Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Primary results coming in

5. August 2009 • Matt Hampel
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Online at via the County Clerk

UPDATE

As of 10:11pm, Larry Kestenbaum reports the following complete results:

3rd Ward: Kunselman 511, Greden 505, Bullington 379.

5th Ward: Anglin 1301, Rosencrans 694.

-----------------------------

With 9 precincts of 18 counted as of 09:28:46:

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY - COUNCIL MEMBER BY WARD 5
   
  Mike Anglin91264.64%
  Scott Rosencrans49835.29%
  Write-In10.07%

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY - COUNCIL MEMBER BY WARD 3
   
  LuAnne Bullington14223.01%
  Leigh Greden23938.74%
  Stephen Kunselman23337.76%
  Write-In30.49%


  1. If Steve Kunselman has truly won by six votes, we can certainly expect a recount.

    In the August 5, 2008 Fifth Ward primary, the recount requested by Vivienne Armentrout resulted in a two-vote reduction for Carsten Hoenke and a three-vote increase for Mrs. Armentrout.

    In any event, congratulations Chicken Man!!


       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 5 '09 - 02:04AM    #
  2. Complete results:

    3rd ward: Kunselman 511, Greden 505, Bullington 379.

    5th ward: Anglin 1301, Rosencrans 694.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 5 '09 - 02:11AM    #
  3. Thanks for the numbers, Larry. As I predicted, the bigger they are, the harder they will fall. Leigh Greden is HISTORY….


       —UMGrad1234    Aug. 5 '09 - 02:54AM    #
  4. What is really amazing is that Steve Kunselman got beat by 26.5% one year ago in the council primary as an incumbent by Leigh’s buddy Chris Taylor in the same Third Ward.

    Another amazing statistic is that Mike Anglin beat Rosencrans by 30% when Rosencrans was untainted by any scandal and had reasonable experience on city boards and commissions. While I thought Anglin would win, nobody expected the blowout that occurred.

    This shows me that A2 voter attitudes have drastically changed from one year ago and the Mayor and his cohorts on City Council may be in trouble in upcoming elections with the voters.

    Mayor Pro Tempore Marcia Higgins may be the next City Hall insider incumbent to lose a seat on City Council.


       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 5 '09 - 03:15AM    #
  5. Regardless of how they voted or who won, does less than 3400 people voting mean that “the attitudes of A2 voters have drastically changed”. Does winning or losing by less than a half dozen votes mean anything? I frankly don’t care who won because a turn out of that few isn’t much of a democracy to me. I was only the 20th person to vote in my precinct and it was 6:15pm. There were 3 paid workers to help only me fill in only one bubble. Why do we keep doing this? It’s expensive as all get out and a system that gives so few voices so much influence makes us look like Russia…but unfortunatly without the oil wealth or the inexpensive vodka.


       —august farce    Aug. 5 '09 - 03:54AM    #
  6. “a system that gives so few voices so much influence makes us look like Russia”

    What stopped any voter from coming to the polls today or casting an absentee ballot? If voters choose not to participate, it’s their choice, not something caused by “the system”.


       —John Q.    Aug. 5 '09 - 04:09AM    #
  7. I agree, John Q. No one forced anyone to vote nor did they force anyone to not vote. unless it’s changed, in Australia, voters who don’t go to the polls, get fined.

    According to the new AAcorn News, “Stephen Kunselman celebrates six-vote victory in Ann Arbor City Council race; Greden calls for recount.” No big surprise there (the recount call), although perhaps the result (for now) is at least a slight surprise, eh.

    Link: http://www.annarbor.com/news/election-update/


       —Mike    Aug. 5 '09 - 05:15AM    #
  8. Tim Colenback, former chairman of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party, was quoted in annarbor.com as opining that Steve Kunselman’s victory over Leigh Greden was the biggest upset in the last 30 years of electoral politics in Ann Arbor.

    Voters gave their oppostion to the city income tax proposal and Leigh Greden’s e-mail behavior as key reasons that they voted against Councilperson Greden.


       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 5 '09 - 05:39AM    #
  9. “Mayor Pro Tempore Marcia Higgins may be the next City Hall insider incumbent to lose a seat on City Council.”

    Given the accuracy of your other predictions, she shouldn’t be worried. Hard to have your finger on the pulse of Ann Arbor politics when you live in Warren.

    Now, I’m new to this, is this where I add the “LOL” as a flag to other readers that my opinion is worthless?


       —curious    Aug. 5 '09 - 12:52PM    #
  10. Maybe Mark got his predictions wrong, but I didn’t. Marcia Higgins can count the days she has left on City Council.


       —UMGrad1234    Aug. 5 '09 - 01:27PM    #
  11. Maybe, just maybe some council members will spend some time reflecting on whether they represent the residents of their neighborhoods or not. Perhaps the 11% of voters who take the time to vote don’t just care about “money and buildings.” The Mayor is 0-2 and Dingell’s endorsement reflects poorly on his future influence.


