Stories indexed with the term ‘Ward 4’

Election Day: August 6, 2013

As we have for the past few years, The Chronicle will be touring Ann Arbor polling stations on Election Day and providing updates throughout the day. Polls are open today from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Members of one of the Pioneer High School marching band drum lines practiced on the evening before Election Day near the yellow sign indicating that no campaigning is allowed beyond that point. Pioneer High serves at the polling location for Precincts 4 & 8 in Ward 4.

Members of one of the Pioneer High School marching band drum lines practiced on the evening before Election Day. Already in place was the yellow sign indicating that no campaigning is allowed beyond that point. Pioneer High serves at the polling location for Precincts 4 & 8 in Ward 4. (Photo illustration by The Chronicle.)

This year voters in the primary will be confronted with a single issue – a city council race. Ann Arbor city council seats have contested Democratic primaries in just two of the five wards. No Republican candidates are on the ballot.

Voters in Ward 3 will choose between incumbent Stephen Kunselman and Julie Grand. In Ward 4, the choice is between incumbent Marcia Higgins and Jack Eaton.

For all of you procrastinators who are still researching the candidates, here’s a link to Chronicle coverage of the Democratic primary races for Ann Arbor city council this year.

Not sure where to vote? To find your polling place and view a sample ballot for your precinct, visit the Secretary of State’s website.

Check back here throughout the day for briefs filed from the field, or add a comment with your own Election Day observations.  [Full Story]

A2: Arts & Culture

The Arts Alliance has released responses from Ann Arbor city council candidates to a questionnaire on arts and culture. The alliance received responses from only two of the four candidates in the Aug. 6, 2013 Democratic primary’s contested races – Julie Grand in Ward 3, and Jack Eaton in Ward 4. The incumbents in those races – Steve Kunselman (Ward 3) and Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) did not respond to the survey by the deadline. [Source]

Ann Arbor City Council Dems 2013: Finance

A preliminary analysis of pre-primary campaign finance reports for the two contested races in the Aug. 6, 2013 Ann Arbor city council Democratic primary shows a total of $29,230 in cash was raised by the four candidates combined, with the average cash contributor donating a bit over $128.

2013 Ann Arbor Democratic Primary City Council Campaign Contributions: All Candidates

2013 Ann Arbor Democratic primary city council campaign contributions: All candidates. (Map by The Chronicle based on data from the Washtenaw County clerk’s office.) Maps by candidate are included after the jump.

The deadline for filing pre-primary reports was July 26, for the period ending July 21.

Voters in the Democratic primary for Ward 3 will choose between incumbent Stephen Kunselman and Julie Grand as the Democratic candidate to appear on the November city council ballot. Grand raised the most cash of any candidate, getting donations from 68 contributors averaging about $160 apiece for a total of $10,825.

Kunselman raised $5,855 from 54 contributors. While that’s roughly half what Grand raised, it’s about twice what he received in the pre-primary period in 2011 ($2,750). That was a three-way race between himself, Ingrid Ault and Marwan Issa. The average contribution to Kunselman’s campaign this year was about $110.

In Ward 4, voters will choose between incumbent Marcia Higgins and Jack Eaton. Fourteen-year incumbent Higgins raised the least cash of any candidate, receiving $4,592 from 26 contributors for an average donation of $177.

Eaton raised $7,958 from 82 different contributors for an average donation of $97. That’s the greatest number of individual contributors of any candidate. Eaton’s total this time around is about twice as much as he raised for the same period in 2012 ($4,305), when he ran a close but ultimately unsuccessful race against incumbent Margie Teall.

Of the 228 total contributors for all four candidates (including those who contributed to more than one campaign), The Chronicle counted at least 57 contributions (25%) from people who are either current or past elected or appointed officials – including appointees to committees. Those contributions were evenly distributed across candidates: Eaton (16); Higgins (13); Grand (14); Kunselman (14).

Some current councilmembers have lent their financial support to candidates. Ward 4 challenger Jack Eaton is supported financially by Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1), Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and Jane Lumm (Ward 2). Incumbent Marcia Higgins has financial support from her wardmate Margie Teall as well as mayor John Hieftje.

Ward 3 incumbent Stephen Kunselman is also supported financial by Anglin and Lumm. Julie Grand has received contributions from Higgins and Teall.

Current and past campaign filing documents can be searched and retrieved from the Washtenaw County clerk’s web page. [.pdf of Grand's statements] [.pdf of Eaton's statements] [.pdf of Higgins' statements] [.pdf of Kunselman's statements]

Other coverage of the campaigns is categorized in The Chronicle as “2013 primary election.”

