Author: Dave Askins

Recent Posts

Poll: Clear Favorite for Ann Arbor Mayor |

From July 28-29, several Ann Arbor residents reported being polled by telephone about their preferences in the upcoming Democratic mayoral primary election. The Chronicle has obtained the results of that poll of 435 likely voters by Public Policy Polling (PPP), a North Carolina polling firm. The results show Ward 3 councilmember Christopher Taylor to be a clear favorite with about a week to go before the Aug. 5, 2014 primary. Taylor polled at 39% compared to 19% for Ward 1 councilmember Sabra Briere. Ward 3 councilmember Stephen Kunselman and Ward 2 councilmember Sally Petersen polled a few points behind Briere at 15% and 13% respectively. The poll indicates that 15% of voters still haven’t made up their minds. [Full Story]

Column: Get Your Sign Outta My Yard |

Chronicle editor Dave Askins offers his thoughts on campaign signs – after hearing complaints about a sign a political sign placed on N. Main Street by probate court candidate Julia Owdziej – who’s also the incumbent in the race. The sign is overly large according to the city of Ann Arbor’s ordinance on political signs. It has now been removed. Askins includes in this column all the probate candidate responses to a July 19 forum question about yard signs. Other candidates are: Jane Bassett, Tamara Garwood, Constance Jones, Tracy Van den Bergh. [Full Story]

2014 Pre-Primary Finance: Donor Analysis |

A dataset analysis of pre-primary contributions to 11 different local campaigns for local Ann Arbor office confirms some interesting patterns. The primary election will be held Aug. 5, 2014. The dataset was compiled by The Chronicle after the Friday, July 25 deadline for filing campaign finance reports. It includes contributions to the 2014 mayoral Democratic primary campaigns for the four candidates – Sabra Briere, Sally Petersen, Christopher Taylor and Stephen Kunselman – as well as contributions to Democratic city council primary campaigns of seven candidates in three wards: Don Adams and Sumi Kailasapathy in Ward 1; Nancy Kaplan and Kirk Westphal in Ward 2; and Julie Grand, Bob Dascola and Samuel McMullen in Ward 3. [Full Story]

Council Election Finance 2014: Charts, Maps |

According to reports filed with the Washtenaw County clerk’s office, seven Ann Arbor city council candidates in three contested Democratic primary races on Aug. 5, 2014 have raised a total of $57,877 in itemized cash contributions. The Ward 1 Sumi Kailasapathy raised $5,345 compared to $4,570 for Don Adams. In Ward 2 Kaplan’s raised $16,314 compared to $12,419 for Westphal. Among the three Ward 3 candidates, Bob Dascola raised the most money with $7,385 in contributions compared to $6,595 for Julie Grand and $5,248 for Samuel McMullen. [Full Story]

Mayoral Election Finance 2014: Charts, Maps |

With a July 25, 2014 filing deadline for pre-primary campaign contributions, candidates in the Ann Arbor mayoral Democratic primary submitted paperwork showing total of $153,847 in contributions.Totals by candidate were: Christopher Taylor ($75,198); Sally Petersen ($44,495); Sabra Briere ($26,680); and Stephen Kunselman ($7,474). This article includes charts of each candidate’s donation distribution as well as plots of donations geographically. [Full Story]

Column: DDA Pay Increases, Open Meetings |

Earlier this month, Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority executive director Susan Pollay received a 5% raise from the DDA board, bringing her annual compensation to $114,570. The procedure used by the board this year to award Pollay a salary increase appears to have been completely consistent 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 – of 8% and 6.7%, respectively. Decisions on those raises do not appear to have been made at open meetings. [Full Story]

July 21, 2014: Council Live Updates |

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]

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]

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 against Dascola. [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]