Stories indexed with the term ‘Ward 2’

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]

Live from the Library: Ward 2 Council Forum

The Orchard Hills-Maplewood neighborhood association is hosting a forum tonight (July 14) at 7 p.m. for Ward 2 city council candidates in the Democratic primary election, to be held Aug. 5, 2014.

Group photo of candidates in Ward 1, Ward 2 and Ward 3 at the Ann Arbor Democratic Party forum held on Saturday, July 12, 2014. From right: Don Adams and Sumi Kailasapathy; Nancy Kaplan and Kirk Westphal; Julie Grand, Samuel McMullen and Bob Dascola.

Group photo of candidates in Ward 1, Ward 2 and Ward 3 at the Ann Arbor Democratic Party forum held on Saturday, July 12, 2014. From right: Ward 1 candidates Don Adams and Sumi Kailasapathy; Ward 2 candidates Nancy Kaplan and Kirk Westphal; and Ward 3 candidates Julie Grand, Samuel McMullen and Bob Dascola.

The forum will be held at the Traverwood branch of the Ann Arbor District Library.

The Ward 2 city council race features Kirk Westphal, current chair of the city planning commission, and Nancy Kaplan, current trustee on the Ann Arbor District Library board.

There’s no incumbent in this race, because Ward 2 city councilmember Sally Petersen is running for mayor instead of re-election.

The Chronicle plans to broadcast live audio of the event. The live audio player is embedded below. After the event, it will be replaced with an .mp3 recording. Update: Several .mp3 files broken down by question are now included in the article in place of the live-stream player.

Previous Chronicle coverage of the Ward 2 city council race includes: “Ward 2 Candidate Forum: CTN Broadcast” (embedded video with transcript in a scrolling text box) and “Council Candidates Live: Ann Arbor Dems” (.mp3 audio files).

Community Television Network 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 2 profiles]

Listen below to the live broadcast from the Traverwood branch of the Ann Arbor District Library. [Full Story]

Ward 2 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.

Nancy Kaplan and Kirk Westphal at Ann Arbor's Fourth of July parade.

Nancy Kaplan and Kirk Westphal marches in Ann Arbor’s Fourth of July parade.

The Ward 2 city council Democratic primary forum features current chair of the city planning commission, Kirk Westphal and current trustee on the board of the Ann Arbor District Library board, Nancy Kaplan.

The Ward 2 seat does not have an incumbent this year, because Sally Petersen is running for mayor, instead of seeking re-election to another two-year term on the city council.

The scheduled broadcast start time on CTN is at 8 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 2 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 2 candidate forum below. The Ward 3 candidate forum will follow at 9 p.m. [Full Story]

Millage at the Village: Ward 2 Transit Talk

Voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township will decide on May 6, 2014 whether they want to pay an additional 0.7 mill tax for five years – to fund increased public transportation service.

Exactly one week before the vote, Ward 2 Ann Arbor city councilmembers Jane Lumm and Sally Petersen hosted a resident meeting on the topic.

Route map is the current route configuration of AAATA fixed route buses from the AAATA route map. Label and icon for Earhart Village added by The Chronicle.

This AAATA route map shows the current configuration of fixed-route buses. Label and icon for Earhart Village added by The Chronicle.

Invited were all residents of Ward 2, city residents at large, as well as representatives of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority. The AAATA board voted in February to place the millage on the May 6 ballot.

About 50 people attended. Among others, the meeting drew Ward 2 city council candidate Nancy Kaplan, former Ward 1 council candidate Jeff Hayner, former mayor Ingrid Sheldon, Ward 3 council candidate Julie Grand, and state rep Jeff Irwin (D-53).

This is a report of that meeting.

Lumm and Petersen had previously co-hosted a half dozen similar meetings for their constituents on a variety of topics. The April 29 event had a potentially broader impact: At a candidate forum held on April 16, 2014, mayoral hopeful Petersen had stated that she was planning to wait until after the April 29 ward meeting to decide on a possible endorsement of the millage.

At that time, Petersen was still a little bit on the fence – but leaning toward supporting it. By then, the three other candidates in the Democratic mayoral primary – Sabra Briere, Christopher Taylor and Stephen Kunselman – had already indicated support for the additional tax.

