Last Saturday, July 11, the Ann Arbor Democratic Party hosted a forum for candidates in contested primary races for city council in Wards 3 and 5. The forum was held in the context of the party’s regular monthly meeting at its usual location in the Ann Arbor Community Center on North Main Street.
Independent campaigns could make the November election interesting in Wards 1 (Mitchell Ozog) and 4 (Hatim Elhady). But in Wards 3 and 5, the lack of any Republican or independent candidates means that those spots are almost sure to be decided in the Democratic primary on Aug. 4.
Currently, only Democrats serve on Ann Arbor’s city council.
The council consists of the mayor plus two representatives from each of five wards, who serve for two years each. That means each year, one of the two representative seats for each ward is up for election. Saturday’s Democratic Party forum was attended by three out of 11 current councilmembers: Mike Anglin (Ward 5), who was participating in the candidate forum; Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5), who was first elected in November 2008, and whose seat is not up for election until 2010; and Sabra Briere (Ward 1), whose Democratic primary race is uncontested.
After the break: What the Fifth Ward candidates, Mike Anglin and Scott Rosencrans, had to say.
The Democratic Party’s forum was not divided by ward. In fact, some audience members were thrown off by the seating arrangement for candidates that had them lined up from the audience’s left to right: Scott Rosencrans, Steve Kunselman, LuAnne Bullington, and Mike Anglin. That meant that the forum’s two Ward 3 candidates – Leigh Greden did not attend – played meat to Ward 5′s bread in a Democratic sandwich.
In this article, we’re serving up the just the bread. Comments from the candidates in Ward 3 who attended the forum are contained in a separate article.
The format consisted of questioners chosen in random order, who had 30 seconds each to ask a question. Each candidate then had one minute to respond. At the start and the end of the forum, each candidate had three minutes for a statement. Time was kept by Jennie Needleman, who chairs Ward 5 for the Ann Arbor Democratic Party. Responses are presented here in the order they were given at the forum, which rotated among the candidates. Jeff Irwin, a Washtenaw County commissioner, moderated the event.
Mike Anglin: I want to give some of my background on how I arrived in politics and why in my entire adult career I have always worked with people. In high school I was elected class president twice. In college, I led lots of different groups and different activities. I worked at a boys’ reform school and organized all the people to go out and work there – it’s called Boys’ Village and it was in a program called “The Wire.”
I have always been an organizer and a leader of people and worked with them very well. I work with people who have similar values. I present my ideas very strongly, and I think that’s what leadership does. It speaks for itself without watching what’s on the side. You move forward and you leave a wake behind you, you don’t wait to watch where the tide is flowing.
I hold a BA in American history and a masters in special education. I then left teaching in 1981 and started my own electrical firm, where I hired four people. I hired four people and had to deal with their personalities daily. That was in the ’80s, and I was paying each of them $1,000 a week. I also paid their health insurance. I had good workers and people devoted to me for 14 years until we decided to close the business due to people moving out of state.
So I have a very strong position with people, I have always worked with people. And that is my passion. That’s why I am willing to go out every single day and walk the ward, talk to people, get their ideas, and try to bring them back. I am an elected representative – elected by whom? The people! I am elected by them. So I bring their voice forward and that’s what my programs are. If I see a program that is strong for the people, even though it’s not a popular force, I’ll take it. I will definitely take that. Because I think that becomes representative grassroots government. And without that we don’t have really good government. So my motto is: The only job of government is to provide services to those who have elected them.
Scott Rosencrans: Good morning, everybody, my name is Scott Rosencrans. I am a carpenter by trade – that’s what I do during the day here in Ann Arbor. I’m married to Helen Bunch, who is a townie and is a schoolteacher at Pioneer High School. We live in Ann Arbor’s Lakewood neighborhood on the far west side.
In addition to working as a carpenter for over 20 years, 40 hours a week, I also spend about 30 hours a week on my civic business. I have served on nine different commissions, committees, and task forces for the city over the last four years. And what that has given me is an excellent foundation on things like budget oversight, land acquisition, major infrastructure, underground contamination and natural area preservation – just a really good across-the-board experience.
