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

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 at 8:23 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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