracudas, because we're just coming out of the recession," he said. "I do want more jobs in the city. I want to grow jobs so people's kids can stay in town, and I want to grow jobs because it's going to build up our tax base."

Sturgis said the election is about whether Ann Arbor moves forward, or whether it becomes stagnant and loses out on opportunities for growth.

"I think all four races are very important to the future of the city," he said. "We have choices between people who are progressive and want to move the city forward, and people who want to try to move the city backward and they're opposed to a lot of things."

Teall agreed with Sturgis.

"I think a lot of it has to do with how Ann Arbor moves in the future and whether we are a town that welcomes jobs for residents," she said. "I'm certainly not advocating unbridled growth. We're trying to grow things very intentionally."

Eaton, Kailasapathy and Armentrout all were actively involved in lobbying against a proposal for a downtown hotel and conference center, which council members seriously considered for a couple years before eventually voting it down.

Divisions on council

Eaton said it's not his intention that a group of outsiders will get elected to the City Council and then vote in lockstep against the mayor's agenda to stop projects.


Sally Hart Petersen is hoping to oust 2nd Ward incumbent Tony Derezinski.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"It's simply our hope that we will get enough independent voices at the table so we won't arrive at meetings with decisions already made," he said.

Kailasapathy agreed.

"I think the residents want a fresh set of people who can go in there, think independently, vote independently, and not bloc vote," she said.

Armentrout said she doesn't want the City Council to devolve into any sort of factionalism where one group always votes one way and the other group votes the other way.

"What I what I want to see is the City Council function as a deliberative body," she said. "I'd like to see council members receive information earlier. I'd like to see real deliberative discussion."

Petersen said she may be against building a new train station and she may have her doubts about the AATA's countywide expansion plans, but she's not negative on the city.

"Sometimes we go in the wrong direction, but I'm not against the city at all," she said. "The city has done well in the last 10 years. I love the city and I want to become part of its leadership."

Eaton lamented that he and others are labeled naysayers for speaking up against what they consider bad ideas that could hurt the city.

"If I was put on council, I could pursue a positive agenda," he said. "For instance, rather than fighting the Fuller Road train station, I could support the parkland protection amendment to our city charter and dispel this kind of dispute well in advance."

Even though he has the mayor's endorsement, Warpehoski noted he and Hieftje don't see eye to eye on every issue. He said he's already informed the mayor he's going to push for improvements to public process and more independent appointments to boards.

"Whatever the makeup of council is moving forward, there are still going to be divisions, and the ability to work together and bridge those divisions will be key," he added.


Tony Derezinski is stressing his decades of experience in government and municipal law over his opponent's marketing background.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Warpehoski said he'd probably act most like Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, if elected. She's often seen as a swing voter.

"I see her as an independent who does her homework," Warpehoski said. "Sometimes she works with the mayor and sometimes she votes with the challengers. In a lot of ways, that independence she's shown is a model I'd like to emulate if elected."

Derezinski is asking voters to look to the personal experiences and backgrounds of each of the candidates running for council before they head to the polls.

"The races portray some striking differences among the candidates as to their familiarity with the workings of government, and particularly that of the city of Ann Arbor," he said. "I think voters will make comparisons on that basis to see which of the candidates have the best experience and qualifications to deal with a very complex organization with a $350 million budget."

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.



Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

If you're interested in the 2nd ward race, please attend the Orchard Hills-Maplewood Homeowners Ass'n forum at the Traverwood library tomorrow at 7.


Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

A lot of people like that reform. Maybe we should get us some. === Junior O'Daniel


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Sabra Briere should show some leadership like Mike Anglin and Jane Lumm have in making an endorsement in the First Ward race. I applaud both Anglin and Lumm for providing their opinions and endorsements in that race.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

The mayor and his coterie have grand plans for AA that won't mean diddly if our roads are falling apart and our citizens are not safe. I'd like to live in a comfortable, progressive, well-functioning town, not the Potemkin Village Hieftje wants to construct. Finding money to pay for Police and Firefighters and picking up leaves might not be flashy like public art, but it's what I expect from local government. Glad to see I'm not alone.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

Seems like the Republicans should be given the chance. Perhaps then the tax and spend will take a break.......

Stuart Brown

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Borrow and spend; as if Hieftje has not?


Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

And the borrow and spend will take over. And this is where Hieftje most resembles a Republican


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

I attended the recent Ward 5 debate hoping to learn enough about Chuck W. and Vivienne A. to decide who to vote for. Early on it seemed clear that Ms. A. was incredibly well-versed in local public policy, has served on many committees, and attended many public meetings. I can't state strongly enough how impressive her knowledge was. I've read here and on other blogs that the mayor and his supporters criticize people who disagree with their decisions as being "negative." I was disappointed to hear Chuck W. echo this when he used the word "nitpicking." But Vivienne A. readily pointed out that nitpicking is what's needed when making important policy decisions. Chuck W.'s way of speaking was "politician-speak." Platitudes. Frequently emphasizing his ability to listen and bring people together. It became obvious during the course of the debate that Vivienne had those qualities without having to say so, and that the content of what she said was much more relevant to important issues, questions being asked, public policy, etc. I learned about city government from her, but only about Chuck from Chuck. One questioner asked Chuck W. about the mayor's lack of transparency - and how he felt about being endorsed by the mayor. That was it for me: if he's endorsed by the mayor, he's a part of the click which has been making disastrous decisions for A2. My vote will go to Vivienne A., and happily since she's not only amazingly qualified, but states that she will work to bring government back to working for people and neighborhoods.

Stuart Brown

Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

This is a good summary of the differences; well said.

