Your Vote Matters. VOTE Tuesday, November 5.

This Tuesday, there is an election.  There is not much on the ballot, but what is there, is important, and should not be dismissed.

Ann Arbor public Schools Sinking Fund Millage

First off, there is a millage for the public schools.  This is for the sinking fund millage that funds building repairs and upgrades. This is not a new tax, but rather a continuation of the old millage that has been renewed 3 times.  It is a good thing.  I’d be surprised if anyone finds this issue controversial.  But hey…this is Ann Arbor…nothing should surprise me. I hope you vote for it, as I am planning to do.


This proposal would continue and extend the authority last approved by voters in 2008 and which expires with the 2014 levy for the Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor to levy a sinking fund millage.  This proposal would also allow the use of proceeds of the millage for any purposes permitted by law.

Shall the Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor, County of Washtenaw, Michigan, be authorized to levy 1.00 mill ($1.00 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) to create a sinking fund for the purpose of the construction or repair of school buildings and the improvement and development of sites and, to the extent permitted by law, for other purposes, including, but not limited to, the acquisition and installation of furnishings and equipment, by increasing the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property in the School District for a period of five (5) years, being the years 2015 to 2019, inclusive?  It is estimated that 1.00 mill ($1.00 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) would raise approximately $7,450,000 in the first year that it is levied.

 (Under state law, sinking fund proceeds may not be used to pay teacher or administrator salaries.)

Here is a link to the Ann Arbor News coverage regarding the School Millage.1

Here is a link to the Ann Arbor Public Schools website that explains the millage. It includes a Frequently Asked Questions Section.

Below is a video from the Ann Arbor Public Schools website that explains the millage in more detail:



Ann Arbor City Council   

Next we have an election for your city council representative.  Ann Arbor is split into 5 pie-shaped wards for the purpose of city council elections.  Ann Arbor Citywardmap council is made up of  two representatives from each ward and a Mayor that is elected at-large.  On November 5, you will elect one of your two representatives.

If you have been following my blog then you know that I am not a supporter of the Teapublican Caucus2 and in no way want those who seats are up this year to get re-elected.  Jane Lumm, Mike Anglin, and Stephen Kunselman do not have the best interest of the city in mind and are trying to push their ideological agendas on the city in the guise of “fiscal responsibility” and “ethics”.  Jack Eaton, the 4th ward democratic primary winner, has joined ranks with him, so I am not thrilled about him joining council either.

Previously, I had officially endorsed Kirk Westphal for Ward 2 and Sabra Briere for Ward 1.

Please read my previous posts (Ward2, Ward 1) on this blog for much more detail about my endorsements.  There was also an anti-endorsement for Stephen Kunselman in ward 3 and no endorsement for Ward 5 or Ward 4.

Over the past few weeks, there have been some important issues that have crept up which I think are relevant to your decision about who to vote for if you are undecided.

Ward 2

Badge - 2008 electionThere sure seems to be a lot of people upset with Jane Lumm.  As you have read in previous blog posts, a reader forwarded me an email lambasting Jane Lumm that was written by Tony Pinnell.  Tony Pinnell then went into more of his thoughts on Jane Lumm in a Guest Column on MOTL.  Now another reader has sent me more info in regards to the Jane Lumm campaign that I think is pretty relevant to all residents of the city when they are choosing whom to vote for in Ward 2.

It appears that Chuck Gelman (yes, that Chuck Gelman, whose company’s dioxane plume is spreading beneath our feet, shutting down water wells left and right and threatening the source of Ann Arbor’s drinking water)3, sends out this interesting, trying-so-hard-not-to-be-biased email to discredit Kirk Westphal in the Ward 2 city council race.



Gelman wanted Republicans and the DINOs who are supporting Jan Lumm to crash the Democratic Party meeting and try to overthrow the endorsement meeting.  They had no such luck, but the gall of this man is incredible.

When that didn’t work out, he ups the ante and sends out this fundraising note for her.




The next day, in the Orchard Hills Maplewood candidate forum at the Traverwood Library, Lumm is heard saying how important it is for Ann Arbor to clean up the Gelman plume.

