Stories indexed with the term ‘ward 5’

Bryson Won’t Campaign for Ward 5 Council

In a press release emailed on June 20, 2014, Leon Bryson has announced that he will no longer be a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the Ward 5 city council primary on Aug. 5, 2014. Bryson had submitted the necessary 100 signatures to qualify for the ballot alongside incumbent Democrat Chuck Warpehoski, who is nearing the completion of his first two-year term on the council.

In his press release, Bryson writes: “As much as I wanted to represent you and our city, I have learned that I am not yet ready to take on this position. As I campaigned for office, it became clear to me that I needed to know more about city issues and local politics in … [Full Story]

Charles “Chip” Smith to File as Ward 5 Write-In

Voters in Ann Arbor’s Ward 5 city council election on Nov. 5, 2013 will have a choice of an additional write-in candidate: Charles “Chip” Smith. The Ward 5 resident set up a Write in Chip Facebook page announcing his candidacy on Oct. 23.

The deadline for filing a declaration of write-in candidacy is Oct. 25. Responding to an emailed query from The Chronicle, Smith indicated he plans to file the necessary paperwork this afternoon, on Oct. 24.

Smith is a municipal planner in Wade Trim’s environmental design and planning group. He holds a masters degree in landscape architecture from the University of Michigan. [More background on ArborWiki]

Already filed as a write-in candidate for Ward 5 is Thomas Partridge. The only … [Full Story]

Liberty & Ashley

At a Ward 5 town hall at Downtown Home & Garden, Mark Hodesh shows a photo of the location about two decades ago, when two large billboards were located at that corner. The main topic of the town hall – held by Ward 5 councilmembers Chuck Warpehoski and Mike Anglin – was proposed revisions to the city’s sign ordinance. [photo]

Ann Arbor City Council: Ward 5 Race

Aside from the mayor, only one Ann Arbor city council seat is contested in the Nov. 6 general election – in Ward 5. Candidates in four of the city’s five wards are unopposed.

Stuart Berry, Chuck Warpehoski, League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, Ward 5, Ann Arbor City Council, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

From left: Republican Stuart Berry and Democrat Chuck Warpehoski are candidates for Ward 5 Ann Arbor city council. (Photos by the writer.)

The Ward 5 seat is currently held by Democrat Carsten Hohnke, who did not seek re-election for another two-year term. Vying for the opening are Democrat Chuck Warpehoski and Republican Stuart Berry. The two candidates answered questions about their background and vision for the community at an Oct. 10 forum organized by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area.

Berry stressed the importance of basic services, and advocated for giving power back to the people. In general, he indicated a belief that government at all levels has overstepped its bounds.

Citing his experience as executive director of the nonprofit Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice, Warpehoski emphasized his skills as a listener and in bringing together people with different perspectives. Warpehoski also provided written answers to a set of questions on the league’s website. The site indicated that Berry did not participate.

Both candidates highlighted the challenge of providing services at a time when budgets are tight.

The Oct. 10 candidate forum was held at the studios of Community Television Network in Ann Arbor, and is available online via CTN’s video-on-demand service. The forum also included candidates for Ann Arbor mayor – Albert Howard and John Hieftje. The mayoral portion of the forum is reported in a separate Chronicle write-up.

Information on local elections 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. [Full Story]

Ward 5 City Council: Studying, Listening

On July 22, 2012, a hot summer Sunday afternoon, more than 35 people gathered at the Peace Neighborhood Center to hear Ward 5 Democratic primary candidates for Ann Arbor city council respond to questions.

Vivienne Armentrout Chuck Warpehoski

Vivienne Armentrout and Chuck Warpehoski as seen through the viewfinder of a video camera that recorded the July 22, 2012 Ward 5 Democratic forum. (Photos by the writer.)

Chuck Warpehoski and Vivienne Armentrout are contesting the seat that will be open because sitting councilmember Democrat Carsten Hohnke is not seeking a third term. The winner of the Aug. 7 primary will face Republican Stuart Berry in November’s general election.

The format of the forum – hosted by the Ward 5 Democratic Party organization, and moderated by Gus Teschke – allowed Warpehoski and Armentrout to offer a clear contrast to prospective voters. They had four minutes to respond to each question, with an opportunity for a rebuttal and additional follow-up by the person who’d submitted the question.