       —suswhit    Aug. 5 '09 - 01:36PM    #
  12. Wow! There was a big increase in turnout in each ward from 2007.

    In the Third Ward in 2007, 1078 votes were cast in the August primary. In 2009, 1395 votes were cast. That is an increase of 29%.

    In the Fifth Ward the pattern was similar. In 2007, 1660 votes were cast. In 2009, 1995 votes were cast. That is an increase of 20%.

    In a comment to the previous article, I said I thought turnout would normally decrease this year because of the discouraging economic times. I said that a turnout increase might indicate the anti-taxers had come out.

    I think they did!


       —David Cahill    Aug. 5 '09 - 02:00PM    #
  13. I think that once citizens of AA get a load of a council full of the likes of Kunselman, Briere, and Anglin, who have little understanding of the real business of the city and care more about the shrill, whiny voices of a small but vocal group of folks, or ridiculous pet projects, they will bother to vote again and show up in REALLY big numbers.


       —Marvin Face    Aug. 5 '09 - 02:09PM    #
  14. Per 5 comments above, things might get curiouser and curiouser:

    This is an odd-numbered year with no state or congressional contests. There will be no Republicans ward candidates on the A2 ballot this time around. Based on a complete lack of traditional partisan competition, we can expect an absolutely abysmal voter turnout in the local November election, as far as the candidates are concerned. However, it’s anticipated that the GO Ask Voters initiative will appear on the fall ballot this fall, and its proponents would be among the very few motivated to actually show up at the polls. Should the initiative’s 4th Ward supporters remember to also place a mark next to independent candidate Hatim Elhady’s name before they leave the voting booth, then Higgins at that point should be down to her final Council meeting. Bye Bye! In addition, while Elhady will appear on the ballot in print, a similar process applies in all other city wards through the use of write-in candidacies. So the technically-unopposed Briere, Rapundalo, Kunselman and Anglin do not find themselves in an entirely risk-free situation, either; any of them could be defeated in similar fashion. (To stretch the credibility of this logic — but with the tv networks gearing up for their fall schedule — I just wonder if we might see an autumn episode of Greden: The Write-In Candidate. By now it’s probably too late by now for any of the losing primary candidates to do a Joe Lieberman,)


       —yet another aging boomer    Aug. 5 '09 - 02:24PM    #
  15. “Mayor Pro Tempore Marcia Higgins may be the next City Hall insider incumbent to lose a seat on City Council.”

    I live in the 4th Ward. While it pains me greatly to support an independent and not a Democrat (even though I doubt if she really is one) anyone (well maybe not one or two of the posters here…) who has put up with Marcia Higgins and her invisible representation for the last decade, from the sidewalk replacement fiasco, doing nothing about the Stadium Bridges since 2001 when it first came up as an issue, her vote for the Court/Police building, her doing NOTHING about the Ash tree replacement issue to her asking about who was running against her during a council meeting with a laptop our tax dollars paid for, is ready to toss her out of office as well.

    Higgins isn’t Greden but she’s done zero for the 4th Ward and shouldn’t be a council rep for life. I guess if when she loses in November she can always do what she did ten years ago—run again as a Republican.


       —Alan Goldsmith    Aug. 5 '09 - 02:51PM    #
  16. Congratulations to Mike and Steve! Now to the real work of making council more inclusive, transparent and respectful of the public and each other. What matters now is that council must find ways to actually work together instead of returning to the divisive game playing we have witnessed for the last several years.

    Marvin, that’s a pretty sour grapes attitude. Ann Arbor didn’t fall over the edge when Mike and Sabra were elected and I doubt that barring a recount reversal, much will change Steve is sworn in.

    As far as the business end of running city hall, Roger Fraser has served well the agenda of his political masters, good and bad. I hope as the face of council changes, he will also change his style of management. If not, he should consider moving on as well.


       —Rick C    Aug. 5 '09 - 03:49PM    #
  17. Alan,

    Marcia Higgins is just as bad a Leigh Greden. She participated in his little vote-rigging schemes caught on email. That she is ineffectual will just make her easier to pick off.

    Rest assured that Hatim Elhady is more of a Democrat than Marcia Higgins. Let’s start with the fact that he’s running when more people can participate in the primary. I believe there is a group forming called 4th Ward Democrats for Elhady.


       —UMGrad1234    Aug. 5 '09 - 03:59PM    #
  18. Sign me up!


       —Alan Goldsmith    Aug. 5 '09 - 04:05PM    #
  19. Perhaps Leigh will now turn into the Republican that his previous behavior indicates.


       —AATA Bus Rider    Aug. 5 '09 - 04:11PM    #
  20. No, Ann Arbor did not fall over when Mike and Sabra were elected (although it listed a bit). But they were a 2 person minority and the rest of council went along with business despite them. Add another (Kouncilman Kunselman) and we are still not over the edge. Add Elhady (!), remove Fraser, and you can see where things will go from there: A bunch of people looking around at each other trying to figure out who is going to do the work while very attentively listening to another “middle-east-country-that-shall-remain-nameless-so-as-not-to-polute-this-thread” rant during public comment time. As I have said elsewhere…do you really want 11 Sabra/Mike/Steve’s on council? Really? I didn’t think so.

