Arbor Update

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Write the ArborUpdate 2005 City Council Questionnaire

16. June 2005 • Scott Trudeau
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The ArborUpdate “staff” and some frequent commenters are developing a questionnaire for city council candidates in the upcoming primary. Got a burning question? Check out the questionnaire in progress and leave your questions in the comments below (or if you grok wikis, add your question directly to the work in progress). We reserve the right to not ask questions we don’t like. You can ask ‘em yourself.



  1. Here are my questions,

    1) “Do you think that the current weak mayor/city manager form of governance is best for Ann Arbor?”

    2) “Do the current council members think it is a problem that the primaries take place when students are not around?”

    3) “What is your position on Ann Arbor adopting a city income tax of 1%?”

    4) “Is the city too dependent on parking ticket revenue?”

    5) “Any comments on the fact that the current city manager lives in Scio Township and not Ann Arbor and the fact the previous city manager absconded off to Colorado after granting himself a large pension windfall?”

    6) “How do you feel about granting wealthy corporations property tax breaks ?”

    7) “What can Ann Arbor do to stop sprawl in Washtenaw County?”

    8) “What can Ann Arbor do to develop affordable housing?”
       —Chuck    Jun. 16 '05 - 11:24PM    #
  2. Well, I still think there should be a question about the condition of existing rental housing, as separate from providing more affordable housing.
       —ann arbor is overrated    Jun. 16 '05 - 11:43PM    #
  3. (Palestine Resolution at City Council) OK, here’s my question for City Council candidates:

    “When can you schedule a Public Hearing on the Human Rights Commission’s Palestine Resolution, which opposes military aid to Israel?”
       —Blaine    Jun. 17 '05 - 12:02AM    #
  4. “What will you do to amuse yourself when Blaine insists on taking up City Council time with a problem that’s irrelevent to the scope of your powers? Doodle? Footsie with other councilmembers? Sleep?”
       —js    Jun. 17 '05 - 09:15AM    #
  5. Questions added to wiki: Chuck’s, AAiO’s, Blaine’s, js’. (I’m taking a very loose editorial hand for now.)
       —Murph    Jun. 17 '05 - 10:41AM    #
  6. Well, apparently I’m the only one who’s stupid enough to not know what “added to wiki” means…..

    Anyone care to help me out?
       —todd    Jun. 17 '05 - 10:43AM    #
  7. Todd: A “wiki” is the sound that a record makes when scratched by a DJ, a truncated form of “wiki wiki wiki.”
    Or… for real, a wiki is an “open source” document that anyone can edit. It relies on consensus, and allows people to make rapid changes. You’ve seen wikipedia, right?
    I’d click the link above to the questionaire, and see if you can figure it out from there. It’s kind of hard to explain, but you’ll grasp it once you look at it a little.
       —js    Jun. 17 '05 - 11:21AM    #
  8. :) Todd, a wiki is basically a collection of web pages that can easily be updated by anyone with access. In our case, the AU wiki is currently open to all. One of the most prominent wikis is WikiPedia which has the goal of being a freely available, universal, community-edited encyclopedia. Wikis have their own simpler-than-html syntax for formatting and linking, and make it easy to create new pages simply by linking to them (“linking to the future”). Wikis also store the entire history of any single page, so you can always restore previous versions (this disincentivizes vandalism, for example, since it’s easier to undo than it is to do). They’re not useful for everything, but great for collaboratively edited documents…
       —Scott Trudeau    Jun. 17 '05 - 11:21AM    #
  9. I hate to be a one-issue poster, too, but at least this is within the scope of Council’s power:

    “After Proposal C passed with 74% last November, legalizing medical marijuana in Ann Arbor, Police Chief Dan Oates issued a statement instructing police officers to continue to handle all marijuana cases as before. What is your position on this policy and what—if any—steps do you propose to take to ensure that medical marijuana patients in Ann Arbor can access their legal medicine without the fear of harassment and prosecution?”
       —Josh    Jun. 17 '05 - 11:34AM    #
  10. I just added a whole bunch of questions to the wiki, including a new “Transportation” category.

    Only after I was done did it occur to me to create a user name for myself, so the changes are unattributed.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Jun. 17 '05 - 12:04PM    #
  11. (Palestine Resolution already approved by Human Rights Commission) I’m sure Joshua does not mean to suggest that all the Council’s international and national resolutions should now be rescinded.

    Council has rightly passed resolutions to divest from South Africa, then later from Burma, too.

    Council has passed resolutions against the international nuclear arms race, and lately the mayor himself has made a high profile for Ann Arbor on the same international issue.

    Again:

    I do hope that Joshua is not suggesting that a mere question about the Palestine Resolution should be censored before it can even have a public hearing.

    The Palestine Resolution has made the news multiple times, and has been approved unanimously by the Human Rights Commission, after all.

    Thank you, in advance, for the courtesy of at least not rejecting it as a matter for discussion.
       —Blaine    Jun. 17 '05 - 12:45PM    #
  12. I just updated the discussion page for the wiki, so that people can get a better look at the questions that they should be asking. Too many are too easy to dodge, and make us look like amatuers. Remember, we don’t want to communicate our biases: we want them to communicate theirs.
       —js    Jun. 17 '05 - 12:50PM    #
  13. I think Joshua is suggesting that it’s a waste of time to prioritize things that feel good but do nothing over things that do something and might be harder to address.
    But, you know, I am glad that Ann Arbor has taken the bold stand against nuclear proliferation. How’s that workin’ out? I heard that the DPRK has now given up on their nuclear program due to the efforts of a few well meaning local politicians.
    No, wait…
    (I think Joshua might also suggest that by harping on this single issue as THE.MOST.IMPORTANT.EVER that Blaine might have made himself a caricature, and that he might find that he accomplishes more and makes fewer enemies when he jerks off the old fashioned way).
       —js    Jun. 17 '05 - 12:56PM    #
  14. (Palestine Resolution is not the only Issue) Since you asked, I totally admit that the Palestine Resolution is not the only resolution worth pushing City Council to hold a hearing on.