Joel A. Levitt

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

Responding to Chuck Warpehoski's leadership, the disputatious members of the Middle East Task Force of the Interfaith Council on Peace and Justice (ICPJ) have come to realize that the only way to make a contribution is to work for the freedom, security and prosperity of all the involved people. If Chuck wanted to limit his service to foreign affairs, he would be content to just remain ICPJ director. Instead, Chuck also wants to help preserve and improve Ann Arbor for the sake of his children and of ours. Chuck's participation in the 2008 judicial elections follows naturally from his belief in the importance of public participation in government, which he is determined to encourage and facilitate. There is no better person to represent Ward 5 than Chuck Warpehoski.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

"Hieftje has been touting the city's new 711-space underground parking garage's success in enticing network security firm Barracuda Networks to expand " They were going to expand no matter where they moved, which would most likely still have been in Ann Arbor. The mayor (with a lot of cheerleading help from continues overplaying this angle trying to make it look like the Garage Mahal isn't just a big DDA mistake.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:06 a.m.

"Mayor John Hieftje's majority on the Ann Arbor City Council is at risk in the Aug. 7 primary" GOOD! I will only vote any new blood. out with the old!


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

Chuck Warpehoski has no public service experience that I am aware of. Nevertheless the electorate should take notice of many of his political "peace" and "justice" stands as they relate to his leadership of the Interfaith Council on Peace and Justice. On January 7, 2009 in Ann Arbor he led 175 demonstrators in a protest of the Israel Defense Forces invasion into Gaza and called for an immediate cease-fire; the protest generated tremendous media coverage. He later criticized counter-demonstrating groups, including the American Movement for Israel for being unreasonable. In the 2008 election he went door-to-door to support the Michigan Supreme Court candidacy of the eventual winner Diane Hathaway, over ultraconservative Republican Clifford Taylor, the "Sleeping Judge". Clifford Taylor in fact had his campaign headqurters located in Ann Arbor that year and received contributions from a number of Ann Arbor residents, including Judge Timothy Connors. Chuck Warpehoski has not stated publically whether he will advocate a human rights agenda or promote foreign policy issues as a City Council member. Do we want a City Council member who needs on-the-job training on budget matters and the day-to-day functioning of a municipality? One who takes political shots at our state judiciary? One who may promote controversial foreign policy matters on the City Council agenda? I f your answer is no to any of these questions, then say "no" to Chuck Warpehoski on August 7th. Viviene Armentrout is the obvious choice in the Fifth Ward for experience, knowledge and integrity.

Charles D. Lewis

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:02 p.m.

Having spoken with scores of Democrats who are critical of the high-profile, high-cost projects embraced by the "Mayor's Party," I can attest that none of those I have met seem at all oppositional by temperament. I believe they would be more than willing to go along with the council majority on all issues, as they have on many, if they could bring themselves to do so in good conscience, given the facts. Several supporters of the current Council establishment are fond of mischaracterizing those who disagree with them as inveterate gainsayers who are, for some perverse reason, against change or progress. It's a convenient way to dismiss and discredit one's critics. In my view, there do appear to be real differences between the Council majority and its critics, but these differences have nothing to do with the critics being oppositional or crypto-conservative. The critics do strike me as being a bit old-fashioned, in that their first instinct as Democrats is to champion what used to be called the "little guy," people of modest means who struggle to pay their property taxes and who deserve and need the services municipal government pledges to give them in return, including a good transit system. The opposition folks also resemble traditional Democrats in their propensity to judge each proposal on its social utility and feasibility, to openly express differences of opinion, to dare to ask a lot of questions, and to resist being herded together and pressured to march in lock-step. They are not prepared to go along, to get along, to get ahead, and in this they differ greatly from many in the " Mayor's Party."

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2:11 a.m.

Amen. Great post.

Unusual Suspect

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

"Mayor John Hieftje's majority on the Ann Arbor City Council is at risk in the Aug. 7 primary" Please., yes, please!


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

Halter, AA News has a policy against boring us with facts or important issues. Otherwise we would hear more about such issues such as how baseline budgeting is driving deficite spending.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

You should all read this, by the way: Tell your family, friends, and coworkers. Please.

Patricia Lesko

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

It's so funny for people who vote in lockstep (Hieftje, Teall and Derezinski), to fret about people people elected who might vote in lockstep. What they're afraid of is losing the power to spend $390 million dollars most anyway they want (on a non-functioning $1 million dollar fountain, for example, or on subsidies to fund a non-existent transit station, instead of police and fire fighters). The only Tea Party thing going on is John Hieftje's support of Republican policies such as public-private partnerships, attacks on unions, his support of outsourcing versus job creation, and his "small government" mantra, which is straight out the Reagan-Thatcher playbook. All four of the candidates on his slate took money from a PAC that supports Republican candidates and Republican county parties. Heck, Hieftje took $1,000 from the same PAC in 2010. This election is about putting Democrats in office who support Democratic principles, including transparency in government, inclusive representation, and making citizen services a priority when spending tax dollars. Oh, and as for Margie Teall's fears that Council will be divided should her opponent, Kailasapahy, Petersen and Eaton be elected: she needn't worry. She won't be there, and there won't be a deadlocked Council. Hieftje, Taylor, Higgins and Briere will be in the minority.


Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Pat really doesn't like people who disagree with her because both my replies to her question to me were deleted and my language was no different than what she uses in almost every comment.

Patricia Lesko

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

@mixmaster keep talking because I am listening. However, you don't disagree with me on policies. Let's talk turkey. How is support of public-private partnerships that stick the taxpayer with all the risk and none of the revenues good for Ann Arbor? How is having people wait hours for a police officer to respond to a non-emergency excellence? How is having a fire service that cannot meet national standards and keep residents safe a positive vision for our city? How is having a mayor and Council members who is "comfortable" with this kind of service the right thing for Ann Arbor? Hieftje couldn't be bothered to show up at the Fourth of July parade, but he was Johnny on the Spot for the Fauxopening of the DDA's new underground parking garage, the building of which is going to take the DDA's reserve into the red (which is not legal). Is that leadership? Nope. We need a payment in lieu of taxes program now (it could raise $15-$20 million in revenue). We need to focus on our infrastructure now. We need to support economic development without subsidies. We need to fund robust citizen services. As for county-wide transit, if the out-county folks want it, they need to fund it completely. Ann Arbor taxpayers don't need to pay for folks in Dexter or Ypsilanti to take the bus. Finally, Ann Arbor's elected officials have been taking credit for the economic engine that is the University of Michigan. Hizzoner, Ms. Teall and Mr. D. have all voted to cut hundreds of jobs (Republican small government lovers, I suppose) and replace full-time employment with part-time, low-paid temps. That's not job creation; that's a city that's treats its workers worse than Walmart. Hieftje wants taxpayers to blow millions on trains so people can commute to Ann Arbor. I want to see a city that is affordable, taken care of and offers robust services so people will move here and contribute to the tax base.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

And I'll pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

Sabra Briere does not deserve to be grouped with Hieftje, Taylor and Higgins. She is frequently at odds with the Mayor and his minions. Ms. Briere is the most responsive Council member to her constituents, holding open door meetings weekly at the Northside Grill for anyone (and from any ward) who has need of discussing an issue with her. Her regular newsletter is instructive about City Council activities and thorough in discussing each Council meeting's agenda. Sabra Briere has extensively researched answers to a number of my questions about City and City Council function and her responses are clear and meaningful, even though I do not live in her ward (and she knows it)! But she is not up for re-election.

Stuart Brown

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2:30 a.m.

I'll tell you after Aug. 7th.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

Lesko's leadership style? What has she led?

Stuart Brown

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

I always find it interesting that supporters of the Hive collective will always try to avoid talking about the issues by changing the subject to Pat Lesko's leadership style. Has Hieftje been listening? Saying you're comfortable with two more people a year dying in fire related accidents due to underfunding of the fire department is a great example of a politician not listening to constituents. Hieftje also routinely lies through his teeth and Lesko has called him on this many times; but King John gets a pass from by their failure to determine the truth and then their implied accusation that Lesko is "divisive" by calling a lie a lie. Hieftje's lies are presented as a "he said/she said" without any objective analysis of the true facts.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

I see that Pat isn't willing to listen to those who disagree with her.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Maybe a few of you saw the movie Milk? You have to give people something positive to believe in. The candidates have done an ok job of staying out of the gutter but their supporters seem to revel in it. All you're doing is talking to each other here on annarbordotcom and really aren't helping your cause or your candidate. This is what killed the Lesko campaign. Angry and bitter turned off a lot of voters. The average voter doesn't like negativity and will rebel against it. So keep it up and watch it happen all over again.

Patricia Lesko

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

@mixmaster Angry and bitter? You mean like Joan Lowenstein's piece in The Ann in which she implodes and calls Ann Arbor voters "old," "selfish," and xenophobic? Your rant about angry and bitter is old news. That misleading message doesn't resonate anymore. I was telling the truth about the city's finances and emergency services (fire service doesn't meet national standards and didn't when I ran). I was right on about the need to reshape spending priorities to focus on citizen services. People are ready to see that happen now as we can see from the election of Jane Lumm. Hieftje and his Hive Mind Collective are no longer shaping the discussion, or having luck with their simplistic smear tactics. They're a step behind. When Rapundalo ran, I raised the issue of his support of Snyder. The mainstream media followed. Now, Eric Sturgis and Tony Derezinski are trying to raise the same "they're really Republicans" smear about their opponents. It's not working. A2Politico's investigative reporting that uncovered Eric's false claims about his academic qualifications (, and Derezinski's long-time financial support from big wigs in the Mi GOP, as well as his support of Republican big wigs through his contributions to the Friends of EMU PAC (—a-real-democrat-is-running-in-ward-2/) is helping shape a more honest discussion of who the Hieftje slate candidates really are and what they really support.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

I would like to see a chart (I have my own but it would be easier if actually printed something useful) of every single current incumbent in columns A and who is running against them in column B. I recommend the entire city vote for column B instead of column A across the board.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

The chart is a good idea, and please include the party affiliation. Why wasn't it mentioned in the article?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

Even without having seen the chart? Ever heard of buying a pig in a poke?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

@truthbetold: Regarding the Stadium Bridges, rebuilding them was a waste of taxpayer funds and waiting for Uncle Sam to show up with a bag of money was poor public policy on many levels. It's true we need to have a street that connects State to Main at that location otherwise it's very tough to get from one side of town to the other, so closing Stadium isn't an option. However instead of replacing the bridges, we could have torn them down and put a street level railroad crossing and a four way stoplight interchange that allowed no left turns at State St. and Stadium. The traffic patterns in place could have stayed in place with the added benefit of being able to turn right only at the new intersection. That idea was never considered. As to needing to spend $23mm to build a fabulous bridge so the Ann Arbor Railroad doesn't have to cross a street, where is the need? A hundred yards down the road the Ann Arbor Railroad crosses State St. already at road grade level and for those of us who live downtown, we note that the train comes through town two times a day, usually in the very middle of the night. Let's use some commonsense and stop spending money we don't have for luxuries we don't need.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

"TRUTHBETOLD".I sincerely hope that SUMI,SALLY AND VIVIENNE will be elected to city council so that PRINCE JOHN no longer holds court in the city council. It is my desire to see hackdom abolished.Mybe the voters of the city realise that too much power in the hands of certain individual has the ability to raise "ways and means" of mass corruption. Transparency is a good thing and new blood will help avert things like the recent e-mail scandal.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

And don't forget Eaton to replace the Invisible Teall !


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

I wish people would just stop with "take back our city, country" or whatever fantasy place they think was so great in the olden days before it got messed up by people you don't like. Take back from whom? Take it back to where? A castle surrounded by a moat or a glass bubble? Your neighbor who has a different political viewpoint? People with whom you disagree but have every right to their opinion? Zombies?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

Bunk! Just because you like this group does not mean we have to like them.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

People who, over time and/or through corrupt influence, have become very disconnected from the people they swore to serve, and have become very used to and comfortable with mis-spending vast amounts of other people's money. We want to take it back from THEM.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 5 p.m.

