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Posted on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Jane Lumm gets support from unruly crowd at candidate debate against Stephen Rapundalo

By Ryan J. Stanton


Ann Arbor City Council candidates Stephen Rapundalo and Jane Lumm faced off in a neighborhood candidate forum Wednesday night at Thurston Elementary School.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The gloves came off in the first round Wednesday night as Stephen Rapundalo and Jane Lumm traded blows in a neighborhood candidate forum at Thurston Elementary School.

Lumm, who is challenging the Democratic incumbent for his 2nd Ward seat on the Ann Arbor City Council on Nov. 8, used her opening statements to call Rapundalo a liar and told the nearly 60 residents in attendance they deserve better representation.

"You also deserve the truth from us and, unfortunately, Stephen's strategy appears to be to toss a bunch of false claims and nasty accusations on the wall in the hopes that something might stick," Lumm said, defending herself against claims that she opposed recycling and human services as a Republican on council in the 1990s.

"I seriously doubt the Sierra Club would be endorsing me if I were anti-recycling and anti-environment," she said. "And I doubt that former city human services director Eileen Ryan would be saying the positive things she's saying about me if I were anti-human services."


Rapundalo continued to blame the council of the '90s that Lumm served on for approving expensive labor contracts that he says have cost the city.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Rapundalo didn't respond to those specific remarks from Lumm. Instead, he stuck to script in his opening statements and talked about his accomplishments on council, drawing distinctions between him and Lumm.

"For me, this election is really all about who can best lead Ann Arbor forward," he said. "The city is facing some real economic challenges, but unlike many other communities in the state, our finances and outlook are actually in good order."

Lumm, who is running as an Independent, had the help of an unruly crowd Wednesday night. On several occasions, residents mocked Rapundalo, scoffed at his statements and accused him of twisting the facts.

"Stop lying," local attorney Tom Wieder, a supporter of Lumm's campaign and former vice chairman of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party, called out from his seat at one point.

After a few exchanges between the attorney and Rapundalo, Wieder had to be hushed by Lumm, who later expressed regret about the incident.

Wieder's comments came after Rapundalo suggested expensive labor contracts approved by council in the '90s came at a time when there were more Republicans than Democrats calling the shots. Rapundalo clarified he meant at a committee level.

"I don't know where to start," Lumm responded, noting there were only two or three Republicans on council. "There was never any Republican majority on any committee, on any board, and we had lots of them. So I was never part of any majority ever."

In response to Lumm's claim there was never a Republican majority on any committee, Rapundalo's campaign provided minutes from a Nov. 18, 1996, council meeting. The minutes show three Republicans, including Lumm, and two Democrats were appointed to the five-member labor negotiating committee that worked on contracts that were eventually approved by Lumm and fellow council members several months later. Rapundalo argues they included overly generous pensions and health benefits that required no employee contributions.

Wednesday's forum was hosted by the Orchard Hills-Maplewood Homeowners Association, which Rapundalo used to lead. Both candidates took turns fielding questions from the audience, the first of which touched on the 18-hole Huron Hills Golf Course.

The city entertained and ultimately rejected a proposal from Pittsfield Township-based Miles of Golf last year to privatize management of the city-owned course. It involved building a new golf center and driving range on the property, while converting Huron Hills to a 9-hole course.

The proposal had caused concerns among residents who feared the city might be jeopardizing valuable natural areas while putting the city at financial risk.

"I've been a solid supporter for keeping Huron Hills as a golf course," said Rapundalo, who sat on the committee that considered the proposal to privatize it. Rapundalo noted he never supported or would have even contemplated selling Huron Hills.

"Certainly, as chair of the Golf Advisory Task Force, I've worked very hard with others to see that we could improve the golf operations," he said. "And in fact, over the last three years, that has happened. Revenues have increased not only at Huron Hills, but at Leslie."


Lumm, who is running as an Independent in the Nov. 8 election, had the help of an unruly crowd Wednesday night as she slugged it out with Rapundalo.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Lumm said she's been heavily involved in trying to save Huron Hills over the last six years. She was one of many residents who spoke before council asking that the city not issue the request for proposals that led to the Miles of Golf plan to develop part of the property.

"I got no response from any of the council members to the appeals that were made, not just by myself, but many people," she said, adding it's her opinion the city was trying to skirt a city charter provision that requires voter approval for the sale of city park land.

"This all occurred under Stephen's watch," Lumm said. "We got a land appraisal on the property a number of years ago. We don't do that for our parks. There's just so much evidence that this was under consideration and, if you really believe in protecting city parks, you don't turn a blind eye to these things. I certainly would not have done that."

Lumm said she's asking for support for her campaign in order to refocus city spending on basic services and reconnect city government with residents.

"In financially challenging times, the city simply can't afford everything," she said. "It's about choices and priorities. And while many of us believe the city should be targeting our tax dollars on getting basic services right — police, fire, parks, streets and infrastructure, and maybe even picking up the leaves — we don't see that happening."

Instead, Lumm said, residents see a city government that builds new city hall additions and diverts precious capital dollars to public art, while spending time on pedestrian safety and idling ordinances rather than on more pressing problems.

Rapundalo contended the council has focused diligently on priorities for the budget, including basic services and long-term infrastructure improvements.

