Stories indexed with the term ‘Ann Arbor Democratic Party’

Ann Arbor Dems Do Endorsement Puzzle

At a morning meeting on Saturday, Oct. 12 held at the Ann Arbor Community Center, Ann Arbor Democratic Party members affirmed the party’s endorsement of Kirk Westphal in the Ward 2 city council race. Westphal was unopposed in the Democratic primary held in August and is the Democratic Party nominee on the Nov. 5 ballot.

From left: (1) a puzzle with counting numbers completed multiple times during the meeting by Ann Arbor city councilmember Chuck Warpehoski's daughter; (2) the voting credential that had to be held aloft at the Dems meeting in order for a vote to be counted; and (3) Robert's Rules held aloft as the authority determining that a 2/3 majority of votes would need to be counted, in order for the endorsement to be rescinded.

From left: (1) a puzzle with counting numbers, which was completed multiple times during the meeting by Ann Arbor city councilmember Chuck Warpehoski’s daughter; (2) the voting credential that had to be held aloft at the Dems meeting in order for a vote to be counted; and (3) Robert’s Rules of Order held aloft as the authority determining that a 2/3 majority of votes would need to be counted, in order for the endorsement of Kirk Westphal to be rescinded. (Photos by the writer.)

The party’s executive board had voted on Wednesday to endorse Westphal. But at Saturday’s meeting of the general membership, Jack Eaton – the Democratic nominee for Ward 4 Ann Arbor city council – brought forward a motion to rescind that endorsement of Westphal. His motion was defeated by a vote of the general membership.

Eaton had contested the August primary in Ward 4 with incumbent Democrat Marcia Higgins, and he won the race decisively. He is supporting incumbent independent Jane Lumm against Westphal in the Ward 2 election, as are Democratic councilmembers Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1) and some other local Democrats. Lumm served on the council in the mid-1990s as a Republican. Except for Lumm, the entire 11-member council consists of Democrats. The Ward 2 race includes independent Conrad Brown in addition to Lumm and Westphal.

Anglin and Kailasapathy attended the Democratic Party meeting, as did several other councilmembers who have not endorsed Lumm: Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Sally Petersen (Ward 2), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), and Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5). Taylor and Warpehoski have endorsed Westphal.

In rising to express her support for Lumm, lifelong Democrat Jane Michener indicated that she felt Westphal was working toward making the world “safe for developers” instead of on behalf of residents, and that’s why she’s supporting Lumm. Westphal is chair of the city’s planning commission.

To vote on the question of Westphal’s endorsement, attendees held aloft squares with a Democratic logo  – a voting credential issued that morning. With 56 people voting against the motion to rescind – that is, to leave Westphal’s endorsement in place – and only 21 voting to rescind it, a simple majority was not achieved. So the required 2/3 majority was also not achieved.

The question of Westphal’s endorsement came in the context of a meeting that had been billed as “Endorsement Saturday” by the party. Representatives for 2014 campaigns at the state and national level were on hand to deliver remarks and to receive the Ann Arbor Democratic Party’s endorsement.

Not every candidate was on hand in person, but the general membership of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party gave its endorsement to the following: Mark Schauer (governor), Mark Totten (Michigan Attorney General), John Dingell (U.S. House District 12), Pam Byrnes (U.S. House District 7), Gary Peters (U.S. Senate), Gretchen Driskell (Michigan state house representative District 52), Jeff Irwin (Michigan state house representative District 53), and Adam Zemke (Michigan state house representative District 55). [Full Story]

Dems Forum Part 4: Downtown Ann Arbor

Editor’s note: A forum hosted by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party on June 8, 2013 drew six of seven total city council candidates who’ve qualified for the primary ballot.

From left: Julie Grand (Ward 3 challenger), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3 incumbent), Jack Eaton (Ward 3 challenger), Mike Anglin (Ward 5 incumbent), Kirk Westphal (Ward 2 challenger), Sabra Briere (Ward 1 incumbent).

From left: Julie Grand (Ward 3 challenger), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3 incumbent), Jack Eaton (Ward 4 challenger), Mike Anglin (Ward 5 incumbent), Kirk Westphal (Ward 2 candidate), and Sabra Briere (Ward 1 incumbent).

