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Posted on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

Berry vs. Warpehoski: 5th Ward candidates for Ann Arbor City Council disagree on role of government

By Ryan J. Stanton


Republican Stuart Berry, speaking, is taking on Democrat Chuck Warpehoski, seated, in the 5th Ward race for the Ann Arbor City Council. They appeared together at a candidate forum hosted by the West Washtenaw Business Association on Wednesday.

Ryan J. Stanton |

When he's out knocking on doors, Stuart Berry says it's hard to get his point across to voters because he's a Republican and many Ann Arborites don't want to hear what he has to say.

"But the ideas in Ann Arbor are not necessarily Republican or Democrat," he said. "We need to work toward improving the city, and the way we can improve the city is to have all ideas heard."

Berry, a long-shot candidate by most accounts, is competing against Democrat Chuck Warpehoski in the Nov. 6 election for an open 5th Ward seat on the Ann Arbor City Council.

Not a single GOP candidate has been able to pull more than 22 percent of the vote in the 5th Ward in years. Berry ran against incumbent Mike Anglin last year and lost 4-to-1.

This year's race gives voters a choice between two candidates with differing views on the appropriate size and role of government and what types of services a city should provide.


Warpehoski said it's important to have a balanced transportation system that takes into consideration a variety of modes of travel, including walking and biking.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"I have no special interests and I have no hidden agendas," Berry said. "I support liberty, freedom and responsible, limited government."

Berry is a firm believer that government shouldn't be involved in enterprises that the private industry can handle. He said government should stick to providing services that would be either too hard or too dangerous for private citizens to provide on their own.

"Examples of things that are too hard would be roads and water and sewage and trash," he said. "And obviously examples of duties that would be too dangerous are police and fire."

Berry argues Ann Arbor has experienced single-party rule for too long. He believes the council is too distracted by issues like public art, and he wants to return the focus to basic services.

"Many people think Ann Arbor has just spread itself too thin," he said. "When I'm on doorsteps, I often get asked, 'What are they doing and when will it end?' "

Warpehoski agrees public safety and road repairs and trash pickup are essential, but he argues Ann Arbor should be more than just a basic town that provides basic services.

What makes Ann Arbor a destination choice — a place people choose to locate their business and choose to live — are the added amenities, Warpehoski said.

"Ann Arbor is a wonderful place to live and to do business, and the goal of City Council is to continue that greatness and to build on it," he said.

Warpehoski is the director of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice in Ann Arbor, a position he says requires bringing together people of different faiths and backgrounds. He believes his ability to listen to all sides of an issue will serve him well on council.

Warpehoski said the city will continue to face budget challenges, but it's important to strike a balance between providing basic services and pursuing initiatives that will carry Ann Arbor into the future. For instance, he's a major proponent of expanded transit, including bus and rail.


Berry argues Ann Arbor has experienced single-party rule for too long and people want representation on council that is devoted to basic services like police and fire protection, road repairs and trash pickup.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"So how we continue to bring services forward and then balance the different needs of the constituency is a vital challenge going forward," he said.

Berry moved to Ann Arbor in 1989 and works as a senior hazardous materials specialist at the University of Michigan. At a candidate forum this week, he quipped: "It's tough to be a nobody with no record." But he said he's hoping voters will consider his ideas.

"I want to be a part of a City Council that lets Ann Arbor be what it can be, not what a few think that it should be," he said.

Berry said he can remember years ago when the city did a good job of delivering basic services, but declining revenues have forced tough choices.

"And council has not always been wise in making those choices," he said. "Council has chosen to reduce basic services and fund many projects of questionable value and benefit."

Berry believes the city's roads are in poor shape. And as he goes throughout the ward talking to voters, he said, people question why the city took away bulk leaf pickup.

Berry said it seems Ann Arbor is growing, but unfortunately its infrastructure is shrinking. He pointed to city efforts to reduce roads from four to three lanes to add bike lanes and pedestrian islands.

"We're on a path where we are trying to put all the pedestrians and all the bicyclists and all the cars in the road at the same time, and I think that is a prescription for a bad thing," he said.

Warpehoski said it's important to have a balanced transportation system that takes into consideration a variety of modes of travel, including walking and biking. He speaks proudly of the fact that more and more people are bicycling in Ann Arbor as the city has made non-motorized improvements.

"It's a matter of balancing all of these factors," he said. "I think overall our transportation planning has been good given our constraints. Can we do better? Absolutely."

Warpehoski said a vibrant downtown and dynamic neighborhoods are part of what makes Ann Arbor a great community. He said the mission of the Downtown Development Authority is important to maintain the vibrancy of downtown Ann Arbor.

Berry thinks there should be more oversight of the DDA.

"The money that the DDA handles is, in effect, taxpayer money, and they are an unelected board," he said. "I would rather see more oversight over the DDA on that money. Because in my opinion, that is the role of the City Council to make sure the money the DDA collects is properly handled."

Democrat Carsten Hohnke, who currently holds the seat the two candidates are seeking, is stepping down after two terms on council and has endorsed Warpehoski.

Warpehoski, who beat Democrat Vivienne Armentrout in the August primary with 56 percent of the vote, also has the endorsement of Mayor John Hieftje.

Berry is endorsed by state Rep. Rick Olson, R-York Township.

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.



Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

Well I need to research this more. I may actually vote for a Republican for the first time in years.

