So, who shall we vote for, Ypsilanti?


While I have a policy against endorsing local candidates on this site, I don’t see any problem with opening up a thread and inviting those of you with strong opinions one way or another to weigh in on the various races we’ll be voting on come November 4. So, have at it… All I ask is that you be respectful, and try your best to keep an open mind.

While I imagine that some folks could get worked up over the school board race, as every seat is up for grabs this time, my sense is that the only contest that’s likely to really put people at one another’s throats is the Ward 3 City Council race between Democratic incumbent Brian Robb and Independent candidate Tyler Weston. Or at least that’s the sense I get from talking with folks around town. I guess we’ll see once the comments start rolling in.

And also feel free to weigh in on the various proposals we’ll be voting on. By my count, there are 13 of them.

[Regardless of where you might happen to be in Michigan, you can find a copy of your ballot here.]

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  1. Posted October 20, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I should add that, while it’s true that I have a policy against endorsing candidates, I don’t have a problem with coming out against candidates that I feel would be terrible for the city. I’ve done it in the past, and I’ll continue to do it in the future. Luckily, when it comes to local races, I don’t see anyone who falls into that category.

  2. Posted October 20, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    One more thing… While I won’t be endorsing School Board members, I do have some very definite opinions, having talked with quite a few people, and attended the recent forum. Without getting into specifics, let’s just say that I think there are some good challengers on the ballot, running against our slate of incumbents. So, let’s just say that I won’t be voting straight ticket for the folks in office right now.

  3. Posted October 21, 2014 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    I cannot vote in Ypsilanti.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    It’s time for David Bates to leave the school board and make room for someone else like the young former Ypsi High student who is running.

  5. Ben
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    As a member of the League of Women Voters and Fora Better Ypsi, our rules preclude me from publicly endorsing any candidate or party or canvassing for them or working on their campaign, during an election that we are visible and active working on candidates fora.

    That said, I would watch the candidates fora. Our FBY / LWVAAA Ypsi specific ones are available here.

    School Board

    City Council

    Also here are some LWVAAA ones that apply to races Ypsi people can vote on, that are county wide.

    Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees

    And here is the one for Circuit Court (the two that made it to the general election)

    And here is the one for the Probate Court (the two that made it to the general election)

    I would pick up a paper voting guide from the Statewide League to see answers from candidates running for less local office (state, federal). Also we will be putting up a video and doing live a candidates forum for U of M Board of Regents this Friday at 4.

    Don’t forget! Get out there and vote!!!

  6. Cherif supporter
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    The former Ypsi student running is Djeneba Cherif, and I’d agree that she’d be an improvement over Bates. I also like Sharon Irvine.

  7. Cherif supporter
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    There are 18 people running for the School Board’s 7 open seats. Some are running for 6 year seats, some are running for 4 year seats, and some are running for 2 year seats. Here are their names. The ones I will be voting for are in bold.

    Six-year term candidates (pick two)
    Maria Sheler-Edwards
    Gregory Myers
    Brenda Meadows
    Bill Kurkjian

    Four-year candidates (pick three)
    Djeneba Cherif
    Celeste Hawkins
    Sharon Irvine
    David Bates
    Linda Snedacar-Horne
    Ellen Champagn
    Mark Wilde
    Anthony VanDerworp

    Two-year terms (pick two)
    Daniel Raglin
    Ricky Jefferson
    Don Garrett Jr.
    K.J. Miller
    Meredith Schindler
    Sharon Lee

  8. 22nd Cirtuit Court Judge
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    You interviewed Veronique Liem, who is running for 22nd Circuit Court. Will you interviewing Pat Conlin as well, or was that a de facto endorsement of Liem?

  9. Gillian
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I suppose I’ll dive in. I really appreciate the insight on the school board race above, as well. Here’s what I posted on my wall regarding why I’m supporting Brian Robb.

    For the undecided Ypsi voters out there, I’d like to tell you why I’m supporting Brian Robb for Ward 3 City Council. In short, it’s because Brian is incredibly smart, works his butt off for the city, and knows how to get things done. Let me offer some examples:

    1) Brian has an impressive understanding of the city budget, and sees through the financial implications of decisions more clearly than any sitting councilmember (not to offend anyone on council. Brian is just particularly good at this.) This is an incredibly important skill to retain on council, especially considering the city budget difficulties that we’re going to face.

    2) The Charles Street tot lot had needed improvements for a while. Once there was a little money available, Brian (and Pete) got it allocated to the project to ensure that it would happen, and then showed up with a shovel and worked with the other volunteers to complete the project in the most cost-effective way possible.

    3) Many Ypsi streetlights are in bad shape, but they’re not owned by the city. Brian’s the guy who relentlessly called DTE to get them to come out and inspect the lights and get them replaced.

    4) Ward 3 includes the downtown businesses, and in my time spent with the Downtown Association of Ypsilanti, I’ve heard many stories about Brian being responsive to business owner’s needs and doing everything in the city’s power to make downtown an attractive place to do business.

    I know many friends are supporting Tyler and that’s great. Tyler seems like a great guy. I think we are lucky to have people like him getting involved in politics and I hope he’ll run again in a few years. Right now, however, I have a couple concerns.

    Most notably, he’s never had any experience sitting on a public government board or commission–I’d like to see him sit on the DDA, the Planning Commission, the Housing Commission, or really any board, and get the experience of making public decisions that some people disagree with, learning what is and is not within the city’s purview, and gain a a deeper understanding of how to get things done in local government.

