Stories indexed with the term ‘Ward 1’

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]

Aug. 5 Primary: Procrastinator’s Guide

In Ann Arbor, local elections are mostly determined in the Democratic primary, held this year on Tuesday, Aug. 5. The mayoral race is well contested with four Democratic candidates. Races in three of the city’s five wards offer actively contested races.

"Vote Here" sign designating an Ann Arbor polling location for a previous election.

“Vote Here” sign designating an Ann Arbor polling location for a previous election.

No Republicans are running for mayor or in any of the city council races. Only one independent candidate – Bryan Kelly, who’s running for mayor – will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Races for probate judge and circuit court judge offer fields of five and three candidates, respectively.

This article provides a roundup of Chronicle election coverage, for anyone who’s still studying up on the candidates. It includes links to reports and recordings of candidate forums, campaign finance data, analysis and other information. Links are also provided to candidate websites and League of Women Voters candidate 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. The site also lets you look at a sample ballot. To give you a general idea of what ward you live in, check out this ward boundary map.

Polls open on Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Readers can follow along during the day as The Chronicle goes poll-hopping, checking in at locations throughout the city. We’ll also be posting updates with results starting soon after the polls close. The Washtenaw County elections division website also provides unofficial results on election night.

Below you’ll find more information on the Ann Arbor mayoral and city council candidates, as well as judicial candidates for the probate and 22nd circuit courts. [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]

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]

Live Audio: Arrowwood Candidate Forum

This is a live broadcast of a candidate forum being held at Arrowwood Hills Cooperative Housing, located off Pontiac Trail, starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 19, 2014.

Updated: The broadcast is now over. Here’s the audio file from the event: [.mp3 of Arrowwood candidate forum] Candidates who attended were Ward 1 council candidates Sumi Kailasapathy (incumbent) and Don Adams, as well as mayoral candidate Stephen Kunselman.

Invited have been Ward 1 city council Democratic primary candidates who will appear on the Aug. 5 primary ballot: incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams. Arrowwood is located in Ward 1.

Also invited are mayoral candidates in the Democratic primary: Sabra Briere, Sally Petersen, Christopher Taylor and Stephen Kunselman.

Candidates for the Ann Arbor Public … [Full Story]

Candidate Forum: June 19, 2014

Arrowwood Hills Cooperative Housing, located off Pontiac Trail, will be hosting a forum for candidates for local office starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 19, 2014.

Invited have been  Ward 1 city council Democratic primary candidates who will appear on the Aug. 5 primary ballot: incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams. Arrowwood is located in Ward 1.

Also invited are mayoral candidates in the Democratic primary: Sabra Briere, Sally Petersen, Christopher Taylor and Stephen Kunselman.

Candidates for the Ann Arbor Public School Board in the Nov. 4, 2014 general election have also been invited: Patricia Manley and Don Wilkerson.

The format of the forum will include opportunities for the candidates to state their positions and to field questions from the audience.

Vresics Won’t Campaign for Ward 1 Seat

An email sent to media by Mixed Use Party co-chair Will Leaf late Sept. 2, 2013 indicates that University of Michigan student Jaclyn Vresics has announced she won’t be contesting the Ward 1 Ann Arbor city council race this fall. Reached by text message Vresics confirmed her intention to withdraw from the race.

Vresics had qualified for the ballot by submitting more than the 100 required nominating signatures by the Aug. 7 deadline. However, the deadline for withdrawing formally from the race has passed, according to city clerk Jackie Beaudry.

According to Secretary of State documents the deadline to withdraw is Aug. 12, 2013, or three business days after the Aug. 7 filing deadline. So her name will still appear on … [Full Story]

Fall Ann Arbor Council Races Take Form

Attention in Ann Arbor city council elections is currently focused on Tuesday’s Aug. 6 primary races in Ward 3 and Ward 4. But races in other wards – to be contested by some independent candidates – are starting to take clearer shape in advance of the Aug. 7 filing deadline.