In the Aug. 6 Democratic primary, only two wards offer contested races. In Ward 3, Democratic voters will choose between incumbent Stephen Kunselman and Julie Grand. Ward 4 voters will have a choice between incumbent Marcia Higgins and Jack Eaton. Higgins was reported to have been sick and was unable to attend.

The format of the event eventually allowed other candidates who are unopposed in the Democratic primary to participate: Mike Anglin (Ward 5 incumbent), Sabra Briere (Ward 1 incumbent), and Kirk Westphal, who’s challenging incumbent Jane Lumm in Ward 2. Lumm, who was elected to the council as an independent, was in the audience at the forum but didn’t participate. The event was held at the Ann Arbor Community Center on North Main Street. The Chronicle’s coverage is presented in a multiple-part series, based on common threads that formed directly in response to questions posed to the candidates, or that cut across multiple responses.

More than one question posed to candidates was explicitly designed to elicit views on downtown Ann Arbor. Taken as a group, the questions prompted responses that formed several discrete subtopics related to land use and planning: planning in general; planning specifically for city-owned properties; and planning for a hotel/conference center.

Another general theme covered the role of the downtown in the life of the city of Ann Arbor, with additional subtopics that included: the appropriate balance of investment between downtown and non-downtown neighborhoods; who should and does benefit from the downtown; and the role of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.

This report includes candidate responses on these issues.

Part 1 of this series focused on the candidates’ concept of and connection to Ann Arbor, while Part 2 looked at their personal styles of engagement and views of how the council interacts. Part 3 reported on the theme of connections, including physical connections like transportation, as well as how people are connected to local government. Chronicle election coverage is tagged with “2013 primary election.” [Full Story]

Dingell Fields Questions on Health Care

John Dingell, speaking at the Saturday morning meeting of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party.

John Dingell, the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke at the Saturday morning meeting of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party. Dingell represents the 15th District, which includes Ann Arbor. (Photos by the writer.)

U.S. Rep. John Dingell got his biggest round of applause at Saturday morning’s meeting of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party when he described his preference for health care reform as a single-payer system – a proposal he’s been pushing for decades.

But during much of the 45 minutes spent talking and fielding questions, Dingell described a compromise working its way through Congress that falls far short of that goal.

Dingell is the lead sponsor on the House of Representatives health care reform bill, which differs in substantive ways from the Senate’s version. Those two versions of the legislation will need to be reconciled over the coming weeks.

President Barack Obama is urging Congress to deliver something for him to sign before he makes the annual State of the Union address, Dingell said, adding that it’s not clear if that deadline will be met.

Dingell covered much of the same ground on Saturday as he did when The Chronicle last encountered him at a meeting of the Obama Caucus of Ann Arbor in August. But by now, the massive health care reform legislation is closer to completion – though it’s not, Dingell reminded his fellow Democrats, a done deal. [Full Story]

Obama Dolls It Up for Ann Arbor Dems

A cutout of Barack Obama

Barack Obama holds a quilt of his family at the White House, made by Susan Walen. It was part of a folk art exhibit for the Ann Arbor Democratic Party's Labor Day picnic at the Elks Pratt Lodge. (Photo by the writer.)

The Chronicle first heard about Doug Kelley’s collection of Obama folk art when we met him at a health care forum last month, so when we learned that he’d be exhibiting part of it at the annual Ann Arbor Democratic Party‘s Labor Day picnic, we headed to the Elks Pratt Lodge on Monday to check it out.

The collection – two pairs of dolls, a quilted hanging, a hook rug, a walking stick, and several other items – includes original, somewhat eccentric work by artists from Ann Arbor and across the country.

Kelley gives frequent exhibits from his extensive Democratic Party archive – on Oct. 3, he’ll be displaying a collection of items related to voting rights at the annual meeting of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party. That meeting will feature civil rights activist John Lewis as guest speaker. But the Labor Day display was unique in at least one way: “It’s the first exhibit I’ve ever done that offers free peanuts,” Kelley said, pointing to a plastic dish filled with nuts for the taking.

So as rank-and-file Dems noshed and mingled with elected officials on the wraparound porch of the Elks lodge, we chatted with Kelley about some of the more unusual pieces he’s acquired. [Full Story]