SELMA is the Soule-Eberwhite-Liberty-Madison Affiliation

elections season in SELMA

Since the primaries seem to be the deciding elections in most Ann Arbor wards these days, we will pick our next city councilman this Tuesday.  I am hoping this site can be a way we also share our ideas and concerns about our representation on council and in other forums.  I certainly do not wish to try to speak for the neighborhood or pre-suppose some sort of “right thinking”, but rather to open a dialog on these issues that effect us.

We have a choice between our incumbent councilman Mike Anglin and his challenger Scott Rosencrans.   Although I have had very little direct contact with city government, I have met Mike on several occasions and have expressed some of my ideas and priorities for local government.  I always found Mike to be engaging and responsive to my concerns.

I also feel that Mike has sided with the average citizen over competing development pressure or other moneyed interests.  Just as Ann Arbor has drifted far from its supposed crunchy-granola reputation, many of our local Democratic representatives seem to have forgotten their basic party principles.

When I saw Scott Rosencrans’ signs popping up around the west side, I decided to call him up and ask him some questions about his candidacy.  He seemed to be a very dedicated person, articulate and well intentioned.  He spoke of his background doing committee work including parks and recycling.  He also spoke of his approach to working with people and getting things done.  Scott seems a well qualified candidate and I hope that if elected, one who will serve our interests well.

Yet, what I find missing in Scott’s candidacy is a compelling need for change.  I believe Mike Anglin is one of the only fiscal conservatives we have right now and is a reasonable, up-front defenders of our neighborhoods and other aspects of what makes Ann Arbor unique.  I believe I can trust what Mike says to be his honest feelings and intentions, unlike some of the cynical pandering displayed in the recent email fiasco.  I thin of Mike as an anchor for these principles in a stormy sea of un-seeable puppet-string manipulation and financial instability.  I plan to continue to support Mike Anglin as our representative.  The recent commentary by Charles Lewis sums up my sentiments well.

Mike Anglin’s principal objective as a private citizen and as a Council member has been to give citizens a voice in government.  There is not a single issue before City Council that cannot be understood in its fundamentals by the average voter, and there is not a single member of the City Council or administration who knows more about the issues than the best informed of our citizens.  We speak through our representatives, and they are not our representatives if they do not listen to us.  We deserve nothing less than the respectful attention of our representatives.  When members of Council’s majority send emails back and forth while citizens speak before them, when they joke among themselves about pandering to the people who elected them, they show us that representing us and our interests is not their top priority.  They do not seek to empower us, but to empower themselves and the moneyed interests they represent.  While they coach each other and amuse themselves at the public’s expense, Mike Anglin pays attention to the people of Ann Arbor.

If the majority on the City Council were anything like Mike Anglin, we would not be burdened with unnecessary debt and agonizing over deep cuts in city services.  City Council spends and wastes much of its time addressing the concerns of developers and speculators, many of whose proposals are premature, inappropriate, ill-conceived, or inadequately funded.  Mr. Anglin clearly believes that the discussion must be re-directed to the needs of residents and local business people, and that the best way to accomplish this is to include citizens in the decision-making process right from the beginning.  Unfortunately, the City Council tends to solicit public comment only in the last days before a vote, long after the actual decisions have been made, behind closed doors, by select Council members and staff.

City services, infrastructure, public safety, neighborhood preservation, and environmental issues are paramount for Mike Anglin.  He champions efficient government, deplores unsustainable debt, and is deeply committed to keeping Ann Arbor affordable for people of limited means, reminding us that many of those whose presence enriches us most are far from rich.

His dedication and personal warmth have enabled Mike Anglin to accomplish much during his first term.  He has helped to pass the Citizen Participation Ordinance, been instrumental in bringing about improvements to the Water Treatment Plant, led the way in letting citizens choose what will top the underground parking structure beside the downtown library, proposed a moratorium on constructing inappropriate buildings near existing homes, founded a citizens committee to preserve the Park’s golf program, moved toward creating a Germantown Historic District, persuaded Council to restore Project Grow funding, and pioneered the effort to make the floodway land at the corner of First and William a public green space.  Mike Anglin believes in democracy and knows how to make it work.

Charles Lewis

missing cat is found

Thanks to Steve Hathaway, who spotted our missing calico cat darting about, the cat has been found and returned home.  Thanks very much!  Leslie.

Lost calico cat

lost-katty1We lost our calico cat on Wakefield Ave. on Wed., July 15th.  She has a white belly, medium-length fur, and a racoon-stripe tail.  If anyone has seen her, would you please call Leslie Ford or Gregg Crane at 369-2993.  Thanks very much!!!

Gardening in the Extension, Update late May

Well, to my chagrin saving pennies created pounds more work. I purchased straw instead of marsh hay as my seedling cover and soil mulch. Now, I am battling rye grass.

On the bright side, I have source of green mulch for the soon to pumpkin patch along with other plant material I am adding as compost.

My pumpkins are slow to germinate. The same is true for my replacement kale plants.

Beets and carrots and greens are thriving. Can’t wait to begin seeing the beans.

