County Concerned by Rise in Juvenile Crime

Washtenaw County board allocates funds to address escalating violence; also, commissioners create new board of health, put parks renewal tax on Nov. 4 ballot, appoint road funding committee

Washtenaw County board of commissioners meeting (July 9, 2014): An increase in violent crime committed by teens in Washtenaw County has spurred the need for additional funding from the county’s Child Care Fund. County commissioners have authorized using $642,707 from the Child Care Fund balance to pay for a range of services overseen by the county’s dept. of human services.

Wes Vivian, Yousef Rabhi, Washtenaw County board of commissioners, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

From left: former Congressman Wes Vivian talks with Washtenaw County board chair Yousef Rabhi (D-District 8) before the board’s July 9 meeting. Vivian is advocating for the board to put a proposal on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. (Photos by the writer.)

Linda Edwards-Brown, the county’s juvenile division administrator, told commissioners that there’s been an increase in young men “terrorizing” their communities. The sheriff’s office and court had started working together several months ago after they began observing an increase in gang-type activity, she said, including home invasions, firearm larceny, and assaulting police officers. They’d been hopeful that they could stem the tide of violence, she added, but it had escalated with a death in Ypsilanti earlier this summer.

So the sheriff’s office and court officials have reached consensus to remove some of these young men from the community and put them into residential facilities in other parts of the state, Edwards-Brown said. The juvenile division of the Washtenaw County trial court will place at least six youths in residential facilities this month, in addition to six youths who are currently in residential placements. According to a staff memo, residential placements are costly, with a typical length of stay at nine to twelve months.

At the July 9 meeting, commissioners and staff expressed the need to continue working on this issue as a community-wide effort.

In other action, commissioners were asked to pass a resolution making mid-year budget adjustments and allocating this year’s higher-than-expected property tax revenues, as well as putting the $3.9 million surplus from 2013 into unearmarked reserves.

The adjustments passed on a 6-2 vote, with Dan Smith (R-District 2) and Conan Smith (D-District 9) dissenting. Andy LaBarre (D-District 7) was absent. Dan Smith objected to spending more than was budgeted and making budget changes outside of the annual budget affirmation process, which takes place later this year. Conan Smith didn’t state his reason for voting against it on July 9, though in the past he has advocated for spending more of the surplus, rather than setting it aside in the fund balance.

Commissioners also authorized putting a proposal on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot to renew a 10-year, 0.2353-mill countywide parks and recreation operations tax. They held public hearings related to other millages that the county plans to levy later this year: (1) for support of indigent veterans and their families; and (2) to fund economic development and agricultural activities, under Act 88. The hearings drew one speaker – Thomas Partridge.

Related to the health department, the board created a new board of health to help oversee public health services in the county. A state official was on hand to talk about the accreditation process that the Washtenaw County public health department completed earlier this year.

Commissioners voted to accept the recommendations of a task force that’s been working on a funding strategy to help end homelessness, and to sunset that task force. The board also made appointments to a new committee that’s charged with exploring funding options for road repair.

Several issues were raised during public commentary. Former Congressman Wes Vivian urged the county board to place a proposal on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot enabling Washtenaw County voters to ask the state to support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision. That U.S. Supreme Court ruling has resulted in corporations “sloshing big money into our elections at all levels,” Vivian said.

Also during the meeting, commissioners honored Arthur Williams, who is retiring as principal of Huron High School in Ann Arbor after 19 years in that job. The board also passed proclamations welcoming the United Association (UA) of plumbers and pipefitters and the Ironworkers International. Both unions hold training programs in Washtenaw County each summer.

At the beginning of the meeting, Rabhi asked for a moment of silence in memory of Rowan David LaBarre, the newborn son of commissioner Andy LaBarre and his wife Megan LaBarre. Rowan David had passed away earlier in the week. “We all pray and hold Rowan in the light of our prayers and thoughts,” Rabhi said. [Full Story]

Column: DDA Pay Increases, Open Meetings

Unlike this year, decisions on raises for DDA executive director Susan Pollay in two previous years – at 8% and 6.7% – do not appear to have conformed with Michigan's Open Meetings Act

Earlier this month, Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority executive director Susan Pollay received a 5% raise from the DDA board. That brought her annual compensation to $114,570.