Both Armentrout and Warpehoski were obviously knowledgeable about the range of topics they were asked to address by questioners.

The contrast emerged mainly in terms of the types of themes they emphasized, rather than differences in specific policy points – but some policy differences emerged as well. Throughout her remarks, Armentrout stressed her experience, knowledge and study of policy. For example, she introduced broad policy issues into the topic of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority’s administration of the city’s public parking system – in part by calling the parking system the “parking utility,” drawing a parallel between that and utilities like water or electric service. And she explained her thoughts on providing affordable housing and human services by appealing to her understanding of the history of federal grant funding to the city of Ann Arbor.

On that same topic, responding to a question from local activist Alan Haber, Warpehoski said he would spearhead – and is already spearheading – an effort to replace 100 units of affordable housing that were lost when the old YMCA building was condemned and demolished. His effort on that issue is a function of his day job as director of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. He frequently appealed to the skills he uses in that job – the notion of listening, and working to bring people together for the common good. He described several times the kinds of conversations he’s been having with residents of the ward as he goes door-to-door canvassing, relating some of the specific stories from each neighborhood. He pointed to those kinds of conversations as the kind that he’d like to continue if he’s elected, as part of an effort to hear all the voices in the community.

Warpehoski fielded some pointed questions from attendees, including one about his endorsement by mayor John Hieftje. Did that mean he’d favor decision-making behind closed doors? Warpehoski told the audience he’d made clear to Hieftje that if elected, he’d push the mayor on two issues: public process and the independence of board and commission appointments. Responding to another audience question, Warpehoski also said he’d recuse himself from votes if it were appropriate to do that – due to his wife’s job as director of the getDowntown program.

Warpehoski was also challenged to account for his use of the phrase “transit opponents” in an op-ed piece he’d written about the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority’s effort to expand its governance and service area to a countywide region. He explained his use of that phrase by saying you have to look at people’s actions and whether those actions actually support transit – drawing an analogy to someone who says they are for “health” but who sits on the couch eating Kentucky Fried Chicken all day.

Support for a current countywide transit proposal was one clear policy difference between the two candidates. Warpehoski supports the framework embodied in a four-party agreement – between Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority – while Armentrout does not. At its Aug. 1 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners is expected to give final approval for that agreement, which the other three parties have already ratified.

After the jump, more detail is presented on questions and responses from the two candidates. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Council Ward 5: Chuck or Vivienne?

A forum hosted by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party on July 14 featured eight candidates in four city council Democratic primary races. This article summarizes the responses from Ward 5 candidates Chuck Warpehoski and Vivienne Armentrout. The winner of the Aug. 7 primary will face Republican Stuart Berry in the November general election. Other races are covered in separate Chronicle articles.

Vivienne Armentrout Chuck Warpehoski

Ward 5 Ann Arbor city council candidates Chuck Warpehoski and Vivienne Armentrout. (Photos by the writer.)

The Ward 5 seat will be open this year, because incumbent Carsten Hohnke chose not to seek a third two-year term on the 11-member council – which includes the mayor and two representatives from each of the city’s five wards. Democratic primaries are contested this year in just four of the five wards, as Christopher Taylor is unchallenged in Ward 3.

Hohnke was first elected to the council in 2008, winning the general election against Republican John Floyd. In the August primary that year, Hohnke won a very close race against Armentrout, who is competing for a Ward 5 seat again this year.

Armentrout said she’s running based on her experience – and her involvement in the civic life of Ann Arbor. She cited her involvement with organizations like the Ecology Center, Project Grow, and the League of Women Voters. She also cited her service on public bodies like the city’s solid waste commission, the city budget review committee, as well as the Washtenaw County board of commissioners, an elected position that she held for eight years.

After she left the board of commissioners, she worked as a journalist, she said, focusing primarily on city issues for the Ann Arbor Observer. And she’s been writing a local issues blog since 2009 – Local in Ann Arbor. She wants to apply her experience to represent the residents of Ward 5.