The April 29 evening meeting was held at Earhart Village – a 174-unit condominium community just off the north-south Earhart Road, between Plymouth and Geddes. The Route #2 bus line runs from downtown to the northeast up Plymouth – with a relatively infrequent variant, Route #2C, that offers service down from Plymouth to the Earhart Village area. Accessing Route #3 to the south, on Geddes, would mean about a 1-mile walk up Earhart for an Earhart Village resident.

Frequency of service to the Earhart Village area was among the complaints of some attendees. Many in the room were negatively inclined toward the millage, as one woman announced she’d already voted no, using an absentee ballot. But there were some voices in the room that backed the proposal. Responding to criticism that the AAATA was not a “lean-and-mean” organization, a teacher in the audience made a comparison to cuts by the school district: “Lean-and-mean is not serving our students.”

AAATA staff Chris White, Michael Benham, and Mary Stasiak gave a presentation to the group before fielding questions. Lumm and Petersen structured the interaction by reading questions that attendees had written on index cards, but people were also free to ask direct questions. Some questions were pointedly critical in tone: “Does the millage money cover the additional wear and tear on the roads due to the additional buses?” And some were softballs: “Do Ward 2 constituents understand the benefit of bus expansion for low-income people and people with disabilities?”

At the conclusion of the meeting, Petersen quipped: “We had loaded questions, we had loaded answers. Hopefully one way or another we’ll have loaded buses sometime soon!” And Petersen announced her support for the millage two days later at a May 1 morning meeting of the Main Street Area Association.

However loaded the questions might have been, they elicited some useful information about how public transportation works. This report is organized along three broad themes reflected in the questions and comments from residents: overall efficiency of the AAATA as an organization; the nature of transportation funding; and some basics of public transportation service. The report is supplemented with charts generated from a national transit database. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Dems Do Endorsement Puzzle

At a morning meeting on Saturday, Oct. 12 held at the Ann Arbor Community Center, Ann Arbor Democratic Party members affirmed the party’s endorsement of Kirk Westphal in the Ward 2 city council race. Westphal was unopposed in the Democratic primary held in August and is the Democratic Party nominee on the Nov. 5 ballot.

From left: (1) a puzzle with counting numbers completed multiple times during the meeting by Ann Arbor city councilmember Chuck Warpehoski's daughter; (2) the voting credential that had to be held aloft at the Dems meeting in order for a vote to be counted; and (3) Robert's Rules held aloft as the authority determining that a 2/3 majority of votes would need to be counted, in order for the endorsement to be rescinded.

From left: (1) a puzzle with counting numbers, which was completed multiple times during the meeting by Ann Arbor city councilmember Chuck Warpehoski’s daughter; (2) the voting credential that had to be held aloft at the Dems meeting in order for a vote to be counted; and (3) Robert’s Rules of Order held aloft as the authority determining that a 2/3 majority of votes would need to be counted, in order for the endorsement of Kirk Westphal to be rescinded. (Photos by the writer.)

The party’s executive board had voted on Wednesday to endorse Westphal. But at Saturday’s meeting of the general membership, Jack Eaton – the Democratic nominee for Ward 4 Ann Arbor city council – brought forward a motion to rescind that endorsement of Westphal. His motion was defeated by a vote of the general membership.

Eaton had contested the August primary in Ward 4 with incumbent Democrat Marcia Higgins, and he won the race decisively. He is supporting incumbent independent Jane Lumm against Westphal in the Ward 2 election, as are Democratic councilmembers Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1) and some other local Democrats. Lumm served on the council in the mid-1990s as a Republican. Except for Lumm, the entire 11-member council consists of Democrats. The Ward 2 race includes independent Conrad Brown in addition to Lumm and Westphal.

Anglin and Kailasapathy attended the Democratic Party meeting, as did several other councilmembers who have not endorsed Lumm: Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Sally Petersen (Ward 2), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), and Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5). Taylor and Warpehoski have endorsed Westphal.

In rising to express her support for Lumm, lifelong Democrat Jane Michener indicated that she felt Westphal was working toward making the world “safe for developers” instead of on behalf of residents, and that’s why she’s supporting Lumm. Westphal is chair of the city’s planning commission.

To vote on the question of Westphal’s endorsement, attendees held aloft squares with a Democratic logo  – a voting credential issued that morning. With 56 people voting against the motion to rescind – that is, to leave Westphal’s endorsement in place – and only 21 voting to rescind it, a simple majority was not achieved. So the required 2/3 majority was also not achieved.

