Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Primary Results In

9. August 2006 • Dale Winling
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-Election- Primary results are in and the establishment went home happy tonight, with wins in the Ann Arbor mayor’s race, the 3rd ward, and 5th ward, as well as the Ypsilanti mayor’s race. Turnout was weak in many areas of the county, which is typical for summer primaries, though perked up by a few competitive races.

Official results for the scores of contests in Washtenaw County are available at the County Clerk’s Web site, but here follow some of the most talked-about contests:

(Results current as of 3am)
Ann Arbor
Mayor
John Hieftje (67%) over Wendy Woods (32%)
1st Ward
Ron Suarez (56%) over John Roberts (43%)
3rd Ward
Steve Kunselman (36%) over Alice Ralph (34%) and Jeff Meyers (29%)
5th Ward
Chris Easthope (63%) over Sonia Schmerl (32%) and Richard Ankli (4%)

Ypsilanti
Mayor
Paul Schreiber
1st Ward
Trudy Swanson
2nd Ward
William Nickels
3rd Ward
Brian Robb

State Rep. 53rd District
Rebekah Warren

Pittsfield Twp. Recalls
All Failed

Ann Arbor Voters

Ann Arbor Turnout

Mayor’s Race

1st Ward

3rd Ward

5th Ward

Ypsilanti Voters

Ypsilanti Turnout

Schreiber Results



  1. These color gradient maps of voter behavior make even the nice campaign contribution plots from Monday AU look like the fingerpaintings of elementary school children by comparison. Nice work.


       —HD    Aug. 9 '06 - 09:51AM    #
  2. what happened to all the republican candidates?


       —m    Aug. 9 '06 - 12:50PM    #
  3. nice maps!

    those sure tell you if you’re going to knock on doors where the people who are likely to vote live.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Aug. 9 '06 - 01:18PM    #
  4. The establishment isn’t that happy, Dale. They lost “the big one” – the 53rd State Rep primary. And look at the margin: 61% for Warren to 39% for Greden. Amazing! I thought it would be really close.

    Also, Ron Suarez beat the establishment candidate handily in the First Ward.

    The defining issue in the First Ward race was, not surprisingly, Broadway Village.

    And, in the most bizarre twist of this campaign season, the biggest issue in the last couple of weeks of the State Rep campaign was – Broadway Village!

    Both candidates supporting Broadway Village lost.

    The Lower Town Curse has struck again…8-)


       —David Cahill    Aug. 9 '06 - 01:25PM    #
  5. “The defining issue in the First Ward race was, not surprisingly, Broadway Village.”

    I doubt that, Cahill. If so, why was Suarez’s showing relatively weak in the Broadway/Lower Town neighborhood? Seems like the folks near campus were more overwhelmingly into him. I think that very, very few people share your views on Broadway village. I think the fluffy talk about artists and the hipster yard signs, coupled with Roberts being a weak candidate, sealed it.

    Now, let’s hope Suarez is his own man and doesn’t become a mouthpiece for Cahill, Cowherd, Schmerl, Colenback, and “Progressives of Washtenaw.” He seems like a good enough guy, I don’t want to see him become a tool of local politicos with sour grapes in their mouths.


       —Brandon    Aug. 9 '06 - 01:37PM    #
  6. Also, Mr. Cahill, I’m surprised you wouldn’t have preferred Greden to win the state rep seat so as to get him off of Council. As it stands, I’ll take it.


       —Brandon    Aug. 9 '06 - 01:38PM    #
  7. Haha…I really wouldn’t call Rebekah Warren anti-establishment, considering that a ton of her support came from popular (very well established) supporters like Alma Wheeler Smith, other state representatives, MARAL, etc.

    ...Rebekah isn’t some new political outsider.

    CONGRATS TO MAYOR HIEFTJE, COUNCILMAN EASTHOPE, COMMISSIONER GUNN, AND (soon to be) COUNCILMAN KUNSELMAN!


       —Travis Radina    Aug. 9 '06 - 01:39PM    #
  8. Brandon, watch out for the “tyranny of small numbers” in the results. The campus precincts (1-1, 1-2, 1-3, and 1-7) were largely empty, with only a handful of votes cast, so the percentage departures don’t mean much.

    Suarez’ support was spread pretty evenly throughout the ward. Remember he said that out of 1,000 voters he talked with, only one supported Broadway Village.


       —David Cahill    Aug. 9 '06 - 01:53PM    #
  9. David-

    I think this election, if anything, was a repudiation of the no growth/CARD/Progressives of Washtenaw/Whatever we decide to call ourselves today crowd.

    I don’t think too much can be taken from the results.

    But it seemed like John Roberts ran an absolutely dreadful campaign in the 1st ward, while Ron Suarez made a very strong grassroots effort. That result has a lot less to do with issue positions and a lot more to do with who made the better campaigner.

    In the 3rd Ward, Stephen Kunselman ran a similarly poor campaign, at least in my neck of the woods. My parents called me late last week and asked whether they should vote for Meyers or Ralph- they didn’t even know Kunselman was running! Yet Kunselman beat Ralph anyway- clearly not much support for y’all’s vision of Ann Arbor in the Third Ward when your candidate pulls 34%

    (By the way, congratulations to Jeff Meyers- quite a remarkable showing for a newcomer to town spending very little money.)

    So there was one ward where both candidates ran really strong campaigns, the 5th. And there Chris Easthope destroyed Sonia, winning almost every single ward. I’m sure you and your crew will blame it all on ‘big money politics’ and developers ‘stealing the election,’ but that kind of neglects the third party spending on Schmerl’s behalf. If this race was a referendum on the greenway, then even the 5th ward itself stands in strong opposition.

    And as for the overall accusations of the secretive, pro-developer, big bad City Council, I think Hieftje’s winning almost every precinct in town by a wide margin pretty much puts the lie to that.

    There’s a small group of disenchanted people that have made a lot of noise over the last year. But these results show that their views don’t have much sway with the voting populace.

    And somewhat unrelated- congratulations to Rebekah Warren, who ran by far and away the strongest local campaign I’ve ever seen run. It’s hard to believe that anyone could have beat her. We’re lucky that Leigh will continue on Council, and I’m sure we’ll send him to Lansing some day.

    As an ‘establishment person,’ although I am saddened by Leigh’s loss, I’m pretty happy this morning that most voters support the healthy growth direction this Council have taken and want to keep Ann Arbor moving forward.


       —Tom Jensen    Aug. 9 '06 - 02:06PM    #
  10. “what happened to all the republican candidates?”

    Schmerl and Cowherd lost.

    “These color gradient maps of voter behavior make even the nice campaign contribution plots from Monday AU look like the fingerpaintings of elementary school children by comparison. Nice work.”

    I like fingerpaintings. Art brut, and all that.

    That aside, I certainly agree – thanks for getting this info online in such short order in such a nice format. While there’s a lot that can be said [see above] about the voting details on display here, what’s most interesting to me is the variation in voting patterns in the 3rd Ward and 5th Ward Council races between the precincts closest to downtown and the more outlying areas. The winners did quite well further away from downtown, while their challengers had trouble expanding support beyond a strong “home base” in central areas. It often feels like “Ann Arbor” politics in practice means downtown / central-city politics, and that others sections of town are off in other small worlds of their own to a significant degree. When I’m off running or walking, the lawn signs tend to rapidly drop off in number as you get a certain distance away from downtown.

    Lastly – and off-topic – this post has been sent via dialup. While the charts above were loading, I went out for coffee and a paper. Am wondering about the county wi-fi project and when it might be up & running in town to help out those of us in the lumpenproletariat in the net’s slow lane.


       —hale    Aug. 9 '06 - 02:13PM    #
  11. Did anyone else notice that Rebekah Warren was the day sponsor on Michigan Radio yesterday? Very clever.


