Yes, we know it’s not quite Wednesday yet, but here at The Chronicle it’s already Wiki Wednesday, an occasional series in which we remind readers of the online encyclopedia, ArborWiki, to which they can contribute their knowledge of the community. On Wiki Wednesdays we try to offer a clear path for contribution to ArborWiki.
Most links contained in this article lead to ArborWiki entries that can be edited or created from scratch.
This week we focus on How-To articles. ArborWiki isn’t really intended for general interest How-To articles – how to plant a garden, how to arrange an attractive flower bouquet, how to organize an effective political campaign. But each of those general interest categories could be Ann-Arbor-ized. For example, a garden in a particular place – like a lawn extension (the space between the sidewalk and the street) might require special permissions in Ann Arbor or need to comply with certain rules. Or one could imagine a flower bouquet made of wildflowers collected from locations in Ann Arbor where specific types are known to thrive.
Or one could imagine a nice nuts-and-bolts rundown of the mechanics of an Ann Arbor city council campaign.
That link currently leads to a page that doesn’t exist. A good place to start for filling in nuts and bolts information is the Ann Arbor city clerk’s web page on elections. Some of the basics include the difference between “pulling petitions” and “filing petitions.” Getting the packet of forms and petitions for a particular person (no blank petitions get handed out) from the clerk’s office is “pulling petitions.”
After pulling petitions, there’s no obligation to attempt to collect the 100 required signatures from voters in the ward a candidate seeks to represent. This year the deadline for submitting signatures is June 22, 2009 at 5 p.m. Those candidates who wish to run without party affiliation (independent) have until August 5, 2009 at 4 p.m. to file petitions. Here’s who’s on the clerk’s office list of people who’ve pulled petitions as of April 14, by ward and within each ward in the chronological order they pulled petitions:
- Ward 1: Sabra Briere
- Ward 2: Stephen Rapundalo
- Ward 3: Stephen Kunselman, Leigh Greden, Marwan M. Issa
- Ward 4: Marcia Higgins, Hatim A. Elhady
- Ward 5: Mike Anglin, Scott Rosencrans
All except for Elhady have taken out petitions for the Aug. 4, 2009 Democratic primary election. Elhady is listed without a party affiliation for the Nov. 3, 2009 general election. None except for Rosencrans have filed completed petitions with the clerk’s office. Rosencrans pulled petitions on April 10 and submitted 106 valid signatures on April 13.
Candidates who might entertain the idea of submitting an extraordinarily large number of signatures (say 1,500) in a show of bravado are thwarted by the requirement that no more than 200 signatures be submitted.
In the packet provided by the clerk, there’s an affidavit of identity that needs to be filled out, a checklist for campaign finance reporting (it’s required of all candidates), and a form for the organization for candidate committees.
The ArborWiki article on How to Run for Ann Arbor City Council should contain at least all of that “mechanics” information.
But it should contain more than that. For example:
- Where do I get economical yard signs? Do I have to provide the sign maker with art, or do they do that for you?
- How do I get a mailing list of just the registered voters in my ward? How about just the voters who actually voted in the last election?
- How do I get notified when somebody asks for an absentee ballot, so that I can send them a vote-for-me postcard?
- What’s the latest hour it’s considered reasonable to knock on someone’s door?
- How do I make a campaign website?
We conclude by reminding readers that ArborWiki is a tremendous resource already, that could be made even more useful with Chronicle readers’ help. The project is hosted on Ann Arbor District Library servers, so there should be no worries that work put into it will evaporate into a cloud. The “W” in Wiki stands for “work.” You’ve got a whole extra day this week. Get crackin.