The question of Westphal’s endorsement came in the context of a meeting that had been billed as “Endorsement Saturday” by the party. Representatives for 2014 campaigns at the state and national level were on hand to deliver remarks and to receive the Ann Arbor Democratic Party’s endorsement.

Not every candidate was on hand in person, but the general membership of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party gave its endorsement to the following: Mark Schauer (governor), Mark Totten (Michigan Attorney General), John Dingell (U.S. House District 12), Pam Byrnes (U.S. House District 7), Gary Peters (U.S. Senate), Gretchen Driskell (Michigan state house representative District 52), Jeff Irwin (Michigan state house representative District 53), and Adam Zemke (Michigan state house representative District 55). [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]

Precinct 2-8 Polling: Methodist Church

Voters in Ann Arbor’s Ward 2, Precinct 8 (2-8) will cast their ballots in future elections at the First United Methodist Church on Green Road. The city council action to change the location from the St. Paul Lutheran School came at its July 1, 2013 meeting.

According to a letter sent to the city earlier this year by school principal Brad Massey, the decision to stop offering St. Paul Lutheran Church and School as a polling place to the city was based on “recent events affecting the safety of school children.” [.pdf of April 16, 2013 letter]

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed … [Full Story]

Westphal Pulls Petitions for Ward 2 Council

Kirk Westphal has pulled petitions to run in the Aug. 6, 2013 Democratic primary for a seat representing Ward 2 on the Ann Arbor city council. According to Westphal, he took out the petitions on the afternoon of March 21.

Kirk Westphal at the March 4, 2013 meeting of the Ann Arbor city council

Kirk Westphal was in the audience at the March 4, 2013 meeting of the Ann Arbor city council, when the council considered a moratorium on site plans for areas of the downtown zoned D1. He serves as chair of the city planning commission.

If he files the petitions with at least 100 valid signatures by the May 14 deadline, he’ll be competing for the seat currently held by independent Jane Lumm. Lumm was elected most recently in November 2011, winning the general election against Stephen Rapundalo, who ran as a Democrat. Lumm, who served for a period on the council in the mid 1990s as a Republican, is expected to run again this year.

In a telephone interview with The Chronicle, Westphal stated: “I consider myself strongly pro-environment, pro-transit, pro-alternative energy, and a strong Democrat. I hope to represent my ward in that capacity.” Responding to a standard question, he said he’s running “because I sense we’re on the cusp of some unique opportunities and challenges. I’m hopeful my vision of the future resonates with the ward.”

Westphal is currently chair of the city’s planning commission. He was first appointed on Oct. 3, 2006, replacing James D’Amour. The city council confirmed Westphal’s reappointment to the planning commission on July 2, 2012 for another three-year term on the commission, ending July 1, 2015. Westphal also serves on the city’s environmental commission.

Westphal is married with two children, ages 5 and 7, and lives in the Glacier neighborhood of Ward 2. Chronicle readers might be familiar with that part of town through The Chronicle’s coverage of last year’s Memorial Day parade. [Full Story]

A2: Ward 2 Website

Ann Arbor city councilmembers Sally Petersen and Jane Lumm – who both represent Ward 2 – have launched a website for their constituents: The site includes a link to a “resident satisfaction survey” powered by the Ann Arbor firm ForeSee Results. The 40-item survey covers a wide range of topics, asking for feedback on parks, garbage collection, recycling, infrastructure, taxes, the bus system, police, and several other issues. Three open-ended questions include this one: “If you could make one suggestion for your elected official to focus on during the next six months what would it be?” [Source] Not sure if you live in Ward 2? Here’s a link to … [Full Story]

Early Returns: Ward 2 Ann Arbor Council

Early unofficial returns from the Ward 5 city council race for the Democratic nomination – between Sally Petersen and Tony Derezinski – showDerezinski with a total of 593 (44%) votes, compared to 756 (56%) for Petersen – which reflects a total of 4 out of 9 precincts informally reported.

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.

Update at 11:19 p.m.: Current results show Derezinski with a total of 798 (43.5%) votes, compared to 1035 (56.5%) for Petersen – which reflects a total of 8 out of 9 precincts informally reported.

Update at 11:34 p.m.: Complete provisional results show Derezinski with a total of 938 (44.7%) votes, compared to 1160 (55.2%) for Petersen – which reflects a total of 9 out of 9 precincts informally reported. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Council Ward 2: Sally or Tony?

On July 14, 2012, Ward 2 candidates in the city council Democratic primary – Sally Petersen and incumbent Tony Derezinski – participated in a forum with six other candidates in a total of four city council Democratic primary races. The event was hosted by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party. This article summarizes the responses from Ward 2 candidates. Other races are covered in separate Chronicle articles.

Tony Derezinski Sally Petersen

Ward 2 Ann Arbor city council candidates Sally Petersen and Tony Derezinski. (Photos by the writer.)

Derezinski has served on the council since winning election in 2008 and is seeking 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 2 will likely not face an on-the-ballot opponent in November, because no Republican has filed and the deadline for independent candidates to file is July 19.

Contested Ward 2 Democratic primaries are somewhat of a rarity in Ann Arbor. When Derezinski won the primary against Stew Nelson in 2008 with 60% of the vote, the seat was coming open – because Ward 2 incumbent Democrat Joan Lowenstein opted to run for judge of the 15th District Court (a race won by Chris Easthope, a former city councilmember). Derezinski was not challenged in the 2010 Democratic primary, but faced Libertarian Emily Salvette in the November general election that year, winning with 79% of the vote.

In her remarks about herself, Petersen stressed her significant business experience, and mentioned her MBA degree. Locally, she’s worked in senior marketing positions in the private sector for companies like CFI Group and ABN AMRO Mortgage Group. That experience led her to take customer-satisfaction as a principle that could be applied to local government – but she assured attendees at the forum that she did not want to try to run government like a business.

Petersen described her family upbringing as civic-minded, and cited her volunteer experience in Ann Arbor – as board member at the Neutral Zone, president of the Tappan Middle School PTSO, and secretary of the Huron High School Athletic Booster Club. She said she would bring a fresh voice and a fresh agenda to the council.

Derezinski appeared to chafe at Petersen’s description of herself as a fresh voice – raising the possibility that she’s alluding to his age. He ventured that the contrast he offered to a fresh voice was one of “seasoning.” He cited 40 years of experience in municipal law, an area he feels is relevant to city council service. He pointed to his service on the city council as the council’s representative to the city planning commission. He also serves on the public art commission.  When he first ran for office, his slogan was: “Let’s make our great community even better,” and he said he wanted to continue his service, to make the community even better.

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 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.

For Petersen and Derezinski, the evolution of candidate remarks moderated by Henry revealed a difference of opinion between the two about inclusiveness and the adequacy of outward- and inward-bound communication. Derezinski was keen to stress the importance of being active in the local Democratic Party (to contrast himself with Petersen who has not been active in the local party) and the importance of electing Democratic candidates to the city council. That view appeared inconsistent with the one Derezinski had expressed at a local League of Women Voters forum held earlier in the week. At the LWV forum, he’d said that he’d be in favor of getting rid of the partisan aspect of Ann Arbor city elections – and conduct local elections in a non-partisan way like the vast majority of other Michigan cities do.

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]

2011 Ward 2 Race: Looking Ahead to the ’90s

On a rainy Wednesday evening late last month, around 55 Ann Arbor residents gathered inside the Thurston Elementary School media center to hear Ward 2 Ann Arbor city council candidates respond to questions. This year, the general election in Ward 2 is contested between three-term Democratic incumbent Stephen Rapundalo and independent challenger Jane Lumm, who served on the council as a Republican from 1994-1998.

Stephen Rapundalo Jane Lumm Ward 2

Stephen Rapundalo and Jane Lumm were adamant in their positions, but appeared in relatively good humor. (Photos by the writer.)

Rapundalo has made the city’s past and future a central theme of his campaign, and the Oct. 26 event amply reflected that. Rapundalo spent much of the evening trying to characterize the city councils of the 1990s, on which Lumm served, as unable to work cooperatively as a group. That contrasts with his own approach and that of the current council, said Rapundalo, which is based on consensus and cooperation, even if councilmembers don’t agree on everything.

Even as Rapundalo appealed to the past in criticizing Lumm – for supporting what he called luxurious labor contracts during her tenure of service – he also criticized what he perceives her attitude to be towards the future. He calls it a “hunker down” mentality, which he says doesn’t take into account the steps the city needs to take to ensure future generations have what they need.

For her part, Lumm tells a narrative in which city government has become, since the time she served on the council, disconnected from the priorities of residents. She wants to restore community input and open conversation back to city government, which she contends is now lacking. At the Thurston forum, she responded to Rapundalo’s criticism about her prior service as a councilmember by saying she welcomed the comparison between “the bad old days” and now. She characterized herself as a fiscal watchdog, who pressed financial issues, even if there was not the same appetite for that on the rest of the council.

Certain aspects of Lumm’s record are portrayed on Rapudalo’s campaign website in a way that could fairly be described as out of context. [A closer examination of Rapundalo's portrayals based on city council minute archival material is included in The Chronicle's write-up of the League of Women Voters forum, earlier in the campaign: "2011 Election: Ward 2 City Council"] At the Thurston forum, however, Rapundalo was right about a point of contention that emerged over whether Lumm had enjoyed a Republican majority on a city council committee. The city council archives show a 3-2 Republican majority on the labor negotiating committee in 1996.

The forum was hosted by the Orchard Hills/Maplewood Homeowners Association, moderated by Peter Mooney, who’s president of that group. Rapundalo is a member of the association, and Thurston Elementary is in Rapundalo’s neighborhood. But if there was a general leaning among the assembly, it seemed to be in favor of Lumm – based on response to a few laugh lines sprinkled throughout the forum.

The format of the event contrasted with many other similar events, in that it featured no rigid time constraints on candidate responses – just a general guideline from Mooney to try to limit responses to around three to four minutes.

Mooney took questions written by audience members on cards and synthesized them into prompts for the candidates. Paraphrased questions and responses below are summarized in the order they were given. [Campaign websites: Jane Lumm , Stephen Rapundalo] [Full Story]

General Election 2011: City Council Money

For nine candidates in Ann Arbor city council races this year, Oct. 28 was the pre-election campaign filing deadline.

Overridge Drive

Magenta dots indicate addresses of donors to the campaign of Ward 2 independent Jane Lumm. Overridge Drive is Lumm's home street, located near Huron Hills golf course, visible to the north in this image.

In an uncontested Ward 1 race, documents filed with the Washtenaw county clerk’s office show Democratic incumbent Sabra Briere raised $3,640 from 48 donors since the primary election (which for her was also uncontested).

In the contested Ward 3 race, Democratic incumbent Stephen Kunselman raised an additional $20 from one donor, bringing his total to $4,045 for this year’s election cycle. Kunselman prevailed in a three-way primary in August. Kunselman’s Republican challenger David Parker filed a waiver request – which is allowed if a candidate expects to spend less than $1,000.

In Ward 4, Democratic incumbent Marcia Higgins raised $1,075 from seven donors, compared with no contributions raised by her Republican opponent Eric Scheie. Scheie filed a negative balance (–$1,173.73), which earned him a notice of error from the county clerk’s office – the source of funds used to pay for expenditures must be given, even if it is a loan by the candidate to the campaign.

In Ward 5, Democratic incumbent Mike Anglin, who also had a contested primary, raised an additional $185 from three donors to bring his total this year to $7,405. Anglin’s Republican challenger Stuart Berry filed a waiver request.

In Ward 2, filing documents for Stephen Rapundalo show he raised an additional $4,420 since the primary, which was a contested race for him, bringing the total indicated on his paperwork for this year’s campaign to $8,505. [The Chronicle's arithmetic calculates $4,380, not $4,420, for this filing period.]

Independent challenger Jane Lumm, who of course did not participate in a partisan primary, outpaced all other candidates’ combined totals since the primaries by raising $18,950 from 193 donors.

After the jump we break down the Ward 2 contributions with charts and maps. [Full Story]

2011 Election: Ward 2 City Council

Independent Jane Lumm is challenging Democratic incumbent Stephen Rapundalo in the Ward 2 Ann Arbor city council race, and they both participated in the recent candidate forums hosted by the local League of Women Voters (LWV).

Jane Lumm and Stephen Rapundalo Ward 2 Ann Arbor city council

Independent Jane Lumm (left) and Stephen Rapundalo (right) before the start of the League of Women Voters Oct. 5 forum. They're vying to represent Ward 2 on the Ann Arbor city council. (Photo by the writer.)

The forums on Oct. 5, 2011 were held for all four of the city’s five wards that have contested races. Replays are available via Community Television Network’s video on demand service. [Ward 2 CTN coverage]

The Ann Arbor 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.

Of the four contested races this year, the Ward 2 contest likely poses the greatest chance for a challenger to take an incumbent’s seat. Lumm previously served on the city council in the 1990s, has been active in the community, enjoys good name recognition and has achieved a broad coalition of support across party lines. She served previously on the council as a Republican. Lumm’s supporters include some who previously supported Rapundalo as recently as in the August Democratic primary.