What are the things I’d like to do for the city? I think we need to improve customer service to our residents. Things like the building department and the sidewalk repair program are still giving people an enormous amount of frustration, and really it doesn’t cost us any more money to offer better business acumen and a better customer service approach. I think that we should increase recycling rates in the business community to be on par with that in the neighborhoods – and I have been working on that for several years with the environmental commission. I think we need stronger protections for the Huron River. And that’s something I’ve been working on with the Huron River Impoundment Management Project and the park commission.
And I believe in regionalism, where we can share our buying power and resources to pool together with the county and the townships and the Ann Arbor Public Schools in order to leverage our buying power to buy everything from police cars to expensive software programs. Cooperation is really what we need here.
I believe that the job at city council, once you are elected – because people believe in your ideas – is to have the ability to communicate your ideas in such a way that they can be understood by the other people in the room. If you are unable to reach across the board, to absorb yourself in every side of every issue and gain a full set of knowledge from which to make excellent decisions, and therefore gain the respect of your peers, nobody else is going to go along with you.
You have to get five other votes – or seven other votes depending on the vote – in order to move things forward. So if you are not able to communicate well, and absorb yourself entirely in the issue, get cooperation from your peers and show that you can work with everybody, then nothing happens. And I believe that’s the case now at city council. And I believe that’s where I can provide the greatest amount of improvement. Thank you.
Density and Development
Question: The philosophy of greater density has resulted in a number of city council decisions and zoning changes. What are your views on this?
Mike Anglin: The present city council believes that the more we build, the more prosperous we will be. When we attended the Calthorpe study, the purpose of it was to see how much density we could put in the downtown – 5,000, 10,000 – and each of those had different consequences. We have seen what has happened. We have buildings that are built, but we as taxpayers have seen no benefit from any of this.
Your neighborhoods have declined, your services have declined, you are seeing no benefit. You are the voters, and you elect these people, we have not been given what we thought we were going to get. Those buildings will remain after time goes on and we won’t get the benefits that actually have been planned for this city.
Scott Rosencrans: I, too, believe in providing greater density in the downtown urban core, but only within the current existing DDA boundary. And I do not believe in expanding the boundaries.
There are a lot of great environmental reasons for increasing density in the urban core. It reduces suburban sprawl, it uses existing infrastructure, and so on. The other important component is that it supports local businesses. Local businesses downtown that are struggling to survive because of pressure from the outside need a vitality downtown in order to keep going. We are starting to see local businesses close up downtown, just because we don’t have the traffic.
I think the target population for increasing density downtown is going to be young professionals, people in their 20s and early 30s. I know that in my early 20s, I lived in urban downtowns and it was a terrific lifestyle. You walk out the door, you walk to the State Theatre, you walk to the Power Center, you go to fabulous restaurants, you take the bus out to Washtenaw Community College where you are going to school, and so on. So I think there are a great number of benefits to increasing density in the downtown. However, I think it’s critical that we protect the adjacent neighborhoods without compromise.
Collaboration with County Government
Question: What are your ideas for collaboration with the county in order to reduce costs? What are your ideas for taking existing ideas further?
Scott Rosencrans: As I mentioned in my opening remarks, regionalism is one of the primary tenets of my campaign. When we’re talking about buying police cars, why can’t we get together? If Scio [Township] is buying police cars, if we are buying police cars, if the county is buying police cars, why can’t we get together, pull together our buying power and get a better deal and experience greater cooperation?
The same thing could be done with expensive software programs, and some ground is being broken in that area, as we speak. The consolidation of our dispatch centers through Huron Valley Ambulance is a positive step in the right correction in terms of regionalism. Reorganizing our fire fighting districts so that they are cooperating in new ways so that the closest fire station to your burning house is the one that responds. There’s no question that regionalism and cooperation between all of the public entities can be a great success, not only in saving money, but in experiencing greater cooperation across the board with better communication.
Mike Anglin: The economics will drive this to happen. We are gradually running out of money. So we aren’t going to have the services that we once had. So the times will direct us. Much more important than this – the money that we do have, how we spend it is much more important. We have taken on $100 million in debt in the last year. In the last six years we have taken on over $420 million in debt. In a small town of about 100,000 people, this is quite large.