Excerpt from performance evaluation for Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority executive director Susan Pollay. The DDA board appears to have decided her salary increases in FY 2013 and FY 2014 in a way that did not conform with the Open Meetings Act.

The free response portion of a performance evaluation for Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority executive director Susan Pollay. The DDA board appears to have decided her salary increases in FY 2013 and FY 2014 in a way that did not conform with the Open Meetings Act.

The procedure used this year by the board to award Pollay a salary increase appears to have conformed completely with the requirements of Michigan’s Open Meetings Act (OMA).

However, that procedure was different from the one used to award raises to Pollay in each of the two previous years.

Those raises worked out to 8% and 6.7%, respectively. In each of the two previous years, the decision to award Pollay those raises appears to have been made in a way that is contrary to the most basic requirement of Michigan’s OMA: “All decisions of a public body shall be made at a meeting open to the public.”

That conclusion is based on records produced by the DDA to The Chronicle in response to requests made under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as well as records the DDA was not able to produce.

The analysis below begins with an overview. [Full Story]

July 21, 2014: Council Live Updates

Agenda highlights: Exploring purchase of 2805 Burton as park; buying Platt Road site for expanded housing commission project. Also: Infrastructure, charter amendment on eligibility requirements for elected officials, downtown zoning. Item on 415 W. Washington to be withdrawn.

Editor’s note: This “Live Updates” coverage of the Ann Arbor city council’s July 21, 2014 meeting includes all the material from an earlier preview article published last week. The intent is to facilitate easier navigation from the live updates section to background material already in this file. 

Outcomes from the meeting are also reported in the Civic News Ticker.

A common theme among several items on the Ann Arbor city council’s July 21, 2014 agenda is infrastructure. That includes physical infrastructure – like roads, sidewalks, bridges and buildings. But it also includes legal infrastructure. The council will be considering a resolution that would put a charter amendment in front of voters for the Nov. 4 election. The amendment would establish eligibility requirements for elected officials, after a federal court ruled earlier this year that the existing charter requirements are not legally enforceable.

The sign on the door to the Ann Arbor city council chamber, installed in the summer of 2013, includes Braille.

The sign on the door to the Ann Arbor city council chamber includes Braille.

Another significant item that was initially placed on the July 21 agenda – but is expected to be withdrawn by its sponsor, Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5) – is a resolution that would direct the city administrator to list the 415 W. Washington property for sale.

Two other land acquisition items on the agenda would put the city on the purchasing end. A resolution sponsored by Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) would inquire with the owner of 2805 Burton Road, located just west of US-23, about whether it is available for purchase by the city. It’s the site of a long-in-the-works affordable housing project that has never started construction.

And a resolution sponsored by Margie Teall (Ward 4) would authorize the purchase of the property at 3401 Platt Road on behalf of the Ann Arbor Housing Commission (AAHC). Cost of the purchase would be $195,000, to be reimbursed to the city by AAHC. The AAHC is undertaking reconstruction of its properties adjoining this parcel, and this acquisition would facilitate that.

The July 21 meeting is the council’s last one before the Tuesday, Aug. 5 primary elections. The meeting that week is shifted from Monday to Thursday, and will fall on Aug. 7.

Physical infrastructure on the agenda includes a $1,537,608 construction contract with Bailey Excavating Inc. for the Springwater subdivision improvements project. That work will cover the reconstruction of streets and some utilities – on Butternut Street from Cardinal Avenue to Springbrook Avenue, and Nordman Avenue from Packard Road to Redwood Avenue.

Another road reconstruction project on the agenda is a $3,445,200 agreement with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) for the Stone School Road improvements project – between I-94 and Ellsworth Road. The planned work consists of reconstructing Stone School Road as a two-lane road with on-street bike lanes and concrete curb and gutter.

