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August 01, 2011 - Image 4

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-08-01

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

Monday, August 1, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
(ThislAhdpigan DaitIj

1EFF ZU1CHSLAG

E-MAIl. JEFF A

MICH.EDU

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

Eek! A mouse!
I think we might
have bigger
problems..
Tax increase on

I

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6

BETHANY BIRON
EDITOR IN CHIEF

MARK BURNS
MANAGING EDITOR

TEDDY PAPES
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.

Vote Issa, Rapundalo, Anglin
City Council needs representatives to pull Ann Arbor through economic woes

With such a small population going to the polls, every
vote can tip the balance in tomorrow's Ann Arbor
City Council Primary elections. The Republican
candidates are running unopposed, but for those who are plan-
ning on voting Democrat, there is a diverse pool of candidates
to choose from. Ann Arbor, like many cities in the country,
has faced tough economic decisions, and will likely face even
more difficult decisions in the future. It's important, maybe
now more than ever, that the city has the right people sitting
on council as it trudges through the hard times ahead.

In Ward 2, incumbent Stephen
Rapundalo is being challenged
by Tim Hull, a programmer
at the University's Center for
Computational Medicine and
Bioinformatics and the current
head of the city council's taxicab
board. Hull, a 26-year old who
holds a master's degree from
the University, empathizes with
a community that has a large
college population. He is earnest
in his desire to scrutinize the
city's budget and cut areas that
aren't personnel or employees.
While this platform is noble
and deserves attention, the
unfortunate reality of city
finances and his lack of public
experience maypreventhimfrom
effectively making the changes
to which he is committed.
Rapundalo has been on the
City Council for years and has
an extensive knowledge of
city finances and governance.
Recently, though, Rapundalo
was in the minority of city
council dissenters on the long
awaited mandate of the local

medical marijuana ordinances,
but his desires for a perfect plan
may have hampered a solution
that was well overdue. This,
along with his endorsement
of the couch ban, are actions
that reveal some of the poor
policy decisions he should
avoid revisiting. Despite these
shortcomings, Rapundalo's
experience in the coming years
will be a stronger asset than
Hull's good will. The incumbent
is similarly committed to cutting
expenditures and wants to go
about it in the least painful way.
If he is elected, he would do
well to remember that cutting
employees is the most painful
way to balance the budget.
The Michigan Daily endorses
Stephen Rapundalo for Ward 2.
Neal Elyakin, supervisor
of young adult programs for
the Washtenaw Intermediate
School District and a member
of the Ann Arbor Human Rights
commission, is challenging
incumbent Mike Anglin in Ward
5. Elyakin has a vision of Ann

Arbor where all branches of
government and governmental
organizations work congruently
while looking twenty years
down the road. He goes to great
lengths to emphasize this goal,
but he needs specific plans to
coincide with the visions of a
greater Ann Arbor years down
the road. Elyakin also proposes
the experimentation of property
taxes on the University,
which could spell trouble for
an institution that is already
strapped for cash. This measure
could lead to higher tuition,
less growth within the city and
even less amicable interaction
between Ann Arbor and its
biggest financial wellspring.
Elyakin wants to take a very
moderate and pragmatic
approach to each issue, which is
commendable, but there should
be some areas where one has
conviction and wants to push
projects to fruition. He has a lot
of ideas and a lot of questions,
but Elyakin seems to lack the
answers.

on the other side of Ward 5's ballot,
Anglin wants to bring the Ann Arbor
community together on decisions
that occur in the present. He wants to
improve the council's transparency by
creating a committee that would take
in public perspective and input before
various items reach City Council. He
also favors bringing students and the
City Council together and looks for
a broader dialogue with all residents
of Ann Arbor. He wishes to focus on
safety, though with recent laws like
the city's ban on porch couches, he may
be taking his concerns too far. Elyakin
has some laudable qualities that should
be present in a city councilmen, but
his proposed platform doesn't bring
enough concrete ideas to the table. The
Michigan Daily endorses Mike Anglin
for Ward 5.
In the third ward, there are two
challengers to the incumbent Stephen
Kunselman. Running for his third term,
Kunselman wants to focus on what
he believes are the chief roles of city
council: utility, safety and well-being.
He doesn't believe City Council should
be a force for generating business and
instead wants to keep the focus simpler.
While all of his outlined priorities
should be primary concerns of the
council, the importance of business
and development in Ann Arbor should
not be forgotten. Ingrid Ault, executive
director of Think Local First, differs
greatly from Kunselman's view and
wants to flex the council's ability to
rescue business within the city. One
of her primary concerns is raising
the amount of affordable housing,
something the city desperately needs
more of. Housing prices gouge students,
and while many candidates simply defer
to market forces, Ault is committed
to bringing more housing options to

the table. She believes in engaging
with students actively and thoroughly,
something other city councilmen have
neglected in the past. However, she is
not without her shortcomings. Her lack
of knowledge on the medical marijuana
ordinances and a paucity of attention
on issues other than city economics
obscures many future policies she may
vote on as a councilwomen.
Marwan Issa, technology director
at Global Education Excellence and
a longtime resident of Ann Arbor
who holds a master's degree from the
University, has the most commendable
policy platform for his City Council
candidacy. He endorses the long
overdue medical marijuanaordinances
and is extremely critical of personnel
cuts in the police and fire departments.
Marwan has a liberal view of personal
freedom and also strives to make
citizens safer - not with parental
measures like the couch ban, but by
maintaining strong police and fire
forces in Ann Arbor. Issa may find the
current economic situation is tougher
when he is at the helm than when he is
campaigning (as he will have to clash
with hard bargaining unions), but with
a little leeway from the unions and
some other clever measures, he may
be able to do what other councilman
have not. A new face on the council
and a new point of view may be just
what the council needs to act on some
previously unexplored options. The
Michigan Daily endorses Marwan
Issa for the Ward5.
A familiarity with the current budget
and government process is important,
but a new candidate is necessary to
break the current status quo. There
should be more than austerity in Ann
Arbor's future, and new faces will be
what pushes the city in a new direction.

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