       —Eli    Aug. 9 '06 - 02:22PM    #
  12. “Remember he said that out of 1,000 voters he talked with, only one supported Broadway Village.”

    Did he ask all 1000 voters about their position on BV? And did he really talk to 1000 voters? I find that hard to believe.


       —John Q.    Aug. 9 '06 - 02:33PM    #
  13. Well said Tom!

    While I too am very disappointed that Leigh did not win this election, I am certain that he has a long political career ahead of him and that one day he will be representing us in the capitol.

    I am very satisfied, however, with the results around the city. Victories by Hieftje, Easthope, and Kunselman show that people around the city realize that eliminating growth in Ann Arbor is a terrible idea.

    With the leadership of these officials, and Leigh’s return to city council, I am certain that Ann Arbor will be in good hands (at least for the next year or so)!


       —Travis Radina    Aug. 9 '06 - 02:35PM    #
  14. Ann Arbor sure looks a lot like a human heart. Just one of the crazy things one thinks when spending hours late at night staring at and making maps. Props go out to the Larry’s office, who were mad at work up to and through the wee hours of the morning.

    I am totally unsurprised by Easthope’s resounding victory in the 5th after doing his and Schmerl’s campaign finance maps. Schmerl had the signs, but Easthope had a much stronger demonstrated commitment from his constituents.

    The third ward is very surprising to me, because Kunselman had so much broader support from donors in the ward. Ralph, in fact, had more support from the 5th ward than her own. Part of me wants to say Meyers and Kunselman were sharing the same voters, but if anyone from the ward had conversations with neighbors, please do tell.

    In the first, I thought Roberts might have enough incumbent power to fight off Suarez’ issues-lite campaign, but he really had no network and little base, which the campaign finance map showed. Even in his Teeter Talk interview he shed no light on what his issues and positions were.

    No more maps for now. Unless someone wants to hire me as a political consultant.


       —Dale    Aug. 9 '06 - 02:55PM    #
  15. Maybe if Suarez had asked me about the Broadway Village I would have told him, instead of just swallowing my discontent and voting against him. Being for both the Greenway and against the Broadway Village was too much retarded NIMBY “progressivism” for me.
    And Warren was establishment, in that she’s part of the same political dynasty that Conan Smith (know how his race came out) and Alma are from. Which I voted against.


       —js    Aug. 9 '06 - 03:17PM    #
  16. Eli—I thought it was super-cute that Rebekah and Conan day-sponsored Michigan Radio yesterday, and also tasteful that they didn’t add any message about voting for them, or even voting period.


       —Emily    Aug. 9 '06 - 03:40PM    #
  17. The AA mayor’s race was not a bellwether for development/anti-development sentiment. Woods had voted for all the Calthorpe stuff that has convulsed AA politics for over a year, and did not separate herself from Hieftje on any issue.

    The most intriguing thing about the mayor’s race was Hieftje’s lit. There was not a single word about development, Calthorpe, or increasing density. Instead, he ran (again) as “Mr. Green.”

    POW! made no endorsement in that race. POW! did, however, endorse Paul Schreiber in the Ypsi mayor’s race, who won. Also, POW! endorsed winning County Commission candidates Bergman and Smith.

    So, all in all, as the AA News says today, the results were “mixed.” Something for everybody!


       —David Cahill    Aug. 9 '06 - 03:58PM    #
  18. I’m sure the POW endorsements made a big difference for Smith and Bergman, considering the stiff competition they faced!

    I agree with you that the Ann Arbor mayoral race results don’t have much to do with development, but transparency seemed to be the biggest issue for Wendy Woods and it appears that most folks don’t have a problem with the Council on that front- it certainly didn’t resonate.

    David, I wonder if POW didn’t endorse Woods because it knew she had no chance of winning. We know Cowherd voted for her, and I’m guessing most of the other POW folks did as well. Choosing not to pick a fight doesn’t mean you won.

    Anyway, since liberal is not a curse word in Ann Arbor, I think I’m going to get together with some of my friends to create the Liberals of Ann Arbor to push our personal political agenda next year. We’ll only endorse candidates who are so forward thinking that they’ll come right out and call themselves liberals instead of hiding behind the progressive label!

    Anyway, congrats on the Suarez and Warren victories- they ran very effective campaigns.


       —Tom Jensen    Aug. 9 '06 - 04:09PM    #
  19. I had been predicting Rebekah’s victory for some time.

    Beyond the borders of Ann Arbor, several county commission incumbents (Wes Prater, Martha Kern-Boprie, Stephen Solowczuk) were defeated by critics of the policy of phasing out the police services subsidy. Several other races were close, and one may go to recount.

    The status quo may have generally ruled in city elections, but next year’s county board will be very different.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 9 '06 - 04:18PM    #
  20. Larry,

    How does that change effect the make-up of the board as far as it might impact votes for the police services subsidy?


       —John Q.    Aug. 9 '06 - 04:35PM    #
  21. The Ann Arbor News thought a two seat shift would change the board’s direction on police services, and three seats changed.

    That being said, five of the eleven commissioners represent Ann Arbor and Pittsfield and obviously stand for the status quo; the other six are pretty varied and might not have an easy consensus on where to go with this.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 9 '06 - 05:01PM    #
  22. Congressman John Dingell invites all Democrats to his Unity Breakfast this Saturday, August 12.

    It is at UAW Local 38, 4350 Concourse Drive in Ann Arbor. Take State Street south past Ellsworth and turn left at Concourse, across from the AA Airport.

    The breakfast starts at 8:30. Please call (313) 791-2707 to RSVP.


       —David Cahill    Aug. 9 '06 - 05:23PM    #
  23. Thanks for posting that David.

    Now that we’re all done fighting each other (for now), it’s time to work together to make sure Jennifer Granholm, Debbie Stabenow, Kathy Angerer, Pam Byrnes, and others get reelected.


       —Tom Jensen    Aug. 9 '06 - 05:30PM    #
  24. Larry,

    Thanks. It’s not surprising to see some board members take the loss for their position on police services. But as I see it, it was long overdue and it was good to see a County Board have the guts to tackle that problem. There’s no reason for the taxpayers of Ann Arbor (or any other community that provides police services) to have to subsidize services in communities like Ypsi or Salem Township that can well afford to pay for it. Let’s hope those board members represnting city residents hold their ground on this point.


       —John Q.    Aug. 9 '06 - 06:28PM    #
  25. Mr. Cahill: Regarding the mayor’s race and development. Nothing intriguing about it for what he has done, Hieftje is Mr. Green. But he did cover development on his web site, check it out.

    POW may not have endorsed the mayor’s race because they/you knew Woods would lose but they/you still slammed Hieftje and given that the mission was to replace as much of the council as possible, POW lost. Their only victory was in the First Ward against a weak candidate.

    But why did you/they endorse a Republican (Schmerl) who opposed the Delonis Shelter and actually put a sign in Doug Ellmanns yard next door to the shelter? He was the most bitter opponent of the shelter. I thought you and the rest of POW were supposed to be progressive?


       —Dustin    Aug. 9 '06 - 06:43PM    #
  26. Hey Dustin!

    I am certainly no apologist for Ellman or Schmerl. In this primary, I endorsed and gave money to Chris Easthope. Moreover, when I was on the county board, I strongly supported the construction of the Delonis Center against every roadblock that Ellman & Co. threw up against it.

    But if Doug Ellman, notwithstanding all that history, wanted to put up a yard sign supporting my re-election in front of his office on West Huron, I would gladly provide one.

    I reject the notion that any single yard sign characterizes a candidate. That’s just guilt by association.

    And while I strongly disagreed with the opponents of the Delonis Center, and feel their fears have been disproven, I hardly think that they are somehow forever delegitimized from ordinary political discourse.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 9 '06 - 07:05PM    #
  27. Dustin, Schmerl is a Democrat and ran in the Dem primary.


