Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

City Council Primary Shaping Up

13. June 2007 • Juliew
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A reader writes:
The deadline is Monday, June 25 for filing for the City Council primary elections on August 7. As of June 6, no Republicans have taken out petitions.

For the Democrats::
1st Ward: John Roberts has petitions out and current Councilperson Bob Johnson is not running again.
2nd Ward: Stephen Rapundalo has already filed.
3rd Ward: Leigh Greden has petitions out.
4th Ward: Marcia Higgins has petitions out.
5th Ward: Wendy Woods and Michael Anglin have petitions out.

  1. The paper yesterday said that David’s wife, Sabra Briere, had taken out petitions for the 1st ward.

       —Tom Jensen    Jun. 13 '07 - 04:48AM    #
  2. Yes, Tom is right. Sabra is circulating petitions.

    Those who follow Council politics will remember that in last year’s First Ward Democratic primary, John Roberts, who was the incumbent, was beaten solidly by a newcomer, Ron Suarez.

    With this history of failure, it is difficult to see how Roberts can do well this year. I can’t remember any instance in which a local incumbent defeated in a primary has come back to win later. Can anyone else?

       —David Cahill    Jun. 13 '07 - 04:33PM    #
  3. I think back to when the council became all dems and at the time all I could think about was disaster scenarios (resolutions on the Iraq war every week, making “Inconveneient Truth” mandatory viewing for elementary students, Palestine this, environment that, greenways cris-crossing town, Sierra Club, no development, blah, blah, blah).

    If there were even one lonely republican on council there would be nothing but endless 10-1 votes.

    But to my astonishment, having all one party actually makes each council member think independantly! What a pleasant surprise. They actually voice their own opinions about subjects and are not just party hacks towing the line. I kind of like it now and don’t want to go back.

       —imjustsayin    Jun. 13 '07 - 08:55PM    #
  4. Sure, but I want to see Dems run opposed in primaries so the voters actually get a choice, rather than some kind of soviet-style one-party rule.

       —Cooler Heads    Jun. 13 '07 - 10:01PM    #
  5. I agree with imjustsayin. Having all democrats forces voters to actually weigh credentials. I would actually support a non-partisan council like many cities.

    I am glad that the council is broadly represented and that there is disagreement. In recent history, there were Dems elected to council who truly had no business overseeing the City because they had no useful skills to offer. They evidently liked being in politics, but they did nothing to help or guide the City. They had fuzzy thinking and seemed confused most of the time on t.v. Longtime Democrats would shake their heads and admit this in private. There are a number to choose from (pick your decade or ward.) (This has also been true of Republicans in the past, but there have been fewer and fewer of them to analyze.)

    The “I’m the real Democrat” campaign waged in the 5th ward last year by the challenger was embarrassing, and this tactic from someone who had previously a good reputation as level headed. I don’t know why she did this. Ron Suarez’s campaign was better in that it was positive, he really didn’t discuss his opponent at all; he just said he wanted the job and would bring certain skills to the table.

    I hope the caliber of candidates continues to get better. The Council as a whole seems much better than in the past. (They may be criticized on policy stands they take, but they are not the crazies of some past councils.) I hope that Republicans and independents also run—either in the Dem. primary (as Dems) or in the general election. I want the best person in, party label does not necessarily help the evaluation.

       —sometimes reader    Jun. 14 '07 - 05:44AM    #
  6. The number of people who’ve taken out petitions in the First Ward has increased to three. Meet Richard Wickboldt .

       —HD    Jun. 16 '07 - 04:24AM    #
  7. Here is Sabra’s statement of candidacy:

    Bob Johnson, a principled voice of reason on Council, has decided not to run for re-election. His voice supporting parks and natural features, and respect for citizens’ needs, will be sorely missed.

    I am running to take his place on City Council.

    I have lived in Ann Arbor for more than half my life, and here in the First Ward for almost 21 years. I raised my son, went to school, met and married my husband, worked and shopped and rented and bought houses here. Ann Arbor is my home.

    Some things make Ann Arbor unique. In our rush toward increased development, we should not lose the character that makes people want to live here instead of anywhere else. Our neighborhoods are interesting and pleasant places, not just bedroom communities. Our downtown is walkable (although we can make it more so). We are surrounded by arts, theater and music. Our citizens frequently volunteer their time to their schools, community organizations, and their city. These things enrich our community. City Council has the responsibility to keep Ann Arbor’s character in mind as it approves changes that affect us and our neighborhoods.

    City Council should listen to the citizens and make certain that change benefits all of us. Big buildings in themselves add nothing to our quality of life. In a time of serious distress for our state and city, we should repair our city hall, not replace it. And if I had been on Council recently, I would have done as Bob Johnson did — worked to keep Council’s promise to increase the parks budget.

    I believe in Ann Arbor’s future. The First Ward needs a new voice to speak for its neighborhoods, citizens, and small businesses. I bring a fresh perspective to the table.

    I have participated in civic and community activities since shortly after I moved here. I have been precinct chair and ward chair (in the First, Fourth, and Fifth Wards), have been secretary and chair of the Ann Arbor City Party, and have worked on more campaigns than I care to count.

    I am a volunteer for the Huron River Watershed Council and Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation. I am one of the gardeners for Avalon Housing. I serve on a city committee to study whether my neighborhood should be a historic district. I have also been president of the Washtenaw Branch of the ACLU and worked in large and small capacities for issues I believe in — such as the Greenway, reproductive rights, and peace.

    I have a degree in history from the University of Michigan, and work for a non-profit. My husband is a lawyer, and we live in a small, old house with three cats. Our son is grown.

    This is a contested primary. For me to be effective on Council, I need to hear from you. Please call or email me with your concerns about your neighborhood. Please share your ideas for how Ann Arbor can stay the place you want to live.

    Sabra Briere

    Paid for by Sabra Briere for City Council, 1418 Broadway, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.
       —David Cahill    Jun. 17 '07 - 05:38AM    #
  8. After that bit if tripe, I take back my previous statement.

       —injustsayin    Jun. 18 '07 - 07:17AM    #
  9. I agree that if you believe in big buildings as a fashion statement, Sabra is not the candidate for you.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 19 '07 - 04:22AM    #
  10. The number of 1st Ward candidates is up to 4. Jennifer Lawter has pulled petitions. She was at Council tonight and was well-spoken.

       —Bill T.    Jun. 19 '07 - 07:46AM    #
  11. Yes, assuming all the candidates file petitions, there will be more candidates in this primary than any other in the First Ward that I can remember. Local politics is coming alive again!

       —David Cahill    Jun. 20 '07 - 03:44AM    #
  12. “I agree that if you believe in big buildings as a fashion statement, Sabra is not the candidate for you.”

    No, she appears to be exactly the candidate for people think that buildings are primarily a fashion statement.

    The rest of us thing they’re meant to be used, and that decisions to build them or not might affect, for example:

    - the environment: Pushing development out to the suburbs is wasteful. And it’s meaningless to claim Ann Arbor is “walkable” if none of the trips people need to take are actually walking distance.

    - equality and diversity: Restricting the supply of housing and retail space keeps prices higher than necessary. And, no, subsidizing housing for a few dozen people here and there doesn’t make up for that.

       —Bruce Fields    Jun. 20 '07 - 08:29AM    #
  13. The push for development as an anti-sprawl tool seems to have been overtaken by events. The local housing industry is in serious decline, and housing prices are falling because of decreased demand.

    I am also interested in the sudden conversion of two big proposed developments downtown (William Street Station and Metro 202) from condos to hotels. Isn’t this a further sign that there is not much of a market for new housing downtown after all?

       —David Cahill    Jun. 20 '07 - 04:37PM    #
  14. David, the housing market will not be in decline forever. But unless AA is prepared to allow for more density downtown and nearby, any new housing will be out there in the county where it will create sprawl and traffic.

    Just because we prepare from a planning and zoning perspective to force future growth into the city center—where it belongs—doesn’t mean that every building in town will suddenly pop up to 25 stories.

    But it is bad for the environment and for the city’s economic health to encase it in amber so it will always be just like it was back then.

       —Cooler Heads    Jun. 20 '07 - 11:19PM    #
  15. The either/or argument appears again! From the other side, even if we allowed 25 stories downtown, we’ll still have sprawl and traffic absent other efforts to dissudade that kind of development in the townships. Taking a position against overdevelopment in the city isn’t an endorsement for sprawl. I think there’s a healthy middle ground for downtown development that’s taller than David’s 4 stories but less than 25.

       —John Q.    Jun. 21 '07 - 12:00AM    #
  16. “ From the other side, even if we allowed 25 stories downtown, we’ll still have sprawl and traffic absent other efforts to dissudade that kind of development in the townships.”

    Yes, there’s a “healthy middle ground”. But the problem, as you very well know, is that you can’t build in most of Ann Arbor. You can’t build in the neighborhoods. You can’t build NEAR the neighborhoods. You can’t build on the land that UMich owns. And you can’t build in any of the 17 “Historic” (snicker) districts in Ann Arbor, which is apparently the most historic city in the whole wide world.

    All these set asides are perfectly fine, IMHO, if you take the damn limits off, and let developers build in one, dinky downtown area to the market needs (let the market decide? What a concept). I fail to see how this is unreasonable.

    In other words, no problem, we’ll leave these areas alone. We’ll leave the parks alone, and the open space, and the farmland, and the leafy neighborhoods (hey, I kinda sound like an urban environmentalist. Shocking!), and focus on infill. So in the interest in the City as a whole, we’ll hear no griping about the few measly blocks that is Downtown Ann Arbor.

    Seems like a reasonable middle ground plan to me.

       —todd    Jun. 21 '07 - 12:57AM    #
  17. Todd, one difficulty with making downtown AA a “free-fire zone” is that those few measly blocks are the psychological center of the City. People care a lot more about those blocks than they would care about a similar-sized area elsewhere in the City.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 21 '07 - 02:52AM    #
  18. When I moved here from another part of the country, I kind of thought that downtown AA looked quaint and dumpy. If that is the psychological center of the city then we need a little renovation therapy.

       —Cooler Heads    Jun. 21 '07 - 04:34AM    #
  19. Ah, good point David, and right on cue.

    There you have it: not there, too. What was I thinking?

    The only thing missing from Dave’s, “you can’t build anywhere, bub” statement is, “I’m all for density. But just not with this project.”

    FYI, another local business casualty because of exploding rents: Back Alley Gourmet. Successful business, gone at the end of the month. Sweet.

    We’re much luckier. Our rent has “only” doubled in the last 5 years.

    ...but hey, I’m sure that it has absolutely nothing to do with supply and demand.

    Remember, kids, the laws of supply and demand don’t operate in Ann Arbor. I’ve been told that an entire section of UMich’s Economics Department has been working around the clock to try and understand this Ann Arbor economic singularity. It’s like a Bermuda Triangle that keeps cell calculators from functioning properly. Neat!

       —todd    Jun. 21 '07 - 06:52PM    #
  20. Todd, maybe your rent has doubled because your landlord recognizes what a great business you run, how many customers you have, and figures you can pay more.

    With regard to density, I’m not for more of it anywhere in AA. I think the town is fine the way it is. I won’t be a hypocrite and say I’m for it, except for a particular project.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 21 '07 - 08:42PM    #
  21. I won’t claim to be an expert in retail rental rates. I’m not. But I’ve talked with enough people who do to come to the conclusion, as Juliew did with apartment rentals, that the law of supply and demand often has little to do with the retail rental rates. Is it a factor? Sure. Is the lack of supply the only or the primary reason for rising rates? Probably not.

       —John Q.    Jun. 21 '07 - 09:03PM    #
  22. Heh. I know you’re being facetious, Dave, but thanks anyway.

    “I think that the town is fine the way it is”. This is ok, too, Dave. All that I ask from Council and the rest of the Greenway fringe is that they understand or admit (I believe it’s the latter) that this M.O. has serious repercussions on the community.

    In other words, so long as they understand that this means that:

    1. The cost of living will continue to rise at a sharp rate.

    2. Small and local businesses will not be able to operate here….unless, of course, they’re lucky enough to own their building.

    3. The median income will go through the roof. I.E. gentrification, just like Boulder.

    4. Corporations and large firms will replace the smaller companies. (this applies to your “Leopold’s landlords figures that you can afford to pay more” barb)

    5. Traffic will get much, much worse

    6. The ratio of jobs to residents will get much, much worse.

    7. The infrastructure burden of not having the tax base to sustain all the commuters will cause taxes and fees to go way up.

    8. Sprawl will accelerate

    9. Parking issues will get much worse (more commuters)

    ....I could go on, but you get the point. Every single one of these items has already happened, as you very well know.

    As long as Council and citizens know and admit that this is where we are heading, hey, that’s cool. It’s the denial that makes me so angry. This is a Republican town, and I just wish that people would stop pretending that the environment and affordability are even minor concerns.

       —todd    Jun. 21 '07 - 09:07PM    #
  23. “I won’t claim to be an expert in retail rental rates. I’m not. But I’ve talked with enough people who do to come to the conclusion, as Juliew did with apartment rentals, that the law of supply and demand often has little to do with the retail rental rates. Is it a factor? Sure. Is the lack of supply the only or the primary reason for rising rates? Probably not.”

    Well, I’m not an expert either. Not even close. The businessmen and women I talk to are, though.

    The reactions to an inability to build to demand are very, very predictable.

    1. Rents go up. That’s the primary effect, and the one that Ann Arborites like to argue about. UMich keeps growing no matter what else is happening in the State. The demand is pretty constant, except when things like new large University buildings go in, in which case demand spikes. Those buildings have massive staffs, and ancillary service businesses that go with it. The new Life Science bldg. is an example.

    2. Developers turn their capital towards buying existing space, since they can’t use it on new construction as they’d like. Look at McKinley. Snapping up existing buildings left and right. Same with Amvest. Bought our entire block

    3. These same bigger players snap up the small time players. There is now less choice in the market, and as a result, the big players can sit on their rent structure, and wait for tenants to come along. Because of their sheer size, there are tax advantages for the bigger players to sit on buildings that aren’t full.

    Vacancies go up, and the market appears to be down….this is when the big dogs invest by buying out the small dogs: in a “down” market when the little firms can’t sustain either the lower rents or the vacant units. (Sound familiar? An Ann Arbor news article on homeowners who can’t afford to rent their properties, perhaps?)

    This is one of the larger and nastier effects of not having new construction. The big dogs just wait it out….they know that UMich will send them tenants that are willing/able to spend more, and more importantly, they know that new units are unlikely to show up because it is nearly impossible to get even a modest project approved in Ann Arbor. Obviously, given this scenario, a company that holds many, many units would be cutting their own throat if they lowered rents in the 14% or so units that are vacant. So there’s another effect.

    I could go on, but you get the picture.

    Building to demand slows or eliminates (most likely just slows) the above issues. It also helps to slow sprawl. Does it eliminate it? No, of course not, but it does help slow it, and it does give a city like Ann Arbor the tax and population base to fight sprawl and car use.

       —todd    Jun. 21 '07 - 11:07PM    #
  24. Todd, can you go into something a bit deeper? In post (22) you say “This is a Republican town, and I just wish that people would stop pretending that the environment and affordability are even minor concerns.” I’m just wondering what the Republican part is you’re talking about and why you don’t think the environment and affordability are major concerns. It sure seems like people are always fired up about these issues. Do you mean folks just throw those words out but don’t really mean to do the hard work and make the hard choices involved?

    Disclaimer – I live in a mostly single family neighborhood fairly far from downtown. I’d rather not have anything built next to me more than 3 stories, 2-6 units if done well. But it seems to me that the thing that will make A2 more affordable and be a better use of land would be higher density and development downtown. How we draw the lines of what constitutes downtown is the crux. (We got a planning department in Ann Arbor for these things right? Professionals who’ve studied this stuff and can make semi-rational decisions away from the public fray? I swear I’ve read master plans for different parts of town when I was a failed historic preservation student.) Just for giggles, say, take Liberty from State to Main. Anything less than 2 or 3 stories around there seems a waste of land. I love me some Le Dog but I sure wouldn’t chain myself to the front of it if they wanted to knock it down for pretty much anything short of a slaughter house.

    It’s an oversimplification I know but we live in a two dimensional world – build up or out. Infill doesn’t just mean an empty field next to other stuff in my mind. Not everything on Liberty strikes me as Penn Station – swing the big wreaking ball if it’ll help this town and region.

       —Thomas Cook    Jun. 21 '07 - 11:46PM    #
  25. Not to put words in Todd’s mouth (he’s more than capable of speaking for himself), but I what think frustrates him is what frustrates me: AA-ites talk a good game about “progressive” values like affordability and anti-sprawl, but in practice do everything they can to thwart thses things. In addition to the “don’t build nothin’ nowhere” attitude Todd mentions, the defeat a few years ago of the accessory dwelling unit ordinance, which would have allowed people add small apartments to their homes and rent them out, shows how AA residents really feel about affordability. They are very conservative about these things.

       —Tom Brandt    Jun. 22 '07 - 01:22AM    #
  26. Ah, got ya Tom. Little c (as in chicken-) conservative; crap like “they ruined UM when they let in women at the Michigan Union” and “in my day we all mowed our lawn on Saturday afternoons and children respected their elders” with a 60’s twist. Maybe I’m a hippy Republican (my Oakland county Republican friends sure think so) but affordable housing, the accessory dwelling unit ordinance, and fighting sprawl don’t seem like progressive ideas (unless you mean old school TR type progressivism), they just seem common sense. Again, how we go about resolving these things is open to debate and compromise but what I guess I find so frustrating in this town is people think if you put a sign in your yard for something or shop at Whole Foods you’ve done your part and anyone who doesn’t is a moral and political Neanderthal.

       —Thomas Cook    Jun. 22 '07 - 01:51AM    #
  27. In my house, we call Whole Foods “Whole Paycheck.”

       —Cooler Heads    Jun. 22 '07 - 02:09AM    #
  28. FYI, another local business casualty because of exploding rents: Back Alley Gourmet. Successful business, gone at the end of the month. Sweet.

    Just a note on this comment. I have lived two blocks from Back Alley Gourmet for eleven years now. I have been there maybe a total of a dozen times—maybe. I guess some people must have liked it, but I’ve never heard anyone recommend it or even remember it was there. The employees are always standoffish, the food expensive for what it was, and it just wasn’t welcoming. It has been a weird fit there for some time. The owners supposedly had personality problems with others in the South Main Market and during the renovations last year, there were some issues with their space which resulted in the Main Street facing part of the market being mostly empty. So I don’t think it is a great fit anymore and I’m not upset to see them go. On the other hand, South Main Market now has Copernicus East European Market and Anthony’s Pizza, with Happys Pizza across the street, and the Bird of Paradise going in where Neutral Zone was. So that area is actually booming right now. I’m not sure Back Alley Gourmet’s rent increase wasn’t actually designed to make them leave.

    As for the other comments, I think the mistake here is to think anything new proposed is good and anything existing is bad. I also laugh at the idea of “building density.” You build housing units, people have to live in them to have density. You have to build the right building in the right place. If you build a building for college students that is too far from campus, you will get a big empty building. Is that the right thing to do? (William Street Station and Metro 202 are most likely going to end up as hotels and Citi Centre Lofts has changed from condos to apartments so people aren’t exactly flocking to the residential downtown now.) No one said the Elks couldn’t build on that lot. What they said was, we don’t want “that building” on this lot. The trouble in Ann Arbor is that the conversation about what is good or bad comes at the very end of the process rather than the beginning so everyone has too much at stake to back down or compromise. If these conversations happened earlier in the process and it wasn’t dragged out so much by Staff, then Planning Commission, then City Council, there would be better outcomes. We need a better process. That process will result in buildings that are better for the city, the neighbors, and the developers.

    What is particularly funny to me about all of the “anti-Ann Arborite sentiment” is that I can’t think of a new residential building proposed for downtown that has not been approved. So yes, the process is broken, because it takes too long and results in crappy buildings with no real input from the people most affected, but most buildings ultimately get approved, regardless of how good they are or if they fit the area. Right now, the biggest restriction of buildings downtown has been the economy. Ashley Mews, Loft 322, Cornerhouse Lofts, Tierra, First and William, Metro 202, Ashley Terrace, Kingsley Lane, Liberty Lofts, Zaragon Place, Citi Centre Lofts, William Street Station, The Gallery, have all been approved and those are just downtown. There are many more within the city limits that have been approved. Even Glen-Ann was approved by Council—it was only shot down by the Historic District. Why was the Kline’s lot RFP pulled? Because they only got three, not very great proposals for the First and William site. So show me all the shot-down proposals for construction downtown ‘cause I’m just not seeing them.

       —Juliew    Jun. 22 '07 - 02:52AM    #
  29. Todd, your scenarios all rely on the unstated premise that Ann Arbor is a boom town with huge unmet demand for various stuff.

    The brutal reality is that this premise was never so, except in the mind of people paid to create pro-build fantasies (like Calthorpe).

    For the past 30 years, the population has been almost steady. I don’t see slavering hordes of people camping out in parks, waiting for housing or commercial space to open up. And with the loss of Pfizer, you won’t see a boom here any time soon. Think ten years at the earliest.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 22 '07 - 03:35AM    #
  30. “AA-ites talk a good game about “progressive” values like affordability and anti-sprawl, but in practice do everything they can to thwart thses things”

    As I mentioned before, this is demonstrably wrong. How many other communities make any effort to provide affordable housing? Troy? West Bloomfield? How many communities are making an effort to build transit both within their community and regionally? Trains to Rochester Hills? Farmington Hills? Any communities out there working to preserve agricultural property? To claim that Ann Arbor is doing nothing about affordability or sprawl is rhetoric, not fact. That doesn’t mean that the city couldn’t be doing more. It can. But let’s start from reality, not by throwing bombs.

       —John Q.    Jun. 22 '07 - 03:45AM    #
  31. “I can’t think of a new residential building proposed for downtown that has not been approved.”

    Once the project is to the point of getting to city council, presumably there’s enough invested in it that they’ll modify it if at all possible to get it through. The argument as I understand it is not that nothing gets approved, but that the expense and uncertainty required to meet the requirements that come up mandates much higher-end projects than we’d otherwise see. Sounds plausible to me.

    But, hey, maybe it’s wrong. I could be convinced, but arguments that depend on metrics like whether there exist “slavering hordes of people camping out in parks, waiting for housing or commercial space” aren’t helping me much.

       —Bruce Fields    Jun. 22 '07 - 03:52AM    #
  32. Well, quite a few to respond to. I’ll start with JohnQ.

    The affordable housing funds that you speak of comes from sticking it to new arrivals, John. New development pays into the fund, and those costs are passed along to the new tenants. The rest of Ann Arbor doesn’t have to put in cent one. It’s like financial hazing. It’s pretty easy to be a good Samaritan when you’re using someone else’s checkbook. Ask a council member what happened when they tried to spread that cost to all taxpayers in Ann Arbor. I was surprised by the answer. I’m certain you would be, too. (this answers Thomas’ question about my Republican assertion…as in “Hey this makes me look like I’m paying for affordable housing, and yet I don’t have to put in any money?! Sign me up!” This can be extended to the Greenway, another Republican-like perq in that it just so happens to run right by the homes of its biggest advocates.)