A second agreement with MDOT, which will require about $250,000 of local funding, will establish the city as construction manager for the construction of sidewalks on the south side of Scio Church Road between Delaware Drive and Maple Road, and on the south side of Barton Drive from about 250 feet west of Chandler Road to Longshore Drive. A portion of the funding for both projects will be derived from a special assessment of adjoining property owners.

Final approval of a special assessment for an additional sidewalk construction project also appears on the agenda. The sidewalk construction will be done as part of the reconstruction of Pontiac Trail beginning just north of Skydale Drive to just south of the bridge over M-14.

On July 21 the council will also be asked to approve a $104,107 contract with DLZ Michigan Inc. for the regular bridge inspection program. That includes the section of the Library Lane parking structure that is located under Fifth Avenue.

Six new pumps for the wastewater treatment plant to be purchased from Premier Pump Inc. for $425,682 is another agenda item.

With respect to legal infrastructure, a federal judge ruled earlier this year that eligibility requirements for elected officers in the city of Ann Arbor’s charter are not legally enforceable. On the council’s July 21 agenda is a resolution that would place new charter requirements on the ballot for voters to decide in the Nov. 4, 2014 election. The current charter language imposes one-year durational requirements on voter registration in the city and residency in the ward that a potential councilmember would like to represent. For mayor, the current requirement is simply a one-year durational requirement for voter registration in the city. That one year is calculated from the time an elected official takes office. The new requirements would impose a voter registration requirement at the time paperwork is submitted to qualify for the ballot.

Several items related to development also appear on the council’s July 21 agenda. The council will consider a site plan for 2625 Jackson, on the southeast corner of Jackson and I-94, and just north of the Westgate Shopping Center. The plan calls for demolishing the existing one-story service station and auto repair shop and constructing a single building with a 1,820-square-foot drive-thru restaurant and 3,220-square-foot retail center.

The council will also consider a site plan for Dusty’s Collision at 2310 South Industrial Highway, south of Jewett. The proposal calls for building a 30,537-square-foot, one-story auto collision repair facility on a parcel that’s currently vacant. The new building would include 5,285 square feet for office use, a waiting area of 5,227 square feet, and 20,025 square feet for the repair area and garage.

For State Street Village – a proposed 78-unit apartment project that will eventually appear on the council’s agenda – the council will consider giving initial approval at its July 21 meeting to the rezoning of the land. The 4.5-acre parcel would be rezoned from M1 (limited industrial district) to O (office district).

Not tied to any particular project on the July 21 agenda is final consideration by the council of a change to downtown zoning. The item is confined to a 1.1-acre parcel at 425 S. Main St. at the southeast corner of William and Main. The council gave initial approval of the rezoning – from D1 (downtown core) to D2 (downtown interface) – at its June 16 meeting that followed a complex series of votes. At the same meeting, the council also gave initial approval to a change to the overlay character district for the parcel, after amending the height limit – from 100 feet to 60 feet. Zoning changes require two votes by the council, taken at separate meetings, because they are changes to the city’s ordinances.

Another ordinance change on the July 21 agenda – which is getting final consideration by the council – is one that clarifies the composition and appointment process for the city’s environmental commission. Related thematically to that item is a resolution that clarifies the composition of the city’s commission on disability issues.

The consent agenda for July 21 includes an item that indicates the approach of fall – approval of the change to traffic patterns for the Aug. 27-29 University of Michigan student move-in.

This article includes more details for many of these agenda items. Information on other agenda items is available on the city’s online Legistar system. The meeting proceedings can be followed Monday evening live on Channel 16, streamed online by Community Television Network starting at 7 p.m.

The Chronicle will be filing live updates from city council chambers during the meeting, published in this article below the preview material. Click here to skip the preview section and go directly to the live updates. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. [Full Story]

Kingsley Condo Project Takes Next Step

Ann Arbor planning commissioners support 121 Kingsley West, send it to council; Wendy Woods elected chair, replaces Kirk Westphal

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (July 15, 2014): Commissioners unanimously recommended approval of a new condo project near downtown – 121 Kingsley West, at Kingsley and Ashley. But because recommendations of approval require six votes – and only five commissioners were present – the development will be forwarded with a recommendation of denial.

