Stories indexed with the term ‘Easthope’

Ann Arbor 2012 Budget: 15th District Court

Editor’s note: The Ann Arbor city council has held two retreats to discuss the city’s FY 2012 budget – one in early December 2010 and another in early January 2011. A summary of the material covered in those retreats is provided in previous Chronicle coverage: “Ann Arbor: Engaging the FY 2012 Budget.”

Leading up to the city administrator’s proposed budget in April, the city council is also holding a series of work sessions on the budget. Their typical scheduling pattern is for the weeks between council meetings. But the work session on the 15th District Court was held just before the council’s Feb. 7, 2011 meeting.

Judge Christopher Easthope Ann Arbor 15th District Court

Former city councilmember Chris Easthope was elected in 2008 to serve as a judge on Ann Arbor's 15th District Court. In this photo, Easthope was pointing out other judges, the magistrate and staff of the court, who attended the Feb. 7 work session along with Easthope. (Photo by the writer.)

An hour before the city council’s regular meeting on Feb. 7, 2011, scheduled to start at 7 p.m., councilmembers received a presentation from Chris Easthope on the financial picture for the 15th District Court. The court is funded primarily, but not completely, by the city. Last year, the city’s approved FY 2011 budget for the 15th District Court was $3,776,080, or around 4.5%, of the city’s $81,449,966 general fund budget.

Salaries for the three judges on the court – Easthope, Julie Creal and Elizabeth Hines – are set and paid by the state of Michigan. The judges, along with other key court staff, also attended the work session.

Easthope stressed to councilmembers that he understood the difficult position the council is in, having served on the city council himself. [First elected in 2000 to a Ward 5 seat on the city council, Easthope won a narrow victory in the 2008 race for the 15th District Court judgeship.]

The basic picture Easthope sketched out for the council was of a court that had already reduced its budget – from $4.1 million in FY 2008 to $3.8 million in FY 2011, the current fiscal year. Easthope estimated the needed budget for the court in the next two years at around $3.7 million.

Measures already implemented include optimization of staffing that has allowed a reduction in full-time employees from 40 FTEs four years ago to 32 FTEs today. Easthope also stressed that the court’s probation program, even though it is not mandated by the state, actually saves citizens money, because it offers an alternative to fines (which many defendants aren’t in a financial position to pay anyway) and jail (which may not be the best solution for mentally ill defendants). [Full Story]

Election 2008 Photos: Gutenberg and Easthope

Election 2008 Gutenberg Easthope

Unofficial results from the Washtenaw County website indicate a victory for Easthope. Easthope, 21,099; Gutenberg 18,825; Write-in, 480. Miss Saigon was not officially registered as a write-in candidate, so any votes cast for her will not be tallied.

At various polling places around the city of Ann Arbor, the colorful campaign signs for candidates stuck into the ground provided a nice complement to the spectacular fall foliage still stuck to the trees. But it wasn’t signs that impressed The Chronicle most – it was the live human beings offering literature in the 15th District Court judicial race. Many of them were family.

We met Eric Gutenberg’s parents, Erwin and Barbara, at Bach Elementary. At Thurston Elementary we met Christopher Easthope’s mother, Mary. And at Tappan Middle School we chatted with his sister, Tracey Easthope, and his nephew, Luke Desprez. And we met plenty of other Gutenberg or Easthope supporters at other polling places as well. [Full Story]