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 1:52 p.m. asked all candidates: "What is the most pressing issue for this office?" Here is Chuck's answer. "Budget decisions remain the most important issue for City Council. Declining property value and tax income, the loss of revenue from the former Pfizer site, and reduced state revenue sharing have hit Ann Arbor hard. While things are much better than four years ago, the City must continue to work to balance requests for service, find ways to improve revenue, and attend to the short- and long-term needs of the community." Chuck knows what he is talking about. Vote for Chuck!

Sam S Smith

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

So much for diversity Mr. Warpehoski! Making Ann Arbor a destination of choice with the added amenities has pushed so many people, who were long time residents out of Ann Arbor, out because they can't afford all these increasing tax bucket projects. No, Mr. Wapehoski, Ann Arbor will only be for the rich. You and the mayor and his cronies can keep deluding yourselves and pat your selves on the back with your concept of diversity.

Rick Stevens

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

"When he's out knocking on doors, Stuart Berry says it's hard to get his point across to voters because he's a Republican and many Ann Arborites don't want to hear what he has to say." Mr. Berry - it's because we're tired of hearing lies from Republicans; it's like someone dragging their fingernails across a blackboard. Why suffer through it at your front door. We all know what 'limited government' means - small, powerless and easy to drown in a bathtub as Mr. Norquist likes to say. We'd prefer limited corporation and wealthy control of our lives and our taxes.

Linda Peck

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

I will vote for Stuart Berry this November because he is a rationale and balanced person, and we certainly need that on city council. He will add weight to the other side of the see-saw. He is bright, thoughtful, and looks at the details. We need this. There are motions passed on council that are based on good feelings and that is nice, but we need to look at facts and how things are going to actually take place. That takes intelligence, forethought, and attention to detail.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

We can expect that Chuck Warpehoski will lead the Council to pontificate to the world about national issues and foreign policy. He wrote and pushed through Council a resolution that condemned Islamophobia and did not condemn Antisemitism. Based on his past activities, an Israel-bashing resolution can be expected. On the other hand, expect him to be silent about the mass murder in Syria, as he has been silent about the genocide in Sudan.

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

Nonsense! We can expect that Warpehoski will be an independent and creative council person, who focuses on the welfare of all Ann Arborites. As to resolutions about attitudes here, Antisemitism is nearly universally recognized to be evil in America and needs no further condemnation. Today, it is Islamophobia that threatens to lead to the unjust treatment of some of our fellow citizens.

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

All friends of Israel should remember that the Gaza campaign did not in any way diminish the rocket and mortar attacks. It did produce lots of dead Gazan civilians, resulting in increased worldwide antagonism toward Israel. Endorsing this action is not merely "unreasonable", it's suicidal.

Real Life

Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

Yes! Vote to end One Party rule in the People's Republic of Ann Arbor. While I, too, have Polish ancestry, I will not engage in identity politics, and will vote for Stuart Berry. (At least my grandfather will be proud. He supported Wendell Wilkie.)


Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

I still can't believe that Ms. Armentrout came in second in the primary.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

She did not bang on doors like Warpy did

Jack Campbell

Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 9:55 p.m.

You have my vote Berry.

The Secret Team

Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

Voters need to remember that Chuck Warpehoski in January of 2009 organized and led a group of 175 demonstrators in Ann Arbor that protested Israel's deployment of military forces in Gaza to protect Israeli citizens from deadly rocket attacks. His demonstration received widespread press coverage. That protest by Warpehoski was met by counter-demonstrators from the American Movement for Israel who bitterly criticized Warpehoski's actions. Warpehoski's countered that the AMI counter-demonstrators were "unreasonable". Warpehoski should not be elected to a City Council seat or any public office. I would urge all those who support Israel's right to defend itself from terror attacks to vote against Warpehoski this November. City Council does not need to be a forum for Israel-bashing as it has in the past.

The Secret Team

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 7:02 p.m.

@Joel Levitt: There are downloadable statistics showing that rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel significanly diminished on a month-by-month basis after the IDF invasion of Gaza. You are correct about the civilian casualties and Israel spoke about maintaining a "deterrent" against Gazans contemplating future missile assaults on southern Israel. Warpehoski has no business pontificating about Israel defense policies. Ann Arborites will doubtlessly hear more about the Palestinian issue during City Council meetings if Warpehoski is elected.

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

All friends of Israel should remember that the Gaza campaign did not in anyway diminish the rocket and mortar attacks. It did produce lots of dead Gazan civilians, producing increased world wide antagonism toward Israel. Endorsing this action is not merely "unreasonable", it's suicidal.

Real Life

Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

Warpehoski forgets Poland's traditional support for the Jews. Poland was the only nation that promoted Jewish settlement, and the Jews were under the protection of the Polish Crown since the reign of Casimir (Kasimierisz) the Great. Not to mention the prominent Polish members of the Righteous of the Nations in Israel, certainly the largest contingent. It is a shame that a son of Poland has lost his heritage and bearings.


Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

@TST...thanks for this info. This certainly is important info that needs to get out to the public.


Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

Doesn't Berry understand that this is a one party town? Even if he is the best candidate, he will not get voted in.


Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

Please 5th ward vote for Berry!!!! I have not spoken to and do not know either candidate I do know that this city cannot afford to have another crony of Hieftje's on council. We need a change.


Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 10:49 p.m.

@golerm...sorry but bikers already have a strong lobby and get far to many resources directed their way.


Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

all i want to do is break up what we have now! what we need is another biker on the council.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

You can find out more information about these candidates and others on our 2012 Voter Guide here: