Stories indexed with the term ‘mayoral politics’

Taylor Pulls Petitions to Run for Mayor

Democrat Christopher Taylor, a city councilmember who has represented Ward 3 in the city of Ann Arbor since winning election in 2008, has pulled petitions to run for mayor in 2014. According to the city clerk’s office, Taylor took out petitions early in the afternoon on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013.

Christopher Taylor, Ann Arbor park advisory commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Christopher Taylor, a Ward 3 Ann Arbor city councilmember, also currently serves as an ex-officio member of the city’s park advisory commission. This photo was taken at PAC’s Sept. 17, 2013 meeting.

Taylor is an attorney with Hooper Hathaway. He’s a graduate of the University of Michigan law school.

Taylor’s 2008 Democratic primary win came over incumbent Stephen Kunselman. Kunselman was then returned to the council representing Ward 3 the following year, in 2009, when he received more votes than incumbent Leigh Greden.

Ann Arbor councilmembers are elected to two-year terms. So by choosing to submit the required 250 signatures (50 from each of the city’s five wards) to run for mayor, Taylor would be choosing not to seek re-election to a fourth term on the council in 2014. According to the city clerk’s office, for the partisan primary in August 2014, petitions must be turned in by May 13 April 22.

In a press release sent to the media on Friday mid-afternoon, Taylor included an endorsement from former Ward 5 councilmember Carsten Hohnke, who is quoted as saying: “He always approaches the complex issues that come before Council by reaching out for broad input and engaging in careful analysis. His competence, collegiality and clear, balanced vision of a thriving community will serve Ann Arbor exceptionally well.” Hohnke and Taylor were both first elected to the council in 2008.

Kunselman had previously announced that he’s running for mayor. If Taylor were to prevail in a mayoral race, both men would remain on the council, because Kunselman would still represent Ward 3. Because Taylor cannot run simultaneously for a seat representing Ward 3 on the council and for mayor, that opens the door for other candidates to step forward to run to represent Ward 3.

In a telephone interview on Friday afternoon, Sabra Briere – one of two city councilmembers who represent Ward 1 – said that Taylor’s decision to run for mayor would have “no impact” on a decision as she weighs the possibility of her own mayoral candidacy. She’ll make that decision sometime in the new year, she said. [Full Story]

Killing of Fuller Road Station MOU: Delayed

Official confirmation of the termination of a four-year-old memorandum of understanding between the city of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan on Fuller Road Station has been delayed by the Ann Arbor city council.

The item had been added to the agenda on the day of the council’s Dec. 16, 2013 meeting by Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3). He had attempted to add the item on Friday before the Monday meeting, but had not managed to do that. In that context, during the Dec. 16 meeting Kunselman asked for a postponement, even though other councilmembers seemed inclined to vote for it without much debate.

Fuller Road Station was a planned joint city/UM parking structure, bus depot and possible train station located at the city’s … [Full Story]

Economy Teeters: We May(or) May Not Be Set


[Editor's Note: HD, a.k.a. Dave Askins, editor of The Ann Arbor Chronicle, is also publisher of an online series of interviews on a teeter totter. Introductions to new Teeter Talks appear on The Chronicle.]

The crash of the financial markets in the fall of 2008 was the best thing that ever happened to the Teeter Talk interview series. Why? Because the word on everyone’s lips two years ago was … “teeter,” which gave the awkward and vaguely dirty-sounding word some well-deserved airtime. On Oct. 12, 2008, the BBC reported the remarks of Dominique Strauss-Kahn this way [emphasis added]: “The world financial system is teetering on the ‘brink of systemic meltdown,’ the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned in Washington.”

Steve Bean

Steve Bean, independent candidate for mayor of Ann Arbor.

Closer to home, a week earlier, on Oct. 3, 2008, a dozen distinguished alumni from the University of Michigan Department of Economics had gathered for a panel discussion focused on the financial crisis. Linda Tesar, department chair and professor of economics, stated that “the financial markets are teetering.” [Chronicle coverage: "Economists Gather, Talk About Markets"]

That same financial crisis still persists, and it’s occupying a lot of Steve Bean’s attention. Bean is an independent candidate for mayor of Ann Arbor – the election takes place on Nov. 2. We talked recently on the totter, a few days after the League of Women Voters mayoral candidate forum. During our talk, he spoke about the need for the city to prepare for various worst case financial scenarios on the national financial scene – dramatic inflation or deflation. The coming decade could be worse than the last one, he believes, and that could be exacerbated by diminished worldwide capacity for oil production.

So if there’s a large theme to his campaign, it’s about the challenge of translating national issues to the local level in a way that best prepares our community for whatever unfolds in the next 10 years. Presumably, the way that Ann Arbor prepares for the next decade might look different from the way other communities prepare. Bean and I touched on that idea in the context of some recent environmental commission deliberations. Bean chairs that city commission.

At their Sept. 23, 2010 meeting, the commission discussed a recommendation to the city council to create a task force to educate the community about peak oil. [Peak oil is the idea that worldwide oil production capacity will soon peak, if it has not already peaked, and then begin to taper off.] The resolution got support from only three commissioners – Bean, Kirk Westphal, and Anya Dale – and did not pass. One of the suggestions during commission deliberations was that commissioners could simply read the reports that other communities had produced about what local strategies would be appropriate – instead of asking the city council to appoint an Ann Arbor task force.

Portland, Oregon, is one such community that has produced such a report. But Portland’s population of more than half a million residents – compared to Ann Arbor’s 114,000 or so – makes Portland a substantially different kind of community from Ann Arbor, doesn’t it? Well, buried in the appendix of a new book – “Our Patchwork Nation” written by Dante Chinni and James Gimpel – is a way of looking at Portland and Ann Arbor that makes the Ann Arbor-Portland comparison … still seem a little crazy, but perhaps a little less so. [Full Story]