Communications: Love Mail, Hate Mail, Comments, and Questions

Time once again for another update on communications.

The purpose of my blog is not to support a specific candidate/side or be against a specific  candidate/side.  It is simply to point out what is really going on underneath the petty politics.  To show you what your candidates say, do, and stand for.  To show you the trends over time, not in just one snippet of a news-bite.  I  do believe that some city councilmembers present themselves in a false manner and will point that out without hesitation.

A reader recently sent me a copy of an email that has been circling the email universe throughout the city of Ann Arbor.  It was not from the author, but from another person who received it from others.

The author of this widespread email appears to feel the same way as I do (on many things). I thought I would share it with all of you.

Why Jane Lumm should be voted out of office in Ward 2

A number of you have pointed out the dangers of supporting any CC candidate on the basis of just one issue. Zoning and limiting D1 to where it fits is a huge issue – but ultimately only one of the many vital issues that CC regulates to shape the city’s future.

We’ve all spoken out strongly, together, against aspects of current zoning that were either ineptly mapped, or which (unintentionally) enabled a perfect storm of monoculture student-dorm highrises to be built in an economic environment that no-one could have foreseen.

But despite the magnitude of this issue and the impacts it’s had especially on you residents along Division and your neighbors, I will not be fooled by simplistic flag-waving into backing any political horse on the basis of one issue, or a list of flimsy catchphrases of little or no substance. I’m fed up with the black-and-white politicking around here.

Both Jane Lumm and Stephen Kunselman have not only spoken out against many issues that I am strongly, passionately in favor of: They have blocked motions, hindered progress, dragged their heels, and displayed an ignorant conservatism that is unacceptable. Their black and white painting of politics in this town is intolerable: it breeds lies and propaganda. For both Jane and Steve, you are either on this team or that team, either “pro-Hieftje” or “anti-Hieftje”. This is a pathetically simplistic approach to policy-making, and I resent it and reject it.

None of us on this mailing list should forget the cold, hard reality of what the voting by CC on the 413 East Huron project was really about: It was not about being “for” or “against” the project: It was about what rules each CC member believed the valid legal framework comprised, and which of those rules were absolute or open to interpretation. It was about whether the city could successfully defend against massive litigation on the basis of that legal framework if it rejected the proposal.

Until that legal framework is changed – which is what we are working together right now to do – the stark fact is that, in Michigan courts, we most likely have insufficient legal basis to reject these projects without risk of monstrous litigation. Those who would risk that litigation are fools, and take such threat far too lightly. They talk big – until they’d have to face the music, and then you’d see a lot of people in panic and fear.

So for anyone to say that any one CC member was “for” or “against” us on that vote is nonsensical. Those CC members that voted against the 413 East Huron project did so knowing that just enough of the others sensed the legal urgency enough to pass it. Those voting against it knew they could gain political leverage by making some of us think they were “for” us, and the others “against” us. Well, I’m not that naïve.

The current legal framework we are now revising was a product of many different people and organizations. Everyone today recognizes there were some missteps from the start, that we are all now correcting. But you don’t throw the baby out with the bath. Except for location, height and mass of a good number of D1 locations, I can say with conviction that I strongly approve of most everything the city has undertaken under Mayor Hieftje.

I’m fed up with the uninformed, anti-train, anti-new train station, and lump-sum anti-DDA sentiment that Jane Lumm and Steven Kunselman have been fostering. Jane Lumm has voted against accepting federal funding to research multiple modes of public transportation, including rail transport. She clothes this is in supposedly green concern for parkland, as if Ann Arbor were losing its greenery at the rate of the Amazon rainforest.

Jane Lumm needs to first learn what any farmer knows: Use the assets you have as best you can. You plant your corn in the bottomland and your wheat on high ground, and you build your house on rock on your highest point, and drill for well water through that rock so your drinking water is clean. The proposed site below the university hospitals is the best site for a new, state-of-the-art station. This city wants state-of-the-art rail service now.

Jane Lumm would never think of rejecting fuel tax or federal monies for roads serving cars and trucks. If she’s going to reject funding for one mode of transport, why is she inconsistent and accepts government subsidies for roads? This reveals two-faced prejudice against rail which directly contradicts the policies of President Obama and the Democratic Party platform. For energy use and economics, railroads are the single most efficient mode of transport we have, both for freight and passengers. Do Jane and Steven give no thought to mobility for the elderly who no longer drive? Do they think the rail service as it stands is adequate for them to journey reliably to Chicago and Detroit?

Jane also voted against federal money to study the connector route from Plymouth down to State St., to look at the feasibility of either light rail or express bus service to cut traffic on the north-south corridor. This has been one of the only points of collaboration between the city and the university. So instead of promoting better communication between the U of M and the city, she rejects it. This is appalling, especially in light of 413 East Huron, when university officials sat by refusing to sully their fingernails with the fact that they had so much money invested in the developer’s financer.

And one more important thing: Just when the news was reporting to us that yet another pedestrian had been killed crossing a road in Ann Arbor, and another bicyclist crippled for life, both by distracted car drivers, Stephen Kunselman chooses in his debate against Sam DeVarti to complain about the signage that DDA has put up directing the way downtown for visitors. Steve says we all have smartphones, and can follow our smartphones and fiddle with our GPS while driving. It shows a complete lack of understanding for a serious, major problem. It’s like Steve’s use of the term “infrastructure” to refer exclusively to filling potholes in roads, rather than railroads (as if the roads in Ann Arbor hadn’t been undergoing intensive renewal in recent years, particularly in his neighborhood!).

And this guy wants to be mayor? No way. That would be catastrophic for Ann Arbor.

No – I strongly recommend voting against Jane Lumm. At the same time, I’m going to continue hounding for zoning reform from thoroughly informed, forward-thinking people who clearly see what current zoning has wrought, know it needs reforming, and are presently in the process of doing just that. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath. Don’t be fooled by conservative black-and-white-ism. Never sell out to simplistic, ill-informed politicians who act like Washington Republicans.

Tony Pinnell
Ward 3



A reader has also informed me that there is now a write in candidate for the 4th WARD, City of Ann Arbor.  William Lockwood has filed the appropriate affidavit to be an official write-in candidate for the 4th ward in the City of Ann Arbor, City Council race.

Bill Lockwood is a progressive Democrat who is active in local Democratic politics.

If voters in the 4th ward are unhappy with your Democratic primary winner (Jack Eaton), you now have another person for which to cast your vote.


There is also a new write in candidate for the 5th WARD, City of Ann Arbor.  Chip Smith announced his write in candidacy for 5th ward city council in the Ann Arbor News.  Here is the link to the article.

Chip Smith is an Urban Planner who is a Democrat.

If voters in the 5th ward are unhappy with your Democratic incumbent (Mike Anglin) and your other write in option (Tom Partridge), you now have another person for which to cast your vote.

ab epistulis 



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