Ann Arbor votes for an unfunded downtown park over density and affordable housing

Heading into the last election, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to local races. I, of course, did my research on the local candidates and ballot initiatives that I’d be voting on, but, for the most part, I focused on national races, trying, as best I could, to help the Democrats take back the House so that they might be able to provide a check against Trumpism, slowing the President’s attempts to pack the courts, and safeguarding what remains of the Affordable Care Act, among other things. And I suspect I was not alone. I think a lot of us were so preoccupied by the threat posed by Donald Trump and his co-conspirators in the Republican Party, that we perhaps didn’t work as hard as we should have locally. In my case, here in Ypsi, I don’t feel as though my lack of involvement necessarily led to any adverse outcomes, as all of the initiatives that I voted for won. In Ann Arbor, though, there was something on the ballot that deserved a lot more attention than it got, and, in retrospect, I wish that I’d followed the issue more closely, and written about it here on the site.

I’m talking about Ann Arbor’s Proposal A — the grassroots campaign led by local activist Alan Haber to scuttle a deal made by Ann Arbor’s City Council to sell the parking lot on 5th Avenue, directly adjacent to the downtown library, to the Chicago-based developer Core Spaces for $10 million. Someone in Ann Arbor can correct me if I’m wrong, but, as I understand it, the development, had it gone forward, would have not only brought a 17-story mixed-use development downtown, significantly increasing density, but it also would have put $5 million dollars into City coffers for affordable housing, something which Ann Arbor has far too little of, as we’ve discussed here often. 53% of Ann Arbor voters, however, voted to support Proposal A, effectively killing the development, and ensuring that the property in question would remain undeveloped in perpetuity.

I’m not aware of any polling to show why people voted in favor of the ballot initiative. I suppose some people just liked the idea of a concrete public park downtown. [There can’t really be trees on the site, given that it’s above an underground parking garage.] Others, I’m sure, just didn’t like the idea of a 17-story building downtown. And, I suppose, some may have objected to the idea of $5 million going toward the construction of affordable housing, which would have happened, had the deal gone forward. A majority, however, probably weren’t aware of what was at stake, and just voted “yes” because, really, who wants to vote against a public park? Regardless of why, the people of Ann Arbor voted against affordable housing and against density, which, sadly, confirms a certain narrative about the city. And, regardless of whether or not uninformed voters made the difference, a good many of Annarbourites voted knowing that, 1) by killing the deal with Core Spaces, they would be opening the City up to costly litigation, 2) no money exists for the building or maintenance of another downtown park, and 3) the Core Spaces plan would have included a 12,000-square-foot public plaza, in addition to a hotel, apartments, retail spaces, etc.

Here, to give you and idea of what the people of Ann Arbor passed up, is one of the concept drawings put forward by Core Spaces.

For what it’s worth, I like the idea of downtown public spaces. I just don’t get how people could vote for a proposal that would have given them a downtown public space, while also making $5 million available for the development of affordable housing. [I heard it said that these funds could be leveraged to build up to 500 new affordable housing units in Ann Arbor.] Instead, they’re left with an barren concrete slab, and no money to build the beautiful downtown park that they’d dreamed of. [I heard it said that building a park on the lot would cost up to $15 million.] Again, I’m sympathetic. As someone who, at least for a while, fought for Ypsi to have a downtown commons, I get the impulse to preserve public space in the face of unyielding corporate expansion. I just don’t see how, given the facts as they were presented, Proposal A made any sense. I mean, the development would have created a 12,000-square-foot public plaza, and funded affordable housing. And, instead, Ann Arbor has nothing but a giant parking slab, that, I’m assuming, people will no longer be able to park on. As much as I respect Haber’s lifetime of work, I just don’t get it. It seems to me to be both provincial and short-sighted. But, maybe that’s just me… I’d vote for absolutely anything that increased affordable housing in Ann Arbor. [Oh, I also heard it said that the development would have generated $2.3 million in annual revenue for the City, but I haven’t been able to confirm that.]

As I mentioned above, we’ve talked a lot in the past on this site about the lack of affordable housing in Ann Arbor, and what this fact means to the people of Washtenaw County, as it ripples through everything from public education and the arts to health care and the economy. Here, for those of you who might be interested, are some links to a few of those discussions, which, I think, should provide some useful context for this vote on Proposal A.

• A message to the poor of Michigan… You don’t deserve to live in Ann Arbor, that’s what Ypsilanti is for

• “We’re seeing real consequences of growing inequity play out locally,” says Mary Jo Callan, director of the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development

• Annarbourites ask, “Why can’t Ypsi just take all of our poor?” Consultant explains

• New Harvard study shows Washtenaw County among worst places to grow up when it comes to social mobility

• How do we deal with the homeless in Ann Arbor? Easy, hire greeters on Segways to shoo them away… Introducing Ann Arbor’s new “Ambassador” program

• The desperate need for affordable housing in Ann Arbor, the story of the black history mural that brought the community together, and nudity on the radio… on episode 32 of the Saturday Six Pack

I could go on, but I’ve already given you a lot to sort through… In conclusion, I’ll just say that I’m disappointed in the people of Ann Arbor, who have once again shown us what they truly value, and it’s not the people who are being priced out of their city. Sure, as we touched on above, we might be able to blame the uninformed electorate for just voting “yes” to a public park, without thinking about the ramifications, but, given the history, I’m not inclined to give Ann Arbor the benefit of the doubt. The truth is, people fought to make this happen, and it wasn’t uninformed, first-time U-M students.

