The Shape Ypsilanti website is soliciting input on community values to help guide development of the city’s master plan. From one of the responses: “City SUSTAINABILITY* is the priority in economic, energy, transportation and other matters. … Sustainability is NOT the ability to carry out endless growth & development.” [Source]
This report begins with some sound bites from a recent Ann Arbor city council planning session.
“That long-term commitment seems to be something that appears in the Midwest.” “There is nothing easy about democracy.” “A couple years back, my brain exploded.” “I sold Girl Scout cookies.” “The UM will never leave town, never shutter the factory…” “I also believe that the customer is usually right.” “We really need to listen harder to people who disagree with us.” “I had ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War.” “I believe that we rarely hear from those who think that we are on the right track and making the right decisions.” “I am the son of hippies.” “I look at Ann Arbor right now that is a more exciting place to be than it ever was before.”
Each of those snippets is taken from a different Ann Arbor city councilmember’s response to a homework assignment, given by facilitator Julia Novak a few days before the council planning session took place on Dec. 10, 2012. Councilmembers had been alerted by Novak to prepare a 3-5 minute talk, modeled on the “This I Believe” 1950s radio program hosted by Edward R. Murrow.
Councilmembers were asked to speak to the issue of what they believed about the future of the city – focusing on the statement of a core belief, sharing a story that illustrates how their beliefs were shaped, and emphasizing what they believe in, as opposed to things they don’t believe in. At the planning session, Novak stressed that the idea was to share “not what you’re against, not what you ran to stop, but what you believe.”
Councilmembers took different approaches to the assignment – some preparing remarks in advance and reading them aloud, others speaking from notes, while some spoke off the cuff.
In this report, councilmember remarks are presented after an introduction that summarizes some of their similarities and tensions.
The Michigan basketball team recently lost to Michigan State by one point, all but ending the Wolverines’ chances to return to the NCAA tournament. The Michigan hockey team faces Michigan State this weekend, and they need a sweep to improve their fading chances of getting back to the tournament themselves.
For Michigan fans, this is the Winter of Their Discontent. Provided, that is, only wins and losses count.
But the head coaches of both teams did notch a couple moral victories last week. Yes, they’ve lost some battles this season, but they’re still winning the war.
Ann Arbor City Council meeting (March 2, 2009): Whatever chance for controversy that might have been present in the Ann Arbor’s City Council meeting agenda on Monday evening was eschewed in favor of values statements. These expressions of values were reflected in many of the agenda items themselves. We’ve organized our account of the meeting in terms of values related to the following topics: water, the arts, land, energy, history, and democracy.
Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board meeting (Feb. 18, 2009 ): At its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, the AATA board postponed a vote on its vision statement until its March meeting, when the board as a whole will thrash through the statement. A bit of news relevant to the board’s vision of the future was the announcement that the number of candidates for the executive directorship has been winnowed down to five. That position has been open since Greg Cook’s resignation in early 2007. Speaking briefly to the board at the meeting on the topic of its search for an executive director and the issue of countywide service was the mayor of Ypsilanti, Paul Schreiber.