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Posted on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 7:30 a.m.

Jack Eaton announces candidacy for Ann Arbor City Council

By Ryan J. Stanton

Jack Eaton has announced his candidacy for a 4th Ward seat on the Ann Arbor City Council, his first run for political office.

Eaton intends to challenge incumbent Council Member Margie Teall, a fellow Democrat, in the Aug. 3 primary.


Jack Eaton speaks out during a public meeting inside city hall earlier this year.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Eaton, a local political activist and critic of the current council majority, is an attorney who practices law with a Southfield firm that represents public sector labor unions in education and transit.

“My practice involves seeking resolution of disputes within the context of ongoing union-employer relationships," Eaton said in a written statement announcing his campaign. "I bring to that discussion the ability to disagree, without being disagreeable. I believe those same skills will be beneficial in working with the diverse group that makes up our council.”

Eaton, who pulled nominating petitions on Tuesday, has been active in his neighborhood on the west side of town and in issues related to neighborhoods throughout the city. He says good neighborhoods are fundamental to a healthy city. And if city officials act in disregard of the wishes of the neighborhoods, then they undermine the strength of the community, he said.

He claims better police staffing would have allowed quicker resolution to a crime wave in the city's northwest neighborhoods last summer. He also fears further reductions to firefighting staffing levels will lead to loss of property or loss of life.

Acknowledging the budget challenges facing the city, Eaton said he wants to change the council’s priorities to better serve residents. He argues Ann Arbor taxpayers pay "relatively high taxes" and should be able to expect excellent public services.

He also said he believes the city can balance its budget without raising taxes, reducing police and fire staff, or selling parks.

Eaton claims city leaders have embarked on "a series of poorly considered building projects" that have "dramatically increased our debt load while ignoring the basic infrastructure we all rely upon.” 

As examples, he cites the police-courts building and the Library Lot underground parking structure, which may or may not be topped by a city-financed downtown conference center.

“The city of Ann Arbor has the third worst roads in the state of Michigan, a state that has poor roads," Eaton added. "Over the last few years, we have cut our police and fire staffing while we let the city expenses grow dramatically. It is time to restore services and control spending.”

Eaton points out he's been involved in the city’s efforts to rewrite zoning regulations. He describes the current push to allow increased building height and density throughout the city as "misdirected."

“Ann Arbor has not experienced significant population growth in the last 30 years. In the last 10 years, we actually have lost population," he said. "Our unemployment rate lingers at around 10 percent. It is naive to believe that building more commercial, retail and residential projects will do anything but increase our already too high vacancy rates.”

A resident of the Ann Arbor area for 25 years, Eaton has lived on the west side of town for the last 12 years. He was born in Saginaw and lived in Alma and Kalamazoo before moving to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan. After graduating from U-M, he attended and graduated from the Wayne State University Law School.

He has been married to his wife Cecile for 22 years and they have two adult children, a son and a daughter.

To find out more about Eaton's campaign, contact him at

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



Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 1:07 p.m.

"It is naive to believe that building more commercial, retail and residential projects will do anything but increase our already too high vacancy rates." So I guess Mr. Eaton has a degree in real estate? I cannot believe I am witnessing the attempted council takeover of all these people who are so Left that they're far Right. Just say it, Mr. Eaton, "Don't let Ann Arbor change at all costs!" There, doesn't that feel better? At least until you have to wrangle with the fallout of denying development over the past 40 years, that is. Property taxes do play a part in the city's revenues. (Did anyone else notice that his statement talks largely about spending MORE money on services, but no specifics on how to "control spending," just criticisms of PAST decisions? Where's the money gonna come from?) I agree: Change is needed. But not in Teall's seat, and most certainly not in the direction of Eaton.


Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 10:30 a.m.

Mr Eaton, you have my attention. I would welcome a change from the current council. I am tired of this council solving the budget crisis on the backs of public safety and crumbling infrastructure. They cut funds to city parks as they purchase a new park. How much was spent to redesign the stretch of Stadium Blvd currently under construction in order to provide bike paths for the few bikes that travel on that road? The only neighborhood meeting to discuss that mistake was offered after all the contracts had been signed and the construction was set to begin in one month. If we put as much emphasis on fixing the Stadium bridge as we have on adding new light rail to the area, maybe that embarrassing eyesore would be either fixed or eliminated. A fire in Ms Teall's ward caused the death of three individuals because the firefighters could not get there in time, but let's spread them even thinner. I do not think that Margie Teall has served the people in her ward. I look forward to learning more about Mr. Eaton. Change is needed!


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 3:42 p.m.

I like where Mr. Eaton is positioned on many of the issues. I also say, "Go For It Mr. Eaton". You have my support.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 12:19 p.m.

"The city of Ann Arbor has the third worst roads in the state of Michigan," The probably also had the 3rd worst Police station and I guess 'would have been' worst courthouse since they weren't going to have one at all.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 10:36 a.m.

It will be very interesting to see the Democratic alternatives to incumbents in August. I am interested in hearing about Mr. Eaton's views on certain budget reserves that have been amassed from the general fund and other sources. For example massing long-term reserve amounts in short time frames has been defended as being "good government and fiscally sound." On the outside this might seem so. However, this has been accomplished at the expense of other projects. It has also created a situation where council and administration have decreed need for more money in taxes, as they shelter short-term cash for long-term expenditures. It's a fake crisis. Bond initiatives are created exactly for these types of projects. Bond the upgrades to water and waste systems. Bond the bridge repair. Pay for them over time, while addressing normal city services. The current incumbent party line follows: "We are good fiscal stewards because we are front loading capital replacements without bonding. However, because of this we need to raise your taxes." It's nonsense. Who are the candidates willing to consider this?


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

Mr. Eaton has been a highly-valued member of our neighborhood for many years - can't wait to see more of his ideas on how to shape up city government!


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 8:57 a.m.

Good news!! Get rid of Teall and hopefully Higgins is the next to go. Imagine what our city could be like with competent leadership rather that the string of epic failures the current council has been involved in.

David Cahill

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 8:54 a.m., how about a link to Eaton's complete written statement?


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

Something is wrong with this guy! First, he claims to be a Democrat, next he talks about not raising taxes, then about preventing crime etc, etc. Democrats do not talk this way! He is not telling the truth which is a Democrat trait.

Steven P. Puhl

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 8:20 a.m.

interesting... in the NE sector we see police patrol during the last week of the month along certain streets but rarely patrolling streets. As for parks, there is a very nice one for children in Foxfire, but my wife and I are trying to imagine what it will be like when it is "overgrown" due to no maintenance. sad.... Hopefully, the right candidate can make a difference.

Top Cat

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 7:57 a.m.

He sounds like he has his head screwed on straight. Hopefully he would as well bring some more mature and adult behaviour to the Council Meetings.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 7:12 a.m.

That is certainly true and he has my vote!


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 6:45 a.m.

Go for it, Mr. Eaton!