The reason why most 4th ward voters voted for Councilmember Teall in the 2010 election is that she was sincere and made sense. In contrast, Mr. Eaton vigorously supported Pat Lesko, even when it was clear that Lesko's vision of Ann Arbor and the manner in which her campaign was conducted was not in sync with Ann Arbor. The fact the Mr. Eaton didn't want to set himself apart from Ms. Lesko was a real turn off to many 4th ward residents and they have not forgotten this. My neighbors and I will be voting for Ms Teall. I also don't appreciate that Mr. Eaton wanted to float bonds for the Stadium bridges rather than wisely get the federal funds that are now paying for the bridges. Who you vigorously supported in the past does make a difference to voters. This is exactly why I felt compelled to write on another post that several of the commenters complaining about Councilmember Derezinski are actually vigorous Dream Nightclub supporters (such as eyesofjustice posting above) evidently angry that Derezinski was on the liquor commission for the City. Finally, I don't agree with every decision of the Mayor or Council, but I don't obsess about every matter that I think should have been done differently. The Mayor and Council of the last decade deserve significant credit for leading the city through tough times and running an excellent city. It is very easy to criticize and talk about things one does not know about. The residents soundly defeated the last mayoral challenger for good reason. The mayor has always had a realistic, yet optimistic manner, that the. residents clearly appreciate. The commenters on annarbor. com too often lack perspective and might want to visit other cities in Michigan before they write their next post. The good thing is that the voters see through all the negativity.

Patricia Lesko

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

@truth my "vision" for Ann Arbor was pretty simple: use tax dollars to fund and expand services. I didn't do a good enough job communicating that and Hieftje did a great job smearing me and getting his smears printed ( without fact checking. Ryan Stanton still does a poor job of fact checking Hieftje's absurd claims most of the time. @Stuart, you have a good memory. I did (and still do) think Ann Arbor SPARK is a boondoggle. They recently blew $7.7 million tax dollars and created 79 jobs ( which A2Politico posted about. I wanted (and still want) to see the LDFA dissolved. That is the funding mechanism that funnels tax dollars to SPARK. Ann Arbor SPARK can go on, but without money skimmed from the AAPS, libraries and Ann Arbor General Fund. As for Laurel Champion, her conflicts of interests are many and I delighted that finally began to put a disclaimer before stories about SPARK that she is on the Executive Committee. It's too little too late, because excellent reporting and investigative of Ann Arbor SPARK would, ultimately, be better for our community.

Stuart Brown

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

Ms. Lesko was at odds with Laurel Champion's (high muckity muck at support of Ann Arbor Spark. Lesko was in favor of eliminating Ann Arbor Spark. The result was a smear campaign lead by that ultimately proved successful. These guilt-by-association smears will prove amusing when the Hive takes a major hit on Aug. 7th.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

Responding to: " I also don't appreciate that Mr. Eaton wanted to float bonds for the Stadium bridges rather than wisely get the federal funds that are now paying for the bridges. Who you vigorously supported in the past does make a difference to voters. " I don't remember it that way. It seemed that those Federal funds were never guaranteed, it was a risky gamble for the City that very luckily paid off. Still, it was a gamble, what if the wind had blown in a different direction?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

There's a lot of noise in the political world these days. Some of it valid, most of it just noise that clouds the issues for everyone. Neither left nor right, the calm reasoned middle path is best in life and that includes politics. I'm not a fan of the Mayor, but he's tried to find this middle path even with all the noise.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

Tony D I told you don't take my word for it...........


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,they say,and this might be a little off point,by I still can't believe $750,000 was spent on that eyesore in front of city hall while police and fire services were cut.I just can't fathom it.I can't.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.


Joel A. Levitt

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

Chuck Warpehoski, running for the Democratic nomination for Ward 5 rep to City Council, is determined: to work for a better and easier to use City WEB site, featuring more complete information about the doings of City Government, and to work for more citizen input. As a result of leading the often contentious members of the Interfaith Council on Peace and Justice for 10 years, Chuck is the best prepared to to help Council members with differing views to find areas of agreement on which they can work to preserve and improve Ann Arbor.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

Better than a bomb thrower... which accomplishes nothing.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

Just what we need - a "kumbaya facilitator". That's the ticket.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

A major mistake has been made by the city in the last couple decades in allowing the real estate cartel controlling the downtown area to jack up rents to the sky and force out small diverse family businesses. Briarwood mall forced out the smaller retail department stores that were in walkable locations. All of this has been a mistake. A dynamic city has a mix of "boutiques" and overpriced restaurants for tourists, as well as affordable restaurants, necessary services (optical, dental, etc) and necessary retail such as larger grocery and drug stores in addition to affordable housing, all within a walkable downtown. A dynamic, prosperous city has a large mix of residents in its walkable downtown area. Ann Arbor has turned into "Studentville" with retail and housing catering to that population in its downtown area. This high retail turnover/closings along Main and Liberty and State Streets attest to the fact that marketing to mostly students is not a sustainable model for the city. Boutiques and overpriced restaurants simply are not enough to create a thriving downtown. Rents continue to rise in the central city (with no end in sight), and a few rich elitists living in downtown condos, along with the so-called rich students and a handful of "affordable" condo dwellers, will not sustain the central city into the future. This has been the vision of the city council for the last couple decades and it's time to clean house, top to bottom.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

Students make up about 40% of the local population. I think that they have some say in the matter and merchants would do well to cater to their market. What do you have against that?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

1. There is no mention of party affiliation for any Council member or anyone running for Council. Why? 2. The growth at any cost model for A2's future is fraught with potholes, which by the way need to be filled all over the city! Why build more mass transit stations and add bike lanes while city streets and roads continue to crumble? 3. There is only so much blood that can be sucked from the UM students who live in A2. It's a limited population that is being sucked dry, from luxury student housing high rises to overpriced restaurants and overpriced grocery stores, all trying to get a piece of the so-called rich students. And about 75 - 80% of UM employees don't live in the city due to high housing costs, high property taxes, overpriced services, etc. These middle class employees shop and spend their money where they reside, not in A2. A transit station will not change this. 4. Ann Arbor is a small, midwestern college town, surrounded by small towns, some of which are in dire financial situations. Some are more prosperous, but small. This is not a big city. It is car-dependent. Bike lanes do not change this. The handful of people who live "downtown" are a few rich people living in overpriced condos who still have to drive everywhere to get necessary services and goods.