       —David Cahill    Aug. 9 '06 - 08:05PM    #
  28. I wish we had some more Republicans running, if only to provide an alternative to the green-off the Dem primary has become.


       —Dale    Aug. 9 '06 - 10:03PM    #
  29. Forgive me if I’m being vacuous, but I believe that Dustin was running with Hale’s joke about Schmerl and Cowherd being Republicans. See, the gag is, and I admit it’s pretty heady, that Cowherd and Schmerl, while proclaiming themselves Democrats, actually behave in the self-serving, selfish, self-enhancing manner generally associated (at least in Ann Arbor) with Republicans. Maybe Cahill missed it, but Abraham Lincoln, who, I might add, knows a little bit about dogs and their various legs, would have howeled with laughter. As I did. Progressives my ass.


       —Parking Structure Dude!    Aug. 10 '06 - 02:03AM    #
  30. “Remember he said that out of 1,000 voters he talked with, only one supported Broadway Village.”

    Ron came to my house on July 21 to tell me that he was running for city council, but didn’t say anything about Broadway Village. He didn’t ask me what I thought of it, or tell me what his plans were for it. I should have mentioned it, but was caught off-guard by his visit. In any case, I should mention, that my fiance and I (both First Ward voters) are both strongly in favor of the current Broadway Village plan. So, Ron, it sounds like your polling methods didn’t produce terribly accurate results.


       —Emily    Aug. 11 '06 - 01:25PM    #
  31. re: 30. Emily, I was not conducting an official poll and no I did not always, 100% of the time, mention Lowertown at doors. I do know that I lost the votes of two of my neighbors that I have known since 1992, Chris Crockett and Ray Detter because of my postion against subsidizing Strathmore for Lowertown.

    re: 5. Brandon says: “why was Suarez’s showing relatively weak in the Broadway/Lower Town neighborhood? Seems like the folks near campus were more overwhelmingly into him.” The results I heard for my precinct (3) were 29 – 11 for me. A lot of people know me downtown, so I focused first on Roberts’ neighbors and then other neighborhoods at the edge of town, where a banker might be viewed more favorably than someone who has been a political activist for decades. Since, I assumed at least a strong minority support from the Broadway/Lower Town area, I never set foot there to campaign. I figured that even if I lost there, it would be outweighed by campaiging hard where people were least likely to know me. So, now that I have been elected I owe those residents my time to hear their concerns.

    More on my strategy: I went to every house where I saw a Roberts sign and usually convinced them to put up a sign for me. I targeted streets that were main thoroughfares. I never promised anything that I thought I could not deliver. I relied on my experience that just being yourself and being honest, along with not promising the impossible helps people to see your sincerity. I did not pretend to be an expert, as opposed to being someone who can help to facilitate better communication.

    re: 9. Tom said: “John Roberts ran an absolutely dreadful campaign in the 1st ward, while Ron Suarez made a very strong grassroots effort. That result has a lot less to do with issue positions and a lot more to do with who made the better campaigner.” Yes, this is very true. Many thought I was anti-development when hearing my position on Strathmore, but people who actually spoke to me and I hit many doors, realized that I simply thought this was a bad deal financially. The one issue that has always been very real and very clear for me is favoring infrastructure that will support grassroots efforts vs. top down decision making. I recommend reading Steven Johnson “Emergence is what happens when the whole is smarter than the sum of its parts … And yet somehow out of all this interaction some higher-level structure or intelligence appears, usually without any master planner calling the shots. These kinds of systems tend to evolve from the ground up.” To the extent I have had any pet projects or special interest – it is promoting grassroots politics. My opponent tried to paint me as an outsider backed by special interests. Since, I know so many people, through business, DJ’ing parties, progressive politics, my kids having gone through the Ann Arbor public schools, I ended up getting regular reports about misinformation my opponent tried to spread. I then did a really late flier which enabled me to answer these false charges. So, yes, I think we (I had many supporters helping), ran a much smarter campaign.

    re: 18. Tom Jensen writes: “We’ll only endorse candidates who are so forward thinking that they’ll come right out and call themselves liberals instead of hiding behind the progressive label! Anyway, congrats on the Suarez and Warren victories- they ran very effective campaigns.”

    In the 1960’s when opposing the war in Vietnam, I never called myself a liberal – I was a radical. Today, Republicans have succeeded in causing the term liberal to have mostly negative connotations and it is most frequently used in a pejorative sense. Republicans have been hugely successful in manipulating language for their own political ends and I personally think it is a losing battle to attempt to revive the word Liberal. I was very involved with the Dean campaign (my house was the unofficial Ann Arbor headquarters). Four words best described that campaign and my politics – “Socially Progressive, Fiscally Responsible.”

    Like Dean, I have seen the national Democratic leadership as spineless in standing up to Republicans and I think the word Progessive has helped to distinguish us from Liberals who gave Bush approval to do what he wanted in going to war with Iraq.

    Finally, the Ann Arbor News has quoted me as saying: “It’s not like Ann Arbor is being run by the likes of the Bush Administration.” I have many years of business experience where I learned to not let things get personal. I hope to be able to work with the rest of council and not let personal issues stand in the way of what is good for Ann Arbor.

    So, now I think it is time to look forward to what is best for Ann Arbor. On my website, early on, I mentioned that I am trained in scientific method and that I am not afraid to change my opinion when empirical data prove otherwise. So, I hope to keep ego and personal agendas out of this as much as possible.


       —Ron Suarez    Aug. 12 '06 - 10:06PM    #
  32. Ron, I agree that the $40 Million grant is a bad deal for the citizens of Ann Arbor. Is there any way this issue could appear on the November ballot? I really want a chance to help shoot down this turkey. The pro-grant people on this list do not seem to understand that this sets a very bad preceident. Every developer that puts anything into the city is now going to ask for a handout. Do people remember the old Olga’s across from the Freeze Building (I remember when it was open)? That building sat vacant for years (and was a major eye sore) before a nice building was but on the site. I don’t recall the developer of the new site getting a lot from the city; in fact, I believe the developer was given a hard time over the parking issue. A First Ward Green.


       —Chuck    Aug. 13 '06 - 12:12AM    #
  33. Chuck: The building on the old Olga’s site is generally regarded as the worst in the downtown. Council voted against it more than once but the developer went to court and they had to give in because he had the zoning. It was downtown, a great site on state st. Look at all the foot traffic and students ready to pay huge rents.

    The Broadway Village site is a brownfield, polluted and as close to blighted as anything in A2. It has sat there for years. The state put the brownfield legislation together to deal with this type of property. Blighted and polluted inner city sites are redeveloped and the infrastructure is used in order to prevent “greenfield” sites outside of town, where there is no infrastructure, from being developed. I don’t think there are any more brownfield sites in A2 so you don’t need to worry about a establishing a pattern.

    Without using the brownfield legislation it seems doubtful that this site would be redeveloped for a long time. You may have missed it but the mayor and city council have said that unless the proof is in the pudding, that is the financial deal is good for the city, they will not approve it. The developer has said he needs the $40 million but the council has said it could be for $10 million or $20 million or nothing.

    The downside of not doing the development is that this site might sit there for years or it could be developed without cleaning up the pollution that is heading for the river, according to the zoning in place. A couple of people here said it would allow a big box retail, Walmart anyone? Or, the U could buy it and take it off the tax roles altogether. This is why many people favor the project and financial deal. Brownfield redevelopment is new to A2 but has been used around the state.