    I’m also a little concerned about his conflicts of interest over the Thompson Block and other potential future real estate projects that the city will be deciding on. Real-estate-related decisions about the Water Street, Thompson Block, and Boys & Girls Club sites going to be the most controversial decisions that council makes in the next four years, and I would like to have a councilmember who is free to make those decisions and doesn’t need to recuse themselves. (see: the difficulty of making decisions that people will disagree with.) I’m really glad that Tyler is such a huge Ypsi supporter and want to see him succeed, I just think that with his experience and track record, Brian is a better choice for council this time around.

    Thanks for listening. I’m looking forward to seeing more respectful discussion on this topic.

  10. Glen S.
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Regarding the race in Ward 3, voters deserve a candidate who can offer SPECIFIC, CREDIBLE plans for how they would:

    – Help the City can stay financially solvent amid rising costs, and generally flat revenue.
    – Improve police staffing, coverage, and response times; and promote community policing.
    – Promote responsible development that will both improve the community AND generate much-needed tax revenue.
    – Attract/retain high-quality City staff, and maintain quality City services.
    – Develop a long-term plan for repairing/replacing crumbling infrastructure — including streets and sidewalks.
    – Improve enforcement of zoning, building, and rental codes — especially among large, multi-unit landlords.

  11. anonymous
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Is the main knock against Robb just that he’s gruff? If so, is that reason enough not to vote for a man?

  12. Mr. Y
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I take it, Glen, that you’re supporting Tyler. Is that correct?

  13. Glen S.
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    @ Mr. Y.

    Please re-read my comment.

  14. Mr. Y
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I did read your comment, Glen, and I was asking in earnest. Apparently I misread your tone, but it sounded to me as though you were saying that Brian, if he had ideas as to how to address these various issues, would have already done so.

  15. Lynne
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I can’t say it better than Gillian. I am supporting Brian Robb for city council.

    Before I get into why, I will say that I don’t know Tyler Weston at all but I can tell he is running a good campaign and that speaks well of his organizational skills. Also, my neighbors must all like him since they have his signs up so I imagine he is also a good guy. I haven’t met him personally but he seems like he would be adequate in the position. I am still voting for Brian Robb though. My vote is NOT in any way a vote against anyone but rather a vote FOR Brian Robb.

    I think Brian has done a lot for our community on council. I seldom (ok never) go to City Council meetings but I do pay attention to what little coverage there is of the meetings. I’ve noticed over the years that I can usually count on Brian to vote the way I would have voted. I know he shares my values. I can trust him.

    Also, when I recently got food poisoning and couldnt vote, he came over with an absentee ballot for me. He’s helped me with conflicts with the city. I feel that I can contact him and have him listen to my concerns if I want to. Basically, I think he has done a great job and will continue to do a great job. There is a reason incumbents have an advantage. Everyone can see the job they have done and in this case, I am going with the guy who I know will do a good job on council.

  16. josh
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I will also be voting for Robb. With a new mayor, it’s important to retain as much knowledge of city finances on the council as possible. He doesn’t have Weston’s friendly disposition, but I don’t think that’s a disqualifier for city council.

  17. ingrid
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I am also supporting Brian Robb and agree that he has a unique and gifted ability to understand the financial situation of the city. He is also mindful of the needs of the whole population, not just a few who might have a pre-recession belief that the city can somehow become another Ann Arbor. He really seems to care about all of us.

    Also, I think that Weston supporters underestimate the extent to which the Thompson building has become a thorn in our neighborhood’s side. I am really concerned that no one will ever hold Beal accountable if Weston, as smooth talking as he is, gets on council. There is still no roof on that place! Yet, there is Weston’s name plastered on that odd facade. I’d be embarrassed if that was my name.

  18. idea man
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    It looks like readers of are 100% for Robb. Do Westonites not read blogs? Do they only communicate by tweet?

  19. Kim
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking for advice on Supreme Court Justices. We’re being asked to vote for two.

    The choices are:

    Richard Bernstein
    Doug Dern
    Bill Murphy
    James Robert Redford
    Brian Zahra

    I know Bernstein from his television commercials, but that’s all the insight that I have. Please help.

  20. Liz DMG
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know anything about the Library Board of Trustees? There are three people running for four seats. It’s really easy to be write-in candidate. You just have to go to the county clerk’s office and file a form. (Then you should probably tell other people you’re running and ask them to write you in.)

    This could be a great way to dip your little toe into political office. Selfishly (I’m married to library staff and they’re renegotiating their contract this year), I’d really like to see someone who’s pr0-union run.

  21. Meta
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    If it matters to you, Murphy and Bernstein are the Democrats running for the two 8-year terms. Only one person in the race is an incumbent, and that’s Zahra. More details can be found at Judgepedia.,_2014

    There is also one 2-year seat open on the Supreme Court. Those candidates are Deborah Thomas (Democrat), David Viviano (Republican) and Kerry L. Morgan.

  22. Osband
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I am voting for Tyler after having a single conversation with him simply because he wants to be pro-active about the future (especially in terms of development) of Ypsilanti instead of reactive. I agree that getting our streetlights fixed is huge, and I’m glad Brian Robb called and called until the job got done. Tyler will bring that kind of tenacity to projects like Water St. We will not be waiting around for another Family Dollar to push an offer across the table because he is already pursuing interested parties. He has a lot more energy, sees a larger picture, and is actively bridging gaps between EMU, YCS, and community groups from various generations that should be working together. In my neighborhood in Ward 3 everyone with a Weston sign in their yard is under 40 and purchased their home here in the last two years. I think that, like bringing in Amanda Edmonds, a vote for Tyler represents a passing of the torch. We will have a dedicated and hard working city council no matter what, but we really need is some long term vision and someone willing to make the connections around town.

