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August 04, 2008 - Image 8

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

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


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

From Page 1
Incumbent Ron Suarez will be on
the ballot for a Ward 1 seat on Ann
Arbor's City Council, but he doesn't
want you to vote for him.
Due to family and work obli-
gations, Suarez pulled out of the
race. He asked Patricia Lesko,
who edits the online journal the
Adjunct Advocate and owns the
publishing company the Part-
Time Press, to run in his place as
a write-in candidate.
SandiSmith,co-owner of Trillium

Real Estate, will be on the ballot.
Smith has served on the Ann
Arbor Board of Realtors, the Down-
town Development Authority and
community taskforces for the gre-
enway, community security and
affordable housing.
Lesko said she doesn't like the
way the city is run.
Smith, who was endorsed by
Hieftje, said she wants to improve
the current system with an optimis-
tic outlook and management style.
"A single 'no' vote doesn't do
anything. You need to say 'no, and
I'd like to add this amendment
that would favor the project in this

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way,"' Smith said.
. Both candidates the prospective
use of the undeveloped land in the
first ward is a concern for residents.
"The more urban density, the
more taxes you generate by adding
more individuals and companies
here," Smith said.
Lesko said she would like to see
less "cookie-cutter condos" and
more case-by-case evaluations of
city development.
Both candidates said they
thought students could play a key
role in bringing Ann Arbor and the
city into a more efficient working
Smith said that her nephew, a
student at the University, gives
her insight into students.
"I welcome participation
and dialogue from students,"
she said. "I encourage them if
they're living here year-round
to register to vote here."
Lesko attributed the students'
lack of voice in city matters to
the government's lack of trans-
parency and, again, communi-
cation skills.
"They know you're an 800-
pound gorilla, and they want to
do everything they can to make
sure you don't flex your mus-
cles," she said.
From Page 1
This year's race for the Demo-
appears to have an incumbent. It
pits long-time politician Tony Der-
ezinski against Stewart Nelson, a
retired Northwest pilot who takes
pride in being at odds with Heiftje
and much of the council.
While similar in their priorities,
each approaches the issues very
differently. And they have vastly
different perspectives on the cur-
rent city administration.
Both candidates stress a need
for a transparent city govern-
ment. Derezinski said he learned
how important it is during his
experience working as a deputy
sheriff, state senator from Mus-
kegon, regent at Eastern Michi-
gan University and political
Derezinski believes the city
already does a good job of making
information public.
Nelson's push for an open city
government comes from his frus-
tration with the availability of
information during decision-mak-
ing processes.
"If you want to try and get infor-
mation from the city, sometimes

From Page 1
city that it can be.
"I want it to be this artsy, excit-
ing, technologically savvy city, and
we're moving very rapidly in that
direction," Hieftje said. "But I also
want it to have this green, environ-
mental overlay, so it's just going to
be a great place to live."
With a close eye onfiscalrespon-
sibility, Tom Wall said his experi-
ence as a business owner makes
him a prime candidate for mayor
and the right person to manage
Ann Arbor's expenditures.
"I'm not a seasoned politician,
but people say I am honest," Wall
said. "I couldn't sleep at night if I
did it any other way."
The founder of All-Star Driver
Education, who proudly touts the
nickname "Captain Driver's Ed,"
said he would work to stop exces-
sive spendingifhe's elected.
Despite the city's favorable bond
rating, Wall said some of his pri-
mary spending concerns include
the new $47 million police-court
house expansion and consultants
who are currently contracted by
the city of Ann Arbor to evalu-
it's like pulling teeth," he said.
Both candidates are also strong
proponents of fiscal restraint, but
disagree on the city's current man-
agement of the budget.
"The city is very well-run
financially," Derezinski said. "I
think it's very good, very prudent
fiscal management."
Nelson disagrees - vehemently.
"I think that the budgetary pro-
cess is horrible," he said.
The biggest problem, Nelson
said, is that the council sets its
budget once a year, rather than
quarterly or monthly like most
businesses. He said the Council
frequently exceeds its budget.
Derezinski supports plans to
build a joint police station and
courthouse downtown. He sug-
gested it could be financed by float-
ing a bond, pointing out that can be
done very cheaply right now.
While Nelson said he thinks
the police station doesn't have
adequate facilities, he doesn't
support plans for the new build-
ing. He said the city should wait
until the economy is stronger and
it can raise the money from taxes
for the building.
The candidates views on city
issues like density are more simi-
lar. Both condemned urban sprawl
as "unsustainable growth" and

- ate city property and employee
As for the environment, Wall
said he'd like to see sustainability
written in to Ann Arbor's laws for
construction and development.
"Green and sustainable is
everything that John is doing,"
Wall said of Mayor Hieftje, "But .
I will keep that anid then take it
even farther."
Wall said his environmental
plans would include an expan-
sion of the Greenway, as well as
an initiative to clean up the city's
If elected, Wall said he would
also work to make the Ann Arbor
city government more responsive
to students and residents.
Overall, he said, the collabora-
tion and communication between
the University and the city needs
to be improved.
"I think we can have a better
working relationship than what
we have," he said. "I'm not afraid
to speak out on this issue."
His plans to accomplish that
goal include a volunteer phone
line that would handle any city-
related questions. Wall also said
he would like to schedule meet-
ings and "fireside chats" every
month to allow residents to voice
their concerns directly to him.
support the city's efforts to build
a greenbelt and create more bike
lanes. Both also have "reserva-
tions" about the current zoning
codes, especially because they
allow the construction of 601
Forest, the 25-story apartment
building on the corner of South
University Avenue and South For-
est Street.
Neither candidate said they
had taken much time to meet with
"They are residents. They're
not voters," Derezinski said. "They
have to be listened to, but they also
have to participate more."
He did point out that he was
familiar with students' issues
because of his 13 years as an East-
ern Michigan regent.
Nelson said he was frustrated
that he hadn't been able to speak
with many students, who he said
are "disenfranchised" because the
primary takes place when so few
are in Ann Arbor. He said he has
attended meetings held by student
groups, and been very involved
with fraternities.
Nelson said he's tried to make
himself open to all of Ward 2's resi-
dents, and that if elected he would
be responsive to students if they
came to him with concerns.



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