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Posted on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:30 a.m.

Patricia Lesko officially files to enter Ann Arbor mayoral race today

By Ryan J. Stanton

Patricia Lesko, a Democratic candidate for mayor of Ann Arbor, officially filed paperwork with the city clerk's office today to appear on the August primary ballot.

Lesko pulled nominating petitions and announced last month she planned to challenge Mayor John Hieftje for his seat. If elected, she would be the third woman to serve as mayor of Ann Arbor since its incorporation as a city in 1851.


Patricia Lesko will challenge Mayor John Hieftje for his seat in the August primary after filing for office today.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Lesko, who runs a home-based publishing business, said she brings more than two decades of experience in marketing, management and finance to her bid for the office.

She said in a written statement released Sunday night that she is running because she wants to change the direction public policy has taken over the course of the current administration’s tenure.

“My campaign is about moving the focus of city government back to the basics: responsible spending, services, infrastructure, and neighborhoods," Lesko said. "I’m ready to sharpen my pencil, roll up my sleeves and tighten the focus of city government in on its core mission.”

Lesko said she believes Ann Arbor needs a mayor prepared to work with other members of the Ann Arbor City Council to tackle the serious challenges facing the city. She included the following five bullet points in a press release:

• "Ann Arbor has adopted single-stream recycling. Recycling industry studies clearly show that the switch is a $6.5 million mistake. Environmental Science 101 students know recycling is not about tons collected or tons diverted from a landfill. Recycling happens when the recycled materials are made into a new product. Single-stream increases total tons of recycled materials that end up in landfills. Ann Arbor just took a giant leap backward, environmentally.”

• "In 2005, a Mayor’s Blue Ribbon panel recommended that the city employee’s pension and health care plans be restructured. It’s time to implement the panel’s findings and reinvest savings in the city.”

• "In 2006, it became clear that the Stadium Boulevard bridges were failing. Ann Arbor has the third worst roads in the state. I will refocus spending on essential infrastructure and maintenance.”

• "Ann Arbor is facing a growing budget shortfall despite steadily increasing revenues. Spending on government overhead has increased 35 percent since 2006, by $34 million per year. I have a plan to rein in that spending.”

• "Lowering overhead means more money to fund the basics: services and infrastructure. Economic development is fostered by superior services, excellent schools, a solid infrastructure and top-notch recreational facilities. It’s high time we focused on tried and true strategies that encourage growth, but that don’t rely on tax giveaways and subsidies.”

Lesko will appear on the Aug. 3 Democratic primary ballot in Ann Arbor. She will challenge Hieftje, who was the subject of criticisms on Lesko's blog,, which she ran anonymously until announcing her candidacy last month.

A second challenger entered the picture earlier this month. Steve Bean, chairman of the city's Environmental Commission, is circulating nominating petitions to run for mayor as an independent candidate. He would face off against the winner of the Democratic primary in November's general election.

Lesko plans to officially kick off her campaign with a meet-and-greet fundraiser at Vinology from 5-7 p.m. April 18. The public is invited to attend.

For more information on Lesko's campaign, visit her campaign website or find her on Twitter and Facebook.

To find out more about Hieftje, visit his website here.

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



Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 1:07 p.m.

re: AES Yes I have, however this is my opinion - also times were different when "The Federalist Papers" were written. I hope other people get in to the race for mayor. At this time it (again my opinion) I cannot decide who is the lesser of eveil.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 7:24 a.m.

Re: comment about Pat's previously anonymous blog being "a lie"--has the commenter ever heard of... The Federalist Papers, published anonymously at the time, now known to be written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. Considered the third most important document in the development of the US government, after the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution / Bill of Rights? I thought that Pat Lesko's blog was wonderful, full of wit and wisdom. She is fantastically astute about finances. She will turn things around in AA, respect the citizens, propose sensible plans, tell us what is being doing (transparency) in advance and use our tax money sensibly. Time for a change!


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 6:54 a.m.

Finally, someone to challenge Heiftje! I hope everyone gets out to vote in the primary. AND I hope the News does a good job of getting the word out to the citizens so they come to the polls in Aug!! We desperately need a new mayor.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 5:27 p.m.

I don't see much difference either. And not enough info in her proposals. I read her blog once. I felt it was so poorly written, there was no sense in returning. But I like the emphasis on essential services. There has not been improvement under the current leadership, maybe its time for a change.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 3 p.m.

I have read her stuff. I have two thoughts here 1) She is quite different from the current Dem. Mayor - she is not in real estate and isn't beholden to those interests. I think the current downtown mess is linked to that. 2) Having read her blog, she's right. What I don't know, what is the issue here, is if she knows how to get the city government/administration (those who are unelected) to make those changes. So far we have a choice between a Mayor with an unremarkable record who keep driving this bus off the cliff and someone who may not know how to get the things done but she does know what needs to change. I'd give her a try, why not?


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 1:26 p.m.

M Lesko started out basically with a lie remember this website A2Politico, we don't need people in government who lie we already have enough lying and cheating. Overall, the question should be is she (Lesko) good for Ann Arbor or not?


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 12:51 p.m.

I've started following her posts on A2politico. I think she has pointed out real systematic problems in the City's governance and has a practical way of looking for solutions. Therefore, she doesn't stand a chance.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 12:27 p.m.

"At least she is saying the right things." Show me a poliitician trying to win somehting that doesn't. "My guess is that if she comes down against the income tax and for fiscal restraint, she is a shoe in." Personally I don't think she's a shoe in at all. I actually don't think she stands a chance, but of course we're all just guessing. We need an odds maker in here.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

" but the resurfacing program ( 2 decades strong) that tax payers continue to fund has vastly improved our our local streets. " It's obvious that a few people need to get out and drive on our roads more often. The street millage may have money in it, but it's not getting spent on fixing our roads. They're in terrible condition.

Rita Shelley-Smith

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 9:30 a.m.

That's great news Pat! Good to see you take on this challenge.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 9:23 a.m.

Perhaps she could also discuss leadership in the area of unneeded building projects, currently the parking structure/conference center fiasco.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 8:53 a.m.

Kinda reminds me of Fieger running for governor...


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 8:37 a.m.

@ Top Cat, they just gave that individual the AD job at Michigan, keep wishing though.

Top Cat

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 8 a.m.

I wish someone was running for Mayor of AA who had the business acumen, maturity and level headedness of Dave Bing.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:34 a.m.

So what is the difference between this Democrat and the present Mayor Democrat? I think you could switch the two and we would still have the same problems. Too much taxing and too much spending!


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:30 a.m.

Pat Lesko is the LAST person we want as Mayor. NO to PAT LESKO!


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:26 a.m.

"In 2006, it became clear that the Stadium Boulevard bridges were failing. Ann Arbor has the third worst roads in the state. I will refocus spending on essential infrastructure and maintenance. Ms Lesko is clearly out of touch.Yes Ann Arbor has a bridge that is falling down, but the resurfacing program ( 2 decades strong) that tax payers continue to fund has vastly improved our our local streets.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:05 a.m.

Reminds me of a certain South Park episode....


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 6:50 a.m.

Ms. Lesko has identified key issues facing City government. Focuses on core City service and expenditure are long overdue. Thankfully, we now have a candidate that brings this needed perspective to our local governance discussion.