Joining Ward 1 incumbent Democrat Sabra Briere on the Nov. 5 general election ballot will be independent Jeff Hayner. Briere is unopposed in the Democratic primary and no Republican candidate filed to run – in Ward 1 or in any other of the city’s five wards. According to city clerk’s office records, Hayner took out nominating petitions on July 3, submitted them on Aug. 2, and they were certified by the … [Full Story]

Early Returns: Ward 1 Ann Arbor Council

Early unofficial returns from the 2012 Ward 5 city council race for the Democratic nomination – between Eric Sturgis and Sumi Kailasapathy – show Kailasapathy with a total of 477 (53%) votes, compared to 423 (47%) for Sturgis – which reflects a total of 7 out of 10 precincts informally reported.

The August 2010 race was contested between Kailasapathy and Sandi Smith, which was won by Smith 1,004 (55%) to 833 (45%)

This brief will be updated as additional precinct totals are known. Check the Washtenaw County clerk’s election results website for definitive, but still unofficial results.

Updated 10:23 p.m.: Current informal results show Kailasapathy with a total of 674 (55%) votes, compared to 554 (45%) for Sturgis – which reflects a total of 9 out of 10 precincts informally reported.

Updated 11:40 p.m.: Complete informal results show Kailasapathy with a total of 863 (57.8%) votes, compared to 628 (42%) for Sturgis – which reflects a total of 10 out of 10 precincts unofficially reported. [Full Story]

Ward 1 City Council Race: Filling Sandi’s Seat

One of the first local candidate forums in the 2012 primary election season was held last week – for Ann Arbor Ward 1 city council Democratic candidates, Sumi Kailasapathy and Eric Sturgis.

Sumi Kailasapathy Eric Sturgis

Eric Sturgis and Sumi Kailasapathy at their June 20, 2012 Democratic primary forum. They are running for a Ward 1 Ann Arbor city council seat.

In the Aug. 7 primary, the two candidates will contest Sandi Smith’s seat on the council. Smith announced in April that she will not seek re-election to a third two-year term.

The June 20 forum included fairly standard opening and closing statements, and other questions that invited candidates to talk about themselves.

Sturgis emphasized the fact that he grew up in Ann Arbor and noted his connection to the Ann Arbor public schools; he liberally sprinkled through his remarks the names of several people who’ve endorsed him, including Sandi Smith.

Kailasapathy emphasized her educational background in political science and economics and her professional training as a certified public accountant.

Broader policy issues covered at the forum included: communication (transparency and dissemination of information); planning and development (African American Cultural & Historical Museum, Near North, 618 S. Main); and transportation (rail station, countywide transit). The candidates were also asked questions about employee health care, public art, medical marijuana, and the public schools.

The forum featured a combination of questions that had been prepared in advance, as well as some questions submitted by audience members on cards during the forum. Mike Henry, co-chair of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party, moderated the forum and declined to read some of the questions submitted from the audience on cards, calling them “unfair.” But toward the end of the event Henry allowed questions to be asked directly from the audience. Anne Bannister, the other party co-chair, was also on hand to help manage the forum.

A kerfuffle over campaign yard signs preceded the forum – as the two campaigns had difficulty reaching agreement on the appropriate placement of yard signs outside the venue, the Arrowwood Community Center. The center is located off Pontiac Trail about a half mile north of Barton Road.

And during the forum itself, the focus of the conversation at times veered away from substantive issues into associations that Sturgis and Kailasapathy may or may not have had with past candidates for office – locally and statewide. One of those past candidates was current Ward 2 city councilmember Jane Lumm.

In a comment emailed to The Chronicle, Lumm offered this perspective: “I was not at the debate the other night, but it sounds like some of the discussion was about who supported whom in past elections rather than exclusively focused on the issues and challenges facing the city. That’s unfortunate. Whether it’s beefing up public safety, or the strategies and decisions on county-wide transit and the passenger rail station, or service delivery efficiency, there are important city issues and that’s where the discussion ought to be.”

