Stories indexed with the term ‘Sumi Kailasapathy’

How Ann Arbor Council Races Were Won

The results of city council Democratic primary elections held in the city of Ann Arbor on Aug. 5 can fairly be considered determinative of Nov. 4 election outcomes – because no Republicans or independents filed petitions to qualify for the ballot.

City council races were actively contested in only three of Ann Arbor's five wards in the Democratic primary.

City council races were actively contested in only three of Ann Arbor’s five wards in the Democratic primary: Ward 1 (orange), Ward 2 (green) and Ward 3 (teal).

November will see at least three newcomers to the 11-member council – Kirk Westphal in Ward 2, Julie Grand in Ward 3, and Graydon Krapohl in Ward 4. Westphal and Grand won their respective Democratic primaries that featured no incumbents. Both candidates were coming off unsuccessful council campaigns last year – against Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), respectively.

Westphal received 1,819 votes (59%) to Nancy Kaplan’s 1,261 (41%) in a race that was anticipated to be somewhat closer. Grand received 1,516 votes (51.1%) compared to Bob Dascola’s 794 (26.8%) and Samuel McMullen’s 616 (20.8%). That gave a decisive result to a Ward 3 race that had been fraught with legal disputes – about Dascola’s eligibility to appear on the ballot in the first place; and then about how to count misprinted absentee ballots, which omitted Dascola’s name.

Krapohl’s race did not even appear on the Aug. 5 ballot – because he was unopposed in the Democratic primary and no Republican qualified for the ballot. The omission of the race from the ballot under those conditions is stipulated in a clause of the city charter.

Krapohl will be filling the seat to which Democrat Margie Teall did not seek re-election. Westphal will almost certainly be filling the Ward 2 seat that Sally Petersen left to pursue an unsuccessful mayoral campaign. And Grand will almost certainly be elected to fill the seat vacated by Christopher Taylor, who ran a successful campaign for mayor.

Taylor, who’s currently a councilmember representing Ward 3, will be the Democratic nominee in the Nov. 4 general election against independent Bryan Kelly. Assuming Taylor does prevail, he will remain on the council as mayor. And among the 10 councilmembers who represent one of the five wards, he’ll almost certainly see a total of seven returning faces, including the two incumbents who prevailed in the Aug. 5 primaries.

That’s because those two incumbents, like the new Democratic council nominees, will also be unopposed on the November ballot. First-term Ward 1 councilmember Sumi Kailasapathy prevailed over Don Adams, who was seeking elected office for the first time. Kailasapathy received 1,113 votes (56.8%) compared to 840 (42.8%) for Adams.

And first-term Ward 5 councilmember Chuck Warpehoski prevailed over Leon Bryson, who had announced he was withdrawing from the race after the deadline to remove his name from the ballot. Bryson still collected 674 votes (18.6%), but Warpehoski’s total was 2,936 (81%).

Those three newcomers and two incumbents will join the five councilmembers who are currently in the middle of their two-year terms: Jane Lumm (Ward 2), Jack Eaton (Ward 4) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5) – as well as Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), who were unsuccessful in their mayoral bids.

Below are some maps illustrating the geographic distribution of votes in the three actively contested city council races, as well as some limited analysis of the Ward 2 race in terms of questions that were part of a pre-election poll conducted by Public Policy Polling. [Full Story]

Council Election Finance 2014: Charts, Maps

According to reports filed with the Washtenaw County clerk’s office, seven Ann Arbor city council candidates in three contested Democratic primary races on Aug. 5, 2014 have raised a total of $57,877 in itemized cash contributions.

Contributions made to candidates in Ward 1, Ward 2 and Ward 3 council races are plotted based on the address of the contributor.

Contributions made to candidates in Ward 1, Ward 2 and Ward 3 council races are plotted based on the address of the contributor. (Image links to sets of dynamic maps by broken down by candidate.)

That’s about $100,000 less than the amount raised by four candidates in the mayoral primary. The filing deadline for pre-primary reports was July 25.