    But…

    The Palestine Resolution is the ONLY one which City Council has refused to allow any public hearing on, even despite the urgings of the City Commission which proposed the Resolution to Council.

    You may remember that Council even tried passing a resolution to eliminate all Public Comment on the Palestine Resolution, by axing “non-Agenda” topics permanently.

    The ACLU was able to stop them.

    Palestine is the only issue I know of which City Council has gone to such extreme lengths to avoid discussion on.

    Why is that, do you think?

    It sure makes the issue more interesting, wouldn’t you say?

    When City Council refuses to even allow discussion of its own Human Rights Commission’s resolution—despite the urging of that Commission…

    ..it’s almost enough to make a person into a one-issue kind of guy.
       —Blaine    Jun. 17 '05 - 01:57PM    #
  15. Blaine,

    The ACLU isn’t exactly the barometer that I would use to decide whether or not something is a waste of time for city council.

    Why on earth would you waste your time screwing around with the Ann Arbor city council when you are obviously so serious about this?

    Why wouldn’t you use your energy giving your views to a body that can actually do something about your views? Your congressional rep? Pick a senator, maybe?

    I can’t think of a less effective use of your voice…..
       —todd    Jun. 17 '05 - 02:07PM    #
  16. It’s the Jews, isn’t it, Blaine? The city council is just filthy with Jews and that’s why they won’t hear you out. It’s all part of the Zionist conspiracy, isn’t it, dude? Here’s what I’m thinking, I’m thinking you should take this up with the city council of Claremont, CA. I hear they elected a Klansman a few years back, and if he’s still there he might sponsor your resolution.
       —DFM    Jun. 17 '05 - 02:19PM    #
  17. (Palestine Resolution is not the only Issue) Since you’ve asked,

    You are absolutely right that urging Congressional reps to cut off aid to Israel is very logical, except for one thing:

    It’s been tried, often, by the kind of serious peace activists who you respect.

    Yet Congress votes, almost 100%, to give Israel billions and billions every year.

    I would be the last to deny you the right to keep fruitlessly imploring your Congress to stop its nearly 100% support for Israel, right or wrong.

    It’s just that I also have the right to fruitlessly implore the City Council at the same time.

    After all, its own Human Rights Commission saw fit to unanimously pass the Palestine Resolution.

    It seems like a lot of work is needed, just to get a little hearing on the Palestine issue, wherever you go.

    But I’m ready to keep asking.

    Is that OK with you?

    If you were Palestinian today (or Jewish in Germany in 1933), wouldn’t you be glad to hear that people are sticking up for your simple human rights?
       —Blaine    Jun. 17 '05 - 02:21PM    #
  18. Yep, Blaine, that’s ok with me.

    But if I were Palestinian or Jewish in Germany in 1933, I would hope that those who wanted to “stick up for my simple human rights” would be smart enough to talk to the people in charge rather than, say, my neighbor’s dog who will certainly listen to them (or, at least, pretend to listen) but can’t really do anything about my rights.
       —todd    Jun. 17 '05 - 03:06PM    #
  19. Oh,

    Thanks for the wiki explanation.

    I’ve used wikipedia before, and I’m embarrased to admit that I didn’t know that users edited the entries.

    Pretty cool stuff.
       —todd    Jun. 17 '05 - 03:08PM    #
  20. check out this wiki screencast.

    http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/gems/umlaut.html
       —Mark    Jun. 17 '05 - 03:31PM    #
  21. These are great questions. I particularly like the questions about election procedures, etc. If this is a one-party town, then we need to move toward non-partisan elections.
       —JennyD    Jun. 17 '05 - 03:43PM    #
  22. When will the City finally implement the recommendations of the Allens Creek Technical Review Task Force?
       —Jim Nicita    Jun. 17 '05 - 05:25PM    #
  23. Re “What vision do you not share with your opponent?

    How many seats are even being contested this year?
       —[libcat]    Jun. 18 '05 - 01:19AM    #
  24. libcat: Rapundalo v. Kang and Lipson v. Higgins in the Democratic primary. I’ve seen mention of one or two Republicans planning to run, though I don’t know if they were both in the same Ward (1 Rep. primary + 1 gen’l) or different (2 gen’l elections).

    The Greens have apparently declined to run any candidates this year, choosing instead to focus on getting IRV on the ballot, and the Libs and Independants (sorry) don’t matter, tragically.
       —Murph.    Jun. 18 '05 - 09:52AM    #
  25. bump.
       —Dale    Jun. 22 '05 - 12:35AM    #
  26. I’ve taken a stab at revising out a set of questions (9) that hopefully hit most of the major topics, and give the candidates enough space to either flounder or shine in.

    I’m not necessarily attached to the selection of topics or the wording, though, so feel free to suggest or make revisions on the wiki page
       —Murph    Jun. 29 '05 - 10:31AM    #
  27. Good show.
       —Dale    Jun. 29 '05 - 11:36AM    #