    It is not sour grapes. I just see the trend of the types of people being elected as a real problem with how the city will be run in the near future.


       —Marvin Face    Aug. 5 '09 - 04:20PM    #
  21. If Elhady is more of a Democrat than Higgins then why in the heck didn’t he declare as a Democrat and run in the primary? I’m not accusing him of anything necessary, but I don’t see the logic here.


       —Jeremy Peters    Aug. 5 '09 - 04:40PM    #
  22. The Greden machine proved that it has only 36% support among voters who bother to vote. Even if Mr. Greden were to win in a recount, he would serve knowing that more than 60% voted against him. How pathetic is that?

    In a February 2, 2009 email exchange with Council member Hohnke, Greden implies that he was going to find a candidate to run against Anglin. Like Greden, Anglin’s opponent received about 36% support.

    Incumbent Higgins can expect the same tepid support from 4th Ward voters. As unresponsive as she has been to homeowners and their associations, imagine how neglected the students in the 4th Ward feel. Students are more than 40% of the registered voters in the 4th.

    It is somewhat ironic that in order to improve the maturity level on the Council, we have to replace the 10 year veteran incumbent with a novice half her age. Ironic, but true.

    With regard to Elhady being more of Dem than Marcia, it’s not that he is at all a Dem, but rather that she really isn’t a Dem. She changed parties to get reelected. She would declare herself a Commie, if she felt that would win her an election. But, she is not a Democrat.

    Mr. Elahdy has set up his campaign finance committee and is accepting donations from anyone interested in a more responsive Council.


       —Jack Eaton    Aug. 5 '09 - 04:57PM    #
  23. Jeremy: Mr. El-Hady is a U-M student and these students form the major part of his support base. Very,very few U-M students vote in the August primary so his expressed preference was to run as an independent in the general election in November when such students are available and do vote.

    From his online statements I have seen his political focus appears to be as aliberal but fiscally conservative Democrat, but I profess no intimate familiarity with his spectrum of views.


       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 5 '09 - 05:03PM    #
  24. The email scandal is a non issue.I do think it is sad that many of you cling to this who is a better democrat crap. And it is really sad that a republican has no chance of being elected. I am a democrat but limiting the pool of candidates dogmatically is wrong_ just look at Detroit to see evidence of what happens when the choices are so confined.


       —ziggy selbin    Aug. 5 '09 - 05:09PM    #
  25. Amen, ziggy.


       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 5 '09 - 05:12PM    #
  26. “…do you really want 11 Sabra/Mike/Steve’s on council?”

    Nor do I want a bunch of Hieftje puppets who script and structure legislative issues to prevent public input and look the other way when city bureaucrats massage the budget numbers.


       —Rick C    Aug. 5 '09 - 05:29PM    #
  27. Lack of Republicans is not the problem, contrary to commenter “Ziggy Selbin” (the name of a Detroit gangster).

    The problem is who has access to resources, and who doesn’t. You cite Detroit. Detroit has been hermetically sealed-off from any access to capital, to infrastructure, to public or private investment, since 1967. You can compare it, somewhat, to Gaza, except that the roads from Detroit are not blocked off.

    A 100% Republican Detroit City Council is not going to change the 40-year hemorrhage of money out of Detroit.

    What will help is for the trillions spent on war to be spent, instead, on rebuilding Detroit and all other inner cities.

    Do you know of any Republicans or Democrats who are pushing for that?


       —Blaine Coleman    Aug. 5 '09 - 05:41PM    #
  28. mr elhady seems ,from the public record, to be an exemplary young man. however if his supporters , on line and on the street, number the likes of ,well, the “usual suspects” on recent threads re the coop and the palestine ( non) issue, he can pretty well kiss his candidacy goodbye or at least emerge as a very divisive, destructive force in our fair city.

    indeed ,predicting those who will ( and to some extent already have) put out “stalking horse” posts on his behalf he’d be well advised to distance himself publically from them if he is indeed a legitimate candidate for city interests and not for some overseas entity that shall be nameless for the nonce( but its not israel!)


       —goilem    Aug. 5 '09 - 05:41PM    #
  29. It is racist to single out the one candidate with an Arabic name as some kind of potential “divisive, destructive force in our fair city”, or some kind of “overseas” agent.

    Stop it NOW.

    Why do you say “our fair city” is in some kind of danger? Is an Arab not fair-complexioned enough for your “fair city”?

    Is every Arab obligated to “distance himself” from those who demand human rights for Palestinians? Why?

    To encourage hooded, anonymous commenters to declare that he is “legitimate”?

    I still ask for a humanitarian boycott against Israel, in City Council, and will do so regardless of which anonymous commenter wants to “distance” themselves, and others, from that point of view.


       —Blaine Coleman    Aug. 5 '09 - 05:51PM    #
  30. You’re comparing Detroit to Gaza?
    Good lord….