Wendy Woods, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Only five members of the nine-member Ann Arbor planning commission were present on July 15, so Wendy Woods was alone on her side of the table. She was later elected chair of the commission, and moved to a different seat to preside over the meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

Developer Tom Fitzsimmons and his partners Peter Allen and Mark Berg were assured that the city council would be informed of the circumstances under which the vote was taken.

The plans call for 22 condos in two new structures and an existing building. The request is for approval of a site plan, development agreement and rezoning – from a planned unit development (PUD) to D2 (downtown interface district). The PUD, which has expired, was for a larger development on that same site that was never built – Peter Allen’s Kingsley Lane.

The tallest building at 121 Kingsley West would be 58.4 feet high – just under the 60-foot height limit for D2 zoning.

In other action on July 15, commissioners elected new officers for the coming fiscal year, which began on July 1. Wendy Woods was unanimously elected to serve as the commission’s chair, replacing Kirk Westphal. She has served as vice chair for the past two years. Ken Clein, who has served as secretary, was elected vice chair, replacing Woods in that position. Westphal reported that Jeremy Peters had expressed interest in serving as secretary, though he did not attend the July 15 meeting. Peters was unanimously elected to that position. None of the officer elections were contested.

Planning commissioners also unanimously adopted a master plan resolution and list of resource documents used to support the master plan. This is part of an annual evaluation of the master plan that’s required by the commission’s bylaws. There are no significant changes. Separately, they voted to approve the FY 2015 work program, which planning manager Wendy Rampson characterized as ambitious. [Full Story]

July 21, 2014: City Council Meeting Preview

| A common theme among several of the items on the council's July 21, 2014 agenda is infrastructure. That includes physical infrastructure – like roads, sidewalks and bridges. But it also includes legal infrastructure. The council will be considering a vote to put a charter amendment in front of voters for the Nov. 4 election. The amendment would establish eligibility requirements for elected officials, after a federal court ruled earlier this year that the existing requirements are not legally enforceable. Three land sale/acquisition items also appear on the agenda. [Full Story]

Five Candidates Vie for Probate Judgeship

| Five candidates seeking to be the next Washtenaw County probate judge answered questions about themselves, probate law and general judicial philosophy at a candidate forum held July 7, 2014. Jane Bassett, Tamara Garwood, Constance Jones, Tracy Van den Bergh and recently appointed judge Julia Owdziej will appear on the Aug. 5 primary ballot. The non-partisan primary will narrow the race to two candidates for the Nov. 4 general election. Owdziej was appointed to the seat by Gov. Rick Snyder just last month, on June 2, to fill the vacancy on the court left by Nancy Wheeler’s retirement. [Full Story]

Circuit Court Race: Conlin, Woodyard, Liem

| Last Monday, three candidates vying to fill a vacancy on Washtenaw's 22nd circuit court participated in a League of Women Voters forum. Pat Conlin, Mike Woodyard and Veronique Liem will compete in the non-partisan Aug. 5 primary, which will advance the top two candidates to the Nov. 4 general election. Conlin and Liem are local attorneys while Woodyard works in the Wayne County prosecutor's office. At the July 7 forum, the candidates fielded questions covered topics including: family, the visibility of the court and general judicial philosophy. [Full Story]

Court to Ann Arbor: Aren’t You in Contempt?

| A procedural issue on the Ann Arbor Ward 3 city council ballot counting question has been decided by a federal court as expected: The Michigan Secretary of State has been allowed as an intervening party in the dispute. Not necessarily expected, however, was the court's issuance of a show cause order that requires the city of Ann Arbor to demonstrate why the city is not in contempt of court. The court has essentially ordered the city to present an explanation for the fact that the city clerk sent out ballots to 392 voters that did not contain Bob Dascola's name – after the court had earlier ruled in a lawsuit that the city's eligibility requirements could not be enforced ... [Full Story]