       —Dustin    Aug. 13 '06 - 11:54AM    #
  34. other neighborhoods at the edge of town, where a banker might be viewed more favorably than someone who has been a political activist for decades

    Why, Ron, whatever are you implying about the edges of Ann Arbor? :)


       —Murph.    Aug. 13 '06 - 02:18PM    #
  35. Dustin,

    “The building on the old Olga’s site is generally regarded as the worst in the downtown.”...By whom? I happen to think it is not a bad building. It is about seven stories high and provides housing for students where it is needed. It has a nice brick exterior and as far as I am concerned is a much better use to put the space to than the old Olga’s ever was. You are proving my point; give the developers a hard time and they will take you to court to build without ever broaching the issue of a subsidy. You don’t want to act desperiate in negotiations; you always come out on the losing end if you do. The brownfield in question can be cleaned up at a net cost of one million dollars to the city which is the only thing I think the city should spend money on.
       —Chuck    Aug. 13 '06 - 06:30PM    #
  36. Honestly, I think the building on the Olga’s site looks like a old tenement. It’s dreadful. It might serve a useful purpose by providing the apartments, but it contributes nothing visually pleasing to the area. The architect should be spanked.


       —Regular on State Street    Aug. 14 '06 - 09:20PM    #
  37. I tend to agree. It’s not real brick, first off. It’s brick facing. Yick. And it just juts up from the street. Apparently this isn’t the design that council approved. Staff allowed changes to occur, and so what we see isn’t what we were supposed to get. I’m pretty sure, though, that Councilman Easthope fixed that little loophole, so that’s a good thing.


       —Young OWSider    Aug. 14 '06 - 09:46PM    #
  38. Maybe people on this list will take strong exception to my view; but, I remember the old Olga’s pretty well and believe me, the current building is a lot more useful. Yes, the building does remind me of many structures by Wayne State on Woodward in Detroit, and I’m not so sure this is good or bad. However, I really am in favor of dense population development downtown and this building did the right thing as far as I am concerned in building up more than three stories (plus the developer did not ask for a hand-out from the city!) The building will also generate a hell of a lot more tax revenue for the city than the Olga’s ever did; and I doubt the students living there will draw in city services anywhere near what the taxes on the building are. This building is and was a win-win for the city. BTW, won’t the new North Quad across the street just jut up from the street as well?


       —Chuck    Aug. 14 '06 - 10:23PM    #
  39. As the author of the POW! article about Leigh Greden’s ethics, I would like to respond to Margie Teall’s email which attacked the truthfulness of the article.

    1. Margie says that the article/email was “filled with lies,” but does not identify a single factual statement in the material that she asserts is, in any way, false. Certainly, she doesn’t demonstrate that anything in the material is false.

    2. I do not agree that it is “common” for attorneys to represent private clients before public bodies on which they sit. I think it is, in fact, rather uncommon. For example, I have been informed by an attorney with a large law firm, who also sits on an elected public body, that the firm maintains a “Chinese Wall” policy about such situations. If an attorney in the firm is on a public body, the entire firm, not just the particular attorney, will decline to represent the client, even an existing one, on any matter before that public body.

    Even if this situation does sometimes exist, that does not mean that it is ethical. Margie and Leigh are free to take a different view of ethical standards, but nothing POW! said in this regard is false or can it be called “disingenuous,” “lies” or “misinformation.”

    There is a particular problem with Leigh’s actions. This was not a situation where Leigh had an established relationship with the client and had represented it on this matter. Quite to the contrary. As an attorney in his firm’s Employment Law section, it appears that he had nothing whatsoever to do with this client or this matter, before or since setting up the meeting in question. It appears that it was, specifically, his status as a public official and his likely relationship of some sort with another public official of the same party which prompted his involvement. This has the hallmarks of influence-peddling.

    3. Margie says that Leigh has made clear that his firm represents Broadway Village. I beg to differ. At least one member of the Ann Arbor Council has told me that the member was unaware of this fact. When Leigh recused himself from the June 5th bond vote, this member surmised, but did not know, that Leigh’s firm, which does a lot of bond work, might be involved in the bond issue. The member was not aware that Leigh’s firm had been representing the developer in seeking approvals from the city.

    4. Margie mischaracterizes what Janis Bobrin said. Janis merely said that a meeting of her staff and a developer to discuss such issues is not inappropriate or unusual. She was not offering any opinion regarding the ethics of Leigh in setting up such a meeting.

    Margie also leaves out a most important point. Present at the meeting were two City employees involved in the process of reviewing the Broadway Village project. These employees are ultimately responsible to the City Council and might feel pressured knowing that a member of the Council is associated with the developer. Although it is not totally clear, it is apparently the case that either Leigh or his client asked the City employees to be present, so there is not the isolation from City officials that Margie would have you believe.

    If Leigh’s involvement in the meeting was so innocent and appropriate, why was he so unthuthful about it? Ann Arbor News city government reporter Tom Gantert told me that, when he asked Leigh about the meeting, Leigh denied setting it up, stating instead that he had merely attended the meeting as a member of Council. Later, he admitted to News reporter Art Aisner that he asked for the meeting to be set as an attorney, acting at the request of his “client.” I was told this directly by Art. Unless Tom and/or Art is confused or lying, Leigh was not being straight about this issue.

    5. On the issue of contributions, it is Margie who is being disingenuous. The focus of the POW! material regarding contributions was that 12 different individuals and one PAC (Leigh’s law firm PAC) with financial interests in Broadway Village gave money to Leigh’s campaign. Six of these were principals, spouses of principals and/or employees of the developer. None lives in the Ann Arbor area. The POW! material made mention of the political affiliation of just one, McKinley CEO Albert Berriz. Berriz’ company is the leasing agent for Broadway Village. He has given over $20,000 to GOP candidates in recent years. This was pointed out to suggest that his interest in Leigh’s camaign was motivated by something other than a commitment to Democratic policies and candidates.

    If Rebekah Warren did not comply with any campaign finance law or regulation, it is appropriate to raise that issue. It says nothing about the propriety of Leigh taking thousands of dollars from contributors with an interest in a large private development pending before the City.

    The POW! material was not, as Margie characterized it, “rumors and innuendo.” It consisted of verifiable facts and POW!’s perspective on those facts.


    I have been involved in local Democratic politics for 35 years. I have never seen such questionable behavior from any local elected official, Democrat or Republican. It was totally appropriate to put these facts before the voters.

    Tom Wieder


       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 14 '06 - 11:57PM    #
  40. Tom, I feel like some of this reasoning breaks down pretty quickly –

    If Al Berriz, et al, were giving to Leigh Greden’s campaign for State Rep, they would have been acting to remove him from a position in which he could benefit the project in question. As State Rep, Greden would have no influence over individual development projects, in Ann Arbor or anywhere else. Maybe this here conspiracy is just too complex for my little mind to comprehend, but I’d appreciate an explanation of how an action to de facto remove influence in fact works to gain influence, since that seems to be what you’re saying.

    Also, city employees don’t really answer very directly to the City Council. As a municipal employee in another council/manager-structured City, I’ll point out that the employees in this meeting probably answer to the Director of Whatever Ann Arbor Calls Their Planning Department These Days, who answers to the City Manager, who answers to Council as a whole. The idea of a Council member intimidating planners three levels insulated in unwisely approving a $180m. project would seem to me to indicate either very weak-willed planners or a misunderstanding of how the city’s structure (set up, in part, to prevent exactly this) works.


       —Murph.    Aug. 15 '06 - 12:59AM    #
  41. Murph, the general election is three months away. During that time, the BV project could have a number of decision points. So I can see that there might be some thinking that influence could still be ‘bought’.

    I doubt that Greden had anything but good (for the city) intentions, but he may have made a mistake. He might have something for which to apologize. That’s for him to decide. The info that POW! provided was useful to voters and potentially to Greden himself. The way they provided it was disrespectful to all of us.

    By the way, Leigh, I had a tough time deciding who to vote for, but the reference to funding “elite” universities in your literature turned me off. I think all of our colleges should be funded fully.


       —Steve Bean    Aug. 15 '06 - 01:44AM    #
  42. Murph, as a city employee yourself do you think you would directly contradict a council member in a meeting with other elected officials? That might jeopardize your job if said council member were the vindictive type, no? Not that that’s what happened. Just thinking through the dynamic in the room.