  23. Erik
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I support Tyler because I believe he gives us the best chance to move this city forward. For me that primarily encompasses improving the city’s finances and finding a way out of the mess that we call Water St.

    While our current council members aren’t at fault for the purchase of the property, I haven’t seen any significant progress toward the light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that Tyler has the energy and business acumen to speed up the development of the property. I don’t see why his involvement with the Thompson Block has been portrayed negatively, considering that the building had seen little progress for years before he became involved with the project. As I understand it, he has procured 3 of the 4 anchor tenants (the 4th recently backed out) and the project has a real chance at breaking ground soon. If he could come anywhere close to mimicking that success with Water St., I’d be thrilled to have him recuse himself from any council votes pertaining to the project.

    Brian Robb has sat on council for many years and frankly I haven’t seen the results. He may be good at finances and budgeting but when it comes down to the biggest financial obstacle this city is facing, he’s had plenty of time yet nothing to show. I’m ready to give someone else a chance.

  24. Go
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I will be placing my vote based on Water Street, which I think is the biggest issue facing our city. Brian has been on council for the past eight years. During that time, what has he done to bring credible developers to the table? What kind of vision and leadership have he shown? If you can convince me that he’s done a good job on Water Street, he’ll get my vote.

  25. Kit
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the link. I didn’t know that wolf hunting was on the ballot.

  26. Go Tyler Go
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Tyler Weston’s involvement in the Thompson Block should be a positive thing for Tyler. It shouldn’t and simply can’t be used as a negative. As I understand it Stewart Beal asked Tyler to personally invest in the project and he did. Tyler was asked to take on the number one challenge in the neighborhood and did! By all accounts he has made a difference on that project. He got the signed leases and the letter of intents. He did that through hard work, the same hard work and passion he will bring to matters on council.

  27. ingrid
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Again, there was very little if any work done on the structure this summer. It will be up to city council to make sure that Beal lives up to his promises with respect to developing that building. Weston will not be able to play this role. At best, he will have to abstain on any matters involving the Thompson building. This is a negative for the city.

  28. Posted October 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I don’t follow politics as much as I should. So I wont speak about it.. What I do know and can speak about is, Tyler Weston.

    Coach, Friend, Mentor,& Leader, are all names he has earned.
    Honest, Dedicated, Responsible, & Amazing, are names used to describe him.

    For as long as I have known Tyler, he has only wanted to do one thing.. Serve.. If you ask him, why he became a real estate agent, he will tell you, “working 9-5 didn’t allow him the time he wanted to volunteer and help his community”

    Before you vote, visit a volunteer location he has served in, and ask about him. I have no doubt, many, if not all would say the same. He has only had a positive influence on the people around him.. I hope he can do the same for you..

    Tyler, You have been moving Ypsi forward for as long as I have known you !!!

  29. nobody inparticular
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    “Djeneba Cherif says cultivating new culture at Ypsilanti Community Schools is vital”

  30. david
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Tyler may well have good intentions. I had a long conversation with him. But someone with as little experience and the vested real estate interests that he has cannot be productive or objective. Brian Robb has well over a decade of residency, experience and perspective. Brian Robb has no vested real estate interests that would hinder him from making independent decisions at city council. Brian Robb has already done the work of beginning the recovery from the initial Water Street debacle, i.e. through the recreation center and a new housing development. Brian Robb has worked seriously and substantively with our regional interests for positive development. I look forward to another term with Robb as my representative

  31. ginnyg
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I am voting for Tyler Weston. We lived in apartments around town for eight years then bought a house in the 3rd ward a couple of years ago. I have been to several City Council meetings. I have found Brian Robb to be unprofessional. He seemed to enjoy coming up with crazy hypothetical situations rather then coming up with solutions. Another post questioned if Brian Robb’s gruff attitude is a good reason not to vote for someone, which is a interesting question. I do think attitude is important, I want citizens, outsiders and investors to find our leaders approachable. Tyler is approachable, extremely smart and good-hearted, to me, it is an easy vote for Tyler.

  32. General Demetrious
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    I have found thatBrian Robb’s disposition reflects his approach to his duties. He does not feel the need to interact with his constituents on most matters, including Water Street Flats. He proceeds in a more monarchical fashion. He believes that he can make decisions based on his judgement alone, and has said so on several occasions. He lacks insight simply because he is incapable of embrasing the ideas of others. I know some people do not have a problem with him, but I do. Of all the current members in council, he is the most critical to replace if Ypsilanti is going to have a future.

  33. MaryD
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    I am voting for Brian Robb. I have been impressed with his dedication to the city as well as his ability to crunch the numbers in his head. I still remember him forcing the issue of including Water Street in our budget, unlike the previous budgets, councils. Any time I have attended City Council meetings, I have watched him think circles around the others. With a new mayor it is even more vital to keep Brian on council. Brian has addressed the issues that matter most to me any time I have needed to talk. I have met Tyler Weston. He is a great guy and neighbor. I think we need Brian’s experience in these hard times for the city.

  34. MaryD
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    As for school board. NO INCUMBENTS.
    These are the people that decided to keep 3 superintendents, 2 of them from the failing districts of YPS and Willow Run and our ISD Chief. Yes they did suck up most of the grant money from the merger.

