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Posted on Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

Sandi Smith says she won't seek re-election to Ann Arbor City Council

By Ryan J. Stanton

Sandi Smith announced today she will not seek re-election to the Ann Arbor City Council this year, leaving open the 1st Ward seat she's held since 2008.

Smith, a local real estate professional, cited a desire to put more of her time toward her company and philanthropic efforts.

She and her partner, Linda Lombardini, own and operate Trillium Real Estate, which they founded in 2001.

"At this point, our company is growing, the market is really brisk, and I feel like I can't devote enough time to both," she said. "In addition, I've accepted a leadership position at the Jim Toy Community Center and will be vice president of the board this year and president next year."


Sandi Smith

The Jim Toy Community Center is an Ann Arbor-based resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.

Smith, who has been an ally of Mayor John Hieftje on many issues while on council, is the second council member in the last week to announce a decision not to seek re-election.

The first was Carsten Hohnke, another ally of the mayor who is stepping down after nearly four years serving the 5th Ward.

Hieftje lost another ally in November when Stephen Rapundalo was voted out of his 2nd Ward seat and replaced by Jane Lumm, an Independent with a Republican background.

With the latest losses, only five of the eight people who once comprised the so-called "council majority" or "council party" will remain on the 11-member body later this year.

Smith said she doesn't have anyone in mind to fill her shoes. She defeated Sumi Kailasapathy in the Democratic primary in 2010 with 55 percent of the vote.

Kailasapathy, a certified public accountant, pulled petitions on Monday, vowing to make another run for council this year.

"I did lose last time, but I don't think the issues have gotten any better, and I think there is a role for a CPA on council," she said.

The deadline to file to run in the August primary is May 15.

In addition to the open 1st and 5th Ward seats, Hieftje and three council members will be defending their seats this year. That includes Tony Derezinski in the 2nd Ward, Christopher Taylor in the 3rd Ward and Margie Teall in the 4th Ward.

No candidates have actually filed petitions yet. Running for mayor requires 250 signatures, while running for council requires 100 signatures.

Smith said she plans to continue serving on the Downtown Development Authority's board through the end of July when her term is up. She said it will be up to Hieftje whether to reappoint her after that, but she's interested in continuing to serve.

"I would love to be able to finish out the Connecting William Street project for sure," Smith said, referring to a master planning initiative that has the DDA — at the request of City Council — studying new uses for city-owned parking lots downtown, including the lot atop a new underground parking garage on Fifth Avenue and the former YMCA site.

Hieftje commented on the loss of Hohnke and Smith on council by saying he's just glad the city was able to get two terms out of them given their personal and professional demands.

Asked whether he thinks it'll change the dynamic on council, Hieftje said he's hopeful new council members will be elected that will share a similar vision for Ann Arbor.

"I'm happy to work with whoever the voters send to City Council," he said. "I think I'm interested in the same things hopefully most people who run for council would be."

Hieftje cited keeping the budget under control, improving quality of life and keeping the ball rolling on public transit as priorities he hopes future council members will share.

"I see most of the members of council united and moving in the same direction," he said. "I think City Council has been very budget-conscious."

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.


Stuart Brown

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 2:55 a.m.

Veracity said, "XMO and Stuart Brown, our resident Republicans, are wrong again and their spread of disinformation is getting tiresome." What disinformation? Resident Republicans? Perhaps you did not notice the Green Party symbol next to my name.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 9 p.m.

but in the spirit of good sprotmanship " good louck" to ' stuart brown' , 'the Greens"... and ron paul.... all always fun to have around ( like those ' knock em down and they pop right up' inflatable clowndolls)


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 6:29 a.m.

my previous referred to logo matters... the ron paul link has less to do with domestic civil rights and more with capitulation -to- cheerleading for the worst civil right abusers on the planet.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 6:25 a.m.

others did....although the old cockeyed glasses one was more to the point.

Stuart Brown

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:25 a.m.