       —scooter62    Aug. 5 '09 - 05:52PM    #
  31. Frankly, I have seen no evidence nor am I aware that Mr. El-Hady is Arabic. That name could be of Turkish, Pakistani, Kurdish or other non-Arab origin.

    How many people describe the mayor as a “Danish-American”? Or Ron Suarez as Hispanic?

    Frankly, I believe its a non-issue as the candidate’s political views, personal abilities, and character are of more importance.

    I thought this line of discussion was about as moot and silly as the question whether a Roman Catholic can be President as was so inanely raised and later discredited in 1960.


       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 5 '09 - 06:02PM    #
  32. [off-topic, removed]
       —goilem    Aug. 5 '09 - 06:30PM    #
  33. [off-topic, removed]
       —abc    Aug. 5 '09 - 06:45PM    #
  34. Hopefully not off-topic (any of them), I’ll point out a few things:

    Elhady’s student support base will be nearly nil, since the “Get Mike Rogers Elected to Congress” so-called ‘motor-voter’ law passed nearly a decade ago – students must register and vote where they make their permanent address, and few do that at school – just look at the abysmal turnout in student precincts. This is prime fodder for election reform.

    August primaries are mandated by law in even-numbered years to dovetail with statewide elections, but in odd-numbered years they could be done away with, and should be (Larry Kestenbaum has held forth on this before, and maybe we can coax him to do so again).

    Kunselman lost last year because a Burns Park candidate ran against him – Burns Park has strong organization and will, and prefer their own. Greden isn’t a Burns Parker, either – but it seems clear to me that any time someone from Burns Park runs, they’re in, natch (LuAnne Bullington is near BP, but not in).

    Write-in candidates can register up to (I believe – Larry?) five days before the general election. I also believe that candidates who lost in a primary are barred from running in a general election, by whatever stripe.


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Aug. 5 '09 - 07:13PM    #
  35. Peter, I don’t know what you are talking about; I passed out campaign literature in the Second Ward last year in November near the campus at U-M on behalf of a successful candidate and almost all the voters were students of U-M. The candidate committee I volunteered for cited the recent registration of 10,000 new student voters and targeted precincts near the U-M campus.

    The abysmal turnout you speak of is in the August recess when classes are out of session.

    Last year, Christina Brewton, a U-M student, ran as the Republican nominee for state representative against Democrat Rebekah Warren (and lost).

    What I do agree with you is that I believe that permanent residency is the current standard for allowing student voting, although Mr. Cahill has disagreed with me on that point citing some 1970 court decision.

    Perhaps someone with more definitive information can give us a response.


       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 5 '09 - 07:29PM    #
  36. [still off-topic]
       —goilem    Aug. 5 '09 - 07:55PM    #
  37. #s 29 and 31 in the context of my#28:

    BINGO!

    ted katz


       —goilem    Aug. 6 '09 - 12:59PM    #
  38. Well, I have a lot to say about student voting.

    My perspective on this comes from many years of success at getting MSU students to vote in East Lansing, so I am not as daunted by the years of failure folks in Ann Arbor have had getting UM students to vote.

    The Mike Rogers law had at most a slight impact on students choosing to vote in college towns. However, Ann Arbor activists decided that it was the end of the world, and stopped doing voter registration drives at UM. In recent years, the overblown terror of this law has receded a bit, and at least several thousand UM students voted in 2004 and 2008.

    Note, too, the non-negligible turnout in the student precincts of the 3rd ward last Tuesday.

    From a public participation standpoint, making low-turnout odd-year August primaries the real decision point for city elections is a disaster.

    We could fix that either by (a) using IRV and doing away with the primary altogether, or (b) moving ALL primaries from August to May, when everyone is in town.

    I suggested the May primary date at the last meeting of the county clerks legislative committee, and to my surprise, everyone agreed that it would be a good thing, save lots of money, and eliminate problems getting ballots to and from overseas military absentee voters.

    Write-in candidates must register by the second Friday before the election. I was and remain strongly opposed to this requirement, but it does make handling write-in votes much less labor-intensive. Any write-in for a non-registered candidate is disregarded.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 6 '09 - 07:17PM    #
  39. I think that once citizens of AA get a load of a council full of the likes of Kunselman, Briere, and Anglin, who have little understanding of the real business of the city

    I don’t think even most of their critics would agree with this characterization.

    However, it’s anticipated that the GO Ask Voters initiative will appear on the fall ballot this fall,

    Really?

    By now it’s probably too late by now for any of the losing primary candidates to do a Joe Lieberman,

    Moreover, that’s not allowed in Michigan.

    And it is really sad that a republican has no chance of being elected.

    In 1961, all ten council members and the mayor were Republicans. Today, all ten council members and the mayor are Democrats. If it wasn’t a problem in 1961, why is it such a problem now?

    I am a democrat but limiting the pool of candidates dogmatically is wrong_ just look at Detroit to see evidence of what happens when the choices are so confined.

    Detroit city elections are non-partisan, and Republicans have been elected there (e.g., Keith Butler).