Presented below are charts of contribution counts, broken down by size of contribution, as well as maps showing the geographic distribution of contributions. [Full Story]

Ward 4 Dem Primary: Higgins or Eaton

Ward 4 voters in the Aug. 6, 2013 Democratic primary will choose between incumbent Marcia Higgins and Jack Eaton as the Democratic candidate to appear on the Ann Arbor city council ballot in November.

Jack Eaton and incumbent Marcia Higgins are competing for the Democratic nomination in the Ward 4 primary election on Aug. 6.

Jack Eaton and incumbent Marcia Higgins are competing for the Democratic nomination in the Ward 4 primary election on Aug. 6. (Photos by the writer.)

Each of the city’s five wards is represented with two seats on the 11-member council, which includes the mayor. The terms for council seats are two years, and one of the two seats is up for election every year.

Both candidates participated in a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters on July 10. The complete video recording of the forum, conducted at Community Television Network’s studios on South Industrial, is available online through CTN’s Video on Demand.

Questions fielded by Eaton and Higgins included topics like downtown Ann Arbor and future development, transportation, relations between the University of Michigan and the city, and interactions between councilmembers and residents.

They also responded to a debate prompt that for Ward 4 possibly could be of greater significance than those other issues – a question about flooding. In last year’s Ward 4 Democratic primary, which Eaton contested with incumbent Margie Teall, the election came about five months after heavy rains on March 15, 2012 caused overland flooding in the Lansdowne neighborhood of Ward 4. Although Eaton lost the election by a handful of votes, he was strongest in the precincts farther from downtown, where the flooding took place. Previously, Eaton had run for the Democratic nomination to represent Ward 4 in 2010, also against Teall. His showing in 2012 was a significant improvement over his 2010 result. This year marks his third campaign for Ann Arbor city council.

Higgins was first elected to the council in 1999 – as a Republican. However, she switched to the Democratic Party in 2005. She’s in her 14th year of service on the council.

This report presents responses by Higgins and Eaton to questions at the July 10 LWV forum, grouped more by theme than by chronology. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor, Other Recounts: Outcomes Same

A recount of ballots cast in the Aug. 7, 2012 Democratic primary election left results unchanged in all elections in Washtenaw County that were recounted. The recount took place on Sept. 4, 2012 and was conducted by the Washtenaw County board of canvassers.

The recount of the Ward 4 Ann Arbor city council race confirmed that incumbent Margie Teall had the most votes.

The initial count of ballots across the nine precincts of Ward 4 showed Teall with a total of 866 (50.5%) votes, compared to 848 (49.5%) votes for Jack Eaton. In the recounted totals, each candidate lost a vote in Precinct 4-9. In Precinct 4-6, Teall picked up one vote and Eaton lost one, leaving Eaton and Teall with 846 and 866 votes, … [Full Story]

Ballot Recounts Scheduled for Sept. 4

The meeting of the Washtenaw County board of canvassers to conduct recounts of some ballots cast during the Aug. 7, 2012 elections has been set for Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.

Races to be recounted include the race for city of Ann Arbor Ward 4 Democratic councilmember. The final results across the nine precincts of Ward 4 showed incumbent Margie Teall with a total of 848 (49.5%) votes, compared to 866 (50.5%) for Jack Eaton – an 18-vote difference.

The city of Ypsilanti Ward 3 Democratic councilmember race will also be recounted. In that race, Pete Murdock tallied 440 (60.03%) votes compared to 242 (33.02%) for Mike Eller and 47 (6.41%) for Ted Windish.

Three races in Augusta Township will be recounted, … [Full Story]

Ward 4 City Council: Eaton Files for Recount

Candidate Jack Eaton has filed for a recount of ballots cast in the Aug. 7, 2012 Democratic primary election for Ward 4 Ann Arbor city council.

According to Washtenaw County director of elections Ed Golembiewski, the recounting of the physical ballots will likely be scheduled for early in the week beginning Aug. 27, depending on the availability of members on the board of canvassers. That would accommodate the 7-day requirement to allow other candidates involved to file objections.

The other candidate involved was incumbent Margie Teall. The final results across the nine precincts of Ward 4 showed Eaton with a total of 848 (49.5%) votes, compared to 866 (50.5%) for Teall. That’s a difference of just 18 votes.

A recount costs the candidate … [Full Story]

Early Returns: Ward 4 Ann Arbor Council

Early unofficial returns from the Ward 5 city council race for the Democratic nomination – between Jack Eaton and incumbent Margie Teall – show Eaton with a total of 325 (40.1%) votes, compared to 469 (59%) for Teall – which reflects a total of 6 out of 9 precincts informally reported.