Unusual Suspect

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

"There is no mention of party affiliation for any Council member or anyone running for Council. Why?" This is Ann Arbor. There's only one party. I've read it's a smart city, but the citizens continue to show their ignorance by voting for anything that has a pulse just because it has a "D" next to it.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

1. Because they're all democrats. A republican (or alternate voice of any sort) has no chance of getting elected in this city anymore. 2. How about this: There is only so much blood UM students can suck out of A2...... If you think the cost of living, restaurants and grocery stores is overpriced, try Palo Alto, Cambridge or Columbus. The high property taxes and poor services go hand-in-hand. We are paying our tax dollars to fund sweet pension deals negotiated by this same group of council members, that leaves little money for potholes, leaf pick-up, garbage pick-up and a whole host of other services your taxes are intended to fund. 4. Dexter, Saline, Chelsea and others are arguably doing better than Ann Arbor. And there are plenty of UM employees living in those towns. The political leadership of these areas seem to be focused more of services than fleecing the tax dollars of their residents to pay for pensions. "The handful of people who live "downtown" are a few rich people living in overpriced condos who still have to drive everywhere to get necessary services and goods" ...that's a pretty broad generalization.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

This mayor and his minions seem to subscribe the the theory taught in Business schools that YOU HAVE TO KEEP GROWING OR YOU ARE DYING. While there is some truth in this, uncontrolled growth just for the sake of growth is called CANCER. Ann Arbor needed priorities for the city other than Art and Expansion when the budget is so limited. Kind of makes you wonder what these people are thinking.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3 p.m.

Teall: "My fear is council will become more divided and it will be much more difficult to move anything forward." I think what she means is it will be more difficult to force the mayor's agenda down our throats. Maybe if the mayor and city council were more responsive to the citizens they wouldn't have to be so worried about losing.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:02 a.m.

There would be nothing that would please me more than making it difficult to move more silly and usually expensive ideas forward. That's sort of the whole idea of replacing some of you.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

Margie Teall was elected to council in 2002, and it's time for our 4th ward to have a visible representative. She wouldn't find time to have a candidate forum with Jack Eaton before the August primary. Her absences on A2 City Council meetings have grown to an unacceptable number. Her lack of communication with her constituents is nonexistent within our neighborborhoods. I would have to agree, and chime in with a previous poster that we need to educate our friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors on the issues that are important to our city. Encourage these same people to get out and vote in the primary on August 7th. Good luck, once again, Mr. Eaton.

so much nonsense

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

Heaven help us if any of the challengers get in. Currently the city is doing great and is one of the best run cities in the state. The challengers like to cry doom and gloom but they can't even understand the basics of campaigning let alone the complexities of running of city. First we have Kailasapathy who doesn't understand the difference between management and policy making. Her platform is based on the assertion that she is going to go in and take over the bookkeeping and fix all the problems. That is not the council's place; they are supposed to direct policy, not manage the employees. Her CPA is from a mid-life career change and she only has a few years experience as a CPA, not this in depth experience she goes around bragging about. She always conveniently forgets to tell the public that we have a balanced budget! Next we have Sally Peterson whose platform is that she is a MBA from Harvard and that she is smart. Yet she is not smart enough to read the simple campaign finance rules. Her campaign finance statement says she took $2394 in in-kind donation in order to throw a fundraiser that brought in $500. Really? That makes great business sense to a MBA from Harvard? That simple fact alone is very telling about her, let alone the fact that this is a campaign finance violation. The most she could have accepted is $500. She is not as smart as she claims. Next we have Jack Eaton who thinks it is acceptable to turn back federal funds based on his private beliefs of what we should spend our tax dollars on. That has tea party written all over it. That should say it all to voters of this city. Do you want the tea party to get a foothold on your council? to be continued in next post


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

i do not care what Kailasapathy does says or cooks. just as long as she does not agree with the current mayor's click. i will vote for her. do not care just do not want another "friend of the mayor" elected.

Stuart Brown

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:39 p.m.

I'll take the challengers over the Hive Collective who are comfortable with letting two more people a year die in fire related deaths due to underfunding of the fire department. Two more people a year need to die so the city can blow $100 million on an underground parking deck and an expanded city hall. This fact alone speaks volumes as to what is at stake in this election.

so much nonsense

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:11 p.m. exactly why was my comment below this one deleted? I will repeat it again here. And finally we have Vivienne Armentrout who has run 6 times over the years, has actually been an elected official in the olden days, yet can't seem to understand the importance of filling out the campaign finance forms. I realize that others have been late in filling in the past but her reasoning is ludicrous with all her "experience". She claimed that she was too busy working on her campaign materials to file the paperwork., yet on twitter she was saying she was busy making cabbage rolls. Really? Glad to see that the law, procedures, and policy aren't high on your list of important items yet that is what your campaign platform is all about. This is not a trait we want in a coucilmember. This is very telling and voters should take note. The four challengers are nothing but hypocrites. I just hope the public is smart enough to see through the fog of conspiracy that these four candidates represent.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

"to be continued in next post" Lucky us.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

It's good to see some heated ward battles. Maybe that will lead to a decent voter turnout. Unfortunately, the battles are in the August primary which has a notoriously low turnout. Ann Arbor needs to amend its charter so it is no longer one of only three Michigan cities holding partisan council elections. That change would move a the ward battles to the November election when we could expect a true indication of voter sentiment.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

Please do amend the charter. Maybe if some fresh thinking can make it to council through this ridiculous primary we can get that done. How else can one explain the repeated reelection of our major?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