"Now it hasn't been easy," he said. "But we've managed it, I think, pretty well. And so Ann Arbor enjoys a very good fund balance, top bond ratings, clean audits and many quality of life accolades. And I, for one, haven't adopted a hunkered-down mentality."

Rapundalo defended the Percent For Art Program, which sets aside 1 percent of the money spent on capital projects for public art. Lumm called it a misplaced priority.

"I know people who support this talk about the economic benefits. I don't doubt that," Lumm said. "It's about the funding mechanism, the funding source. We have lots of public art in the city of Ann Arbor. It's all been donated. I think we should look at those opportunities."


Local attorney Tom Wieder, a supporter of Lumm, expressed disgust after remarks from Rapundalo about labor contracts approved when Lumm was on council in the '90s.

Ryan J. Stanton |

More than $2.2 million from the city has been dedicated to public art over the last four years. Rapundalo argued public art is an important economic development tool.

"I work in the high-tech industry and people want to be in communities that are vibrant, that offer much in the way of cultural arts and so forth," he said. "And to retain that kind of talent in this day in age, for this kind of community, it's important that we make that kind of investment, and it's actually rather inexpensive to do so with the public art program."

Rapundalo also emphasized his strong support for the Fuller Road Station project, a $121 million vision for a new transit center in front of the University of Michigan medical campus. He sounded confident state and federal funds will help cover those bills.

"What's you've described, Stephen, sounds utopic, and I'm convinced that it is," Lumm said, drawing a laugh from members of the audience.

"Today I think we are, in large part, bearing an expense that comes with way too many unanswered questions," she said. "I have yet to see a business plan."

In response to a question about the controversial City Place apartments saga, both candidates expressed regret that an alternate project known as Heritage Row, which Rapundalo and a majority of council supported, won't be going forward.

The fact that seven century-old homes are likely to be torn down to make way for student apartments in a near-downtown neighborhood is a terrible outcome, said Lumm, who said she wished council had been more diligent in working on a solution over the past year.

The candidates took different stances on the city's proposed sidewalk repair millage that's on the Nov. 8 ballot. Rapundalo said he supports the tax, which amounts to less than a $15-a-year increase for the average homeowner, but Lumm said she's opposed to it.


Nearly 60 residents attended the debate, including multiple candidates who tried running for council last year and lost to the incumbents.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The extra $563,000 a year generated by the millage, Rapundalo argued, is needed to shift the burden of sidewalk repairs away from individual property owners and back to the city. Currently, residents and businesses are required to fix crumbling sidewalks in front of their properties, often at a cost of about $125 for every 5-foot-by-5-foot slab.

Rapundalo used his closing remarks to point out what he believes to be a fundamental difference between him and his opponent. He characterized Lumm as a naysayer and said she takes the approach of not thinking about the city's future.

Lumm took exception with a statement Rapundalo made about investing in public safety. She said Rapundalo talks a good game, but for the last six years he's done anything but prioritize public safety as the council has eliminated dozens of jobs in police and fire.

She said she's been talking to experts in the community, including people who have served in senior levels in the Ann Arbor Police Department, and they're very concerned.

"And if they are concerned, well, so am I," she said.

Lumm hasn't had a job since she left council in 1998, but she's been involved on a number of nonprofit boards and foundations, including the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee before stepping down in August. A native of Pennsylvania, she holds an English degree from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Rapundalo, whose background is in pharmaceutical research and development, is president and CEO of Ann Arbor-based MichBio, the state's life sciences association. A native of Canada, he holds a Ph.D. in physiology from Virginia Commonwealth University and completed his postdoctorate in pharmacology and cell biophysics at the University of Cincinnati.

"There's important work still to be done to ensure Ann Arbor remains the economic beacon for Michigan," said Rapundalo, describing himself as a recognized high-tech industry leader who understands the community and brings strong analytical skills to the table.

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



Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

It would be great to see Steve R. voted out, if only to shake things up. Once again, as long as Lumm doesn't formally identify herself as a Republican, I'd vote for her,l if I were a Ward 2 voter.

Nancy Shiffler

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

The first phase of the Fuller Road Station plan is for a 6-story parking garage to be used and paid for primarily (78%) by the University as commuter parking for its employees. The city's 22% would provide the same number of parking spaces currently in the surface lot which it shares with the University (UM uses it during weekdays, and the city uses it as overflow parking for Fuller Park on weekends and evenings). It is not yet clear how the city would pay for its 22%, although the mayor suggested we could get a loan from the University and pay it back by leasing the city parking spots to the University. The funding for construction of the possible train station is also unclear, although it is presumed federal grants would be involved. The city proposes to use the University contribution to the cost of the parking garage as the local matching funds for such a grant. So, how does a 1000-car parking garage for University employees encourage them to take a train into work rather than driving? Good question. This project repurposes land originally purchased as parkland to a different use (the existing surface lot was initially described as "temporary.") Does the city council have the power to repurpose any parkland to some other use without a vote of the citizens? What about parkland purchased with the parkland acquisition millage? This is the question the city has been dodging, and why this is a fundamental environmental issue for the city.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 10:14 a.m.

"Nearly 60 residents attended the debate, including multiple candidates who tried running for council last year and lost to the incumbents." WHO wrote all of the photo captions?

Stuart Brown

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 6 a.m.

