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Elections

The Alliance formed in late 2008. At that time, the Ann Arbor City Council often seemed hostile to the concerns of neighborhood residents. We have seen a few election cycles pass as we have built our group. Beginning with the elect where Stephen Kunselman defeated Leigh Greden, we have witnessed the changing composition of City Council. In 2010, neighborhood voices did not fare well. But, in 2011, a champion of good representation -- Jane Lumm -- defeated a Council member who seemed disinterested in the desires of his constituents. The November 2012 brought even more neighborhood friendly voices to Council. In 2013, Alliance co-founder Jack Eaton was elected to Council and neighborhood friend Jane Lumm won reelection over a member of the Planning Commission who had shown flagrant disregard for neighborhood concerns while serving on the Planning Commission. 


Elections matter! The addition of just two independent voices to the City Council in the 2012 election cycle dramatically altered the Council's agenda. We hope that the 2013 election results will continue this trend.

In 2011, the City was seriously considering consolidating our five fire stations into just three stations. The explanation was that we could not afford to staff all of the stations with sufficient numbers of firefighters to achieve industry standards for fire response times. With the change in composition of Council, the idea of closing fire stations has been abandoned. More important, the new Council has begun to rebuild fire staffing.

While the City administration was planning the station consolidation plan, Council approved an expenditure of about $500,000 as local matching funds for planning a new Amtrak Station. After that planning is complete, Ann Arbor must find about $6 million in local funding to actually build the proposed Amtrak station. With the changes on Council, the Capital Improvement Plan has been modified to at least delay further spending on the Amtrak station.

Also in 2011, the Council asked the DDA to study what the public wished to do with five City-owned downtown properties. Although the public voiced great support for downtown park and green space, the DDA recommended huge developments for each of the properties. Fortunately, with its new members, the Council did not accept the recommendations.

In 2012, Jane Lumm offered a resolution to add protection of park lands by requiring approval of the voters before park land could be re-purposed through leasing. That Council failed to support her efforts. After the elections, Council decided that, at least, the issue of using Fuller Road parkland for an Amtrak station site should be subject to voter approval.

Also in 2012, the City was seeking to expand our transit system into communities that had little interest in funding public transit. After the elections, but before the new members were seated, Council voted to withdraw from the failed expansion plan.

The November 2012 general election gave voters a chance to support an arts millage as a means of replacing the questionable percent for arts funding method. When that millage failed, Council was faced with the need to cure the flaws in the percent for arts plan with the added information of the failed arts millage. With the new voices on Council, the funding of art is more likely to reflect the values and priorities of residents.

The previous Council has altered our zoning code in a reckless manner. We are now witnessing the destruction of downtown unleashed by the A2D2 zoning modifications. Where we were promised new businesses and residential development for young professionals and empty-nesters, we have seen local businesses displaced by national franchises and highrise apartment buildings suited only for wealthy students. In addition to the A2D2 fiasco, Council approved Area, Height and Placement zoning modifications that will allow taller, denser development in areas outside the downtown core. Separately, we saw the community speak out in support of protecting residential neighborhoods from huge, out of scale buildings, the City has dragged its feet on accepting the R4C citizens' committee recommendations. We expect that Council will turn its attention to these issues in the next year. The new members of Council will added a new perspective to the all density is good density view.


The pages appearing below this one are just our record of who ran and what happened.