Eric Sturgis , I believe the youngest of the candidates, represents the voice of young people, many of them brought here by the University. I've heard many times from young people in public meetings that Ann Arbor is not a welcoming place for young professionals who would very much like to make Ann Arbor home. Not only do they find no jobs but no suitable or affordable housing nor a place that is bicycle and pedestrian friendly. We have seen under Hieftje and this city council an administration responding to those needs. The additional parking, an inter-county bus system and a train connection to Southeast Michigan would contribute positively to those needs. It's true that we all love Ann Arbor's public parks, but as I understand the plans, the position of the proposed train station would not significantly compromise the very extensive park system that we now enjoy. I don't understand the objection. It has been stated before that Ann Arbor's park lands occupy more acreage than the University properties do. In my view, continuing to bring our town up to the standards that make us an attractive alternative to the many young people we attract and train is what we need and should consider when voting for council representation.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

Eric Sturgis is not a "young professional". He is a 26-year old college student who lives with his grandma. He tells the public he is a student at EMU when he never attended there. He registered as a precinct delegate candidate in two different counties. His mother has uprooted his opponent's campaign signs. He's a mess that should not be on City Council.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

I agree that the students, who represent a substantial if transient part of our population and economy need better representation. But I met Mr. Sturgis recently, and must say it is hard to picture him representing anyone effectively, let alone students. And what students are in first ward anyway? The Medical School, and Engineering School via North Campus apartments, I don't think he is the one for them. No offense, but this primary vote has a clear leader, and it is not Mr. Sturgis.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

I'll believe it 'if & when' it happens. But, the majority of AA voters have yet to show any lack of support for the mayor, most of city council and other city leaders.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

"Interfaith Council for Peach and Justice" How about a little proofreading?

Ryan J. Stanton

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Thanks for the catch. Fixed.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

Really? His precious 'super-majority" is in jeopardy? It's about time. Perhaps he will finally have to provide sound rationale for some of these projects and initiatives they claim 'people support' and therefore don't need to justify. It is undemocratic for either party to enjoy a 'politburo' majority to ram their pet projects through. Whatever happened to 'majority rule, minority rights'?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

The $85,000 tax abatement is probably more appreciated by Barracuda than any discount on monthly parking fees at the library lot or anywhere else. Barracuda needed the expanded space and was determined to stay in downtown Ann Arbor so very likely would have leased the Borders space even without special inducements. The occupancy rate of the library parking structure will be interesting to follow as I predict that achieving more than an average of 50% utilization will be unlikely. Meanwhile, the City must pay about $4,450,000 a year to service the $50,000,000 bonds used to construct the underground structure..... for twenty years. Neither parking fees generated by the new parking structure nor anticipated TIF payments (those not gifted back to developers) will cover the bond expenses. The cost of servicing the library lot bonds and the $50,000,000 Municipal Building bonds will likely require other sources of revenue including a possible new millage in the future or an income tax. Thank you, Mayor, and majority of City Council!

Stuart Brown

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2:24 a.m.

Why blame Bill Martin when all the Ann Arbor city council had to do was just say no? Guess the city will have to tow more cars, issue more parking tickets and hand out more speeding tickets to make up the revenue. But of course, if we pass an income tax, that will solve all of our problems! Then we can pay even more for the jobs that go downtown. Who needs firefighters anyway?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

That $85K is for the developer (Bill Martin), not Barracuda directly. Like the richest guy in town should get money to fix up HIS property for HIS tenants. I'll say it again - Barracuda moving downtown isn't really that that important to anyone outside of downtown merchants. It means little to the city as a whole.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

What are the voters choices presented here: Tax & Spend or Tax & Spend more! What Choices? Something obvious even to the casual observer is that they are all Progressives. Which means that there are no opposites only 50 shades of Grey!


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

If that's the choice at least we don't elect Borrow and Spend Republicans.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:26 p.m.

Put your name on a ballot then. Or is Whining easier? Or you could take the advice of national conservatives modified slightly, Ann Arbor: Love it or leave it.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

Progressives running in the Dem primary in Ann Arbor? Say it aint so! And you were expecting?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

i just ask the voters to think about some of the stuff they have pushed thru. art, crosswalks, bike paths, three lanes on jackson and new station on plymouth. i say now is the time to get them out and see what some one else can do. i for one am going vote for those i can to take a long vacation.

Albert Howard

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

And Albert Howard is standing by to deliver the TKO

Middle America

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 8:50 a.m.

"And Albert Howard is standing by to deliver the TKO". If by "TKO" you mean "religious intolerance". Albert wants to ban the Quran while he goes out of his way to claim that Christianity is under attack. Thanks, Albert, you have proven the unthinkable - there is a candidate worse than our current mayor.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

Lol! Good luck with that.

Jack Eaton

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

I believe it is overly simplistic to characterize this election as being between supporters and opponents of the Mayor. The Mayor and I disagree on some issues and agree on others. For example, I agreed with the Mayor when the Council decided to pull the plug on a downtown hotel and conference center that would have involved expensive tax breaks and years of subsidies for the conference center. Council Member Teall supported the expensive plan to build and operate the conference center. Another example involves the Argo Cascades park. The path along the cascades is a great new park where people walk their dogs, peddle their bikes or just stroll along the river. I agreed with the Mayor's efforts to preserve the Argo dam. Preservation of the dam allows rowing crews to continue to practice above the dam and gives the community the Cascades park. Council Member Teall opposed preserving Argo Dam. Even where we disagree, I believe the Mayor and I can work together. For example, I opposed the current plan to expand AATA because the plan is mostly limited to sprawl encouraging commuter service. I would like to work with the Mayor to really improve the AATA and really expand the service area for more than just commuter service. In many one party towns, you will find two factions develop - a group working to subsidize private business and another group seeking to address neighborhood issues. I am running as a neighborhood advocate.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