The detailed report of the forum below is organized thematically, not in chronological sequence. The report begins with a brief bit of internal Ann Arbor Democratic Party business, and is followed by the broader policy topics and other one-off policy questions. The various who-supported-whom issues are extracted into a separate, final section. [Full Story]

Sandi Smith Won’t Seek Third Council Term

In a phone conversation with The Chronicle on Monday afternoon, Ward 1 Ann Arbor city councilmember Sandi Smith has indicated she will not be seeking reelection to a third term on the council. As competing demands on her time, she cited the growth of her company Trillium Real Estate and the recent surge in the real estate market. She has also agreed to a leadership position for the Jim Toy Center, Washtenaw County’s LGBT Resource Center.

Smith also serves on the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. Her current term expires in July 2012. She said she plans to seek reappointment to that position.

First elected to the council in 2008, Smith – a Democrat – is now serving her second … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor’s Ward 1: Cthulhu Council?

Editor’s note: Ann Arbor city councilmember Tony Derezinski has already stated publicly that he’ll be seeking re-election to his Ward 2 seat in 2012. It was Ward 2 that offered the closest race in the fall of 2011 – a contest won by Jane Lumm over Stephen Rapundalo. Neighboring Ward 1 offered the least chance of a surprising outcome in 2011, featuring just one choice on its ballot – incumbent Democrat Sabra Briere. Briere was also unopposed in the August Democratic primary.

Ballot Mr. No Fuller

This ballot likely reflects a sentiment against the Fuller Road Station, which would include a train station, bus terminal and – in its first phase – a large parking structure. At last report, the facility would be a joint city of Ann Arbor-University of Michigan project, located on city-owned land that's designated as part of the park system.

Out of curiosity, The Chronicle asked intern Hayley Byrnes to take a look at the names of people voters wrote by hand on their ballots. 

Of the 1,206 Ward 1 voters who dragged themselves to their polling stations on a rainy Tuesday last November, 57 filled in the bubble next to the blank space for write-in candidates.

None of the people whose names were written on any of those 57 ballots could have won the election. Some were not the names of actual people who live in Ward 1, or even actual people at all.

But even among those actual Ward 1 residents whose names were put forward by voters, none of them had filed officially for a write-in candidacy. They were therefore not legal opponents in the election. Those 57 bubbles, however, reflected the votes of 57 Ward 1 voters.

Writing in the name of a person who has not registered as a write-in candidate – on a ballot that offers only one candidate – could reasonably be seen as an expression of dissatisfaction.

So The Chronicle wanted to discover: What form did voters’ dissatisfaction take? [Full Story]

Dems Without Primary: Ward 1, Ward 4

The 11-member Ann Arbor city council is composed purely of Democrats. Of the five incumbents who are seeking re-election this year, three have contested primaries. So two of them already have a spot on the Nov. 8 ballot – Sabra Briere in Ward 1 and Marcia Higgins in Ward 4. Higgins will face Republican Eric Scheie in November.


Sabra Briere (Ward 1) at the June 11 forum hosted by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party. (Photos by the writer.)

But unless an independent candidate files by Aug. 15, Briere’s path to re-election is completely free of opponents.

Still, the Ann Arbor Democratic Party invited all Democratic candidates to a forum on Saturday morning, June 11. Unlike primary elections themselves, which cost the city about $7,000 per ward to administer, the only additional cost to the extra invitations was two minutes of the public’s time.

The forum was held in the context of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party’s regular monthly meeting at its usual location in the Ann Arbor Community Center on North Main Street.

At the forum, the seven Democratic candidates in those wards with contested primary races were asked to respond to a series of questions from party co-chair Mike Henry. Briere and Higgins were also invited to deliver some remarks at the conclusion of the event. Higgins was not able to attend, but Briere accepted the invitation.

After the break, we summarize what Briere had to say in her allotted two minutes, after she listened to the other candidates respond to questions posed by Henry. We also provide a sampling of photos from Saturday’s event. Summaries of responses made by candidates for seats in Ward 2Ward 3 and Ward 5 are presented in separate articles.

It’s also worth noting that the last day to register to vote for the Aug. 2, 2011 primary is July 5. [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]