The August 2010 primary was also contested by Teall and Eaton – and Teall won that race 1448 (69.08%) to 642 (30.63%)

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 p.m. Results now show Eaton with a total of 446 (43%) votes, compared to 587 (57%) for Teall – which reflects a total of 7 out of 9 precincts informally reported.

Update at 11:44 p.m. Complete unofficial results show Eaton with a total of 848 (49.5%) votes, compared to 866 (50.5%) for Teall – which reflects a total of 9 out of 9 precincts informally reported. That’s a difference of just 18 votes. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Council Ward 4: Jack or Margie?

All eight candidates in four city council Democratic primary races participated in a forum hosted on July 14 by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party. This article summarizes the responses from Ward 4 candidates – incumbent Margie Teall and challenger Jack Eaton. Other races are covered in separate Chronicle articles.

Jack Eaton and Margie Teall

Ward 4 Ann Arbor city council candidates Jack Eaton and Margie Teall. (Photos by the writer.)

This year’s Ward 4 race reprises the 2010 contest that Teall won over Eaton with 69% of the vote. Teall has served on the council since 2002 and is seeking her sixth 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 Ward 4 Democratic primary 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.

In his remarks on local policy issues, Eaton stressed what he called sensible spending priorities – support for fire and police protection. He framed his thoughts on local issues by pointedly listing out those things he supports, not things he opposes.

Among those things he supports: city parkland – and specifically a possible charter amendment that would require a public referendum on the long-term leasing of parkland (not just sale, as the charter currently reads). He also supports the idea of a park on top of the new underground parking garage. He supports rebuilding the police and fire departments, and spending the city’s street reconstruction tax to repair roads in a timely fashion. If elected, he said he’d support neighborhoods by being a voice for their concerns.

Eaton also stressed some beliefs that could be characterized as classic Democratic Party values – support for labor. He cited his profession as a union-side labor lawyer and indicated that he’d fight against the tools that Republican “bullies” in the state legislature are giving local municipalities to reduce benefits to their union workers.

For her part, Teall cited her own labor credentials by saying she had support from several local unions. She gave an implicit response to Eaton’s focus on fire and police protection by saying that public safety had been a priority since 2002 when she first was elected to council. She indicated that residents could expect to see a greater police presence downtown, as the city has implemented a police recruit program. She identified flooding as currently a top issue for Ward 4, but pointed to the reconstruction of the East Stadium bridges and securing funding for future demolition of the Georgetown Mall as points of progress.

Teall said the city budget is in the best shape it’s been in the time she has served on the city council. The overall theme Teall stressed was a desire to keep Ann Arbor on the track that it started down 10 years ago.

Tracks were part of the one main policy question candidates were asked to comment on – the idea of a new rail station possibly to be constructed at the Fuller Road site. Briefly, Teall thinks it’s an ideal location for a rail station, proximate to the University of Michigan medical center, while Eaton feels it reflects inappropriate spending priorities.

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.

Broadcast live earlier in the week on the Community Television Network was a local League of Women Voters candidate forum that included Eaton and Teall, 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]

2011 Election: Ward 4 City Council

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

Eric Scheie Ward 4 Ann Arbor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lansdowne Pedestrian Bridge to Be Rebuilt

At its Sept. 6, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved a $120,000 change to its fiscal year 2012 budget to include an expenditure from its major street fund to reconstruct the pedestrian bridge in the Lansdowne neighborhood, connecting Morehead and Delaware drives. The bridge is located in Ward 4.

A bid to postpone the measure by Tony Derezinski (Ward 2) failed to gain support from any other councilmember.

The bridge has been a topic of neighborhood concern dating back at least to the 2010 Ward 4 Democratic primary race between Margie Teall and Jack Eaton, a race won by the incumbent Teall. The neighborhood association owns the structures under the bridge (a “weir” or short dam-like structure), while the city owns the bridge itself. Based on remarks from a candidate forum from that year, the pedestrian bridge has now been out of service for about three years.

The resolution altering the major street fund budget was sponsored by Ward 4 councilmembers Teall and Marcia Higgins.

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 report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Dems Primary: Ward 4 Council

On Tuesday evening, the Ward 4 Democratic Party hosted a forum at Dicken Elementary School so that residents could pose questions to primary candidates for one of the ward’s two city council seats. Margie Teall, the incumbent who has held the seat since 2002, and Jack Eaton, who has been active in politics on the neighborhood level, answered questions for a bit more than an hour.