    Dave, Dave, Dave. I love this circular logic. The man who is trying with all his heart and soul to ban new development swears up and down that there’s no demand. Huh? So if there’s no demand, why do you need to keep developers from building?

    More to the point, yep, you are right, the Ann Arbor population has stayed the same over that 5 year span the Census reported. Riddle me this: how many people has the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus added in students, staff, and faculty in that same amount of time?

    A little over 2,000. So without looking at any other increases in jobs because of UMich growth (like a couple new Zingerman’s hires to take care of increased catering orders). What you are trying to tell the peanut gallery is that not one single solitary new person wanted to live in Ann Arbor near the campus, and that explains why the population is the same. (yeah some people left Ann Arbor in that time period, too, but get serious).....and all this data is BEFORE Pfizer took a powder. But all of this is Sound and Fury, Dave. If you think that there’s no demand…open up the market, and you shouldn’t have to worry about anything happening.

    Julie, we’ve discussed this before, but I think that I can answer your question in another way. Remember Wendy Rampson’s angry question to the Mayor? How tall? The Mayor said we’ll find out soon? Ok. When this question is answered for the DDA area, and developers know 100% for sure that they aren’t going to make it through the process quickly and efficiently, with transparency all the way…..within 12 months of the announcement there will be more permits pulled for the downtown area than at any time in the history of the City. I’d wager $500 on that. The trick is, there has to be 100% certainty that citizens have no chance of killing a project at the end like the Elks project…..

    Bruce is right, a project that has had made it through the whole process, but then has stories lopped off by Council is a denial in my book. I’ve said this before. Much of the old guard has been patiently waiting for Council to bring clarity to the zoning and approval process. They’ve seen their peers get their financial asses handed to them on live TV (“we’re on tv?!?!) for years. Just because a project makes it through, doesn’t mean that a developer didn’t lose his shirt in the process (and, of course, pass most of the hurt along to their new tenants).

    Make the process transparent as you’ve been advocating, Julie, (it’s so nice to have you aboard) and you’ll be surprised at how much demand the developers in this town think the market has built up. The risk of the unknown is keeping them from risking their capital.

    I really think that you’re going to be surprised by what happens when these roadblocks are pulled, Julie. You’ll find out real quick that it isn’t the economy that’s the big deterrent to new construction.

    Just one man’s opinion

       —todd    Jun. 22 '07 - 04:59AM    #
  33. One other point….the average size of a household in AA has dropped from 2.32 to 2.22 people between 1990 and 2000. That means more housing units needed to house the same number of people.

    The fact that the population has not boomed doesn’t mean there’s no demand for housing, particularly housing for small households, or singles.

       —Cooler Heads    Jun. 22 '07 - 05:30AM    #
  34. Whatever Troy or West Bloomfield are or are not doing with regard to affordability are irrelevant to Ann Arbor’s claims to value it and its practice of thwarting it. As Todd pointed out, Ann Arbor’s method of promoting affordability consists of coercing developers to set aside some token units for people of moderate incomes or paying into some fund (what’s being done with that money, anyway?). Balance this against the defeat of ADUs, the scattering of the residents of the old Y to places outside of Ann Arbor with some vague plan to eventually bring them back, the strong resistance to the Carrot Way project (conveniently located on the edge of town), the inability of Habitat for Humanity to build in AA, and what I see is mere lip service to affordability.

    As for preservation of farmland, voters in Ann Arbor Twp passed a special tax to set up a fund to purchase PDRs for the preservation of agriculture land. AA Twp, along with the city of Ann Arbor’s greenbelt program and the US Dept. of Agriculture, recently made its first purchase with this fund. One or two other townships (I can’t remember which ones) have set up similar funds. But it is not clear to me that preservation of agricultural land will do much to deter sprawl.

       —Tom Brandt    Jun. 22 '07 - 05:36AM    #
  35. todd wrote: “When this question is answered for the DDA area, and developers know 100% for sure that they aren’t going to make it through the process quickly and efficiently, with transparency all the way…..within 12 months of the announcement there will be more permits pulled for the downtown area than at any time in the history of the City. I’d wager $500 on that.”

    I’m all for more wagering on AU … and didn’t someone a while back say there might be contests and prizes we could look forward to? ... because the dot com domain name of AU is zoned as consistent with that use of electronic real estate (it’s not But I don’t understand the premise of the wager. Did you mean to write “ARE going to make it through the process”?

    Also the phrase “any time in the history of the City” will require some clarification. Do you mean any calendar year, or any twelve-month window … and can that window be in an interior bedroom?

    Finally, the amount of the proposed wager is, I feel, out of scale with the economic means of most of the readership of AU. It’s out of scale with my economic means certainly. Like I said above, though, I’m not against wagering on AU, I’m just against this particular wager.

    So, todd, please revise and clarify the terms of your wager and resubmit your proposal.

       —HD    Jun. 22 '07 - 05:40AM    #
  36. Ha. If only I would read Arbor Update , I would learn that Webster and Scio twps both have land preservation millages.

       —Tom Brandt    Jun. 22 '07 - 06:25AM    #
  37. HD,

    Yep. That’s supposed to read “ARE going to…..”. Sigh. Spectacular syntax on my part, as per usual.

    To answer your question, the “window” in question is not an interior bedroom window. It is one of those shuttered storm windows. You know: for storms.

    Hope that helps.

    The wager. Hmmm. Well, I could make it a single cone at the Dairy for the victor. A double if the wager ends in the wintertime. But I should say, if you’re confident in the outcome of a bet, the amount shouldn’t matter, no?

    I’d rather wager that Julie’s going to run next time around. What gives, Julie???? No hat in the ring this year? I’ll buy the hat, you know.

    You’re on your own for buying the ring. Sorry.

       —todd    Jun. 22 '07 - 07:27AM    #
  38. Tom,

    The Greenbelt millage has paid for PDR on AG lands besides the Ann Arbor Township farm that you mentioned. These include farmland in Superior, Salem and Webster townships. As you linked to above, another 500+ acres will be protected with the assistance of the latest round of federal grants. By working with the participating townships, the city will be able to expand the number of properties that can be protected by pooling dollars. As you know, those millage both inside and outside the city were voter approved and represent a significant investment in the preservation of AG land.

       —John Q.    Jun. 22 '07 - 08:19AM    #
  39. juliew wrote. “The trouble in Ann Arbor is that the conversation about what is good or bad comes at the very end of the process rather than the beginning so everyone has too much at stake to back down or compromise. If these conversations happened earlier in the process and it wasn’t dragged out so much by Staff, then Planning Commission, then City Council, there would be better outcomes. We need a better process. That process will result in buildings that are better for the city, the neighbors, and the developers.”

    Julie, I agree with your conclusion but might state things a little differently. I would add that a lot of people involved in the process think that we do talk about projects early; as a matter of fact we do, just with the wrong people. There is clearly a disconnect between staff, Planning Commission and Council, evidenced by the fact that projects have received support from the staff, and unanimous approval from the PC, and were still turned down by Council. You know that these developers were working with staff the whole time and were still ‘gonged’.

    We do need a better process and the first step is to get on the same page. The politicians should make known to the staff and the PC the kinds of projects they can and cannot support so that they (the PC and staff) can be more helpful when they do talk to prospective developers. I would ask that candidates for council commit to some kind a development plan for the city as I do not agree with Mr. Cahill that the city can or should remain static.

    Mr. Cahill wrote, “For the past 30 years, the population has been almost steady.” And todd wrote, “…you are right, the Ann Arbor population has stayed the same over that 5 year span the Census reported.”

    Now maybe todd meant 30 years but whatever… what I didn’t read, and maybe I missed it, is what happened and is continuing to happen in the surrounding townships during that time. People say things like, “With regard to density, I’m not for more of it anywhere [emphasis added] in AA.” But do they mean the City of Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor region, the county, what? If Mr. Cahill only means the City of Ann Arbor, does he not care about the sprawl that has been occurring within the surrounding townships for the last 30 years? Sorry for the crude link but look at what has been occurring outside of the City limits.

    Notice that Pittsfield, Scio and Ypsilanti Townships have all grown a lot. So todd, as you know, there is demand, it has just gone elsewhere when it should in fact have come, at least in part, to the city.

       —abc    Jun. 22 '07 - 08:06PM    #
  40. abc,

    We do need a better process … The politicians should make known to the staff and the PC the kinds of projects they can and cannot support so that they (the PC and staff) can be more helpful when they do talk to prospective developers.

    The problem is, what does staff say to developers? “Here’s what the zoning ordinance and master plan say, so that’s what we, as staff, can support. Here are the standards that Planning Commission decisions are based on, so you can probably expect that they’ll have issues with this and that, based on this standard here. And, when you get to Council, well, they’ve said they don’t like your project even if you follow all of these standards. So good luck with that.”

    The politicians don’t need to “make known to staff and PC” what kinds of projects they like – they need to set the master plans and zoning ordinance to create the kinds of projects they like. (And, once they’ve done that, why do they need to actually see the projects? The very presence of Council in the process shows that the rules are broken.)

    As for council candidates committing to some sort of plan – the City already has Master Plans (and Master Natural Feature Plans, and Master Transportation Plans, and so forth). Council candidates should not be directly linked to development plans – we’re going to end up with everything proposed in 2008 being 4 stories tall, and then an election, and then everything proposed in 2009 being 12 stories tall, and then an election, and everything proposed in 2010 being 6 stories tall…

    The purpose of /planning/ is to prevent the shape of the city from being dictated by the whim of Council, which is in turn dictated by whomever is angry enough to get out the vote. (Do you want your city’s form to be a result of fear and anger? Ehhh, not me.) We have Planning Commissions appointed to multi-year terms so that they can smooth over the sharp changes in elected officials’ moods, and we have Master Plans that look out 10-20 years to smooth things even further.

    As Juliew mentions, there’s been a lot of development approved in the last 3-4 years in downtown Ann Arbor! This is exactly what I don’t want – years of pent-up demand suddenly finding a favorable political climate, which triggers a burst of development, some of which may not be purely rational, as David C. fears, which leads to anti-development, build-nothing backlash, and another sudden change of Council to lock down on development again. (Council membership doesn’t actually have to change for Council’s mood to shift dramatically – even the credible threat of electoral backlash is often enough to do the trick.)

    If A2 had a good development process, we wouldn’t have seen so much construction downtown in the past few years – because we would have seen a few more buildings go up in the ’90s, and a few developers might have waited a few more years, rather than suddenly everybody rushing to get in the development door for the moment that it was swung open.

    Elected officials are fickle – there are much better ways to have community participation in the planning process than taking everything to Council.

       —Murph    Jun. 22 '07 - 09:06PM    #
  41. Murph, I agree with you completely. My comments about the development plans are because council is involved in the process and has not been communicating with the standard tools, Zoning and Master Plan language etc. I fully support getting Council out of the way but, do you see that happening overnight? I am having a hard time seeing politicians giving up control, even when it is the absolute right thing to do.

       —abc    Jun. 22 '07 - 10:12PM    #
  42. Todd, let me remind you, to paraphrase the late unlamented Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld, “As you know, you have to go to war with the David Cahill you have, not the David Cahill you want.”

    I am not working to stop all development. Did I show up at the Avery House hearing, rending my garments? N-o-o. It has been several years since I spoke to Council about development. Plus, as every schoolchild knows, I am a member of the Library Board, and we have built two big new libraries to replace embarrassingly inadequate facilities, with a third on the way.

    So you may call me “Dave the Developer.” 8-)

    Please focus on reality, rather than your own paranoia.

    With regard to the planning process, people are right about last-minute turn-downs. They are bad for the developers, and they are bad for neighborhoods, which have to rely on the “politics of mass mobilization.”

    A year or so ago, here on Arbor Update, Jennifer Hall was pushing a procedure which is used elsewhere, and which requires that neighborhoods be brought into the process formally at the earliest stage. Then Jennifer was elevated to the DDA, so I guess her idea died. I would actively support such an idea.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 22 '07 - 10:42PM    #
  43. Cahill built two suburban-style libraries out in stripmallville while threatening to shutter the downtown branch. That’s pretty consistent with the consensus assessment that he’s ruining downtown while promoting sprawl.

       —Parking Structure Dude!    Jun. 22 '07 - 10:57PM    #
  44. David, I think the neighborhoods should be part of creating the zoning policies that affect things broadly. But I don’t think neighborhoods should have the power to shoot down individual developments that already fit into a zoning/master plan.

    And, with community spirit in mind, just because I want things to stay the same forever doesn’t mean that it is good for my fellow citizens who have an equal stake in the overall health of the community. The good of the one, versus the good of the many.

    It’s bad for the community to have sprawling housing projects springing up around the city like so many patches of daisies. It creates traffic and sprawl. It sends retail out to strip malls and jobs into roadside office parks.

    There is demand to live here. But AA won’t accommodate new citizens with denser housing. It’s our loss.

       —Cooler Heads    Jun. 22 '07 - 11:10PM    #
  45. Let’s not confuse projects that meet the zoning and master plan and get denied by Council and those that are seeking approval despite the fact that they don’t meet the zoning and/or master plan but the developer thinks he/she can make the case to Council while they should be the exception. The Elks Lodge development fit that category. The project didn’t meet the zoning requirements. So Council had every right to deny the project. How many projects have come forward that did meet all of the rules and were still denied by Council? I’m guessing very few because someone who fit into that category would have a strong case for going to court. The city isn’t required to approve those projects going through the PUD process.

    I stated before that I think projects that are going through the PUD process should get Council sign-off on the concept before ever proceeding through the development process. The Council and developer should sign off on an agreement that outlines the parameters of the development with the understanding that if those parameters are met at the end of the process, the project gets approved. Those projects properly involve the Council as they require value judgments about when/where/why exceptions should be made to the zoning ordinance. I don’t think those decisions should be left in the hands of an unelected commission, no matter how experienced or bright the members may be.

    One last thing, you said “The purpose of /planning/ is to prevent the shape of the city from being dictated by the whim of Council, which is in turn dictated by whomever is angry enough to get out the vote.” I have to disagree with that. The purpose of planning is to ensure that the development that takes place in a community reflects the views and values of the community while according property owners and developers their rights to lawfully develop their properties. When the “planning” whether it be the plans or staff or process no longer reflect the views and values of the community, it’s the plans or staff or process that needs to change. If you disagree, then educate the community why your view is better than theirs.

       —John Q.    Jun. 23 '07 - 12:52AM    #
  46. I see PSD is having difficulties with reality again. Check out the location of the Malletts Creek and Pittsfield branches; hardly stripmallville. In fact, the building that Malletts creek replaced was in a strip mall. Plus, the now-building Northeast Branch is cleverly being built into a hill at Traverwood and Huron Parkway.

    The designs of all these buildings are extremely advanced and environmentally friendly. Who could ask for more?

       —David Cahill    Jun. 23 '07 - 02:22AM    #
  47. Murph: “As Juliew mentions, there’s been a lot of development approved in the last 3-4 years in downtown Ann Arbor! This is exactly what I don’t want – years of pent-up demand suddenly finding a favorable political climate, which triggers a burst of development, some of which may not be purely rational, as David C. fears, which leads to anti-development, build-nothing backlash, and another sudden change of Council to lock down on development again.”

    Ding-Ding-Ding!!! Murph gets it. This is not a good situation. Developers saw a window when Calthorpe started, and Council began to state in public that development has been stifled for a number of years, and that zoning needed some serious overhaul. They took advantage of the opening, and a mess of plans were submitted. Some were severely modified before approval, some are still screwing around with the process…..but many did, indeed, pass.

    The problem with this is that it is 2007, and our cutting edge city is still not working from a usable Master Plan. There’s an adage in Urban Planning, and Murph, you’ve probably heard this. “There are beautiful Master Plans gathering dust all around the country”. The complete Master Plan needs input from citizens, and needs to include modern zoning rules, transportation plans and the like, and then the Planning and Building Department need to be left to execute and interpret the plan. No more citizen interference on individual projects. No more votes on projects by Council. Hell, the length of Council meetings will be cut by 3/4.

    If I had to choose between unlimited building heights in the DDA area with no planning, and a David Cahill mandated 4 story max and a well-thought out Master Plan that we actually use.....I’d choose the Cahill Master Plan every time. However, I see no indication that this will ever happen in Ann Arbor. A Master Plan would avoid sadly comedic episodes like where Council realized that “hey, parking has a value here in Ann Arbor, and, frankly, we don’t even know how much parking we have, and it’s 2006”.

    A Master Plan would have already forecast when we needed new parking structures, when we could afford things like park and rides, and how we could encourage projects, and locations for projects, that would encourage less car use. A Master Plan would have planned for Google, and other companies of their size. I mean, is it REALLY that inconceivable that another large company would choose to put a hub in Ann Arbor? I don’t think so. What are we going to do when that happens? The current answer right now seems to be “panic”.

    Murph “If A2 had a good development process, we wouldn’t have seen so much construction downtown in the past few years – because we would have seen a few more buildings go up in the ’90s, and a few developers might have waited a few more years, rather than suddenly everybody rushing to get in the development door for the moment that it was swung open.”

    That’s 100% correct again, Murph. A good Master Plan and transparent process would make the applications of new projects come in at a much slower and more predictable rate. To respond to Dave’s question, I don’t think that there’s this huge, huge demand to live in Ann Arbor. What I think is that there has been a steady demand for housing and commercial space in downtown Ann Arbor, but the new supply has been stifled and has not kept pace with this demand. And this steady demand comes mainly from the University of Michigan’s housing and commercial needs. The pent up demand has created a difficult business environment in Ann Arbor. Fees are up, rents are up, the tax burden is greater, and feet on the street are down because those who live outside of Ann Arbor and commute in for work/school have little reason to stay after 5pm.

    Unfortunately, the difficult building environment has made land really expensive, which in turn has made it difficult for developers to put together shorter projects because the height of the building has to pay off the really expensive footprint that the building sits on.

    It’s an ugly, ugly cycle.

    The window that I mentioned above made some of the developers hurry projects through more because of the thought of, “If I don’t send this through now, I’ll never get it through”. This is a distortion of the market. Construction should happen because of demand, not because of political shortcomings regarding development. This can lead to bad projects and empty new buildings.

    Dave, the new libraries are way cool. You should be proud of the hand you had in making them happen. I think that most here, however, would like to see that a centralized downtown location exists for years to come….

       —todd    Jun. 23 '07 - 07:58PM    #
  48. Thanks, todd!

    The Library Board retained a nationally-known consultant to evaluate options for the Downtown Library. The report is due at our July meeting.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 23 '07 - 10:27PM    #
  49. The purpose of planning is to ensure that the development that takes place in a community reflects the views and values of the community while according property owners and developers their rights to lawfully develop their properties. When the “planning” whether it be the plans or staff or process no longer reflect the views and values of the community, it’s the plans or staff or process that needs to change.

    John Q, you don’t disagree with me at all! Look just a little higher in my comment from what you’re “disagreeing” with: [elected officials] need to set the master plans and zoning ordinance to create the kinds of projects they like.

    Does that sound like I’m saying, “Hey, Council, just butt out,”? I hope not! When the plans disagree with with the values of the community and their vision of what they’d like their community to look like in a decade, then changing the plans is exactly the right thing to do.

    And, yes, certainly, there’s an aspect of educating the community during that process – my favorite part of the Calthorpe process was bringing nationally known experts on traffic congestion, retail community health, and so on to town to speak. Any planning process that ends with everybody holding the same assumptions they had when they started didn’t work – community members should be learning from each other and from trained planners as they work to shape their plans.

    I’m not saying “participation is bad”. Far from it. (I’m pro-participation enough that I almost got an MSW in community organizing, actually, but figured that one masters with a couple extra classes would be plenty of tuition, thanks.) A plan that does not have genuine community involvement that is both broad (includes a wide diversity of positions) and deep (the involvement actually shapes the plan in a real way) is hardly a legitimate plan. A2’s development process doesn’t pain me because it has “too much participation”, but because it doesn’t have enough quality participation.

    That’s what I liked least about the Calthorpe plan – watching organized groups of greenway advocates, literally wearing their assumptions on their sleeves, coordinating their sign-in so that they could ensure one of them was assigned to each table in order to exploit the consensus process and ensure that nothing could be done without a greenway being laid down first. That kind of tactic prevents genuine community participation.

    I’m currently re-reading Stoecker’s Defending Community: The Struggle for Alternative Redevelopment in Cedar-Riverside and would recommend it to you. It’s a case study of a neighborhood fighting back against “urban renewal”, gaining control of HUD redevelopment funds, and planning and executing their own redevelopment process. The (20-year) process it details is a good foil to the idea that Ann Arbor’s process is “participation”.

       —Murph.    Jun. 23 '07 - 11:03PM    #
  50. Murph, I don’t think criticizing Greenway advocates should be your strong suit. After all, a whole pile of urban planning students, with a vested interest in local jobs, also was organized and came to the Calthorpe meetings.

    My concern with Calthorpe is that the fix was in: You hire a firm with a reputation for mixed-used plans, use wild-eyed population projections, ignore much of what was said at the meetings, and voila! A plan calling for a bunch of new development.

    AA has routinely ignored its existing master plan (which contains a variety of subplans) in order to foment development. I think a more effective way of creating broad and deep participation would be to bring affected neighborhoods in early on big projects.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 24 '07 - 01:18AM    #
  51. “AA has routinely ignored its existing master plan (which contains a variety of subplans) in order to foment development.”

    Really? Give examples of that. Considering how noisy some people are to density in the outlying areas, I’ve been surprised at how aggressively the city pushes that in their master plans. The city doesn’t need to ignore the master plans to “foment development”, the outline for it is right there in the plans.

       —John Q.    Jun. 24 '07 - 09:05AM    #
  52. Broadway Village and the Gallery are the two examples which come immediately to mind.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 24 '07 - 04:39PM    #
  53. Oop! Sorry for the double comment. Some kind of data error.

    I forgot to mention one more thing about the current planning process (including all the ordinances governing it). If a developer uses a Planned Project or a Planned Unit Development approach, then important parts of the zoning rules, especially including height, don’t apply.

    So right now, the height rules have an important postscript: “ha ha, these can be ignored by a clever developer.”

    Yes, the process is “broken”. One possible fix is the abolition of developers’ tricks that render height rules meaningless.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 24 '07 - 05:48PM    #
  54. Thought you all might enjoy this. Recognize anyone? Or project?

       —abc    Jun. 24 '07 - 08:26PM    #
  55. Yet nobody in the City of Ann Arbor can tell the University of Michigan what they can build or knock down, they just do what they want – the citizens be damned! What “process” do you suggest for UofM??

       —fuzzbollah    Jun. 25 '07 - 08:49AM    #
  56. From outside A2:

       —John Q.    Jun. 25 '07 - 07:03PM    #
  57. Catching up to all this: As noted, the Greenbelt commission has made several purchases with many more in the offing. In fact, last year was the best ever for land preservation in Washtenaw Cty.

    City council does approve affordable housing besides Carrot Way whenever they can but you have to pay attention to the meetings… the paper does not report it. At the last meeting they approved 30 or 40 units(?) for families at 60 and 50% of median income and there have been others since the Stone School town homes were built a couple of years ago along the same lines. In Michigan, cities cannot mandate AF housing.