One measure of Rapundalo’s own perception that Lumm poses a significant threat is the tenor of his campaign – as reflected in his website as well as his closing comments at the LWV debate. In those comments, he attempted to paint Lumm – and the city councils of the 1990s – as having created a mess that he’s had to clean up. Specific votes cast by Lumm are described and criticized by Rapundalo on his website without their full context. The context for some votes by Lumm – votes that are cited and criticized on Rapundalo’s website – reveal a kind of garden-variety fiscal conservatism that Rapundalo is also known for.

Topics addressed by the two candidates, presented in chronological order below (annotated to include historical context), include the proposed Fuller Road Station, the retirement board charter amendment, street repair millage, finance, human services, public art, and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. [Full Story]

Ward 2 City Council Race Gets Started

Jane Lumm, an independent candidate who’s challenging three-term incumbent Democrat Stephen Rapundalo for a Ward 2 city council seat, launched her election bid in a press release on Sept. 15, by announcing members of her campaign committee.

Co-chairing the committee will be Leslie Morris and Ingrid Sheldon.

Morris served on the city council as a Democrat from 1977-83, and Sheldon served as mayor of Ann Arbor as a Republican from 1993-2000. They reflect the mix of support for Lumm from prominent members of both parties, who are cited in her press release.

Lumm’s press release counts the following prominent Democrats among her committee members or supporters: Robert Faber, Barbara Bach, Seth Hirshorn, Michael Morris, Thomas Wieder, David DeVarti, Doris Preston, Vivienne Armentrout, Peter … [Full Story]

Lumm Gets Support from Shaffran

In an email sent to several people on Aug. 10, local developer Ed Shaffran has encouraged support of Jane Lumm’s candidacy for the Ward 2 Ann Arbor city council seat in the Nov. 8 general election.

The email was sent not long after news broke that Lumm had filed the necessary petitions to qualify as an independent candidate for the Ward 2 race. That race will now be contested between Lumm and Stephen Rapundalo, who won the Aug. 2 Democratic primary against Tim Hull. No Republican filed petitions to appear on the Ward 2 ballot. Both Lumm and Rapundalo have previously run for office as Republicans.

Shaffran’s support for Lumm is somewhat significant, because he previously had urged support … [Full Story]

Lumm Mulls Ward 2 Race as Independent

Although the city of Ann Arbor’s website previously reflected a different deadline date, city clerk staff has confirmed by phone for The Chronicle that the deadline for non-partisan Ann Arbor city council candidates to file nominating petitions to appear on the Nov. 8, 2011 ballot is Wednesday, Aug. 10.

So with only one remaining weekend between Friday, Aug. 5, and the filing deadline, Jane Lumm told The Chronicle that she was headed to the city clerk’s office to pick up nominating petitions to become an independent candidate for Ward 2 city council. Late Friday afternoon, on her way to the clerk’s office, she said she has not yet made a final decision about circulating the petitions. She continues to mull a … [Full Story]

Incumbents Win Ann Arbor Dem Primaries

Based on unofficial vote totals from all precincts, incumbents in three Ann Arbor city wards have won the Democratic Party’s nomination for city council representative, and they will appear on the ballot in November.

2011 City Map Dem Primary

Ward maps showing incumbents relative strength across precincts. The circles represent results of the absent voter count boards for each ward. (Image links to higher resolution file.)

In Ward 2, Stephen Rapundalo received 57% of the vote: 573 votes, compared with Tim Hull’s 420.

In Ward 3, Stephen Kunselman received 59% of the vote: 637 votes, compared to 389 for Ingrid Ault and 55 for Marwan Issa.

And in Ward 5, Mike Anglin received 66% of the votes: 1,088 votes, compared with Neal Elyakin’s 562.

Turnout was down in every ward compared to previous odd-year Democratic primaries. In Ward 2 only 6.39% of registered voters turned in a ballot. In Ward 3, only 8.84% of those who are registered actually voted. And in Ward 5, registered voters had a turnout of only 8.71%.

In the city’s other two wards, no Democratic primary was contested. No ward had a contested Republican primary.

In Ward 2, for the Nov. 8, 2011 general election, Rapundalo does not currently face a challenger. The deadline for an independent candidate to file is Aug. 15.

In Ward 3, Kunselman’s name will appear on the ballot along with Republican David Parker. In Ward 5, Mike Anglin will face Republican Stuart Berry.

In Ward 4, which did not require a primary election, incumbent Democrat Marcia Higgins will face Republican Eric Scheie in November. In Ward 1, incumbent Democrat Sabra Briere faced no primary challenger and will face no challenger on the ballot in November unless an independent files qualifying petitions by Aug. 15. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Dems Primary: Two for Ward 2

Earlier this month, the local League of Women Voters hosted forums for candidates from each ward with a contested Democratic primary election for Ann Arbor city council. That included Ward 2, where incumbent Stephen Rapundalo and challenger Tim Hull are both seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination. The primary elections this year fall on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Tim Hull Stephen Rapundalo Ward 2 Democratic Primary

Top: Stephen Rapundalo. Bottom: Tim Hull. (Photos by the writer)

Because no Republican challenger filed by the May deadline, the winner of the Ward 2 Democratic primary will likely be the Ward 2 representative to the city council. Some uncertainty surrounds that conclusion, however, because the filing deadline for non-partisan, independent candidates is not until Aug. 15. And Ward 2 has a recent election history that includes write-in candidate Ed Amonsen’s effort in the 2007 general election, which nearly won him a seat on the council. Amonsen’s write-in campaign earned him 790 votes (48.4%) to Rapundalo’s 843.

In their opening and closing statements, the candidates reprised the themes they’d introduced at a previous forum hosted by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party in June. Rapundalo stressed his experience and leadership as essential in trying economic times to find solutions in the area of cost containment and “revenue restructuring.” Rapundalo is president and CEO of MichBio, a biosciences industry trade association. First elected in 2005, Rapundalo is seeking a fourth two-year term on the city council.

For his part, Hull focused on budgeting that is based on community needs, not politics, and stressed that he would protect those things that make Ann Arbor unique. Hull is a programmer at the University of Michigan’s Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics. He serves as a member of the city’s taxicab board.

The two candidates dealt with the full range of topics covered by LWV questions – from public safety cuts to their thoughts on the hiring of the new city administrator.

The LWV forum was filmed at the Community Television Network studios on South Industrial Highway. After the break, The Chronicle presents paraphrases of questions posed to the candidates and their responses to them, as well as some highlights from the candidates’ remarks broken down in a bit more detail. [Full Story]

Democratic Primary 2011: Mapping Money

For the seven Democratic candidates in three different wards, Friday, July 22 was the filing deadline for pre-primary campaign contributions in Ann Arbor city council races. The primary election is on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

2011 Contributions Democratic Primary Ann Arbor

Summary plot of all local contributions to six candidates in Ann Arbor Democratic primary elections. The light blue areas are the wards in which the elections are contested. Each magenta circle indicates a contribution, placed on the map based on the address of the contributor and sized based on the amount of the contribution.

Six candidates filed the necessary paperwork, which is available from the Washtenaw County clerk’s office website. [Type in the candidate's last name for links to scanned .pdf files of campaign finance reports.]

For itemized cash contributions listed on Schedule 1-A, The Chronicle has compiled the data for all six candidates into a single Google Spreadsheet – in order to get a statistical overview of the candidates’ respective contributions and to map out the distributions of contributions geographically.

Ward 5 incumbent Mike Anglin’s total of $6,850 was the largest of any candidate. His challenger Neal Elyakin filed $5,923 worth of contributions.

In Ward 3, Ingrid Ault has raised $4,031, compared to incumbent Stephen Kunselman’s $2,750. According to Washtenaw County clerk staff on Tuesday morning, Ward 3 candidate Marwan Issa had not filed a contribution report by the Friday deadline. He’d also not submitted a waiver that can be filed if contributions total less than $1,000. The fine associated with not filing is $25 per day, up to a maximum of $500.

In Ward 2, incumbent Stephen Rapundalo filed $2,950 worth of contributions compared with $2,075 for challenger Tim Hull.

Collectively, the six candidates recorded $24,579 on their statements.

After the jump, we chart out the contributions to illustrate how candidates are being supported – through many small-sized donations, or by a fewer larger-sized donations. We also provide a geographic plot, to illustrate how much financial support candidates enjoy in the wards they’re running to represent. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Elections Past: Voting Patterns

Tea leaves, tarot cards, crystal balls – predicting the future is a popular pastime. But here at The Chronicle, we decided to take a look at past elections – with an eye towards the approaching Aug. 2 primary elections for the Ann Arbor city council.