In Ward 4, incumbent Democrat Margie Teall is not seeking re-election and only one candidate is running – Graydon Krapohl. So he did not need to file campaign finance reports. In Ward 5, Leon Bryson announced several weeks ago that he was withdrawing from his challenge of first-term incumbent Chuck Warpehoski. Even though both Ward 5 candidates filed campaign finance reports, this article does not analyze them.

Accounting for more than half of the total amount raised in the other three wards were the two candidates in Ward 2: Kirk Westphal and Nancy Kaplan. Kaplan’s $16,314 was easily more than any other candidate. By way of comparison to recent Ward 2 races, for the pre-primary campaign period in 2011 and 2013 Jane Lumm raised about $19,000 and $20,000 in those respective years. Westphal raised $12,420 this year, which is about $2,000 more than he raised during the comparable period in his unsuccessful 2013 campaign against Lumm. Westphal and Kaplan are competing for the Ward 2 seat currently held by Sally Petersen. She decided to run for mayor instead of seeking re-election to the Ward 2 seat.

This year’s Ward 3 contest features Julie GrandBob Dascola and Samuel McMullen, who are all competing for the seat that Christopher Taylor is leaving in order to run for mayor. Among the three, Dascola raised the most money with $7,385 in contributions compared to $6,595 for Grand and $5,248 for McMullen. (McMullen’s campaign reported a total of $5,315 in itemized contributions, but The Chronicle’s calculation was for $67 less than that, based on the documents.) Grand’s total this year is significantly less than the $10,825 she raised in the comparable period in 2013 for her unsuccessful campaign against Stephen Kunselman.

The Ward 1 race features one-term incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams. Kailasapathy raised $5,345 compared to $4,570 for Adams. Kailasapathy’s amount this year is about $1,000 more than what she raised during the pre-primary period for the 2012 primary, which she won against Eric Sturgis.

While the raw totals provide some insight into how the campaigns are being financed, there’s more to it than that.

Here’s a read-only link to the Google spreadsheet used by The Chronicle to generate charts and maps: [2014 Council Campaign Finance: Ann Arbor] For readers who’d like full-sized versions of the maps embedded below, here’s a link to the Google Fusion tables: [2014 Council Campaign Finance Maps]

Below we present charts and maps to illustrate the distribution of donations by amount and geography. [Full Story]

Council Candidates Live: Ann Arbor Dems

The Ann Arbor Democratic Party is hosting a forum for city council candidates this morning, July 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Community Center at 625 North Main Street.


This is a microphone.

The Chronicle plans to broadcast live audio from the event. A live-stream audio player is included below. [Updated: The live stream audio player has been replaced with a set of .mp3 audio files from the event.]

Primary elections take place on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014.

All candidates who have qualified for partisan primary ballots are Democrats. No Republicans have filed in any ward. In Wards 1, 2 and 3, the Democratic primary is contested.

The Ward 1 race features one-term incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams, who is seeking elected office for the first time. [Ward 1 Candidate Forum: CTN Broadcast]

The Ward 2 city council race features current chair of the city planning commission, Kirk Westphal, and current trustee on the Ann Arbor District Library board, Nancy Kaplan. [Ward 2 Candidate Forum: CTN Broadcast]

This year’s Ward 3 contest features Julie GrandBob Dascola and Samuel McMullen, who are all competing for the seat that Christopher Taylor is leaving in order to run for mayor. [Ward 3 Candidate Forum: CTN Broadcast]

Ward 4 does not offer a contested race. Graydon Krapohl, a Democrat who is currently vice chair of the park advisory commission, is the only person who has qualified for the ballot.

The race in Ward 5 is also uncontested, practically speaking. Leon Bryson, who will appear on the Democratic primary ballot, has announced that he’s withdrawn his candidacy and won’t campaign for the seat. That means that one-term incumbent Chuck Warpehoski is almost certain to prevail in the primary.

Listen to the broadcast from the July 12 forum using the audio player below.  [Full Story]

Ward 1 Candidate Forum: CTN Broadcast

The League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area is hosting candidate forums for the Aug. 5, 2014 primary elections, as it does every year for local races.

Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams marched in Ann Arbor's Fourth of July parade.

Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams marched in Ann Arbor’s Fourth of July parade.

The Ward 1 city council Democratic primary forum features one-term incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams, who is seeking elected office for the first time. The scheduled broadcast start time on CTN is at 7 p.m. today (July 8) and can be viewed as a live video stream in the embedded player below.

CTN has pre-recorded some comments from candidates in all races. [link to CTN video-on-demand for council candidate comments ]

And the League of Women Voters provides written candidate profiles with responses to questions on its website. [Ward 1 profiles]

If you’re not sure whether you’re registered to vote or you’re not sure which ward you live in, Michigan’s Secretary of State website offers an easy way to check.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to make it to the polls on Aug. 5, an application to receive an absentee ballot can be downloaded from the city clerk’s website. [.pdf of absentee ballot application form] Completed applications can be mailed or hand delivered to the clerk’s office on the second floor of city hall, 301 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104. The applications can also be scanned and emailed to

Watch the Ward 1 candidate forum below. The Ward 1 forum will be followed by Ward 2 and Ward 3 at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively. [Full Story]

Sound Bites: Two for Ward 1, One for Mayor

A candidate forum held last week at Arrowwood Hills Cooperative Housing on the city’s north side drew both of the Ward 1 city council candidates, but just one of the candidates for mayor. The event was announced only about a day in advance.


Ward 1 city council candidates in the Aug. 5, 2014 Democratic primary: Don Adams and incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy. (Photos by the writer)

Ward 1 Democratic primary city council candidates Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams, along with mayoral candidate Stephen Kunselman, answered questions posed by moderator Charles Lewis, who is the program director at the Arrowwood Hills community center. Not able to attend were three other mayoral candidates: Sabra BriereSally Petersen, and Christopher Taylor.

The forum was hosted in the context of a collaboration between Arrowwood Hills and the Ann Arbor Democratic Party called “Finding Your Political Voice.”

Kunselman used the occasion to talk about growing up in the 1970s on the west side of Ann Arbor in the Maple-Miller area, and how the west side kids had a rivalry with the kids from the north side – where the forum was being hosted.

Questions posed by Lewis included some contributed by forum attendees, covering a wide range of topics: affordable housing, Ann Arbor SPARK, the balance between downtown and outer neighborhoods, the candidates’ number one priority, police staffing, and the public transit millage.

With the affordable housing question, Lewis focused on the immediate surroundings, by inviting candidates to reflect on the role of local government in supporting cooperative housing – like Arrowwood Hills, which was built in 1969. The cooperative housing complex has an income limit of no more than 95% of the median income for Washtenaw County. Other questions specific to Ward 1 included one about road work on Pontiac Trail and another about crosswalks on Plymouth Road.

Below are clips of recorded audio from The Chronicle’s live audio broadcast of the event, organized by question. [Full Story]

Council, Mayor Primary Election Lineups Set

The 4 p.m. deadline for filing petitions to appear on the ballot in Ann Arbor’s city primary elections passed today with no surprises, but a bit of suspense. All candidates who took out petitions and intended to file them did so and the clerk’s office was able to verify sufficient signatures for all candidates. The primary elections will be held on Aug. 5, 2014.

Samuel McMullen turned in supplemental signatures to qualify for the Ward 3 city council ballot. He'll be contesting the open Ward 3 seat with Julie Grand and possibly Bob Dascola.

Samuel McMullen turned in supplemental signatures to qualify for the Ward 3 city council ballot on April 22. He’ll be contesting the open Ward 3 seat with Julie Grand and possibly Bob Dascola.

Council candidates must collect 100 signatures from voters registered in the ward they seek to represent. Mayoral candidates need 50 signatures from each of the city’s five wards.

All candidates who filed petitions are Democrats. No Republicans took out petitions. Only one race is uncontested – in Ward 4.

Here’s a quick listing of candidates for city office. Mayor: Sabra Briere, Stephen Kunselman, Sally Petersen, Christopher Taylor. Ward 1: Sumi Kailasapathy, Don Adams, Jr. Ward 2: Nancy Kaplan, Kirk Westphal. Ward 3: Julie Grand, Samuel McMullen and possibly Bob Dascola. Ward 4: Graydon Krapohl. Ward 5: Chuck Warpehoski, Leon Bryson.