    All of the residents from the old Y will be relocated in A2 unless they want to live somewhere else, by the end of July. Something like 90% have already moved. (Again, you need to watch the meetings, the paper does not carry information unless there is some kind of disagreement or fight.)

    Sorry to disagree with many but the decision on Avery House was the correct one IMO. For a few years now, the mayor and council have been saying “let’s have more development downtown” to spur business and preserve it as a business district. Avery house was a long way from downtown or even the “fringe.” It was way to big for the site.

    Raciest? Ridiculous, at least 4 of the speakers against the project were African American’s who lived very nearby. As someone said, if this had been the “White” Elks, the proposal would have been thrown out long before.

    It seems strange to me when some here advocate for decisions that do not take the neighborhood’s feelings into account. I agree with the mayor’s long time respect for the right of neighborhoods to self determination unless there is some overriding community good to be had. These are the people who have been paying the taxes and upholding the city for years.

    Is the system broke? Like the paper, people tend to only talk about the few developments that don’t make it. It appears to me that 95% are approved if they make it to the planning commission and even then, look at Zaragon, it was turned down at PC and approved for legal reasons at council but still, approved.

       —LauraB    Jun. 26 '07 - 08:21AM    #
  58. LauraB, you bring up an interesting point that I can beat Juliew to. As I remember, 828 Greene was a similar case – the PC voted it down, but Council passed it on the “we can’t legally reject it” plea.

    If the PC were the final word, Zaragon and 828 Greene would have been toast. This is why I think the system is broken – not because it comes to some conclusion I don’t like, but because it’s about as predictable as a magic 8 ball.

       —Murph.    Jun. 27 '07 - 01:45AM    #
  59. Murph, I don’t think criticizing Greenway advocates should be your strong suit. After all, a whole pile of urban planning students, with a vested interest in local jobs, also was organized and came to the Calthorpe meetings.

    That’s funny, David. And I mean “funny ha ha”. I seem to remember “organizing” most of those students, of which there were maybe 6 or 8, because I’d heard the workshops were in need of table facilitators. You know, those folks who were at each table to neutrally explain the process rather than advocate for anything? (Some of whom reported being shouted down by Greenway advocates who told them they had no right to participate in a community process, by merit of being students, let alone help facilitate it.)

    The bit about a vested interest in local jobs is entertaining too. Even setting aside the fact that the wild majority of UM urban planning students don’t even bother to look for jobs in Michigan, Ann Arbor’s been shrinking its staff over the last several years, even as we’ve seen this spurt of downtown construction – I don’t think Calthorpe’s creating any City of Ann Arbor jobs for freshfaced young planning grads. (And, if you meant “jobs with developers”, well, nothing like A2’s byzantine process to guarantee job security for a planner who can navigate it!)

       —Murph.    Jun. 27 '07 - 01:53AM    #
  60. Can anyone tell me which councilmember is up for re-election in the 5th ward – isn’t it Woods? I’ve seen signs for another candidate, Mike Angli (?) but don’t know anything about him. (strangely, the AA City website doesn’t seem to list when terms are up. I can’t find it anywhere.)

    As an aside, the idea of UM planning grads finding work in Michigan, let alone within AA, is simply laughable. Most everyone I knew in school has left the state, especially to the coasts and southwest.

       —KGS    Jun. 27 '07 - 02:36AM    #
  61. “Can anyone tell me which councilmember is up for re-election in the 5th ward – isn’t it Woods?”


    5th Ward candidates for the Dems primary, from today’s A2 News:

    Michael Anglin
    Age: 62.
    Community involvement: Has spoken on many topics over the past few years at City Council meetings.
    What he says: Anglin, who operates a bed and breakfast out of his Ann Arbor home, said he was prompted to run because he doesn’t believe the city considers citizen input in its final decisions. He said he wants “the citizens to sit at the table as partners, not as observers.” He also wants a more comprehensive city environmental management plan.

    Wendy Woods (incumbent)
    Age: 58.
    Community involvement: Appointed to the City Council in January 2001. Serves on the Planning Commission and the Environmental Commission.
    What she says: Woods said she has council experience and good leadership, which is important as the city faces financial obstacles. “We need people who have looked at these issues and have looked at a myriad of issues,” she said.

       —HD    Jun. 27 '07 - 03:12AM    #
  62. Murph, there were many more than 6 to 8 urban planning students at the Calthorpe workshops. I heard that professors organized them to come.

    Later, at the Council hearings, Dale Winling testified that a bunch of students were there and hoped to find work on AA projects.

    I’m not saying this was evil. Everyone has a right to advocate for his/her interests, whatever they may be. That’s politics!

       —David Cahill    Jun. 27 '07 - 04:49AM    #
  63. Does anyone know if Anglin was involved in last year’s primary campaign for either candidate or does he have more of an independent background? I’ve not really heard of him. Does he have a website?

       —sometimes reader    Jun. 27 '07 - 05:00AM    #
  64. Mike Anglin’s website is

       —Vivienne Armentrout    Jun. 27 '07 - 04:51PM    #
  65. “Does anyone know if Anglin was involved in last year’s primary campaign for either candidate or does he have more of an independent background?”

    He is a close neighbor of Sonja Schmerl and was involved in her campaign (he might have managed it).

       —SayHey    Jun. 27 '07 - 09:35PM    #
  66. Anglin is also backed by the same “full scale” greenway group as Schmerl. Let’s hope he runs a cleaner campaign.

       —ted huey    Jun. 28 '07 - 12:47AM    #
  67. “As I remember, 828 Greene was a similar case – the PC voted it down, but Council passed it on the “we can’t legally reject it” plea.

    If the PC were the final word, Zaragon and 828 Greene would have been toast.”

    If that’s the case, then the final word would be in Circuit Court. Since the Council does have the final word, I would guess that the City’s legal staff doesn’t have the same concerns about a PC rejection that they would if the next step after voting “no” would lead to litigation.

       —John Q.    Jun. 28 '07 - 12:49AM    #
  68. David Cahill — you are a liar. Period.

       —Dale    Jun. 28 '07 - 02:14AM    #
  69. I saw him speak reasonably on cable I think, so I’m sorry to hear Anglins was involved in last years election campaign like that. It will be difficult to attempt that with Woods who seems to do well in 5th Ward and seems well spoken.

       —sometimes reader    Jun. 28 '07 - 05:28AM    #
  70. Dale, it appears you have a sad case of young-adult memory loss.

    Today’s AA News reports that the Census Bureau says Ann Arbor City shrank in population from 114,024 in 2000 to 113,206 in 2006. Quod erat demonstrandum.

    In other primary news, the First Ward Dems had a meeting yesterday evening to meet the candidates. Sabra Briere and Richard Wickboldt were there; John “The Potted Plant” Roberts was not. Plus, Roberts is not coming to the July 14 candidates forum.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 29 '07 - 12:56AM    #
  71. The entire phrase is:

    “This shifting population pattern occurred in all of the state’s major cities. Villages or smaller cities on the outskirts of Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing all grew, while the central cities shrunk between 2000 and 2006.

    Nowhere is that pattern clearer than in the Ann Arbor area. Communities such as Chelsea, Dexter and Saline all saw population increases over that six-year period, while the city of Ann Arbor shrank slightly from 114,024 in 2000 to 113,206 to 2006.”

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

       —jcp2    Jun. 29 '07 - 06:39AM    #
  72. For Dave (who’s apparently fond of Latin)

    Population drop in Ann Arbor:

    Cui prodest scelus is fecit

       —todd    Jun. 29 '07 - 07:18AM    #
  73. I believe that all of these numbers are estimates so while Ann Arbor may have seen its population drop, it’s also possible that the population has been unchanged or even increased. We won’t really know until the “real” census is done in 2010.

       —John Q.    Jun. 29 '07 - 08:02AM    #
  74. John Q.

    Maybe so but… whether the city has grown or not does not seem to be the issue. The issue seems to be that some are arguing that there is demand to live and work here (here being the Ann Arbor region) and others are saying that there is no demand. It is clear from the census data, going back years that the surrounding areas have grown substantially despite static city growth; we need not wait until 2010 to acknowledge that. Whether this growth trend in the townships will continue at past rates can be argued. But the past growth in the surrounding areas is well known proving that there has been, and may still be, demand here. The supply however, based on the city’s lack of growth, has only been addressed by the townships.

    At the core is the city’s political desire (or lack of it) to embrace its role as the center of this urban area and in that role how will they handle themselves with respect to development.

    We continue to go around on this because a particular contributor likes to simply say that Ann Arbor shrank, or has not grown, without clarification as to what exactly constitutes ‘Ann Arbor’. (The recent post does say Ann Arbor City but post #29 for example is silent on that critical distinction). This then becomes the justification for the logical fallacy that we need not be concerned about development or density, because all is fine within our myopic world.

       —abc    Jun. 29 '07 - 04:11PM    #
  75. Abc, you’ve got it backwards. Growth in the townships, but not in the City itself, shows that there is demand in the townships, but not in the City itself. The townships and the City are separate markets.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 29 '07 - 05:14PM    #
  76. Mr. Cahill that is BS, they are not separate markets. The lines and the colored areas are only on maps; I have never noticed them as I drive around.

    If you detached Pittsfield or Scio etc. from the city and the university and shipped them 100 miles north they would be very different places, if they could exist at all. Located, for example, in the many industrial parks that surround Ann Arbor, which are not within the city limits, are a number of engineering and research firms that do a ton of work, for and within, the city and / or with the university. Also, located just outside the city’s limits are most of the car dealers (yes there are still a few within the city). The City of Ann Arbor also has no Meier’s, Target, Home Depot, Lowes or Wal-Mart. And we only need to think back a few months when Google announced that they were looking to establish an office in ‘Ann Arbor’ they were immediately courted by the Townships to locate there.

    Many city residents buy their cars on Jackson Road (Scio Twp.) and shop on Ann Arbor Saline Road (Scio Twp.) or Carpenter Road (Pittsfield Twp) and work in Avis Farms (Pittsfield Twp). It is naïve to say these are separate markets.

    Mr. Cahill, are you saying that you spend no money outside of city limits? Even if you could answer yes that is not true for me, even though I try, and I am sure for most that live here.

       —abc    Jun. 29 '07 - 06:08PM    #
  77. Plainly the City and the townships are not separate markets for consumer or business transactions. They are, however, separate markets for those looking for real estate, either housing or commercial.

    If you can get by with limited square footage, you can locate in the City. If you need lots of square footage, then the townships are for you.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 29 '07 - 07:12PM    #
  78. I think what you really mean is that if you can afford a high premium per square foot for a central Ann Arbor location, then downtown Ann Arbor and its surrounding areas are for you. There are both small and large residences and commercial spaces within and adjacent to Ann Arbor. I don’t think the people in Ann Arbor Hills go around thinking, “Gee, I’m really glad I only needed a two bedroom apartment, so I moved to Ann Arbor,” and similarly, the residents in Carrot Way aren’t exactly deciding how to furnish their 3000 sq foot colonials. I’m in the middle position. Should I move from my current residence at the edge of the city, which costs about $150/sq foot, to a more central location where the costs are about $300/sq foot?

       —jcp2    Jun. 29 '07 - 10:48PM    #
  79. The Dave Cahill who’s ordinarily merely a mendacious putz has morphed once again into Napoleon the Pig

    Must be campaign season.

    Oink, Dave, oink.

       —Parking Structure Dude!    Jun. 29 '07 - 10:58PM    #
  80. Caesir si viverit, ad remum dareris.

       —David Cahill    Jun. 30 '07 - 04:09PM    #
  81. “Caesar”, and “viveret”. Your Latin spellcheck is off.

       —jcp2    Jun. 30 '07 - 08:29PM    #
  82. This is the Internet. Spell checkers are not allowed.

       —David Cahill    Jul. 1 '07 - 04:26AM    #
  83. Yes it is campaign season and I guess that is my queue to complete the metamorphous into a candidate:) Hello! I just finished reading this string starting with the city council race and finally here discussing real estate prices. I am running for Ward 1 council and in the past year my house has lost maybe 25% of market value. Now if life was that easy.

    Life is not that simple nor is the real estate market. The variables affecting a market are so diverse and broad reaching, that a city government could just end up chasing its tail and squandering resources trying to mold it. City Council should set the vision, environment and guidelines for development. This is accomplished with a clear master plan that the citizens approve. Adequately funded city government services organizations; providing professional world-class performance expected of government in infrastructure, transportation, protection and safety, environmental protection, and community services without bias. Then adhered to with the City Council keeping everybody honest. This is what our fellow citizens want. They also want highly skilled and qualified Council members who have the compassion and understanding that they are the special interest group representative, known as the voter.

    The strength of Ann Arbor is the many distinct and unique neighborhoods full of diverse people along with the resources of our professional government city services; bound together in common ground to meet all challenges and keep the mantle of this being a desirable place to live. We need to champion, foster and protect this diverse uniqueness of people and neighborhoods with special attention to the forces of physical development and even more the human development of our young generations who will be maintaining the mantle in the future. The catalyst will be a highly focused, diverse, compassionate and competent city council.

    I am asking my Ward 1 members to allow me the privilege of serving them with their vote to the city council. Over the course of the next few weeks as the campaign progresses my qualifications and platform will be known by all of Ward 1.

    Richard Wickboldt
       —Richard Wickboldt    Jul. 3 '07 - 06:07AM    #
  84. I’ll remind candidates for office that the U of Michigan campus acceptable use policies for electronic mail specifically forbid using campus email addresses to conduct a political campaign.


    Respect the Intended Usage of Resources

    For example, you may: o use only those resources (uniqname and password, funds, transactions, data, processes, etc.) assigned to you by service providers, faculty, unit heads, or project directors for the purposes specified. o not access, use, or divulge such resources unless explicitly authorized to do so by the appropriate authority. o not use University resources assigned to you or others for profit-making or fund-raising activities unless explicitly authorized to do so by the appropriate authority. o not use University resources to campaign for or against a ballot initiative or a candidate running for office or to conduct a political campaign. o not create an e-mail group with the intent of sending out what would generally be regarded as spam, unless the creator has received permission from the members of the new group. o may not advertise or solicit for commercial events or endeavors.
       —Edward Vielmetti    Jul. 3 '07 - 06:41AM    #
  85. ED Thanks for the reminder and clarification on UM policies. So here is the email address for anybody wishing to contact me concerning my campaign.
       —Richard Wickboldt    Jul. 3 '07 - 06:59AM    #
  86. The point really is that yes, Ann Arbor is a metropolitan area that has been growing. Unfortunately, under Michigan land use law, there is no way to have a metropolitan government. Instead, the individual townships structure things to the narrow interests of their individual citizens and local interests. We in Ann Arbor cannot hope to alter the direction of the region by our own actions and especially by our spending of our own resources.

       —anonymous too    Jul. 3 '07 - 07:42AM    #
  87. “The point really is that yes, Ann Arbor is a metropolitan area that has been growing.”

    That is a good point and one that I missed in focusing on the narrow point of the census numbers.

    “Unfortunately, under Michigan land use law, there is no way to have a metropolitan government.”

    That’s not true. Michigan doesn’t have the best tools for regional planning and services but there are tools that are useable. I would say that the political will is the bigger problem than a lack of tools.

    “Instead, the individual townships structure things to the narrow interests of their individual citizens and local interests.”

    Generally in Michigan that is true. Even in Washtenaw County that is true more often than not. But I would say that the townships surrounding Ann Arbor have come a long way in the last 15 years. The political leaders in the townships and the residents to some degree have come to understand that everyone is in the same boat and local governments are going to have to work together if they want to move the Ann Arbor area forward. There’s a lot more that could be accomplished but Ann Arbor area governments are a lot further along in this process than many other Michigan regions.

    “We in Ann Arbor cannot hope to alter the direction of the region by our own actions and especially by our spending of our own resources.”

    Wrong. The fact is that Ann Arbor already has controlled the direction of the region through its actions. The fact that Ann Arbor Township still has viable farms is due entirely to the fact that the City refused to extend water and sewer service to most of the Township. The same is true on the west side of Scio Township. Ann Arbor’s decision to limit utility extensions, which at the time was about capturing growth through annexation, is now a strong growth management tool for the city and townships served by the city and has had a huge impact on how the area has developed.

    Compare the pattern of growth in Ann Arbor and Scio Townships to Pittsfield, which extended water and sewer from the Ypsi Utility Authority when the City was trading water and sewer for annexation into the city. Pittsfield has almost unmitigated suburban sprawl surrounding much of the perimeter of the city, all made possible by the extension of water and sewer service.

    The greenbelt program should be seen as phase 2 of this growth management plan. Now that certain areas will not be serviced by city water and sewer, the greenbelt program helps lock those areas in as agricultural areas versus them being converted to very low-density suburban sprawl of 1 – 5 acre lots.

    Another area where the city resources are being leveraged to direct regional growth is in transit. This includes AATA service and the discussions about regional rail service. All of these programs are largely funded through taxes or funds that are generated by city taxpayers and all of them allow the city to extend its influence and direct and manage growth beyond its borders.

       —John Q.    Jul. 3 '07 - 04:31PM    #
  88. Here are the comments Sabra Briere made at this morning’s Democratic Party candidate forum at the Union:

    Good morning. I hope I speak for all of us today as I thank the Democratic Party for hosting this forum and John Hilton for being our moderator.
    My name is Sabra Briere. For those of you who don’t know me, I came to Ann Arbor in 1973 – but not as a student. I moved here with my son, living first in University Townhouses, later in downtown Ann Arbor and on the Old West Side, before moving in 1986 to my home on Broadway. During those years, I finished my college education at The University of Michigan, earning a Bachelor’s degree in History.
    My son got me involved with my neighbors – and my neighborhood, no matter where I lived. From volunteering at his pre-school to being PTO president to becoming Chair of the City Democratic Party and President of the local ACLU to City Council – it seems like a natural progression to me.
    I’m running for City Council because, as much as I love living in Ann Arbor, I also am concerned that we risk losing sight of what we love about living here. We love Main Street and State Street – their Victorian store fronts and 21st century uses. But we miss the amenities that would make living downtown more attractive, like real groceries, hardware stores and pharmacies. We love old, funky neighborhoods with front porches and sidewalks. But City Council is crowding them, extending ‘downtown’ into what were once only single family neighborhoods. Council sees opportunities for density and mixed use development on open and ‘underutilized’ land.
    I’m liberal. For years that’s meant that I was comfortable here, not getting too fussy as we changed or really too nostalgic for the past. But I think the City is going in the wrong direction. Council is talking about trading density for sprawl, but is losing sight of the value we place on quality of life. Council talking about Ann Arbor being a city – but what we love about Ann Arbor is the ‘towniness’ of it. And what makes a town – of any size and any density, vertical or horizontal, is its neighborhoods.
    I’ve spent a lot of the last month and a half going door to door and I’ve spent a lot of the last 30 years talking to my neighbors. I’ve learned from them more about the issues that concern them than I ever have from the papers or watching City Council meetings. This year, I’ve heard them talk to me about density and development. They are concerned with downtown development, certainly. But they are also concerned with all the development going on all around Ann Arbor. They’re concerned about traffic and transportation. They care about fiscal responsibility. The City is creating a new, built environment that many feel no one has really thought out.
    Buildings should relate to the neighborhoods where they are built. A new condo complex can bring 600 cars into a neighborhood. When you route those cars through neighborhood streets, previously quiet cul de sacs no longer are safe places for children to play. A street that’s been busy can suddenly feel ‘arterial’ as Pontiac Trail does. The city thinks about these issues only when neighborhoods become upset.
    Downtown density doesn’t affect many of my constituents, but it’s on their minds a lot. Most of the people I’ve talked with want me to tell City Council that they don’t like all the big buildings going up, and that they want less density, less feeling of being crowded out of downtown. “There’s already no where to park.” I heard. “Who’s going to live in these buildings? There’s no where to shop for necessities and everyone will need a car.” At the same time, I heard a lot of support for the Greenway. The idea of downtown parkland to offset some of the density just made sense. If you want people to live downtown, you have to make downtown attractive.
    When I talk to people, someone will always bring up fiscal responsibility. They are concerned that we haven’t planned well, and now are facing unanticipated problems. Some of these problems are out of our control, but when we give large bonuses to our top administrator, and then lay off our service staff, it looks bad. When we tell our voters that a new millage will guarantee ample funding for parks and then cut parks maintenance to the bone, it looks bad. When the city cannot maintain our water supply system, but somehow has enough money to build a new city hall, it makes people wonder at our priorities. I’d certainly fix my plumbing before adding on to my own house.
    When new projects come up in the city, we read about them in the paper. Should we close Huron River Drive? Should Avery House be built? Should a round a bout be placed at Nixon and Huron Parkway? Should police patrol the parks? We read about it the paper – or maybe we read a blog. Paper or blog, neither is a good way to inform or involve a neighborhood when changes are proposed. And all neighborhoods are concerned about changes that affect them.
    Businesses and developers come often enough to city hall that they can form relationships with the staff. You don’t. Most of us never pull a permit, never call a department, never even contact a Council member. So when a neighborhood hears something that mobilizes it enough to go to a meeting or to Planning Commission or to City Council, that neighborhood is upset. The city should clear the way to bring neighborhoods into the discussion early. This hasn’t happened, and I want to make certain it does. My years of neighborhood involvement and commitment to bringing neighborhoods into the process, coupled with my understanding of Council and ability to work with other Council members, will get that done.
    We’ve had enough of the city passively waiting for you to inform yourself about city issues. It’s the City Council’s responsibility to represent you. That means that sometimes the city should really reach out to YOU.
    I hope I’ll have your support on August 7th.

       —David Cahill    Jul. 14 '07 - 08:49PM    #
  89. Well, Ms. Briere, you’ve managed to articulate the exact opposite of what I’d like to see in Ann Arbor.

    Good luck to you anyway! I’m sure you’ll get quite a few votes with this platform.

       —todd    Jul. 15 '07 - 08:37AM    #
  90. So, speaking of city council candidates, can anybody explain to me how Mike Anglin figures that “our water, sewer, and stormwater fees are going up to support the increased service to downtown high-rise buildings”?

    A high-rise discharges about as much stormwater as a surface parking lot. From all I hear, the stormwater increases have nothing to do with downtown density and everything to do with water quality and replacing aging infrastructure. How does he figure the rates are connected to high-rises?

       —Chuck Warpehoski    Jul. 16 '07 - 09:55PM    #
  91. Chuck- Anglin figures that the rates are connected to high-rises because Anglin doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Your analysis is correct. Anglin’s is incorrect. I wish I’d been at the Dem debate on Saturday to hear him speak; I hear his platform was scary… but apparently not as scary as Sabra’s.

       —Bill T.    Jul. 17 '07 - 04:47AM    #
  92. Anglin and others miss the point that every new development is required to capture all of its storm water on site. The developers hate this about A2 because it is expensive to put tanks under your building.

    The truth is that new developments greatly IMPROVE storm water control.

    If the water mains and sewers that lead up to a project need replacement, the developer pays. Remember when Jeffrey Spoons development on Maynard spent a mega bucks on replacing the water and sewer lines for most of the whole street?