Primary elections in the city of Ann Arbor this year fall on Tues. Aug. 2.

Primary elections in the city of Ann Arbor this year fall on Tues. Aug. 2.

Ann Arbor residents are represented by the mayor and 10 other elected members on the city council – two for each of the city’s five wards. Each year, one of the pair of councilmembers stands for re-election to a two-year term. This year, three members of the currently all-Democratic council have contested races in the primary, which falls on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

In Ward 5, incumbent Mike Anglin is challenged by Neal Elyakin. In Ward 3, incumbent Stephen Kunselman is challenged by Marwan Issa and Ingrid Ault. And in Ward 2, incumbent Stephen Rapundalo is challenged by Tim Hull.

Each of the city’s five wards is divided into precincts.

In this article, The Chronicle takes a look at the incumbents’ performance in past elections, mapped out by precinct. Some descriptive generalizations are readily apparent in the data – the strength of incumbents has not been uniform across their respective wards.

And in some cases, it’s possible to offer a speculative analysis that could account for some of those patterns. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Ward 2: Democratic Primary 2011

Contesting the Ward 2 Ann Arbor city council Democratic primary this year are incumbent Stephen Rapundalo and Tim Hull. Both candidates participated in the Ann Arbor Democratic Party forum on Saturday morning, June 11.

The event was a combined forum for all Ann Arbor city council candidates in contested wards for the Aug. 2 primary election. The forum was held in the context of the Democratic Party’s regular monthly meeting at its usual location in the Ann Arbor Community Center on North Main Street.

Ann Arbor Ward 2 Map

Ann Arbor Ward 2 is the highlighted magenta wedge. The image links to the city of Ann Arbor's My Property page. Type in your address for definitive information about which ward and precinct you live in, along with scads of other information.

The winner of the Ward 2 Democratic primary will almost certainly be the winner of the general election on Nov. 8. No Republican filed nominating petitions, and no independent candidate has yet filed. Independent candidates have until Aug. 15, 2011 at 5 p.m. to file petitions to run in November.

Currently, only Democrats serve on Ann Arbor’s city council. Republicans have filed in Ward 3 (David Parker), Ward 4 (Eric Scheie) and Ward 5 (Stuart Berry). For the open Ward 1 seat, currently held by Sabra Briere, no partisan challenger filed.

The last day to register to vote for the Aug. 2, 2011 primary is July 5, 2011.

After the break, we report in paraphrase form what the Ward 2 candidates had to say. Summaries of remarks made by candidates for seats in Ward 3 and Ward 5 are presented in separate articles. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor City Council Elections: Ward 2

On the last Monday in September, the League of Women Voters hosted a forum of candidates for Ann Arbor city council at Community Television Network studios. Ward 2 and Ward 5 are the only two wards where more than one candidate is on offer to voters on Nov. 2. The respective incumbents in Wards 1, 3 and 4 – Sandi Smith, Christopher Taylor, Margie Teall, who are all Democrats – are unopposed. The Ward 2 and Ward 5 forum was recorded and is available online through CTN’s video-on-demand service.

City of Ann Arbor Ward 2 Map

City of Ann Arbor Ward 2 is the magenta wedge of the pie in this map on the east side of the city.

While the five candidates for the two wards participated in the same 45-minute forum, this report covers only responses to questions from Ward 2 candidates – incumbent Tony Derezinski, who is the Democratic Party nominee, and Emily Salvette, the nominee of the Libertarian Party. Responses from Ward 5 candidates Carsten Hohnke, John Floyd and Newcombe Clark are reported in a separate account.

As stipulated in the city charter, Ann Arbor wards divide the city into roughly pie-shaped wedges. Ward 2 is a wedge covering roughly the area between the 1 o’clock and 4 o’clock positions on the “city pie.” Each ward is represented on the city council in two council seats, one of which is up for election each year for a two-year term. Stephen Rapundalo serves in the Ward 2 seat that’s not up for election this year.

The four questions posed by the League were confined essentially to two topics: the budget and parks. Candidates uniformly identified the most important challenge facing the city as the budget, and that fit thematically with a specific question about the budget. The remaining two questions focused on specific parks: Huron Hills golf course, which is currently the subject of a request for proposals for private management; and Fuller Park, part of which is a proposed location for a new parking deck to be built primarily for the University of Michigan, and which has a possible future as a train station. [Full Story]