    Moreover, Detroit’s campaign-overload city elections (with 167 candidates for council running citywide, not to mention school board and charter commissioners on the same ballot) are structured to reward attention-getting flamboyance, and discourage attention to neighborhood problems.

    It is racist to single out the one candidate with an Arabic name as some kind of potential “divisive, destructive force in our fair city”, or some kind of “overseas” agent.

    Strongly agreed.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 6 '09 - 08:00PM    #
  40. re. the tail end of#39…(kestenbaums affirmative ‘responsa’ to a blaine coleman fragment):

    of course the original post ( #28) that prompted coleman’s had far more to do with HIS public displays of racism than mr elhady’s ( who is thus far an unknown).

    it’s a tad disingenuous for mr. kestenbaum to pretend otherwise and thereby fuel coleman et als hypocritical self-righteousness.
       —goilem    Aug. 6 '09 - 08:21PM    #
  41. Larry, wouldn’t IRV be difficult to administer with our current system? It wouldn’t be compatible with the rest of the ballot, would it?

    The May primary idea is stunning. But would primaries for all other races remain in August? I assume that statewide and countywide races would not be likely to change. There might be some unforeseen consequences, though I’m not sure what. Also, I assume that would require a city charter change.

    It would be interesting also to contemplate a change to a nonpartisan system for council and mayor. I assume that individuals would still be free to seek one or another party’s endorsement but the November election would presumably be a runoff between the two strongest candidates, right?


       —Vivienne Armentrout    Aug. 6 '09 - 08:24PM    #
  42. it’s a tad disingenuous for mr. kestenbaum to pretend otherwise and thereby fuel coleman et als hypocritical self-righteousness.

    You flatter me if you think my opinion would be so powerful as to change Blaine’s approach in the slightest.

    Larry, wouldn’t IRV be difficult to administer with our current system? It wouldn’t be compatible with the rest of the ballot, would it?

    I have proposed a way to do it in odd years, using the current ballot technology. Vote counting would have to be done by hand, however.

    The May primary idea is stunning. But would primaries for all other races remain in August? I assume that statewide and countywide races would not be likely to change. There might be some unforeseen consequences, though I’m not sure what. Also, I assume that would require a city charter change.

    No, I’m talking about a state law change to move all primaries to May, including state and county races. State law would override the city charter.

    Right now, the state is under terrific pressure to produce final November ballots earlier than now possible, so as to accomodate votes from troops overseas. The August primary (plus time for recounts and such) makes it impossible to meet the proposed federal schedule. Moving the primary to May would solve that problem.

    It would be interesting also to contemplate a change to a nonpartisan system for council and mayor. I assume that individuals would still be free to seek one or another party’s endorsement but the November election would presumably be a runoff between the two strongest candidates, right?

    Yes, that is the way most cities do it. Ann Arbor is one of the few cities in Michigan with partisan-ballot elections.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 6 '09 - 09:15PM    #
  43. One objection I’ve thought of from the viewpoint of a former elected official is that a May primary would extend the period that a lame duck could occupy a seat. It is bad enough when someone doesn’t win re-election in the August primary, or, if they don’t run for re-election, their successor is elected in August. May would mean that in some cases people would serve for over 6 months with a successor waiting in the wings. Among other problems, such an individual might be less effective, less active, or more erratic, since their tie to the office would be slimmer than before.


       —Vivienne Armentrout    Aug. 7 '09 - 05:40AM    #
  44. Many states already have May primaries, and they seem to do all right.

    It might also be possible to provide for a quicker transition of power from incumbents who were defeated in primaries.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 7 '09 - 06:21AM    #
  45. Larry, didn’t Ann Arbor have IRV back in the 1970’s when the Human Rights Party had a significant following and IRV guaranteed the HRP would not split the liberal vote and guarantee a Republican mayoral win? If so, why did it end?

    I know that Dr. Aimee Smith of the Huron Valley Greens is a strong supporter of IRV for the same reasons.


       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 7 '09 - 03:02PM    #
  46. Larry, if you want to avoid the apparent glitch in this site’s software in regards to omitting comment numbers, then you should start your comment with something other than a block quote. A single space in the preceding line may be all you need although I’ve never tried that. (If this comment gets deleted for being “off topic” then I’m going to run around the house and curse and shake my fist in frustration over the new “aggressive moderation” policy that was recently implemented here.)


       —Michael Schils    Aug. 7 '09 - 05:03PM    #
  47. Michael – I’m not seeing any issues with Larry’s #39 and 42. Are you not seeing comment numbers on those posts?


       —Murph    Aug. 7 '09 - 06:02PM    #
  48. I am missing comment numbers on those posts as well.


       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 7 '09 - 06:27PM    #
  49. Whew! Murph, for a moment there when I saw your name on the ‘New Comments’ column, I thought maybe you were chastising me for giving smartassy unwelcome feedback. :-)

    Thanks Mark for verifying that the comment number glitch isn’t limited to my system.


       —Michael Schils    Aug. 7 '09 - 06:46PM    #
  50. Michael and Mark, what browsers are you using? Drop us an email at arborupdate@umich.edu and we'll try to fix it.