And as we look to regionalism, we first must look at home at our city, at where we are spending our dollars. I applaud the different groups that have gotten together for cost savings. But I deplore the fact that we built a building and let 35 police officers leave. That was our decision, not the county’s or anybody else’s.
Public Process in Site Development: City-Owned Parcels
Question: Considering the possible future development of the property at 415 W. Washington, and the library lot, do you think the public should be consulted at the start of the process?
Scott Rosencrans: Many of you know that I sit on the 415 W. Washington proposal review committee and I favor a solution that offers a combined use of that property – a green space sector, an organization in the old building that offers community benefits such as the Ann Arbor Art Center or a similar organization, and a residential development that will complement both of those elements. For example, if it is an art organization that goes into that piece of property, the residential development should include artist workspaces that complement the whole thing. In the process we get greenway, we get community benefit, and we get anywhere from $250-$300,000 onto the tax rolls for that. I think that’s a great way to go.
When it comes to things like the YMCA site and other sites available here in town, I think you need to start by coming up with some ideas to get the ball rolling – to get public input. We certainly need to have public input in the process. Let’s get the ball rolling and show people what is possible there, and what parties are interested in developing on the sites, if we are going to sell them. You can’t put out an idea that’s not achievable by anyone. So let’s see what is available to us.
Mike Anglin: All the questions that are being asked are much more complex than the answers we can give in a short time. I keep going back to the sentiment that the more we involve the public, the better answers we will get. I’ll give you good example: the water treatment plant. Someone told me recently we’re going to have the “oldest newest” water treatment plant in the nation – meaning we had options to build elsewhere. There was a proposal developed to go at the top of Pauline, right at the top of Pauline and Maple, we could have purchased some land up there, it’s on the west side of town. We have the gravity to feed downtown, we could have supplied Scio. We could build a more efficient plant and we could’ve built a brand-new plant that was much, much, much better.
Question: Are you in support of a watershed study for the Allen Creek like the other watersheds in the city have had already?
Scott Rosencrans: That’s a great question. There’s no question we have problems – especially when we see the manhole covers popping off on the near west side. The problem there is that the size of the pipes feeding into the Allen Creek system are smaller than the progressive pipes as you work your way down the system. There is an infrastructure problem there that we need to take care of. We need to find the money for that.
In the meantime we need to solve the problem upstream. We need to keep storm water from feeding into that system in order to make it work effectively. That’s how we clean up the Allen Creek – by not having stuff go into it in the first place. The city is encouraging people to retain their storm water on their property to feed rain gardens and rain barrels and things of that nature – that will help. And there are regulations regarding commercial projects and civic projects that require the detention of water onsite. That’s the real solution – let’s not let the rainwater and the runoff and all the oil and gunk and crap, if you will, get into the system in the first place, but stop it at its source. And yes, I support the study.
Mike Anglin: As those who live in Ward 5 know, our most serious issues have to do with water and water contamination. And unfortunately we are the ward that has these major issues. The topography of the ward is such that we will have flooding someday. Now we just have to decide, what can the city do? Do they allow us to take a risk? The city allows us to take too many risks right now. They have allowed us to take the risk of the bridges over Stadium Boulevard. They have allowed us to take the risk of water possibly flooding the downtown area, which will happen.
I would rather take a serious ecological study of it, and I would also encourage us to act as true environmentalists to work with nature, water retention on properties, working with the Drain Commissioner in the county to find the solutions.
Follow-up question: A watershed study would show that a greenway in the downtown would be a tremendous benefit for the Old West Side, reducing the flood hazard. Are you in support of a full greenway in the Allen Creek watershed?
Scott Rosencrans: I think that not building in the floodway is a good move. There’s no question of that. Like I said earlier, I believe in a combined use for 415 W. Washington, which includes a greenway stretch. For First & William, I favor a total greenway sector there. This piece of property behind us [721 N. Main], there is much more floodway here than at 415 [Washington] in terms of broadness of the area. So the combined uses might be limited on it. But once again: No building in the floodway. But if there are developable areas in the adjacent areas, if we can put them on the tax rolls, especially if they are for community benefit type organizations.