4th ward does need a neighborhood advocate. In our Lawton neighborhood, and others within this ward, there has been widespread flooding for many years. In fact, the flooding has gotten worse, in part, due to the city's footing drain disconnect program that was shoved down our throats. Craig, we have the invisible women in our ward, Margie and Marcia, who will not communicate with us. Margie has another agenda, and we need someone like Jack, who will be an advocate for us, not fight us. That is what he meant by his comment; this isn't funny anymore.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

I'm from the 4th ward and I'm certainly voting for Mr. Eaton. We need a neighborhood advocate instead of someone who is more concerned about downtown issues and art money skimming. Enough.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

"In many one party towns, you will find two factions develop - a group working to subsidize private business and another group seeking to address neighborhood issues. I am running as a neighborhood advocate." translation: Vote for me I support the average guy. The other guy is "big business" too funny.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

Gridlock used to be a sort of unfortunate term in politics. These days I would cherish gridlock at most every level of Government. After 236 years of nonstop "law making" I am calling for a pause.

Hot Sam

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

One of the biggest mistakes the citizenry make, is to believe that legislatures always need to be "doing something"...

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

I'll add that we should pass a law that says Government can't pass a new law/ordinance unless they repeal an old one at the same time.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

cry me a river....... vote hieftje out, too, please. no mayor is better than our surreal foreign art mongering ride your bike (have yet to see him do it) it's all in your head King John.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

Nice one pbehjatnia, nice one!


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

If you haven't noticed Hieftje isn't on the ballot. But I don't suppose you don't live in A2. If you did you might know that.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

This is one of the reasons that I dislike living in a single party, worker's paradise. I get to choose between candidates that have been approved by the ruling party. There is not a dime's worth of difference between them. I do not vote in party primary elections because I will not associate myself with any political party. Enjoy your "choice", comrade citizen.

Stuart Brown

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:24 p.m.

SonnyDog09, Party labels mean nothing in practical terms in Ann Arbor. We effectively have non-partisan races in August that usually determine the outcome of the race. By not voting in August, you are ceding the right to be part of the decision making process.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

Those who claim not to associate with any political party are usually closet Republicans, Tea Partiers, Libertarians or so called "independents" who like to cast themselves as free thinkers. Scratch a Libertarian and find a Republican.

glenn thompson

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

You do not have to declare a party to vote in the primary. The ballot is printed with both Democratic and Republican candidates. Sometimes they are in different columns, sometimes one party is on the front and the other on the back. You simply vote the party of your choice. The only restriction is that you must vote for only republican or democratic candidates. if you 'split' the ticket the ballot will be voided.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

I couldn't be less impressed with your "reasoning" for not voting.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

This single-party workers' paradise has been especially tough on working people. It seems like if you shout loud enough that you are more "progressive" than your opponents, it doesn't matter what your actions and decisions are.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

"I do not vote in party primary elections because I will not associate myself with any political party." You can vote, then remove yourself from the party right afterward I believe.

glenn thompson

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1 p.m.

Anyone can collect the necessary signatures and run as a candidate of either party or as an independent. There isn't any party "approval".


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

So you are abrogating your voting rights and allowing other citizens to choose your government for you. If you can not see any differences between the candidates then you need to remove your dark colored glasses.

David Cahill

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

One thing I noticed from reading the campaign finance reports is that the independents are ahead of the council party candidates in campaign contributions in three wards and competitive in the other one. There is a strong correlation between the amount a candidate raises and the votes s/he receives. Based on these reports, Kailasapathy is going to beat Sturgis soundly in the First Ward. The other races (Second, Fourth, and Fifth) are going to be real nail-biters. Be sure to vote on Tuesday, August 7!


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

Is your wife, Sabra, endorsing Sumi?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.

The end of the world must be near. AA voters begining to look out for their best interest. Maybe they will kill the AATA expansion and defund the extortion of public art. Maybe they will vote for politicians that will balance the budget. Times are a changing.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

More like Grand Theft, Brad. Larceny is relatively small potatoes, but "Public Art" is a major skim - like the Mob used to do when they ran Vegas. Only in Ann Arbor - the "Art Mafia".


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

The public art isn't "extortion". It's larceny pure and simple. With a bait (vote for a millage) and switch (skim money) component.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:31 a.m.

At the beginning of the year I suggested our city leaders ought to have a list of priorities that is very different: 1) Ann Arbor is not meeting national standards for fire safety. This will raise our fire insurance rates & cause more unnecessary loss of life. The current city council has done little to ensure adequate staffing and adequate equipment are provided once again to keep the citizens & their properties safe! Even funds that were budgeted were not expended because of the flawed and unwise plans to close 2 fire stations instead of properly staffing all 5 fire stations. The 3 station plan will be implemented unless control of city council changes. 2) The current budget for 2012 added one officer to the police department after years of major cuts. The priorities are all wrong in spending for fripperies instead of core needs. Ann Arbor already has an inadequate number of cars on patrol at any one time (only 5 per shift) & we need to reinstate daily downtown foot patrol beat cops. Response times are too frequently awful. 3) Ann Arbor's roads at the start of the year were a mess & were rated among the worst in the state. The funds were available from the street millage to repair them, but the money wasn't being spent because the city leadership was pursuing a flawed strategy. To catch up, now the whole city is under construction. Where is the accountability for poor past decisions? Also, roads like Jackson Road will be three lanes and not four unless control of city council changes. 4) Over $100 million was wasted on the Rog Mahal, the Garage Mahal and the Huirinal. There won't be any accountability for those errors of judgement unless control of city council changes.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

*There* is still a lot to do to make our city as good as it could be! Sigh. Sorry for the typo.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

@oxyclean & pbehjatnia: Thanks for the compliments! Unfortunately as I have noted my very demanding day job as CEO of University Bank and very young family (my son is 3 1/2 and my daughter just turned 1) currently make this impossible. My family and 303 employees must come first for at least the next year. Instead, I will continue to focus on writing my column for and trying to make a positive impact on local policy by advocating as I have, for better leaders and better policy from our elected officials. I look forward to working with all the successful candidates and currently sitting elected officials not up for election this cycle after the election, as that is the only way to move the city forward positively. This is still a lot to do to make our city as good as it could be!