One last thing… Here’s the text of Proposal A.

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154 Comments

  1. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    If my Angina wasn’t acting up I’d let you have it you whippersnapper.

    But yes we won with Prop A . We won with Jeff Hayner. He wanted to do a shooting range on the site but I think we’ve convinced him it’s not s good idea.

    I’ll get back to this when I feel better and after Jean Henry has put in her two cents.

  2. Jean Henry
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    There is no polling on local races. The voting results showed that the proposal lost in most near downtown neighborhoods including Haber’s own ward, but passed by good margin in the student district. This would seem to indicate that the students were simply underinformed and read the ballot language as crafted by Haber and felt they were voting for a park and public ownership of it, which would seem like a good thing not understanding the costs or what core spaces was offering the city. Given that all the other proposals were strong yeses, it made sense that underinformed voters would simply shrug and vote yes on Prop a as well. There’s a link to district by district results on the reddit\a2 page.

    Had there been more funding and time and foresight, opposition outreach to the students might have made up the 1500 ish vote difference. Had the proposal come up in an off year election, it probably would have failed.

    I’ve discussed the proposal at length here with flower gramps. One thing worth mentioning is that core spaces not only agreed to fund and manage the public square portion, but also run it by city parks rules, meaning full free speech protections as well as access for public events/programming etc. Its exceedingly unusual for a developer to essentially invite protests on its grounds. They made a lot of concessions to the public will. This was not adequately acknowledged. I think Ann Arbor is very quickly dissolving it’s appeal to developers, which many leftists will greet with happiness. But developers build housing. Which we need a whole lot of at every price point (6000 units of market rate; 3000 units of affordable according to recent surveys) Those developers that do it responsibly will not have margins that allow for the kind of fight core spaces endured from anti-growth faction in A2.

    I’m not comfortable being an apologist or advocate for developers. They don’t need my help. I was engaged in opposition to prop a because of the affordability/housing crisis only.

    The plus side is that both sides are now organizing to find new approaches to affordable housing funding and development. Prop A finally centered affordable housing in public discourse. (There really wasn’t much stated opposition to more affordable housing ) One effect of the economic segregation in our communities is that long time locals have become distanced from those most impacted by escalating housing costs. This leads to a failure to grasp the scope of the issue and a complacency around it. We seem to be moving past that now. I hope that produces some results in the long run. I intend to hold citizens on all sides to their word that they are going to find and fund solutions now.

    I heard an amazingly apt statement from an Ann Arbor politico today. ‘Ann Arbor reliably fakes left, the goes hard to the right.’ That explains the prop a result which some less hopeful are calling Ann Arbor’s Brexit.

    Ps numbers on affordable housing potential from the $5 million are from the Washtenaw Housing Commission based on past successes getting state and federal matching grants as a 25x multiplier of city funding. The property tax revenue projections were from the city sales deal with core spaces.

    There may still be a lawsuit over prop a as a sales contract to core spaces was signed by the city. There is much that is unknown about what the final results of its passage will be.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    I liked this social media Facebook post by Jen Strayer Eyer.

    …..I got involved as a volunteer on this issue because I want to see our city grow. I supported the Greenbelt millage in 2003, along with 67 percent of voters, because I believe in cities growing up, not sprawling outward. It’s better for the environment, better for affordability, better for traffic and better our overall quality of life when we have more people living downtown. I’m OK with tall buildings, because with limited space, that is the means to achieve those progressive goals.

    In the past few years, however, we’ve had an anti-development faction growing on city council. They reject housing project after housing project, though they haven’t had enough votes to stop most of them — until now. In addition to the negative effects on affordability and the environment, as the daughter of a retired union electrician, I take it a little personally when certain elected officials consistently vote against construction projects. That hurts so many working families like the one I grew up in. These are the reasons I’m so passionate about this issue.

    Parks proposals typically win by a landslide in Ann Arbor, so the fact that this vote was so close shows that when people heard our message, many agreed. I talked to a lot of people at the polls yesterday who still didn’t know what the proposal was about. It was a confusing issue, combined with the fact that there was a heavy push statewide to vote Yes on all proposals. I think that affected local proposals as well.

    Having said all that, the majority was for Yes, and I congratulate those who worked hard to achieve that outcome. Now, however, the city council must deal with the consequences, which include:

    * Losing $5 million for affordable housing, which was going to be leveraged to build 200-500 new units of affordable housing;
    * Losing $5 million that was going to be used to pay off what the city borrowed to repurchase the Y lot;
    * Coming up with as much as $15 million, according to the experts, to actually build this new park due to its complicated location on top of a parking garage;
    * Finding a source of ongoing funding that will be necessary to maintain it and provide programming. Remember that the Parks Commission said an urban park in this location will fail if it does not have constant programming.

    So the city council, with this vote, suddenly has tens of millions of dollars it’s going to have to come up with in short order, and the responsibility really is on council members Jack Eaton and Jane Lumm, and incoming council member Ali Ramlawi, who all vocally supported the proposal. I look forward to seeing what their solutions are to these new problems, as well as our overall affordable housing crisis in the city.

  4. nick
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    https://www.reddit.com/r/AnnArbor/comments/9uy4zk/the_unnecessary_park_analysis_of_why_prop_a_won/?st=JOI2D7QJ&sh=694a9e7d

  5. Posted November 14, 2018 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Jean. If this was indeed the fault of uninformed students, I suppose that makes it a little easier to stomach. And I’m happy other that people are looking for other ways to fund affordable housing. I should note, however, that the City has known about the affordable housing problem for a long, long time. But, yeah, if they’re taking it seriously now, that’s good.