Gardening in the Extension: May Update

My first foray into our extension is much smaller than I first planned. Winter ended roughly here. Joe’s brother, Jeff, after 11 weeks of hospital care died on Mothers Day. Over the weeks I was blessed with having my turn caring for Jeff. It was a bitter ending to accept. Despite Jeff’s original intention and everyone who worked for a better outcome, death proved itself stronger.

The Saturday Joe and I created the garden bed, it felt so good to bring more life to this earth. The sod filled the hole left behind where the ash once grew. I edged the bed, but Joe did the heavy work with the tiller. I followed with quick organic amendments rather than slower compost intended for months of February, March and April. I also purchased a good number of plants, rather than starting seeds under grow lights. Nonetheless, I am pleased with the look of interplanting root crops with flowering crops and various flowers for edible, medicinal, insect repellent, and vase appropriate uses.

Along the street perimeter are lettuce raddichio and flowers and onions. I put in a few poblano peppers (ancho chilis after smoking!) and cutting flowers. In front I have planted some beets. I had a few seeds left over after edging our patio garden with beet seeds. Behind these are a mass of mustard and arugula. Along the back perimeter are more brocolli than our family alone can consume–but they are so fun to pick. Interplanted with the brocolli is celeraic and rutabaga, as well as cutting flowers for the kitchen table. I accented the corners of this bed with cabbage and kale. The cabbage is thriving. Two of my kale have disappeared–I assumed to critters.

You probably have noticed a small circle of hay around the corner. Evelyn and I dug a second much smaller bed. I will plant our pie pumpkins there after they have gotten of sufficient size as to be more resistant to critter nibbles.

In the center are botticelli beans, a red speckled bean about the size of fava bean. My original target bean was cannelli or edame/soy, but I did not order these ahead of time, so I purchased what was on local racks. I hope they are a good soup bean. Oh, and I did mix in some bush french green beans. Yes, there are some flowers in the middle. They should not reach full height until after the bean harvest.

All for now

Jeff’s greens are heavenly!

If you’re like me, you’re lazy. Okay, to put it a bit more gently, if you’re like me, you love convenience.

So the idea of pre-washed salad greens in a bag is a winner: convenience leading to healthier eating habits and all that.

The problem is, the ideal and the reality don’t have much in common. In terms of flavor, most store-bought greens are on the same level as industrial strawberries from California: they look good, but are better left as uneaten garnishes. Also, apart from actual flavor, there are little blobs of already-rotten green goo mixed in with the ‘fresh'(er) pieces. Picking out/washing off such slime undermines the convenience (and the overall appeal).

SO–I was kind of in heaven when I looked into the bag Jeff left of greens grown in the new set-up (hoop house?) that he’s been using.


I didn’t even bother washing them.

–it was as simple as ‘open the bag, put in bowl, and eat’.

Something that cool, there’s got to be a catch, right?

But I don’t think there is.

So thanks Jeff. Thanks very much. But also–watch out. I think the world is about to beat a path to your doorstep.

Garden on Lawn Extensions

It is March and I have begun dreaming about consumable gardens. Evelyn and I miss our plot behind Zion and however wonderful it was to be a CSA member again–it just did not hit the spot. Hence, I will be digging around our home again.

I brought up the idea of turning our extension into a garden plot to grow a few crops intensively, for food, community, and service.

Even though I have tucked vegetables and herbs among the flowers, it isn’t enough. I also miss the community of sharing among gardeners and occassional visitors (bi-ped and quadri-ped).

One of our extensions has a bit more sun than our yard and would be a great place to grow a volume of greens, beans, and a vining fruit. It will be enough to share. Who knows, maybe someone more skilled in growing tomatoes will garden in the extenstion.

And so I have begun my garden dreaming and logistics planning. I certainly think Jeff and Lisa have a fabulous garden out front. I aim for attractive too. I will begin somewhat conservatively. I realize that although it is no longer against city code to use extensions for gardens, there is always the risk of damage and destruction when the city needs to dig. Until move myself to some agri-zoned acreage, I need to do something more here.

Friday Mornings @SELMA is adopted by community

A small group of locavores have begun to resonate with our neighborhood breakfast salon. They have stepped up to volunteer to staff the event so that it can take place weekly.   We hope you can come by, pull up a chair, tell us what is on your mind. We are re-imagining the local food economy one cup of RoosRoast at a time.

Eberwhite Kids’ Courier now online

Zoe Crane has published her first issue on our site. We hope to see future editions as well as the back issues soon under Eberwhite Kids’ Courier

Selma gets national media attention

ok, well it was not exactly CNN or the New York Times, but, it is out in the webisphere for any who want to hear. Sunday night I recorded a live podcast with Carol Banker of homegrown. Carol has Michigan roots and was in town for Diner for a Day. She recorded John Roos on the 15th and followed up on the 22nd exploring Lisa and my efforts on the fundraisers, our SELMA organization and other localization issues. Listen (episode 15, I can’t seem to get the embed to work here on our site) at talkshoe or download at the itunes store.