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Ann Arbor's 1st Ward City Council Candidates Meet In Debate

Jul 13, 2016

Candidates for Ann Arbor’s Ward 1 debated at the city’s Community Television Network studios last night. 


Will Leaf and Jason Frenzel are challenging incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy for the 1st Ward city council seat.

Leaf is a University of Michigan grad and serves on the Ann Arbor Affordable Housing and Human Services Advisory Board.  Frenzel is the Huron River Watershed Council's volunteer and staff coordinator.  One of the biggest topics they discussed is the dioxane plume threatening the city’s drinking water.

Frenzel says:

"It’s basically a status quo and that’s extremely unfortunate. I would like to see the city partner with local organizations like the county, and the state more strongly, to increase monitoring of the where the dioxane plume is to ensure that we know when and where it will hit.”

Kailasapathy says the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is understaffed and may be unable to take care of the dioxane plume alone.  

“And then we have also waited for them for 30 years to do this cleanup at a satisfactory rate.  I really believe that it’s time to look for others [partners].  Especially I think we might want to follow other jurisdictions in passing a resolution and going to the EPA to figure out [if] the superfund status possible and to figure out what other kinds of options are available.” 

Leaf says securing a superfund status for the city could increase funds for cleanup. 

“It’s not certain that a superfund status would solve the plume.  Well, it certainly wouldn't solve the plume, but it’s not clear if it would force the polluter to take appropriate actions, but I think it might.  The only real counter argument that I’ve heard is that Ann Arbor’s reputation might suffer. But I think Ann Arbor’s reputation is less important than the safety of Ann Arbor’s drinking water.” 

The debate was organized by the League of Women Voters.  A full video of the 1st Ward’s debate will be available on demand at the CTN website.

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— Amanda LeClaire is an assignment reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact her at 734.487.3363 or email her aleclair@emich.edu