Mike Anglin: I think that we should as a city move forward with the safety move of risk management to declare the entire areas that could flood as parcels that we set aside for no building at all – zero building. Now, around them is quite different. We’re talking the floodplain, so this would take place, the water would run down during a violent storm like this morning, and go through the center and then kind of back up and fill the floodplain area. It’s also a way to improve safety in the community, which I am very much in favor of. And then we could have people adopt those areas – like garden groups and neighborhood groups, could adopt these areas, and then the city’s cost would be very, very little, but the protection would be very, very high. We would let nature work for us and not against us.
Committee Assignments: Budget and Labor
Question: What is the Budget Committee? What is its membership? How is it selected? Is there a representative from each ward? If not, why not?
Mike Anglin: That is the most serious question that has been addressed to this group. The budget committee has been basically under the control of the mayor and Leigh Greden, who does the appointments to the committees. In the last election, I asked if I could be appointed to it, and he said that is a question of seniority.
My proposal is this: That the budget committee should have a representative from each ward. Ward 5 particularly – which turns out 30% of the total city vote, is not present when money is being discussed? Shame. We need a charter amendment. We need something different. Because each ward has to be represented with their presence. Now the thing being with this we would then have a whole year to look at what’s coming through. We have real bad budget times now and I believe that we have to look at the budget very carefully as an entire city.
Scott Rosencrans: I feel that I’m actually the man on the outside in this particular case, because I don’t know how the committee is formed, and I don’t know what the regulations are for that committee. There is certainly transparency required and needed for the community on all aspects of the budget and different areas of the budget.
For example, I do budget oversight for the Park Advisory Commission. Those are open to the public and certainly are open to commentary by the public. This is an extremely difficult time, and I am glad that the budget is coming up, because as you know, we are going to be losing a lot of funding from the state, and that might disappear entirely in the near future. Revenues are of course going down from property values, whether it’s a millage or direct taxes.
There is a hell of a lot here to be angry about. Frankly, as a carpenter I have found that being angry is when I am least productive. If I’m not angry then I’m not going to risk injury, and I’m not going to make mistakes, because that’s what happens when I’m angry. My idea is to move forward, get more transparency and work forward proactively to find solutions to these problems.
Administrative Renewal of Site Plans
Question: In the Kerrytown area, Kingsley Lane and The Gallery were passed as projects a while ago, and there was a lot of controversy about them. They have not yet been built. Is it appropriate to extend those PUDs administratively?
Scott Rosencrans: Certainly the new administrative fees in the new budget are unpalatable and need to be re-looked at, moving forward. Nobody can afford the fees as proportionate to the information being requested – they are completely out of line.
As for the site plans being reviewed after a certain period of time, yes, I can see that. Let’s make sure that these ideas are still valid in relationship to the neighborhood. Let’s make sure that the neighborhood input is still current, so that we can move forward before we start planting them in the ground. You talked about a couple of different projects – let’s make sure that they are still valid for the community.
Mike Anglin: We spend a lot of time on other types of commissions, but we really should spend more time now on the budget as a group. I spoke at city council and said that we spend entirely too much time on developers and answering to them. And that time could have been spent much better listening to community concerns rather than developers’ concerns.
Let the developer come forward when he’s got a project ready to go – city council can consult with city planning staff and make a good decision. But right now, we’re really spending entirely too much time on the things that don’t really influence the community as much, and then we bring these problems forward to the community and they get all agitated about them, and everyone then has wasted a whole heckuva lot of time on them. Again, early input from the community helps solve the problems.
Followup question: I didn’t hear a direct answer. Is it okay to administratively approve renewal of site plans that might violate the newly proposed D2 standards?
Scott Rosencrans: The answer to your question is no. That’s why we have a vote.
Mike Anglin: It’s very disappointing to see this process move forward the way it does. The 202 Metro property was a good example of that, over on Division. The developer was turned down, a story or two was added, it was turned around and turned into a hotel, I believe, at that time. And they wanted to approve it administratively. Luckily, there was an attorney in town that had enough teeth to stop it – that’s the sort of thing that we need.