    As Todd as noted before, the hook-up fees in A2 are very high. All of this means the development has to pay its own way.

       —LauraB    Jul. 17 '07 - 11:45PM    #
  93. By the way, I’m in the first ward, I’m pretty much a one-issue voter, and this:

    Sabra says: “But we miss the amenities that would make living downtown more attractive, like real groceries, hardware stores and pharmacies.”

    is my issue. If she could actually present a credible case that electing her to city council would fix this problem, she’d have my vote.

       —Bruce Fields    Jul. 18 '07 - 08:13PM    #
  94. The irony here is that the only way to get another grocery store downtown will be to have more people living there and Briere is against all building or would set the bar so high there would be no development.

    There are only a few thousand people living in the DDA area now. Until that number goes up no one is going to build a substantial grocery store. Just about every one of the new buildings downtown has retail on the first floor. There are several places a grocery could go in now but no takers… and there won’t be until there are more people.

    If you look at larger cities that do have downtown grocery stores, the people are all within walking distance.

    Obviously the city cannot command someone to build a grocery store downtown.

       —Dustin    Jul. 20 '07 - 10:03PM    #
  95. “The irony here is that the only way to get another grocery store downtown will be to have more people living there”

    True enough but I wonder how big a population increase you would need to see anything more than a boutique market. The irony of that would be that if downtown grew enough to justify a store, no grocery store could afford the rents to make a go of it.

       —John Q.    Jul. 20 '07 - 10:33PM    #
  96. I agree with you John Q., I don’t think there will ever be a Kroger downwtown but maybe an Arbor Farms or expanded Co-OP. Whole Foods has “pocket” size stores all over downtown Chicago. People I know who live downtown make a weekly trip to Kroger and then buy the rest of what they need at the co-op or Kerrytown so it is not so bay now.

       —Dustin    Jul. 20 '07 - 10:45PM    #
  97. i buy most of my groceries at sparrow meats. and i use the prescription shop for my pharmacy.

    what’s the big deal?

    (ok, so no hardware store, but i’m told i can get most of what i need from fingerle’s.)

       —peter honeyman    Jul. 21 '07 - 07:13AM    #
  98. Peter, you ruin a perfectly good argument by actually living downtown (instead of theorizing about people who might want to but don’t).

       —Edward Vielmetti    Jul. 23 '07 - 02:21AM    #
  99. I’ll chime in with Peter too…and I live within walking distance of downtown. That was our primary specification in buying a house, to be able to walk in town. The Co-Op, Kerrytown, and Farmers Market (seasonal) are our primary points of purchasing groceries and the bonus is that a good deal of their produce/meats are local and organic. White Market, Village Corner, Jefferson Market, South Main Market, and a sundry of party stores negate the need for a bland mega-store like Krogers in downtown proper, imo. And fwiw, recall that there was another co-op store on Packard. The co-op simply could not sustain it anymore. It’s just the way things are today. I still lament the lack/demise of walk-up neighborhood bakeries.

    I’ll also not be voting for pro-development Woods. This for the simple reason that she (nor Easthope) never responded to a single inquiry I made in to her church’s 45,000 sq ft expansion, as well as her voting record on the Ashley&Beakes and Greek Orthodox church sites. Seems she just performs another kowtow to the belief that development is good, no matter the cost to the neighborhood or project’s feasibility. Anglin may need to tackle a learning curve but it is far better than the arrogant silence from our 5th Ward’s current reps. For that matter, Anglin was on a door2door canvasing last night and spent a good 30 minutes talking to us about a slew of issues. Again, he’s not a pro and has to come up to speed (campaign staff needs to work on prepping him!) but he does move away from the development crazy goosestepping of the current Council.
       —robert s.    Jul. 25 '07 - 11:06PM    #
  100. “Development crazy goosestepping”????

    Well, that’s a new one, isn’t it?

       —todd    Jul. 25 '07 - 11:38PM    #
  101. I’m Sabra’s treasurer, and I just filed her campaign finance reports.

    The main one is her pre-primary report, which shows contributions of $3985 from 59 individuals and one PAC (the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 190 PAC Fund).

    The other one is a so-called “late contribution report”, which is required when a candidate receives a contribution of $200 or more after the July 22 closing of books on the pre-primary report. Sabra got a contribution of $200 on July 24 from Amy Seetoo, a former Second Ward Democratic Council candidate.

    The Clerk’s Office says that all the candidates’ reports should be up on its web site by Saturday.

    Another scoop for Arbor Update. 8-)

       —David Cahill    Jul. 26 '07 - 06:04PM    #
  102. Robert: You are correct about Anglin, he does need work. He somehow seems to believe that infill development contributes to storm water problems when in fact every re-development downtown greatly improves storm water control because all new developments have to contain all of their storm water on site. Unless a downtown parcel has been redeveloped in the last 6 years then there is little to no storm water control.

    The city did not change the way storm water is charged to collect more money to spend it elsewhere (Although other cities in Mi. are doing some desperate things to stay solvent.) No, they are under order of the EPA to control phosphorus in the Huron and controlling storm water is one of the best ways to to do it. Any funds that go into the fresh water or storm water or waste water funds can ONLY be spent in those areas, (state statute.) The CC also put up some big fences around utilities and solid waste back in 02. (Some with smaller homes and smaller impervious footprints will see lower bills at least this year.)

    One would hope that Mr. Anglin does not claim to be pro-environment given that he seems to oppose all development. If he does, then how can he defend his opposition to the development required to foster density?

       —LauraB    Jul. 26 '07 - 06:20PM    #
  103. Goose stepping? I guess I don’t know where you and Anglin are coming from on this. Seems to me there is a ton of discussion and disagreement at council over developments. Look at all the debate over Metro 202 last fall, it was defeated once then barely scraped by. The one on Main at the old Greek Church was controversial as well with a split on council. A few weeks ago there was Avery house, it failed with all of CC voting against it after planning had approved it. Oh yea, there was Zaragon, the CC only voted for it because they were legally bound to after the planning commission turned it down.

    There is nothing lock step about the development debate on CC. Truth is, candidates like Anglin would like to stop ALL new development but they won’t quite come out and say it.

       —Dustin    Jul. 26 '07 - 06:40PM    #
  104. A friend of mine asked Mike directly about his mis-statements about stormwater fees on his website. What he told her is that his intention is not to draw a direct connection between new stormwater rates and downtown development.

    Yet as of today his website still reads, “our water, sewer, and stormwater fees are going up to support the increased service to downtown high-rise buildings.” Sure sounds like a direct connection to me.

    I understand Robert S’s concerns about lack of response from Woods. If Anglin is keeping erroneous information on his website after being asked about it, I don’t have reason to believe that I can expect much better from him.

       —Chuck Warpehoski    Jul. 26 '07 - 09:13PM    #
  105. Re: Mike Anglin (5th Ward)
    Having seen Mr. Anglin at several of the Allen Creek public meetings this spring, and later having had a conversation with him, I think he is a very sincere guy—but one who seems have trouble modifying his opinions in light of new evidence.

    For example, following hours of clear and well-documented explanations of the watershed’s issues, Anglin (and too many other audience members, sadly) continued asking questions that simultaneously pushed their personal agendas and demonstrated incomplete understanding of the issues.

    I would say, though, that this is my only experience from which to judge the man, and it’s a small sample. I did appreciate his candid and personal interest in serving our community.

       —Westside Owl    Jul. 27 '07 - 08:46AM    #
  106. Campaign finance statements are beginning to be posted on the County Clerk’s website. Go to:
    Take the link “Search County Campaign Finance Database”.
    Fill in (only) the last box, “Candidate Last Name”, with the name of the candidate whose reports you want to see, and hit “Search”.
    Then, click on the full name of the candidate. That will take you to a “View Document Page”, which lets you select the particular report you want.

    Sabra’s report is available.

    John Roberts’ report is also available. It says Roberts has raised $1350, as follows:

    $500 each from Dennis and Matt Tice of Pizza House.
    $150 from Mike Martin of First Martin Corp.
    $100 from Roger Hewitt, who is on the Downtown Development Authority.
    $100 from Ed Shaffran, the local developer.

    That’s all.

    No report is up yet from Richard Wickboldt.

       —David Cahill    Jul. 28 '07 - 04:22PM    #
  107. Just a reminder that anyone with access to GIS at either EMU or U-M can pull together some maps as AU did last year to make this information visually accessible.

       —Dale    Jul. 28 '07 - 05:17PM    #
  108. It would be great if someone did this again, Dale! Last year’s maps were quite revealing.

       —David Cahill    Jul. 28 '07 - 07:20PM    #
  109. David Boyle interviews Sabra Briere. Read the interview at

       —David Cahill    Jul. 29 '07 - 06:55PM    #
  110. Progressives of Washtenaw (POW!), a local political action committee, is in the process of issuing endorsements for the August 7 primaries. POW!‘s website is: (Note: No www.)

    Here are POW!‘s endorsements of Sabra Briere and Mike Anglin.


    July, 2007

    By Dana Barton

    We are fortunate to have an excellent candidate to replace retiring Councilmember Bob Johnson. Sabra Briere will build upon Johnson’s record of progressive representation and achievement.

    Briere has been involved in countless civic and community activities in Ann Arbor for over 30 years, serving on school and city committees and non-profit boards. As a single parent, she worked to support her family while attending the University of Michigan where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1986. She is now employed by a local non-profit healthcare organization.

    Sabra Briere has been actively involved in the Ann Arbor Democratic Party, previously serving as secretary and chair. She has been president of the Washtenaw Branch of the ACLU, worked for reproductive rights, peace, and the local Greenway campaign. Currently, she is an active volunteer for the Huron River Watershed Council, Avalon Housing, and Ann Arbor’s Natural Area Preservation.

    As the next First Ward representative, Briere is committed to preserving Ann Arbor’s distinctive character. She will advocate for responsible growth that will not overwhelm the city’s human scale.

    “In these difficult economic times,” Brier says, “the city must focus on spending priorities. For instance, repairing City Hall is more cost effective than replacing it.” She believes City Council should honor the commitments it makes to its citizens. “Since voters approved a special millage to support our parks, City Council should honor that commitment.”

    Briere sees the need for improvement in the city planning process. She suggests that bringing neighborhoods and developers together before paper and pen meet would head off problems like the recent Avery House development debacle. “City Council should listen to neighborhood concerns early in the planning process and respect their voices.”

    Of the three candidates running in the First Ward primary race, Sabra Briere has, by far, the longest record of active involvement in Ann Arbor community concerns. We believe she is clearly the most qualified candidate and a voice we need on City Council.

    POW! endorses Sabra Briere in the First Ward Democratic primary on August 7.

    (Dana Barton is a political activist, therapist and realtor in Ann Arbor)


    July, 2007


    Mike Anglin is a person full of energy, compassion, and conviction. He has pledged himself to preserve and enhance the integrity and viability of Ann Arbor’s neighborhoods and communities. He believes in affordable housing, in promoting local business, and in protecting our historic buildings and natural environment. He deplores extravagant spending and backroom politics.

    In his own words, “I am running to represent the 5th Ward on City Council because I am concerned about the direction our city is taking. Based on my conversations at the doors of over 500 5th Ward voters, I believe that most agree that the current city council has taken actions that threaten our quality of life and are making living in Ann Arbor less affordable.” As examples of what is at stake in this election, Mr. Anglin offers the following:

    “Despite the recently passed millage to support parks maintenance, parks are less well maintained and fees for residents to use them have increased. In the recently passed budget, even less money was allocated to parks than last year.”

    “The Council has been approving large, tall, and environmentally unfriendly projects, often in residential neighborhoods. Fortunately, because of effective neighborhood opposition, Avery House, a massive 5-story project on Sunset Road overlooking Bluff Park, was rejected by Council after staff and the Planning Commission had approved it. The new A2D2 planning guidelines emphasize streamlining development approvals. This development-driven process will make it even more difficult for neighborhood residents to respond.”

    “Council has been encumbering the city with future debts and obligations that could cut into services for residents. For example, the city is moving closer to approving the sale of bonds for $33.2 million to be paid to the developers of Broadway Village at Lower Town. The bonds would be paid off from tax receipts over 30 years. While the city gambles on the future value of this development to pay off the bonds, none of the taxes will be used to support ordinary city services; instead, we will bear that expense as taxpayers.”

    “While Council offers free parking and other incentives for downtown developers, our water, sewer, and stormwater fees are going up to support the increased service to downtown high-rise buildings. Yet, all taxes from new construction downtown are spent by the Downtown Development Authority on more support for downtown developers, including outright subsidies, while we bear the expense as tax payers for the services to all these new buildings.”

    “Council recently approved a $1 million contract for design of a new city hall, without stating how we will find the money to build it. The sale of city property to developers is one possibility.”

    People like Mr. Anglin remind us that politics need not degenerate into a series of mutually beneficial transactions between power elites. His kind of politics stresses citizen participation, genuine public debate, thoughtful long-term planning, transparent decision making, and leadership which is both responsive and inspired. His presence would be a welcome change on the City Council. POW! endorses Mike Anglin for council in the Fifth Ward.

    About the author:
    Charles Lewis is a political activist and realtor in Ann Arbor.

       —David Cahill    Jul. 29 '07 - 11:17PM    #
  111. Interesting. Progressives of Washtenaw (POW!), or as seen above a couple residential real estate agents, endorses two candidates with decidedly anti-development views-which are known to prop up existing residential real estate values.

    I take that back. Not interesting at all. Smells like politics as usual.

       —FAA    Jul. 29 '07 - 11:41PM    #
  112. Here is POW!s endorsement of LuAnne Bullington.


    By Tim Colenback

    Do you see a need for a Council representative who truly champions our parks?

    Do you see a need for a Council representative interested in serving the people of the third ward, not out-of-town developers and multi-national corporations?

    Do you see a need for a strong social justice advocate on city council?

    Do you see a need for a council representative dedicated to true, open government?

    The Progressives of Washtenaw (POW!) does. That’s why we have endorsed LuAnne Bullington for the Third Ward Councilmember in the upcoming Tuesday August 7, Democratic primary. POW! is impressed with the wide array of volunteer work and advocacy LuAnne has been involved with over many years in the Ann Arbor community as well as her strong progressive values. Her demonstrated commitment to social justice and ethics clearly make LuAnne Bullington the best choice for Democratic primary voters in the third ward. LuAnne’s priorities are in sync with the people of the third ward. She is committed to improving the transparency, openness and efficiency of our city government. LuAnne is dedicated to increasing affordable housing opportunities and promoting a healthy environment in Ann Arbor. She opposes large new building projects by the city when public safety positions are being cut.

    LuAnne has raised two children and is primed to provide truly progressive leadership on City Council. As a retired information technology and educational professional, LuAnne has the expertise to assist the city through the difficult economic times we face. She worked for the University of Michigan School of Business Administration for several years as an Info Technology administrator. She also worked for many years as an elementary and secondary public school teacher. LuAnne received her BS in Education and Special Education and a BS in Computer Science from EMU.

    In her 15 years in Ann Arbor, LuAnne has been involved in several community organizations and programs including the Discovery Garden, Project Grow, the Ann Arbor Women’s City Club, RSVP, the Blueprint for Aging and Dawn Farm.

    As a person with a sight disability, LuAnne has been a successful and vigorous advocate for the disability community for years. She will bring a unique perspective to her work on city council. Through her work for the Center for Independent Living (CIL), the Local Advisory Council of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) and as a Committee Member for Senior Advocates of Washtenaw (SAW), LuAnne has provided successful policy advocacy and organizational development acumen. LuAnne has also been a volunteer for the Ann Arbor City Democratic Party. Most importantly, LuAnne has integrity.

    POW! encourages the Third Ward to support LuAnne Bullington August 7.

    About the author:

    Tim Colenback is a political activist and social worker who lives in Ann Arbor.

       —David Cahill    Jul. 30 '07 - 06:11PM    #
  113. One of the questions posed by the League of Women Voters for the CTN ‘debate’ asked candidates how satisfied they were with the spending of Greenbelt money to date.

    LuAnne had first crack at it. She went on for her allotted time talking in an incoherent way about what a great idea the Greenway was. Belt. Way. Whatever, right? At least Greden can be counted on to know what the hell topic is being discussed.

       —third ward    Jul. 30 '07 - 07:22PM    #
  114. I have to say that considering how important “diversity” is in town, there sure are a lot of older white people who run for political office in town. I’m all for the best candidates running but can’t the local Democratic and “progressive” powers-that-be find any candidates for office who don’t necessarily fit the majority demographic in town?

       —John Q.    Jul. 30 '07 - 07:42PM    #
  115. John Q:

    Since the late 1970s, there has been a growing shortage (both parties, all areas, all levels) of reasonably qualified and mainstream people willing to run for elected office.

    The generation now in its 20s and 30s is so jaded or intimidated about politics that candidacy level involvement doesn’t strike many as a worthwhile use of time and effort. You can blame corruption scandals or the demise of civics class, but whatever, it’s the same cohort phenomenon (decay of “social capital”) thoroughly documented in Robert Putnam’s book Bowling Alone.

    Hence, incumbents in all kinds of offices (not just in Tree Town) are staying longer and getting grayer. And their successors are longtime activists who look a lot like the people they replaced.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Jul. 30 '07 - 08:51PM    #
  116. You’re going to have to work harder to convince me, Larry. I think the younger set (not just under 24) is as engaged as ever, and I don’t buy the banal Robert Putnam-Douglas Coupland tripe about the depoliticization of youth.

       —Dale    Jul. 30 '07 - 11:18PM    #
  117. Council just passed an amendment to the ordinance that created the Environmental Commission that enables its expansion from 11 to 13 members. I’ve spoken at our meetings about this being an opportunity to increase the diversity of our membership. Our current membership is six men and five women, with councilmember Wendy Woods being the only African American. And at 43 I’m the youngest member, I think. I would personally like to find someone with a background in public health and/or an interest in environmental justice who has some committee experience.

    If any of you is interested please contact me or Matt Naud, the City’s environmental coordinator, or one of your council reps. Please spread the word to others who might be interested. Nominations are made and voted on by council, not by the mayor, as is the case for most other commissions.

    I would not encourage a young (or older, for that matter) person who has no experience with the City’s commission system or some comparable involvement to run for city council.

       —Steve Bean    Jul. 30 '07 - 11:52PM    #
  118. Dale, I don’t disagree with anything in Lassiter’s lecture. But it doesn’t address the statistical fact that participation in governance (e.g. by voting or running for office) is down-down-down as a cohort effect, and the decline started with — not after — the Baby Boomers.

    I mean, sure, the activists of the 1960s did all those great groundbreaking things he mentions, feminism and environmentalism and all that, and more recent activists have carried on that tradition to some extent (but with vastly smaller numbers of activists, at least at every university I have been part of).

    But alienation was part and parcel of the whole 1960s gestalt, and (starting with the age peers of the 1960s radicals) that alienation bred generation after generation of people who just aren’t very interested in being city council members.

    The unfair media portrayal of youth as angry time bombs may not have helped, but it didn’t bring it about.

    It’s absolutely true, as Lassiter says, that the Right has more assiduously cultivated its young activists than the Left has. And that has created something of a corps of young right-wing politicians.

    But even that corps is just a blip compared to the high level of political participation that used to exist, not among Baby Boomers, but among the generation before that.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Jul. 31 '07 - 12:18AM    #
  119. Back to the topic of this article.

    There is a big surprise awaiting those who examine the Fifth Ward Council campaign finance statements online.

    Mike Anglin has raised $3740 from people other than himself. It looks like he has about 50 individual contributors.

    Wendy Woods has raised $2000 from people other than herself. Here is the complete list:

    $1000 from the firefighters union (which bargains with the City for its contract).

    $200 from Council Member Leigh Greden personally.

    $100 from County Commissioner Leah Gunn’s campaign committee.

    $100 from Mayor Hieftje’s campaign committee.

    $100 from Council Member Joan Loanstein personally.

    $50 from Michael Martin of First Martin Corp.

    $100 from Greden’s Council campaign committee.

    $100 from Paul and Connie Dimond. (Connie is one of the architects for Broadway Village.)

    $250 from Joseph Fazio, one of the lawyers for Broadway Village.

    That’s all, folks.

    I certainly expected that an incumbent would be able to raise at least some money from her constituents.

       —David Cahill    Jul. 31 '07 - 11:52PM    #
  120. Thanks for the site. The campaign reports actually are fascinating. Who are these 5th ward constituents that want Mr. Anglin elected so badly. Mr Anglin at 3,000. Well I can actually respect that.

    But very few of them actually seem to be from the 5th ward, although I don’t really know all the streets.

    Much of this is from the 1st ward as far as I can tell, including David Cahill, Sabra Briere, Karen Sidney etc.

    But many of the contributers and another over 1,000 or so seems to be from out of state. Check this out.

    Scottsdale Arizona
    Windemere Florida
    Providence Rhode Island
    San Diego Calif.
    Middletown New York
    Toledo Ohio
    Oskalooska Kansas
    Rodeno Beach California
    Franklin Michigan
    Bethesda Maryland
    Washington D.C.
    Sea Island
    New Jersey
    Livonia, MI
    Alexandria Virginia
    Mesa Arizona

    The Ann Arbor News should look at this.

    What concerns me is that the POW endorsement group is willing to say things that they know to be untrue. Anglin’s constituent support. Or for example, Brodway lowertown has no bonds according to accounts early this month, so why claim otherwise in the endorsement and literature.

    These are the folks that want more transparency?

    I am glad Anglin has such a great constutent base out of state and in the 1st ward.

    Could someone explain this?

       —sometimes reader    Aug. 1 '07 - 01:45AM    #
  121. Sure, Sabra and I gave $25 (one check). I noticed some out-of-state Anglin relatives. But most of his contributors are indeed Fifth Warders. Karen Sidney is a Fifth Warder.

    It is mind-boggling that Woods did no fundraising among her constituents! Is she that unpopular? What can she be thinking?

       —David Cahill    Aug. 1 '07 - 02:10AM    #
  122. Could be friends and family who live out of state. Since that can’t “contribute” by handing out lit or working the polls, money is one way for them to help. If there’s something more to it than that, it’s a legitimate question. But I’m more surprised when a candidate can’t get family and friends to help.

       —John Q.    Aug. 1 '07 - 02:51AM    #
  123. I can understand if the money is relatives, but since this is a signficant number and amount, it is wrong to imply that these are constituents. How much of this is actually 1st ward Briere supporters? David Cahill could you give us that information; overlapping donors?

       —sometimes reader    Aug. 1 '07 - 03:45AM    #
  124. When I looked through Anglin’s list, I did not think I was seeing overlapping supporters. I did not do a side-by-side comparison, though.

    There are also irregularities in Woods’ campaign finance report, which I have discussed with the County Clerk’s office. More on this later.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 1 '07 - 04:06PM    #
  125. “There are also irregularities in Woods’ campaign finance report, which I have discussed with the County Clerk’s office. More on this later.”

    Dave – How about saying nothing until you have something to back it up? Or is it more important to get the smear out there as fast as possible?

