Newcombe Clark files to run for Ann Arbor City Council as independent candidate in 5th Ward
Newcombe Clark made his candidacy official today in the Ann Arbor City Council's 5th Ward race, turning in 159 petition signatures to have his name placed on the November ballot.
Clark, who is running as an independent, will face off against two other candidates in November: Republican John Floyd and the winner of the Aug. 3 Democratic primary matchup between incumbent Carsten Hohnke and challenger Lou Glorie.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
Clark is one of the development partners behind two recently defeated housing projects in Ann Arbor: Heritage Row and the Moravian.
Both projects were proposed for the Germantown neighborhood immediately south of downtown, but failed to get the eight votes needed from the City Council to move forward. Council members who opposed the projects, including Hohnke, said the developments were out of character with the neighborhood.
"I can barely spell my own name — I can't expect other people to remember it," he jokes of shortening "Newcombe" to "Nuke."
Clark said he'll talk more about why he's running and lay out a detailed platform after the Aug. 3 primary. But he said his candidacy is a direct response to his frustrations with city government, which he believes are shared by many others. He said he feels the city is missing the mark in cases where it claims to have values, including in housing and transportation.
"We're lucky enough to have people who want to invest in this community, yet we can't put the pieces together," he said. "I think there are some deficiencies in the process and the execution, if not the talent and skill sets of council members, which are mainly driven by, unfortunately, political forces. Things aren't getting done that we know should be done because of perceived political realities. My hope is that my campaign, which I plan to run differently than most, can try to break free that log jam."
Clark said he's making two campaign promises: He will only serve one two-year term and then step down, and he will donate his entire council salary — a little less than $16,000 — to local charities.
"In two years, my accomplishments are limited and I do plan on focusing almost exclusively my efforts on housing and transportation," he said.
In preparation of his anticipated candidacy, Clark approached the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority last week and had the agency take down a billboard bearing his likeness in front of Pioneer High School. Clark said he didn't think it was appropriate for a city taxpayer-funded agency to promote his image while he campaigned for a city elected office.
Clark grew up on North Ashley Street with his mother. After graduating from Pioneer High School in 1999, he entered U-M's School of Engineering. In 2004, he graduated with degrees in mechanical engineering and Japanese language and culture.
In 2005, he formed Bluestone Realty Advisors, a local commercial real estate brokerage and consulting firm. In 2006, he was recognized as one of the "20 in their 20s" inaugural class by Crain’s Detroit Business for his professional and philanthropic contributions.
In 2008, Clark became the founding publisher of Concentrate Magazine. Exiting in 2009, he took on a part-time consulting position at Ghostly International, an Ann Arbor-based music and design firm with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Berlin.
In April, Clark became vice president for office and industrial brokerage at Jones Lang LaSalle, a global firm with an office in Detroit. He serves clients in Ann Arbor and western Michigan and specializes in landlord and tenant representation.
A downtown resident, Clark currently is working on his MBA at the University of Michigan. He is past president of the Main Street Area Association and currently serves on the board of the Downtown Development Authority, in addition to a long list of other civic involvement.
The deadline for independent candidates to file for office is Thursday.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529.