Live from Literati: Mayoral Candidate Debate

Sabra Briere, Sally Petersen, Stephen Kunselman, Christopher Taylor to discuss downtown issues at new local bookstore

A debate for Ann Arbor’s four Democratic Party mayoral primary candidates is being hosted tonight, June 25, at 7:30 p.m. by Literati Bookstore. [.mp3 of audio from the event]

Events chalkboard at Literati Bookstore at the corner of Washington and Fourth streets in downtown Ann Arbor.

Photoshopped “art” of the chalkboard at Literati Bookstore at the southwest corner of Washington and Fourth in downtown Ann Arbor.

Literati is located at the southwest corner of Washington and Fourth in downtown Ann Arbor.

All four mayoral candidates currently serve on the Ann Arbor city council: Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Sally Petersen (Ward 2), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) and Christopher Taylor (Ward 3).

It’s likely that the winner of the Democratic primary on Aug. 5 will also win the general election in November. No Republican candidate took out nominating petitions this year. One independent candidate – Bryan Kelly – has taken out petitions for mayor, but not yet submitted them to the city clerk’s office.

Ann Arbor’s mayorship is an open race with no incumbent this year, because current mayor John Hieftje announced last year that he would not be seeking re-election to an eighth term. Terms for the mayor of Ann Arbor, like those of city councilmembers, last for two years.

The Chronicle is planning to broadcast live audio from the event (see below) and – if events unfold favorably – provide live text corresponding to that audio (see further below).

The event is described by Literati co-owners Hilary and Michael Gustafson on their bookstore’s website as follows: “As a new downtown business, we here at Literati are part of a growing and changing Ann Arbor landscape. But one thing that doesn’t change is our community. We’re proud to not only serve our community as a general bookseller, but to act as a space where our community can come together.”

The event will focus on downtown issues. It will be moderated by the Gustafsons.

The Chronicle’s live audio broadcast is planned to start around 7:20 p.m. to allow for sorting through technical issues that might arise.

Audio Player: Listen live using the Mixlr player embedded below. After the event, we will make available an .mp3 recording of the broadcast.

Text Box One: Live text from the event will be streamed into the top text box. The box is programmed to automatically force the view to the bottom-most (most recent) text – which facilitates hands-free reading.  The technique The Chronicle is testing out for this event is “voice-writing” – verbatim repetition by a human operator into a microphone that is connected to voice-recognition software. Note that this material will be uncorrected and could be fairly raw. An ellipsis “…” will be used to indicate missed text.

A corrected version of the text may be available at some point after the event.

Text Box Two: The contents of the bottom text box are identical to the contents of the top text box. What is different is that there’s no forced scroll to the bottom. So readers who are curious about topics covered earlier can scroll up to review.

If your text boxes display an error message that reads, “We’re trying to connect to the server,” we apologize. We’re not sure what causes that for some browser/hardware combinations.

[.mp3 recording of Literati mayoral debate]

The Chronicle could not survive without regular voluntary subscriptions to support our coverage of local government. Click this link for details: Subscribe to The Chronicle. And if you’re already supporting us, please encourage your friends, neighbors and colleagues to help support The Chronicle, too!


  1. By John Floyd
    June 26, 2014 at 2:45 am | permalink

    Sandra’s observation that we need yo think of 40 years out strikes me as on the mark. As does her point about child-friendly spaces in downtown.

    I have little patience for individuals who ignored the public to push through A2d2 zoning, now claiming that they support “balance”. These individuals have done their damage, now they want to distance themselves from their own Frankenstein monster. The implication that they are not the reason that people are upset over inAppropriate development, is dishonest. It is time to remove dissemblers from civic life.

  2. By John Floyd
    June 26, 2014 at 2:46 am | permalink

    “Sabra”, not “Sandra”.

  3. June 26, 2014 at 8:28 am | permalink

    Another scoop for the Chronicle!

  4. By Piotr Michalowski
    June 26, 2014 at 9:20 am | permalink

    It was a fascinating and very revealing debate. I fully agree with John. One observation: except for Sabra,they all presented themselves in their garb as council members, without any indication of how they saw themselves in the role of mayor and without any larger sense of where the city should be going. I suppose this is to be expected, but ultimately it shows the limitations of the other three candidates.
    I should also note that there was no word about the upcoming debate on Mlive, but in the midst of the barrage of sports trivia there was a “story” about some pop singer’s daughter attending UM. The word “news” should be take off their masthead once and for all.