       —John Q.    Aug. 1 '07 - 04:40PM    #
  126. As a matter of record – A coment posted here of POW endorsements to CC candidates. POW has never communicated with me in any way and manner. This being the truth. I would have to question the validity of the endorsement.

    Richard Wickboldt Ward 1 Candidate

       —Richard Wickboldt    Aug. 1 '07 - 07:59PM    #
  127. I don’t blog, so I hope you’ll all forgive me for butting in here. But Richard is correct, and I wanted to say so.
    POW did not contact any candidates before endorsing them, at least as far as I know. They certainly didn’t contact me. The article in the Ann Arbor News was the first I’d heard that I’d been endorsed. The endorsement actually came out later that day.
    The Sierra Club sent me a questionnaire (and endorsed me); dog park people sent me questionnaires, the Chamber of Commerce/Arts Alliance sent me a questionnaire, as did the Women Progressive Activists. Not POW.
    Some here will think this statement disingenuous, as Tom Gantert also wrote that David Cahill is one of the masterminds behind POW. Well, that’s news to me, too. It was a bit of news to David, for that matter, but there’s no sense in arguing with the press – or with you here on the blog, so I’m not issuing any denials. Conspiracy theories are so much more fun.
    In truth, the people who make up POW never asked me if I wanted their endorsement, and as near as I can tell, wrote their endorsement based on my literature. I’m OK with that, but I didn’t seek it and would have been OK without it. I’d also have been OK without the Ann Arbor News making a fuss about a minor player and missing a real story.
    David has his own take on politics, and I’ll let him tell his version. Here’s my story on my funding: Almost all my contributors are from Ann Arbor. Only two are from out of town – my son, and my aunt (they both have personal reasons for giving). My parents haven’t given yet, but if they do, it will most likely be about $10, which would be all they could afford. Most of the people who have given to me responded to my initial request for support – a letter I wrote on June 9th to what I call our ‘Solstice list’ – the friends who come to our annual winter party and eat homemade chocolates. These are people we’ve known from various neighborhoods, volunteer groups, jobs and political activities. In some cases, it’s the only time of year we see them.
    Not everyone I asked gave. I’m grateful for the support I’ve received. I’m also grateful for every First Warder who asked to put a sign in their yard or friend who volunteered to help in any other way on the campaign.
    POW has not actively helped my campaign in any way, although I’ll accept their help. I’m no fool.
    But I’m really proud of that Sierra Club endorsement.

       —Sabra Briere    Aug. 1 '07 - 09:15PM    #
  128. I have been authorized by the Mike Anglin campaign to reply to some of these postings. First, the impetus for the AU posting of the Woods campaign finance information did not come from the Anglin campaign. Mr. Anglin has stated publicly and often that he respects Ms. Woods as a person and merely differs with her on issues. It is not his intention nor that of his campaign to make an issue of campaign finances or to attack Ms. Woods personally in any way.

    With regard to the many out-of-town contributions to the Anglin campaign, Mr. Anglin is the fourth of nine children. The contributions are from his brothers and sisters, his nephews, and his mother, in addition to long-time friends. (He has lived in other cities.)

       —Vivienne Armentrout    Aug. 1 '07 - 09:28PM    #
  129. Sabra Briere wrote: “Some here will think this statement disingenuous, as Tom Gantert also wrote that David Cahill is one of the masterminds behind POW. Well, that’s news to me, too. It was a bit of news to David, for that matter, but there’s no sense in arguing with the press”

    The sole mention of Cahill in Gantert’s piece describes him as an ‘active member’ of POW! along with several others. So, yes, I find the exaggeration somewhat disingenuous.

    And is he an active member? As John Q. pointed out last year when POW! was formed, they claimed Mr. Cahill as a supporter.

    A question for Ms. Briere: On 30 May you participated in one of the A2D2 design workshops with the goal of determining whether it was feasible for Ann Arbor to develop design guidelines based on the notion of a ‘character district’. The organization of that workshop was roundly maligned on this blog (and deservedly), but I thought that when groups reported out the results of their struggles with the Sharpies and the maps, there was one suggestion from a group for an existing character district not included in the workshop material that struck me as interesting enough to write down. I’m not thinking of the Greenway, which several tables mentioned in their reporting out to the larger group.

    Q: Do you remember any of the other proposals for existing (non-Greenway) character districts made by other tables, and if so, how would you assess their merits?

       —HD    Aug. 1 '07 - 10:11PM    #
  130. This is not from the Anglin campaign, but represents only my own observations. In response to the comments from “sometimes reader”, I inspected the Anglin pre-election campaign finance report (as posted on the county clerk’s website). I ignored the out-of-town contributions and the one contribution from a business address. Then I made some quick (unaudited) calculations.

    Here are the dollar totals by ward, followed by numbers of donors:

    1st Ward: $75 (2)
    3rd Ward: $125 (2)
    4th Ward: $25 (1)
    5th Ward: $2005 (34)

    The average contribution from the 5th ward was approximately $60, with many small donations of $10-$50 and a few more generous ones.

    I think it is safe to state that the majority of Mike’s contributors as of that finance report, excluding out-of-town donors, are from the ward he hopes to represent.

    Hint: Most of zip code 48103 is in the 5th ward. The city clerk has a “street list” in Excel that can be used to check what ward and precinct a street address is in. I used it when I didn’t recognize the location.

       —Vivienne Armentrout    Aug. 1 '07 - 10:13PM    #
  131. Vivienne Armentrout wrote: “The city clerk has a ‘street list’ in Excel that can be used to check what ward and precinct a street address is in. I used it when I didn’t recognize the location.”

    Even though I’m sure it does the job, that Excel spreadsheet sounds excruciating to use … maybe it’s programmed to be user friendlier than requiring manual matching to address ranges.

    Anyway, the City website has a nice My Property interface. Type in any address and get ward and precinct information, along with storm water assessment, water bill, etc.

    I wonder if there’s not a way for the Clerk to just ‘batch’ submit all the addresses on a campaign finance report and have that included as a part of the public record.

    But that might just make it easier to distract ourselves from any substantive reasons there might be for voting for a particular candidate or not.

    None of this campaign finance information so far strikes me as warranting any kind of conclusion that should affect a rational voter’s choice. But maybe that’s because I don’t have speakers hooked up to this computer. Is there scary music playing on ArborUpdate that I don’t know about?

       —HD    Aug. 1 '07 - 10:51PM    #
  132. Blogging. Oh, dear.
    First, POW in 2006 and POW in 2007 are different kettles of fish, I think. I believe POW has supporters — people who’ve contributed money and help from time to time. That’s not the same as people who make decisions. I know that, as do you. If you have ever contributed money, or helped an organization by some small deed (I’m thinking of the things I’ve done, not talking for David here), it makes you a supporter. It doesn’t make you a decision-maker.
    I don’t know who makes the decisions for POW. I’m pretty sure it’s not David. It’s also not others mentioned in that article (two of whom aren’t even supporters in an active sense).
    Now then, about the May 30th meeting.
    I haven’t been reading this blog. I don’t know what was said here. What I remember most clearly was a consistent suggestion that the area between William and Huron, 5th and Division was a major transition between the ‘Main Street’ and ‘State Street’ areas, but was also pretty much a dead zone. This was an area most of the tables felt deserved special attention.
    Another area called into question was the so-called ‘Market’ area that, for some reason, extended on the maps across Main Street to the West past Ashley. That caused real concern at my table and a lot of discussion — did this really count as Market area?
    I didn’t see the workshop material you mentioned, and have no idea if I’ve answered your question. What I remember best about the workshop is that some tables pulled together (ours did not) and were able to get at least some of the discussion organized on paper. Their presentations focused on Huron to Division (one of them), Huron (Ashley to Second) (one of them, and really interesting, but Greenway related), and then, again, quite a few on that area between William, Huron, 5th and Division.
    I’m sorry, HD, if this doesn’t answer your question. Haven’t thought about the workshop in a while.

       —Sabra Briere    Aug. 1 '07 - 10:53PM    #
  133. Ooo, HD, you are tempting me into a technical discussion. Point one: the campaign finance report is visual images (pdf file) of the actual handwritten form. I doubt the county clerk wants to assign anyone to digitize those data. Point two: there are lovely precinct maps available at the city clerk’s office that also do the job nicely. Point three: I use the “Find” function for a street address. Some streets are in different precincts depending on whether you are on a odd or even address and the street list shows that. And you can sort by street, or by precinct, etc., all the power of Excel.

       —Vivienne Armentrout    Aug. 1 '07 - 11:06PM    #
  134. “I didn’t see the workshop material you mentioned, and have no idea if I’ve answered your question.”

    By workshop materials, I meant the giant map, and the grid, which you took a lot of personal responsibility for filling in.

    On Listening

    My point in asking if you remembered any of the other group’s proposals, is that you spent much of the time filling in the grid columns ... during the time allotted for groups to report out to each other. So I was just wondering how solid your multi-tasking skills were.

    I think your recollection of the workshop might have been better, if you’d been focussed on listening, at least during the time when it was prescribed that we were to listen, and perhaps even made the effort to take some notes. For example, you might have heard and retained the proposal for a character district called Bricktown, centered on the building owned by First Martin across from Kiwanis. Based on the kind of participation you offered at our table throughout the evening, I think it’s fair to say that reflexively listening and learning from others cannot be counted among your many strengths.

    The Cynical View of Public Process

    The only partially-completed grid from our table at the end of the table work, was an accurate reflection of our table’s work inasmuch as it was only partially completed. We did not, for example, discuss the Greenway as a candidate for an existing character district in terms of the columns on the grid. You will recall that Margret Wong suggested that it be added to the left-hand column list. In response, I asked how that possibly met the definition of character district as described by the consultants, and she dismissed the question by saying there was a whole study done with a commission and that I needn’t worry whether it was real. You gave no indication that you’d heard my gambit for further discussion on that point. That’s the entire treatment it received from the group, and its then-blank columns reflected that. Yet the Greenway columns, along the rest, were completely filled in by the time the grid was submitted to the consultants.

    It wasn’t the case that we’d somehow reached a bunch of conclusions that we just hadn’t gotten a chance to organize and write down. So the completed grid that was, in the end, submitted by our table was mis-representative of the process that took place. Sure, you helped make sure our table submitted a ‘complete’ grid—by using time allotted for listening—but what’s the significance of a grid that’s complete, but that didn’t emerge from discussion of the people at the table? There wasn’t even an extra star-shaped cookie as a prize, or any other reward for ‘cleaning our plates’.

    I think it’s indicative of a cynical view of public process—one that trades on a raw count of how many bodies you can get to show up on a particular occasion, or a raw count of how many times a proposal gets mentioned on pieces of paper, a raw count of how many columns are completed on the sheet—no matter how they were completed.

    I wish a less facile notion of democracy underpinned participation in public process.

       —HD    Aug. 2 '07 - 12:46AM    #
  135. Wendy Woods claimed two fundraisers (with one check coming in at one fundraiser, and two checks coming in at the other).

    She did not file the required Schedules 1F describing in detail the fundraisers.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 2 '07 - 01:05AM    #
  136. I’d just like to note that, counting Vivienne’s “authorized” notes from the Anglin campaign, we’ve got three separate candidates represented in this thread. (Anglin also put himself out there over on AAiO, which takes real courage…) I think this election may be some kind of record for online engagement by Council candidates. I don’t know whether it says more about the evolution of the internet as a venue for participation, or more about the evolution of the candidates in willingness to venture into this rough-and-tumble format, but, either way, makes me happy.

    Thank you, Sabra, Richard, and Vivienne!

       —Murph.    Aug. 2 '07 - 01:56AM    #
  137. Cahill,

    In the face of this information about Wendy Woods’ failure to file a form with a description of a fund-raiser, a reasonable mind might ask: Is this information indicative of financial malfeasance warranting a cry of IRREGULARITIES!!, or is it rather just the regular trivial slop you get in this level of political campaign?

    In the same way, faced with your spelling of Joan Lowenstein’s name above as ‘Loanstein’ in the context of monetary contributions, a reasonable mind might ask: Is Cahill making an anti-Semitic joke, or is it just that he’s a sloppy speller?

       —HD    Aug. 2 '07 - 04:26PM    #
  138. HD, please focus on reality. The filing of these campaign finance schedules is mandatory. Woods has been in office for many years. She should know this stuff.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 2 '07 - 04:53PM    #
  139. David is correct about the paperwork that needs to be completed. Larry sent the Woods campaign a notice about the need to submit the form. I agree that Wendy Woods should know better.

    But after reviewing the forms, it appears that this is nothing more than a clerical error by whomever completed the form. Woods report includes 8 contributions. Of those 8, 3 are marked as “fundraiser” contributions on two different dates. Now come on, who holds 2 different fundraisers and gets a total of 3 contributions? Plus, the contributions were from campaign committees. It’s possible that two separate fundraisers were held but I doubt that.

    More likely, the person filling out the form didn’t know the correct box to check and selected “fundraiser” when they should have selected “direct”. This is backed up by the fact that none of the direct contributions were checked as such.

    Wendy and her treasurer signed the forms so they are responsible for any errors or omissions. But it’s clear that this is a simple matter of someone checking the wrong box. The donations were disclosed which is the point of the disclosure forms. Wendy can rectify the error by submitting an amended form.

    I suppose there are those who are going to look at the error and say “Ah hah!” David seems to think that it’s a big deal. But I’m not really sure how this addresses the needs and concerns of those residents in that ward. It seems that David is more concerned with playing gotcha-politics than discussing the issues.

       —John Q.    Aug. 2 '07 - 05:33PM    #
  140. Cahill,

    “Woods has been in office for many years. She should know this stuff.”

    And you’ve seen Joan’s name spelled correctly for more years than Wendy has been in office. You should know how to spell it.

    Yet you didn’t get it right.

    So perhaps you’d be willing to concede that it’s not a matter of ‘knowing this stuff’ but rather a simple mistake. One of omission of an event description. One not worth trying to score a cheap political point against Wendy with.

    But you’d probably not be willing to concede that.

    Why don’t you focus on reality your own damn self and tell us: what’s your substantive problem with Wendy Woods? Do you have any substantive reasons why you think we in the Fifth Ward should not extend her our support? You portray yourself as keen observer of what goes on on Council, so let’s hear it. C’mon, I dare you. Discuss Wendy Woods’ record of service on council and what you don’t like about it or maybe even what you do.

    Cahill, your level of discourse gives the word ‘Dave’ a bad name, and I resent the hell out of it. So how about raising your level and giving us your analysis of Wendy Woods’ service?

    Or do you just prefer to take the occasional potshot? Or is it ‘potted plant’ shot? Are there any names you’d like to call Wendy? Or do you reserve your naming calling to John Roberts?

       —HD    Aug. 2 '07 - 05:56PM    #
  141. It is illegal for candidate committees to make “direct” contributions to another candidate committee. The only way that those three contributions could have been legal is if they had been for purchases of fundraiser tickets.

    I agree with John Q.: “Now come on, who holds 2 different fundraisers and gets a total of 3 contributions?”

    If these fundraisers did not really exist, then both the candidate committees which contributed (Gunn, Hieftje, and Greden) and the committee which received the contributions (Woods) have violated the Campaign Finance Act.

    Can any of these campaigns produce copies of the required fundraiser tickets?

    HD, I like Wendy Woods. She is a nice person. Unfortunately, she has voted for every single major development project in recent years. She has been a follower, not a leader.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 2 '07 - 06:03PM    #
  142. Cahill,

    A one-sentence summary of her votes on development projects? Wow. That’s not raising the level.

    But I’m undaunted. So, I’ll try again. What did you make of her advocacy at the Council table for non-profits who were not allocated funds by the City after previously having been supported? Would you count that as leadership, because she was a lone voice who called for reconsideration of the allocations, offering various compromises in an attempt to win support? Or would you say that’s not leadership, because she wasn’t able to get anyone except almost Bob Johnson to follow (who was swayed by Wendy’s direct experience with a couple of the non-profits, and ultimately rejected the compromise that would made allocations across the board, not singling them out)?

    And how would you assess Wendy’s attempt to prod Council to actually discuss nominations for mayor pro tem at the beginning of this most recent year? Would you say that this shows that other Council members do not have enough confidence in her to afford her this leadership role and that she should have been more direct, saying, I want this job? Or would you say that Wendy exhibited leadership qualities and that the rest of Council didn’t rise to the occasion to follow?

    How would you assess her stepping up to fill the Council seat on Planning Commission? Do you see that as a clear attempt to gain additional breadth of knowledge and expertise so that she can lead in precisely the area she says she wants to work on specifically—affordable housing? Or would you say that her support for Avery House as a Planning Commissioner means that she’ll support any development project and therefore would simply lead in the wrong direction?

    And because you’ve raised the question of leadership on Council, who would you point to as a leader on Council that Wendy is following? What specific examples of their leadership would you cite (negative or positive, I don’t care)? Or is saying that she hasn’t demonstrated ‘leadership’ just different way of saying that you don’t like her votes on development issues?

       —HD    Aug. 2 '07 - 06:57PM    #
  143. HD: “None of this campaign finance information so far strikes me as warranting any kind of conclusion that should affect a rational voter’s choice.”

    Right on, HD. As an Anglin supporter I am extremely frustrated to see this whole campaign finance brought up and pounded to death by someone who is not affliated with Mike’s campaign (other than as a donor). As I have stated before, Mike has not made an issue of Wendy Woods’ campaign finance statement or of his, for that matter. He is campaigning on the issues and on the direction of the city. So, HD, make your own judgments based on your view of what each campaign is saying about the issues, the council’s record, and the city’s direction, and let’s forget this subject ever got raised.

    That said, I have a simple explanation for the discrepancies in Woods’ statement. She held a fundraiser on July 23 (at Zanzibar), right after the cutoff date for the statement. I’m guessing that the two campaign committees named simply made their donations to attend that fundraiser early. The person submitting the statement probably just didn’t know how to handle that, and will be reporting on the fundraiser in the next statement. I have no inside information, of course, but it makes sense. I am confident that no illegality or even skullduggery was intended.

    So let’s talk about something else!

       —Vivienne Armentrout    Aug. 2 '07 - 07:15PM    #
  144. Remember, HD, that I don’t speak for the Anglin campaign. However, when Woods ran for Mayor last year against Hieftje, she offered no platform. Naturally, she lost. It’s good that she wanted Council to discuss the Mayor Pro Tem spot, but indeed, if she wanted the job, she should have said so.

    On Avery House, her support as Planning Commissioner was telling. It was only when the neighbors mobilized in force that she (and other Council members) decided to deep-six the project.

    The leaders on Council are Easthope and Greden. She follows their lead, as do Lowenstein, Rapundalo, Teall, and Higgins. A Council member not running this year calls this group the “Gang of Seven.”

    Non-members of the Gang of Seven are Hieftje, Johnson, Suarez, and Kunselman.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 2 '07 - 07:19PM    #
  145. Dave, you are correct about candidate campaign committee contributions.

    But Vivienne’s explanation of the fundraiser would make those contributions legal.

       —John Q.    Aug. 2 '07 - 07:54PM    #
  146. You have a mean streak, David Cahill.

       —Emilia    Aug. 2 '07 - 07:55PM    #
  147. “The leaders on Council are Easthope and Greden.”

    Here’s the question from above again: “What specific examples of their leadership would you cite (negative or positive, I don’t care)”

    Seriously, Cahill, I’m going to keep pitching these softball opportunities to you until you manage to do more than ground out weakly to the pitcher’s mound.

    Second-hand name calling (Gang of Seven) counts as a pop-up in foul territory.

    C’mon Cahill, I’m setting the ball on the fricking batting tee for you. If Greden and Easthope have led, then dammit, let’s hear a specific example of how they’ve actually led. I’m just curious to know what you think even counts as an example of leadership, positive or negative.

       —HD    Aug. 2 '07 - 08:07PM    #
  148. There has been a lot of discussion about my campaign financial statements in recent days. Let me clear up the matter which was brought up by Mr. Cahill. My campaign fundraiser was not held until July 23rd, although invitations were sent out in early July. I submitted as contributions those funds received for the fundraiser before July 22nd. The Washtenaw County Elections Office has assured me that the process I followed was appropriate.

       —Wendy Woods    Aug. 2 '07 - 08:50PM    #
  149. It’s good to have the fundraising accounting cleared up, Wendy! I look forward to seeing the Schedules 1F that the Clerk’s Office has requested in the notice of error or omission it sent you.

    HD, I think you should get a grip. Easthope and Greden have been leading the charge for the Courts/Police building, among other projects.

    One reason that so much money is being spent is that the results of these three primaries will determine control of Council, and therefore control of tens of millions of dollars per year. If Greden and Woods should both lose, then the Gang of Seven becomes the Gang of Five, and loses control.

    Remember, people, “politics ain’t beanbag.”

       —David Cahill    Aug. 2 '07 - 09:31PM    #
  150. “Remember, people, “politics ain’t beanbag.”

    Which is why I’d rather throw my mother off a bridge than run for office in this town.

    Why not just support your wife’s platform, and leave the rest alone? Is it that hard?

       —todd    Aug. 2 '07 - 09:44PM    #
  151. Ann Arbor is blessed with a lot of independent thinkers. Husband and wife often do not share the same political views.

    In a one-party town, where the real decisions are made in primaries, it is important that people recognize which people are on which teams.

    In this election cycle, as the headline in the AA Observer so succinctly said, “It’s Development, Stupid.”

    In the elections that will determine Council control, two members of the Gang of Seven (Greden and Woods) are being challenged by two members of what I personally call the Rebel Alliance (Bullington and Anglin).

    I found a .png file of the Rebel Alliance’s symbol, but I’m too technologically challenged to figure out how to post it here. Probably no loss to the world.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 2 '07 - 10:27PM    #
  152. Cahill,

    I’m glad that you’ve finally identified an issue on which you think Greden and Easthope have displayed leadership: the need to provide space for courts.

    Now, how have they done that? Did they just say first thing, Hey, Let’s build us a big-ass Muncipal Center with all the bells and whistles? Nope, they sure didn’t.

    You’ve mistakenly interpreted my challenge to you to provide specific examples of their leadership as an implicit claim that they’re not leaders. (Hence the ‘get a grip’) On the contrary, I’m trying to get you to be specific about the aspects of their actual performance that illustrate leadership, so that perhaps you’ll see that the ‘Gang of Seven’ name-calling is unwarranted.

    Because once you start to examine what specifically they’ve done to show leadership on this issue, you discover that it’s not just stating baldly, “I want us to build a big-ass Municipal Center,” and having everyone fall lock-step into place.

    You’d have us believe that whatever Greden and Easthope say they want, they get, just because it’s Leigh and Chris who want it.

    In the case of the courts/facility, there was a working session that Easthope ran in Hieftje’s absence that dealt with mock-ups (this was back when the site was becoming a controversial issue). Watch that CTN tape if you want to see a model of how to run a public meeting that respects the possibilities and merits of varying viewpoints and that elicited good information from the consultants.

    Why does does anybody listen to Greden on the issue of the courts facility? Perhaps it’s because he independently busted his ass to try to figure out how to get the numbers to work out for an all-in-one facility that would cost no more than a courts/police facility and is able to demonstrate a grasp of the financial issues surrounding the project when he speaks at the table. His attempt to make it all work, didn’t work out, as best I know, but that’s the kind of effort that earns the privilege of leadership.

