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Posted on Thu, Jul 15, 2010 : 5:13 p.m.

Steve Bean files to run for Ann Arbor mayor in November as independent candidate

By Ryan J. Stanton

(This story has been updated to include comment from the city clerk and William Bostic Jr., who has dropped out of the race.)

Two independent candidates hoping to become Ann Arbor's next mayor filed petitions with the city clerk's office today to appear on the November ballot.

But it appears now only one of them will run.

Today was the filing deadline for nonpartisan candidates. Both Steve Bean and William Bostic Jr. turned in nominating petitions to run for mayor.


Steve Bean, chairman of the city's Environmental Commission, is running for mayor as an independent candidate in November.

Ryan J. Stanton |

City Clerk Jacqueline Beaudry said at 5 p.m. today her office still was checking the petitions. But on a cursory review, she said, there were multiple signers with incomplete, undated, or wrong jurisdiction errors on Bostic's petition sheets, so it was possible that he would not be certified to run.

Beaudry said it also was too late to file any supplements.

Bostic, who graduated from the University of Michigan in May, told at 5:30 p.m. he would be dropping out of the race.

He said it was partly due to the filing snafu and partly because he realized he wasn't experienced enough. He said he recently was accepted to grad school in U-M's master's in urban planning program and decided he couldn't take on both school and politics.

"I feel I need to learn more," he said. "But it's been a great learning experience, I'll say that. And this is not the last you'll hear of me. I can promise you that."

It appears likely that Bean will take on the winner of the Aug. 3 Democratic primary, which features a heated bout between Mayor John Hieftje and challenger Patricia Lesko.

Bean, chairman of the city's Environmental Commission, works for Berg & Associates Inc. of Ann Arbor as a consultant designing database management systems.

He has served on the Environmental Commission since its inception in 2000 and also served nine years on the Energy Commission.

Bean spoke with after filing today. He had been circulating petitions since March and turned in 340 signatures.

"I'm running for mayor because it's the next thing I can do for the community with my experience and my knowledge and my skills," Bean said. "I'd like to bring the work I've done with the Environmental Commission and with different community groups to the mayor's office, and work with council on helping the city move toward sustainability, and beyond that to a regenerative community that improves the environment and improves social equity and improves the economic vitality of our community."

Bean said he's happy to give voters the choice of a viable candidate in November, which is unusual in Ann Arbor, where races typically are decided in the Democratic primary.

Running as an independent, Bean said he'll be thinking in terms of representing all citizens regardless of anyone's party affiliation.

Bean, 46, said he's not yet ready to lay out the details of his platform or discuss specific initiatives. But he promises he'd be a mayor with integrity and says he considers himself a creative thinker.

Asked how he differs from Hieftje, Bean said that's a difficult question to answer. He thinks there are subtle differences in style.

"I'll bring my own flavor if elected," he said, adding that he thinks he would communicate his thoughts with residents better than Hieftje.

Bean also said there are decisions he would have made differently than Hieftje. Bean was one of the people to appear before the City Council and ask the city to postpone constructing the underground parking garage now being built on the Library Lot downtown.

Bean also said he would take a more cautious approach to the Percent for Art Program, a council-approved initiative to take 1 percent of money spent on capital projects and set it aside for public art. Bean thinks the program is possibly illegal since it involves diverting money from dedicated funds, and he would look into putting it up to a vote of the people.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


Aaron Wolf

Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 1:09 p.m.

I support him, he's got my vote! He's intelligent, responsible, and a fresh face. His past political support has been in the same direction I want to see more of. I kind of hope that Lesko gets the primary nomination just because she is unacceptable enough that it would lead more people to vote for Steve Bean!


Sat, Jul 17, 2010 : 9:13 p.m.

