Grand Pulls Petitions for Ward 3 Council

Julie Grand, chair of the Ann Arbor park advisory commission, pulled petitions this week to run in the Aug. 6, 2013 Democratic primary for a seat representing Ward 3 on the Ann Arbor city council. If she files the petitions with at least 100 valid signatures by the May 14 deadline, she’ll be competing for the seat with incumbent Stephen Kunselman, a two-term councilmember.

Julie Grand, Ann Arbor park advisory commission, Ann Arbor city council, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Julie Grand at the Oct. 16, 2012 meeting of the Ann Arbor park advisory commission. She pulled petitions on March 11, 2013 for the Ward 3 Ann Arbor city council Democratic primary.

Kunselman pulled petitions on Nov. 3, 2012 – the Saturday before last year’s Nov. 6 general election. He filed 109 valid signatures on March 8, 2013. Those signatures were verified as valid by the city clerk’s office on March 11 – the same day that Grand pulled her petitions for that race.

In a phone interview with The Chronicle in February 2013, Grand said several factors were influencing her decision. She’ll be term-limited on PAC after her current term ends in October, but wanted to remain involved with the city. [Her appointment on PAC runs through Oct. 18, 2013.] She has served on various committees and task forces over the years, primarily as a representative of PAC. Those include the Main Street/Huron River corridor task force, the golf courses advisory task force, and the senior center task force.

The timing was also good for more personal reasons. Her husband, David Grand, has now had time to transition to his job as U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District Court in Ann Arbor. [He was appointed to that position in November of 2011.] And starting this fall, both of their children will be in school full-time, she said. Grand says she enjoys teaching – she’s a lecturer in health policy studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn – but doesn’t want a full-time academic job.

Grand said her tenure on PAC reflects her consensus-building leadership style, with an emphasis on finding common ground. That approach contrasts with the style of her potential opponent, she said, a reference to Kunselman. Grand also felt that she could work well with the other Ward 3 councilmember, Christopher Taylor. Taylor has served as an ex-officio member of PAC for several years. He was re-elected in November 2012 for another two-year term.

Ann Arbor Ward Maps: Incumbents and Candidates

Ann Arbor Ward Maps: Incumbents who are not up for re-election this year (orange), who are up for re-election this year (green) and those who’ve taken out petitions (blue). If elected, Grand would join Margie Teall (Ward 4) and Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) as the third councilmember who lives within a roughly five-block stretch of Brooklyn Avenue. (Image links to interactive map)

Her decision to run is not issue-driven, Grand said. Rather, she was raised with an ethic of participating in local politics, and running for city council “feels like it’s the right next step for me.”

This would be Grand’s first attempt to serve in an elected office.

As of Friday, March 15 at noon, Kunselman was the only candidate to have filed for the upcoming city council election. Three other incumbents – Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5) – have pulled petitions but have not yet filed. No candidates have filed in the Ward 2 race for the seat now held by Jane Lumm, who was elected in 2011 as an independent.


  1. By Mark Koroi
    March 17, 2013 at 8:43 pm | permalink

    Interesting that Marcia Higgins apparently is making another run to retain her Fourth Ward City Council seat.

    I cannot recall any Democratic primary opponent she has had.

    She won the seat initially as a Republican. She beat Larry Kestenbaum at one point in a close race. In 2003 she won with about 52% of the overall vote as a Republican in the general election against a Libertarian, Green Party, and independent candidate. In 2005 she narrowly defeated, as a Democrat, Ann Arbor GOP leader Jim Hood,Jr. with about 50.7% of the November vote. She had no opposition in 2007; she defeated Hatim Elhady, an independent in 2009, and garnered 55% of the general election vote against Repblican Eric Scheie in 2011.

    In order to defeat Higgins, a Democratic primary opponent will likely have to file.

    Could Dicken Woods’ Jack Eaton be planning a run for the seat now held by Higgins?

  2. By John Floyd
    March 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm | permalink

    Reluctance to state a platform does not mean that a candidate HAS no platform: it only means that they are afraid that the public might learn of it before the election. When a Heftiej appointee states that they are not “issue-driven”, the subtext has generally been “I am only driven by issues/positions that cannot withstand the light of day”.

    Around here, “consensus-building leadership style, with an emphasis on finding common ground” seems to be code for “I’ll support the Council Party against all comers, including my own constituents. Anyone who disagrees with any stand I take will be branded ‘Extreme’ or ‘Confrontational, in an attempt to keep un-approved ideas and positions off the table, and to stifle any debate or dissent”.

    The Council Party has managed to give “Consensus” a bad connotation.

  3. March 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm | permalink

    I am rather old-fashioned about these things, apparently. It is my belief that running against an incumbent of your own party should only be supported by a disagreement with votes or positions that person has taken, or by a belief that change in vision and agenda (which you should be able to spell out) is necessary.

    I don’t generally find sympathy with the explanation that you’ve concluded it would be a good step for your personal goals.

    But perhaps the comments about “style” can be read as an agenda in that it seems to indicate a factional allegiance. As the inventor of the phrase “Council Party”, I think I can read the message well enough.

  4. March 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm | permalink

    A note of what may be obvious to all reading the story – the fact that no one has filed for Jane Lumm’s seat is only significant in terms of a possible opponent. She herself has many months to file again as an Independent, since the current filing period obtains only to the partisan primary in August.

  5. By John Floyd
    March 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm | permalink


    Your phrase, “Council Party”, like the neighborhood description “Water Hill”, become an instant part of our local vocabulary. I think of you (and thank you!) every time I use it, or see it.

    Next time you create a phrase, put a copyright on it, and you can collect royalties!

  6. March 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm | permalink

    Thanks, John, but readers should be clear that I had nothing to do with inventing “Water Hill”. That was Paul Tinkerhess.


  7. April 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm | permalink

    The dotcom is reporting that Joan Lowenstein is supporting Julie Grand’s candidacy. [link] (scroll down near the end of the article).

    I guess that means Ms. Grand will have the youth vote. [link]