Warpehoski told the forum attendees that he is running because he wants to serve the community. He stressed his strong Democratic values – like environmental protection, and a commitment to a strong social safety net. In his day job as executive director of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, he is already serving the community, he said, but service on the city council is another way to serve the community. He stressed the importance of the mix that Ann Arbor offers – of a vibrant downtown and great neighborhoods.

Warpehoski noted that elections end up being a discussion about candidates. But fundamentally, he said, he does not believe that public service and elected office is about the candidate – rather, it’s about the community. That’s why the center of his campaign has been knocking on doors all across Ward 5, he said. And when he approaches the door, he said he’s not starting with a commercial for himself. Instead, he begins with a question: What’s on your mind about what’s going on in the city?

The single main policy issue that candidates were asked to address was a possible new train station at the Fuller Road site – and transportation is an issue on which Armentrout and Warpehoski have the most different perspectives. But the Fuller Road Station was touched on just briefly. Armentrout listed several reasons why she’s opposed to a rail station at Fuller Road, while Warpehoski is supportive of the idea. But he indicated that if the ultimate recommendation of a current study that’s being conducted is to locate a new facility at Fuller Road, he thinks it deserves a public referendum, because it is public land.

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.

Responding to the question of working as a group, Warpehoski described the techniques of “deep listening,” and stressed the importance of assuming good intent. For her part, Armentrout stressed the importance of  expressing mutual respect and in making decisions based on data and on the merits of the case, and “arguing politely,” whatever the case is.

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

Armentrout Eyes Ward 5 Council Race

The city of Ann Arbor clerk’s office filing records indicate that Vivienne Armentrout, a former Washtenaw County commissioner, pulled petitions on Friday, May 4 for the Ward 5 Ann Arbor city council race. Armentrout is a Democrat.

Carsten Hohnke, who was first elected in 2008 after defeating Armentrout in a close Democratic primary that year, announced on April 21 his decision not to seek re-election this year.

An Ann Arbor resident since 1986, Armentrout is a freelance writer and author of the Local in Ann Arbor blog, which focuses on the Ann Arbor area and frequently highlights public transit and other planning issues. She served on the Washtenaw County board of commissioners from 1997-2004.

In November 2010 she ran for a position on the board … [Full Story]

2011 Election: Ward 5 City Council

Two Ward 5 candidates were among those who participated in forums hosted on Oct. 5, 2011 by the local League of Women Voters (LWV). The candidate forums for Ann Arbor city council covered all four of the city’s five wards that have contested races.

Mike Anglin Stuart Berry Ward 5 Ann Arbor city council

Democratic incumbent Mike Anglin (left ) and Republican challenger Stuart Berry (right) before the League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 5. The two men are vying for a seat on the Ann Arbor city council representing Ward 5. (Photo by the writer.)

This report focuses on the forum for Ward 5, where Republican Stuart Berry is challenging Democratic incumbent Mike Anglin. A replay of the forum is available via Community Television Network’s video on demand service. [Ward 5 CTN coverage]

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.

Although the election in Ward 1 is not contested – Democratic incumbent Sabra Briere is unopposed – voters in that ward will have a chance to vote on three ballot proposals along with other city residents. The first two ballot questions concern a sidewalk/street repair tax; the third question concerns the composition of the city’s retirement board of trustees.

Ballot questions were among the issues on which LWV members solicited responses from candidates. Other topics addressed by the two Ward 5 candidates, presented in chronological order below, included the proposed Fuller Road Station, high-rise buildings, human services, public art and finance. [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]

Ward 5 Initial Result

In the city council Democratic primary race for Ward 5, initial combined results from precincts 5-4 and 5-5 show incumbent Mike Anglin with 163 votes, compared to 91 for challenger Neal Elaykin.

Stuart Berry received 2 votes – he was the only choice on the Republican side of the ballot.

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 5 Dems in 100 (Or So) Words

On July 13, 2011, the local League of Women Voters hosted debates for Ann Arbor city council candidates in all wards that have a contested Democratic primary election – Ward 2, Ward 3, and Ward 5. The primary takes place on Aug. 2.

