Wiki Wednesday: Running for City Council

Including an update on who's pulled and filed petitions

Arbor Wiki

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:

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.


  1. April 14, 2009 at 11:00 am | permalink

    Fortunately, picking wildflowers is against state law. We’ll need to observe nature’s bouquets in place or else purchase plants for our own yards from vendors like Native Plant Nursery at the public (farmers) market.

  2. April 18, 2009 at 11:20 pm | permalink

    Who is Hatim Elhady? I’m not able to unearth much from a search of the typical sources.

  3. By Hatim Elhady
    April 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm | permalink

    Hi Edward,
    Here are some of my goals I have set for myself to accomplish in Ann Arbor if elected as 4th Ward City Councilperson. Thank you for your inquiry about myself!

    ==> First and Foremost, ensure the health safety of our children and ourselves by pushing the ban of all indoor smoking in public places.
    ==> Explore different environment-friendly solutions to reduce the congested traffic on “football Saturdays,” allowing Stadium, Main, and State street to become more pedestrian friendly. Parking on the beautiful lawns of our homes and apartments should not be the answer!
    ==> Avoid unusually high allocation of monies towards resolutions without initially analyzing any and every possible cost-effective alternative to guarantee your tax dollars are not being wasted.
    ==> Directly work with our world-renown student research groups as a team to resolve common issues, instead of outsourcing. Also allow more transparency between student and permanent resident issues to avoid miscommunication by cutting out the middlemen.
    ==> Search for ways to allow AATA buses to run more frequently but efficiently in order to induce attraction to our public transportation and promote a GREEN environment.
    ==> Implement an immediate resolution to repave and repaint our roads in the 4th ward.
    ==> Amend landlord responsibilities towards tenants with issues such as establishing a deadline for landlords to answer their tenants’ concerns and maintaining their lot.
    ==> Become easily accessible to listen to your concerns. Work together with you and our student population to establish an unbreakable unity and thorough understanding of one another to allow our Ann Arbor living to become a better Ann Arbor living.

  4. By Juliew
    April 19, 2009 at 3:41 pm | permalink

    “Parking on the beautiful lawns of our homes and apartments should not be the answer!”

    Are you suggesting taking away the ability for people to park cars on their lawns during football games? Just so you know, that would be taking a lot of money out of a lot of 4th warders’ pockets. No one is forcing anyone to park cars on their lawns, people do it because they want to and often have done so for generations.

  5. By Hatim Elhady
    April 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm | permalink

    Hi Julie,
    I totally agree with you. What one does with their private property is their business as long as they are not harming anyone around them.

    Not by any means do I want to strip this privilege, rather I do not want residents to feel obligated to resort to this option in order to be become welcoming residents. I am implying to find new ways for parking.

    Thank you for not hesitating to voice your concern. That goal is misleading and I will clarify it.

  6. April 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm | permalink

    Hatim, what ways does Council have to influence the AATA?

  7. By Hatim Elhady
    April 19, 2009 at 7:04 pm | permalink

    Hi Matt,

    As you may already know there is an approved AATA bus fare increase of 50 cents, which
    goes into partial affect (25 cents) this May and full affect May 2010. This directly
    increases UM student tuition. UM along with Federal grants pay AATA approx. $1.4 Million. UM and locals have been kept in the dark; only 25 people showed up at the bus increase public commentary (Ypsi and AA). I believe this low turnout is not symbolic of Ann Arbor’s (locals and students) concerns of this issue. On March 25 there was a “public interview” of the candidates for AATA executive director. Keep in mind this “public interview” took place on a Wednesday at 7:30 am!!

    City Council should encourage AATA to better inform all of their riders about what is going on. Why have AATA come to this resolution of increasing fares? Did AATA search for alternative ways to avoid a structural deficit?

    This is your tax dollars Matt and students’ tuition. Do we not have the right to make sure our money is used efficiently?

    When I speak with permanent residents and student residents about this issue, they are shocked because the increase and the purpose of it was not publicized well enough. Students are unaware of the fact that their tuition increases are related to the city of Ann Arbor, rather than just UM.

    I believe issues like this should not be taken lightly, issues such as and like this one
    are of great importance to the WHOLE Ann Arbor community.

    I would like to credit Mary Morgan and “The Ann Arbor Chronicle” for doing a great job covering AATA news.

    Thank You for your concern Matt.

  8. April 20, 2009 at 5:15 am | permalink


    I have to agree with Julie here as a past owner (for 20 years) of a home with an extra lot near the Stadium, don’t even go there.