  35. Posted October 22, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Let’s keep the City of Ypsilanti white, and weird.

  36. TPM
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Brian is good with the history of issues and knows the numbers, sometimes better than city staff do. Sometimes that looks like he’s being disrespectful of staff, but don’t you want somebody calling out the city manager when his budget is wrong?

    Brian is good with policy, too. I’ve seen him argue against proposals as bad ideas, but also propose amendments to ensure that what passes is at least legally sound and won’t get the city in trouble, even if he still doesn’t like it. He gets called disagreeable for getting “his” amendments passed and still voting against the measure, but it’s an important contribution to the council “team”. I don’t want a councilmember who will let bad policy go through unchallenged in the name of getting-along.

  37. Go
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Does no one want to convince me?

    I will be placing my vote based on Water Street, which I think is the biggest issue facing our city. Brian has been on council for the past eight years. During that time, what has he done to bring credible developers to the table? What kind of vision and leadership have he shown? If you can convince me that he’s done a good job on Water Street, he’ll get my vote.

  38. East Sider
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I am Voting for Tyler Weston. Brian’s comments to the audience on Water Street Low Income House was insulting to all citizens in the city. Tyler has a higher vision for the city and its future. If you want Dollar Stores and more low income housing than Brian Robb is your man. I am voting for Tyler for a brighter future.

  39. Anony
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I admit to giving up tracking what the school board was doing after they retained ALL THREE superintendents. I have no love for the current board. That being said, I am trying to understand the other candidates – Djeneba already has my vote.

    Whatare the Cam connected folks are really about? Meredith Schindler is Cam’s wife and it running. She is ED of a charter school (Ann Arbor Academy) and then the two married folks who used different addresses to file from (Miller and Kurkjian) and pulled their kid from the schools – I don’t blame them, just try to understand that the situation is.

    So…Is there a “Go Charter” bend to any of this? is there a “do it Cam’s way issue”? If so, what is that? What are the under currents? Us -v- Them in terms of Ypsi -v- Willow Run?

    And am I correct that the restorative justice attempts got plain got run over by the volume of fights and injuries? And is it true that there are no counselors at the High School and just one at the Middle School – WtF?!!

  40. You Know Who
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I have been a resident and business owner in Ypsi for over 30 years. Tyler Weston has my vote. I feel Brian and another council member are taking us down the rabbit hole of low income housing and substandard businesses that do not pay a living nor do they bring anything to the city in the way of taxes. I used to support Brian but not anymore. If you want a future for Ypsi VOTE TYLER WESTON

  41. Lynne
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    East Sider, are you saying that Tyler Weston is the guy to vote for if you want to make sure that poor people are not welcome in the city of Ypsilanti?

  42. You Know Who
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Lynn, you know better that. I live between 2 section 8 houses and have no problem with that. I believe in low income housing that is balanced, not too much, too little or too concentrated. If you believe that low income housing and Dollar Stores are going to be the path to success for Ypsi than Brian “Dollar Store” Robb is your man.
    If you believe that a Dollar Store (that warranted a ribbon cutting by Brian) that employs 8 minimum wage people and pays less taxes than I do on my home is the answer than vote for Brian “Dollar Store” Robb. He is your man!

  43. Lynne
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Brian is some kind of dollar store champion and frankly, I find that portrayal of him to be very disingenuous. The dollar store thing is unfortunate but is the best option for that bit of land. I think the difference is that Brian has a good understanding of the city finances and thus understands why the dollar store is the best outcome. Would I rather we had something else? Sure. I am not convinced that is possible considering the realities of the situation. So basically it sounds to me like if you want to bury your head in the sand about municipal economic realities, then don’t vote for Brian Robb. If you do want someone who understands such things and thus is likely to make hard and unpopular decisions because they are best for the city, then a vote for Robb will not be misplaced.

    There is nothing imbalanced about putting housing there with income restrictions. My understanding of the project too was not that it was low income housing but that it was mid income housing — Something we don’t have much of in Ypsilanti so I am not sure where your concerns about “balance” are coming from.

  44. General Demitrious
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    The only people that will benefit from Water Street Flats is Hermann & Kittle, and the investors that back them . Robb knows that full well. His decision further segregated and victimized the less fortunate.

    There is no benefit to housing the poor in the lowest income, worst school, highest crime city in the county.

    It seems Robb supporters are always playing the race card or the poor card on people who oppose segregation in this county.

  45. Ingrid
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Robb is not racist or against poor people. This is one of the reasons so many of us support him. I don’t think that stating this is playing any “card.” Also, where are middle income and low income people supposed to live? It seems like General Demetrious has a very skewed vision of life in Ypsilanti.

  46. Lynne
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Um. Who is playing the race card? I must have missed that.

  47. murph
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Lynne, I think I’m one of the good general’s targets–I’ve been guilty at times of pointing out that ypsilanti still has families who can’t find affordable housing, and that the impact of unaffordable housing, in Ypsi, in Washtenaw, in Michigan, and in the US, falls disproportionate on black residents.

    Some think that those kinds of observations are off limits, or involve “playing cards”.

    I do agree with the general that Ypsi alone cannot solve systemic housing affordability–but I don’t think this means we should be telling our low-income residents to hit the road to Saline and see how they fare there: unilaterally showing people the door without other options being available doesn’t strike me as a great option for the general’s stated goals of reducing segregation and increasing access to opportunity.

