Stories indexed with the term ‘Eric Scheie’

Scheie, Pratt Vie for Water Resources Office

Competing for a position that many voters don’t even know exists – according to one candidate – Democrat Evan Pratt and Republican Eric Scheie answered questions about their approach to the job of Washtenaw County water resources commissioner at an Oct. 8 forum moderated by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area.

Evan Pratt, Eric Scheie, Washtenaw County water resources commissioner, League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

From left: Democrat Evan Pratt and Republican Eric Scheie at the Oct. 8 candidate forum for the Washtenaw County water resources commissioner. (Photos by the writer.)

Scheie, who ran for Ward 4 Ann Arbor city council last year but was defeated by incumbent Marcia Higgins, is concerned that environmentalists have prioritized water over people. He said he’s against water pollution, but thinks that in some cases the government goes too far in over-regulating. He also took issue with the approach of current water resources commissioner Janis Bobrin, saying he’d heard “horror stories” from some farmers who think there’s a plot to push them off their land.

In contrast, Pratt has worked closely with Bobrin and he highlighted her endorsement of his candidacy. He stressed his experience in working on public infrastructure projects as a civil/environmental engineer, as well as his work with the Huron River Watershed Council, the Ann Arbor planning commission and other local entities.

Both candidates have more information on their websites. Scheie’s site includes a description of his philosophy, including a reminder of the position’s origins as drain commissioner. Pratt’s site includes a list of supporters, which he also highlighted during his opening statement. Scheie and Pratt also supplied brief answers to five questions about their background and approach to the job for the League of Women Voters Vote 411 website.

The water resources commissioner is an elected position with a four-year term. Bobrin has served in that role since first being elected in 1988. She was instrumental in broadening the focus of the job – as well as its title – from drains to water resources. Bobrin decided not to run for re-election this year. She endorsed Pratt in both the Aug. 7 primary, when he defeated fellow Democrat Harry Bentz, as well as in the Nov. 6 general election against Scheie, who did not face a Republican primary challenger.

The Oct. 8 candidate forum was held at the studios of Community Television Network, and will be available online via CTN’s video-on-demand service. It was the first of three forums on Monday evening. Others covered the races for county treasurer and county clerk/register of deeds. The full schedule of candidate forums this week is on the league’s website. The forums are broadcast live on CTN’s Channel 19 starting at 7 p.m.

Information on local elections can be found on the Washtenaw County clerk’s elections division website. To see a sample ballot for your precinct, visit the Secretary of State’s website. The league’s website also includes a range of information on national, state and local candidates and ballot issues, and a “build my ballot” feature. [Full Story]

2011 Election: Ward 4 City Council

On Oct. 5, 2011 the local League of Women Voters (LWV) hosted candidate forums for Ann Arbor city council candidates in all four of the city’s five wards that have contested races.

Eric Scheie Ward 4 Ann Arbor

Republican candidate for Ward 4 city council Eric Scheie, before the League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 5. On Scheie's website, he gives the pronunciation of his name, which is pronounced "Shay." During small talk among LWV members before the start of the meeting, they drew upon a character familiar from American history to help remind themselves of the pronunciation: "It's 'Shay' as in Shay's Rebellion." (Photo by the writer.)

This report focuses on the forum for candidates in Ward 4, where Republican Eric Scheie is challenging Democratic incumbent Marcia Higgins. A replay of the forum is available via Community Television Network’s video on demand service. [Ward 4 CTN coverage]

Higgins did not attend the forum, sending her regrets in a written statement, which was read aloud: “I’m confirming that I will not be in attendance tomorrow evening due to a family commitment on Oct. 5. I appreciate the league’s focus on debating the issues and time spent on bringing debate to the public. Thank you for the invitation to participate.” The LWV indicated that holding the forum without Higgins would be consistent with its “empty chair” policy.

Higgins began her city council career as a Republican, first winning election to the council in 1999. She changed parties to become a Democrat in 2005. Many observers believe it’s not possible to be elected to the council as a Republican in Ann Arbor’s current political climate.

At the LWV forum, Scheie explicitly addressed the issue of party membership, saying that he was running as a Republican precisely because of the lack of opposition politics in Ann Arbor – “Republican” has become a dirty word in Ann Arbor, he said.

The council is an 11-member body, with two representatives from each ward, plus the mayor. All members of the council, including the mayor, serve two-year terms. In a given year, one of the two council seats for each ward is up for election. In even-numbered years, the position of mayor is also up for election.

This year, the general election falls on Nov. 8. Readers who are unsure where to vote can type their address into the My Property page of the city of Ann Arbor’s website to get that information. A map of city ward boundaries is also online.

Scheie responded to LWV questions on the street/sidewalk repair millage, the proposed Fuller Road Station, high-rise buildings, human services and public art. [Full Story]