Cahill's attitude is just what's wrong with the Democratic party in this town it's so full of DINO's and fringe "Kumbaya" nut-jobs that it's totally dysfunctional. Then you have self appointed kingmakers like Cahill pretending to represent us without benefit of a vote, screwing up the process behind the scenes. I have always voted Democrat, not out of blind loyalty, but because I wanted to vote for the people who best represented my ideals, which are now and always have been with the traditional Democratic values. No more. I will vote for Steve Bean because I have read his writings on various blogs, and he clearly takes time to get a consensus of ideas before coming to a decision, we need more of that, a lot more, and the Mayor and Ms Lesko both are lacking in that department. If he voted for Nader in 2000, so what? Everyone running that year was a joke. By the same token, as a 5th warder, I intend to vote for John Floyd. Having read his thoughts, the Fuller Road land-grab in particular, he seems more like a Democrat than his opponents so for him I will bite the bitter root and vote for a Republican, while my Grandpa is spinning like a lathe in his grave. Cahill, I would remind you that two years ago most people never thought a black man could be President either: No one can see the future, even you. I would hope people in this town are smart enough to vote for the man, not the Party, but then it's always cool to be trendy. In the voting booth you're anonymous, remember that. And for people who pooh-pooh my words because I am anonymous I am nobody, nemo, read the words that's what matters, not me. This thread is almost dead, so I hope both of you wonks reading this take note.

David Cahill

Sat, Jul 17, 2010 : 4:34 p.m.

No independent candidate has won a seat on City Council (including the mayoral seat) within living memory - and perhaps ever. I and others asked Bean to run as a Democrat but he refused because he isn't a Democrat. He was for Nader in 2000.


Sat, Jul 17, 2010 : 9:19 a.m.

I will vote for Bean. I really do not care what his campaign platform is. There is only so much the Mayor can do within the constaints of the City Charter.We can hope for better results and maybe less wasted time on foolish resolutions criticizing Arizonia. Leave the job vacant and save the salary. Let R. Frasier run the council. Can't do any worse than the last 8 years.

Vivienne Armentrout

Fri, Jul 16, 2010 : 7:02 p.m.

I think that Mr. Bean is being wholly appropriate in waiting to roll out an extensive platform until the primary is over. For one thing, he will then know who his opponent will be and what different agendas that might imply. For another, he is being considerate in not taking up "air time" while the primary contest is going on. It will continue to be an interesting election season!

Dr. I. Emsayin

Fri, Jul 16, 2010 : 8:51 a.m.

I understand that after the primary the 9 PM parking meter expansion will be set in place. I'd like to know Mr. Bean's take on the DDA and downtown development.


Fri, Jul 16, 2010 : 8:25 a.m.

Hieftje needs to go! Lesko is not an option! I'm planning on voting for Steve Bean!

Top Cat

Fri, Jul 16, 2010 : 8:23 a.m.

"Bean, 46, said he's not yet ready to lay out the details of his platform or discuss specific initiatives." Why not? What is he waiting for? Sounds like he will be challenging Ms. Lesko for the award of the most comedic performance of a candidate for Mayor.


Fri, Jul 16, 2010 : 8:20 a.m.

Wow. Does this mean that we will have an alternative to the candidate that is chosen by the ruling party? Does this mean that there is a possibility that Ann Arbor may cease to be a single party kleptocracy? Be still, my heart.


Thu, Jul 15, 2010 : 9:50 p.m.

Give us a plan, Steve — give us your detailed plan for our future! Your new deadline is Wednesday, August 4. And you'll be docked 1% of your November vote total for each day late!

David Briegel

Thu, Jul 15, 2010 : 7:28 p.m.

Veracity, Don't worry, the conservative chattering class will literaly crucify him for his desire to "improve social equity". That alone is simply unacceptable to the disciples of Reagan!! You are also correct that "Mr. Smith" will be ill prepared to con his way through the difficulties or "survive the responsibilities". We deserve what we get!


Thu, Jul 15, 2010 : 7:09 p.m.

Hey Steve, where can I get a yard sign?


Thu, Jul 15, 2010 : 5:36 p.m.

Good luck to Steve Bean! It is time we had a choice besides this system of a lopsided Democratic primary with no opposition in November. John Hieftje needs to be replaced. He has accomplished little and appears to keep seeking the mayor's office for lack of something better to do. It was a mistake to change the mayor's pay to an entry level full time salary. We got entry level talent as a result and Hieftje would be happy to stay for the balance of his career. We need a change.

Tom Teague

Thu, Jul 15, 2010 : 5:27 p.m.

Good luck to Mr. Bostic and thanks for giving us the best quote ever from a (now future) politician: "I feel I need to learn more," I wish they all felt that way.