Word frequency clouds

Top 100 word frequency clouds for Ward 5 city council candidates. (Image links to high resolution .pdf. Clouds from

This report focuses on Ward 5, where incumbent Mike Anglin is seeking re-election for his third two-year term on the city council. [See also previous Chronicle coverage of the 2011 Democratic primary: "Ann Arbor Ward 5: Democratic Primary 2011"]

Anglin is retired from a teaching career, and is now an owner of a bed and breakfast on the city’s Old West Side. He was first elected in 2007 after winning a Democratic primary against incumbent Wendy Woods. Neal Elyakin, an administrator in the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, is also seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination. The winner will face Republican Stuart Berry in the Nov. 8 general election.

In response to the alternating questions offered by the LWV moderator, neither candidate offered comments that were terribly dramatic.

Anglin took the occasion to talk about a familiar range of topics: the smaller issues he enjoys helping residents solve; his opposition to the proposed Fuller Road Station; his belief that parks need to be defended against their possible sale; his criticism of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority as a non-elected government entity; and his view of Ann Arbor as a small town that happens to be home to the University of Michigan.

Elyakin spoke of retaining the small-town feel of Ann Arbor (describing specific parks where his children used to play) while at the same time envisioning responsible, reasonable growth that would rely on a regional approach, investments in transportation systems, and an important planning role for the DDA.

After the jump, our coverage includes: an annotated verbatim transcript of the candidates’ remarks at the LWV debate; paraphrases of the questions posed to them; and some highlights from the candidates’ remarks broken down in a bit more detail.

The transcript formed the basis of the top-100 word-frequency analysis shown in the Word Cloud 1 and Word Cloud 2. Close observers of Ann Arbor city politics may be able to match candidates with clouds, without scrolling past the jump. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Ward 5: Democratic Primary 2011

Two special education teachers originally from Brooklyn, New York, participated in a forum for Ann Arbor city council Democratic primary candidates held on Saturday, June 11. The New Yorkers – incumbent Mike Anglin and Neal Elyakin – are both candidates for the Ward 5 city council seat.

The forum was hosted by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party for all city council candidates in contested wards for the Aug. 2 primary election. The event 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 5 map

Ann Arbor's Ward 5 is the yellow highlighted wedge on this city map. 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 other information.

The winner of the Ward 5 primary will face Republican Stuart Berry in the general election on Nov. 8. Currently, only Democrats serve on Ann Arbor’s city council.

Republicans have also filed in Ward 4 (Eric Scheie) and Ward 3 (David Parker). In Ward 2, the lack of a Republican challenger means that spot is almost sure to be decided in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary. For the open Ward 1 seat, currently held by Sabra Briere, no partisan challenger filed. Independent candidates have until Aug. 15, 2011 at 5 p.m. to file petitions to run in November.

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

In this report, we give paraphrased summaries of responses from the Ward 5 candidates. Summarized remarks made by candidates for seats in Ward 2 and Ward 3 are presented in separate articles. [Full Story]

Column: Ann Arbor Election Autopsy

Only a few minutes after voting ended at 8 p.m. on the evening of Nov. 2, CNN used exit polling conducted throughout the day to call the Michigan governor’s race in favor of Republican Rick Snyder. Even before polls opened, the only real question for most analysts was the margin of Snyder’s expected victory.


Eberwhite Elementary School, Ward 5 Precinct 6 on Nov. 2, 2010, election day. Note that the sky is blue, not on fire. (Photo by the writer.)

Margin of victory was also the main interest offered in local races, but with expectations for the identity of the victorious party reversed from the gubernatorial contest. Ann Arbor voters returned Democratic incumbents to five city council seats and the mayorship. For Steve Bean, who mounted an independent campaign for mayor, and for city council challengers Republican John Floyd (Ward 5), independent Newcombe Clark (Ward 5) and Libertarian Emily Salvette (Ward 2), the final raw tally did not offer many bright spots.

Bean managed about 18% of the vote in the mayor’s race. Floyd and Clark drew 22% and 9%, respectively, in the Ward 5 city council race, and Salvette received 21% in the Ward 2 council contest. Unless they are robots, it’s hard to imagine that any of their egos escaped completely unscathed. And despite the fact that Newcombe Clark’s door hangers depict a very cheerful robot with an NC insignia, I do not believe that Clark himself is a robot. So at some level, given their sheer humanity, the results must feel at least a little bit like a personal rejection by the electorate.