  48. Go
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    So, should I take from the silence that Brian has done absolutely nothing over his last two terms to help move Water Street development forward?

  49. Lynne
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    murph, heh. I just thought it was funny that he was accusing people of playing the race card when no one had even mentioned race. I know that the reason people use that term is because they are uncomfortable with discussions about race and they are attempting to shut down the conversation but usually folks wait until the topic comes up before they start throwing that term around.

    Go, I don’t know of any specific things he has done because I don’t pay especially close attention to what every single council member does individually on that project. I have gotten a sense that he was involved with bringing the rec center there and I LOVE that project. He is being criticized here for a mid-income housing development proposed for the site and while I think he does support it, I don’t know if his involvement goes beyond that.

    I don’t know Tyler Weston’s position on Water Wtreet at all but I hope that the attitudes of his supporters here on this blog dont’ have anything to do with his actual positions or attitudes because then I will feel bad for not paying closer attention to the race earlier when I could have actually put energy into helping Brian Robb campaign.

  50. maryd
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    @ Go: Water Street Property was bought by the city (at the council’s vote, no one Ypsi voted on this but that council) in 1999, 15 years ago. Brian was elected in 2006, 8 years ago. If anyone here forgot, we had a near depression in Ypsilanti after the crash of 2008. No one was buying real-estate in Ypsilanti. No one was knocking on our door to build there, period, except for Burger King, Dollar Stores, low income housing, and just maybe a rec center someday. There was no Whole Foods, Costco, or Ikea’s in the queue waiting for the opportunity to build in our community. Our homes all lost value and nobody was hiring. So blaming a current council member for the latest developments (THE ONLY I might add…) is disingenuous. He is the one who insisted the debt be included in budgeting which was not being done as the council kept kicking this issue down the road till interest payments ballooned into the debt it is today. He is the one I want to keep on council. And some who I have heard complaining of his rudeness, have their own histories of rudeness to look out for.

  51. Courtney Miller
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    @ Liz DMG and anyone else still wondering…I just submitted my intent form to be a write- in for the fourth seat on the Library Board. I am a lover of the library and a kindergarten teacher, therefore I am a regular at the library. I am also an Ypsi city resident that cares about my community and likes to be involved.

  52. AdamC
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    How is everyone feeling about the Charter Amendment Proposals?

  53. Liz DMG
    Posted October 24, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Courtney, That’s great to hear. Thanks for running.

    Do you have a Facebook page with information I can look at and maybe pass on to people?

  54. Courtney Miller
    Posted October 24, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, I don’t have much on my page right now. I have barely had time for facebook lately : ( – work has been crazy! ….I also help coordinate Ypsi PRIDE in the springtime, so that keeps me busy. People may know me through that event, as well.

  55. Linda French
    Posted October 25, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Tyler Weston has my vote for City Council because I believe he is the better candidate. It is nothing personal against Brian, I just feel Tyler can do a better job for our great city
    Not sure on all these charter amendments. Can anyone make a recommendation?. School Board?

  56. Pete Murdock
    Posted October 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink


    I have served with Brian on City Council for the last six years. When I was elected in 2008, I didn’t know Brian very well. I soon found him to be the most knowledgeable, detail orientated and engaged of any of the council members. His concern for Ypsilanti’s future was second to none. He knew the tough reality we were in. He understood the need to reverse some of financial decisions of the past in order, get our fiscal house in order while still maintaining the services to our community. That has not been an easy. Hard decisions had to be made and Brian made them.

    A lengthy list of accomplishments can be made, but suffice it to say that by any measurement, the City of Ypsilanti is in a better place than it was six years ago and Brian is a major reason for that reversal of fortunes.

    Brian may not seem warm and cuddly, but he is always approachable and responds to constituent concerns. He and I have an excellent working relationship, which provides for an effective partnership to represent the Third Ward. Let’s keep it.


  57. Pete Murdock
    Posted October 25, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink


    The proposed amendments to the Charter were placed on the ballot after four years of review and study, mostly by the 2010 elected Charter Commission with additional recommendations by the City Attorney and other City Staff. With the failure of the Charter Revision in 2012 and the dissolution of the Charter Commission, City Council thought that there were some non-controversial items that the Charter Commission had recommended in their revision plan that could be placed on the ballot as amendments. Most of the amendments on November’s ballot were generated from their work. A few additional items were recommended by the City Attorney and Staff. These amendments are what I would call “clean-up” amendments. They do not include more substantial and controversial changes that were included in the Charter Revision rejected by the voters in 2012. Overall these amendments bring the Charter into compliance with State Law, clarify some inconsistencies, fill some gaps and generally provide for more transparency and accountability in government. For that reason I recommend a YES vote on all ten amendments.

    Here are the details of each amendment


    The existing Charter requires there to be a referendum on whether or not to create a Charter Commission and to elect Charter Commission members to review the Charter every 16 years (8 general elections). The proposed change would eliminate that automatic provision and allow State Law to apply. State law allows the creation of a Charter Commission by City Council placing the issue on the ballot or by the voters circulating an initiative petition. Proposed Charter Amendments can be placed on the ballot in the same manner. This method would be a more transparent process to the need for and what the changes that are being advocated before the vote is taken on the whether to create a Charter Commission and electing Charter Commissioners.


