Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Growth Issues Frame Mayoral Race

9. October 2004 • Brandon
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An Ann Arbor News article looks at where Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje and challenger Jane Lumm stand on key issues of growth, density, and the “Greenbelt.” The candidates share many views, agreeing that more high-rise residential buildings will be necessary in Ann Arbor but opposing the proposed North Main Condominiums. Regarding the “Greenbelt” millage, Lumm would like to see a more rigid division of funding toward city parks (1/3) and the purchase development rights in the townships (2/3), while Hieftje stresses the need for flexibility. Moreover, Lumm criticizes the recent reorganization of the city planning department under the city administrator, which she says “compromises planning autonomy.” Hieftje defends the move as a means to streamline the development process.

  1. Except for the fact that Ann Arbor Republicans tend to be evil (so I can’t vote for her), I agree with Lumm on the more rigid delineations. The greenbelt only works under responsible stewardship, and making it so wishy-washy dillutes its impact…
    Although, who knows? It’s only a two-year term. Maybe I will vote for the dreaded big R, just to force the Dems to readjust their local strategy away from presumptive victory.
       —js    Oct. 9 '04 - 11:36AM    #
  2. I’ll admit I’ve been considering voting for my first Republican, but on the whole I think spending more money on parks acquisition in the city is essentially idiotic, campaign promises or no. The few vacant sites should be used for infill development, and Ann Arbor already seems to have more parkland per capita than any city this side of Boulder. I do think the development process does need to be streamlined, but that most of the hurdles come from neighborhood and council opposition. I’m not sure what to do with this one, but I feel like the local Democrats have gotten too powerful and need some sort of a check… in the article, of course, Hieftje uses the argument that someone from another party won’t be able to “work with” the Democrat-controlled council as reason to re-elect him. Anyone else wonder why we even need parties at the local level?
       —Brandon    Oct. 9 '04 - 06:37PM    #
  3. js, my plan is to vote for Lumm—if only to lodge a protest vote against not having a choice in either city council or county commission races.

    What local Repub’s have been evil in recent years?
       —Murph    Oct. 9 '04 - 11:14PM    #
  4. Unfortunately, the city will not become more homeless-friendly under either. Ah well.
       —Eric Goldberg    Oct. 10 '04 - 09:42PM    #
  5. It’s not the Democrats who failed to field choices in the city council and commission races.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 11 '04 - 01:59AM    #
  6. I suppose I can’t think of many evil Repubs lately on the local level, mostly because there haven’t been many on the local level lately. But I remember Ingrid Sheldon as on the evil side (though granted, not as evil as the Republicans have the capacity for being).
    But part of local politics is building the state machine, and I’d rather not contribute to their state machine in general.
    However, I may this once, just because I think the Dems are too comfortable and anti-youth.
    If the Dems could come back and convince me that they’re going to take my concerns seriously, well, who knows.
       —js    Oct. 11 '04 - 12:53PM    #
  7. The local pseudo-Democrats need to be shaken up, but if you are progressive then the answer isn’t voting for the Republicans (mainly because of the state and national context), it is challenging the incumbents in the primaries. I know this is hard because they are held in August, but unless all the progressives vote Green, which isn’t going to happen, then this is the path to take. Someone should definitely run against Leigh Greden next time around in the Democratic primary and rally the youth vote and the genuine progressives against his NIMBY and anti-student politics. Knocking him off would send a message to city council and the mayor who cater to NIMBY homeowners almost exclusively even though renters and students make up a majority of city residents.
       —Non-NIMBY homeowner    Oct. 11 '04 - 04:16PM    #
  8. Yeah, I’m here in the 1st Ward, and I like Kim Groome. I’m not sure if there is even a Green running against her (I’d vote for them if there were, because Groome’s gonna win), but I don’t remember Heiftje having any challengers in the primary. Still, Groome is a good person for the job, and I’d vote for her over almost any significant challenger (granted, there’s always some ideal person who could step up)...
    But yeah, Greden needs to go. I’ll give $100 to anyone who challenges him next time around… Same with Jean Carlberg…
       —js    Oct. 11 '04 - 08:08PM    #
  9. Uh… somebody IS running against Jean Carlberg this time – Marc Reichardt, a Green. He’s seems to have some good ideas and and is running a pretty viable, intense campaign. His website is at I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure $100 would be much appreciated for his campaign. ;)

    And I’m with you about Greden. He has aspirations for higher office, and to him all decisions are made with the thought of how it might affect his future standing with the Democratic party machine.

    Ah, to have a few more Parties in Ann Arbor….
       —Random A2 Politico    Oct. 12 '04 - 11:32PM    #
  10. Just put my money where my mouth is. Reichhardt just got 99.99 (I didn’t want to have to file anything about my employer or occupation).
    That’s over a day’s work for me, so he’d better win. Or at least place well.
    But I think that Carlberg is not the type we need on the council, and I believe it about $100 worth.
    Maybe it’s time to write Kerry a check as well…
       —js    Oct. 13 '04 - 11:39AM    #
  11. Greetings,

    There is a common misconception concerning evolution which continues to be perpetuated. For example, recently ( in November of ‘04 ) articles had appeared in major U.S. newspapers in which journalists interpreted and claimed that according to research running may have contributed to the evolution of man.