On certain issues, particularly Civil Rights issues.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1 a.m.

No, it is not disinformation (which implies deliberate lying). It is a quite understandable inference from the similarity of your positions and your rhetoric. More generally, the Huron Valley Greens and the Ron Paul adherents do sound very much alike.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

"Smith said she doesn't have anyone in mind to fill her shoes." That's good because that's a matter for the voters to decide.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

XMO and Stuart Brown, our resident Republicans, are wrong again and their spread of disinformation is getting tiresome. Dissension has existed on City Council regarding the profligate spending by the Mayor and his minions. The small but vocal and active minority City Council members fought the "big hole" next to the library, the Fuller Road parking structure and a new railroad station which will cost the city rather than generate economic benefits. Rapundalo's loss in last years election may have awakened the City Council members to the fact that Ann Arbor's electorate has organized locally in their neighborhoods and are successfully working to replace City Council members that have ignored their voters. It is possible that after this election "fiscally conservative" Democrats may have a majority on the City Council. With recent deficit spending by the DDA and the city such change is over due.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

"Hieftje said he's hopeful new council members will be elected that will share a similar vision for Ann Arbor." I think he means he wants new people that share HIS vision.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 6:10 a.m.

I would like to the Huron Valley Greens hold a City Caucus as they did in 2003 to nominate candidates to City Council ballot. That year their nominees pulled 20-30% of the November vote in the general election. That could be lotsa fun in 2012.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

@bedrog: Thank you for your support however, as you are aware, I am unable to run. Many persons have requested Fourth Warder Alan Goldsmith to run for City Council, but he cannot run as a candidate as well.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

I would love to see that too. It will be a pleasure to see them clobbered in the election. They have become a narrow-minded cult far removed from the days of Nader. Their candidate for Congress drew 1 % of the vote last time.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

why don't you run.?? that could be "lotsa fun" too. as would a Greens convention ( aka coop redux)


Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

As usual the cackle of whiners have already started. Obviously they do not believe in representative democracy since each and every one of the people they complain about have been elected my a majority of the people of AA. Those who think voting D is bad should remember that Ann Arbor has had the best economy in the entire midwest through the recession and some of the unemployment as well. The right wing and whiners do not want to discuss these FACTS. They prefer to think somehow another group would have solved all the issues of the day. If you do not like the policies the PEOPLE of ANn Arbor have sent their representatives to do, you are free to move to a township. Livingston county is always looking for more people


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

The problem is that unless you put that (D) next to your name you can't get your views heard. Look at your own rhetoric in your post.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 2:31 a.m.

" Ann Arbor has had the best economy in the entire midwest through the recession and some of the unemployment as well" Really?

say it plain

Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

Wait, I thought there was freedom of speech too, but I guess only if our speech reflects "the majority" as indicated by the vote count? Or,no, I think maybe it's more about free to agree with you or move lol...

Deb Anderson

Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

Sad to hear this, Sandi has been pro-active in making A2 a better place to live. I have high hopes that her professional endeavors will continue to do good work, lots can be done in the private sector too. Good luck, Sandi! And thank you for all the hard work you've done for others.

say it plain

Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

Ooh, another sign that the Ann Arbor Real Estate Market is truly "warming up" or whatever is calling it...the realtors smell sales! Maybe the next to announce stepping down will be the Realtor-Mayor?!

In Flight

Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

Good... all she did was talk a good game but her actions were right in line with whatever king john wanted.


Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

Thank Goodness another Democrat for City Council has decided not to run. I would like to see a little more DIVERSITY at the city council level. Too Many Democrats, too much spending and "Feel Good Laws". Come on Ann Arbor, you are suppose to be one of the smarter city's in the US but you vote like one that isn't very smart!

Ed Kimball

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Aren't council members supposed to represent their constituents. And don't the vast majority of Ann Arbor voters vote Democratic?

rusty shackelford

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 12:06 p.m.

