Ann Arbor's Democratic mayoral primary is rapidly approaching on August 5th. Since incumbent Mayor John Hieftje isn't seeking re-election it offers the community a chance to chart a new course in a wide variety of areas.
From attracting and retaining businesses to new construction projects, economic development is an important issue in every community. Ann Arbor voters head to the polls August 5th and economic development will be among the issues voters consider when casting their ballot for one of the four Mayoral candidates.
Ann Arbor homeless advocates hope the large turnout at a mayoral forum on the issue will show it's a priority to voters. If nothing else all four City Council members appearing on the democratic ballot for mayor pledged to commit financial and political capital to ending homelessness in the city by 2018.
The campaign of Republican Michigan U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land says it raised about $2.15 million from donors in the latest quarter and got an additional $1.2 million from Land herself. Democrat Gary Peters says his campaign raised $1.95 million.
The potential number of contested Ann Arbor City Council primaries continues to grow. While only incumbent first ward city council member Sumi Kailasapathy is officially set to appear on the August Democratic Primary ballot now, eight other people have pulled petitions.
A proposed point-seven mill tax to increase Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority service is the only issue on the May 6th ballot in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township. To save the A-A-A-T-A some money Ypsilanti Township officials will be combining several precincts to limit the number of poll workers needed.
A new ballot proposal committee is considering over the new few weeks if they will try to put a question on the November ballot to raise Michigan's minimum wage.
State Representative David Rutledge says an increase will help Michigan particularly the Ypsilanti area. Rutledge says it may cost businesses more in salaries, but they will benefit as well through consumers having more money to spend on goods and services.
State Senator Bert Johnson has introduced legislation to raise Michigan's minimum wage to $10 per hour by 2016, but similar legislation never made it out of committee last session.
Michigan's minimum wage has been $7.40 hourly, since 2008, but for tipped workers has remained at $2.65 since the early 1990's.
The former chair of the Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission is once more seeking a seat on City Council.
Julie Grand has announced she will run for the third ward seat Council member Christopher Taylor is opting not to try to keep as he instead runs for mayor. Grand says she learned some lessons from her narrow defeat to Council member Stephen Kunselman in last year's democratic primary. She says however her philosophy remains the same.
Grand says she is still running to try to make a direct impact on the quality of life in Ann Arbor. She says the city needs leaders who use data, best practices, and community engagement to make decisions on issues while also working on constituent services.
It won't be long before we have the official results of last week's elections.
Ed Golembiewski is Washtenaw County's Elections Director. He says the results will be certified first thing Wednesday morning.
Golembiewski says one provisional ballot was added in Ann Arbor elections, and Ann Arbor city council 5th Ward write-in candidate Chip Smith got an additional 100 votes - not enough to change the results.
Mayor Jason Lindauer has won re-election. There will be a couple of new faces on City Council. Jim Myles will join council after winning a four year term, unseating Incumbent Dustin Suntheimer. Myles joins Incumbents Melissa Johnson and Mayor Pro-Tem Cheri Albertson in winning full terms. There were also two partial, two-year terms seats available on Chelsea City Council. Incumbent Frank Hammer and newcomer Jane Pacheco won those seats.
Voters in Ann Arbor's Second Ward have re-elected Jane Lumm to City Council. Lumm claimed 56 percent of the vote yesterday, while Democrat Kirk Westphal received 42 percent and Conrad Brown of the Mixed Use Party got two percent.
Lumm says her victory is another sign Ann Arbor voters want a focus on core services. Lumm says she's pleased that overall city council continues to gain independent voices that will encourage greater debate.
Westphal says he hopes to continue to serve on the planning commission and other boards but is concerned city council will pass on opportunities to enhance Ann Arbor's future.
Ann Arbor Public Schools will continue to have a dedicated source of funding for facility maintenance and upgrades.
Voters approved a five year continuation of the sinking fund millage yesterday. The one-mill tax was approved by over 80 percent of voters.
School Board Member Glenn Nelson says the sinking fund is an important piece of the overall budget. He says without the millage the shape of schools would have been reduced and instruction would have suffered as well. Nelson says the community has once again invested in education and the area's future. He says the sinking fund millage is an education tax that completely remains in the district.
Incumbent Ann Arbor City Council member Stephen Kunselman has defeated a challenge from a former campaign volunteer. Kunselman received 70 percent of the vote yesterday, with Sam DeVarti of the Mixed Use Party claiming 28 percent.
Kunselman says the results of all of the council races show voters still want a greater priority placed on core services. He says council will continue to focus on making stronger neighborhoods. Kunselman says it will be nice to have more allies on council as he looks to run for mayor next year.
Democrat Jack Eaton claimed nearly 90 percent of the vote for Ann Arbor's fourth ward City Council race, and incumbent Mike Anglin won in the fifth ward with about 68 percent.
Eaton and Anglin were the only names on the ballot in their respective wards, but both candidates also faced write-in campaigns in the last few weeks before the election.
Eaton says the write-in efforts came without participation in debates and other campaigning so voters couldn't get a clear picture of these candidates.
Eaton's challenger was William Lockwood, while Anglin faced write-in campaigns from Thomas Partridge who announced his campaign months ago and Chip Smith who registered as a write-in candidate less than a month ago. Eaton also faced a tongue-in-check write in campaign from a 20 pound carp that was pulled from a pond in West Park a year ago.
Un-official election results have Saline Township voters saying "yes" to a road maintenance millage renewal. The one-mil issue generates revenue to take care of the township's gravel non-primary roads.
School district voters appeared generous with their support Tuesday, approving an operational millage renewal for Saline Area Schools. Ann Arbor schools voters also approved a sinking fund millage renewal.
Voters in Ann Arbor's 5th ward tomorrow will have a choice of three candidates, although only one name will appear on the ballot. Incumbent Democrat Mike Anglin is seeking re-election. His name will be the only name voters see.
But, as WEMU's David Fair reports, there are two Democratic write-in candidates seeking to pull off an upset:
For nearly a decade, Ann Arbor Public Schools have been able to fund a variety of facility upgrades through a sinking fund millage that brings in about $7.4 million a year. District voters tomorrow will be aske to continue the sinking fund from 2015 through 2019.
Election Day is tomorrow, and in Ann Arbor's 4th ward, the outcome is just about certain. Democrat John Eaton, or Jack, as he prefers to be called, defeated current councilwoman Marcia Higgins in the August Primary, and appeared to be unopposed for the general election.
But, as WEMU's David Fair reports, voters do have the option of a registered write-in candidate: