Stories indexed with the term ‘petition’

Council OKs Barton Sidewalk Design Budget

A design budget of $15,000 has been approved for a 400-foot new concrete sidewalk on the south side of Barton Road from a spot west of Chandler Road to Longshore Drive.

Location of proposed Barton Drive sidewalk.

Location of proposed Barton Drive sidewalk.

The Ann Arbor city council approved the money – to be spent from the city’s general fund – at its July 15, 2013 meeting.

The council had approved similar design budgets for a sidewalk on Newport Road at its Jan. 22, 2013 meeting and for a sidewalk on Scio Church Road at its Nov. 19, 2012 meeting.

The interest in having … [Full Story]

AAPS Candidate Info Session: Attendance 0

On Tuesday evening, June 18, 2012, the Ann Arbor Public Schools held an information session for prospective candidates for election to the AAPS board of trustees. Board president Deb Mexicotte’s seat is the only one up for election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. It is a four-year term, beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

Current trustees Andy Thomas and Christine Stead were on hand to talk over the roles and responsibilities of a trustee. No potential candidates showed, however. Attendance at the information meeting was not mandatory for candidacy.

To appear on the ballot as a school board candidate, candidates must file paperwork at the Washtenaw County clerk’s office by Tuesday, Aug. 14 by 4 p.m. Candidates must file an affidavit of identity and … [Full Story]

Column: Let’s Put Life into City Elections

Editor’s note: Column author Bruce Laidlaw served the city of Ann Arbor as city attorney for 16 years, from 1975-1991. Starting with his service at chief assistant city attorney in 1969, he served the city for a total of 22 years. He defended the city in two elections that were contested in court, both involving the election of Al Wheeler as mayor in the mid-1970s. 

This column argues for a nonpartisan process for electing councilmembers and the mayor of Ann Arbor – in part because it reduces the potential for lame ducks. It might also encourage more competition and participation.

For a detailed history of Ann Arbor’s partisan system of elections, see Laidlaw’s previous column: “Ann Arbor – A One-Party Town.”

In 1908, the Michigan legislature gave cities the right to conduct non-partisan elections. Since then all but three Michigan cities have chosen to elect their local officials in a non-partisan way. The three holdouts for a partisan process are Ionia, Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

Here in Ann Arbor, we currently hold partisan primaries in August to determine which candidates for city council and mayor appear on the November ballot – with a party label printed next to their names. Nowadays that’s typically a D or an R, more often a D.

It’s time to ask Ann Arbor voters to decide if they’d like to continue to elect local officials using this partisan primary system. It’s even possible to eliminate local primaries altogether. The city council has the power to place a ballot question before voters this November – a question asking voters if they would like to amend the city charter to convert city elections to a non-partisan process. The council should exercise that power.

What would the advantage be of a non-partisan system? [Full Story]

The Moravian Goes Before City Council

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday night caucus (Feb. 28, 2010): The notion of a “first reading” permeated discussion in council chambers Sunday night among the five councilmembers and the half dozen residents who attended. Ordinances must be approved at two readings by the city council before they are enacted.

Tony Derezinski Stephen Kunselman Sabra Briere

At the Sunday Ann Arbor city council caucus, from left: Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) and Sabra Briere (Ward 1). Also attending the caucus from the city council were Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and John Hieftje (mayor). (Photo by the writer.)

Due to receive its first reading on Monday night at the council’s regular meeting is The Moravian – a  five-story residential and work/live space planned unit development (PUD) along the 500 block of Fifth Avenue and the 200 block of East Madison. The project was given a recommendation for approval from the city’s planning commission on a 7-1 vote in January 2010. [Chronicle coverage: "Moravian Moves Forward Despite Protests"]

At Sunday’s caucus, some residents said they were keen to see a substantive discussion at The Moravian’s first reading, but councilmembers cautioned that the first reading was typically not the time when they argued a particular position. Residents indicated that they’d gathered enough signatures from surrounding land owners to meet a city code threshold that would force an 8-vote super-majority – out of 11 votes – at a second reading of the PUD proposal.

Also receiving a first reading on Monday will be a proposed ban on cell phone use while driving. The ban had already received approval on first reading at the council’s last meeting, but due to subsequent significant revisions to the ordinance language, it will be heard again Monday as a first reading. The council’s agenda indicates that the public hearing, generally held along with an ordinance’s second reading, has been canceled. That will be rescheduled to coincide with the second reading.

A budget directive – reducing all non-union staff salaries by 3% – had been postponed from the last council meeting and will be considered by the council on Monday in a slightly revised form. As a council resolution – as opposed to an ordinance – it will require just one reading. A key revision in the intervening postponement: It’s now a minimum 3% cut that’s specified, which leaves the door open for even greater cuts. [Full Story]