Assuming you live in the district, you're always welcome to run. You'd probably be unopposed in a GOP primary. Or if you don't live in the district, perhaps minding your own beeswax is in order.

Stuart Brown

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 4:30 a.m.

xmo, Agreed! When you look at how out of touch the city government is with the needs of the residents, at some point you have to blame it on the lack of sophistication of the voters. Part of the problem is that party affiliation matters to the voters but does not make much difference on actual policy decisions in practice. Parties are impotent; the Ann Arbor Democratic Party routinely passes resolutions voted by party activists that are ignored by Democratic Party elected officials.


Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Good to hear that Sumi, a Sri Lankan immigrant, is running. A2 needs minority representation on City Council. Chuck Warpehoski. the longtime Interfaith Council on Peace and Justice director, is another fine candidate.

Stuart Brown

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

Roadman, Either one of the Haber's would be a good choice. Perhaps Alan could get the Ann Arbor Library to build a new downtown branch on top of the big dig (preventing the land from being turned over to a developer for a song.) Alan has been very active in preserving the Library lot as public space.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

erratum to my previous... i of course meant 'withOUT the help...etc"


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

a few observations re. roadmans 'social consciences of annarbor" reference: 1---ummm, anyone over the age of consent probably can do "conscience' on their own with the help of those individuals. I sure can anyway! 2..such gushing usually requires a plumber. 3- re #2 ,in the immortal words of dorothy parker "constant weader fwoed up".


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

"sour grapes" stuart? hardly , as the characters 'demistify ' sardonically mentioned were crushed ( like sour grapes actually!!) the last , and presumably only, time they had the chutzpah to run for anything beyond their small cult. And that crushing was sweet, not sour ...i assure you.. warpehoski has run afoul of them too, so would hardly be on their particular agenda.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 5:44 a.m.

@demistify: I would actually prefer Alan and Odile Haber, the social consciences of Ann Arbor. But they are not running.

Stuart Brown

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 4:18 a.m.

demistify, Sounds like sour grapes to me.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

Why settle for second best, Roadman? Go all the way with Henry Herskovitz and Blaine Coleman. I am sure that is what you really want.

Karen Sidney

Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

Sumi pulled petitions today. Her financial expertise will be a great asset to council.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

Karen, why don't you run so we can have two CPAs on City Council.

Stuart Brown

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 4:33 a.m.

Karen, Will Sumi push to get rid of the over 50 buckets the city uses to hid money and plead poverty when they are flush with cash?

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

Thanks for the heads up. She hadn't yet pulled them when I talked to her earlier.


Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

Another one bits the dust..amen.......pretty soon only the emperor will be left to hold his mirror.....

Alan Goldsmith

Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

"I'm happy to work with whoever the voters send to City Council," he said. "I think I'm interested in the same things hopefully most people who run for council would be." No you aren't Mr. Mayor. You detest opposing voices and are afraid of them. Don't pretend otherwise. Your appointments to Boards and Commissions prove that--you never reappoint anyone who disagrees with you. You can work with anyone as long as the deck is stacked.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 10:14 a.m.

Roadman, you really need to take a walk in the 4th Ward and talk to the first two or three people you meet. Ask them about Ms. Teall and their thoughts on the last two years. It's no secret the hit job this 'media outlet' did on candidates running against the Mayor and his buddies. But 2012 is not 2010 and people are fed up with Ms. Teall and I think we all will be pleasantly surprised in August.

Stuart Brown

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 4:41 a.m.

Jack was the victim of a smear campaign complements of Laural Champion did not like the talk of dumping Ann Arbor Spark since she sits on the board.


Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

Alan, a candidate needs to be recruited to run against Teall in the Fourth Ward. Jack Eaton has declared, but what did he do in 2010? Got beat by an over 2-1 margin.


Mon, Apr 23, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

One by one, the minions fade away. Soon it will be time for the Grand Imperial Poobah to fade away as well.