    The simple fact is that physical traits and characteristics are determined and passed on by genes – not by running or any other form of exercise. Any exercises that are performed do not affect the genes.

    Traits or characteristics which are acquired from the environment simply cannot be passed on to offspring ( i.e. a woman who loses her finger will not cause her baby to be born with a missing finger; changing the color or texture of your hair will not affect the hair color or texture of your descendants, and etc. ). Thus, even if an ape ever did learn to walk and run upright it still would not be able to pass on this trait to its offspring. Only changes which occur in the genes of reproductive cells ( i.e. sperm and egg ) can be passed on to offspring. That is a simple fact of biology.

    Furthermore, there are genetic limits to biological change and variation in nature. All biological variations, whether they are beneficial to survival or not, are possible only within the genetic potential and limits of a biological kind such as the varieties among dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc., but variations across biological kinds such as humans evolving from ape-like creatures and apes, in turn, evolving from dog-like creatures and so on, as Darwinian evolutionary theory teaches, are not possible unless nature can perform genetic engineering so as to increase the genetic information potential in species.

    It is true that natural selection occurs in nature, but natural selection itself is not a creative force. Natural selection can only select from biological variations which are possible. The common belief among evolutionists is that random mutations in the genetic code over time will provide the new and progressive biological variations for natural selection to act upon. Evolutionists consider mutations to be a form of natural genetic engineering.

    However, the nature of mutations precludes such a possibility. Mutations are accidents in the genetic code caused by random environmental forces such as radiation. Mutations have been found to be almost always harmful, which is what one would normally expect from accidents. Even if a good mutation occurred for every good one there will be thousands of harmful ones with the net effect over time being disastrous for the species.

    Most biological variations occur as a result of new combinations of previously existing genes – not because of mutations which are rare in nature.

    It is not rational to believe that the gradual accumulation of random mutations in the genetic code over time will produce more complex species anymore than it is rational to believe that the random changes caused by earthquakes will produce increasingly more complex buildings.

    Furthermore, a half-evolved and useless organ waiting millions of years to be completed via random mutations would be a biological hindrance, obstruction, and liability – not exactly a suitable candidate for natural selection assuming, of course, that random mutations could ever get an organ to the half-evolved stage.

    How could species have survived over supposedly millions of years while their vital organs were still evolving?

    Given that nature has no true ability to perform genetic engineering, it is more logical to believe that the genetic and biological similarities between species are due to a common Designer rather than a common evolutionary ancestry.

    Science cannot prove we’re here by creation, but neither can science prove we’re here by chance or evolution. The issue is which faith, evolution or creation, has better scientific support.

    The simple fact is that nature can only work with the already given genetic potential in species and no more. Before any tissue, organ, or biological structure can ever develop there must first exist the prerequisite genetic information and potential.

    Young people, and even adults, often wonder how all the varieties and races of people could come from the same human ancestors. Well, in principle, that’s no different than asking how children with different color hair ( i.e., blond, brunette, brown, red ) can come from the same parents who both have black hair. Just as some individuals today carry genes to produce descendents with different color hair and eyes, humanity’s first parents possessed genes to produce all the variety and races of men. You and I today may not carry the genes to produce every variety or race of humans, but humanity’s first parents did possess such genes.

    All varieties of humans carry the genes for the same basic traits, but not all humans carry every possible variation of those genes. For example, one person may be carrying several variations of the gene for eye color ( i.e., brown, green, blue ) , but someone else may be carrying only one variation of the gene for eye color ( i.e., brown ). Thus, both will have different abilities to affect the eye color of their offspring.

    There is, of course, much more to be said on this subject and I cover various scientific issues ( i.e. fossils, mutations, the origin of life, embryology, comparative anatomy/physiology, the issue of vestigial organs, the age of the earth, etc. ) at greater depth in my essay The Natural Limits of Evolution on my website:; I explain why the scientific evidence better supports creation than evolution.

    In my essay, I even discuss the possibility of any life on Mars having originated from Earth due to the great geological disturbances in the Earth’s past which could have easily spewed rocks and dirt containing microbes into space.

    It is only fair that school students be exposed to the scientific arguments and evidence on both sides of the creation/evolution issue.

    As a religion and science writer I have had the privilege of being recognized in Marquis Who’s Who In The East. I have also given lectures and seminars before science faculty and students at various secular college and university campuses on the creation/evolution issue. Thank you so much.

    Babu G. Ranganathan
    ( B.A. Theology/Biology)

    * Creationist and scientist Dr. Walt Brown has his entire book In The Beginning available on the web for reading. Please go to
       —Babu Ranganathan    Apr. 29 '05 - 08:52AM    #
  12. Thanks for the tip!
       —Brandon    Apr. 29 '05 - 05:56PM    #