    I also don’t think it is a good idea to suggest a parking lot for an event which occurs only 6 times per year. Let the local homeowners continue as they have for years, many count on that revenue.

  9. By Alan Goldsmith
    April 20, 2009 at 5:52 am | permalink


    As someone in the 4th Ward, Football Saturdays and parking/traffice is not the biggest issue. The Stadium Bridges issue IS, which is going to make this year a nightmare. We all hate the traffic but if I had to make a top 100 list, it would be 97th or 98th.

  10. By Hatim Elhady
    April 20, 2009 at 1:35 pm | permalink

    Hi Karen,

    Again, I do agree with Julie and yourself. My friends, whom are also students, and I love the fact of making an extra $20, especially because of our lack of funds due to increasing tuition. There are many, including myself, who feel the same way you do. I have mentioned before to a concerned individual:

    We know the parking gets rough here and I know that MANY out of towners come visit Ann Arbor to watch the games in the Big House.

    Keeping that in mind, many of these guests do not have a clue how to get around Ann Arbor, therefore circling the city causing this traffic congestion I mention.

    A simple way to solve this is signs informing our guests to the different ways they can get to the 94 and 23, instead of the one way they can remember. I have been approached by these guests plenty of times, asking me for directions.

    These signs will NOT cost much at all. The solution is not higher taxes, the solution is research. My goal is not to higher taxes, instead to find a better and cheaper way to use your tax dollars, at the current tax rate.


    I also agree with you, The Stadium Bridge is an issue. I have heard mixed feelings about the Bridge. Engineers and the current City Council are aware of this issue and have considered the ramifications if all lanes are not opened soon. If they are not opened, it will be as you described it best a “nightmare” in the 4th Ward. But, nevertheless, we have to do all we can in the mean time, such as what I mentioned above to Karen.

    Alan, if you did have to make a top 5 or more, if you like, about the issues the concerns you most about the 4th Ward, what would they be??

    I am not only here to speak to you all but also here to listen.

    Thank You Karen and Alan.

  11. April 20, 2009 at 2:30 pm | permalink

    Thanks for your response, Hakim. You clearly have cut some issues. But I asked what methods the Council has for influencing the AATA. As a councilperson, how do you think the City can influence the AATA?

  12. April 20, 2009 at 2:45 pm | permalink

    (I should have used the subjunctive — Were you a councilperson — not to get ahead history :-)

  13. By Hatim Elhady
    April 20, 2009 at 8:41 pm | permalink

    Hi Matt,

    To be honest with you Matt that is exactly what I have been trying to figure out. Unfortunately, I do not have a clear cut answer for that. But I strongly believe being in that position will allow myself to explore all the ins and outs of what I can do and to what extent I can do it.

    I believe in order to achieve my goal in creating transparency within AATA I have to understand all the resources I would gain, if I make it in City Council. It would be great if this goal is already drawn up and ready to go but it is not, which means I would need to put in hours dedicated to developing methods that are conducive to City Council and AATA.

    Thank you Matt

  14. By Hatim Elhady
    April 20, 2009 at 9:08 pm | permalink

    UM is bringing in 2000 new jobs in the old Phizer building. Does this mean 2000 more vehicles commuting to work in Ann Arbor due to the fare increase? To some it would be better to buy a car instead of paying $1.50 a day. How would this work with our environment? I believe these questions need to be recognized by all of us and not just a few of us.

    There is definitely much I would like to do together with AATA as one can tell from my goals. I can only hope to look forward in working with the rest of City Council, if I make it to City Council regarding this and many other issues that may arise. This is a big issue and requires ALL City Council and RESIDENTS to push for what WE think is needed.

  15. By Hatim Elhady
    April 20, 2009 at 9:09 pm | permalink

    Pfizer* :-)

  16. April 21, 2009 at 9:13 am | permalink

    Well, here is one part of a power analysis of the AATA.

  17. By Hatim Elhady
    April 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm | permalink

    I met with AATA Board Chair David Nacht for a brief moment today after Ford’s interview. Hopefully we should be arranging something soon to discuss my AATA goals and other issues he might want to share with me.

    Thank You Matt.

  18. By Dave Askins
    April 22, 2009 at 7:57 pm | permalink

    Re: [17] To elaborate on “Ford’s interview,” Michael Ford was brought back for a third interview, which was public, and the board eventually voted unanimously to enter into negotiations to offer him the position of CEO of the AATA. The board wished for “crisper” answers, but ultimately counted his mushi-ness somewhat in his favor.

    On a personal note, it was nice to meet Hatim Elhady at the board meeting.