Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Pfizer to leave property near land won in Kelo case

Posted by Matt Hampel on 13. November 2009

In 2005, the Supreme Court decided 5-4 that New London, Connecticut, could condemn and acquire 26 acres of a neighborhood to build hotels, and condos, near a Pfizer research center. The city spent nearly $80 million preparing the land.

On Thursday, Pfizer announced that 1,400 jobs would leave the city and no new development would occur. They will vacate a 750,000 square foot complex built in 2001. Their credits for 80% of the taxable value are set to expire in 2010 or 2011.

Michigan passed Proposition 4 in 2006:

A proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit government from taking private property by eminent domain for certain private purposes. The proposed constitutional amendment would:

  • Prohibit government from taking private property for transfer to another private individual or business for purposes of economic development or increasing tax revenue.
  • Provide that if an individual’s principal residence is taken by government for public use, the individual must be paid at least 125% of property‚Äôs fair market value.
  • Require government that takes a private property to demonstrate that the taking is for a public use; if taken to eliminate blight, require a higher standard of proof to demonstrate that the taking of that property is for a public use.
  • Preserve existing rights of property owners.

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Primarily Confusing

Posted by Juliew on 12. January 2008

The Michigan Presidential Primary is Tuesday, January 15. Voting will be at regular polling places from 7am to 8pm. The only item on the ballot in Ann Arbor is the presidential primary. Sample ballots can be found here. You will need to show your ID.

That part is clear, the rest is confusing. First of all, this is a “closed” primary. This means you must declare if you are going to vote Republican or Democratic and your ballot will only have the candidates for the party you chose. Although this is not public information, it will be given to Michigan’s political parties (Ann Arbor does not keep track of party preference). Write-in candidates will not be allowedcounted. Yes there will be a line for a write-in vote, but don’t use it because no write-in votes will be allowedcounted.

Adding to the confusion, it seems that Michigan has been a very bad state and chose to have its primary before the February 5 deadline. This upset the national Republican and Democratic Parties so they decided to sanction Michigan. The Republicans have removed half of our delegates. The Democratic Party has removed all of our delegates. In a show of solidarity to the National Party, several candidates pulled out of the Michigan Democratic Primary, including Barack Obama and John Edwards.

If you are planning to vote Republican, your options are pretty easy. You declare, you pick up your ballot, you vote for the candidate of your choice. Be aware that although some candidates have dropped out of the race, they may still be on the ballot because of long printing lead times. (Tancredo and Brownback have dropped out.)

If you would like to vote for a Democratic candidate, you have a few options. The first is to vote for Clinton, Gravel, or Kucinich as they are listed on the ballot (Dodd has dropped out). If you are an Obama or Edwards supporter, you can vote for “Uncommitted” and hope that Uncommitted gets enough votes to get delegates and that they vote for your choice. Or you can declare as a Republican and vote for the least-likely-to-get-elected Republican candidate.

Why vote Democratic at all if there aren’t going to be any delegates at the National Convention? The general consensus is that the Democratic leaders will feel more, well, democratic and eventually give us back some delegates. If that is true, the assumption will be that if you voted “Uncommitted,” you wanted either Obama or Edwards and the delegates should act accordingly.

So don’t forget to vote on Tuesday! Remember your vote counts, or it doesn’t, maybe.

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Local Totter Accommodates Former President

Posted by Dale Winling on 2. May 2007

Frequent commenter Homeless Dave enticed former President and U-M’s 2007 commencement speaker Bill Clinton onto some backyard playground equipment this past weekend while Clinton was in town for graduation.

Highlights include:

BC: Yeah, paws! Raaaahr, I’m a polar bear!!

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Stephen Colbert honors Ann Arborite

Posted by MarkDilley on 19. July 2006

With a mention on his fabulous show, the Colbert Report… and after said honoree is mentioned for sending Colbert, money. It’s funny check it out.

And if for some reason you have not seen this yet, here is Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents Dinner. It ROCKS

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Community Gardening

Posted by MarkDilley on 13. June 2006

Just a snapshot outside of our little bubble here in Ann Arbor:

South Central Farm in L.A. is a huge community garden, providing for 350 families.