       —Matt Hampel    Aug. 7 '09 - 06:48PM    #
  51. I don’t see any problems with comment numbers, but I will avoid starting with a block quote in future. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    Larry, didn’t Ann Arbor have IRV back in the 1970’s when the Human Rights Party had a significant following and IRV guaranteed the HRP would not split the liberal vote and guarantee a Republican mayoral win? If so, why did it end?

    After it was used in one election, the Republicans put a repeal proposal on the ballot, which passed. But by that time the HRP was pretty well dead anyway.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 7 '09 - 06:50PM    #
  52. Yeah, Human Rights, what a “quaint” idea. Like the Geneva Convention.

    Regarding the glitch, I’m using the same crappy IE7 that a lot of people are still using. (Version 7.0.5730.13)


       —Michael Schils    Aug. 7 '09 - 07:10PM    #
  53. RE’#52, and a moderator question elsewhere about the meaning of “progressive”:

    sadly both those terms..worthy notions to be sure.. have sort of assumed a serious taint for many , at least locally, because of the Orwellian “newspeak” way they’ve been coopted by antisemites who use them to “self-describe” while actually advocating for those espousing the exact opposites of both….

    indeed there was a good op ed in the NEWS on this very point a few months ago.

    ted katz


       —goilem    Aug. 7 '09 - 07:41PM    #
  54. IRV was used in 1975, when Al Wheeler was elected Mayor. There was a runoff between him and Bea Kaimowitz, who ran on the HRP ticket. The Republican incumbent was Jim Stephenson, and Wheeler defeated him by 124 (estimated – I think that was the number)votes in the run off. In 1977, Wheeler was re-elected by one vote. The recount held, but there was a court challenge because a part-time worker in the City Clerk’s office (Tom Wieder) challenged the vote on the allegation that persons residing in township islands were registered to vote by mistake, and voted in that election. There was a trial/hearing, and one voter, a very brave woman named Christine Kokales, refused to say how she voted, because she thought the ballot was secret. She was held in contempt by the judge, and removed from the courtroom in handcuffs. It was very dramatic. In the end, Wheeler consented to another election in 1978, and lost to Lou Belcher. Al did that, he said, because he did not want to take up more time of the lawyers who were working pro bono on his behalf (I believe one was Martin Black – who never objected to donating his time to a good cause). It was altogether tragic for Ann Arbor. To complete the story of election experiments, in 1979, when Stephenson ran for re-election against Jamie Kenworthy, the city used punch card voting for the first and last time. With chad flying all over the Armory (where the ballots were counted) and the Republicans tearing their hair out over absentee ballots being not valid (mostly theirs, then – seniors) it was quite a show. The city went back to its sturdy machines until they began falling apart and then decided to use the optical scan system – it was not Diebold back then. It was SofS Terry Lynn Land who decided to use the system statewide that we have now.


       —Leah Gunn    Aug. 8 '09 - 01:10PM    #
  55. I doubt very much that Tom Wieder challenged the townhship-island voters.

    Another person, a Republican, who worked in city hall for many years, once bragged to me that he had quietly maintained a list of non-eligible voters on the city rolls “just in case” there was a close election. There were about 200 voters on his list, of which about 20 had voted in the city election.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 10 '09 - 12:24AM    #
  56. No, it was Tom. I was there.


       —Leah Gunn    Aug. 10 '09 - 01:50AM    #
  57. Larry – I will retract what I said about Tom, as I don’t want to continue this.


       —Leah Gunn    Aug. 10 '09 - 12:11PM    #
  58. My understanding of the use of IRV in Ann Arbor before is that it was an all-hand count, the city was unprepared for (and sulked about) doing it, there were lots of problems, and that’s why the repeal went through so easily. It wasn’t because (horror of horrors to Repubs at the time) a Black man got elected because of it (although I don’t doubt that was a motivator for some for the repeal), but because it was an expensive fiasco, and no one could imagine doing it again.

    The optical scan machines now in place were created with the possibility of automatic counting using IRV – I’ve spoken with all the optical scan companies on this point. However, all of those companies hem and haw about how the software upgrade to do that counting would be done, and how much it would cost – I take that to mean that they haven’t actually had any experience doing it, so aren’t prepared to make any positive statements along those lines.

    Is that why you say it would have to be a hand-count, Larry? Because you’ve run into the same hand-sitting? A class-action lawsuit by the Clerks association could take care of that, I think…

    IRV is no bugbear – it is a realistic way of assessing voter choice, rather than a winner-take-all system (now in place). The real problem is educating the public to not be afraid of it, and to at least accept if not like it.

    I and another Green approached Leigh Greden about this (he was our rep then) back in 2004, and he flatly (well, as flatly as Mr. Greden ever does anything) turned us down – claimed there was no need, it would be expensive, confusing, etc.

    I’d say in a one-party town, either IRV or a non-partisan Council and Mayor are the way to go to ensure proper voting rights.

