Stories indexed with the term ‘jail expansion’

Washtenaw Democrats: Districts 10, 11

On the evening of July 13, the four Democratic candidates for the District 11 seat on the Washtenaw County board of commissioners, as well as one candidate for District 10, gathered at the studios of Community Television Network for a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area.

Washtenaw County commissioner candidates for Districts 10 & 11

Washtenaw County commissioner candidates for Districts 10 & 11, from left: Conan Smith, LuAnne Bullington, Mike Fried, Yousef Rabhi, Alice Ralph. Smith is the incumbent for District 10. His challenger, Danielle Mack, did not attend. The other candidates are vying for the District 11 seat held by Jeff Irwin, who is running for state representative. (Photos by the writer.)

There are 11 seats on the county board, divided by geographic region – including four districts representing Ann Arbor. Commissioners are elected to two-year terms. This year, Democratic incumbents in two of Ann Arbor’s districts – Leah Gunn of District 9 and Barbara Bergman of District 8 – are unopposed in the primary, though they will face Republican challengers in November.

Incumbent Conan Smith of District 10, which covers the west and northwest portions of Ann Arbor, faces Danielle Mack in the Democratic primary. She did not attend the forum, citing a scheduling conflict. The winner of that primary will be unopposed in November.

In District 11, incumbent Jeff Irwin – who’s been on the board for a decade – isn’t seeking re-election, but is instead running for state representative in District 53. [See Chronicle coverage: "Michigan Dems Primary: House 53rd District"] Four Democrats are competing in the primary to replace Irwin: LuAnne Bullington, Mike Fried, Yousef Rabhi and Alice Ralph. The winner of the Aug. 3 primary will face Republican Joe Baublis in November. District 11 covers parts of central and eastern Ann Arbor. [See the Washtenaw County election website for a complete list of county commissioner candidates.]

Questions posed by the moderator, Nancy Schewe, had been formulated by a LWV-AAA committee, with input solicited from the community. They covered a range of topics, from funding for the county jail and police services contracts to expansion of the road commission and the candidates’ views on mass transit. Candidates were each given one minute to respond. This summary of candidate responses is presented in the order in which they spoke at the hour-long forum. [Full Story]

County Settles Lawsuit with Salem Twp.

Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners meeting (June 2, 2010): In the first meeting on a scaled-back summer schedule, county commissioners passed a resolution to settle a police services lawsuit with one of three townships that sued the county in 2006.

David Trent, Salem Township clerk

At right: David Trent, Salem Township clerk, attended Wednesday's meeting and thanked commissioners for approving a settlement over the police services lawsuit between the county and township. (Photos by the writer.)

Under terms of the settlement, Salem Township will pay the county nearly $48,000 to cover the costs of sheriff deputy patrols provided by the county in 2006. The townships of Salem, Augusta and Ypsilanti sued the county that year, disputing the amount that was charged for police services. The county and the other two townships are awaiting a judgment to resolve the issue – the county is asking for $2.1 million from Ypsilanti Township and nearly $96,000 from Augusta Township.

David Trent, Salem Township clerk, attended Wednesday’s board meeting and spoke during public commentary, thanking the board for the settlement and saying he was coming forward on behalf of the township board in hopes of starting the healing process between the township and the county. Several commissioners thanked township officials for ending the dispute.

In other agenda items, only one person spoke at a public hearing on the county millage rate, which was set later in the meeting. Commissioners also approved $1.35 million in additional funding to complete the expanded jail and new 14A-1 District Court, with some discussion about issues related to parking and a new Washtenaw Avenue entrance.

And although last month commissioner Ronnie Peterson had vowed to bring a resolution to the June 2 meeting that would reestablish a county land bank, on Wednesday he told commissioners he’d been asked by board chair Rolland Sizemore Jr. to defer that action until their July 7 meeting. Saying he was respectful of that request, Peterson added, “On July 7th, I’ll be aggressive.”

The upcoming elections were mentioned, too. Commissioner Barbara Bergman chastised the Washtenaw County Road Commission for charging Scio Township $2,000 to locate a polling station for the August primary and November general election in the road commission’s Zeeb Road facility. Scio officials say they’ll find another venue, calling the road commission’s decision “disappointing at best.” [Full Story]

Panel Sheds Light on Washtenaw Jail

people standing signing release forms for video

Release forms for a video of Thursday's panel are collected from panelists by Shannon Riffe of the Ann Arbor District Library, far left. Standing left to right are county commissioner Barbara Levin Bergman, Washtenaw County sheriff Jerry Clayton, and Christine Negendank, of the county's Community Support and Treatment Services. Not in this photo, but also on the panel, was Washtenaw County prosecutor Brian Mackie. (Photo by the writer.)

During Thursday night’s panel discussion on the Washtenaw County jail, one message from sheriff Jerry Clayton was this: It’s his job to administer the jail, but it’s the whole county’s jail – it’s our jail.

Clayton was joined on the panel by Washtenaw County prosecutor Brian Mackie, Washtenaw County commissioner Barbara Levin Bergman, and Christine Negendank, a psychiatrist with the county’s Community Support and Treatment Services department. The event was hosted by the League of Women Voters at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library.

The format allowed some time for audience members to have their written questions put to the panelists. Among those questions were concerns about translation services at the jail for non-English speaking inmates and possible racial profiling of Latinos in the immigrant population.

Questions posed by the League of Women Voters provided panelists a chance to give somewhat of a tutorial on how the government’s system of punishment works – Brian Mackie was asked to start with an explanation of the difference between jail and prison. [Full Story]