       —Silent Partner    Aug. 15 '06 - 02:07AM    #
  43. First, I want to make clear that I take no position on the Broadway Village project and was not involved in any way with the Mayor and Council primaries. After 35 years in the city, I now live in an Ann Arbor Township “island” and could not vote in those races. My concern was solely with the state rep race.

    I make no assumptions about the intentions of Greden, the contributors or anyone else. I do not assume that there was any quid pro quo or conspiracy of any kind. If there were, I doubt that it could be proven. Greden and the BV people probably couldn’t disprove its existence to the satisfaction of opponents, either.

    I could spin a dozen different theories to fit the facts, such as: Greden offered to lobby for BV with his colleagues privately while recusing himself publicly; Greden didn’t lift a finger for BV, but was happy to take money from people who thought he might; Greden was just too focused on winning his state rep race to realize how things looked. Any of these could be true…or none of them. I just don’t know.

    What I do know is that, if Greden hadn’t accepted those contributions and hadn’t set up that meeting, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. And that’s the issue as much as anything. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest undermines the public’s faith in the system. Greden was completely insensitive to this, and that alone, says a lot.


       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 15 '06 - 01:33PM    #
  44. “I could spin a dozen different theories to fit the facts” – but of course doing so would be slanderous speculation, so he won’t… oh wait he will.

    “Any of these could be true…or none of them. I just don’t know.” – but that won’t stop him from spreading malicious rumors to get revenge against Greden for calling him out on his greed years ago.

    “Even the appearance of a conflict of interest undermines the public’s faith in the system” – but not as much as Wieder accusing honest public servants (he happens to have a personal beef with) of corruption even though he freely admits “I doubt that it could be proven”


       —Tom Wieder should be ashamed of himself    Aug. 16 '06 - 02:15AM    #
  45. Well, I guess I know why I’ve never participated in this sort of forum before. There are too many people who don’t bother with rational argument and just hurl mindless insults and, oh yeah, do it anonymously. I have nothing to be ashamed of and put my name on my comments, unlike the “contributor” above.

    You just don’t get it, do you? I was attempting to respond to Murph’s questions about what the possible “conspiracy” might be that was behind the facts which I have laid out. My point is that we should not speculate about Greden’s or anyone else’s intentions; we should not be promoting any number of conspiracy theories. And we don’t need to. The indisputable facts – Greden’s receipt of 12 contributions from people with a financial interest in BV; his setting up a private meeting for a client (BV) with business before the City; his untruthful response to a reporter about what he’d done – are red flags for almost anyone who is sensitive to ethical issues involving public officials. Ignore the conspiracy “theories,” the facts are damning enough.

    Unless you think that a breach of ethics is the same as “corruption,” I never accused Greden of the latter. I have stated the facts, as well as my opinion that those facts represent unethical behavior. Do you dispute the facts, or you just don’t think that they represent unethical behavior? The facts that I have laid out are, indeed, “proven” – they come primarily from Greden’s own statements and campaign finance reports – and that’s why I limit my conclusions to those facts.


       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 16 '06 - 04:35AM    #
  46. Re 31: Ron, with all due respect, that is bulls—t. Of the thousand people I have talked to in the last month, not a single one told me they were opposed to the Broadway Village plan, but it would be disingenuous for me to then write a letter to the editor saying that 1000 of 1000 people approved the plan because I didn’t ask most of them what they thought of the plan, just as you didn’t ask the people you talked to about the plan. It’s fine that you didn’t ask, but then you shouldn’t publicize the results of your “survey,” given that it was not scientifically valid in any way, and didn’t even ask the question you claimed it answered. I hope you will conduct yourself in a more professional manner when you take your seat on the council.


       —Emily    Aug. 16 '06 - 12:14PM    #
  47. To switch gears from the acrimony for a moment:

    Now that the primary is over, we can start focusing on the general. There’s an important state house race going on to our West, in Jackson. Please check out the website to see how this really important campaign is proceeding. Democrats need to retake the House to have any chance in Michigan, and this seat is a great place to start.


       —dasbates    Aug. 16 '06 - 02:46PM    #
  48. Emily,

    Maybe Ron’s busy brushing up on the City budget and tax rates:

    http://arborupdate.com/article/1303/city-council-candidates-file#c012541


       —John Q.    Aug. 16 '06 - 04:42PM    #
  49. Silent Partner –
    Obviously, since elected officials are omniscient and infallible, there’s no need for staff to ever contradict them.

    Oh, no, wait. Municipal staff are there exactly because elected officials are not superpowered. I would hope any meeting between an applicant and an elected official on something as large as BV would have City staff on hand!

    I don’t know what was discussed in the meeting that POW! has such issues with, or who asked whom to attend. I will acknowledge that it is imaginable that something was inappropriate about this meeting. I will stop well short, however, of stating that I think it was wrong of Councilmember Greden to attend the meeting in any capacity.


       —Murph    Aug. 16 '06 - 04:44PM    #
  50. At a time of staff cuts, any City staff member who crosses any City Council member does so at his/her own risk.


       —David Cahill    Aug. 16 '06 - 04:56PM    #
  51. Tom, voices from the peanut gallery are just part of the scene here. Don’t take them too seriously.

    I like Leigh, and I would defend him against any charge of corruption. People gave money to his state rep campaign, I think, because they wanted him to win, not as part of any city council quid pro quo.

    Still, I wish Leigh had done a better job keeping himself above any appearance of impropriety on the Broadway Village matter. Under the circumstances, he shouldn’t be surprised that people are raising questions about it.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 16 '06 - 05:25PM    #
  52. Murph – The problem is Greden wasn’t acting as a public official attending as part of official business. He set the meeting up as an attorney for a client. By recusing himself from the vote on the BV bonds, he was recognizing the inherent conflict in taking any action as a public official on a client’s project pending before the city. To then set up a private meeting with city employees present is inconsistent with the required recusal. He was publicly admitting that he was ethically required to stay clear, but privately acting in a way that might have influenced city decision-making.

    I hate to disagree with my wise and experienced friend (no sarcasm, I really mean it) Larry Kestenbaum, but I have trouble believing that the 6 Strathmore Development-connected contributors to Greden’s campaign, including two spouses of partners, none of whom lives anywhere near here, give a damn about who is the Democratic nominee in the 53rd State Rep district. To belive that these 6 $100 contributions were not motivated by their financial interest in BV is pollyannish.


       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 16 '06 - 06:56PM    #
  53. For someone lurking in the peanut gallery for lo these many comments, as I have, a question arises. Where, eventually, is this strong indignation supposed to lead? The primary vote took place, Warren won easily, and the Greden campaign is now defeated and done. Yet the intensity of the contest’s final days continues to burn. For those of you keeping the Greden/Bobrin/staff meeting about Broadway Village in the public eye, is this a final, post-mortem release of strong feelings – or is there a future resolution of the matter that you wish to see happen?

    Here is a short laundry list of sample future possibilities:
    In the end, do you want a public apology from Greden? His resignation from Council, with or without an investigation? Or for him to switch to the Republican Party? Is this about additional campaign finance reform – at the City/Council level? Or greater oversight of possible conflict-of-interest situations for Council members? Could this be the opening salvo of a year-long campaign for the 2007 Dem primary in the 3rd Ward if Greden runs again? Or about weakening Council support for the Broadway Village project by way of condemning Greden’s actions and campaign fundraising?

    The questions above represent speculation, as do the judgments in this discussion about the purpose of the meeting, the participation of City staff, and especially about Greden’s impact on staff participation. As far as I can tell (please correct me if I’m wrong), none of the staff who were present at that meeting have publicly spoken about it. The mindsets that writers here project onto the staff members range from ho-hum ( When does this meeting end? I haven’t had lunch yet. ) to terrified ( If I say anything that upsets Leigh, I might lose my job! ). We don’t really have a clue about their actual attitudes at the time. We don’t know whether Greden’s presence bent their will in some way or other.