Jack Eaton and Margie Teall, candidates for the Ward 4 city council seat, engage in the subtleties of negotiation over who would deliver their opening remarks first. (Photos by the writer.)

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. Also in attendance at Tuesday’s forum was Marcia Higgins, the Ward 4 council representative who won re-election in November 2009, defeating independent challenger Hatim Elhady.

Besides Higgins, other elected officials and candidates for office who were introduced at the forum included: LuAnne Bullington (candidate for the 11th District county board of commissioners seat), Ned Staebler (candidate for the 53rd District state Representative seat), Leah Gunn (county commissioner representing the 9th District of the county and seeking re-election), Patricia Lesko (candidate for Ann Arbor mayor). All the candidates are Democrats.

Eaton’s main theme was a need to focus more on infrastructure – those things we need, not the things that might be nice to have. Eaton was keen to establish that his candidacy was not meant as a personal attack on Teall, saying that he expected his supporters to focus on the issues and to conduct themselves in a civil way. His opening remarks were heavy on thanks and appreciation for Teall’s long service on council, particularly with regard to the creation of Dicken Woods, which is now a city-owned nature area.

In the course of the forum, a pointed question to Teall on her biggest regret while serving on the council elicited an acknowledgment from her that she regretted her contribution to the problem last year with city councilmembers emailing each other during council meetings. Eaton was quick to give Teall credit for publicly apologizing in a timely way for her role in the scandal.

For her part, Teall focused on setting forth accomplishments while serving on the council. Those ranged from the longer-term budgeting strategies that she said had helped ensure that Ann Arbor was weathering the economic crisis better than other Michigan cities, to the budget amendment she introduced and the council passed in May, which proposed using $2 million from the Downtown Development Authority, plus more optimistic estimates for state revenue sharing, to eliminate the need to lay off some police and firefighters.

The candidates exchanged different views on basic infrastructure issues like the Stadium Boulevard bridges and stormwater management, to single-stream recycling and leaf collection, to Georgetown Mall, and the transparency of government. [Full Story]

Ward 4: Higgins, Elhady Answer Questions

woman and man siting at table

Marcia Higgins and Hatim Elhady settled in to answer questions from Ward 4 residents on Friday night at Dicken Elementary School. (Photo by the writer.)

For one hour on Friday evening at Dicken Elementary School, candidates for the Ward 4 city council seat – Marcia Higgins and Hatim Elhady – answered questions read aloud by Ann Arbor resident Jack Eaton. Higgins is seeking re-election on Nov. 3 as the Democratic nominee, while Elhady is challenging her, and is unaffiliated with any party.

The Chronicle arrived just after the ground rules were explained – questions read by Eaton were submitted to him by attendees of the event. There would be opening statements from each candidate, announced Eaton. At that, Higgins suggested that they dispense with the opening statements and dive right into the questions – the event was about letting Ward 4 residents get their questions asked and answered, she said. Elhady quipped that he’d had his “heart set on an opening statement,” but agreed to Higgins’ suggestion.

The event was organized by Elhady’s campaign. Eaton, who is pictured on Elhady’s campaign website and has contributed to the Elhady campaign, administered the questions and kept time in a way that could fairly be characterized as impartial. When Elhady concluded one of his responses, Eaton self-reported that he had not timed Elhady and would thus not time Higgins, either. In general, adherence to the two-minute time limit was not a problem for the candidates, good pace was maintained between questions, and they covered a lot of ground in the hour.

Below we give the questions and answers in summary form – no attempt has been made to render a verbatim account. Higgins and Elhady took turns taking first crack at the questions. So in every case, the candidates’ responses are summarized in the order they were given. The order of the questions is also presented in the order they were asked. [Full Story]

Column: On Finding the Ward 4 Candidates

Judy McGovern

Judy McGovern

This piece was supposed to be a straightforward look at a city council race.

It’s not.

Instead it’s a column that gives an account of an unusual situation involving a council veteran, who dropped from sight when an adult daughter’s long battle with leukemia took a scary turn; and a political newcomer, who declines to be interviewed except via email.

The council seat at issue is in Ann Arbor’s Ward 4, the southwestern part of the city.

Incumbent Democrat Marcia Higgins has been one of the ward’s two council representatives since 1999.

Hatim Elhady, a student at the University of Michigan, is an independent who’s running against her.

Ordinarily, that kind of introduction would be followed by additional biographical information to provide context and then the meat of a story based –  in large part – on interviews with each candidate.

But Elhady’s not talking. [Full Story]