On the flip side, it’s hard to imagine that an incumbent like mayor John Hieftje, or Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) or Tony Derezinski (Ward 2) – perhaps even more so Sandi Smith (Ward 1), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) and Margie Teall (Ward 4), who were all elected unopposed – could interpret the results as anything less than an overwhelming endorsement of their job performance.

Challengers and incumbents alike would be wrong in those interpretations, I think.

But as far as local races go, far more interesting to me than performing a postmortem on the council and mayor’s campaigns would be to take a look at the race for the library board, where there was little campaigning by the candidates. The outcome was not completely clear until the votes from outside the city and all absentee ballots from the city of Ann Arbor had been counted. That came at around 4 a.m. – almost eight hours after CNN had already called the governor’s race.

Vivienne Armentrout would have been a winning choice of city of Ann Arbor voters who voted in person at the polls. But once absentee ballots and votes from outside the city were included, she narrowly missed joining the board. Instead, incumbents Barbara Murphy, Edward Surovell, and Jan Barney Newman retained their seats. [Full Story]

Ward 5 City Council: List Making

About 30 people gathered in the cafeteria/auditorium of Wines Elementary School on Oct. 21 for The Ann Arbor Chronicle’s Ward 5 city council candidate forum. Two of the three candidates participated: Republican John Floyd and Newcombe Clark, who’s running as an independent. Carsten Hohnke, the incumbent Democrat, chose not to participate.

 John Floyd (left) and Newcombe Clark (right) during the Ward 5 candidate forum held at Wines Elementary School.

John Floyd (seated) and Newcombe Clark (standing) during the Oct. 21 Ward 5 candidate forum held at Wines Elementary School.

Rather than a standard Q&A, candidates were given 10 specific topic areas in advance, and advised that on the night of the event, they’d be presented with list-making tasks on some of these topics that they’d be expected to complete collaboratively. The Chronicle offers a separate opinion piece about the format of the event and candidates’ participation in it.

In this article, we report the interaction of Floyd and Clark as they worked their way through the tasks, which began with a warm-up: Winnow down the 10 topics to four, to be tackled in 10-minute chunks. They settled on these topics: (1) development of downtown city-owned surface lots, (2) economic development, (3) appointments to boards and commissions, and (4) quality of life.

The two men arrived at a strategy for the winnowing task that persisted through the roughly one-hour event: Each proposed some list items relatively uncontested by the other, followed by a consensus check. In each case, the list-making per se was dispatched relatively easily by the candidates. Then with a list of items written on the white board, they used it as a starting point for a related conversation. [Full Story]

Column: Why Ward 5, Lists, But No Dem?

On Oct. 21 at Wines Elementary School, The Ann Arbor Chronicle hosted a forum for city council candidates in Ward 5. Two of the three candidates participated: John Floyd, a Republican, and Newcombe Clark, who is running as an independent. Choosing not to participate was the Democratic incumbent, Carsten Hohnke.

John Floyd Newcombe Clark Ward 5 Candidate Forum

John Floyd (left) and Newcombe Clark (right) settle in for the Ward 5 city council forum sponsored by The Chronicle at Wines Elementary School.

The format of the event was a departure from familiar question-and-answer schemes. Candidates were provided with 10 specific topic areas in advance, and advised that on the night of the event, they’d be presented with a list-making task they’d be expected to complete collaboratively for each topic area.

To give a flavor of the chemistry between the candidates at the forum, after the event one attendee wrote about John Floyd: “… the city would be lucky to have his service … but I’m still not voting for him.” That attendee was Newcombe Clark. Also during the event, the two candidates were able to find an effective strategy for working through the tasks. We’re reporting how they completed those tasks in a separate article.

In this column, we discuss why The Chronicle would invest its limited time and resources in the effort to stage a candidate forum for Ward 5 city council candidates, and why we would opt for a somewhat unusual task-based format. [Full Story]

Chronicle to Host Ward 5 Candidate Forum

The Ann Arbor Chronicle is hosting a forum for Ward 5 Ann Arbor City Council candidates on Thursday evening that will allow voters to see how candidates might do the public’s work in public, if elected.