It is being threatened with being bulldozed right now. There are people putting their bodies in the way, others are sitting in at the Mayor’s office. Please take a moment to give calls to: Mayor Villaraigosa (213.978.0600) and Councilwoman Jan Perry (213.978.0600) to encourage them to do what they can to halt the evictions.

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Jill Carroll Freed from Captivity

Posted by Dale Winling on 30. March 2006

Jill Carroll, the freelance reporter taken hostage in Iraq January 7th, has been freed, the New York Times reports.

“She was released this morning, she’s talked to her father and she’s fine,” said David Cook, Washington bureau chief of The Christian Science Monitor.

Carroll was kidnapped on Jan. 7 in Baghdad’s western Adil neighborhood while going to interview Sunni Arab politician Adnan al-Dulaimi. Her translator was killed in the attack about 300 yards from al-Dulaimi’s office.

Carroll was reporting for the Christian Science Monitor when taken hostage.

Now outdated Free Press article.

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Arianna Huffington: "blogosphere is now the most vital news source in America"

Posted by David Boyle on 15. March 2006

A. Huff, Now the little guy is the true pit bull of journalism… ,

“Blogging [is] levelling the playing field between the media haves and the media have-only-a-laptop-and-an-internet connection.
...That’s another great thing about bloggers: when they decide that something matters, they refuse to let go. They’re the true pit bulls of reporting.
That kind of relentlessness was never available to me as a newspaper columnist.
...Bloggers share their work, argue with each other and add to a story dialectically. It’s why the blogosphere is now the most vital news source in America.”
(in today’s Guardian)

(See also today’s Doonesbury on blogging and Krispy Kremes.)

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Gordon Parks 1912-2006, R.I.P.

Posted by David Boyle on 9. March 2006

Since AU contributor Dumi posted about Gordon Parks’ death on his own blog , may as well link to it here too.
Gordon Parks was the director of “Shaft” (1971), and “The Learning Tree” (1969), among other great films. He was a photographer/composer/artist/man par excellence.
Interestingly enough, he is also a former in-law of mine; that is, Gordon Parks was married to a relative of mine for a while. (If you’re looking for an Ann Arbor connection to Gordon Parks, there we go…)

R.I.P. G.P.

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Happy Women's History Month!

Posted by David Boyle on 7. March 2006

The National Women’s History Project website has some inspiring information on the history of women, especially useful and topical now since March is Women’s History Month.
One highlight on the website, so to say, is a link to George W. Bush’s presidential proclamation for the Month , including a part which intersects nicely with just-ended Black History Month and with a prominent Detroiter of historical fame and blessed memory:
”...In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, helping to inspire a nationwide movement for equal justice under the law. Recently, our Nation said goodbye to another remarkable American woman and courageous civil rights leader, Coretta Scott King, who helped call America to its founding ideals.
...This month, I encourage all Americans to join me in celebrating the extraordinary achievements and contributions of American women.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies and activities to honor the history, accomplishments, and contributions of all American women.”

(But has he considered how much affirmative action has helped American women? One wonders…)

—Hope everyone at UM, women and men both, enjoyed her/his spring break, by the way!

UPDATE: Looks like WLSA (Women Law Students Association at the Law School—I enjoyed being a paying member) will have its annual Pay Equity Bake Sale tomorrow and Wednesday, c. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or longer, outside room 100: i.e., you draw random slips of paper showing that if you are a woman or minority (for the day), you get paid less, so you get to pay less for your baked good!
This is kind of a progressive alternative to the “affirmative action bake sales” that “conservative” groups hold, where you pay less if you are a woman or minority (as opposed to drawing a random piece of paper); but only as an insult to women and minorities, not to show that women and minorities are still discriminated against.

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Bush calls bloggers terrorists??

Posted by David Boyle on 13. February 2006

See today’s Daily Kos, Bush Tags Bloggers As Terrorists! ,
“Homeland Security completed its ‘Cyber Storm’ wargame to test how our government “would respond to devastating attacks over the Internet from anti-globalization activists, underground hackers and bloggers. ...’Participants confirmed parts of the worldwide simulation challenged government officials and industry executives to respond to deliberate misinformation campaigns and activist calls by Internet bloggers, online diarists whose “Web logs” include political rantings and musings about current events.’ ...”

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