    If Easthope was the kind of leader that ‘Gang of Seven’ suggested, we’d be building a courts facility right now … on the Library Lot.

    In sum, city council campaigns provide an opportunity to embrace the complexities of council service in a way that could be far richer and rewarding than the arithmetic of ‘Gangs’.

       —HD    Aug. 2 '07 - 10:45PM    #
  153. My sense is that calling a group “Gang of N” (where N is the number of people in the group) is more joke than insult.

    It started with what seemed (in translation) the comically ham-handed official denunciation of four former Chinese leaders as the “Gang of Four”.

    I used to work in a university office where the official organizational chart featured a dotted line around three key administrators, who were labeled “Gang of Three”. Another dotted line included these three with another trio, and that larger set was labeled “Gang of Six”. Decisions made at Gang of Three or Gang of Six meetings were posted as such.

    The phrase “gang of seven” strikes me as an almost content-free label for a group of seven people. Whether or not seven people really run city council is a whole other question.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 2 '07 - 11:00PM    #
  154. “My sense is that calling a group “Gang of N” (where N is the number of people in the group) is more joke than insult.”

    Let N=1 as applied to the County Clerk. Still feel jokey? I mean, I could imagine it still does, because you seem to have a robust sense of humor. So I’m not asking rhetorically. And even if it doesn’t feel jokey, maybe that’s just because there’s the extra irony of the plural implicated by ‘gang’ versus the singular ‘one’.

    The point, in any case, is not that the label is insulting. It’s that it reduces what could be a rich and interesting discourse based on actual episodes from Council (see my attempts above) or the content of campaign literature, to simple name-calling. And when that is the totality of Cahill’s contribution to the discourse, it deserves to have scorn heaped upon it. Please, won’t you grab a shovel.

       —HD    Aug. 3 '07 - 01:39AM    #
  155. Could someone in the Anglin camp or POW explain the POW endorsement above at 110. Specifically, why is there references to 33 million of Brodway bonds when that has not been true for some time? Why keep repeating things to the public that are not true? If they don’t know the facts, then it is disturbing. If they do, and they keep this up, then it is also disturbing. Which is it here? Some response would be helpful to the voters. Anyone?

       —sometimes reader    Aug. 3 '07 - 01:49AM    #
  156. Which is why I’d rather throw my mother off a bridge than run for office in this town.

    Damn! The more I see of Todd’s thinking, the more I think he’s the kind of person we should have on council. Business, environment, planning, Biblical philology…is there anything he doesn’t know?

    How about we lobby to get Hieftje on the MPSC so we can get Todd appointed to Easthope’s position? Maybe he’d agree to a short stint without the mudslinging of a campaign to start with.

       —Dale    Aug. 3 '07 - 01:56AM    #
  157. Mr. Cahill, you will not see the Schedule 1F form until after the election is over which is when it is due. Also, how do you know what is sent to me by the Clerk’s Office before I even receive it? That is curious…

    Lastly, the term “Rebel” does not conjure up particularly favorable sentiments in some circles, in fact, it is often associated with the Confederacy during the Civil War era. Your choice of words is interesting.

       —Wendy Woods    Aug. 3 '07 - 02:04AM    #
  158. Gang of Seven?

    “Greenway’ll catch you like a case of anthrax
    And that’s something I don’t wanna catch!”

       —Murph.    Aug. 3 '07 - 02:13AM    #
  159. “Gang of Seven?

    “Greenway’ll catch you like a case of anthrax
    And that’s something I don’t wanna catch!” “

    I don’t think that many are going to get this reference, Murph.

    Although I will say that this sat in our jukebox for several months.

       —todd    Aug. 3 '07 - 03:08AM    #
  160. HD: Certainly agreed that Council deliberations deserve more detailed explication than anyone but you is giving them.

       —Larry Kestenbaum (The Gang of One)    Aug. 3 '07 - 03:20AM    #
  161. Wendy, the Clerk’s Office notice of error or omission, dated yesterday, is plainly posted on the County’s website. How come you aren’t aware of this procedure?

    Also, you can file those Schedules 1F early, if you wish, in the interest of full disclosure.

    My reference to the “Rebel Alliance”, for the humor-impaired, is from the Star Wars saga.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 3 '07 - 04:12AM    #
  162. To “sometimes reader”:

    The endorsement for Anglin from POW apparently used the letter that was sent out from the campaign to permanent absentee voters on about June 30. At that time, the Broadway Village bonds were still pending.

    Since then, both the website and the literature have been changed to reflect the action by council (whew!) that made this old news. Unfortunately, POW was working from old material.

    The Anglin campaign was not involved in constructing the endorsement from POW, although it has been gratefully received.

       —Vivienne Armentrout    Aug. 3 '07 - 04:42AM    #
  163. I’m getting tired of posting refutations. Can we just have a global understanding that any comment about the Anglin campaign posted by most anyone does not originate from the campaign? Mike is too busy going to doors to engage in this silliness.

    Anyway, with regard to the Rebel Alliance: this is a fanciful idea from Dave Cahill. Neither the symbolism nor the implied conspiratorial aspects exist in fact. (And there is definitely no banner or logo.) People may have some sympathies with one another, but there is no slate or organized group. Each campaign stands alone (including, presumably, First Ward candidates).

    If you have any questions, you can go to the campaign website,, or email Mike directly at


       —Vivienne Armentrout    Aug. 3 '07 - 04:59AM    #
  164. Here is an article, posted yesterday evening, about Leigh Greden from the POW! website.

    Leigh Greden: A Pattern of Conflict of Interest, Influence-Peddling, Misappropriation of Funds and Campaign Finance Law Violation, By Tom Wieder

    (Ed. note: Excessive cut/paste turned into link to source.)
       —David Cahill    Aug. 3 '07 - 06:07PM    #

  165. I’m certainly no fan of Greden, but I’d rather the Bullington supporters explain why they’re voting for her instead of attacking Greden like this. Seriously, y’all. This is ugly. And it’s a city council race in a mid-sized midwestern college town. Can’t we be a bit more civil?

       —OWSider    Aug. 3 '07 - 06:21PM    #
  166. David Cahill: please don’t cut and paste entire articles into the comments; you can instead link to any article by putting the link text in quotes, followed by a colon and then the url; see the textile formatting link above the comment box.

       —Bruce Fields    Aug. 3 '07 - 06:42PM    #
  167. Everything that is described in this article took place over a year ago. If the accusations are so serious, why is it only days before the primary that they are now being reported?

       —John Q.    Aug. 3 '07 - 06:55PM    #
  168. Amen to John Q and OWSider. This is so typical. I read AU and never post, but I had to do so today. I’m tired of Cahill and his crap. The same people whining about the same old stuff that has no teeth to it. Has anyone ever filed a campaign finance complaint against Greden? I doubt it — because they know this stuff is petty and silly, just like the stuff they raised against Wendy Woods. But POW operates in gutter politics, rather than issue politics.

    And when it comes to POW, why has POW never endorsed the black candidate in any race in which it has participated (Mayor 2006, 1st Ward 2006, 5th Ward 2007, 1st Ward 2007)?

       —Rick Beesley    Aug. 3 '07 - 07:22PM    #
  169. All the AADF/Greden funding irregularities were aired at a couple of contentious Ann Arbor Democratic Party meetings last fall. Greden paid all the money back and turned over his files to party officials.

    Some people just can’t let things go.

       —anonymous too    Aug. 3 '07 - 07:31PM    #
  170. (I concur w/ Bruce. I’ve linkified the article title in lieu of cut/paste.)

       —Murph    Aug. 3 '07 - 07:48PM    #
  171. Maybe aaio can linkify it too, since he dumped the whole thing over there as well (which is probably unnecessary since the readership of au and aaio seem to overlap almost completely).

       —Tom Brandt    Aug. 3 '07 - 08:52PM    #
  172. Thanks for letting us know how to link articles, Bruce!

    The character of someone in public office (or running for office) is always at issue and always relevant. I don’t know how the AADF stuff could have been raised publicly between December ’06 at the apocalyptic City Party meeting and now.

    At our winter solstice party, a Council member told me that several of Greden’s Council colleagues had told to show up at the meeting and answer questions. He didn’t show. Instead, Council member Margie Teall came, said she didn’t think the Party should be allowed to discuss a resolution criticizing a Council member – and then walked out of the meeting.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 3 '07 - 11:04PM    #
  173. That’s hysterical, David. I was the one asking to, and trying to discuss the resolution, and was shouted down by Tom Weider, who wouldn’t let me talk, and demanded an immediate vote. After his antics, I did choose to leave the meeting. This is all about smearing a fellow Democrat’s name. Pretty sad.

       —Margie    Aug. 4 '07 - 01:50AM    #
  174. So, if Tom’s article is about smearing a fellow Democrat’s name, which of the facts in his article are false?

    Also, do you deny that you said you didn’t think the Party should be allowed to discuss a resolution criticizing a Council member?

       —David Cahill    Aug. 4 '07 - 02:30AM    #
  175. You’re quite the pit bull wannabe, David Cahill, but ultimately wrinkled, toothless and gray, a pathetic simulacrum. As an absentee ballot voter, I was delighted to have the opportunity to vote against your sock puppet earlier today.

       —Absentee Ballot Voter    Aug. 4 '07 - 07:40AM    #
  176. Which of my sock puppets? 8-)

       —David Cahill    Aug. 4 '07 - 03:46PM    #
  177. Margie,

    This is not about “just smearing a fellow Democrat’s name.” Many people in the City Party were very upset about the behavior of Councilman Greden regarding the funds raised in 2005. The voters of the third ward deserve to know about the behavior. I doubt we’ll see much comment regarding the substance of this behavior. It was inexcusable. Perhaps you can enlighten me as to how this behavior is ethical. As far as I am concerned letting people know of this behavior is a public service. As we all know “shooting the messenger” or “smearing” the messenger are time honored political tactics when one has no answer to the truth.

    Thankfully POW! and other organizations, groups and individuals in Ann Arbor have a strong commitment to supporting good government and those candidates demonstrating a strong commitment to ethical behavior. I encourage the people of the third ward to cast ballots on Tuesday to validate this commitment.

    -Tim Colenback

       —Tim Colenback    Aug. 4 '07 - 04:49PM    #
  178. The problem, Mr. Colenback, as you very well know, is that these are unsubstantiated charges that you and others have brought up twice on Arbor Update….and only around election time. It’s mudslinging, and you know it’s mudslinging. We don’t know if what you write is the truth, part of the truth, distorted truth, or outright lies. This is why this kind of stuff is dangerous. No one wins with this crap. Particularly when every single time a Democratic fundraiser is held in this town, someone cries foul. Enough already.

    Has Mr. Greden been found guilty by any court for violating any campaign laws? If the answer is no, then IMHO, you need to deal with the fact that you don’t like the guy, and let it go….otherwise from the perspective of this voter, your tactics appear to be mudslinging of the worst kind: Unsubstantiated claims that ignore any tangible issue or platform. Champion the candidate that you like, and leave it at that.

    Just one man’s opinion. You are obviously welcome to tell me to buzz off. But I’m pretty sure that I am not alone in saying that it does not shine a positive light on the Democrats….both the alleged behavior AND the whining about the alleged behavior.

    And this is not directed at you obviously….but in other posts Cahill brings up finances again and neatly “suggests” that Mr. Anglin is doing something untoward in his fundraising from out of State sources, and that “the Ann Arbor News should look into it”. Mudslinging. Disgusting behavior. Sorry Dave, but this sucks. For a guy who says he hates Republicans, you sure like using their tactics. I don’t know where you’ve decided that this is appropriate political behavior, but this crap is the single biggest reason that I’m not a registered Democrat in this town. I’m too old for this kind of bullshit. I’d think that you are too, but I supposed not.

       —todd    Aug. 4 '07 - 07:51PM    #
  179. Todd, check your meds again. I didn’t suggest anything wrong with Anglin’s fundraising; quite the contrary.

    Plus, we don’t register by party here in Michigan, so you can’t be a registered Democrat in this town.

    Most of Wieder’s article is based on documents available on the Secretary of State’s website. I have a complete set of hard copies of them, plus related correspondence, if you or anyone else would like to look at them.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 4 '07 - 09:02PM    #
  180. Uhhh. Ok. Here’s the excerpt from post #121:

    “The campaign reports actually are fascinating. Who are these 5th ward constituents that want Mr. Anglin elected so badly. Mr Anglin at 3,000. Well I can actually respect that.

    But very few of them actually seem to be from the 5th ward, although I don’t really know all the streets.

    Much of this is from the 1st ward as far as I can tell, including David Cahill, Sabra Briere, Karen Sidney etc.

    But many of the contributers and another over 1,000 or so seems to be from out of state. Check this out.

    Scottsdale Arizona
    Windemere Florida
    Providence Rhode Island
    San Diego Calif.
    Middletown New York
    Toledo Ohio
    Oskalooska Kansas
    Rodeno Beach California
    Franklin Michigan
    Bethesda Maryland
    Washington D.C.
    Sea Island
    New Jersey
    Livonia, MI
    Alexandria Virginia
    Mesa Arizona

    The Ann Arbor News should look at this.”

       —todd    Aug. 4 '07 - 09:14PM    #
  181. Right. It was entered by “sometimes reader”, not me.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 4 '07 - 10:00PM    #
  182. Sorry, Dave. It was sandwiched between two of your posts, so I thought that it was yours.

    I apologize.

    Now where are my meds?

       —todd    Aug. 4 '07 - 10:09PM    #
  183. Regardless of whether or not Todd is medicated, I think he’s made some valid points. There’s something about the way the information is presented by POW! that turns me (a young-ish, liberal, politically active person) off completely. And I can’t put my finger on it. But it’s not just POW!, frankly. I’ve been flabbergasted by how quickly political differences in this town turn ugly and nasty.

    I think we could all agree that most people in political office in Ann Arbor believe they’re working for what’s best for Ann Arbor. And good people can disagree with that.

    But the nastiness exhibited by some candidates, current councilmembers, and their supporters is a total turn-off. The whole thing is childish and embarrassing.

       —OWSider    Aug. 4 '07 - 10:28PM    #
  184. As the author of the POW material about Leigh Greden, and as a 35-year veteran of Ann Arbor Democratic politics, I have several comments. Todd and others who are bothered by these controversies, and the rhetoric that goes with them, should be angry at Leigh Greden, not POW. I have never seen so much questionable behavior by any candidate for public office in Ann Arbor, not by a Democrat, a Republican, a Human Rights Party member, a Green, etc. Greden’s actions – undisputed, documented actions – are ugly, and the discussion of them gets a bit ugly, too. It’s unfortunate that his lack of respect for ethical behavior diverts attention from substantive issues. The answer is not to avoid these important issues just because they are unpleasant. That would reward the behavior and hide it from the public, which deserves to know about it.

    Todd says: “The problem, Mr. Colenback, as you very well know, is that these are unsubstantiated charges that you and others have brought up twice on Arbor Update….and only around election time. It’s mudslinging, and you know it’s mudslinging. We don’t know if what you write is the truth, part of the truth, distorted truth, or outright lies.”

    You are wrong on so many counts. The charges that POW has made through the material that I have written are totally substantiated. Neither Greden nor any of his supporters has disputed a single fact that we have reported. Nor have they offered a plausible, exculpatory explanation for those facts. Todd, If you don’t know what the truth is, you aren’t very interested in finding out, or you are just not paying attention.

    The reason that this country has developed a system of campaign finance reporting is so that voters can see who the candidates are getting their money from and make their own judgments about what that means. I think it is important for 3d Ward voters to know that a dozen individuals with financial stakes in Broadway Village, six of whom live nowhere near A2, have given campaign contributions to Greden. I think it is important for them to know that Greden’s law firm represents Broadway Village and set up a fundraiser which was attended only by its own attorneys and six people with direct ties to Broadway Village. If Greden were actually properly observing conflict-of-interest principles and steering clear of any involvement in his “client’s” business before the city, why did all these people give him money? If Greden were actually properly observing conflict-of-interest principles and steering clear of any involvement in his “client’s” business before the city, why did he arrange for and attend a meeting about the project with another elected official at which City employees were present? You’re right Todd, and others, this is ugly, but it’s Greden who has injected this ugliness by his own behavior.

    I think it is important for 3d Ward Democrats to know that Greden tried to rip off his own party for his own use over $2,000 in funds contributed to the party. Is it okay that, when finally caught, he paid back the money? No, it isn’t. And yes, it’s ugly. Not a single fact that POW and I have reported about the handling of the Ann Arbor Democrats Fund money has been disputed by anyone.

    Todd says: “No one wins with this crap. Particularly when every single time a Democratic fundraiser is held in this town, someone cries foul.”

    Todd, that just isn’t true. Hundreds of fundraisers have been held in this town during the time I’ve been involved, and almost none has raised any eyebrows, until now. I don’t think voters care much if a candidate gets money from friends and relatives in other wards or out-of-town, and I would never make a big issue out of such things. When a candidate seeks out and receives significant money from people or companies with business before the city, that’s a different matter.

    We’d all like to just talk about “substantive” issues, but ethics and honesty, if not the “substance” of what the city does, are vital to how those substantive issues get decided. It is the ethically-challenged candidate that is most likely to seek refuge in charges of mudslinging and appeals to discuss “real substance.”

    I am truly sad to be involved in this battle over ethics and honesty, particularly with other Democrats. We have had some wonderful Democratic public officials in this town who pioneered open housing, public transportation, racial, gender and gay rights, controlled development, etc. Those who are gone would be appalled, and many of those alive are appalled, at the kind of behavior they see from Greden. I am appalled, and that’s why I am speaking and writing. If that’s unpleasant for some of you, too bad.

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 4 '07 - 11:08PM    #
  185. I agree with Todd. This is mudslinging.

    And, it is mudslinging motivated by personal agendas rather than any lofty goal of informing the public or legitimately participating in the political process.

    They have set it up so the candidates they support, all white as someone pointed out, something that is curious to see in a so called “progressive” group, can stay above the name calling and dirty campaigning.

    POW has themselves had a campaign funding report problem in the past. They may have even had to pay a fine. Has Greden had to pay a fine? Has he ever even been charged with anything having to do with his fund raising or any other political activity?

    POW’s missives are filled with exaggerations and lies. They also don’t disclose the personal vendetta the driving members have against Greden.

    Weider has held a grudge ever since years ago, a very young Greden dared to write a letter to the paper criticizing him for his multi-million payoff in the subsitute teacher lawsuit against the schools.

    Collenback and his wife Dana Barton blame Greden for Collenback not being appointed to council back when Kim Groome left town.

    The fact that Collenback is an officer of the party and he still engages in this makes it all the worse. Despite the local bylaws, party officers should not take sides in primaries and all of this as Todd alludes, gives Democrats a horrible image in this town.

    This sort of dirty politics may have been practiced in the past in A2 but not recently until last year. It started with the launching of POW in last years election, less than a year after Collenback was not appointed to council.

       —ted huey    Aug. 5 '07 - 12:04AM    #
  186. Ok. So if he’s doing these things that you are alleging, am I incorrect in assuming that he has broken campaign laws? Where’s the teeth behind your outrage? I haven’t heard/read about any legal issues with Greden. Where are the convictions?

    I don’t support him one way or another. I’ve only met him twice, once at Council, and once at my place for the “thingy” with the Mayor and others. Seems like a nice guy to me.

    Is it not possible that he’s not “refuting” what you’re saying because he doesn’t want to roll around in the mud? I mean, you make it sound like he’s the most corrupt guy in the whole wide world, and yet I’ve yet to read that he’s been charged, let alone convicted of any crimes. This sends up red flags for me.

    So: where’s the teeth behind what you are alleging? Just because Greden doesn’t deny what you are writing, doesn’t mean that your allegations are therefore substantiated, sorry.

    And we’ve been down this road before, Mr. Wieder. It is IMPOSSIBLE to avoid conflicts of interest in a small town. As to your quote, “I don’t think voters care much if a candidate gets money from friends and relatives in other wards or out-of-town, and I would never make a big issue out of such things. When a candidate seeks out and receives significant money from people or companies with business before the city, that’s a different matter.”

    This is IMPOSSIBLE to avoid. Example?

    I now hold over 25 (yeah, absurd, isn’t it?) licenses/permits from various Government bodies that are renewed on an annual basis. If I wrote a check for $1000 to the Ann Arbor Dems, you, Mr. Wieder, are telling me that these Council members could no longer rule on my City licenses/permits because of my “financial relationship” with the Ann Arbor Dems. I mean, I have “business before the City”,
    don’t I? This is a patently absurd MO for evaluating fundraising and conflicts of interest.

       —todd    Aug. 5 '07 - 12:36AM    #
  187. “But the nastiness exhibited by some candidates, current councilmembers, and their supporters is a total turn-off. The whole thing is childish and embarrassing.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. One of the things that I was looking forward to as a small business owner was getting involved in local politics…and my views put me in the Democratic camp. And after meeting Matt and Rene Greff I thought, “well here we go…kindred spirits, similar political ideologies. Cool.”

    But then I noticed is that a Democrat in Ann Arbor isn’t the same as a Dem in, to give my University example, a Dem in DC. It’s really confusing. I’m still trying to figure that out.

    But the second thing that I noticed was the negative campaigning. I hate that stuff. “Oh, so you’re from the campaign team that supports candidate X, and you’re telling me that candidate Y is a horrible person. Wow. That’s completely shocking and REALLY helpful in getting me to know what candidate X is all about.”

    I have very little free time, and the last thing that I’d want to do is be anywhere near this crap. And that’s too bad, really, because I think that I would have been a very helpful ally to the Democrat’s cause.

       —todd    Aug. 5 '07 - 01:06AM    #
  188. Hmm. “Ted Huey” is not listed in the phone book. Also, he isn’t a registered voter anywhere in the County. So “Ted Huey” is an alias.

    I noticed that this same alias has been posting a lot of “insider” comments about the planning process and other issues on AAIO. Plus, his postings here show that he has an “insider”, although wildly distorted, view of local Democratic politics.

    I think “Ted Huey” is really Leigh Greden. Hi, Leigh!

       —David Cahill    Aug. 5 '07 - 01:32AM    #
  189. Oh, one more thing – POW! endorsed, and campaigned for, Conan Smith, who is African-American, in his contested County Commissioner primary last August. He won.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 5 '07 - 03:11AM    #
  190. I used to work with Ted Huey and you are correct, he does not live in Ann Arbor although he used to. His work has taken him away but he visits often and is trying to get back here. He is obviously still interested in Ann Arbor.

    Conan Smith was a shoe in and Rebbecca Warrens partner to boot. I can’t even recall who ran against him. By the way, he is supporting Woods in the fifth ward.

    I accept what Ted said about POW and Greden so I understand why they are out to get him but what I don’t understand is POW’s endorsement of Mike Anglin over Wendy Woods who IMHO has done a good job. Anglin has certainly never presented himself as a progressive. He seems to know nothing about progressive issues and goes on (falsely) about storm water and tall buildings. He does not seem to understand the relationship of sustainability and density.