Live Mayoral Forum: Affordable Housing

| A forum for Ann Arbor mayoral candidates was hosted on July 15 at 7 p.m. at St. Clare's and Temple Beth Emeth at Genesis of Ann Arbor, located at 2309 Packard St. Focus of the forum was homelessness and affordable housing. Competition for the Democratic Party’s mayoral nomination is a four-way race: Stephen Kunselman, Sabra Briere, Christopher Taylor, Sally Petersen. All candidates currently serve on the Ann Arbor city council. Kunselman and Briere are in the middle of their two-year terms, while Taylor and Petersen have chosen to run for mayor instead of seeking re-election to their Ward 3 and Ward 2 council seats, respectively. [Full Story]

Live from the Library: Ward 2 Council Forum

| The Orchard Hills-Maplewood neighborhood association hosted a forum on July 14 at 7 p.m. for Ward 2 city council candidates in the Democratic primary election, to be held Aug. 5, 2014. The Ward 2 city council race features current chair of the city planning commission, Kirk Westphal, and current trustee on the Ann Arbor District Library board, Nancy Kaplan. [Full Story]

Concerns Lead to Delay for Glendale Condos

| Four projects were on the Ann Arbor planning commission's July 1, 2014 agenda, but the meeting was dominated by one in particular: A proposed condominium development at 312 Glendale, the site of a former orchard just south of Jackson Avenue. Commissioners ultimately voted to postpone action until they can get more information about a proposed retention/detention pond. Three other projects were recommended for approval on July 1: (1) The Mark condos on West Liberty; (2) a rebuild of the Delta Chi fraternity at Hill and Oxford; and (3) an expansion of the Gift of Life facility on Research Park Drive. [Full Story]

Greenbelt Communications Plan In Progress

| At its July 3, 2014 meeting, the Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission discussed a plan to create an internship, drawing from students at the University of Michigan. The intent would be to help create awareness of the city's greenbelt program, by using social media and other strategies. [Full Story]

Council Candidates Live: Ann Arbor Dems

| The Ann Arbor Democratic Party hosted a candidate forum for all city council candidates July 12, 2014 at the Ann Arbor Community Center at 625 North Main Street. This article includes the audio broadcast from that event. Races in three of the city's five wards are contested. The Ward 1 race features one-term incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams, who is seeking elected office for the first time. The Ward 2 city council race features current chair of the city planning commission, Kirk Westphal and current trustee on the board of the Ann Arbor District Library board, Nancy Kaplan. This year’s Ward 3 contest features Julie Grand, Bob Dascola and Samuel McMullen, who are all competing for the seat ... [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Ballot Dispute: Michigan Wants In

| Michigan's Secretary of State has asked the federal district court to be allowed as an intervening party to an action that is current pending before the court – on the question of how to count ballots in the city of Ann Arbor Ward 3 Democratic primary. The Secretary of State's current position is that votes in the Ward 3 race that are cast with the incorrectly printed ballots should still be counted – if no replacement ballot is sent in by the voter. [Full Story]

Column: Greek Drama In A Public Park

| Chronicle editor Dave Askins urges readers to attend one of the upcoming performances of "Elektra," which is the Penny Seats Theatre Company West Park production this year. His pitch is not for Greek drama, but rather for Greek drama performed in an Ann Arbor park. The show will be performed over three weekends in July. [Full Story]

Column: Saying Good-Bye to Coach Mac

| Columnist John U. Bacon says farewell to Coach Mac McKenzie, who coached him as a youth and taught him much more than just baseball. McKenzie died recently, and Bacon reflects on his influence. [Full Story]

Mayoral Candidate Forum: CTN Broadcast

| The League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area is hosting candidate forums for the Aug. 5, 2014 primary elections, as it does every year for local races. Competition for the Democratic Party's mayoral nomination is a four-way race: Stephen Kunselman, Sabra Briere, Christopher Taylor, Sally Petersen. The scheduled broadcast start time on CTN is at 8 p.m. today (July 9) and can be viewed as a live video stream in the embedded player below. [Full Story]