The headline reads, "WITH POLL: Jane Lumm gets support from unruly crowd at candidate debate against Stephen Rapundalo". Let me translate, "Quick, raise the bridge, the barbarians are at the gates; it's mob rule! Jane Lumm = Mob Rule---BAD; Steven Rapundalo, bumbling Hieftje stooge---GOOD!" Nobody should be surprised by the egregious, blatant partisanship of since this organization has been carrying Hieftje's water for some time now. Ryan, did you get a degree in Journalism or Public Relations? I can't tell.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:02 a.m.

Bye, bye Stephen.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 2:41 a.m.

@Tom.... I'm pretty sure a2grateful's Top Ten were all tongue in cheek, and pointing out all the reasons NOT to vote for Rapundalo. I wish I had that much wit at 7:50 am, and wholeheartedly support JANE LUMM for an INDEPENDENT voice on Council.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 1:38 a.m.

"A native of Canada" oh man.... I'm Canadian.... I like Canadians.

Thomas J Schriber

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 12:48 a.m.

As an interested and concerned 2nd ward voter, here are several reactions, provided in good faith, to the a2grateful email of 7:50 AM this morning (October 27th), using the same numbers as a2gratful used, and assuming fully that a2grateful is also of good faith: 1. "He's smarter than his constituents, understanding issues thar voters simply cannot comprehend." Whew! What a putdown for us 2nd ward voters. This is not a way to win friends and influence people, or garner votes. Steve would probably reject this allegation out of hand. 2. "He listens to every constituent..." Not true. When the fracas was in process re: the fate of Huron Hills, a 2nd ward constituent sent Steve several emails inviting/pleading with Steve to attend a get-together of concerned 2nd ward constituents to get his views and supporting reasoning first hand. Steve stiffed the constituent, never responding to any of her emails. 3. "He is John Hieftje's right-hand man." I'm not sure it's a plus to be a person's right-hand man. Our mayor would probably blanch at this allegation. It suggests that Steve is a "yes man," a person who tends to go along with our mayor's thinking. I would like to think that this isn't something that Steve tends to do, irrespective of the issue at hand. 4. "Unbiased service. He is very clear in serving UM first." Gee whiz. Serving UM first is unbiased? Has a2grateful shot him/herself in the foot here? 5. "Vision" The claim is one thing. Supporting evidence is another. Where is the supporting evidence, please? 6. "Confidence" There is an old saying, "often in error, never in doubt." Sorry a2grateful, but "confidence" doesn't mean that "we don't need to worry about anything." Confidence, if and when sometimes possibly verging on arrogance, can be offputting, to say the least. 7. " lousy his opponent is..."??? IMHO, mudslinging has no place in political election

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.

You, apparently, do not understand sarcasm? Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

I was there last night and while there was some odd snorting, it was, for the most part, a quiet event. Most people listened quietly and it was a very informative evening. I think this whole "outburst" thing has been blown out of proportion. People who were not there should probably stop commenting on the behavior and motivation of people who were there. I have always been distressed by Stephen Rapundalo's support for turning over public land (HH) to a private organization and allowing that organization to make money at the public's expense. Last night he mentioned he had always supported HH's use for golf, but he didn't mention that the golf he had in mind would be for someone else's profit. Jane Lumm came across as a serious, rational decision maker, and someone who opposes the sort of cronyism that hangs like a nasty miasma over council decision making these days.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

Amen! I missed the outburst, but prior to that, everyone was quiet and attentive.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

Rapundalo's biggest problem, in my view, is that he not a very good "politician". He is, however, a good person to have on City Council. He is a guy who puts in the time, makes sure he understands the issues, and does what he thinks is best, and often simply does not understand why others, who may disagree with some of his positions, act with such hostility. The event last evening was SUPPOSED to be an opportunity for local people to hear and get to know and compare the candidates. Ms. Lumm turned it into something completely different, by effectively packing the room with people who were not even from the Second Ward, let alone the neighborhood for whom the event was scheduled. I think it unlikely that many folks will be able to see the substance of Mr. Rapundalo over the well oiled machine of Ms. Lumm, but the neighborhood, the Ward, and the city would be better served by keeping Rapundalo. He has had to deal with a number of very personal attacks recently, and I believe he has, at times, reacted by "going negative" when he should not have done so. He has been hurt by these attacks, and, while I do not think he knows how best to deal with them, he knows how hard he works at this job. I think we should keep him on council, not because he is the best politician or the most "savvy" campaigner, but because he will do the best job.

Kai Petainen

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

I believe the Mayor is also a part of the Sierra Club, and I think he won an award from there as well. With all the bashing of the Sierra Club, I tend to believe that they are a good club, with good intentions. Being involved with the Sierra Club, (I think) is a good thing for the mayor and Lumm.

Kai Petainen

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.


so much nonsense

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.

The Sierra Club endorsed Patricia Lesko over Hieftje. Figure that one out.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

The funny thing was that most of the debate attendees in the audience were not Second Ward residents. These include Tom Wieder, Jack Eaton and others. While I am hoping for a Lumm victory, do not undestimate the "favors" that Rapundalo and the Council Party have bestowed on Second Warders that will be repaid in the form of votes on Election Day. Marcia Higgins was reviled as a candidate in 2009 but won by 25% in the general election. She isa n anchor of the Council Party.