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

@oxy: we can only hope.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

Any chance of you running for mayor in the near future? :)


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

Vote.....It's time for the tax paying citizens of this town to take back our city.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

Where are you going to take it? I wish people would just stop with "take back our city, country" or whatever fantasy place they think was so great in the olden days. Take back from whom? Your neighbor who has a different political viewpoint? People with whom you disagree but have every right to their opinion? Zombies?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

I'm a tax-paying Democrat and I'd sure like to see some changes. @eliljah - are you in favor of the new $50 mil subterranean parking structure? How about the skimming of money from voter-approved millages to fund ugly and non-functional art? Maybe an unnecessary train station? Or how about transferring all the city-owned (and taxpayer funded) AATA infrastructure to a county-wide organization? Is this what you're in favor of? Do you even know??

Elijah Shalis

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

yeah sure only republicans pay taxes lol


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:15 a.m.

The voter turnouts in A2 have been abysmal. I implore all readers to try to educate your friends, family, coworkers, and try to get them to do the same. It seems like the current management gets away with a lot by just relying on the good faith, busyness, apathy, and/or ignorance of the voters. 3 of the A2 residents I spoke with about the train station last year (after they had already committed the million plus to moving the plumbing in preparation for it) did not know a single thing about it. Please, make an effort to bring to light some of the more shameful recent goings on (there's plenty; AATA expansion, train station, Big Dig, public art, etc.; don't forget to include the details like triple-schedule delays, increasing public art commission staff, the art INSIDE the new city hall, spening multiple on train station when it wasn't necessary and then didn't happen anyway, etc.). The current management has been able to relax and operate in an environment of no accountability; of COURSE they're going to become corrupt or lazy or uncaring. It's time to bring in a less entrenched batch, and let them know that we'll pay a little more attention. Please.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:06 a.m.

"I'm looking to the future where we're going to hand this city off to a younger generation," Hieftje said. "And if you look at the younger generation, they're not driving as much — they want to use transit more, they want to live in city centers with a lot of activity." Uh, then let them VOTE for that stuff to happen when THEY want it. This is an example of his "build it and they will come philosophy. It's toxic and harmful. You don't put your city into millions upon millions in debt, and tax the absolute heck out of your citizens based on the assumption that the younger generation will make the decision that, looking back, that was what they would have wanted. Are you kidding me? Are people going to fall for that line just because you used the words "younger generation?" If they are, then they deserve what they get, I suppose.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:02 a.m.

I live in Ward 2 and I've never seem Tony at any community meetings or in the neighborhood. First I've heard of Sally when a campaign worker dropped off here materials at my house so that tells me how involved she is. I really do not feel I have a good choice of candidates to vote for. Very disappointing.

so much nonsense

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

@veracity Ms. Peterson should have paid more attention in class at Harvard. Spending over $2000 on a fundraiser that only nets you $500 is not good business. I would hate to see what she was like when she was one of those highly paid executives during her career. Her logic during her fundraising makes me think that she was one of those highly paid executives who would lay people off so that the executives could keep their bonuses.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

Before deciding to enter the Ward 2 City Council campaign Mrs. Petersen had never been involved in politics and was thus not a public figure. Since initiating her campaign she has worked tirelessly to inform her future constituents about herself and her beliefs and positions. Her business MBA from Harvard and her executive experience in the private sector (including finance and customer services) will serve her well as a City Council member.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

My experience with regard to Sally is opposite. She was president of a large womens' organization and that is how I came to be impressed by her most excellent ability to lead.

Alan Goldsmith

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:40 a.m.

"Derezinski is asking voters to look to the personal experiences and backgrounds of each of the candidates running for council before they head to the polls." Guessing that is probably not a good idea Tony, for you and others on the Mayor's 'team'. You know, the arrogance, not returning emails, ignoring city issues like road repair, flooding, infrastructure, et. al. and pushing for 2 % for Art (Sturgis, Teall), giving away (oh..leasing...) parkland and tagging everyone who opposes the Hieftje train as somehow anti-Democratic Party ideals. You and especially Margie Teall have been on Council for years, have failed and not it's time for both of you to go. And your candidate in the First Ward, Mr. Sturgis, is probably the worse candidate for Council in twenty years. The choice has never been more clear.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:31 a.m.

I live in Ward 2 and am hopeful Sally Petersen will be successful in her contest against Tony D. The reason is simple: it is the hope for someone who understands what council representation means. Tony has not represented me with votes that emulate the way I would have voted on expensive issues and projects. Worse of all: when I sent him an email simply asking about a particular project, I received no communication back from him at all. Not even a polite 'thank you for your note' type of response. That, IMO, is not representative government. Sally, by contrast, appears to be a bright and engaged person who is truly interested in hearing how Ward 2 voters regard matters of public concern. She is going to get my vote.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

What you are saying is applicable to Ward 4 also, we need new people to represent us! Remember to vote Tuesday, August 7th!


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

Your experience is typical. While canvassing my neighborhood for Sally I have found few who know that Tony Derezinski is a Ward 2 City Council member even though he has held the position for four years. He has shown no interest in the opinions of his constituents and has not established good communications channels.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:28 a.m.

I am glad the citizens of Ann Arbor will have the ability to make a choice at the polls. It is too bad that the city is still a one party city. If it was not there would be even more diversity in choices.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:25 p.m.

This comment really makes no sense. If the people here didn't overwhelmingly belong to the Democratic party, then Republicans would fare better. It's a one-party city because the people are overwhelmingly Democratic.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:13 a.m.

A house cleaning is way overdue..I would'nt hold my breath but hopefully the taxpayers are tired of opening up their wallets for prince john and his merry band to plunder...


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

Just keep telling yourself that.

Elijah Shalis

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

good thing the voters don't reflect the commenters on here.