Sumi Kailasapathy is a Democrat running for re-election as City Council Representative in Ann Arbor's 1st Ward. This is her submission for WEMU's 2016 edition of "Soapbox Summer."
My name is Sumi Kailasapathy, I am one of the 1st ward representatives on City Council. This year I am running for re-election on August 2nd and I seek your support. I have lived in Ann Arbor for 19 years. I am a Certified Public Accountant and work in downtown Ann Arbor. I have an undergraduate degree in economics & political science from Wellesley College, and graduate degrees from the New School for Social Research. Prior to working as CPA, I taught graduate classes at Eastern Michigan University for ten years.
Protecting our quality of life and our environment is of utmost importance to my constituents and myself. I believe it is critical to have checks and balances in place to preserve the character and value of our existing neighborhoods while allowing for new development where appropriate. While on Council, I have repeatedly voted against projects that negatively impact our neighborhoods and environment. I consider that being a responsible steward of the City’s tax revenue is a priority for Council members. We must maintain the City’s spending priorities in order to provide essential services. I add my professional knowledge and experiences to bring openness, transparency and accountability to this process. I believe the basic responsibility of city government is to build and maintain our essential infrastructure, such as streets, sewers and water systems.
We must also address the safety issues of our pedestrian, bicyclists and motorists. This includes traffic calming efforts, reducing speed limits where appropriate and increasing targeted traffic enforcement.
I have worked directly with neighborhood groups in Ward 1 to find solutions to “cut-through” commuter traffic and excessive commuter street parking. I will continue to support these type of efforts where resident’s safety and their quality of life is affected.
I have used my accounting experience to ensure that financial reports from tax payer financed entities such as the Downtown Development Authority and SPARK are available to the public in compliance with technical rules. I have worked hard to promote balanced development in our downtown, including reasonable zoning regulation and allocating land for the establishment of a downtown park.
I take the issue of affordable housing seriously. This becomes even more relevant as our City becomes more gentrified. I am proud of the leadership role that I have taken in the Human Rights Commission where we have submitted a report to City Council to set up a police oversight board. This is important to assure that checks and balances are built into our policing which is fundamental to democratic governance.
I have demanded that our commissions and committees have broad representation to ensure rigorous policy discussions.
I am proud of the work I have done. I would be honored to continue to represent you and work our shared goals.