  6. Posted November 14, 2018 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    One thing I didn’t mention in the post. The passage of Prop A also means that the library, should they ever choose to leave their current location, will not be able to sell the property that their building is currently on to a developer.

    Given the language of Prop A, if they want to move elsewhere, they’ll have to sell to the City, and the parcel will become public, adding to the new downtown park. [Prop A encompasses the entire block.]

    One would suspect that the City would have to pay something close to market value, if this should happen, but I don’t know how that would be possible, given the value of downtown property right now.

  7. Natalie Holbrook
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    I get all of the rationale for why a yes proposal in a yes across the board proposal season had advantage. And, I get that maybe more time was needed to organize the no vote. But, the reality is the proposal got on the ballot to begin with.

    Ultimately, I feel so many things about the fact that Ann Arbor refuses to provide affordable housing options for people in the city proper of Ann Arbor. Feelings aside…perhaps there is discourse in Ann Arbor about affordable housing due to this ridiculous proposal…But, I still know homeless and housing insecure adults all throughout ypislanti who experience more than just the obstacle of higher rents due to lack of affordable housing in ann arbor. They also face obstacles to housing options due to felony convictions and other reasons.

    I think about the reality that there is literally nowhere folks on the sex offender registry can live in ann arbor because of the abundance of parks and schools and this proposal passage makes me cringe even more…

    Frankly, I know Ypsi would not be Ypsi without Ann Arbor, but Ann Arbor you can keep all of your up and coming young professionals who would rather live in Ann Arbor but can only afford Ypsi. I struggle alongside people who have lost their youth to imprisonment and cannot find housing… I don’t give two shits about another white, het couple moving into Ypsi. Sorry.. not sorry.

    Ann Arbor, collectively confront your white supremacy. I realize this shit is fraught and that a deal with a developer is most likely rooted in capitalist, white supremacist junk. But, for shit’s sake… Do something. Don’t just be against this or that (deer culling or a development with affordable housing). Create viable affordable housing for all kinds of people sooner than later…

    On a personal note, if I had not bought a house as a single, underpaid (but salaried nonetheless) person in Ypsilanti township last year, I would have been subjected to becoming a perpetual renter in Ypsilanti and the rising rents would have milked me dry…I would have become housing insecure or forced to move in the next three years.

    This is all long-winded to say…I am so befuddled as to how prop A was allowed to float as a city ballot initiative when it has myriad regional implications. I’d be interested in the county and/or surrounding cities/townships exploring collecting litigation.

  8. iRobert
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    As high rises have been going up around downtown and campus, it seems to lower demand for rentals further out in the surrounding neighborhoods. One would hope and expect that would bring rental rates down a bit as a result. I’m curious to know if it has at all.

  9. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I hope your facts are straight. Kiddo.

    I believe that Prop A only applies to city owned land on the block.

    The Library is not part of the City. I doubt they would ever want to leave downtown.

    This move will shift our thinking. As Jean stated, already everyone’s talking about affordability. The commons has brought us together to indentify one of our problems. It’s working.

    Housing and the Library will benefit from this move.

    You can laugh at the vote of young people and call them uninformed. That’s something old people have been doing for a long time. They want a better future.

    I need to rest. This is getting me too worked up.

  10. Peter Baker
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    “And they did so knowing that…”

    That’s a stretch dude. You said yourself you weren’t paying attention to local issues, and the language of the ballot was clearly meant to hide all of the negative effects you laid out. So let’s go easy on the judging of all Ann Arborites. Liberals like voting for parks. Every other proposal was an easy “yes” this year.

    The ballot was sneaky that way. They knew what they were doing. I’m disappointed too, but in the those who pushed their will through underhanded techniques, and I’m not willing to assume everyone who voted yes on this are the selfish pricks you’re making them out to be. Uninformed on the technicalities? Sure.

  11. Posted November 15, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I totally agree, Peter. I just logged on this morning to edit that. My hope wast that I’d get to it before anyone noticed. I also wanted to acknowledge the fact that it was more of the student-populated areas that made the difference.

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Flower Gramps is correct. The library and the land under it are owned by the AADL, not the city. The proposal was poorly written in that it defines an area to never be sold that includes multiple properties the city doesn’t own. This could create problems down the line if anyone tries to enforce it beyond the library lot.

    The library building is in great disrepair. They just had another closing last week do to sewage overflow in the building. There was a millage a while back to tear down and rebuild the structure, but essentially the same group that put forward prop A fought and defeated the measure. The AADL has to get a new building. So there will be a new millage. One of the options they are considering is building on the old Y lot across the street with affordable housing above. This exciting idea was somewhat contingent on the $5 million from Prop A.I’m not sure what their plan is now. We are all reassessing. Ali Ramlawi (CM-elect) and others have suggested the AADL build a new facility on the library (parking) lot rather than have a park, under the argument that a library is a public commons. And let the current library building lot become a park. But this presents funding and space challenges. The library parking lot space is very small relative to the existing AADL lot. I doubt the park proponents want a 10 story library in that space. And then there’s the issue of not allowing the library to get fair market rate for its land to fund the new building. More cost burden to the taxpayers and more limiting of revenue streams to the city. Oh and when last polled in March the majority of citizens have said they still don’t support a new library building millage. https://aadl.org/aboutus/2018march19
    This is the pattern in the love economy. It turns out that insensitivity to economic considerations is a proxy for insensitivity to social concerns. It’s not very loving at all to care more about public spaces and parks than economic impact and housing.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I’m going to post two solid blog posts on the issue for those who care to know more: https://www.damnarbor.com/2018/11/opinion-vote-no-on-ann-arbor.html

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    https://medium.com/@shawn.danino/op-ed-a-vote-for-proposal-a-is-a-vote-for-wealth-inequality-rent-increases-and-denying-the-ce912f2eb1d5

  15. Brendan Keeley
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    If ever there is any use of land that may benefit the poor, reduce the wealth of a particular family, or reduce housing pressure you will always hear a call for a park to be built. After living in Ann Arbor for a long period of time I have become suspicious of all park proposals and think you should be too.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    iRobert– those high rises have only served increasing UM student enrollment (more than 4000 extra students since 2018). They keep prices from further inflating but has not created downward pressure on housing costs yet.

    And UM raised enrollment again this year with no signs of slowing or building enough housing themselves. Enrollment increased 2% in 2017 and 1.6% in 2018. https://www.mlive.com/expo/news/erry-2018/10/fbea7930ad3963/breaking-down-2018-enrollment.html

  17. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Stop the misinformation! The March 2018 report showed 59% support for a new library.

    If the AADL had worked with us and put their funding up with the park they would be sitting pretty today. Instead they threw in with the corporate overlords.

    We’re willing to let bygones be bygones though. That’s what love is about. The Prop A supporters will continue to reach out to the AADL. Our visions are the same, empowering people towards a better life.

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Flower Gramps– way to show the love their Gramps. You all have proven to be excellent at partnering. The entire campaign has just been fueled by love and understanding. And now you sound vengeful and power-mad while talking about overlords. I’m going to enjoy watching you try to implement a park on that lot.

    Re the library millage survey: I misread the report. I apologize for my mistake (See how that works, Gramps) My understanding is that the library had similar results before the last millage and are not comfortable with this result as any kind of guarantee of success.

  19. John Brown
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    It’s a park for cars. Aka parking lot. I will vote against any future parks millage. Flower Gramps should cash out his 401k as seed money for a go fund me for his love economy.

  20. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    What people aren’t taking into consideration is the new majority on City Council. These are some great minds and creative thinkers. They have big plans. After so many years of the city doing whatever it is they have been doing ( see public art Stadium Blvd. across from the stadium) people are jaundiced towards government. No more. People used to call Ann Arbor the people’s republic of Ann Arbor. There was a reason for that. Our progressive stance on social and environmental issues. Those days are about to return.

    Did you ever pause to wonder who was in charge as the housing crisis grew and grew and grew? Jack Eaton is a strong proponent of social housing. He’ll get things done. The city has money, unfortunately they are just throwing it around Willy-nilly . No more.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Flower Gramps– you and crew and the regressive policies you have supported are a big part of the reason no one thinks A2 is liberal or progressive anymore. How can we be that when we are so filthy rich and economically segregated? How can we be that when we continue to support policies that favor the wealth accumulation and housing hoarding of single-family homeowners over a diverse population, a thriving creative economy, climate action solutions and a functional social support system? I don’t think most A2 people support your crew. We’ll see. You guys will have to produce. And a welcome any creative solutions that actually serve triple bottom line goals rather than the passive wealth generation (housing hoarding) of the cities landowners. What you see as progressive is in fact regressive. So I’m not hopeful.

    We agree on the public art commission. You know why it has failed over and over again. It’s not staffed with people who know anything about art, much less public art… aka experts. It;s staffed with realtors and other engaged citizens who have no fucking clue what makes a good art project and who put public art to a citizen vote. (See the juried public results at art prize to see where that leads. The public art program fails because of a lack of subject area expertise. That’s not something your crew seem to think matters.

    PS you have already made clear on this blog that ‘creative thinking’ means seeking more political payback by defunding the DDA with no plan to replace the services it supplies. More Trumpian tactics from the love economy.

  22. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Hey. It’s people from the Ann Arbor Art Center who pick some of the projects.

    Maybe ypu’re Not so fond of experts after all?

    http://www.secondwavemedia.com/concentrate/devnews/stadiumblvdpublicart0365.aspx

  23. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    As for Eaton– his voting record shows that he has consistently voted against funding for social housing as well as individual projects for it. He did produce an affordable housing plan 1.5 weeks before the election during his mayoral election this fall under pressure from progressives who backed him after his political about face. re the police task force recs.. It has been heavily debunked and was not informed by consultation with any local housing agencies (see a pattern yet?). He has shown no commitment to social housing. That’s simply a lie. I welcome a change of heart and tactics. He is first and foremost a politician before a steward or statesman, with all that implies.

    https://medium.com/@zaackerman/eatons-affordable-housing-strategy-gets-a-c-99b7ae21fdb3?fbclid=IwAR1agdAYmfhOc63WZbHlDC13Gr3skFIwqfXE-KZymuKgwJMwrrIaDNCDlXU

  24. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Jack has learned a lot from talking with Ali and Jeff about the struggles of working people here in town. And like any good politician he’s willing to pivot and correct course. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what the new council majority has in store.

    Is the DDA paying you to push their cause?

  25. John Brown
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Jack had plenty of time to learn about struggles of working folks in this town before Ali and Jeff came on the scene. He clearly can’t relate to working class folks of whom he must have plenty of constituents. I’ve found him to be aloof and creepy every time I’ve tried to communicate my working class POV. The mayor’s primary race revealed this is a common perception.

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    The stadium art project was administered by the A2 Art Center, meaning they put out the call for proposals and surveyed the public etc. The Public Art Commission chose three projects and gave the public their choice of those three. The rendering that one was a misrepresentation of scale massing and effect. Omari Rush is an arts administrator, not an artist or an art critic. The A2 Art Center has been improving its programming, and have added Jeremy Wheeler to their staff(yay) but they are not the only game in town. We have a very well funded art and architecture school in town as well as EMU’s excellent staff to draw from for expertise. Contrast the level of art at any Penny Stamps lecture series or the projects of the UM Institue for the Humanities to the Public Arts Commission projects and you see my point.

    I’m not only for institutional art. But that kind of budget begs for a certain amount of expertise. The best art in town is graffiti in my view. That community has really up’d their game lately. And they only get shit for it. We should have just made the stadium bridge a free wall. The results would have been better and dynamic, been a true reflection of our city and local culture and would not have cost $115K. Oh man, it also would have validated the gifts and free expression of a bunch of at-risk (and not) kids.

    If Jack Eaton wants to promote street art instead of plop art in a2, I’m all for it.

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Flower Grmaps– you are so full of love. Like the kind of dysfunctional family love embodied by an overbearing father or mother who professes they care while constantly undermining and questioning anyone else’s choices/point of view/ambition. So much LOVE…

  28. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Nobody said leading our town forward would be easy. But we’re willing to bear the slings and arrows as we move our city towards a better future. We knew it would not be easy to be in the resistance, but we will persist. There is too much at stake. Our victories in August and now the cities embrace of Prop A show the broad public support for a better Ann Arbor.

    In retrospect I’m confident people will understand and appreciate our efforts.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Flower Grandpa should be commended for preserving Ann Arbor for long time existing residents as they dotardly age in place and eventually pass their valuable real estate to their heirs. Maintaining economic barriers to residency will maintain the higher socioeconomic class of city residents. It will also benefit Ypsilanti as people of the same social but lower economic class locate there and work to change the local educational and business culture to reflect their desire to be like Ann Arbor.

  30. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    We’re just misunderstood. It’s hard for people to imagine a new paradigm.

  31. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Listening to an interview with Adam Ellick of the NYTimes about how disinformation spreads. Parallels to Ann Arbor’s anti-growth pro-prop A crowd were apparent: Along with a kernel of truth (lack of action on affordable housing) a good disinformation campaign requires the conspiracists (Lesko, Hayner, Eaton,) and ‘useful idiots’ — well-meaning, and locally esteemed people who will disseminate the theories and deride bad guys, and so validate the disinformation. I’m not sure which Alan Haber is. I like to think he’s been used by those securing local private property interests (including privileging corrupt local developers/donors) . I’ll leave it to the peanut gallery here to decide what category Gramps is in.

    PS this series is something I’ve been asking for since 2016– a mapping out of how conspiracy theories are developed and spread like an epidemiological study of a virus. We need to understand this and start to steel ourselves against their influence. I didnt know the ‘government developed AIDS’ con-theory started with the Russians pre-internet. They aren’t just Russian campaigns, we have our own homeland security threats now in form of Q etc. https://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000006188105/countering-disinformation-active-measures.html

  32. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Talk about disinformation. The No on Prop A groups tag line was “ Everybody losses with Prop A”. In and of itself that’s just not true, maybe some people loss, primarily the real estate investors that were going to cash in on the Core project. And maybe Mayor Taylor because he doesn’t’ have the money to pay for the Y lot that he bought without any money in hand. And maybe the AADL because they’ve spent half a year disparaging their new neighbor creating an uncomfortable situation. Other than that I don’t see any losers. Oh yeah, the PR company that ran Cores No on Prop A campaign.

    But what about the 5 million for affordable housing? Don’t affordable housing groups who would have received that money lose? No. Because the new council is going to reign in the DDA and create an ongoing revenue stream to work on the affordability issue. Ongoing money trumps ( excuse my language) a one time windfall. Also if people want one time money we can sell the Klines lot or the Palio lot. We’ve been clear about that.

    What about the lost tax revenue? Ann Arbor is going to continue to grow. First Martin recently canceled their lease of the Brown block ( on Huron and First) to the city so they could start work on developing it. That parcel alone will more than cover the revenue that we would have got from the library lot.

    I know it’s hard to lose. We’ve been doing it for years. But now it’s our turn to prove ourselves. And we’re looking forward to it. It’s easy to cast aspersions and shake your head. It’s hard to do the work and accomplish what we have. Why not give us the benefit of the doubt?

  33. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Gramps– How long has Eaton been on the council? And Lumm? Kunselman was there for how long? The paranoic anti-growth, anti-DDA faction has been present in government for a long time. They simply have majority power now. That’s not a new paradigm; that’s the same power structure as always. It’s just those who have always been naysayers to progress on anything but leaf pick up and more cops are now in power. And we are to expect them to be proactive now. They ran on a campaign to maintain the status quo– to ‘Save Ann Arbor.’ We have had public parks and a library lot parking lot for a long time (since the 40’s). the lot is not going to magically transform Ann Arbor.

    What could be transformative would be centering affordable housing (and all kinds of housing) needs in Ann Arbor. That’s the only magic pixie dust from prop A. We’ll see how long it lasts when they find out you cant buy a park or affordable housing with cupid’s arrows. Those millages are coming. I’m happy to predict right now that, when they do the prop A supporters may find themselves not so much in agreement anymore.

  34. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    If I could I’d pull out the guitar and sing you a little song from back in the day that people like Mr. Haber and I grew up with. We’ve been fighting the good fight for a long, long time.