Jack Eaton

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

I disagree with your statement that most of those in attendance were not Ward 2 residents. Only a handful of attendees were from outside the ward. Additionally, I would note that Tom Weider, while not currently a second ward resident, is part of the Lumm campaign. I attended because I support Jane Lumm and her priorities. A second reason I attended was that events such as this provide information that you do not hear elsewhere. For example, last night Mr. Rapundalo announced that he would like to see a corporation build its headquarters on the space over the underground parking lot next to the library. I find that interesting. While Council members represent only one ward, their decisions affect the entire town. I don't see anything unusual about politically active citizens taking an interest in council races outside their own ward. This is especially true this year when one Council member is unopposed and three are running against tea party candidates. In my opinion, the Second Ward is the only contest with an actual choice.

so much nonsense

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

@ James D'Amour The issue of repurposing land is a political issue not an environmental issue. For the Sierra club to take a stand on that is just plain wrong because it has no bearing on any environmental cause. The city has every right to repurpose a public owned piece of land that happens to be a leased parking lot and repurpose it for some other public purpose such as the train station. If some of the final product will be leased out, then so be it, that is actually no different than what is happening now. I am all for it as is most of the city. There is no environmental issue with Fuller Station, that is why it is a political issue. This is a piece of land that the Sierra Club thought was so inconsequential 15 years ago that they allowed, wanted and pushed for the grass to be paved over so that they could save some trees by the VA school. Now you expect us to believe that building a train station with parking on this same paved area will be detrimental to the environment? Mass transit does more to help the environment, than any strip of grass ever could. The Sierra Club should stay out of local politics especially when it conflicts with their own vision and mission.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

As so should Hieftje and Rapundalo as it is their own personal vision. Let the voters decide.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

re. The Sierra Club's endorsement of Ms. Lumm: Years ago when the city was considering buying the Ann Arbor Railroad's right-of-way through downtown A2 and turning it into a parkland/bikeway, the local Sierra Club was in favor of that program. When attending the art fair that summer, the person manning its booth asked me to sign a petition urging the city's purchase of the property. I asked them if they understood the environmental consequences of that action. What did I mean, they asked. I told them that purchasing that property would put an end to the near-daily train that moves up and down the tracks with nearly two dozen cars. Each of the covered hoppers, I told them, carried the same amount of material as 3 18-wheel trucks. If that train no longer ran, it would be replaced by 72 18-wheel trucks whose carbon footprint would be much larger than the train's and whose energy usage would be much higher. They didn't know that, they told me. No kidding. Yes, the local Sierra Club is a joke. Its endorsement ought be less than meaningless. Good Night and Good Luck

Kai Petainen

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

Ryan did an amazing job covering this. This sort of stuff is not easy to write about. Stay engaged Ann Arbor, stay engaged.

James D'Amour

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

@Patricia... A "joke"? Well, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. I'm speaking only for myself here, but having been at the center of the endorsement process, it was a substantial effort by many people. @so much nonsense: You're talking about dozens of people with these so-called "private political agendas" that were involved here. Mine was just trying to get the endorsement process done because enough people on the committees wanted to take a look at it. About Fuller Road Station, again speaking for myself, but seeing what the Sierra Club, Huron Valley Group wants, we're supportive of the concept of rail transit and always have been. The issue is repurposing land without a public vote, for however noble a cause. I say to those supportive of the proposal, as I have said before at other forums, if something is so worthwhile that it's repurposing parkland (let's even take your arguments the land is low quality for now and that the elements of rail transit are shovel ready and truly in the making without question), put it up to a vote by Ann Arbor voters. But that's getting off-topic here. Wasn't at this forum last night, and I have only to conclude passions amongst some at any rate are running high on this race. However, the question in the end is not whether or not candidate A or candidate B is a nice person or not? The question is, in spite of past actions pro-or-con on issues of concern to us by both major candidates, where it counts right now and looking forward in city trends on parks and environmental issues, who was the best choice amongst these worthy candidates? In this question, we chose Lumm.

Patricia Lesko

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

Hey James, I was speaking rhetorically.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

@ so much nonsense "Rapundalo is the independent voice. You may not like all his decisions, but at least you know that they are his decisions" That's the problem right there. "Rapundalo an Independent"? The R, who became a D to get elected, who votes in lock-step with Heiftje for evey vote. The super-majority who get their voice heard, not the voice of the majority of the citizens of Ann Arbor. He is clearly NO Independent. And regarding "his decisions", I thought council members were supposed to listen to their consitituents, and vote according to their wishes. Not Steve Rapundalo's, or John Heiftje's, or UM's, or MichBio's? His arrogance and his "I know better than you" attitude, in no way represents the citizens of Ward 2.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.

Man, sounds like a city of Detroit School Board or Counsel meeting. Grow up people and stop with the rude behavior! You can have your coffee clatches after and discuss the irregularities in the responses from the candidates.