    We do, however, have appearances. And intriguing appearances they are. In that sense Leigh has certainly created an interesting situation for himself. Was the meeting in question a mundane bit of nothing? Or could it have been a fire sale on influence peddling? Or somewhere in between? We just don’t know.

    Where do you want to go with this, if anywhere?


       —hale    Aug. 17 '06 - 05:00AM    #
  54. The way I heard it, Greden made a pass at Weider’s Mom some years back and Weider is all WE HATES THEM!! WE HATES THEM!! over Greden ever since and ever more.


       —Rhümer Maanger    Aug. 17 '06 - 08:56PM    #
  55. Hale- I think that you raise very legitimate questions. Speaking only for me, I can say that I thought it was important to clear the air. Greden, Margie Teall and some other supporters tried to portray Greden as a “victim” of “lies” and “mudslinging” by Warren, her supporters and POW! While that isn’t true, these myths tend to linger, unless addressed promptly and thoroughly. Rebekah Warren is likely to represent A2 for six years or more in some capacity. Leigh Greden may run again for Council or other office. The fullest understanding of the issues raised in this campaign is best for future political discourse and decision-making by both candidates and voters.

    I also think it was very important to examine the underlying ethical principles, such as whether members of council should seek or accept contributions from people with projects needing city approval and how completely must a member of council distance him or herself from the activities of a private client with such business before the city. Perhaps, this post-primary exchange about these things will help people decide what the best answers are to these questions.


       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 17 '06 - 10:31PM    #
  56. “Speaking only for me, I can say that I thought it was important to clear the air. Greden, Margie Teall and some other supporters tried to portray Greden as a “victim” of “lies” and “mudslinging” by Warren, her supporters and POW! ”

    With all due respect, Tom, there is simply no way that this whole Greden conflict business just happened to appear mere days before a Primary, using the pen/computers of very group that Greden is running against.

    Second, it is completely and utterly impossible for Council members to avoid accepting contributions from people/companies that are going to have business dealings with the City. It can’t be done.

    Want some examples that come to mind?

    Sonia Schmerl. Ran a campaign on getting a Greenway installed, and installed NOW! She claimed that she didn’t take any money from developers, as if that would get rid of any conflict of interest. She did, however, take a bunch of money from homeowners who live right next to the (current) proposed path the Greenway.

    Now from the charges you are levelling at Greden, this is a conflict of interest since these campaign contributor stand to gain a bunch of $$$ if this Greenway is voted through, so Sonia should be ashamed of herself for taking the money.

    Further, from what you are saying about Greden, if Sonia had been elected and the Greenway proposal came before Council, Sonia couldn’t just recuse herself from voting (like that would happen!)....that would somehow not be enough.

    In addition, would Sonia be allowed to vote on any proposed projects that are near these her contributor’s homes? Not according to you. That would be a conflict. The private people who gave her campaign funds would stand to gain a significant amount if money if the Greenway was installed, and the same thing goes for new projects. So that’s a no-no, right?

    From my perspective, thumbs up for Sonia. She can take contributions from anyone she likes, and she doesn’t, as you seem to be saying, have to ask her donors what their motivations are.

    Finally, since this has somehow escaped your attention, the developer in question is a property owner in Ann Arbor, and has business to do in this town. Yep, just like you. Just like me. They have a right to contribute funds to whomever they wish….just like you and me…and without your sinister sounding questions about why they are donating funds.

    We all have conflicts, Tom. Remember those fundraisers that you attended at Arbor Brewing? Do the Greff’s not have licenses to renew ever year? I know that we do. Council can run us out of town any time that they please.

    Council also rules on a bunch of things that affect the Greff’s (and the Leopold’s): millages, fees, or even things like the law that addressed panhandling. Remember that law? How many of the Dems that obtained funds from the Greff’s abstained from voting on that issue that clearly affected the Greff’s (and Leopold’s btw) business? Let me save you the trouble of looking it up none of them did.

    ....and, of course, none of them should. The Greff’s should hold as many fundraisers as they damn well please, without hamfisted charges of a conflict of interest. This is a small city, and it’s impossible to avoid conflicts, particularly if you own a small business, a home, or if, in Greden’s case, you are a lawyer.

    You asked for opinions, so here’s mine:

    He recused himself from voting on the project in question. The Primary is over. Let it go.


       —todd    Aug. 18 '06 - 12:15AM    #
  57. Todd-

    You suggest that there was some sort of concerted strategy by Warren supporters to spring the Greden conflict on him and the public just days before the primary. Since I am responsible for this story getting out, I can tell you that isn’t what happened. I learned about the meeting at the Drain Commissioner’s office for the first time on about July 19th or 20th. No later than July 21st, I shared that information with Tom Gantert and Art Aisner of The News. A few days later, I told Aisner about the BV-related contributors on Greden’s earlier contribution report. Aisner ran his story about the meeting, not mentioning the contributions, on July 30th. No one in the Warren campaign or POW! knew about the meeting before I did, so nobody was sitting on this. When The News did such a lousy job of reporting it, a fuller set of facts was sent by me to my personal email list and written up for the POW! Voter Guide. If I’d known about it sooner, I would have brought it to light sooner.

    I think that you are confusing two related, but somewhat different, issues in your discussion. A conflict of interest for an elected official occurs, primarily, when the official has a personal interest in a matter on which the official has to act in his or her official capacity. For example, a congressperson who owns stock in an oil company, and there is a vote on a tax break for oil companies. Greden voting on a project being put forward by a company that employs his law firm fits this. So would lobbying his council colleagues for the project or pressuring a city employee.

    It is not really a conflict of interest to vote on matters that benefit one’s contributors. For example, a congressperson who received contributions from oil company PACs, but didn’t have any financial interest in oil companies, would not be precluded from voting on the tax break for oil companies. Sonia Schmerl would not be precluded from voting for the Greenway, just because the property values of some of her contributors might go up. If the Greenway benefited her personal property in a way significantly different from other property owners, only then would she probably have to recuse herself.

    Saying that something isn’t a conflict of interest doesn’t end the matter, though. It may not be a conflict of interest to vote for what your contributors want, but if the elected official seems to be more interested in serving the desires of a few contributors, rather than the broader constituency, that’s when people get concerned. In some cases, what the contributors want, and what the public at large wants, are the same. Pro-choice PACs might be large contributors to an Ann Arbor state rep, but Ann Arbor voters are overwhelmingly pro-choice, so a rep voting that way in the Legislature could hardly be criticized.

    There’s often a chicken-and-egg problem here. Is the legislator voting a certain way because he or she received campaign contributions, or are the contributors giving because the legislator agrees with them? We can’t be sure. The whole point of campaign finance disclosure is to let the public see who’s getting money from whom and reach their own conclusions.

    Yes, Peter Allen is an Ann Arbor resident and one of the owners of the BV project, but he is now just a minority owner. The six Strathmore Development Co.-connected contributors, and the company itself, are all from Ingham County. They certainly have a right to contribute to whomever they want. And we are certainly justified in asking what they are getting, or think they might be getting, for their money.


       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 18 '06 - 02:35AM    #
  58. “we are certainly justified in asking what they are getting, or think they might be getting, for their money.”

    tom, you continue to tar leigh greden with innuendo and implication.

    no one can doubt your talent.

    enough already.


       —peter honeyman    Aug. 18 '06 - 03:07AM    #
  59. Weider “I think that you are confusing two related, but somewhat different, issues in your discussion.”

    Tom, my post was in response to this paragraph in your previous post:

    Weider “I also think it was very important to examine the underlying ethical principles, such as whether members of council should seek or accept contributions from people with projects needing city approval and how completely must a member of council distance him or herself from the activities of a private client with such business before the city.”

    If I chose the wrong phrase (conflict of interest), my mistake. But my entire post explains how candidates, in your own words, “accept contributions from people with projects needing City approval”. It is impossible to avoid this, as I explained in detail.

    And even if you are telling the truth (I assume that you are, no offense intended) about the date that you obtained the ‘information’ about the meeting in question, why did you feel it necessary to take it to the Ann Arbor News the very next day? Why not the Mayor? Or our City Attorney? Or the Dems? Or Greden himself? What was the rush?

    Further, in post #57, in your very own words, “It is not really a conflict of interest to vote on matters that benefit one’s contributors”.

    So my question is, if it isn’t a conflict of interest to vote on a matter dealing with your contributors, why in the heck did you feel it mandatory to, again in your own words, “a few days later, (tell) Aisner (AA News) about the BV-related contributors on Greden’s earlier contribution report.”

    In other words, if the only thing that was bothering you was that Greden allegedly set up a meeting for his client, why did you contact the paper about campaign funding which, by your own rules, is completely above board?


       —todd    Aug. 18 '06 - 04:04AM    #
  60. Oh, and Tom,

    I’d like to add that I’m not some diehard Greden supporter. I like him. I think he’s done a fine job as a Councilperson.

    I just don’t like mudslinging. I am not a registered Democrat, even though I’ve never once in my life voted for a Republican.

    This past Primary has made my choice to remain and Independant seem like a brilliant decision.

    I feel, to quote JulieW, like I need to wash my hands a few times now…... Ick.


       —todd    Aug. 18 '06 - 04:11AM    #
  61. Crap. Apologies for the typos/misspellings.


       —todd    Aug. 18 '06 - 04:20AM    #
  62. Todd-

    I’m confused. First, you seemed concerned that this issue was raised just days before the primary. Now, you’re asking what the rush was in bringing it to light. The “rush” was that the primary was fast approaching. We’ve established a system of campaign contribution reporting in this country so that voters can evaluate for themselves the significance of a candidate’s sources of campaign funds. In this situation, we had the added fact that the candidate had already taken a not-visible-to-the-public action on behalf of those contributors. These are the things that some voters want to know about, and it doesn’t do much good telling them after the election. It is also the case that the news media and voters are suspicious of negative information brought up at the last minute of a campaign, no matter how verifiable or reliable that information may be. I was trying to avoid the very criticism that the issue was held back and timed for release too late for it to be properly evaluated or responded to.

    As far as taking the info to the others you mentioned…you’ve got to be kidding. To Greden or his political ally Hieftje? They are the last people who would deal with this issue publicly and with any objectivity. The City Attorney? First of all, these are ethical and/or political questions; I don’t think there’s any legal issue for the Attorney. Plus, the Attorney works for the Council; he can’t investigate his own client. To the Dems? I’m not sure what you mean. Put it on the agenda for the next city party meeting? There isn’t any Democratic Party forum or tribunal for dealing with such things.

    “Not a conflict of interest” and “completely above board” are not the same – there’s a lot of room between the two. The pursuit of a certain policy result may not be a conflict of interest, but it it’s done just because the candidate received a contribution, or to obtain one, I wouldn’t consider that “completely above board.”

    In this situation, Greden was wearing three hats: candidate receiving campaign contributions from a developer, lawyer for firm representing developer, member of public body with developer’s project before it. I think that’s one or two hats too many, and I think the voters were entitled to see the entire picture, including both the meeting and the contributions.

    I don’t like mudslinging, either, and I don’t think that POW!, Rebekah Warren or I engaged in it. POW! and I brought out indisputable facts about things which are legitimate political issues. Nothing was misrepresented, distorted or misleading. It was tough campaigning, but it was clean.


       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 18 '06 - 06:37PM    #
  63. Oh for the love of God. Tom, you must think everyone reading this blog is stupid.

    Your involvement in this whole thing has nothing to do with some grand desire to inform the public. You have a personal vendetta against Greden for reasons unrelated to this campaign. It dates back to when you made millions from the public schools in the substitute teacher lawsuit. Everyone knows it. Take the advice of the prior posts: give it up and move on.

    Considering your teenager-like inability to let it go, I’ll try to force the issue by changing the topic back to something more related to this link:

    Sonia and Alice strongly supported a full-scale Greenway, and strongly opposed downtown development. They both lost. (Ron Suarez did not strongly support a full-scale Greenway, or strongly oppose downtown development; he was mixed on both, and thus his race is less relevant).

    Considering these results, is a fullscale Greenway dead? Discuss.


       —PJ    Aug. 18 '06 - 08:44PM    #
  64. You’re making a classic “ad hominem” attack on Tom Wieder, PJ. Discuss his arguments, not his alleged ulterior motivations.


       —David Cahill    Aug. 18 '06 - 08:59PM    #
  65. Tom Wieder is alleging impropriety on behalf of Greden, questioning his ethics and character. By your logic (and my dictionary), Cahill, he is making a classic “ad hominem” attack. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Am I the only one who read this?:

    To belive that these 6 $100 contributions were not motivated by their financial interest in BV is pollyannish.

    Let me borrow that calculator of yours. Okay. Thanks… Hold on… $600. Please allow me to define “pollyannish” for you. Pollyannish is thinking that a $600 donation can have any greater impact upon an elected official other than compelling them to send a thank you note your way (that is, unless, I woke up in 1936 and said figure was not adjusted for inflation).


       —FAA    Aug. 18 '06 - 11:28PM    #
  66. Oh, right, it was the substitute teachers suit … I had Wieder confused for someone else who was hitting on Greden’s mom. Or was it Wieder’s mom? Or sister? No, wait, it was Weider hitting on someone’s girlfriend. Or was that Conan Smith?

    Anyway, I knew Weider had a personal bone to pick of long standing with Greden.


       —Rhümer Maanger    Aug. 19 '06 - 01:54AM    #
  67. Regardless of any bone picking, Tom could still be right – and I think he is.


       —David Cahill    Aug. 19 '06 - 12:38PM    #
  68. Wait, hold the phone – google tells me that people seem to be attacking Tom over this lawsuit against the AAPS for screwing over hundreds of substitute teachers? Sorry, but that’s not a criticism I’m willing to sign on to. Hell, I’ll buy Tom a drink for that one. (_How_ many educators’ union members are in my family?)

    More importantly, though, WTF does that suit have to do with Greden? Not that I don’t think Tom’s criticisms are making mountains of molehills, but let’s keep it relevant.


       —Murph.    Aug. 19 '06 - 01:26PM    #
  69. Wieder“As far as taking the info to the others you mentioned…you’ve got to be kidding. To Greden or his political ally Hieftje? They are the last people who would deal with this issue publicly and with any objectivity. The City Attorney? First of all, these are ethical and/or political questions; I don’t think there’s any legal issue for the Attorney. Plus, the Attorney works for the Council; he can’t investigate his own client. To the Dems? I’m not sure what you mean. Put it on the agenda for the next city party meeting? There isn’t any Democratic Party forum or tribunal for dealing with such things.”

    Tom, we’re spinning our wheels here because it’s pretty clear to me that you and I don’t speak the same language—-which is fine. This is your political party not mine.

    But from by perspective, the quote above is a pretty ugly glimpse into the M.O. of the Dems. You can call me naive, or stupid, or whatever, but I the first phone call that I would have made after receiving this ‘information’ would have made would have specifically been to Greden.

    I wouldn’t call him so that we can figure out how to ‘spin’ it. I would call him because we are both adults, and if I had a problem with something that I heard that he had done, I would ask hime, “hey Leigh, I heard that you did so and so, what gives?”. If I thought that Leigh had done something bad, my next calls would be to whoever the ‘important’ Dems in the area, to give them a heads up, and to discuss a plan of action….again, not to cover anything up, but surely, Tom, you understand that there were several people in that room, and that you should probably have figured out what the facts were before you called the papers.

