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2013 Election

The 2013 election cycle included interesting contests in the August Democratic Party primary and again in the November general election. Neighborhood activists and their candidates did well in both August and November.

Candidates endorsed by the Mayor in the August Primary Election lost. On October 11, 2013, between the August primary and the November general election mLive posted a story: Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje says he won't seek re-election in 2014.
November 2013 General Election
Neighborhoods continued to do well in City Council elections this year. In the First Ward long time neighborhood activist Sabra Briere won reelection (over a newcomer who was also very neighborhood friendly). In the Second Ward, Jane Lumm, a champion of neighborhood interests, won a hard fought (at times nasty) campaign against a member of the Planning Commission who has been particularly tone deaf to neighborhood concerns. In the Third Ward, Stephen Kunselman who won a very competitive primary in August, again won on a platform of representing neighborhood residents. In the Fourth Ward, Jack Eaton, co-founder of this Alliance, beat a 14 year incumbent in August and prevailed again against two write-in candidates in November. In the Fifth Ward, long time neighborhood advocate Mike Anglin beat a well organized write-in candidate who apparently sought to take advantage of low voter turn out. 

Five out of five - not bad.

General Election News Coverage:
Ann Arbor Chronicle November 6 - City Council Incumbents, AAPS Tax Win

To appear on the November ballot, an Ann Arbor City Council candidate had to either win a party primary in August, be the unopposed party candidate in August or file a nominating petitions as an independent candidate by August 7. Additionally, a resident can qualify as a write-in candidate by filing paperwork with the clerk at least 10 days prior to the election.

Ballot Issue
The November ballot included a request from the Ann Arbor Public Schools for a renewal of their sinking fund bond.

Ward 1:
Sabra Briere (D) (incumbent) Campaign web page
Jaclyn Vresics (I) (announced she will not campaign)
Jeff Hayner (I) Campaign web page

Ward 2:
Jane Lumm (I) (incumbent) Campaign web page
Kirk Westphal (D) Campaign web page
Conrad Brown. (I) member of the Mixed Use Party - Campaign web page

Ward 3:
Stephen Kunselman (D) (incumbent) Campaign web page
DeVarti (I) member of the Mixed Use Party

League of Women Voters Candidate Forum - Ward 3

Ward 4:
Jack Eaton (D) Campaign web page
William Lockwood filed to run as a write-in candidate
Twenty Pound Carp ran as a write-in without filing paperwork

"There were 209 total write-in votes in the 4th Ward, including 84 for actual write-in candidate William Lockwood, suggesting as many as 125 might have gone to the 20-pound carp."

Ward 5:
Mike Anglin (D) incumbent. Campaign web page
Thomas Partridge filed paperwork to run as a write-in candidate

August 2013 Primary Election

Election update:
The August 6 primary involved contests only in the Third and Fourth Wards. In the Third Ward, Stephen Kunselman prevailed and in the Fourth Ward, Jack Eaton won.
Chronicle article about the August primary results.
Ballot Issues

There were no ballot issues on the August 6 ballot.

Ann Arbor City Council Candidates

The August 6, 2013 primary election will determine the candidates for each party. Independent candidates do not appear on the August ballot, Republicans and Democrats nominated in the August primary election will appear on the November ballot with the Independent incumbent. The candidates who are running with the support of the new Mixed Use Party will likely run as independents.

First Ward

no primary election

Second Ward:

no primary election

Third Ward:

Stephen Kunselman (D) incumbent Campaign web page

Julie Grand (D) Campaign web page

Fourth Ward:

Marcia Higgins (D) incumbent Campaign web page

Jack Eaton (D) Campaign web page

Fifth Ward

Mike Anglin (D) incumbent. Campaign web page

no primary election

A Record of Failure
The former majority on City Council spent time, effort and tax dollars on projects that were doomed to fail from their inception. Here are just a few examples:

Huron Hills Golf Course - The City proposed re-purposing half of the Huron Hills course into a commercial development that would have included a golf driving range and golf related commercial shops. While the debt and development risks would have been carried by the City, a private business would have reaped the profits, had the project worked. The City rejected the proposal when faced with citizen opposition.

Downtown Conference Center - The City proposed all but giving away the property adjacent to the downtown library branch to a hotel developer. The plan included substantial tax breaks and City-subsidies to build and run an attached conference center. Again, the City sought to socialize the risks and privatize the profits. The City ended the RFP process as opposition rapidly spread.

Fuller Road Parking Structure - The City proposed using parkland as a site for a University of Michigan Hospital parking structure (1,000+ spaces). The University's costs of building the structure was meant to represent the local share of the cost of building a train station. The City would have provided the land and 22% of the cost of building the parking structure in hopes of receiving federal money for a train station. The desire for the new train station is predicated on the belief that Ann Arbor will be able to develop a commuter rail system that federal transportation officials have already found to be impractical. The City's efforts to avoid putting the issue on the ballot resulted in having the plan drag on until the University could wait no longer. The University withdrew from the project when the City could not deliver on its promises.

Public Art Funding - After years of complaints about diverting restricted funds from street maintenance, storm system and water funds, the Council decided to seek an alternative funding source after the August primary election suggested that the percent for arts plan might lose support in the next Council. Unfortunately, that arts millage proposal failed. Now the City has referred the troubled percent for arts plan to a committee for study and recommendation.

What's next? - The City badly wants to locate a new Amtrak station on Fuller Road parkland. Many in the community believe this is a bad idea. Prior to the November 2012 election, Council approved more than $500,000 in additional expenditures from the general fund reserves. This general fund raid came after months of reassurance that no general fund money would be used for the Fuller Park Amtrak station.

Please, fix the roads, restore our fire and police staffing levels and focus on our flooding problems.