The minor suspense stemmed from the fact that McMullen had fallen eight signatures short with his initial filing. But he handed in 17 supplemental signatures on April 22, about a half hour before the deadline. Those signatures gave him more than the 100 total he needed.

One independent, Bryan Kelly, took out petitions in Ward 1 – but he’s been informed by the city clerk’s office that he does not meet the one-year residency and voter registration requirements in the city charter. Kelly might become eligible, depending on the outcome of a pending lawsuit that’s been filed against the city by a would-be Ward 3 candidate, Bob Dascola.

Dascola has submitted sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot, but has also been informed that he does not meet the charter requirements on one-year residency and voter registration. The U.S. District Court is handling the case on an expedited schedule, so the matter is likely be settled before ballots are finalized in June.

As an independent, Kelly would have until July 17 to file petitions to appear on the November ballot.

Brief snapshot descriptions of all candidates except for those in Ward 1, based largely on their own remarks or campaign website descriptions, are presented in this report. [Editor's note: We've elected instead to add Ward 1 candidate information to this article, instead of creating a separate file.] [Full Story]

UM IM Sports Building

[As the president was passing,] I said I ran and won. Immediately Obama stopped, and started talking to me, congratulated me … it was just unbelievable. [photo] (Photo credit Daniel Wasserman)

Kunselman, Kailasapathy File Petitions

Candidates for local Ann Arbor office have started filing petitions for the upcoming August primaries.

First to file the minimum 250 signatures (50 per ward) for a mayoral candidate was Stephen Kunselman. The Ward 3 city councilmember turned in his signatures on March 17, 2014 and by the following day, the city clerk’s staff had verified 286 of them, according to records from the clerk’s office.

First to file signatures for city council was Sumi Kailasapathy, the incumbent Ward 1 candidate. She turned in more than the required 100 signatures on March 19, 2014, but as of late afternoon that day the clerk’s staff had not completed the verification process. [Updated: On Friday, March 21 the clerk's office verified that 102 signatures had been verified for Kailasapathy.]

Both Kunselman and Kailasapathy are running in the Aug. 5, 2014 Democratic primary. [Full Story]

Local Dems Pull 2014 Council Primary Petitions

According to city clerk records, two sitting Ann Arbor city councilmembers have now pulled petitions to seek re-election in 2014 – Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1) and Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5). They are both Democrats, first elected to the council in 2012.

Ann Arbor city councilmembers serve two-year terms on the 11-member body, which includes the mayor and two representatives from each of five wards.

Kailasapathy responded to a Chronicle query by saying she planned to file signatures by the end of the month. Candidates must submit at least 100 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. She took out the petitions today (Nov. 21, 2013).

The Chronicle asked Warpehoski if his action to take out petitions on Nov. 7 reflected a deliberate decision … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Council Ward 1: Eric or Sumi?

The Ann Arbor Democratic Party hosted a forum on July 14, 2012 for candidates in four city council Democratic primary races. This article summarizes the responses from Ward 1 candidates Sumi Kailasapathy and Eric Sturgis. [For additional, previous coverage of the Ward 1 race, see "Ward 1 City Council Race: Filling Sandi's Seat"] Other races are covered in separate Chronicle articles.

Sumi Kailasapathy Eric Sturgis

Ward 1 Ann Arbor city council candidates Sumi Kailasapathy and Eric Sturgis. (Photos by the writer.)

This is the second time that Kailasapathy has run for city council. In 2010 she challenged incumbent Sandi Smith, and received 45% of the vote – the best  showing of any challenger to an incumbent that year. This year, Smith chose not to seek a third two-year term on the 11-member council – which includes the mayor and two representatives from each of the city’s five wards. Democratic primaries are contested this year in just four of the five wards, as Christopher Taylor is unchallenged in  Ward 3.

The winner of the Democratic primary in Ward 1 will likely not face an on-the-ballot opponent in November. No Republican is running, and the deadline for independent candidates to file is July 19.

In remarks about himself, Sturgis stressed his continued connection to the Ann Arbor public school system, having grown up in Ann Arbor attending public schools. He emphasized that he has a positive attitude about Ann Arbor, which is appropriate, he says, because Ann Arbor has been rated as one of the best places to live in the country. He stressed the importance of having a positive vision.