    Shall Article XI, Section 11.07 of the Ypsilanti City Charter be amended to remove a mandatory charter revision process every 8th general city election and instead provide that the Charter may be revised as provided by State law, being MCL 117.18 et seq., which provides that revisions may be initiated by City Council or by initiatory petition?
    Yes ____ No ____

    The Charter requires public notices to be “published in one or more
    Newspapers of general circulation in the City” for specific action
    such as ordinances, budgets, etc. This amendment will allow us to use
    one of three methods including the website if and when the state allows
    us to do so which will happen eventually. So we are looking ahead
    with this one. Although there are many sections being amended,
    they all pertain to the how we give public notice.


    Shall sections 2.06, 2.10(d), 5.05(a), 5.12(a),
    10.07, and 11.03 of the Ypsilanti City Charter be
    amended and Section 11.13 be added to permit the
    publication of ordinances, notices, or proceedings
    by one or more of the following methods: (a) at
    least once in a newspaper published in the English
    language for news of general character, (b) by
    posting in at least three (3) conspicuous places
    within the city, or (c) placing such on the City’s
    website in a manner as to make it easily accessible
    to the public?
    Yes ____ No ____


    There is no provision to fill a vacancy in the City Manager position
    until City Council can meet and appoint one. This provides for an automatic
    succession by the City Clerk until City Council can meet and decide differently. The
    City Clerk while acting in the capacity of City Manager would have all the authority
    and duties of the City Manager. The City Clerk is the logical choice for replacement since he/she is the only City employee other than the City Manager who is appointed by City Council and is responsible to it. In addition the amendment defines what a vacancy is.


    Shall Article IV, Section 4.02 of the Ypsilanti City
    Charter be amended to provide that the City Clerk
    automatically serves as Acting City Manager during
    a vacancy or absence in the office of the City
    Manager until otherwise designated by City
    Yes ____ No ____


    The issue came up that the Charter provided a method to create boards and commissions but no method to dissolve them if their purpose was fulfilled. This amendment allows for the dissolving of a board or commission in the same manner as they are created – by Ordinance passed by City Council. Some Boards and Commissions are required by State Statute (Zoning Commission, for example), City Charter (Human Relations Commission) or Federal Law (Public Housing Commission) and could not be dissolved.


    Shall the first paragraph of Article IX, Section 9.03
    of the Ypsilanti City Charter be amended to allow
    for the discontinuance of City boards and
    commissions by City Council?
    Yes ____ No ____


    We were looking for a way to speed up the time an ordinance would take effect. From start to finish an ordinance with a publication notice, two readings at City Council and then 30 days after adoption could take more than a couple of months to go into effect. The only other alternative available is to do an “emergency ordinance” which could be done with one reading and 4/5 affirmative vote of City Council and would expire in 60 days. The emergency ordinance should only be used for real emergencies, not for routine City business. Ordinances with penalties and fines would become effective the same as they do now – 30 days after adoption and publication in the official newspaper. Other ordinance could take immediate effect upon publication following adoption.


    Shall Article II, Section 2.10(c) of the Ypsilanti City
    Charter be amended to permit City Council to, after
    a resolution that so declares and provides for the
    reason is passed by 2/3 of the Members of City
    Council present, have an ordinance (other than an
    ordinance that adopts or amends an administrative
    code, provides for a fine or other penalty, or
    establishes a rule or regulation for violation of
    which a fine or penalty is imposed) become
    effective immediately upon publication?
    Yes ____ No ____


    The reason we wanted to do this is so we could have more flexibility in scheduling our meetings to accommodate vacation schedules, etc.


    Shall the first sentence of Article II, Section
    2.08(a) of the Ypsilanti City Charter be amended to
    provide that City Council must meet at least once a
    month rather than the current requirement that
    City Council must meet at least once every 30
    Yes ____ No ____


    This amendment was to bring the Charter into compliance with state law. The state changed the time frame for nominating petitions and this brings us into compliance and allows for future changes without amending the Charter

    Shall the third paragraph of Article III, Section
    3.06 of the Ypsilanti City Charter be amended to
    provide that candidates for City office file their
    petition with the City Clerk on the fifteenth
    Tuesday before the primary election, as is the
    current deadline provided by state law, or as state
    law may otherwise provide in the future?
    Yes ____ No ____


    Ordinances usually are like laws and have penalties for non-compliance. Selling and leasing City property does not include require penalties. We have had issues in the past when leasing say the Freight House for events or market vendors that a two month process that an ordinance takes is burdensome. This speed up the process and still requires a public hearing with notice.


    Shall Article II, Section 2.09 of the Ypsilanti City
    Charter be amended to provide that an action of
    City Council to convey or lease City-owned land
    may be by resolution following a public hearing
    rather than by ordinance, which is currently
    Yes ____ No ____


    There is provision for City Council to remove someone from a board of commission. This allows City Council to remove an appointee for malfeasance in officer with a super majority (what amounts to five of six council members supporting the removal. This became an issue with the Housing Commission a few years ago when removal was called for but there was no method for Council to act.

    Shall Article IX, Section 9.03 of the Ypsilanti City
    Charter be amended to add a third paragraph to
    allow City Council to remove members of City
    boards and commissions for misfeasance,
    malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office, or as
    otherwise authorized by statute with a 2/3
    affirmative vote?
    Yes ____ No ____


    A special assessment district and roll is like what we did for the street lighting conversion. Usually done for a specific capital project and the assessment roll or allocation of costs is a part of the process.