We also need very, very strict time frames. And we have to ask them, I believe, to open their financials to us. These people are coming forward with a lot of dreams, and very little financials. You can sign a private agreement. You can step forward as a developer and sign a private agreement with the city – we would not disclose and they would not disclose. But if we looked at their assets and found out that they had no money, wouldn’t we handle them a little differently? And in three years when the project’s time has finished, it is withdrawn.
Question: You are each in a campaign. How much will you be spending on your campaign? Please give a dollar amount. You must know roughly how much you’re going to spend. Please share that figure with us. Just the figure.
Scott Rosencrans: We’re probably going to wind up spending about $4,500 for the campaign as a whole. And all of our contributions come either from individuals or rank-and-file organizations – unions that are not directly associated with the city, mainly people who appreciate me as a tradesman and have that level of association. So about $4,500.
Mike Anglin: The average campaign contribution that I get is around $50. There are some people in town who give me more because they believe in the same principles as I do – mainly historic preservation, and restoration of old buildings, and keeping the town looking a certain way. Those are my largest contributors and two of them have given me $500 each.
Last year at the time I ran, I was criticized for raising $6,200. And I felt that was an undue criticism, but we had to do that because of the people running against us. At this present time we’ve raised about $7,000 I believe. And we will spend all of it. A yard sign costs five dollars, printing costs a lot. The amount of volunteerism I have in my organization – I’m very, very grateful to all the volunteers who help me.
Near North PUD
Question: Council is considering a proposal to demolish eight houses across the street from here [Near North project on N. Main Street] and replace them with a five-story apartment building. What is your position on the Near North site plan?
Scott Rosencrans: I think there’s a real need for low-income housing in Ann Arbor – the question is where do we put it. I think Avalon Housing has, I think as people know, an excellent track record of managing these type of facilities, and I encourage them to continue to try to find comprehensive housing projects.
Is it appropriate for this particular neighborhood? Perhaps not. We need all of the community input – we’re getting some in the form of signs and whatnot, we will continue to get more community input. But there is definitely the need for this kind of a project. If aesthetically it fits in with the community, if the massing fits in with the community – we need something pretty close to downtown so that people have access to services without having to drive places. I think it’s important that we have this type of housing, the question is whether it can be tolerated by the community. That’s why we have the input process.
Mike Anglin: I think the idea of providing affordable housing is certainly one that this town sees as a priority. Unfortunately, this particular area of the Fifth Ward and the First Ward combined have quite a few affordable housing and support services of all kinds in this location. And therefore I have asked that we start to look elsewhere, other areas that can sustain and maintain these.
There are apartment buildings that are available in different parts of the city that are already built – they are on bus lines, they are near shopping, they are easy access to St. Joseph’s Hospital, support services of all kinds. I would like to limit the size of these places that have people living in them to about 4-6. We have one that just opened down the block from me – it’s very successful. It’s six young men, 18-22 years of age. We have another one where there are five men living. I would like to see more women and children also.
[In the ensuing followup questioning, some of the exchanges amounted to short clarificational exchanges between the questioner and individual candidates, without all candidates responding. Irwin, who was moderating, checked to see if candidates who had not spoken wanted an opportunity to say something.]
Follow-up question: One of the reasons why there is some support for this project is that three of the houses that will be torn down are in the floodway, and there is also discussion by these developers and others that to make it a part of the greenway, we should take out all of the housing on Summit, Depot, and so forth. Is that something that you support – that we take out a whole block of housing for the greenway?
Scott Rosencrans: If those houses are in the floodway and they’re demolished, then it would not be a good idea to replace them if they are directly in the floodway.
Follow-up question: The question is, they are low-income housing right now, so should they be removed for the greater good of creating the greenway?
Scott Rosencrans: For creating the greenway? No.
Mike Anglin: If you try to keep every house standing, that’s the most environmentally friendly thing you can do. And keeping lower-income housing is what we should be looking at throughout the city. This area, sure. The area I look at more is in the Germantown area, where the housing affordability is about $650 for an apartment, maybe a little higher. We can’t build anything better than that, so why even try? We are in an economy right now where we have to go into status mode for a time. Keep the affordable housing. Affordable housing is the house you have – it’s not what you can build.
Question. In establishing the public benefit for the PUD agreement for Near North, a public benefit is considered to be removing three houses. Do you agree that’s a public benefit? Should the city buy it?