    Here you have a white guy with no experience, to the best of anyone’s knowledge he has never served on a city board or commission and now he is running against a progressive African American woman with years of experience and a so called “progressive” PAC endorses him?

    PS: I don’t think many people will want to share their identity with groups like POW swimming around, no one wants to be savaged and raked over the coals by a group that has no standards.

       —LindaB    Aug. 5 '07 - 05:38AM    #
  191. David Cahill, you are truly pathetic. Someone (Ted H.) dares to question POW’s motives, and your response is to laucch an investigation to discover his identity (search the phone book and the voter registration list for the entire County)... attempt to discredit the indivdual (accuse Ted of using an “alias” or being a non-resident)... and then you develop a paranoid conspiracy theory (“I think ‘Ted Huey’ is really Leigh Greden”). Your attempt at a cute closer (“Hi Leigh!”) is not appreciated.

    Between your gestapo investigations and addiction to FOIAs, you have way too much time on your hands. (Perhaps I should be more sympathetic). But it’s people like you who cause many AU readers to not use their real names — and many elected officials to not post at all anymore — for fear that you will turn POW’s McCarthy tactics on us. Thanks to you, AU is not all it could be. Thanks for promoting open political dialogue.

    PS- Let me save you the time of having to comb through the tax rolls trying to find my property so you can egg my house- “Beesley” is close to, but not quite, my real last name…

       —Rick Beesley    Aug. 5 '07 - 06:53AM    #
  192. “But it’s people like you who cause many AU readers to not use their real names — and many elected officials to not post at all anymore — for fear that you will turn POW’s McCarthy tactics on us.”

    Hey, I use my real name!

    It’s Bond. Todd Bond. (flashes handgun, and sporting a tux)

    I will say that I have noticed that the respected posters steer clear of this mudslinging (JulieW, Murph, Bruce, Dale, AAIO, et. al.), and tune out. Not good, IMHO.

    Like myself, these youngsters are turned off by dirty politics. We need these cats, as while they are much shorter than I am (sad, really), they are far smarter.

    And have better manners.

       —todd    Aug. 5 '07 - 07:11AM    #
  193. This is all getting a bit silly. So, it’s okay for Ted Huey to dismiss my and Tim Colenback’s criticisms of Greden based on his assumptions about our personal motivations, even though neither Tim nor I has any idea who Ted is and we don’t know that he has ever met either of us?
    And it’s okay for Ted to repeat, for the umpteenth time, without ever backing it up, the charge that POW has exaggerated and lied?

    But, it’s “Gestapo” tactics for Dave Cahill to look up Ted’s name in the phone book or a readily available database of county voters on which you can find anyone in a manner of seconds? Looking for someone’s name on a public listing is a Gestapo tactic? That’s dirty politics? No, what’s dirty politics is Greden-like conflicts of interest and stealing from your own party.

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 5 '07 - 07:52AM    #
  194. I’m glad to hear that Ted Huey is a real person – even though he has left the political scene.

    Wendy Woods got a “late contribution” of $200 from John Dingell’s PAC. Still no report of any contributions from any of her constituents.

    And still no response on the merits of Tom’s article criticizing Greden. If Greden and his surrogates had been able to come up with such a response, we would have seen it by now.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 5 '07 - 05:14PM    #
  195. Is it merely “mudslinging” to point out that a candidate kept the money from a misrepresented fund-raiser, and only gave it back because he got caught? It would seem that such a substantiated (and so far unrefuted) allegation would qualify as more than mere “mudslinging”.

    “Mudslinging” would be more like trying to make an issue out off how much a candidate paid for a haircut.

    As a voter, learning of this candidate’s history of “misappropriation” could influence my decision. An expensive haircut? Not so much.

    But the readers who profess to suffer indignation over such “nastiness” can take comfort in knowing that political discourse of this type will probably disappear after the Murdoch empire swallows up AAU.

       —Michael Schils    Aug. 5 '07 - 06:04PM    #
  196. I forgot to mention that I recently sent Murph an e-mail saying how pleased I was to see the new people who are participating in this item. He responded by expressing his pleasure also.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 5 '07 - 06:18PM    #
  197. For the love of Pete, folks. I’m just going to emphasize that my earlier post didn’t deal with the substance of POW!‘s article, merely the way in which they go about presenting that information. What Greden did was unfortunate. Most folks can probably understand that, and I for one am glad he was called out for it.

    Additionally, I also said that in general the tone of politics in this town quickly turns nasty and not just POW!. Whether it’s a DDA member making unfortunate comments about the entire populace of the OWS to the newspaper or whatnot, there’s a viciousness that bubbles to the surface all too often over the goings-on in this mid-sized midwestern college town. I’m not indignant about it. It merely turns me off to local politics.

       —OWSider    Aug. 5 '07 - 06:20PM    #
  198. For Ted Huey – Have I ever met you? I certainly have no recollection of you. If I’m wrong about that, let me know. Otherwise, how is it that you are so certain about my motivations for participating in POW? Yes, Leigh Greden wrote a nasty letter to the Ann Arbor News about me – in 1999. But where is the evidence of my personal vendetta against him? Did I write a nasty letter in response? Sue or threaten to sue him? Oppose him in any way (e.g. try to find a primary opponent, bad-mouth him in the press, etc.) when he ran for Council in 2003 or for re-election in 2005? Write letters to The News attacking his performance on City Council? The answers are No, No, No and No. Not much of a vendetta. The truth is that, until 2006, seven years later, I ignored Leigh Greden, because he really didn’t matter to me. Then, I did write a message to fellow members of the Washtenaw Trial Lawyers Association, through its list-serve, reproducing the 1999 letter and the anti-plaintiffs-lawyers attitudes that it displayed, attitudes that the GOP, the insurance industry and the National Association of Manufacturers spend millions promoting. Since the State Legislature writes the laws determining individuals’ access to the legal system and the ability to obtain justice, and Greden was running for State Representative, it seemed important to inform my fellow professionals of the attitudes that he had displayed. It was only later that I stumbled across the information about Greden’s Broadway Village conflict-of-interest problems and decided to help POW publicize them. I have pursued this issue, and the later-discovered misappropriation of party funds, because the behavior outrages me, and embarrasses me as a Democrat, not because Greden wrote a letter in 1999. You really shouldn’t accuse people of things that you have no solid basis for. POW and I haven’t done that with Greden, where everything we’ve reported is verifiable.

    But, what if you’re right, and some, or even all of the POW participants have personal grudges against Greden? So what? We don’t ask you to trust our judgments or opinions. Everything we present is reliably documented. If we came up with absolute proof that Greden took a $10,000 bribe to convince his fellow members of Council to vote for Broadway Village, would you dismiss its significance, because we don’t like him? The fact is, most reliable information about the misdeeds of politicians comes from their opponents. The press is often lazy or timid or both. Independent sources who discover the info are often afraid to take on the politician, so they feed it to the opponents. That’s often how some very important stuff gets out.

    How is what we have done “mudslinging?” We have reported the facts of Greden’s self-reported campaign contributions and his handling of Democratic Party funds, none of which has been disputed. If you think that none of these facts indicates wrong-doing, then what “mud” is being slung? If you don’t believe that this behavior is important to examine, that’s your choice, but many people do. The behavior raises legitimate issues of public trust, accountability and honesty. Why is talking about it truthfully, dirty politics?

    You say: “POW’s missives are filled with exaggerations and lies.” Could you please identify for Update readers just one exaggeration and one lie? I’ll make you an offer. With regard to the Greden material, which is the only thing that I’ve been involved with: I will give you $100 for each exaggeration or lie that you identify. Conversely, for each claim of exaggeration or lie that you make that doesn’t hold water, you have to pay me $100. Who decides? Any reasonable third party. I suggest John Hinchey, a long-time editor of the Ann Arbor Observer who has followed the local political scene for years and is a very competent professional journalist. I’m open to your suggestions.

    Ted, it’s time to “put up, or shut up.”

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 5 '07 - 09:55PM    #
  199. “I will give you $100 for each exaggeration or lie that you identify.”

    I’ll take you up on that if you wish. But it has to include what’s you, Tom Wieder, have posted on Arbor Update. I expect you to be a man of his word, and for you to not accuse me of hair-splitting. I know that you are an attorney, and I know that you fully understand the importance of the words, or a lack thereof, that you have chosen.

    We’ll send the money to the Food Gatherers in Leigh Greden’s name. Deal?

    (Hint: if I were you, I’d take a look at what you have posted, and the POW lit. one last time. I have already pointed out the lies/exaggerations in my previous questions to you here at AU)

    To be clear: we’re talking either lies or exaggerations. And we’re talking $100 per instance, even if you are just repeating lies or exaggerations.

    Somehow I think that you are far, far too familiar with the law to accept this wager. I do think that the Food Gathers will be thrilled to accept your money, though.

       —todd    Aug. 5 '07 - 10:59PM    #
  200. “The character of someone in public office (or running for office) is always at issue and always relevant. I don’t know how the AADF stuff could have been raised publicly between December ’06 at the apocalyptic City Party meeting and now.”

    Dave, this has to be one of the most unintentionally funny things you have ever written here. The same guy who has no qualms posting about every little trangression he thinks his political opponents has ever made couldn’t find one reason, one opportunity, one instance in the last 7 – 8 months to post about this incident which he now trumpets as scandal and misconduct? But only days before the election, with little or no time for your target to respond, you carpet-bomb this attack across town. Aren’t you the tiniest bit embarassed by posting garbage like this:

    “I don’t know how the AADF stuff could have been raised publicly between December ’06 at the apocalyptic City Party meeting and now”

    and knowing that no sane person in town would believe you for one second?

    Can’t you at least have the guts to be honest and admit what everyone else knows to be true? You wanted to attack Greden with this story and you timed its release so that no matter what the facts are, Greden wouldn’t have enough time to respond or would be forced to spend time, energy and money refuting it. Your willingness to sit on the story and use it for a political attack demonstrates to me that it’s a non-story. If it had been a real issue, you would have been on here talking about it months ago. But you didn’t. So if it didn’t matter enough to you 3 months ago, why should it matter to us today?

       —John Q.    Aug. 6 '07 - 12:37AM    #
  201. John Q, POW! is publicizing the stuff about Greden. I don’t control what POW! does.

    Tom’s article is essentially a shortened version of the resolution presented to the Party last December. That resolution was sent electronically to about 500 Party activists in advance of that meeting. The AA News is on the e-mail list for such resolutions.

    I also sent a copy to (I think) juliew and asked that an article about it be started, but nothing happened.

    What else would you have had me do?

    When I first heard of what Greden had done, I became sick to my stomach. If I had tried to do anything more personally to publicize what Greden had done (take out a full-page ad in the AA News?) I would have gotten nauseous all over again.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 6 '07 - 01:51AM    #
  202. David: In response to post #175, I absolutely never said that. Were you at the meeting? I went there so that the resolution would be fully discussed. I will reiterate: I was the one who wanted to discuss it. I was not allowed to, as Mr Wieder repeatedly shouted me down and demanded an immediate vote. Can I be more clear? (That would be the resolution that was later withdrawn, the issue having been resolved, and resulted in rules changes regarding the submission of resolutions, and that would be the meeting that resulted in the establishment of the “AADEMs Rules of Decorum”.) I don’t think I’ll be participating any further in this conversation.

       —Margie    Aug. 6 '07 - 02:13AM    #
  203. OK, let’s cut to the chase here folks. In the 2005 City Council Primary, there were exactly 3,399 voters, a whopping 8.57% of registered voters. In the 2005 November Election, where you could expect a much greater turnout, only about 10,000 people voted in the City Council race.

    In the 2005 race, Greden was unopposed in the primary and won the Council seat by fewer than 700 votes. He was running against Libertarian Rich Birkett, the Hash Bash organizer whose platform was primarily focused on legalizing medical marijuana. Birkett got 33% of the vote.

    Seems like we might want to focus more on getting people to vote (and having good candidates to vote for) than on snarking at each other.

       —Juliew    Aug. 6 '07 - 02:32AM    #
  204. Margie, it seems you are a bit out of touch with Party affairs. There were never any changes in the rules about the submission of resolutions, and no so-called Rules of Decorum were ever established. The meetings are still run according to Robert’s Rules of Order, which are more than adequate to prevent the throwing of chairs, riots in the meeting room, and other minor difficulties. 8-)

    I must still point out that you have still not denied anything in Tom’s article. I therefore consider the facts in the article to be admitted, since you would have a strong motivation to deny them, if they had been false.

    So I guess your further participation in this discussion would not be very helpful, anyway.
       —David Cahill    Aug. 6 '07 - 03:08AM    #
  205. Todd – My offer was in response to Ted Huey’s claim that “POW’s missives are filled with exaggerations and lies.” The offer was clearly limited to what I wrote about Greden, in the published POW material, not things others wrote or things posted here. If there is any question about what words I am willing to defend, they are the content of my article posted on the POW website, which was reproduced in campaign literature that POW distributed. Here’s the link:

    I stand by that offer, which may be accepted by you or anyone else.

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 6 '07 - 04:18AM    #
  206. Has anyone else noticed how BOH-ring this is? Juliew hit it. How much of this is really interesting to the voters? If ArborUpdate fell in the desert, would anyone notice? You’d think there were no issues of concern to the real people out there and that children throwing spitballs (before my time, but I think they were masticated paper) at each other were the only action worth following.

    POW! BAM! Take that!

       —anonymous too    Aug. 6 '07 - 05:15AM    #
  207. Tom, I’m going to spare the rest of the peanut gallery from the list of, um, fineable offenses, and just ship this to you. Why don’t you and POW respond by telling us more about Ms. Bullington?

    Shoot me an email at brewer at leopoldbros dot com

       —todd    Aug. 6 '07 - 05:35AM    #
  208. Todd- in a post yesterday, you tried to dismiss POW’s criticism of Greden by asking “Where are the convictions?” for breaking campaign laws. So, IYHO, the only behaviors that a candidate or office-holder can be properly criticized for are things resulting in a criminal conviction? What nonsense! I don’t know of any Michigan criminal statute which would punish Greden’s conflicts-of-interest regarding Broadway Village, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t act unethically and improperly. As for his misappropriation of Democratic Party funds, there probably are criminal statutes that might apply, but getting prosecutors to move on such things, especially when the money has been repaid and politics are involved, would be quite difficult. But again, does that mean Greden’s actions aren’t very wrong, dishonest and appropriate for discussion as he seeks to represent the Democratic Party on the ballot once again?

    You also stated, with regard to Greden: “Seems like a nice guy to me.” Oh well, I guess if he seems nice, POW’s criticisms must be wrong. You sound like the 75-year-old woman who has her bank account emptied in the old “pigeon-drop” con and remarks, “But, he seemed like such a nice young man.”

    You suggest that Greden hasn’t attempted to refute POW’s charges, because he may not want to “roll around in the mud.” That’s possible, but it misses the point. Several individuals attempting to defend Greden, or merely to attack POW, in this space and elsewhere have specifically alleged that POW has misrepresented the facts. So, they are not avoiding “rolling around” in the mud. Rather, they call us liars and exaggerators, but refuse to back it up. Sure, one is free to stay above the fray and ignore someone else’s charges, but when you start calling other people liars, you should be prepared to back it up.

    You seem to have little understanding of what are real, or apparent, conflicts-of-interest and what are not. Because you have to obtain routine approvals of various permits, at the administrative level, from the city for your business doesn’t mean that it would be improper for you to contribute to candidates for city office, and for them to accept.

    But, now imagine this scenario. You want to set up a new bar business, but don’t have a liquor license. You could buy an existing business with a license, but that would probably cost you, say, $75-100,000 just to get the license, right? It turns out that this is happening near the start of a new decade, when the city has been allotted its quota of new licenses. These can be obtained for a thousand or two (I’m not sure what they cost now), but you need to have City Council decide to give one to you. Let’s say that there are two businesses vying for one remaining license. The other business is legally represented by a law firm which employs a member of the Council. That member announces that he can’t vote on the granting of the new license, because his firm represents an applicant. What he doesn’t tell you, or anyone else, is that he set up and attended a meeting at City Hall which included employees which review the liquor license applications and make recommendations to Council. It also turns out that the Councilmember has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the all of the owners of the competing business and their spouses, from the partner in the law firm that is handling the license application and from the law firm’s PAC.

    Do you not see the difference here? Do you really think that the actions of that Councilmember are okay and aren’t appropriate for political discussion and criticism?

    It is quite possible for a member of Council to avoid true conflicts of interest and still receive financial support from people who “do business with the city.” But there is a big difference between routine interactions at an administrative level and discretionary acts in which the Councilmembers have a role. The member of Council in this hypothetical crossed the line, and so did Greden.

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 6 '07 - 05:57AM    #
  209. Tom,

    Please explain to us why, if these charges are so serious to you and the rest of your cohorts in POW!, that you waited to less than a week before the election to publicize them. I’m not interested in debating the allegations. That’s for the accused to respond to if they feel the need to do so. I’m more interested in why we should give your accusations any weight since you’ve waited until the last minute to level them.

       —John Q.    Aug. 6 '07 - 06:27AM    #
  210. John,

    Pardon my French, but what the hell are you talking about?! The conflict of interest issue was raised a year ago, as soon as we learned of it, before the 2006 primary. If you don’t know about it, it’s probably because, although all the facts were spelled out for The Ann Arbor News, the little bit of it that they reported was buried in a larger story. And even though we brought to their attention the campaign contributions from the Broadway Village interests, the very day after the campaign finance reports were available, they refused to run anything about them. We did include all of that information in the POW literature distributed by the thousands a year ago! The Ann Arbor Democrats Fund (AADF) information only came to light after the primary. When it did, all of the information was assembled and emailed to hundreds of people on the Ann Arbor Democratic Party membership list, and The Ann Arbor News. The AADF text that appears in the current POW piece is a shorter version of what I wrote and was distributed to the entire Party mailing list. The matter was discussed publicly at a Party meeting. Greden chose not to attend. That was at the November or December City Party meeting; I don’t recall which at this time. The information about Leah Gunn funneling money through the Ann Arbor Democrats Fund so that the contribution limit could be exceeded was given to Tom Gantert of The News more than six months ago. Again, not interested! I/we have done everything we could to get this information out as publicly as possible as soon as possible. POW doesn’t have a regular publication to disseminate this information. It barely can find the money to print a single flyer before the election. We did not spring these charges on Greden at the last minute. With the possible exception of the Gunn contribution matter, everything we raised recently has been raised and distributed widely many months ago. There has been plenty of time for Greden to respond. He hasn’t. Your criticism of POW on this point is totally unfounded and unfair!

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 6 '07 - 08:30AM    #
  211. I’d like to follow up on the “voter turnout” point juliew has raised.

    I’ve done voter analysis for the First Ward (surprise!). There are about 18,000 registered voters in that ward. Based on my study of August primary elections for Council in the past decade, my estimate is that there will be 1,200 votes cast tomorrow in the First Ward.

    That is only a 6.7% turnout.

    There are several reasons for the low turnout. The First Ward is heavily student, so about half the precincts (1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, and 1-7) are almost completely empty. Bear in mind also that this Council primary is the only race on the ballot. So people have to really care about City Council politics to vote.

    Finally, there is the matter of press coverage. The AA News has cut way back on political news. It did not even run what used to be its regular separate articles on each ward’s primary race. Instead, it lumped the races together. Its circulation is falling. And it is a Republican paper, so many Democrats either don’t subscribe to it or don’t pay attention to its political news.

    I wish the turnout were much larger. But as we all know, if wishes were horses beggars would ride.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 6 '07 - 05:48PM    #
  212. The polls are open. Be sure to vote!!

       —David Cahill    Aug. 7 '07 - 03:08PM    #
  213. “I/we have done everything we could to get this information out as publicly as possible as soon as possible. POW doesn’t have a regular publication to disseminate this information.”

    Tom, this is more directed at David than yourself but again, how is it that something that was sent out to a mailing list months ago suddenly appears on AU just days before the election? By your own admission, none of this is new information. But it’s only now that David feels it’s appropriate to share it with everyone here. That’s a sign of political outrage not real outrage.

       —John Q.    Aug. 7 '07 - 05:30PM    #
  214. I was at Eberwhite this morning and Mike Anglin is certainly winning the battle of the signage.

       —Fred Zimmerman    Aug. 7 '07 - 06:03PM    #
  215. Are the polls open until 7:00 or 8:00 this evening?

       —Huey    Aug. 7 '07 - 06:29PM    #
  216. Polls are open until 8:00 pm.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 7 '07 - 06:48PM    #
  217. In response to John Q: In your previous post, you were outraged that POW and I “waited to less than a week before the election to publicize” our facts about Greden. Now that I have, I think, shown that your criticism was totally and completely invalid, do you pause a minute and say anything like, “Oops, my bad. Sorry, I guess I was mistaken,” to me and POW? No, not a word! Now, you are outraged that Cahill didn’t share the information with the folks of AU sooner. Where is your outrage over what Greden has done? Or, is the only thing you care about is whether the boys and girls of AU play nicely together? If that’s what you care about fine. But, if you care about city governance, forget this BS and ask whether people running for office meet minimal standards of integrity!

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 7 '07 - 07:50PM    #
  218. Tom,

    I already said it’s the candidate’s job to respond to the allegations. Based on what you’ve shared and the fact that you’re not a regular poster, I’ll take back what I said in regards to your role in this. But David Cahill isn’t off the hook in my book and I stand by my previous comments that his timing is suspect and shows that he was more concerned about scoring political points than revealing some kind of scandal.

       —John Q.    Aug. 7 '07 - 08:26PM    #
  219. John Q, I’ve posted the chronology already, but let me try again. I did send last fall’s resolution to juliew for posting here; no dice.

    Tom’s article is new. It is based on the resolution, but is not identical to it. I posted that article here shortly after it appeared on the POW! website.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 7 '07 - 11:15PM    #
  220. Maybe she recognized it wasn’t news?

       —Dale    Aug. 7 '07 - 11:31PM    #
  221. There is a link on the right side of this blog that says “submit content.” The e-mail address listed there goes to a number of people. If you want something posted, I suggest you submit it to that address. If it seems postworthy, someone will get to it. Dave, it is true that I have posted many of the items you have submitted without complaint. However, I am most certainly not here to do your bidding and I am extremely annoyed at the tone of your comment. If you want something posted, I suggest you follow the recommended procedures as outlined in the “submit content” link.

       —Juliew    Aug. 8 '07 - 01:01AM    #
  222. John Q – I try to avoid the personal attacks so common on blogs like this, but John Q, you’re hopeless. Directed specifically at me, you said, “Please explain to us why, if these charges are so serious to you and the rest of your cohorts in POW!, that you waited to less than a week before the election to publicize them.” You didn’t say, “Would Cahill or some other POW member who is a regular AU poster explain why they didn’t post something about this sooner.” What you originally posted suggested that my “POW cohorts” and I were engaged in underhanded campaign tactics by springing information on Greden at the last minute. It now appears that you’re only complaint is that Cahill has violated some “rule” that regular AU posters have some obligation to post information on a schedule that suits you! Why this so damned important to you, I can’t imagine. But why can’t you be adult enough to acknowledge that your original assertions about POW’s timing tactics were simply wrong, period!