Tom Wieder

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

I want to apologize to Jane Lumm for any embarrassment that my brief "shout out" to Rapundalo last night may have caused her. I extend that to anyone from the sponsoring neighborhood organization, or any audience member who was troubled by it. Blame me, not Jane. I do not extend it to Rapundalo, however. I am a life-long, active Democrat who is working against a Democrat in a general election for the first time in my life. I'm doing this because Rapundalo, a Republican who "converted" to a Democrat for electoral convenience, is such a disgrace. Using perfect 15-year hindsight, he constantly blames Jane for every "bad" thing he claims took place while she was on Council, a time when the Democrats, "our" party, had either 7 or 8 of the 11 Council votes. Last night, he went so far as stating that Jane was in "the majority" when certain labor contracts were approved. Later, when challenged by Jane, he said she was in a majority on a Council committee. Council committees don't make any binding decisions on labor contracts. So, good or bad, whatever happened at that time was primarily a Democratic responsibility. Unfortunately, the format of the debate made it impossible for audience members to directly raise such issues with the candidates. Questions had to be submitted in writing, and the moderator would edited and rephrased the questions before asking them. As for the comment above that this was similar to the Congressman shouting "You lie!" to President Obama during the State of the Union Address - give me a break. This was a public campaign event, not an elected official performing a Constitutionally-mandated duty. A little "unruliness" is part of our political campaigns.

Stuart Brown

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 6:25 a.m.

If anybody has been paying attention to politics in Ann Arbor, it is apparent that partisan politics is meaningless to the elected politicians but meaningful to the voters. This makes for a highly dysfunctional situation in an important context. The real partisan divide is the MONEY Party versus everyone else. I understand Tom's frustration, the Ann Arbor Democratic Party passes resolutions that are routinely ignored by elected Democratic officers. Furthermore, why is it not REQUIRED to take strong action to confront a politician who is lying? In a court, lying under oath is a crime, but a lying politician deserves a civil response? Sitting there and letting a politician lie is a classic case of the Stockholm Syndrome.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 7:07 p.m.

Honestly, if we didn't have to leave early, I would have been the one yelling. I understand your frustration, Tom.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.

If it was an informational session then Tom was allowed to say that Stepehen lied. Is it respectful to the audience for a person to keep lying and lying? I think not.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4 p.m.

"This was a public campaign event" No, it was not, though you behaved as if it were. It was an information session for Ward 2 voters (which you are not) to provide both candidates equally an opportunity to explain their positions before a respectful audience.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

Very odd indeed, I thought all that type of behavior was Republican partisan stuff, not highbrow Democrat stuff.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

I get your point, Tom, but actually, every time Obama speaks it IS a campaign event.

Michigan Man

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

I was not at the meeting and have no interest, whatsoever, in who wins and who makes a fool of themselves - here is my question though - why all the hate in Ann Arbor politics? Where is the civility, poise and polish in this crowd? This above comments convey a meeting filled with acrimony, rude behavior toward your fellow citizens and lots of juvenile thinking. It would be good if you and your colleagues were more cognizant of your elite status in Ann Arbor and tried to conduct yourself in a more professional manner.

so much nonsense

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

@Patricia Lesko The local group is going to have a say over what LOCAL candidate is endorsed, some of out local SC people sit on the executive board. They have influence so even if you say the endorsement is made at the state level, it is not really in my eyes. That has been proven in some past elections here in Ann Arbor where the candidate who was not endorsed was clearly the one who had more of an environmental background. The questionnaires is meaningless when members of the endorsement committee hate one of the candidates. I wonder if the State Sierra Club realizes how many members they have lost due to the private political agenda of out local group?

James D'Amour

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

Very little, if any, due to any decisions we had made in this arena...our numbers have reflected national trends. As far as a "private political agenda", more on that in another post..

Patricia Lesko

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:06 p.m.

The local Sierra Club may be a joke, and it's clear the group is at odds with several of the capital projects CM Rapundalo has supported and currently supports. However, it is wholly inaccurate to say the local chapter chooses who gets the endorsement. The Sierra Club officials on the state level do that based on the answers to the group's questionnaire which is sent to ALL of the candidates in a particular race. There are other local environmental activists and groups that do, indeed, give away endorsements without going through the thorough process the Sierra Club does of asking all candidates to respond to the same set of questions. For a more thorough explanation of how the endorsement process works in this case, you might like to read: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Patricia Lesko

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2 p.m.

For a different perspective of the event: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Stephen Landes

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

Thank you for the link to A2politico -- the summary of the meeting seems more thorough and even handed than the piece.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3 p.m.

Another good wrap-up - and nice to get a different perspective.

so much nonsense

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

Lumm said &quot;I seriously doubt the Sierra Club would be endorsing me if I were anti-recycling and anti-environment,&quot; The local Sierra club is a joke. Their endorsement goes to anyone who is anti-train station. Any environmental group that prefers to keep a paved section of a park, being used as a parking lot in exchange for a mass transit center is not an environmental group that should be encouraged or supported. The national chapter of the sierra club supports mass transit, but not our local group here in Ann Arbor. Our local group is run by individual's with private political agendas who use their power inappropriately so that it actually contradicts the mission of the National group. Their charter should be taken away. The Ann Arbor Chapter has been strongly against putting a train station on a piece of paved land that happens to sit in a park. A piece of paved land that is currently a parking lot that is leased by the University of Michigan. A parking lot that was established due to a trade that the sierra club and the City of Ann Arbor made with the UM 15 years ago in order to save two trees near the VA hospital. So this piece of property that was so inconsequential 15 years ago is now this wonderful park that we need to save while disrupting the local and statewide plans for the train station. This is purely political and has nothing to do with the environment or the mission of the real Sierra club. Any endorsement made by our local Sierra Club has nothing to do with how environmentally conscious someone is.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 10:57 p.m.