Funny thing is she was absent from the meeting where the Ann Arbor City Council recently voted to call on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to tighten standards for dioxane cleanup.4  Sabra Briere however reported to the Ann Arbor News that “she actually received a ‘scathing email’ from Gelman when she brought forward a resolution pushing for stricter cleanup criteria in recent months,” …referring to the above mentioned meeting.5   I wonder if Lumm received the same email?  I wonder if Lumm responded by skipping the meeting so not to offend her campaign operative and fundraiser?

Well, is this nothing but a coincidence?  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it’s almost like they bumped into each other at a Republican fundraiser and planned the whole dang thing!  Wait a minute…….

If the Dioxane plume is an issue that is very important to you (clean drinking water should be important to all!), then you might not want to support Lumm who appears to be beholden to Chuck Gelman, one of the principals responsible for the PALL-Gelman Plume.  Could Lumm be impartial when issues come up in relation to the plume and our drinking water?  Will she protect her friend, campaign operative and fundraiser?  Those are the questions you need to ask yourselves.  Her past actions shows that she says one thing, but might actually act in a contradictory manner.  Think twice about voting for her.

Lumm has also been busy trying to deny her Teapublican status at the Orchard Hills Maplewood candidate forum. No one person fits all aspects of any one ideology.  What I have always stressed in my posts and comments is that that you should look at the trend of what a candidate says and does, and why they are saying and doing these things.  Don’t look at every news byte but look at all the surrounding context.  For example Lumm says she voted to fund affordable housing and a Tea Party candidate would never do that.  However, she only did that so that the very, vocal residents who support affordable housing would not interfere with her’s and the other Teapublican’s plans to disband the DDA as I pointed out in previous posts (Pied Piper-1) (Tiff over Tif-2).   Contributing to affordable housing was not her goal, interfering with the DDA budget was.

She might actually be moderate on a few issues, but her overall trend is conservative and not just fiscally conservative.  Remember her moral outrage over profanity on the internet.

The Tea Party is just not made up of the Christian Right Republicans who are extremely conservative on social views. It is also made up of the libertarian types who are socially liberal and fiscally restrictive where they refuse to support anything besides basic services. The Tea Party consists of both types of socially liberal and socially conservative people. How the Tea Party is actually defined in contrast to the Republicans is that they are fiscally RESTRICTIVE, not fiscally conservative. Republicans want to moderate spending, Teapublicans want to restrict spending. Teapublicans do not compromise; they govern with “my way or no way”, and purposely interfere with governmental processes in order to prevent progress.

Jane Lumm has done all of those things. She is fiscally restrictive to the point that she wants to impede innovation and the future of the city in order to fund more police when crime has been decreasing steadily over the years.  She votes to turn away millions in federal grants with the excuse that the small local match is “too expensive” (“We could hire a cop with it!”). She says that we don’t need a new rail station, funded to the tune of 90% or more by the feds and UofM. She is the epitome of “penny wise, pound foolish.” She even found excuses to turn away a no-local-match federal grant for an educational wind turbine at Pioneer High School.

Voters should look at the trend of her votes and the context when deciding whom to vote for.  All signs point to her being a Teapublican.

Here is Kirk Westphal’s closing statement from the Orchard Hills Maplewood candidate forum that was posted on the Ann Arbor News MLive website.  Video was taken by Ryan Stanton. 7


Ward 4

Badge - 2008 electionAnother Write in candidate has filed papers to be counted, but he is not running an active campaign.

William Lockwood is a Progressive Democrat and is active in the local Democratic Party.  He describes his campaign as “quiet”.  He is a real Democrat and not a DINO (Democrat in Name only), as I perceive Jack Eaton to be.  If you live in the 4th ward, you can legally cast your vote for William Lockwood and it will be counted.  WRITE-IN William Lockwood for 4th ward city council.

Ward 5

Badge - 2008 electionA write in candidate has filed all the necessary paperwork to be counted as a candidate for ward 5 city council race.  He is a real candidate with a real campaign.

Chip Smith is an urban planner who is a Democrat.  On his Facebook page, Smith has all sorts of information about his campaign including a FAQ section to give you more information.