The Oct. 21 event will present candidates with a set of scenarios on local issues. They’ll be challenged to work together to accomplish specific tasks related to those scenarios. On other occasions there have been, and will be, plenty of opportunities to hear the candidates’ talking points and opinions on specific issues. What makes our forum different is our goal of giving voters a sense of how these individuals work with others to solve problems and work through challenges. The program, moderated by Chronicle editor Dave Askins, runs from 7-8:30 p.m. at Wines Elementary School, 1701 Newport Road. The event is free and open to the public.

Three candidates are running for the Ward 5 seat: Independent Newcombe Clark, Republican John Floyd and Democrat incumbent Carsten Hohnke. The impetus for the event stemmed from Floyd and Clark, and all three candidates were given early opportunity to offer input into the forum’s planning. Flexibility of time and dates, location and moderator were offered. Hohnke chose not to involve himself in the planning of the event, and is not participating. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Dems Primary: Ward 5 Council

On Thursday evening, July 15, just as a thunderstorm was rolling in, Tamara Real and Carl Rinne opened their home on Fountain Street to the Ann Arbor Ward 5 Democrats. As the former home to the Fountain Church of God in Christ, the venue is suitable for events like the candidate forum, which drew somewhere around 30 people – once all those who straggled in from the rain were counted.


Lou Glorie, left, and Carsten Hohnke, Democratic candidates for Ward 5 city council. (Photos by the writer.)

The Ward 5 city council Democratic primary this year is contested by incumbent Carsten Hohnke and challenger Lou Glorie. 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.

In November, the  winner of the Aug. 3 Democratic primary will face a Republican challenge in John Floyd, as well as an independent challenge in Newcombe Clark.

Glorie portrayed herself as an underdog candidate – a citizen activist who’s not as interested in leading as in collaborating with ward residents to find consensus.

Hohnke focused heavily on various accomplishments during his first two years in office and sought to distance himself from the idea that he is a career politician.

Of interest to readers who follow city council meetings closely, Hohnke left open the possibility of bringing back some kind of proposal for a historic district in the Germantown neighborhood, as well as reconsideration and approval of the Heritage Row development – but not for exactly the same project. [Full Story]

Their Words: Ward 5 Council Candidates

Jeff Irwin moderating Democratic Party

Jeff Irwin, who serves on the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, moderated the Democratic Party's candidate forum. (Photo by the writer.)

Last Saturday, July 11, the Ann Arbor Democratic Party hosted a forum for candidates in contested primary races for city council in Wards 3 and 5. The forum was held in the context of the party’s regular monthly meeting at its usual location in the Ann Arbor Community Center on North Main Street.

Independent campaigns could make the November election interesting in Wards 1 (Mitchell Ozog) and 4 (Hatim Elhady). But in Wards 3 and 5, the lack of any Republican or independent candidates means that those spots are almost sure to be decided in the Democratic primary on Aug. 4.

Currently, only Democrats serve on Ann Arbor’s city council.

The council consists of the mayor plus two representatives from each of five wards, who serve for two years each. That means each year, one of the two representative seats for each ward is up for election. Saturday’s Democratic Party forum was attended by three out of 11 current councilmembers: Mike Anglin (Ward 5), who was participating in the candidate forum; Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5), who was first elected in November 2008, and whose seat is not up for election until 2010; and Sabra Briere (Ward 1), whose Democratic primary race is uncontested.

After the break: What the Fifth Ward candidates, Mike Anglin and Scott Rosencrans, had to say. [Full Story]

HD’s Totter Watch: Ward 5


There’s an Open Totter policy for Teeter Talk, which means that I’ll pretty much totter with anyone who’s willing. When political candidates totter during an election, I try to make sure that there’s equal opportunity for tottering all around.

Having tottered with Carsten Hohnke back in September, it was thus fitting and proper that I took a turn with John Floyd a couple of weeks ago. [Full Story]

Ward 5 Candidates: Hohnke and Floyd

In a taping that was broadcast live from CTN studios Tuesday night, John Floyd and Carsten Hohnke, the two candidates for Ward 5 representative to city council in the November general election, answered questions posed by the League of Women Voters. In the pre-event visual checks, light banter between the candidates and the League raised the specter of more ominous signs than the one reading “Stop,” which indicated their speaking turn was over. [Full Story]