    The procedure for establishing a special assessment is lengthy and cumbersome. See Article VIII, Section 8.03 of the Charter and Chapter 90 Special Assessments Ordinance. It takes many steps: A Council Resolution or petition seeking a report from the City Manager, City Manger’s Report, Council Resolution to prepare a special assessment district, special assessment district proposed, first class mailing to all in the special assessment district, public hearing on the special assessment, establishment of the special assessment district by ordinance. This change would keep everything the same except that the final step could be down by resolution instead of ordinance. Thus cutting down the time involved in establishing the special district.


    Shall Article VIII, Section 8.03(b)(4) of the
    Ypsilanti City Charter be amended to provide that
    City Council may confirm a special assessment roll
    within the City by resolution, when permitted by
    law, rather than by ordinance as is currently
    Yes ____ No ____

  58. Posted October 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    i have never really cared about voting in my life until i got here and now it seemz like it actually matters, like there are organic vegetables running for mayor (and i am really danged organic and stuff) so now i am paying attention…

    and i am IN WARD 3.
    the only thing to do here is RE-ELECT BRIAN ROBB. he voted the best stuff in (chickens and bees and good stuff) and the comptetittion just dosent know what the frack is up as much and we R ON THE VERGE on not-quite bankruptcy so we need someone who knows what is going on (not like in another ward where the candidate (bless her soul) wants to build an island mote at the river street property, right after we find out who owns the property) smhlmfaololdearlordweknownotwhatwefukindo (local cult)

  59. Posted October 27, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    WHITE and weird

    that aint right, tho

    Back in Black

  60. Posted October 28, 2014 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    I am the other official write-in candidate for Ypsi Public Library. So now you have two choices. I live downtown, but can frequently be found at both the downtown and Ypsi township branches with my young son.

    I am a software developer/data analyst consultant. In 2009, I finished my masters from UM School of Information, an American Library Association accredited program. While in grad school I served on the board of the Inter-Cooperative Council, a 600 member housing cooperative. I have spent the last 10 years performing financial analysis for labor unions, so I have a pretty good grip on balance sheets and budgets.

    Our library is a tremendous resource, and I am happy that the one way or another we’ll have a full board to represent us.

    If you have questions you can email me at

  61. Liz DMG
    Posted October 30, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    When you’re voting next week and you get to the Ypsilanti District Library trustees, please write in Courtney Miller and Joshua Steverman.
    Please do not vote for Suzanne Gray. At the last trustees’ meeting, she was proposing cutting the bookmobile, closing the branch in Superior Township, and slash staffing.
    For many people, the bookmobile and the branch at MacArthur and Harris are the only way they get to the library.
    And the library staffing levels are not up to the levels they were before layoffs and hiring freezes were instituted in 2012 (I think?), which means the staff is already working harder at the library.

  62. YpsiKimo
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I think retaining the current YCS board is imperative. In particular I am voting for Maria Sheler-Edwards because of her commitment to long-term goals over short-term issues that will take care of themselves once staff is allowed to do their jobs and the community becomes comfortable with the different approach and strategies. In Maria’s term as trustee she and the rest of the board have made difficult yet excellent decisions under the pressure of a compressed time frame; diversified the offerings for our students; and, above all and most crucially, maintained a balance budget.

    An area that needs improvement is communications between the schools and community. But I know that this is one of Maria’s strengths. I am confident that she will lead the way to connect me and my fellow parents to the information we need when we need it.

    I have two children in the YCS school district and am happy with its current direction. I would be comforted knowing that Maria and the current school board are leading the way.

  63. Meredith Schindler
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    As a correction, Ann Arbor Academy is not a charter school. It’s a private, tuition based school. Very different. It’s confusing for people sometimes, but it’s a very important distinction, particularly if you’re going to comment on a thread regarding school elections. There are no people on our slate who are connected to charter schools in any way – KJ and Bill’s son attends a private school and their foreign exchange student attends high school at New Tech.

  64. Sean S.
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    A friend of mine who knows the library quite well and supports it says that Suzanne West’s comments at the meeting were misrepresented above. Says she was not actively proposing these cuts, but was talking about the kind of cuts that would be necessary in the future if revenues don’t increase. So friend is comfortable voting for SW.

  65. Posted November 4, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Hi, I am Suzanne Gray, who is one of the incumbents on the Ypsilanti District Library Board. I have responded to Liz’s comments elsewhere. I understand she has a personal interest in potential layoffs at the library, so I certainly appreciate her efforts to do what she perceives as best for her family. Unfortunately staffing cuts are likely to happen over the next several years regardless of who is elected, as there is nothing more to cut from the budget.

    The reality is that unless tax revenues significantly increase, there will be significant cuts to the library’s budget within the next several years. We are currently running a deficit budget, and once our reserves are depleted, this will no longer be possible. This will result in at least a 10% cut, and since 69% of our budget is staff salaries, it is likely that staff reductions will be required to balance the budget. My comments at the last board meeting were examples of the scale of things that would have to be cut to balance the budget, not a statement of what I believe ultimately should be cut. I am fully in support of all of our services, facilities, and particularly our very hard working staff. It just will not be possible to maintain them all without additional tax revenues, which will have to come either from a substantial increase in property assessments or an additional millage. Please keep in mind that this is my personal position, and does not represent the position of the Board as a whole, or the Library’s administration. If you think someone else can do a better job than I have over the past 12 years, by all means, please vote for them!

  66. Aaron
    Posted November 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Weren’t these YCS incumbents the ones that forced all the Ypsi and Willow Run teachers to reapply for their jobs after consolidation? Neoliberal education reformers are not progressives, even if they call themselves Democrats.

