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August 04, 2008 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-08-04

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Monday, August 4, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C)Jbe fMidbian aili
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect theofficial positionof the Daily's editorial board. All other
signed articles and illustrations represent solely the viewsof their authors.

This year's city primaryhas
produced, on the whole, a
unique spread of qualified
Hot issues this year include
student housing, sustain-
ability and fiscal responsi-
bility - again.
Thanks to Michigan's infa-
mous voting laws, it's a
well-known fact that few
students are actually regis-
tered to vote in Ann Arbor.

And while they shouldn't
hide behind legislation to
defend their apathy, stale
issues don't help matters.
In the hands of capable
candidates, action on those
issues could actually be a
real possibility this year.
Which is why it's even
more important this year
that those who can vote
do - and those who can't,

Both candidates Patricia Lesko
and Sandi Smith demonstrate a
well-rounded knowledge of linch-
pin issues like affordable housing,
urban development, city greening
and Univeristy-city relationships.
Patricia Lesko has big ideas.
Lesko sees Berkeley, California
- similar, in many ways, to Ann
Arbor - as a useful model for
development. She says she'd like
to see improved transparency
with city government and recog-
nizes that the city could benefit
.Ward2 E
In Ward 2, Tony Derezinski and
Stewart Nelson are facing off.
Derezinskihas served in numer-
ous public capacities. A former
state senator, he also served on
the Eastern Michigan University
board of regents. He is promoting
changes in public transportation
and hopes to foster "proactive col-
laboration," andhasbeenendorsed
by Hieftje, as well as U.S. Rep.
John Dingell.
Stewart Nelson is a retired pilot
who has focused much of his cam-
Ward 3 :
Running in Ward 3 are incum-
bent candidate Stephen Kunsel-
man and newcomer Christopher
Kunselman, notorious for the
high-profile backyard-chick-
en debate, has worked in local
government for 10 years. He
is focused on improving local
parks, improving the city's green-
belt and promoting sustainable
Taylor is emphasizing the need,
for improved building regula-
Ward 5 TH E
The race in Ward S is between
Carsten Hohnke and Vivienne
Hohnke lacks public service
experience but has strong ideas
about transportation and hous-
Armentrout served on the
Washtenaw County Board ofCom-
missioners and calls for reform-
ing city government through
better budget management and
improved accountability.


from student input when it comes she's not just a body in a seat; she
to housing. Lesko is running as has detailed and concrete goals
a write-in candidate, for city improvementlike-
replacing Ron Suarez, ly a contributing factor in
who has dropped out of her winning the current
the race. _ mayor's endorsement.
Also running is Sandi Voters should choose
Smith. She has worked Sandi Smith; from talk-
most notably with the ing with her, it's clear
Downtown Development that she understands the
Authority on the LED complex inner-workings
light program, a progressive and of city government. While both
pragmatic greening initiative that candidates are qualified, Smith's
has won the city notoriety. But experience gives her the edge.
paign on opening up city govern- equipped to recognize the impor-
ment and hopes to improve finance tance of students within a commu-
management by taking a nity and to take measures to
seat on the council, facilitate involvement.
The Daily endorses His plans for better col-
berezinski based on his laboration - if he can pull
extensive experience them off - would prove
in office and realistic mutually beneficial to both
understanding of the the city and the University.
challenges - and plans And if that weren't
to face them - ahead for enough, his experience in
Ann Arbor. regional planning in an era where
As a former regent at East- development is a hot-button issue
ern, Derezinski is particularly make him the man for the job.
tions and fiscal responsibility. He Both Taylor and Kunselman
also advocates more money for have good ideas, and for a fresh-
improving and greening man candidate, Taylor's
the Ann Arbor Trans- are impressively defined.
portation Authority. But when it comes to
In the booth, voters understanding' how to
should check Kunsel- make those changes hap-
man's box. Though he's pen, Kunselman wins.
known for ruffling feath- He has the kind of
ers, he advocates real know-how that can only
and pragmatic issues. come from experience.
It's obvious from speaking to him That could be Taylor in a few
that he knows how to get things years, if he can start a little lower
done. and work his way up.
While Ward S's race hasn't in meaning - there is an earnest-
produced candidates of quite the ness in him worth supporting.
same caliber as else- Though he doesn't have
where in the city, vot- remarkable solutions to
ers should recognize student concerns like
a slight advantage in affordable housing, he
Hohnke. does at least recognize the
Though he lacks importance of such issues.
Armentrout's service The same can't be said for
experience and cer- Armentrout, who seems
tainly speaks politik more focused on repri-
- a language peppered with manding from her soapbox than
snappy soundbites that are vague enacting change.






After eight years in office,
incumbent mayor John Hieftje
has a lot to show for it. During
his time in office, he's produced
an impressive list of accomplish-
ments. A long-time champion of
the environment and city green-
ing, Hieftje has sponsored initia-
tives like the Mayor's
Green Energy Chal-
lenge and has been
a key supporter of'
the Ann Arbor Parks
and Greenbelt Pro-
gram, even winning
the Environmental
Leadership Award
from the Michigan
League of Conser-
vation voters this
year. He is also committed to
improving public transportation
and fostering controlled urban
development in a way that main-
tains the spirit of the city.
Tom Wall, a local business
man, is the heavyweight incum-
bent's challenger. Wall, who
also ran for mayor in 2006 as an

Independent, has vocalized the
need for fiscal responsibility.
He has similarly backed envi-
ronmental projects like the Gre-
enway Program and called for
more incorporation of sustain-
ability policy in the city's build-
ing regulations-.
But those goals,
while admirable,
can't beat out the
current powerhouse
heading city coun-
cil's table. Voters
should choose John
Hieftje for his expe-
rience, knowledge
and ability to get
things done. Realis-
tic and, simultane-
ously, forward-thinking, he can
provide the kind of leadership
the council needs. And while
little progress has been made
to increase students' involve-
ment in city government during
his terms served, he still under-
stands that this is an important
issue in need of work.


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