Ward 3 Candidate Forum: CTN Broadcast

| The League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area is hosting candidate forums for the Aug. 5, 2014 primary elections, as it does every year for local races. This year's Ward 3 contest features Julie Grand, Bob Dascola and Samuel McMullen. Grand is a lecturer in public health policy at the University of Michigan Dearborn, and former chair of the city's park advisory commission. Dascola owns a downtown barbershop. He filed a successful lawsuit to be placed on the ballot this year. McMullen is a University of Michigan sophomore, who graduated from Rudolf Steiner High School in Ann Arbor. [Full Story]

Ward 2 Candidate Forum: CTN Broadcast

| The League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area is hosting candidate forums for the Aug. 5, 2014 primary elections, as it does every year for local races. The Ward 2  city council Democratic primary forum features current chair of the city planning commission Kirk Westphal and current trustee on the board of the Ann Arbor District Library board Nancy Kaplan. The Ward 2 seat does not have an incumbent this year, because Sally Petersen is running for mayor, instead of seeking re-election to another two-year term on the city council. [Full Story]

Ward 1 Candidate Forum: CTN Broadcast

| The League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area is hosting candidate forums for the Aug. 5, 2014 primary elections as it does every year for local races. The Ward 1 city council Democratic primary forum features one-term incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams, who is seeking elected office for the first time. [Full Story]

Election Commish Live: Which Votes Count?

| On July 8, 2104, the Ann Arbor city election commission met to discuss the question of how to count votes that are cast in the Ward 3 Democratic primary election. This was a live broadcast of that meeting. In-person voting for the election takes place on Aug. 5, 2014. But the point in dispute concerns ballots that were printed incorrectly and sent to absentee voters. The question of counting votes has arisen because the ballots for the race were printed incorrectly, omitting the name of one of the candidates. Printed correctly on the ballots were Julie Grand and Samuel McMullen. However, Bob Dascola – who had filed a successful lawsuit against the city in order to be a candidate ... [Full Story]

July 7, 2014: Council Live Updates

| The Ann Arbor city council's July 7, 2014 agenda is comparatively light. It includes approval of a contract for animal control services with Washtenaw County, which is a new arrangement. A number of public services infrastructure items are also on the agenda, including the final approvals for three special-assessed sidewalk construction projects. The rezoning of four different Ann Arbor Housing Commission properties will be given consideration by the council, as well zoning and site plans for two non-downtown parcels. [Full Story]

DDA Acts on Infrastructure, Governance

| Much of the July 2, 2014 meeting of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board was devoted to infrastructure projects and organizational matters, as the DDA board restructured its committees and elected new officers for fiscal 2015, which began on July 1. The board awarded a $390,000 grant to First Martin Corp. for infrastructure related to an extended-stay hotel at Huron and Ashley, and granted a one-year extension to a $650,000 grant previously given to the 618 S. Main apartment project. The board also voted to give DDA executive director Susan Pollay a 5% raise, bringing her salary to $114,570. [Full Story]

Sunday Funnies: Bezonki

| In the July 2014 adventures of Bezonki, our feckless friend encounters a host of challenges while attempting the hose approach to art. This, of course, leads to some time in jail, an arduous trek across the desert of rainbow trees, some bartering with the natives, and what appears to be a strawberry daiquiri machine – or perhaps a bomb. With Bezonki, who can ever say? [Full Story]

Column: License Your Dog

| Ann Arbor's Fourth of July parade featured dogs as participants and onlookers. The piece is a photo essay of dogs at the parade. But it's also a reminder to dog owners to license their animals. Out of an estimated 30,000 dogs in the city, only about 7% have the required license from the city. The city will be using proceeds from dog licenses to fund its contract with Washtenaw County for animal control services. [Full Story]