  67. Posted November 4, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Debbie Dingell just claimed victory, and, closer to home, Tyler Weston just conceded defeat in his bid for Ypsi City Council. Here’s what he had to say on Facebook.

    I love you all and thank you for your support but I have lost my election to be your city council member. I did receive 478 votes, to my opponents 700. Its humbling that 478 chose and independent candidate, thank you so much for your love, positive energy and encouragement. YOU ARE AWESOME. – Tyler Weston

  68. Posted November 4, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    And Scott Brown apparently lost his second bid for the Senate…. One wonders if perhaps he’ll now try a third state.

    Speaking of the Senate, I know it’s not surprise, but it’s looking like Gary Peters destroyed Terri Lynn Land, as was expected.

  69. Posted November 4, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    The most depressing news of the night… The Free Press is projecting that both Snyder and Schuette are likely winners in their races for Governor and Attorney General.

  70. Kipper
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    The Republicans take the Senate.

    The Americans have cast their vote for gridlock.

  71. Oliva
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Have cast their vote for things even worse than gridlock, alas.
    So extremely dispiriting.

  72. Pocket Beaver
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Even more dispiriting is the new batch making up the Michigan Legislature. From the Detroit Free Press:

    “Lana Theis of Brighton believes legislators should be prepared to “defend states’ rights” if the federal courts strike down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.

    Bradford Jacobsen of Oxford says the state should increase funding for road maintenance by diverting sales tax revenue currently earmarked for K-12 education.

    Peter Lucido of Washington Township thinks Michigan should consider allocating its electoral votes by congressional district — a scheme that would have awarded most of the state’s 16 electors to Mitt Romney in the last presidential election.

    And Gary Glenn of Midland has opined that Michigan and other states should be free to criminalize homosexual behavior.”

    ” . . . many of the Republican newbies have expressed enthusiasm for new restrictions on abortion rights, expanded privileges for gun owners and concealed-weapons permit-holders, and increased privatization of public services . . .”

  73. JC
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m in a bad mood–not so much because Democrats were steamrolled (I’ve never placed too much hope in them, or in electoral politics, as salvation of any sort), but because one of the godfathers of Michigan’s 1% was nearly elected Regent to a local university.

    The reason I’m (pretty rashly) jumping in here, to Marks’ blog’s comments field, is twofold.

    First, I’d like to hear what ideas and hopes you all have—moving forward—for pushing back against enclosure and resource extraction; against Weiser, McKinley, and any number of other places of consolidated conservative *as well as* liberal wealth in our community?

    Though it had much to do with racism, this election wasn’t so much a referendum on President Obama’s politics as it was a demonstration of the brainwashibility of mainstreet Americans by the propaganda of affluence. A local example: apparently the Michigan Theater has sent out an email praising Weiser for his “service” to the community. How is it the dons of the 1% not only extract loads of capital from a community, but manage also to then extract praise from that same community? I recall that David Koch is a benefactor of modern dance . . .

    Second, and directly related to this: I’m also reminded of a comment Dug Song left here a few weeks ago; I was startled, as he managed to namedrop Nas and Albert Berriz in the same comment. Since some aspects of our communal future rest in the hands (assets) of affluent liberals like Dug, how are we to teach them, as well as the rest of our neighbors/friends/enemies, that to amass wealth is malignant, and furthermore, to attempt to wield influence after having amassed that wealth, is a crime?

    I see this as our work moving forward. Perhaps if, as a community, we can educate each other about the workings of wealth and its networks of power, our lives (and the political institutions we claim represent us) would grow more relevent.

  74. kjc
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    related to JC’s comments: innovation as the new religion.

    “Values like solidarity are very hard to sustain in a technological environment that thrives on personalisation and unique, individual experiences.”

    but i’m in a bad mood too.

  75. Oliva
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    “Though it had much to do with racism, this election wasn’t so much a referendum on President Obama’s politics as it was a demonstration of the brainwashibility of mainstreet Americans by the propaganda of affluence.”

    Well said, JC. Wish it could fit all over highway bridges and across every consumer product. (I also wish I were more practical–and effective.)

    The best thing I can think of is for us, and people in every state, to force the legislature (can we do this? please say yes) to redistrict to reflect true batches of populations and protect the system so that we can’t have weird snakelike districts that reach from, e.g., Belleville to Bloomfield Hills. This is one critical step toward fairer representation–and I think it’s something we can do.

    Another thing, and I have no idea how to do it–given humans’ seemingly inborn propensity to double down on their beliefs when confronted with inconvenient and unwanted data/proof/facts–is to devise a completely compelling emperor’s-new-clothes demonstration of the ruse that is Fox “News.” But people keep trying, and it seems that the only noticeable result is that FN gets played in more and more public places–big places full of people such as airports. It really does seem like a “Twilight Zone” episode we’ve been stuck in for so long and can’t find our way out.

    The only other purely off-the-cuff-of-despair comment for the moment is–so many people who could’ve didn’t vote. I know some say they forgot (waaaa, what?!); others talk like they’re too cool to vote; and surely there are myriad explanations. And some of us sappy people still dreaming about a country that cherishes and encourages learning and thinking and acting and overcoming–and love–so wish they all would vote.

  76. Lynne
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    We probably could force some kind of redistricting via a voter referendum but not as long we keep insisting on voting for people who have demonstrated that they will do whatever it takes to go around voter referendums.

  77. Posted November 5, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    With your permission, I’m going to copy the last several comments over to the new thread that I just posted, which is about the results of yesterday’s election.

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