Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

City Council Intrigue?

6. May 2006 • Dale Winling
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Ann Arbor City Hall

Not as much as we anticipated, reports the Ann Arbor News. Intrigue is reserved almost exclusively for the 5th Ward, where incumbent Chris Easthope may face opposition from several challengers.

Incumbent Democrat Chris Easthope could face challenges from four other candidates, including three from his own party, in his bid for a new two-year council term.

Democrats Richard Ankli, Sonia Schmerl, Katherine Runyon and independent candidate Dennis W. Burke have all taken out petitions to run for the seat.

The 5th ward was reputed to have been the center of opposition to November’s Emerald Ash Borer millage where 61% of the ward voted against the millage, compared to 56% citywide.

In the 1st ward Democratic primary, so far it is John Roberts vs. Ron Suarez. 2nd (D) finds Joan Lowenstein currently unopposed. 3rd (D) has Steve Kunselman unopposed. 4th (D) sees Margie Teall currently running unopposed.

John Hieftje will find opposition for mayor from Wendy Woods, currently a 5th ward Councilmember.



  1. Ankli is a known crank.

    I expect a primary in the Third Ward.


       —David Cahill    May. 6 '06 - 09:58PM    #
  2. Last month the AA News reported that Thomas Wall had taken out petitions to run for Mayor as well.


       —HD    May. 6 '06 - 10:18PM    #
  3. “Incumbent Democrat Chris Easthope could face challenges from four other candidates, including three from his own party,”

    Doesn’t this splitting of the vote pretty much guarantee Easthope’s re-election?


       —John Q.    May. 7 '06 - 12:35AM    #
  4. Not necessarily. Primaries are always strange. Will Runyon and Schmerl draw from the same pool of voters or not? If they are competing for the same people, then Easthope may squeak through. If, on the other hand, they have different sources of political support, Easthope could easily lose.

    I haven’t any idea how the Fifth Ward drama will play out. I’m just a simple First Warder, with a straightforward contest between John Roberts and Ron Suarez.


       —David Cahill    May. 7 '06 - 01:52AM    #
  5. Here’s a pdf file of a masters thesis
    from Duquesne University submitted just this spring, which includes some discussion of the history of the Human Rights Party in Ann Arbor dating back to the 70’s. If the Richard Ankli referenced in the thesis is the same one who has taken out petitions this year, it looks like he has served on City Council sometime in the past.

    David Cahill, is this the same guy?


       —HD    May. 7 '06 - 02:49AM    #
  6. Yes, this is the same guy. He won a Human Rights Party primary, but then lost in the general election to a Democrat. He has never served on Council.

    In 2000, he ran for Library Board and passed out embarrassing lit. He got only a handful of votes.


       —David Cahill    May. 7 '06 - 12:31PM    #
  7. When’s the filing date? (Personally, I’d love to see—and would campaign for—Jennifer Hall in the 1st…)


       —js    May. 8 '06 - 03:37PM    #
  8. Filing deadline: May 16 for major party candidates; July 20 for others


       —HD    May. 8 '06 - 03:44PM    #
  9. Doesn’t anyone other than Teall or Higgins want to run in the 4th Ward? Please?


       —Juliew    May. 8 '06 - 06:36PM    #
  10. Thanks JS … but, I’m not going to run this year. There’s always another year …


       —Jennifer Hall    May. 9 '06 - 12:22AM    #
  11. I just got an e-mail from a friend stating that she noticed a homemade “Impeach Hieftje” sign on the west side of South Main.

    Has anyone seen this sign? Where exactly is it, and what does it look like?

    I assume this falls into the category of “City Council Intrigue”....


       —David Cahill    May. 10 '06 - 02:06PM    #
  12. This may be a coincidence, but I saw the hat lady in K-Mart buying magic markers, poster board, and a big can of generic Metamucil.


       —Parking Structure Dude!    May. 10 '06 - 02:15PM    #
  13. This is truly intriguing! What kind of hat was she wearing? How big was the poster board?


       —David Cahill    May. 10 '06 - 03:15PM    #
  14. I saw the sign while walking towards the stadium to watch UM graduation exercises. Smallish, hand-made looking sign, that’s all. Can’t give you street address, though, didn’t notice it. Sorry.


       —David Boyle    May. 10 '06 - 04:24PM    #
  15. It’s been there at least 6 weeks. On the South Main hill; blue 2-story house with 1-story shed-roof addition in back. Same house that has the “For Sale—$335,000 and Greenbelt” sign made with stencils. Typical attitude of some local NIMBY$.