Mike Anglin: One time on city council one of the city councilmembers said that creating jobs is a public benefit. So in this particular case, I would say if the owners are willing to sell, and we have money to buy it, and the houses are no longer usable because the landlords can’t make payments because of flood insurance that they probably have to maintain, then I would say, yeah. I would not consider it a public benefit, though. I would say that’s just the circumstance of what happened. I’m a big greenway supporter, but I’m not for putting people out of their houses.
Scott Rosencrans: I would not tear down a house in order to create a greenway. If the houses are condemned, because they are at high risk or because their foundations are degraded to the extent that they are no longer viable, certainly nothing else can be rebuilt on a piece of property.
Historic Preservation: City Place
Question: Is there any way we can get the city to take action on preserving houses like those that are proposed for demolition in connection with City Place on S. Fifth Avenue?
Mike Anglin: I look at it in terms of the various neighborhoods of the city. The people who live in a more suburban setting may not really understand what the downtown neighborhoods go through, in terms of how they view their neighborhoods. Maybe others view that they don’t like living in an old house and they don’t desire to live there. Well, for the people who live there, it is quite desirable.
So it’s your vision of the neighborhood you have to keep in mind. And naturally the oldest ones are the ones first “on the block,” so to speak. Meaning that they are the ones that people look at and say, Oh, we should do something else, because they’re close to downtown. Again, I think that the neighborhood should decide if they want to do it.
The city is moving forward in September and October to do at least an outreach into this community [Germantown area] to start to think about making a historic district there. City Place is coming up for a vote, and unfortunately, if it is approved, you will have a scar in that neighborhood that’s irreplaceable, and we will probably have a big empty lot there.
Scott Rosencrans: I actually lived where they are talking about building City Place – when I first moved to town. I rented an apartment there on Fifth Avenue. It’s a terrific place to live. They are beautiful homes, they are nicely set back from what is otherwise a busy street, so you can still have community there.
And I’m completely against the City Place project. When it comes to historic districts I should tell you as somebody who has spent their entire career remodeling homes and doing historic preservation, that an idea to put forward a study to see whether or not it should be a historic district, I think is a pretty good idea. Because I think it will help people understand what it is to live in a historic district. People have to have a full set of information for that. If you want to increase the energy efficiency of your home, you are going to have a great deal of difficulty – to replace windows and doors and things like that, if you live in historic district.
I think everybody who lives there needs to have a full set of information on that as they move into the future. Now that the fees have gone into the outrageous for a historic district application, it takes on even a different light. So I’m against City Place. I am for a study. And I think that people should be aware of what they’re getting into when they move into a historic district.
Question: I would like to see the city of Ann Arbor and city council not only be more transparent but have certain rules and regulations, things where they have to give out any information as to what their involvement is. How can we make the city council at least honest?
Scott Rosencrans: My friends make fun of me all the time because they say I am a Luddite. I was pretty slow in getting a laptop for my own personal use and I was one of the last people on the block to get a cell phone. I can see where the laptops would come in handy – we’ve got a huge council packet in paperless form, you can look at things that way, you can transmit back and fourth amendments to resolutions that are on the table. I can see where it would be handy for that.
I don’t see it useful to me in terms of emailing back and forth other than emailing an amendment. I don’t see myself being in that situation. I am more of a listener. That’s where I am with the computer. We don’t use them with the Park Commission either. If you have a paperless packet that’s huge, it can be a benefit. We have a need for open information. In answer to your question, we have the Open Meetings Act. The idea is to have greater compliance with the Open Meetings Act – which is not a bad idea.
Mike Anglin: I was disappointed that this happened about the emails, because several of us are the objects of those. And it’s not very pleasant to read about this. Because it lowers the integrity of the people you thought you were working with. We live in a small town. Your name is worth everything.
I’ll give you a good example. Chris Easthope ran against Eric Gutenberg [for judge] – their kids play together. During debates there was never anything that was critical of one another. Why? Because there’s going to come another day. Remember that. There’s another day.
The cooperation that we have, the council and the openness that we have, we will be with one another for many, many years in this small town. And that’s what I think was violated – the trust that you might have had similar to that.