    Try to see it my way,
    Do I have to keep on talking till I can’t go on?
    While you see it your way,
    Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.
    We can work it out,
    We can work it out.
    Think of what you’re saying.
    You can get it wrong and still you think that it’s alright.
    Think of what I’m saying,
    We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.
    We can work it out,
    We can work it out.
    Life is very short, and there’s no time
    For fussing and fighting, my friend.
    I have always thought that it’s a crime,
    So I will ask you once again.
    Try to see it my way,
    Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.
    While you see it your way
    There’s a chance that we may fall apart before too long.
    We can work it out,
    We can work it out.

  35. Stephen Kunselman
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh please, get over yourself and your righteousness. Your side lost because it is power hungry and unable to govern without a super-majority. Taylor is the first Mayor in decades to go from a super-majority Council to a minority Council – why is that? Probably because the political playbook got real old – always blaming others for Taylor’s lack of leadership. Remember Taylor voted against requiring the DDA to set aside TIF funds for housing, an ordinance I sponsored and that Hieftje voted for. Taylor supporters are hypocrites.

  36. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    i was trying to keep things positive. But I appreciate the input and insight of a dedicated public servant. Thank you sir.

  37. anonimal
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    @Councilman Kunselman
    You of all people calling someone self righteous? Your district literally preferred a child to you because you are such a pompous prick. They still mock you at council meetings, even Eaton couldn’t stand you. Taylor isn’t perfect but he sure as hell isn’t you.

  38. anonimal
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I think its time for local democrats to think twice about whether zoning is an appropriate use of government power. “Good” zoning is just a reflection of what the market wants to build, so its not effective in many senses. Apart from that, zoning is either completely useless or a form of exclusion. One persons historic character and neighborhood charm is another person entrenched form of exclusion and discrimination. Instead, I’d like to see cities be more focused on managing and improving public assets, and getting into the development game. So if you want to see affordable housing, cities should buy the land themselves and build it. I think it’d be better than fooling ourselves that zoning is what creates great communities.

    Ann Arbor has made development nearly illegal in most of the city, so there is pent up demand that give these controversial megaprojects. If instead we let developers knock down some old houses on the OWS and getting some density in places where people are paying top dollar for a 1200 sq ft home, we might not depend on these giant projects to sustain the city. Quaintness isn’t an excuse to justify exclusion, but that’s exactly what Ann Arbor is doing.

  39. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Oh great. Now the YIMBY crowd is going to start weighing in. You’re getting your ADUs! isn’t that enough?

    And I don’t think that man would appreciate you calling him a child. He was at least 20.

  40. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    GRamps– we aren’t getting our ADU’s. That was so burdened by undue regulation that only 1 got built. They were never the solution anyway. Just a cute distraction. It would be good to allow that solution and many others to happen. I can see the commitment to a bright affordable future for Ann Arbor is strong with you. So much love.

    Steve– Gosh I thought it was you that lost… Taylor is still the mayor. He has gotten an earful from me on a few subjects. I’m an equal opportunity pain in the ass to my representatives. Don’t know his reasoning behind the TIFF vote. Will look into it. How did Eaton vote on it?

  41. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Well , I think you’ve put in more than your 2 cents worth.

    So can we look forward to ten more years of obstructionist diatribes as we build our park? Or at some point will you get on board? Maybe when the new council sets up the funding stream for affordable housing you’ll let your guard down and start to see The possibilities.

    By the way, what’s Ypsilanti doing to address the affordability problem? Other than blaming Ann Arbor?

  42. wobblie
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Gramps, we were going to build an affordable housing complex in the Water Street area until the State shot that down. We don’t have much but our population density is higher than Ann Arbors to start with (though it is lower than it once was).

  43. Dave Morris
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how the American Indians dealt with the issue of land use. Did they just have oral agreements and traditions in place of legal documents, and land features with fuzzy borders instead of imaginary lines? What would cause a land use dispute and how did they settle it?

    When Augustus Woodward redesigned Detroit after the fire, he chose a spoke and hub design with a “point of origin” that is still physically represented there at the convergence of those imaginary lines stretching out in all directions toward manifest destiny. All the gunter chains, plumb bobs, and theodolites pushed outward into the unlegislated, unsurveyed wilderness from this infinite geometric point…. along with the demands that the land and inhabitants comply to our ideas of progress and harmony.

    But the interesting thing is that this point was surrounded by design with a large public gathering area that was named Campus Martius…. after the Roman god of war… The Field of Mars. It seems worth dwelling on that decision. I think it was not lost on Augustus that this expansion was not going to be peaceful… that Justice was not going to be measured by actions harmonious with Nature, but rather through the application of might… that the strong will say what is just in their pursuit of their luxurious, feverish city and the weak will endure it or die.

  44. Anonymous
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    There are 159 parks in Ann Arbor.

    Why not devote park resources to any of them? Why spend the money to dig up a parking structure to make a new one that will also have to be maintained in the future?

  45. Posted November 15, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I voted no. But here’s why I think (some) people voted yes.
    1. They didn’t like the Core Spaces design. They thought it was out of scale. (Feel free to disagree, but…)
    2. I think the reason they thought it was out of scale is that we have recently had some very tall buildings being built without any setback at all. The sidewalk is narrow and there is a huge hulk of building over you–so they don’t trust the people who agreed to those buildings to understand what a reasonable building would look like.
    3. They think that if a better plan comes up they can put this issue back on the ballot for repeal (yes, I heard that from many people).
    4. The “no” people wrongly said there was “no” money for a park on that spot. Of course there is money for a park on that spot. The “no” people should have said, If parks spends its money on the park there, what should they cut? Soccer fields? Pools? Trails?
    5. They were mad that City Council hadn’t taken them seriously when they had 4,000 out of 5,000 necessary signatures. (I personally think if council had put it on the ballot at that point, and campaigned against it, it would have lost.)
    Now we have: a charter amendment making that public land (note, it doesn’t have to be a park!); lawsuit(s); and no money for affordable housing :(

  46. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Ruth– We said there was no money left in the parks budget for the park, which implies what you said. We also figured out via comparable projects what it might cost to create a park there, so we could figure out how much would need to be cut– due diligence the park proponents should have done themselves.

    Re” the ‘we can do something else there later when a better project comes along’ argument. That was the same argument I heard from those opposing the downtown library reconstruction millage. (same ppl btw) Now the library regularly closes due to sewage overflows. And it will come up again, 10 years later. How many people get displaced meanwhile? Lastly, how will a new proposal come to light without the capacity for a RFP? What developer would spend the considerable investment to present a plan for that lot that would need to come to a public vote to be viable? Especially after the loses Core Spaces has accured doing the same thing with a sales contract in place? Will the public be willing to cote for a change of use to any kind of development without a plan in place to vote on?

    The arguments for prop A were facile at best. We are a city that loves to say no that’s not good enough. It’s an embarrassment that people didn’t ask more of the proposal’s architects. The no campaign was organized and informed, but underfunded. We asked the right questions. Many of us were asking the same questions of park proponents for 5 years without satisfactory answers. The prop A proponents did not provide the citizenry with the information they needed to make informed choices. This proved a good strategy. It doesn’t bode well for their capacity to shepherd ANY project through to satisfactory completion.

    The yes voters had a lot of excuses, but it was a. simple anti-development, anti-affordable housing vote. No one who calls themselves progressive wants to admit that they prefer a gated community.

  47. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Gramps– I’ll wait for that affordable housing funding as I said many times above. I have no intention of helping with that damned park. Shoving responsibility off on Ypsi demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of their economic capacity to create such a project. And, even so, they are working much harder on the issue than Ann Arbor ever has with their community resources. They are finding the limits of the ‘love economy’ too. Hey Ypsi did you pass a CBO? Gramps, I suggest you look into those and see if one would be viable in A2 now that your crew has seized. the reins of power.

    PS People on this site can tell you that telling me to shut up already is unlikely to engender the response you would like.

  48. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Dave Morris– Native tribes had no concept of private property. They did, however, have regular and brutal territorial battles. My cousin is a lawyer in Alaska and spent some time securing property rights for Inuits communities who faced threat to their land from oil company exploration. It had never done so before the 1990’s.

    The diag was designed as a commons and intended to be the city’s central park. The intersecting pathways there were created in the dirt footpaths students made coming and going to classes.

  49. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    that Justice was not going to be measured by actions harmonious with Nature, but rather through the application of might… that the strong will say what is just in their pursuit of their luxurious, feverish city and the weak will endure it or die.

    Excellent quote- but I would offer one other option to endure or die. Use participatory democracy to change the city charter to stop the luxury high rise and take back our city.

    This has been exhausting. I’m so glad the battle is over.

  50. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    And I’ve never told anyone to shut up.

    Some of us remember and honor the free speech movement.

    Often times the more people talk the deeper the hole they dig for themselves.

  51. Anonymous
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    MAAGA! Thanks grandpa!

  52. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Your welcome. If I knew where to find of those little pictures to blow you a kiss, i’d Do it.

    . Whaddaya know!

  53. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    You’re welcome. If I knew where to find of those little pictures to blow you a kiss, I’d do it.

    . Whaddaya know!

  54. anonimal
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    @JH and Dave Morris
    The idea that native americans didn’t have private property is white liberal fetishization of a culture they don’t understand.
    A) Saying that native tribes didn’t XX is like trying to speak for India and China at the same time since they are on the same continent so must be about the same
    B) West coast tribes absolutely had notions of private land
    C) Other tribes did, others didn’t, it depended where and when you were. People owned things though, and if you were in a tribe with family dwellings you wouldn’t just walk into their dwelling willy nilly.
    D) They sure as hell have those notions now, so it doesn’t matter if they did in the past or not

  55. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Anonimal– I should have been more clear. They didn’t buy and sell and demarcate private property. I never meant to suggest they didn’t have standards of privacy and personal space. And I made clear they have territorial claims. I find nothing especially admirable about that and don’t think what I stated expressed any fetishization.

  56. anonimal
    Posted November 15, 2018 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    More attitude is more directly at Dave Morris, who is clearly impressed by his intellect.

    But to be more clear, they did in fact buy, sell, and demarcate private property, they just didn’t keep records of it in writing. They used oral records (its like a predecessor to blockchain!), totems and other things depending on the tribe. Admittedly the properties didn’t change hands as often as we do it now.

    Once again, all of this was dependent on where you were and when you were there. People owned private land in the Pacific North West. Also, Native Americans have notions of property ownership today, because they are still here.

  57. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    I’m sure the park would be willing to host a Pow Wow or maybe a sage smug stick burning on the site. All are welcome. This will be a place where their is no sense of personal property. It will be owned by everyone.

  58. Greg Pratt
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    I’m with Ruth, voted no and think the no side could’ve done a better job of explaining its position, centering the people needing housing would’ve been a good way to go about that.

    Even still, I’m not sure we would’ve had the time to get to all the students and everyone re-discovering voting during this particular election. Who can vote against a park? The wording of the charter amendment was pretty solid.