    I wasn’t questioning whether or not you sandbagged Leigh by holding this info. until the Primary. Nope. What I am questioning is why you went to the Ann Arbor News 48 hours after you received some pretty damn vague information about your candidate’s opponent. You responded by telling me in so many words, “hey, the Primary was a few days away”. That’s my whole point, Tom. You weren’t looking out for Ann Arbor. You are the supporter of Leigh’s opponent, and you had found a way to get some easy votes from AANews readers using innueundo and incomplete information. If this isn’t ‘mudslinging’ to you, well, you and I have different understandings of that word.

    But again, this is your party, not mine. I think that if the standard operating procedure for the Dems is to call the papers first, and ask the questions later, I think that you’ve got a pretty lame idea as to what party unity is.

    People wonder how Bush got elected. Twice. Look no further.


       —todd    Aug. 19 '06 - 05:12PM    #
  70. Todd, we Michigan Dems carried this state twice. Bush was appointed president in 2000 by a corrupt Supreme Court.


       —David Cahill    Aug. 19 '06 - 07:55PM    #
  71. “Bush was appointed president in 2000 by a corrupt Supreme Court.”

    Yeah, well, maybe, but they might not have had the opportunity had not 50 million-plus of our fellow Americans voted for the guy. Which I kinda think is the larger problem….


       —Bruce Fields    Aug. 19 '06 - 08:11PM    #
  72. “Todd, we Michigan Dems carried this state twice. ”

    I know, Dave. I’m politically naive (apparently), but I’m not a complete moron. And, btw, I was happy to help the Dem’s cause on both occassions.

    I was speaking more to Tom’s (I’ve never met the guy) response to my question “why didn’t you call Greden?” He seemed to be implying that that would be absurd, which tells me that shoot first with the press first, and ask questions later is SOP in the Democratic party as a whole (locally, and worse, perhaps regionally and nationally).

    If this is the case, then may I suggest that Tom’s view is part of a larger problem that infects the Democrats at every level?

    If a simple courtesy call to Greden could have answered some questions that may turn out to have some important answers is too much to ask, then it is my belief that the Democratic party is in a lot worse shape than I ever thought.

    Just one man’s opinion…..and, again, I’m not a Dem, so maybe I just don’t get it…..


       —todd    Aug. 19 '06 - 08:40PM    #
  73. Todd – “What I am questioning is why you [Tom] went to the Ann Arbor News 48 hours after you received some pretty damn vague information about your candidate’s opponent. You responded by telling me in so many words, “hey, the Primary was a few days away”. That’s my whole point, Tom. You weren’t looking out for Ann Arbor. You are the supporter of Leigh’s opponent, and you had found a way to get some easy votes from AANews readers using innueundo and incomplete information.”

    Todd, the information was not vague or incomplete, and not a single fact that I have stated has been challenged, by Greden or anyone else. The facts of Greden setting up that meeting, and who attended, are not in dispute. Nor are the identities of his contributors. And it wasn’t innuendo. I did not, and do not, suggest that anything improper took place in the meeting. I couldn’t know that. I was stating quite directly (which is not innuendo) that Greden’s role in setting up the meeting was, itself, improper.

    You are being naïve about politics, and there’s nothing peculiar to Democrats in the way in which this was handled. So, I, as a supporter of his opponent, go to Greden and ask him if what I’ve been told is true. And he if he denies it, I take his word for it? Sure. And if he admits it, then what?

    Taking something like this to the news media is a perfectly reasonable way to go, especially when you have reliable information. It’s not as if the paper will print whatever I tell them without challenge. As in this case, the first thing they did was ask Greden. He lied to the first reporter; then told the truth to the second. They printed the truth. What’s wrong with that?

    Call the “important” Dems, develop “a plan of action?” I don’t know what this means. Some of the “important” Dems supported Greden; others supported Warren; others ran for cover. What do you think will happen – a committee of self-appointed elders of the party will get everybody to agree on what the truth is? And then, they will communicate it to the party faithful? Elections are a competition. Even when they’re totally clean, they can be tough, and that’s okay. And these “why don’t we all just get along” solutions that you seem to think we should use don’t really exist.


       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 21 '06 - 12:53AM    #
  74. Weider “And these “why don’t we all just get along” solutions that you seem to think we should use don’t really exist.”

    Yeah, well, then I guess that I’m an idiot for expecting better behavior out of my elected Representatives and the parties they belong to.

    This reinforces why I’d make the World’s Worst Councilperson. I wouldn’t last five minutes in such a toxic environment.

    I’ve had my say.

    Good luck in November, Tom.


       —todd    Aug. 21 '06 - 02:43AM    #
  75. I have it from inside the NEWS that Greden never lied to the reporters. Greden’s responses to their questions were consistent the whole time. Wieder’s claims to the contrary are false.


       —Observer    Aug. 21 '06 - 06:11PM    #
  76. Oh, and Tom, welcome to Arbor Update.

    Just because you and I don’t see eye to eye on this issue, doesn’t mean that you aren’t welcome here.

    You were kind enough to answer my questions, and even though I didn’t like your answers, kudos for giving answers in the first place.

    Cheers


       —todd    Aug. 21 '06 - 07:17PM    #
  77. In response to Observer: I don’t know who your sources are, or what they’re telling you. This, I do know. In a telephone conversation with Tom Gantert, Tom told me that he asked Greden about the meeting, and Greden said he “attended it as a councilperson.” Art Aisner subsequently told me, and also reported in his story, that Greden asked to have the meeting set up on behalf of “his clients.” These conversations with the two reporters are the basis for my assertion. I suppose it’s possible that Gantert misled me or misquoted Greden, but until he and/or Greden disputes my version of what Greden told Gantert, I’m standing by my claim.


       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 22 '06 - 02:43AM    #
  78. A commonly used press tactic is to tell you something that may not be quite true, such as “he said this or that” in order to get you to say something you might not have said otherwise. After all, they are not being quoted, you are, they just want a juicy story. The reporters who employ this tactic will of course never own up to it after the fact. Reporters are only accountable for what appears in print. It is a mistake to base any accusation on information gathered off the record from a reporter.


       —Dustin    Aug. 22 '06 - 01:06PM    #
  79. Dustin-Having been both a reporter and a source, I think your description of “common” tactics by reporters is a bit off the mark. I’ve never encountered a reporter blatantly fabricating something to get a reaction, since the reaction to something false wouldn’t be very useful. In this case, Gantert didn’t try to get any information from me. Moreoever, a reporter is “accountable” for what he says to sources and others in his community in the sense that, if he lies to them, it could seriously impair his credibility and ability to do his job. And Gantert did not say that his comments to me were “off the record.” He exacted no promise from me that I couldn’t repeat what he said and attribute it to him.

    But this is beside the point. Greden bought a half-page election eve ad in The News largely to denounce the alleged mudslinging (the ad actually read “mudsliding”) against him. Margie Teall has sent emails and a post to this blog decrying the lies against Greden. But they have not identified anything which they say was false.

    I have, here and elsewhere, acknowledged responsibility for the allegation and have detailed the sources of my information. I don’t think that citing of anonymous sources at the News by an unidentified blog contributor and speculation, without any support, that Tom Gantert may have been using a particular tactic is much of a response.


       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 22 '06 - 05:07PM    #
  80. This may seem random, but does anyone have an email address for Ron Suarez?


       —Travis Radina    Aug. 26 '06 - 08:38PM    #
  81. Travis,

    Washtenaw County’s website posts certain contact information about candidates for office. There’s an email for Ron Suarez there


       —HD    Aug. 26 '06 - 09:57PM    #
  82. Thanks


       —Travis Radina    Aug. 26 '06 - 10:05PM    #