What you think is your biggest priority over the next two and half years on city council?
Scott Rosencrans: Clearly, the budget is the most important item on the agenda for council in the coming future. Not only for this term, but in terms of for the future. And everything on my campaign platform offers either a budget-neutral solution or a budget-surplus solution. I think we should move those things forward.
I think we need to start looking at alternatives that are coming up from the community. It looks like we have to close a swimming pool – “Wait a minute,” the community says, “let’s get together and come up with ideas to save it.” Well, we may have to close the Senior Center – “Wait a minute,” the community says, “let’s get together and find ways to save it.” We need to be reaching out into the community to find solutions so that we can maintain the services that we have with the limited dollars that we have.
There is a direct relationship between the amount of services that you can provide with the amount of dollars that you bring in. So, creative solutions as a community – we should be pulling together to create them in a proactive, solutions-oriented fashion, and not just getting up and bitching and moaning about what the problems are.
Mike Anglin: I think of a few things that could happen. On Tuesday sometimes, or as late as Thursday, the city council will receive a packet of 600 pages to go through – bad process. The city council starts its meetings a 7:00 and major decisions are made at 11:00 at night – bad process. Appointments are made on commissions without any public input, just appointments from the mayor – bad process.
How do we change? We start changing all of those things that we do. Right now you could post an agenda that might be coming for August. You could post an agenda that is coming for September. We are asking for a moratorium – that’s posted already, you can find it online. That’s coming on the 20th [of July 2009]. Advanced postings, alerts to the public, and a better calendar.
Scott Rosencrans: Thank you all for coming out today to listen to us all and get a better understanding of our points of view. I’d like to thank my fellow participants for their input into this.
As I mentioned earlier, the key to doing this job is moving things forward. You can’t move things forward simply by stomping around and complaining about what the problems are or accusing people of conspiracy theories.
What you need to do is to find ways to reach across the table, and look at every side of an issue, and find cooperation so that you can move things forward. And as I said earlier, otherwise nothing happens. And that’s what’s been happening in the Fifth Ward at my opponent’s seat.
We need to move things forward, because we are in difficult times. This is my forte. This is the praise that I have received from every commissioner, committee member and task force member that I have ever worked with – that I have never walked away with an enemy, and I have always been able to work another day with the same people. That’s what we need on city council. Somebody to move things forward, somebody who’s smart enough to look at all sides of the issue, somebody who can be clear.
Mike Anglin: I’m proud to serve the citizens of the Fifth Ward since I was elected. I feel that it is a group of people who I respect a great deal. I feel they have helped me a great deal in my understanding of my role, and have shared their ideas of how we can build a better city, and for that I am extremely grateful. And therefore I work very hard at it – I spend about 30 hours a week working on this. I still try to do my community service.
We have the most creative ward, in my opinion. As I go door-to-door I meet so many people who say things like “I volunteer for this, I volunteer for that,” it’s an amazing thing what people do out there. And it is heartening. And it gives me the strength to move forward, to say that these are the people that I represent. And yes, I am working hard to be reelected, for myself but more for them – for all the people who had the trust in me, to say, “Mike, we appreciate what you are doing.”
America was founded on diversity, difference of opinion. And that’s what makes us great, not our discourse, but our difference of opinion. That’s how we move forward as a democracy. If we all lined up together and marched down this narrow road, we would not be the country we are today. Just think about all the legislation that would never have passed, because someone stepped out of line, god forbid. That’s what makes us a great nation. Just that.
We are in a democracy. And we share different opinions and values, thank god for that. So I will not apologize for my different stance that I take, because I am representative of the people. And as this continues to go forward, the people’s voice will be heard. It’s always a slow, hard process, but it is one that is the foundation of our democracy. So again I would say that I am very appreciative of having served, and I’m very proud of the people of the ward who are coming forward every day with new ideas that will make this city better.
The most recent one is the skate park, for instance. Who needs a skate park? Well, I didn’t think of it, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t accept it. I don’t ice skate, but I’m not closing Vets. And I don’t play baseball anymore, but I’m not closing the fields. Diversity – allowing people to be diverse and to listen to them, that’s our town and that’s what makes us very, very great.