Ann Arbor Area Community News
For the Ward 2 election, we only received a voter’s guide from Stewart Nelson. We exchanged phone calls and emails with Tony Derezinski, but he did not submit responses in time to include them in this voter’s guide.
Here are Nelson’s replies.
1. Do you support the proposed court-policy facility, as currently planned? What role do you see for Council now that it is underway? (Edited version of question from Eric)
Stewart Nelson: I did not support the police court renovation. I understand we need to remodel the police department. They deserve much better facilities. I also understand that we need to do something about the court as the lease with the county is expiring.
I am opposed to the process that council took to investigate reasonable alternatives. Washtenaw County has lost job 5 out of the last 6 years and combined with plunging property values I am worried that we will have a hard time balancing the budget.
A modest renovation could be made to satisfy the police needs and we might want to consider a satellite police station new Briarwood Mall to spread the force out over the City. Cost 10 to $15 million for both.
I also believe that we could lease space on a short term lease for 3 courts and the Magistrate at Pfizer or elsewhere while we search for a site that would accommodate all the courts including the District and juvenile courts permanently. In a few years when the property tax base starts to climb again we can revisit the construction of a permanent courthouse suitable for the County Courts also.
2. What will you do to ensure that Ann Arbor has sufficient affordable housing? (Question from Chuck Warpehoski)
Stewart Nelson: I would like to see all residential buildings in the D1 areas have a mandatory 20% of the units set aside for affordable work force housing. We must create living space for teachers, police, fire fighters, waiters, sales clerks and the like or we will place or business at a serious disadvantage as they stop applying here because the cost to commute in is too great with $4.00 gasoline and inadequate transportation.
3. What will you do to ensure a healthy community where people can live, work, shop and play without depending on their car? (Question from Chuck Warpehoski)
Stewart Nelson: We must insure that public transportation is greatly expanded. I fully support regionalizing the AATA to a county wide organization. Grand Rapids has been able to assemble a top notch system after the merged 6 agencies together.
I would work hard to establish East-West Rail at least to the Metro Airport. I do not believe that a North South rail makes much sense at this point.
I fully support “walkable urbanism” and the establishing building codes that remove barriers to achieving more walkable regions of the City. We need to implement the Down Town Design guidelines modified to reflect realistic building height restrictions that reflect the consensus of the citizens. The Calthorp study was flawed when they studied removal of building height restrictions.
4. How will you work within the local foodshed to ensure food security and affordability for our city? (Question from TeacherPatti)
Stewart Nelson: I have not given much thought to food security but one way to insure it is encourage multiple sources to enter our local food supply. Affordability is another important issue. As I mentioned in Question 2, we need work force housing to keep our schools and businesses competitive with other communities. One way to do this might be to establish a special housing zone or area of the City that has large property tax relief for Low to middle income housing.
5. What is your opinion of the performance of the Mayor and City council over the past 2 years? (Edited version of question from Mark Koroi)
Stewart Nelson: I have disagreed with the Mayor on numerous issues and I suspect I will continue to do so. The most notable disagreement was when the City wanted to sell part of Huron Hills Golf Course. Why sell a perfectly good greenbelt inside the City when we are spending millions to develop one outside. I also take exception to the way he represented that he was against the police-court renovation right up to the last vote and then he voted for it because he said we ran out of time and there were no alternative. Any businessman will tell you there are always alternatives.
That does not mean I cannot be a team player and get important proposals passed. Also, if we are only going to have one party sitting at the council table, then we better have people willing to challenge the status quo.
Note: This is posted by Chuck Warpehoski, so he, not Nancy Shore, get’s the blame for any misrepresentations or botched cut-and-paste jobs.
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