       —Dale    May. 10 '06 - 05:00PM    #
  16. It’s been there at least 6 weeks. On the South Main hill; blue 2-story house with 1-story shed-roof addition in back. Same house that has the “For Sale—$335,000 and Greenbelt” sign made with stencils. Typical attitude of some local NIMBY$.

    Ah yes, that would be Mr. Wedemeyer. He is kind of a crackpot who always puts strange things in his window. He is notoriously anti-government, and Dale, FYI, he actually hates the Greenbelt even more than you do so if that is what you classify as a NIMBY, go for it. The whole point of his For Sale sign (which has also been up for years) is to show how a Greenbelt is going to raise home values beyond anything anyone would want to pay. Now, of course, rental houses are actually selling for close to that in that neighborhood so it doesn’t make his point quite as well. For years he had a target of a man in his front window with a cluster of bullet holes in the heart and brain. Presumably to show what would happen if someone approached his door.


       —Juliew    May. 10 '06 - 07:46PM    #
  17. As I predicted in comment 1 above, there will be a primary in the Third Ward. Alice Ralph, who has been active in historic preservation, was circulating petitions at today’s Democratic Party meeting.


       —David Cahill    May. 13 '06 - 11:55PM    #
  18. Hey, how about a full eyewitness report on the Dems meeting? Not necessarily on this thread, of course…


       —David Boyle    May. 14 '06 - 12:17AM    #
  19. It turns out that Kate Runyon is not running for the Democratic nomination to City Council. That sets up a clear contest between Chris Easthope and Sonia Schmerl.

    Plus – Bill Hanson, who had ruled himself out for the First Ward seat, is circulating petitions!! A neighbor just came to my door looking for signatures for him.

    The filing deadline is Tuesday at 4:00.

    What next? Stay tuned!


       —David Cahill    May. 14 '06 - 11:46PM    #
  20. The filing deadline for most offices is Tuesday at 4pm, but I thought the filing deadline for Ann Arbor city council is slightly later, as per the city charter.

    I will check on this when I get to the office tomorrow.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    May. 15 '06 - 02:27AM    #
  21. It turns out that the deadline for Ann Arbor city council is indeed Tuesday at 4pm.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    May. 16 '06 - 01:48AM    #
  22. Larry, is there a publicly accessible online source that shows who has filed in real time? AU should get the scoop.


       —Dale    May. 16 '06 - 02:10AM    #
  23. We have state legislative and county commission candidates online .

    Ann Arbor city council candidates file with the city clerk’s office.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    May. 16 '06 - 11:34AM    #
  24. Thanks for having the state legislative and County Commission candidates online, Larry! There is a lot of primary activity in the Commission races, largely as fallout from the jail/police millage issue.

    It used to be that candidates and potential candidates would loiter at the County Clerk’s office just before 4:00 to see who had/hadn’t filed, and make decisions whether or not to file on the spot. I don’t know if this venerable tradition will continue today.


       —David Cahill    May. 16 '06 - 02:42PM    #
  25. The tradition of having a crowd around the counter during the last few minutes before the deadline has already faded. In May 2004, there were only a handful of people and no reporters. Most of those interested presumably just watched the web site.

    I’m probably going to be out of the office right at 4pm, but I will be here until almost 3pm, and I’ll be back before closing.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    May. 16 '06 - 05:50PM    #
  26. What happened to Wendy Woods’ mayoral campaign? She’s not listed as having filed-

    http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/clerk_register/elections/el_auglocalcandidates.html


       —Tom Jensen    May. 17 '06 - 02:06AM    #
  27. As for Washtenaw County commissioner race, see today’s AA News, 30 on county board ballots: Police services issue cited as reason for greatest interest since 1994,

    “Thirty people, including incumbents, will seek Washtenaw County commissioner seats in the upcoming primary or general elections, making it the largest group of candidates for that public body in more than a decade.

    The number of commissioner candidates filing with the Washtenaw County Clerk’s Office by Tuesday afternoon’s deadline is the largest since 1994, when the board had 15 members compared to 11 today. It’s the first time since the county reduced the number of districts in 2002 that there will be party primaries in 10 of the 11 districts.

    “This is a lot more activity than we’ve seen in a long while,’’ said County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum.

    It contradicts the trend in recent years toward a decrease in the number of people seeking public office at all levels across all parties, he said. In 2004, for example, only 19 candidates filed for a two-year term on the County Board, the lowest number since at least 1992, Kestenbaum said.

    “Occasionally you have an event or circumstance that causes a temporary spike in activism, and I think this is one of those times,’’ Kestenbaum continued. “I think this is a reflection of the issues going on with police services.’’ ...”


       —David Boyle    May. 18 '06 - 03:51AM    #