    BTW, Dale, you miss Cahill’s point. If he tried to post something on this point, but couldn’t get it on the site, than John Q’s criticism of him is also invalid, whether you and Julie thought it was boring or not.

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 8 '07 - 01:04AM    #
  223. Nice going Cahill! You managed to piss off HD and Juliew in the same seven day period. If you can get Larry to call you a cocksucker you will have hit the trifecta!

    I’m not sure you have any bridges left to burn, buster. Or any credibility left to squander. I only lament that your wife’s campaign is very likely strong enough to overcome your heroic attempt to sabotage it.

    And Jesus, Weider, you’re like a rabid dog. Relax, asshole.

       —Parking Structure Dude!    Aug. 8 '07 - 01:17AM    #
  224. I might be in the minority, but I will be sooooo glad when this primary is over.

    I voted today, around 10am in the 3rd ward. I was only the 9th voter :( I’m afraid that it’s political discourse like this (by “this” I mean the allegations flying back and forth on this very site) that turn some people off of voting and the political process. In the summers, I teach government and I start the class by asking why people don’t vote or don’t like politics. Guess why?

       —TeacherPatti    Aug. 8 '07 - 01:39AM    #
  225. A further thought…who cares whether Cahill misbehaved or not, or even if POW used sharky campaign tactics – which it clearly didn’t. Isn’t the important question whether Leigh Greden has behaved in a way that raises legitimate questions about his fitness for public office? John Q – perhaps it is up to Greden, not you, to respond to the criticisms substantively – which he has never done. But don’t you have anything to offer of substance on the point? Assume that what POW has reported is true and that it was reported in a timely manner, what do you think about what he did? Or are you only interested in the intellectual masturbation about who is or isn’t playing the blog game “properly?” POW has raised questions about Greden’s fitness and, with a few salutory exceptions, most of the comments on AU have been about timing and “dirty” campaigning. How about some serious discussion of a serious set of ethical questions?

    BTW, it was revealed this morning that Greden received a $500 “late contribution” (that’s a specific term in the campaign finance law) yesterday from the DTE Energy PAC. Why would DTE have such an interest in the renomination of Leigh Greden to the Ann Arbor City Council? And why would such a contribution just arrive and/or be reported the day before the election? Now, that’s some interesting timing, especially when one considers that the city is involved in a contested race case against DTE before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 8 '07 - 01:46AM    #
  226. Parking Structure Dude – So I’m an asshole and a rabid dog? What a wonderful contribution! And you tell me to relax? Would you care to point out what I wrote that prompts such a juvenile response? Who, exactly do you think is impressed by such childish behavior? Oh well, I think it’s about time to retire from this AU nonsense.

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 8 '07 - 02:02AM    #
  227. “But why can’t you be adult enough to acknowledge that your original assertions about POW’s timing tactics were simply wrong, period!”

    Right before your comment, I acknowledged that I was wrong about whether you had sat on the information. But I won’t back off from knocking Cahill. If he can post as often as he does on every other topic but only drops these accusations days before the election here, no matter where else it has been posted or published, I call that suspect and shady.

    As for POW’s timing, why should POW! get a pass? Sorry, when you go to press with accusations days before the election with information that you’ve had for months, knowing that most voters won’t have been exposed to the allegations, you do so with the knowledge that no matter what the validity of the charge, your opponent will have little or no time to respond. If they do feel the need to respond, they’ll waste their energy on that instead of engaged against your endorsed candidates. Some will call that sleazy politics. Some will call that brilliant. Whichever you think it is, you can’t deny that it has a completely different impact on this election than if you had put this out 2 weeks ago.

    Maybe you don’t care and I don’t think you do but for some people here, it speaks as much about the people making the charges that they didn’t go to print with that until just before the election. If the allegations were so important to POW!, why didn’t you put that out earlier? You claim that “POW doesn’t have a regular publication to disseminate this information. It barely can find the money to print a single flyer before the election.” You can afford a web site. So why did you wait until August 2nd to post your accusations? It wouldn’t have cost you a cent to post them earlier.

    “Assume that what POW has reported is true and that it was reported in a timely manner, what do you think about what he did?”

    All I have is your accusations that he did everything you claimed. You’ve claimed that you have documentation for everything but I haven’t seen any of that documentation. How hard is it for someone to scan and throw up a couple of PDFs so people can review it and come to their own conclusions? You seemed to be ticked off that we aren’t responding to your accusations. That’s what happens when you get caught playing “gotcha” politics.

    BTW, it was revealed this morning that Greden received a $500 “late contribution” (that’s a specific term in the campaign finance law) yesterday from the DTE Energy PAC. Why would DTE have such an interest in the renomination of Leigh Greden to the Ann Arbor City Council?”

    Wait! Did you see that there was a contribution from the “John Dingell for Congress Committee PAC”? Why would the “John Dingell for Congress Commitee have such an interest in the renomination of Leigh Greden to the Ann Arbor City Council?

       —John Q.    Aug. 8 '07 - 02:20AM    #
  228. I’m not mad at the fact my stuff didn’t get posted, juliew. I don’t have a right to have things posted, after all.

    However, having done what I had customarily done to get something posted here, I didn’t do anything else.

    FWIW, the turnout in the First Ward is much lower than I expected – and our candidates haven’t been throwing concrete blocks at each other.

    Less than an hour and a half left to vote!

       —David Cahill    Aug. 8 '07 - 02:37AM    #
  229. HD’s long been begging for AU to hold contests. I see that we’re well on our way to producing a contender for the most-tiresome-thread category. But I’m not sure what the prize should be, or who should get it.

       —Bruce Fields    Aug. 8 '07 - 02:39AM    #
  230. This is the weirdest AU thread I have ever read. I’d say Arbor Update has jumped the shark, but I’m not sure the kids still say that these days.

       —Dale    Aug. 8 '07 - 02:41AM    #
  231. You may be right, Bruce, but at least you learned that my real name is Bond. Todd Bond. you’ve got that going for you.

    Which is nice.

       —todd    Aug. 8 '07 - 02:47AM    #
  232. Wow.

    Bad, bad joke= thread killer.

    I don’t know whether I should be proud, or ashamed.

    I’ll make a note of it, nonetheless.

       —todd    Aug. 8 '07 - 04:19AM    #
  233. Here are the final, unofficial results from Sabra’s poll closers:

    Sabra Briere….........421 votes….46%
    John Roberts…........309 votes….34%
    Richard Wickboldt…180 votes….20%

    Total votes cast…....910 votes

    Sabra wins the Democratic nomination for First Ward Council!

       —David Cahill    Aug. 8 '07 - 04:35AM    #
  234. Sounds close. Any news from the 5th ward?

       —Huey    Aug. 8 '07 - 04:49AM    #
  235. In the spirit of factchecking, something apparently important to posters here: yes, John Dingell’s committee gave $250 to Leigh Greden and $200 to Wendy Woods (none to John Roberts, the stand-in for incumbents in the 1st Ward). No word on why the differential. See

    Why? Someone apparently convinced Dingell’s people that (a.) the incumbents would win and this would cement relationships; or (b.) that they needed to win so that the world would continue to proceed in an orderly manner.

    The polls are closed now, so I assume this is the end of the thread.

    If I won, my wish is that PSD will never post another obscene remark without giving his real name.

       —anonymous too    Aug. 8 '07 - 04:51AM    #
  236. And Sabra wins due ONLY to my interview of her at thisss link, .


    Just kidding! But congratulations! Those crazy developers are in trouble now!!! ! :D

    (Where are the other results, DC?)

       —David Boyle    Aug. 8 '07 - 04:56AM    #
  237. Mike Anglin beat Wendy Woods in the Fifth Ward.

    Leigh Greden beat LuAnne Bullington in the Third Ward.

    That’s two out of three for the Rebel Alliance!

       —David Cahill    Aug. 8 '07 - 05:04AM    #
  238. David,
    Where are you getting your numbers? I totally believe you, but I can’t find anything “official” on any website.
    PS: Congrats to the Mrs. :)

       —TeacherPatti    Aug. 8 '07 - 05:07AM    #
  239. TeacherPatti, election numbers-plus-commentary available through my post here

       —David Boyle    Aug. 8 '07 - 05:53AM    #
  240. to anonymous too: POOP!

       —!Parking Structure Dude!    Aug. 8 '07 - 06:07AM    #
  241. (!PSD was me. Sorry. I just got carried away in the spirit of the conversation. Moving on…)

       —Murph.    Aug. 8 '07 - 06:08AM    #
  242. Our figures are from people who went to each of the eight polling places for Sabra. You can forget about seeing anything timely on the City or County websites. They must have complete confidence in what the post; we just want to know who won. 8-)

       —David Cahill    Aug. 8 '07 - 06:29AM    #
  243. Unofficial results are here. Looks like Briere, Anglin, and Greden are indeed the winners of the primary.

       —Juliew    Aug. 8 '07 - 06:32AM    #
  244. At post #165, David Cahill introduced an article into this thread, the title of which read,

    “Leigh Greden: A Pattern of Conflict of Interest, Influence-Peddling, Misappropriation of Funds and Campaign Finance Law Violation”

    The article was written by Tom Wieder, and is hosted on the website of POW (Progressives of Washtenaw).

    A debate ensued, which consisted of the following criticisms.

    Collectively, POW, Wieder, and Cahill were criticized for their inability to let things go (#170), for being “all white” (#186), for having personal vendettas (#186), for having bad manners (#193), and for their suspicious timing (#228) in bringing the allegations for political gain (#210, #214, #219).

    Individually, POW was criticized for operating in gutter politics (#169), for hypocrisy (#186), for having no standards (#191), for using McCarthy tactics (#192), and for the suspicious timing of the allegations (#228).

    Wieder was criticized for shouting too much (#174, #203), for holding grudges (#186), for being a rabid dog (#224), and for being an asshole (#224).

    Cahill was criticized for being a pit bull wannabee (#176), for being a pathetic simulacrum (#176), for engaging in disgusting and inappropriate behavior (#179), for being truly pathetic (#192), for engaging in Gestapo investigations (#192), for being dishonest and a hypocrite (#201), for bringing allegations with suspicious (#219) and suspect and shady timing (#228) to score political points (#219), for having no credibility (#224), and for pissing people off (#224).

    The nature of the POW/Cahill/Wieder allegations themselves were criticized for being ugly and uncivil (#166), for being petty and silly (#169), for being irrelevant because of being previously resolved (#170), for being all about smearing a fellow democrat (#174), for being dangerous mudslinging (#179, #186, #192), for being the result of a personal grudge (#179), for having no teeth (#187), for being dirty politics (#186, #193), for being whining (#179) crap (#179, #188) and bullshit (#179), for name calling and dirty campaigning (#186), for being lies and exaggerations (#200), for being garbage (#201) and not really news (#221), for being less important than voter turnout (#198), for being presented in a manner that is a political turnoff (#184,#188,#193,#225), and for being irrelevant because there had been no conviction (#187).

    The debate itself was criticized for being ugly (#184) and nasty (#184,198), childish and embarrassing (#184), for giving democrats a horrible image (#186) which keeps AU down (#192), and for being most tiresome (#230), boring (or “BOH-ring”)(#207), and weird (#231).

    But the most important thing I took from this debate, was that the specific factual allegations contained in the article, which started this debate, were never addressed.

    I already knew lawyers were scum. :-)
    (Obligatory jab at lawyers.)

       —Michael Schils    Aug. 8 '07 - 07:57PM    #
  245. Michael Schils – I don’t know who you are, but you are obviously wise. Thank you.

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 8 '07 - 08:13PM    #
  246. So you didn’t take the “lawyers were scum” comment, personally. Cool.

       —Michael Schils    Aug. 8 '07 - 10:36PM    #
  247. I think Larry got the Woods loss correct here:

    It was no surprise to me and I was tempted to predict it before voting started. While I think David’s criticism of her contributors was off-base, I think he was correct in noting that her lack of local donors was a big red flag that her campaign was in serious trouble. No local money either means you’ve lost support locally or you’re not making the effort. Either way, you’re headng for defeat.

    In local elections, feet on the ground can beat big dollar donations and the report that Anglin was walking and talking to voters 2 hours every night is proof of that. In a general, you might be able to get away with riding to victory on your label as incumbent. But in a low-turnout primary, failing to keep up with your opponent in the door-to-door department will leave you crying in your beer on election night. Too bad for Wendy but it was her election to lose and she lost it.

       —John Q.    Aug. 8 '07 - 10:37PM    #
  248. From what I heard at work today, from someone who knows, Wendy Woods did little to no work on her campaign. She didn’t send out a fund raising letter, had one fund raising event, had one (weak) piece of literature that she did not mail and did next to nothing in the way of door to door.

    Apparently she did not really care enough to devote the hours or thought she could coast.

    So even if Anglin did not know much (and refused to learn, like the fact redevelopment downtown actually improves stormwater run off retention and does not cause rates to go up), it didn’t matter, he was on the door step talking and people never saw Woods.

       —LauraB    Aug. 9 '07 - 02:40AM    #
  249. Postmortems are interesting, aren’t they? I have to respond to LauraB because what she “heard at work, from someone who knows” was wrong in terms of my campaign. So, to be specific, (1) I did send out a fundraising letter to specific people; (2) True, I had only one fundraising event, but, what’s that supposed to prove?; (3) I mailed out literature to absentee voters; and (4) I mailed 4,000 pieces to voters in the Fifth Ward. You thought my lit was “weak”, well that’s your opinion.

    We can discuss whether or not YOU think I spent enough time campaigning, but I also work 40 hours or more each week at the University and I spend about 20 hours on City Council related work and meetings. So, in my spare time, I knocked on doors, had a website, participated in debates, went to political picnics, answered emails, responded to constitutents, met with staff, and, dang, I wish I could take a nap.

    Lastly, regardless of what you think, I never thought I could coast with this election. No Black person in America can ever coast. I offer no excuses for having lost, but I take offense at your insinuation that “apparently she did not really care enough to devote the hours”.


    Wendy Woods

       —Wendy Woods    Aug. 9 '07 - 09:55PM    #
  250. I would like to chime in here and thank Wendy Woods for her service on City Council. Although I am not in Ward 5, I have noticed over the years that she is the one Council member who has attended almost every city-related meeting I have been to. While others have been noticeably absent, she has definitely taken the time to be a part of the community. She has been a strong voice on the Council as a representative of the University, of African-Americans, of Ward 5, and still manages to have her own identity. Recently she has been not only a Council member, but also on the Planning Commission as the City Council liaison. And, as she noted, she also has a full-time job. No, I haven’t always agreed with her votes, but I think she has always been a contentious representative. So I would like to thank her for that and also to say that she would be welcome to move to Ward 4 and run for Council!

       —Juliew    Aug. 10 '07 - 12:11AM    #
  251. I agree Juliew! Wendy, come on over to ward 4. Better yet, run for senate!
    I guess the White Man Wins again. Shame on Ann Arbor.
    I am a voter in ward 4, but if I had known we were in danger of losing our multi-cultural council, I WOULD HAVE MOVED TO WARD 5 JUST TO VOTE FOR WENDY WOODS!!!!!!
    I am sooo angry with 5th Ward voters!
    They have taken a strong African American Woman and replaced her with “Mr. I need a nap” Hope he rests up before the council meetings….they can run late and Mikey-wikey needs his sleepy-weepy.

       —Bulldog67    Aug. 10 '07 - 01:56AM    #
  252. I know that most have tuned out, but Mr. Wieder and I have been discussing the POW lit offline, and we came to the understanding that I have no evidence that any of the factual statements made by POW were inaccurate, and I’m sorry for suggesting otherwise.

    In my view, the failure of POW to qualify their conclusions about those facts with words such as “we allege” or “in our opinion“ makes some of their statements untrue or exaggerations., let’s move along. Congrats to Ms. Briere, Mr. Anglin, and Mr. Greden, and many thanks to those who served our City in what has to be the biggest pain-in-the-ass job in the whole damn city: the City Council rep.

       —todd    Aug. 10 '07 - 03:40AM    #
  253. I would like to add my thanks to Wendy Woods for her work on Council. It is not an easy job, and so much work is done in committee, and in her case, long meetings at the Planning Commission. Wendy – you were wonderfuul, and I know you will thrive and continue to contribute to our community in the future.

       —Leah Gunn    Aug. 10 '07 - 03:21PM    #
  254. Wendy, I respected what you said up until the point where you dragged out the line “No Black person in America can ever coast.”

    I understand what you are saying, and I agree that black people face an extra burden of historic, current, and future obstacles caused by both subtle and outright discrimination, but what I have to say to you is that in a globalized economy, none of us can coast.


    Fred Z.

       —Fred Zimmerman    Aug. 10 '07 - 06:07PM    #
  255. Wendy has also served as the Council rep on the Energy and Environmental commissions, among other committees, I’m sure.

    Thanks, Wendy. You’ve earned a nap. :-)

    And thanks for continuing to speak truth to (mostly white, mostly male) power. I’m sorry to see Fred’s admittedly and ironically (schizophrenically?) disrespectful comment. Please reconsider it, Fred.

       —Steve Bean    Aug. 10 '07 - 08:37PM    #
  256. Steve —

    I’d agree my comment was poorly phrased, and rather schizophrenic, but I stand by the substance of my comments, which was directed not at Wendy’s accomplishments, but at one particular rhetorical choice that struck a wrong note with me.

    As an employee and a parent, I do respect anyone who can work 40 hours a week ad serve on city council, and I agree that it was a cheap shot to accuse her of being “lazy”.

    What I don’t agree with is explaining things in terms of tired old cliches like “No Black person in America can ever coast” or “speaking truth to power.” It’s time to stop playing the race card as an excuse for undesired outcomes and it’s time to stop claiming that those who are in our faction are speaking “truth” to a monolithic Other.


    Fred Z.

       —Fred Zimmerman    Aug. 12 '07 - 01:23AM    #
  257. Well Fred, I presume you are a white man and have never experienced the type of discrimination as a minority or a woman so to say stop playing the race card is again premature. As a white woman I know that you have to look at the facts for what they are: when a highly qualified, well spoken, educated,seasoned member of city council loses her seat to a white male with little to no experience in city government,sloppy presentation and no real platform to stand upon, you must pose the question: WHAT HAPPENED????? And for a city who claims to be so diverse and prize itself on the rich culture within the city, it disgusts me that NO PERSON OF COLOR WILL BE ON CITY COUNCIL!!! Who will speak for those voices? You have your opinion but you have no idea until you stand in another’s shoes and as a white man you will never know the pressure of being a woman or minority in a white male dominated hierachy such as US Politics, let alone the struggles of a black woman. Keep your head high Wendy, you have much to be proud of. I know I will see you in the future. And in case others were wondering, YES I DID VOTE...and I VOTED FOR WENDY WOODS-proven leadership!

       — Maria Johnson    Aug. 15 '07 - 07:45AM    #
  258. I don’t think that a person’s color or gender is any indicator of what kind of councilmember they will be. Simply voting based on skin color or gender makes no more sense to me than blindly picking a random candidate out of the field. But as I asked before, where are the candidates of color and what effort is the local powers-that-be making to encourage that diversity on Council? It’s hard for voters to elect persons of color to Council when there are no candidates of color besides Wendy Woods.

       —John Q.    Aug. 15 '07 - 05:35PM    #
  259. John Q., John Roberts is also African American.

    And Maria, I’d love to blame the unfortunate losses of Roberts and Woods on racism and any other ugly ism I can ascribe to the bastard voters of the 1st and 5th Wards, but it’s really a case of an even more primitive impulse being manipulated: they thought their nests were in jeopardy. Briere and Anglin convinced a small number of people that their homes (and more importantly their property values) were in imminent danger. They convinced them that their “quality of life” would be negatively impacted by evil developers who would build skyscrapers and blot out the sun if Roberts and Woods were elected. With Briere and Anglin pushing just the right buttons they could have been Martians and they would have been elected. And they only needed to turn out a small handful (relatively) of voters.

    In retrospect, the controversial proposed condo development on Sunset, at the site of the African American Elks lodge, could very well have been the single radicalizing event that swung the election. It’s no coincidence that it was in a spot that impacted a neighborhood that straddled the 1st and 5th Wards. A stroll through the Sunset, Spring, Brooks, Fountain, Gott area in the days before the election revealed a lot of campaign signs for both Briere and Anglin, with several yards sporting both.

    Meanwhile, Woods and Roberts signs were scarce and mainly, to my eye, in the yards of homes owned by African American families.

    So with 20/20 hindsight, I think if you take away that unfortunate proposal, which was ripe for exploitation by the anti-development crowd (“confirming” people’s worst fears about development), it might have been a whole different ballgame.

       —Parking Structure Dude!    Aug. 15 '07 - 07:02PM    #
  260. I have to admit that I seldom if ever participate in blog discussions. However people here are continuing to wrongly say that the new City Council will not have a “person of color.” Although it is true that Ron Suarez (1st ward) may not be African-American, he is of hispanic descent and is a person of color. I am proud to have supported his candicacy for council.

       —David A DeVarti    Aug. 15 '07 - 08:04PM    #
  261. That’s an interesting analysis of the First/Fifth Ward vote, PSD. But I’m not sure it’s correct. It would seem to me offhand that if you were right, Briere/Anglin would have done better in the area closest to the Avery House site than they did elsewhere in their wards, because voters closest to the site would be more concerned about the project than those farther away.

    However, in the First Ward, Briere actually lost the precinct with the Avery House site (precinct 1-8). Wickboldt won it. This precinct was the only precinct Briere lost.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 15 '07 - 08:12PM    #
  262. “John Q., John Roberts is also African American.”

    You’re right. I didn’t mean to give either John or Ron Suarez the brush off.

       —John Q.    Aug. 15 '07 - 09:03PM    #
  263. David D- you make a great point. I apologize for not stating that. The only thing that I have to say to others is that Woods did have signs in yards other than black residents of the 5th ward including State Rep Rebecca Warren and Council Member Chris Easthope as well as being back by the mayor and city council. Let’s end it- best of luck to all. I will just miss the hard work & dedication from Wendy. She really did deserve to win and continue to represent the ward. I will not be voting fot Anglin for political reasons and will write in Wendy Woods…who knows how things will turn out…

       — Maria Johnson    Aug. 17 '07 - 07:10AM    #
  264. I am resurrecting this article because of something unprecedented that is going on with regard to the campaign finance statement of John Roberts, one of the losing candidates for the First Ward Ann Arbor City Council Democratic nomination.

    Roberts’ Post-Primary Statement states that he received $1225.00 in contributions during the reporting period from July 23 through August 27. These contributions included $500.00 from DTE Energy and $500.00 from Albert Berriz, the CEO of McKinley. Roberts said he had no expenditures during this period, and had an ending balance of $1836.40.

    While not spending any money during the last couple of weeks prior to the election is a bit odd, that’s not the shocker.

    Any contribution of $200.00 or more received between July 23 and the election must be reported within 48 hours as a “late contribution”. Roberts did not report either of these “late contributions”.

    As a result, on August 31 the County Clerk’s Office sent him a Notice of Late Filing Fee Due claiming a late fee of $3150.00!

       —David Cahill    Sep. 4 '07 - 11:58PM    #