    I’m intrigued by the May primary, though, to increase voting rights for students. Mark, you may have worked hard to get students registered, but how many voted in the general election for local candidates? Didn’t they all end up voting ‘back home’ – where their permanent address was? Oh, and first-time voters can’t vote absentee, so students would have to literally go home to where they’re registered to vote.

    If I’ve got this wrong, let me know – I made it a campaign issue in 2006, and I’m definitely averse to facial sunnyside-ups.


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Aug. 10 '09 - 04:12PM    #
  59. A few responses (apologies for length):

    My understanding of the use of IRV in Ann Arbor before is that it was an all-hand count, the city was unprepared for (and sulked about) doing it, there were lots of problems, and that’s why the repeal went through so easily.

    Right. Had the vote counting been better (or more willingly) managed, the notion that IRV was a fiasco would not have arisen.

    However, all of those companies hem and haw about how the software upgrade to do that counting would be done

    I don’t think they have even begun to think about it. In any case, it’s not the precinct-level tabulators that should be doing IRV, because any sizeable jurisdiction will have tens of precincts. What we need from the tabulators is a complete count of each the possible vote permutations, so that the city-wide IRV process can take place with complete information.

    Is that why you say it would have to be a hand-count, Larry?

    Right now, the tabulators don’t have enough memory to store all those permutations. That’s why a hand count would be necessary.

    A class-action lawsuit by the Clerks association could take care of that, I think…

    Not until a bunch of jurisdictions are mandated to have IRV.

    IRV is no bugbear – it is a realistic way of assessing voter choice, rather than a winner-take-all system (now in place). The real problem is educating the public to not be afraid of it, and to at least accept if not like it.

    Very much agreed, as you know.

    Mark, you may have worked hard to get students registered, but how many voted in the general election for local candidates? Didn’t they all end up voting ‘back home’ – where their permanent address was?

    Ordinarily, when you do a voter registration drive in the college town, you’re registering them at their local addresses. That has the effect of changing their permanent address here, which means that the Secretary of State will send them a sticker with the new address, to put on their driver’s license.

    Oh, and first-time voters can’t vote absentee, so students would have to literally go home to where they’re registered to vote.

    That’s true only if they registered “by mail”, that is, not by a clerk or at a Secretary of State branch office. Registration by volunteers in a voter registration drive is considered “by mail”.

    Two reforms that the clerks have strongly supported would fix some of these problems. (The current State Senate has refused to take up these bills, but next year a whole new senate will be elected.)

    (1) If someone has registered “by mail”, yet needs to vote absentee elsewhere in Michigan, any city or township or county clerk would be authorized validate their registration to allow absentee voting.

    (2) When a person gets a driver’s license at age 16, they would “pre-register” to vote, and that voter registration would take effect when they turn 18. Hence, they would be eligible to vote absentee. Also, when they move to a college town, it would only take a simple change of address to be registered there.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 10 '09 - 06:12PM    #
  60. Peter: I had no role in student voter registration. I passed out literature in a Second Ward precinct in the general election last November. The candidate committee I volunteered for had information that 10,000 recent voter registrations occurred in Ann Arbor and deployed volunteers in as many of those heavily student precincts as possible. I was right around the corner from the Diag and of the dozens and dozens of voters who approached the polling place only two I can recall were not college-age. I had a strong feeling they were almost all U-M students since they walked straight from the campus areas to the polling place.

    I doubt that students would “literally have to go home” to cast their vote as they could mail in an absentee ballot, as I have done when I have worked away from home on Election Day. In my opinion that is the proper course of action.

    On the negative side, student voting often bears no relevance to county or state races simply because a student from out of state who is returning home eventually has no reason to care who gets elected in such races, only for national office, and I feel that the spike in voter registrations in Ann Arbor last fall was largely due to the presidential race.

    In any event, I found interacting with U-M student voters on Election Day was fun since they asked a lot of questions and seemed interested in what the volunteers had to say, more so than in previous races where I did not have the opportunity to meet students en masse.


       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 10 '09 - 06:42PM    #
  61. Larry,

    Care to comment on the impact IRV would have had on the recent 3rd Ward Democratic Primary?
       —ChuckL    Aug. 11 '09 - 12:52AM    #
  62. Chuck asks:

    Care to comment on the impact IRV would have had on the recent 3rd Ward Democratic Primary?

    First of all, there wouldn’t have been a primary. One big advantage of IRV is the cost savings of having one election instead of two. And the one election would be in November instead of August, with all wards voting at once, and greater participation. Plus, if IRV were in effect, the behavior of candidates and voters would surely change.