July 7, 2014: City Council Meeting Preview

| The Ann Arbor city council's July 7, 2014 agenda is comparatively light. It includes approval of a contract for animal control services with Washtenaw County, which is a new arrangement. A number of public services infrastructure items are also on the agenda, including the final approvals for three special-assessed sidewalk construction projects. The rezoning of four different Ann Arbor Housing Commission properties will be given consideration by the council, as well zoning and site plans for two non-downtown parcels. [Full Story]

Photos: Ann Arbor July 4th Parade

| Ann Arbor's July 4th parade featured the usual array of elected officials, political candidates, cute kids, dogs, drums, candy and more. This photo essay provides some highlights, and includes a reminder to be sure to register by July 7 to vote in the Aug. 5 primary election. [Full Story]

Footing Drain Lawsuit: City Survives Motion

| In the Yu v. City of Ann Arbor footing drain disconnection lawsuit, judge Donald Shelton denied a motion for a preliminary injunction against the city. Had it been granted, the motion would have prevented the city from Ann Arbor from enforcing its footing drain disconnection (FDD) ordinance. Shelton's ruling came from the bench after a roughly 25-minute hearing held on July 2, 2014 at Washtenaw County's 22nd circuit court at Huron and Main streets in downtown Ann Arbor. [Full Story]

Column: Mayoral Folk, Easy Listening

| The Chronicle has broadcast live audio from three recent mayoral candidate forums. In this column, Chronicle editor Dave Askins synthesizes what he's heard from the four candidates in the Ann Arbor Democratic primary. Here's the short version. Stephen Kunselman wants your vote for him as a person. Christopher Taylor would like you vote for him as a stand-in for the good quality of life in Ann Arbor. Sabra Briere wants to impress upon you her mastery of detailed policy considerations. And Sally Petersen wants your support because she's focused on a way to pay for the things we want. [Full Story]

Chamber Forum: Ypsilanti Mayoral Race

| Two of the three candidates for Ypsilanti mayor – Democrats Amanda Edmonds and Peter Murdock – spoke to an audience of Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber members on June 26, describing their vision for the city and answering questions. The third candidate for Ypsilanti mayor, Democrat Tyrone Bridges, was not able to attend. This report summarizes their remarks and the ensuing Q&A. It includes audio snippets from the event. [Full Story]

Chamber Forum: Ann Arbor Mayoral Race

| On June 26, the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber hosted a forum for the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti mayoral candidates. This report focuses on the statements and answers to audience questions that were posed to the four Ann Arbor candidates: Sabra Briere, Sally Petersen, Stephen Kunselman, and Christopher Taylor. The article includes summaries of their remarks as well as audio clips. [Full Story]

Planning Commission OKs Jesuit Petition

| On a 7-1 vote, the Ann Arbor planning commission has cleared the way for a group of up to six members of the Ann Arbor Jesuit Community to live in a single-family home at 1919 Wayne St. The action to approve a special exception use came at the commission's June 17, 2014 meeting, when commissioners reconsidered an item that they had initially rejected on June 3, 2014. Also on June 17, commissioners recommended approval of an Ann Arbor housing commission project on North Maple, as well as a McKinley Inc. apartment complex on South State, and a drive-thru planned on Jackson Avenue next to Westgate Shopping Center. [Full Story]

Column: The Jeopardy of Game Shows

| A recent appearance on NPR's game show "Ask Me Another" reminded columnist John U. Bacon of another, more traumatic experience: Trying out for Jeopardy. Although it seemed like a good idea at the time, the try-out was an exercise in humiliation. And for sports fans, a warning: There wasn't a single question about sports on the the test. [Full Story]

Live: A2/Ypsi Chamber Mayoral Forum

| Four Democratic candidates for Ann Arbor mayor – and three Ypsilanti mayoral candidates – will be answering questions at a forum today hosted by the A2Y Regional Chamber of Commerce. The event, held at the Ann Arbor Regent Hotel at 2455 Carpenter Road, begins at 4:30 p.m. The Chronicle will be providing a live audio broadcast. [Full Story]