Sturgis also highlighted his endorsements, which include three former Ward 1 councilmembers, as well as outgoing Ward 1 councilmember Sandi Smith. But he highlighted the fact that mayor John Hieftje has not endorsed him, analyzing that as a positive – because that means he wouldn’t be indebted to Hieftje. Sturgis is relatively sanguine about the condition of the city’s budget – to the point that he dismissed Kailasapathy’s concerns about debt and unfunded liabilities by pointing to the slight surplus the city enjoyed in the most recent fiscal year.

Kailasapathy took Sturgis’ remark on debt as an opportunity to draw on her professional experience – as a college educator – to give a short lesson on the difference between income/revenue statements (which Sturgis was talking about) and balance sheets (which show the city’s debt). In her opening remarks, she also stressed her education and her professional training as a certified public account.

Kailasapathy told the audience that she wants to focus on core services and the preservation of neighborhoods and parks. She allowed that she brings a skepticism to government and she would be asking lots of questions.

Candidates were asked to comment on one main policy issue – the idea of a new rail station possibly to be constructed at a site on Fuller Road. Sturgis held in abeyance his view about the proper location of a new rail station, pending the outcome of a site alternatives analysis that is currently being conducted. Kailasapathy’s view, expressed at an earlier forum, is that a voter referendum should be held if the Fuller Road site is used for a train station – because the site is designated as city parkland.

Aside from opening and closing statements, not a lot of specific local policy ground was covered by questions put to the candidates – due in part to a time constraint of about an hour for all eight candidates. But the candidates did talk a great deal about issues of transparency and group dynamics on the city council, in response to the leadoff question from forum moderator Mike Henry, co-chair (with Anne Bannister) of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party.

Broadcast live earlier in the week on the Community Television Network was a local League of Women Voters candidate forum that included Kailasapathy and Sturgis, which is available online.

The deadline to register to vote in the Aug. 7 primary has passed. Oct. 9 is the last day to register to vote for the Tuesday, Nov. 6 general election. Information on voter registration 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 of Women Voters also has an online voter information site – – which includes biographical information on some candidates, stances on issues, and a “build my ballot” feature. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Dems Primary: Ward 1 Council


Candidates for Ward 1 Ann Arbor city council in the Democratic primary: Sumi Kailasapathy (top) is challenging incumbent Sandi Smith (bottom). (Photos by the writer.)

On Thursday evening, the first day of July, the North Central Property Owners Association (NCPOA) hosted a forum for candidates in two Democratic primary races: Ward 1 city council representative and mayor. Around 60 people packed into the lower level of a room in the Ann Arbor Community Center.

Coverage of mayoral candidate responses to audience questions is provided in a separate article: “Ann Arbor Dems Primary: Mayoral Race.”

The Ward 1 city council race this year is contested by incumbent Sandi Smith and challenger Sumi Kailasapathy. City council representatives are elected for two-year terms and each of the city’s five wards has two seats on the council, one of which is elected each year. The winner of the Aug. 3 Democratic primary will not face a Republican challenger in November.

The other representative for Ward 1 is Sabra Briere, who was in the audience at Thursday’s forum, seated next to John Hilton, editor of The Ann Arbor Observer and a member of the NCPOA. The location of the forum at the Ann Arbor Community Center on North Main Street and its sponsorship by the NCPOA was significant – the site is across the street from Near North, which was a controversial affordable housing development approved in September 2009.

Development and the definition of downtown was one of several topics raised by questions put to the candidates. For her part, Smith emphasized that experience was needed on the city council during these tough economic times, and that she has that experience. Smith questioned Kailasapathy’s basic contention that there was a significant amount of waste in the city’s budget and pointed to other cities that were not weathering the economic storm as well as Ann Arbor.

Kailasapathy stressed her expertise in financial matters as a CPA, but said that she was not merely a “bean counter.” She repeatedly returned to a theme of emphasis on the basic core services and eliminating waste in the budget. Through the course of the evening, she drew several laughs from the audience for various quips, like one suggesting that Ann Arbor was trying to become a “knock-off” of Southfield. [Full Story]