    All that being said, in an IRV race involving three candidates, where none received a majority of first-choice votes, the third-place finisher’s votes would be redistributed based on the second choices of those voters.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 11 '09 - 02:31PM    #
  63. I hadn’t realized until today that my 1977 actions were being discussed so intently. To clarify, at the time, I was a graduate student in public policy at U-M and working as an intern in City Administrator Sy Murray’s office. I was helping the City Clerk’s Office with the task of adjusting precinct boundaries, required then by state law every two years, to make sure that precincts didn’t get too large. As part of this task, a program was run which matched voter registration addresses with the city’s geographical database. A byproduct was producing a list of registered addresses which didn’t match city addresses. There were about 150 of these, and 21 of the people had voted in the 1977 mayoral election. I did nothing to inject this info into the election result dispute. Our work at City Hall wasn’t a secret, however, and the GOP got wind of it and tried to use it to overturn the election result. As far as anyone could tell, the improper voting was accidental. The City’s boundary was, even more than now, very irregular and included numerous “township islands,” pieces of the neighboring townships surrounded by the city. Some people just didn’t know what municipality they were in, especially renters who never saw a tax bill. The city’s voter registration system hadn’t yet been set up to screen these out. For years, some A2 Dems suspected that a number of township people deliberately voted in city elections. The idea was that some township Republicans wanted to influence city affairs. As it turned out, most of the accidental voters were fairly young, mostly tenants and unlkely to be conniving Republicans from the ‘burbs.

    Tom Wieder


       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 13 '09 - 07:48PM    #
  64. Re no. 17: Where do I go to join?


       —Kerry D.    Sep. 7 '09 - 02:44AM    #
  65. Wish very much that I had seen this article back in the spring, when it was published — and when the food co-op election debates raged on this site. Still, this highly thoughtful piece is well worth a mention at this date, as the the general topic will remain quite relevant for some time. I wanted to place this comment on the (August primary) City Council candidate questionnaire page for Palestine, but (surprise!) comments have been closed over there, so this thread is the next best thing.

    It is an In These Times interview with both activist & political writer Naomi Klein and peace advocate & anti-apartheid activist Rabbi Arthur Waskow. They discuss the efficacy or futility of divestment and other strategies as means to change Israeli policies and bring peace in that section of the Middle East.

    Below are some collected snippets from the linked article:

    In her syndicated column, [Naomi] Klein wrote, “It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.” Klein, author of the best-selling books, The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, has taken heat for her position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Israel is always more emotionally difficult for me,” she told New Voices, a national Jewish student magazine, “I think mainly it’s because of the force of the reaction and the closeness [of the] reaction. It’s not a stranger that is upset about [what I write], it’s people in my family who write me long letters saying, ‘Oh, I hate you!’” “…This problem is going to take everything we’ve got. And that’s why I’m so resistant to taking such powerful tactics as BDS off the table at such a crucial moment.” “…The boycott starts the debate, it brings teeth to it so you’re not just signing yet another statement that can be ignored.”

    Rabbi Arthur Waskow: “…There are similarities [to South Africa], but the BDS approach [divestment] is not the way to bring about the change that is absolutely necessary. The most important, and probably the only effective, change that can be brought about is a serious change in the behavior of the U.S. government. That means we need to engage in serious organizing within the United States.” “…But there is a huge difference between South Africa and Israel. In South Africa, the U.S. government was not pouring billions of dollars into the country. Whereas, in the case of Israel, the U.S. government is. That support seems to me to be far more the point.” “ …Real political change within the United States could come through an Abrahamic Alliance, an alliance between big chunks—though, of course, not all—of the Jewish community, the Muslim community, and the Christians.”


       —yet another    Oct. 19 '09 - 05:09PM    #
  66. Here’s a link for a short video that an acquaintance brought to my attention after posting the comment above.

    These scenes puts a human face on protests organized among the minority in Israel who actively opposed the recent war in Gaza. We see demonstrators taking part in a weekly community action in Tel Aviv who look much like local antiwar protesters over here (albeit younger, overall), except that their city is not that many miles away from where the fighting takes place.

    Later, the reporter travels south in the country to visit peace advocates residing in an Israeli town that experienced attacks using ‘homemade’ rockets.

    While neither the issues of boycott/divestment nor U.S. military aid comprise its focus, the video helps broaden the context in which to place these when they’re discussed at city hall or the food co-op. I appreciate gaining a little betters sense of Israeli dissent by hearing directly from some people who took part, rather than just through written news reports or the abstractions of political analysis.

    The online video posting is sponsored by that bastion of Mideast propaganda commonly known in our local supermarkets as Time magazine.


       —yet another    Oct. 23 '09 - 04:42PM    #
  67. What do readers think about Naomi Klein’s remarks? More importantly, what do the candidates think about them?


       —Anonymous    Oct. 23 '09 - 05:24PM    #
  68. [off topic, removed]
       —Mark Koroi    Dec. 7 '09 - 03:44AM    #
  69. This thread is about the primary results, not a boycott, and not Jewish and Palestinian peace movements.


       —MattH for AU    Dec. 7 '09 - 03:58AM    #
  70. [off topic, removed]
       —Dan Gersten    Dec. 7 '09 - 04:36AM    #
  71. [off topic, removed]
       —ChuckL    Dec. 7 '09 - 04:48AM    #
  72. [off topic, removed]
       —Michael Schils    Dec. 7 '09 - 03:21PM    #
  73. [off topic, removed]
       —Mike    Dec. 7 '09 - 08:06PM    #