Stephen - yet just yesterday the Governor was talking up the idea of commuter rail between Ann Arbor and Detroit. It's a much better place to build a parking deck if you're expecting heavy use of rail in the future. It looks like you're thinking of it as commuter parking, in which case you're right, but as gas prices head over $5 per gallon, and we get faster rail service to Detroit, Metro Airport, and Chicago, taking the train to those places is going to look more attractive, and 900 spaces is only a few trains worth of parking capacity. I disagree with &quot;the local Sierra club is a joke&quot;, however, I do not understand their position on this multi-modal transit station. This seems like one of the best possible moves we can make WRT greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. As peak oil really makes people's lives difficult, this station and the other transit stations are going to be a tremendous advantage. The one criticism I've heard that makes sense to me is that the charter says repurposing park land is forbidden - so sue. If there really is a legal problem with the location, a judge will agree. The Sierra Club has plenty of lawyers available to it.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

to So Much Nonsense I think you are confusing the WALLY system for which some track is being laid and some equipment has been purchased with AMTRAK. There is no prospect for the WALLY line to arrive at the park/parking garage. It is destined to end somewhere on the AARR line along Plymouth Road. The AMTRAK station MAY move to the site of the park, but I don't think that is guaranteed. What IS guaranteed is that the area where the parking garage may be built is city park land and may not be put to another purpose without a vote of the citizens of Ann Arbor. By the way, I cannot think of a worse place to build a 900+ space parking garage than along two roads with limited capacity and no clear access to expressways. Much of the discussion of intra-city mass transit has been to reduce the numbers of cars coming into town. We can accomplish that by building parking areas outside of town and using transit tools to bring people into town quickly and efficiently. Asking for nearly a 1000 cars to negotiate Maiden Lane, Depot, or Geddes/Fuller is asking for much more traffic congestion than we have there currently.

so much nonsense

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.

It is a train station with a parking garage attached. Have you not seen all the federal funding that has been obligated to get everything in place for this. Tracks are being built and upgraded, rail cars were purchased by the state etc. How can you say that there is no plan for a train station when there is and always has been.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

Your acting like the city is putting a train station on that parcel. The city is actually building a multi-tiered parking garage. I am suggesting you should change train station to parking garage in your opinion

Patricia Lesko

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

The local Sierra Club doesn't choose who gets the endorsement. The Sierra Club officials on the state level do that based on the answers to the group's questionnaire. For a more thorough explanation of how the process works, you might like to read: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

I was very disappointed with the &quot;so-called&quot; debate last night. Both Rapundalo and Lumm gave long winded responses to questions that simply put people to sleep or lost their interest. Lumm supporters, especially Weider were rude. While I know that I cannot support Rapundalo, Lumm just doesn't cut it for me.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:11 p.m.

Yes. I was at the same debate if you attended on Wednesday night October 26, 2011 at Thurston Elementary School. It was a terrible waste of my time to see two very uninteresting political candidates glib on about their leadership. If Lumm was such an effective local pol, why hasn't she advanced i in local and regional politics? Rapundalo, is a prime example of what is wrong when local politicians have secondary agendas.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

Were you at the same debate I was? The issues under debate are complicated. You might call some of the answers long-winded; I would call them sufficiently long to educate me on the issue and how it was handled (or mishandled). I am not aware of any Lumm supporters, save one, even being heard, better yet being rude. And the so-called &quot;rude&quot; one submitted an apology in this comment section. I agree with his own assessment; his one sentence shout may have been inappropriate, but not what I would call rude.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.

I'd like to know whether Jane Lumm would participate in the frivolous resolutions (Iraq, Arizona, etc) in which City Council likes to engage. These have nothing to do with their jobs, but still they arrogantly take advantage their seat to supposedly speak on behalf of the rest of us.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

Jane Lumm is endorsed by the faction in City Council that is most enthusiastic in promoting that nonsense.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

I just love the way the Ann Arbor Voters continue to &quot;bury their head in the sand&quot; and vote for &quot;One Party Rule&quot; while trying to act like they are open minded! Remember Comrade to VOTE on November 8th. See your block Czar to find out how to vote!

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.


Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:13 p.m.

Please, citizens of Ward 2, show us that the Ann Abrorites don't always have to vote for somebody just because they have a &quot;D&quot; next to their name. Do your part to start us on the road to a new, sane era of government in Ann Arbor.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

This is a case where members of Council belonging to one faction, elected as Democrats, have recruited someone to run againgst another member of Council, also elected as a Democrat. You are dragging in a red herring.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

So great to see so many concerned citizens there last night! It was an eye-opening evening. As a life-long democrat, my vote will be going to Jane Lumm. I found Rapundalo's responses vague at times and his arrogance was over the top. Mainly, though, I have concerns about &quot;moving Ann Arbor forward&quot; when there are so many crucial infrastructure issues we need to deal with right now. Lumm is on the right track as far as I am concerned. I must say, she is quite long-winded, but her points were extremely good, her research and knowledge top-notch and her thoughts on what we need to be concentrating on match mine. I found it interesting that Rapundalo repeatedly mentioned the things the current council has had to correct due to previous councils over the &quot;past 2 years&quot; when he's been on the council for 6. If so much damage had been done, why weren't you working to make things right for the past 6 not just the past 2? Did it really take you that long to figure out there were problems or do just need someone else to blame at this point? Finally, found it amusing and unsettling at the same time that the rep/moderator from Orchard Hills-Maplewood Homeowners Association stood at the front nodding in agreement to everything Rapundalo had to say.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:59 p.m.