On his campaign website he describes why he is running:

Why I’m a Write-In Candidate

I’m running because I am concerned we’re at a critical juncture.  We can’t stop making these investments in tomorrow, but there is a movement afoot to focus on the now at the expense of the future.  We can’t stop looking ahead because, if we do, then the emerging hub of technical innovation in Ann Arbor will stop growing. We cannot turn our backs on regional transit – moving people around INSIDE Ann Arbor’s boundaries isn’t good enough because we are a regional job center. We need to move people into Ann Arbor from other communities.  We also need to stay the course on becoming a truly pedestrian-friendly community with transportation and housing choices.  And we need to be an inclusive community that welcomes outsiders and invites people to join our community while sharing information and data freely and openly.

“I’m not a politician, I’m a policy guy. I’m doing this because we lack substantive policy debate.”

–       Chip Smith

Smith also includes some videos with him describing some of his positions.  These are also on his Facebook page.

Healthy, Walkable Neighborhood Design
Take a few minutes to listen to a short talk about creating healthy, walkable urban neighborhoods.



Chip Smith talks transit
Here are his thoughts on why he wants to think beyond our boundaries regarding transit.



This video from his facebook page is rather funny.  Chip Smith is not only a policy guy but he is also a tree hugger!



I am officially endorsing Chip Smith for Ward 5 city council.  Although Mike Anglin is a really nice person, I don’t like his lack of foresight on the issues, his lack of consideration for what is in the best interest of the city (eg. his vote against 413 E. Huron project would have gotten the city sued) or his persecution of commission appointees for his political gain. ( eg. Appleyard and McWilliams).  Anglin even voted against replacing the rusted out light poles on Main Street.  In the Ann Arbor news, Anglin inferred that he was punishing the DDA for the McWilliams vote; the DDA must now fund the entire costs of the light poles since he, Anglin, lost the political fight over the appointment.8

Anglin argues the DDA has the money and can pay for the light poles. He said the fight over McWilliams’ appointment also might have been a factor.

“Maybe Al McWilliams cost them $300,000,” he said.

I find this sort of comment disturbing and it is not a trait I want in an elected official for the city of Ann Arbor.  WRITE-IN CHIP SMITH for 5th ward city council.


In closing

To use the words of Kirk Westphal, “Council is at a tipping point. One seat and one vote is all it takes to go backward instead of forward.”  So Wake Up Ann Arbor!  And pay attention to what your council member is actually saying.

The city has a balanced budget. “Reprioritizing” the budget means adding something and cutting something. So when a Teapublican knocks on your door and uses empty phrases like “fiscal responsibility” and “back to basics” and “public safety” and “priorities,” ask him or her, “What exactly do you want to spend more money on? How will we know when we’ve spent enough? What are you going to cut?”

If they walk like a Republican and talk like a Teapublican, then…they are NOT a DEMOCRAT! (and not even an independent).  Vote for the candidate-not on a single issue, but for one who represents most of your values and what you want for the future of Ann Arbor.  A future that goes forward.

votePlease vote Tuesday, November 5.  Polls are open 7am to 8pm.

(To find your polling place or to view your  sample ballot click here.

alea iacta est



1 Amy Biolchini, “Voters to decide if Ann Arbor schools can continue sinking fund tax for building projects.”  Ann Arbor News, October 20, 2013.

2  The Ann Arbor City Council Teapublican Caucus is made up the following councilmemebrs: Mike Anglin, Stephen Kunselman, Sumi Kailasapathy, Jane Lumm, and Sally Peterson.  (Based on his campaign platform and rhetoric, I assume Jack Eaton will be welcomed into this group once he takes office in November.)

3  Ryan Stanton, “Pall-Gelman dioxane plume: Ann Arbor officials want stricter cleanup criteria to stop spread.”  Ann Arbor News, September 1, 2013.

4  Ryan Stanton, “Ann Arbor calls on DEQ to tighten standards for dioxane cleanup: ‘It’s way overdue.”  Ann Arbor News, September 1, 2013.

5  Ryan Stanton, “Campaign finance: Briere and Westphal both top $10K, while Lumm raises $20K.”  Ann Arbor News, October 25, 2013

6  Ryan Stanton, “Ann Arbor council candidates clash over Tea Party label, train station, downtown development.” Ann Arbor News, October 18, 2013.

7  Ryan Stanton, “Video: 2nd Ward candidates for Ann Arbor City Council lay out platforms.”  Ann Arbor News, October 17, 2013.

8  Ryan Stanton, “Chip Smith announces write-in campaign in Ann Arbor’s 5th Ward.”   Ann Arbor News, October 24, 2013.


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