What an inflammatory, untruthful headline! I was at the debate the entire time. There's no way anyone could characterize the group there as &quot;unruly.&quot; During an almost two-hour gathering there was one, one-sentence verbal outburst. Nothing more rowdy than that. A totally misleading headline.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

&quot;The extra $563,000 a year generated by the millage, Rapundalo argued, is needed to shift the burden of sidewalk repairs away from individual property owners and back to the city.&quot; No thank you, most of us homeowners have already repaired our sidewalks, at a very high cost. Our neighborhood was lucky enough to have one homeowner coordinate bids, and get a lower rate for everyone on the street. Best of luck, Jane!


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

Gyre: Good point, I agree they will need repair again, someday. The large, beautiful ash trees are now gone, and that caused many of our slabs to need repair. It will be a many years before repairs are necessary due to overgrown roots. We also had two homes at the time (one for sale) that needed sidewalk repairs, so we did pay a lot. IMHO, when the current buckets are drained, the city can talk to residents about another sidewalk millage at that time.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

In several years your sidewalks will need repair again. Would you rather pay our of your pocket then or pay a little every year to cover this cost? Hopefully you don't live on a corner lot. These homeowners have 2 sets of sidewalks to repair, despite the fact they are a public asset and owned by the city. Where the equality in that scenario?

so much nonsense

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

What you see is what you get. Lumm showed no leadership at this forum. She allowed her supporters to act disgracefully and disrespectfully. Any kind of real leader would have stopped it immediately. If she is elected, this is exactly what you will get, bickering , accusing and insulting behavior at every meeting whenever there is a difference of opinion. She will kowtow to this malicious vocal minority that thinks they can hold our process hostage until everyone gives in to their demands. What about everyone else's right to make up their own mind? What about our right to listen and ask questions in a forum that is not hostile or manipulated by this minority group. Tom Weider and the rest of his self-righteous group need to go away. Rapundalo is the independent voice. You may not like all his decisions, but at least you know that they are his decisions and not Tom Weider's or his hostile group's.

sojourner truth

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 2:47 a.m.

Her supporters were ONE person who behaved badly. She is not responsible for her supporters. How do we know that she even knew him or wanted him to support her?


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.

Maybe people are sick of Stephen's lies. Stephen lies all the time. Man people sure can come up with conspiracy theories saying the outburst was premeditated. Maybe Stephen's plan was to get them to yell at him so people would think that it was all an act.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

&quot;deb&quot;, I was there and &quot;so much nonsense&quot; is absolutely correct in his description. The fact that the disruption came from outside Ward 2 suggests premeditation.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

were you there? Its kinda hard to know what happened if you were not. A poster below said it was one outburst, so she may have stopped it immediately.

so much nonsense

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

She shushed them well into the event, too late for my taste. These are not just upset citizens, these are her supporters, people on her campaign staff. When a candidate allows their campaign to act that way, that reflects badly on the candidate. This implies that this is the type of candidate you will get if you elect her, abusive, disrespectful, argumentative until you win by bullying into submission. Absolutely disgusting. I want a councilman who takes all of our interest into consideration, not just the loud, hostile people. Lumm would NEVER stand up against Weider and the others. At least with Rapundalo I can get my voice heard. At least I know that he considered all the voices even if his vote doesn't go my way.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

&quot;She allowed her supporters to act disgracefully and disrespectfully.&quot; She ALLOWED them? So they were marionettes, or robots that she programed, or what? I believe in this country individuals are responsible for their own words.

Mike K

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

According the article, she &quot;shushed&quot; Weider.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

@ A2Grateful &quot;Here are ten reasons I would vote for councilman Rapundalo: 1. Intelligence: He's smarter than his constituents, understanding issues that voters simply cannot comprehend.&quot; More accurately, he THINKS he's smarter than his constituents. Which is symptomatic of all city council. Quite frankly, I can't believe you posted that, but I'm sure Jane's campaign appreciates it.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

I see that sarcasm isn't for you.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

@CRB Ghost; Upon re-reading, I think you are correct. In this wonderful city we live in, it is very hard to figure out if people are serious or not. In my wildest dreams, I couldn't imagine a sane person even proposing half the garbage our city council embraces and passes.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:14 p.m.

I think his whole post was sarcastic. If I'm right, it's one of the longest pieces of sarcasm I've seen in some time, and a pretty good one at that. If it wasn't meant that way, then it's very telling.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : noon

Even though Tom Wieder is not a resident of the City of Ann Arbor, he thinks he has the right to disrupt an important meeting for 2nd Ward voters. His hero must be South Carolina Republican Representative Joe Wilson who yelled out "You lie!" during a speech by President Obama. Jane Lumm should disassociate Wieder from her campaign.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 5:51 p.m.

Well sometimes you have to call a person on their lies and Stephen should not lie all the time.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:50 a.m.

Here are ten reasons I would vote for councilman Rapundalo: 1. Intelligence: He's smarter than his constituents, understanding issues that voters simply cannot comprehend. 2. Listening ability: He listens to every constituent word before discounting their values, ideas, and views. 3. Loyalty: He is John Hieftje's right-hand man. 4. Unbiased service: He is very clear in serving UM first. 5. Vision: He sees what's best for the future of Ann Arbor, and uses of its parkland, library lot, and DDA. 6. Confidence: He knows what's best based on his strong personal belief, so we don't need to worry about anything! 7. Election strategy: He makes sure that everyone knows how lousy his opponent is according to best use of his imagination and intellect. 8. Artistic aesthetic: Sees magical opportunity for art in the midst of decaying public safety, infrastructure, and human services. 9. Civic art promoter: Willing to devote millions of taxpayer dollars to his belief in civic art, even though there is less money for items that ordinary constituents value. 10. Fiduciary responsibility: Recognizes council's ability to place the city deeply in debt, simply because it is legal, and serves council's vision. Votes accordingly. Realizes that many programs that he finds important equate to only pennies on the taxpayer dollar. If only I lived in the 2nd ward!


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

Brad: He is not, he is married.

Mike K

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

That was awesome A2grateful. Thanks for the laugh.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:27 p.m.

This may all be true but he also seems nasty like a pit bull in apparently lowering the tone of the session to the lowest level possible. Someone should win by saying what they are for, not for denigrating an opponent in such a mocking, nasty and angry way. Shameful behavior on his part. Maybe it is time for a change. He makes me ashamed to be a DEmocrat.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:20 p.m.

11. He is &quot;engaged&quot;!


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:28 a.m.

One of the best political debates I've heard, and kudos to Stanton for reporting it in such detail. It's difficult to take six years of complicated decision making by a Council member and show the errors in his thinking and voting all along the way. I certainly came away a strong supporter of Lumm. Rapundalo's votes for development at all costs don't fit the realities of today's economy in Ann Arbor.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 10:59 a.m.

Rapundalo deserves to be turned out on his ear. He's just plain slimey.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 10:53 a.m.

The 90s were good times, for sure, but we can't go back to them. We can't inflate another internet stock bubble, we can't inflate another housing bubble to bring back the good times. Another Pfizer isn't going to just fall into our laps. Gas prices aren't going back to $1.20 a gallon just because we'd like that. Pining for the 90s isn't going to bring them back. The question is who would do a better job of leading the city forward. Rapundalo would seem to be the obvious better choice for that, but it's dangerous to discount nostalgia.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

You know, you should try having someone else read your diatribes; you need to correct more than that. Besides, I also comment on just about every environmental article, pretty much *all* the transportation articles, most of the economic articles, school articles that aren't talking about sports, and just about all of the agriculture articles. Do you think I have the Council wrapped around my finger on those too? Maybe they're just paying attention to what's going on in the world, like I am, and reaching many of the same conclusions?


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

&quot;believe that they&quot;


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:28 p.m.

Honestly I thought you had said that or I saw it another place. Im sorry, that was my fault. Judging from your comments, and the fact that you comment on every car/bike/pedestrian I still believe that hold the same basics views as yourself and you and the wcwb coalition want the same things passed. So I change my statement to; I would feel the same way if I, and the other groups that advocate for the same policies, had the council wrapped around my finger.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

Um deb, I'm not - good point though, I should be. And don't let a minor thing like a fact get in the way of a snide insinuation.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

I would feel the same way if I was part of the wcwb coalition that has the current council wrapped around their finger.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

JFJ - having been involved in local politics in the 90s, and having read the article, my second paragraph is dead on. I worked with Jane Lumm on the Northeast Area Plan and when she was on council, and with Stephen Rapundalo at various times. I'd be happy to support Jane against someone less qualified than Stephen, but Stephen is top-notch.

Murphy's dad

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:49 a.m.

I used to say the exact same thing to Democrats when they were &quot;pining&quot; about all the good times in the 90's under Clinton.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:31 a.m.

KJMClark: you clearly were not at the debate. Given your first paragraph, your second should conclude that Lumm was the &quot;obvious better choice.&quot;

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 10:47 a.m.

And giving credit where credit is due, this article deserves an A+ and the headline writer, a D-.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 10:45 a.m.

&quot;Lumm, who is running as an Independent, had the help of an unruly crowd Wednesday night. On several occasions, residents mocked Rapundalo, scoffed at his statements and accused him of twisting the facts. &quot;Stop lying,&quot; local attorney Tom Wieder, a supporter of Lumm's campaign and former vice chairman of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party, called out from his seat at one point&quot; This is what happens when voters finally get the chance to confront an ineffective, out-of-touch and less-than-honest politician after he's tried dodging public accountability for his votes and actions. It's what Democracy looks like. Unfortunately, I wasn't there but if I had been I would have asked the Councilperson why he hates Unions, why he's insulted and bashed police and fire fighters, why he calls himself a Democrat after his financial support of Rick Snyder's campaign, and why his website is filled with outright distortions and falsehoods about Jane Lumm's record on Council. And if there had been time, I would have asked him to explain any private meetings he had with developers on the Library Parking Lot Conference Center.


Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 2:41 a.m.

Come on! you have to admit Rick Snyder is 100 times better than Jennifer Granholm Where are those 1100 high paying Google jobs she promised??


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

&quot;This is what happens when voters finally get the chance to confront....&quot; Tom Wieder and others in the &quot;unruly crowd&quot; are not voters in the 2nd Ward. They came from other parts of the city to demonstrate, not to listen.