    I’m also with Jean in terms of the movement being anti-development/ affordable housing from a particularly politically savvy network of local landlords, including but not limited to the Hathaways and Tom Stulberg of Champion Management.

    I also appreciate the comments from Natalie re: white supremacy in Ann Arbor. Both Eaton and Taylor support the white power structure in A2, which is not named per se but bestowed in our charter, manifest in our ~$33M police force and courts [31.2% of our $106K general fund budget].

    Eaton [At Sumi Kailasapathy’s goading] brought to council and paid lip service to the police oversight commission task force process while simultaneously advocating along with Jane Lumm that we increase our police force during a time when violent crimes are at historic lows.

    Taylor while on point in rejecting those additional officers being added to the GF budget, never fully supported [I think he would say never understood the legal framework or something like that. Nevertheless…] an independent police oversight task force and in the final weeks of negotiations over the new “oversight” commission blinked at the Police Union letter threatening some legal action if the city were to adopt the Police Task Force’s recommendations. Now we have an oversight commission with little to no buy-in from the community members who need it and we have a new council majority that is inclined to increase our police force.

    –Back to Prop A–
    Having said all that, I also believe that the passing of this proposal is a great opportunity to engage people in fully funding a comprehensive plan for housing, starting with what we can do with Ann Arbor resources. A regional housing coalition is needed to address this. Feel free to contact me at kulanova at gmail if you want more info about our meeting on Dec 1.

    I am not sure what to do about policing except to work with activists to build a commission outside of the city structure predicated on restorative justice models and mutual accountability. We build that institution as an alternative to/ potentially even complementary to the existing city structures.

  59. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if Dave is impressed with himself but I am impressed with Dave’s intellect and I am even more impressed with his general approach to writing the few comments he has shared. I am not sensing arrogance. I am sensing generosity and openness.

    What are you all about Anonimal? You might be right about this issue. You sound right to me and I accept that you know a lot more about this subject than I do. The approach though? What are you about? I would think Dave is the kind of poster this forum would want to attract because he does not appear to have a twitter-fried brain. Why the inappropriate anomosity anonimal ? Was it because Dave mentioned he was turning back to Catholicism? Do you have some misgivings you would like to confess?

  60. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Actually, I think Dave said he has been turning back to his “Catholic faith” which is potentially very different than a turn to Catholicism. Was it because Dave was nice to EOS? I just don’t understand why any of us would want to push a newer and infrequent poster away with insults when that poster seems to be posting in a spirit of kindness and with intelligence.

  61. Pocahontas
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    White people in 2018 in Ann Arbor trying to speak for native people across two continents over several millennia.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  62. Alan Benard
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    You mean, Flower Grandpa isn’t parody?

    Wow.

  63. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I agree with FF on this. Just wanted to take the rare opportunity to say that. There is a bitterness in the comment section of this site that no doubt pushes away new posters. I believe that is due to the trolls who frequent this space. And the responses they engender, often from me. (I heard that people who troll trolls are called elves, which was satisfying if a bit too cute) It’s also because these issues of equity and totalitarian creep matter, and people feel passionately about them. We are at a critical juncture in our national and local political histories. Discourse probably should be fraught. It’s easy and maybe necessary to get caught up. Still, Dave’s voice was refreshing and thoughtful. It felt like a perspective with some distance, and the long view is handy in these times.

  64. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    But I also thought Anonimal’s comments re the casual invocation of Native American practices and the lumping of them into a monolith was useful and apt. It would be nice if we were more open to critique round these parts (allowing for some back and forth). Not being so is what makes smart people stupid. It’s where the smart obstructs the learning.

  65. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Greg– Agreed on all points, especially the centering of the voices of those excluded. I had a plan to address that in a proactive way last spring but no time to do so without help. Still, think it’s a good idea and will run it by you sometime.

    Meanwhile, is there anything preventing us from putting forth a charter amendment to put a mixed use/affordable housing development (with a public square maybe) on the library (parking) lot right away? I know it would be an unfunded mandate. But so is the park. I’d prefer city resources go to affordable housing. I don’t see any other way to get to an RFP for alternative development there. If what people want was really a different kind of development and affordable housing, maybe that’s worth exploring.

    While I addressed this comment to Greg, I’d be interested in hearing what others have to say as well.

  66. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    PS I can see all sorts of potential snafus relating to this direct democracy governance by public referendum. Like what if the citizens voted for another charter amendment for affordable housing on the parcel but not for a millage to support the development. What if we have competing referendums and they both pass (this has happened already re pot? There are issues with policymaking by referendum, especially on a micro scale. But PropA got the ball rolling, so why not counter and redirect asap before substantial city funds start flowing towards the stupid park.

  67. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Do you have any idea how long it took to have this park idea come to fruition? Can you even begin to imagine the time, effort and money that went into this for year after year after year? We were lucky to have a great legal mind generously donating countless billable hours to the cause. And on top of that the powers that be fighting us every step of the way. I mean that additional language on the ballot? Who does stuff like that?

    Give the new council a chance. Taylor’s love affair with the DDA has kept that money off limits. Don’t you think the downtown businesss and developers could pitch in a bit more via the Main Street association to run the downtown from which they are harvesting buckets of cash? Oh those poor businesses, my heart goes out to them. The new council won’t be funneling cash to the DDA and SPARK. They’ll be putting it towards helping to work on affordability issues. Workforce housing, assisted housing, senior housing, the whole gamut. Remember who Jack Eaton’s biggest donor was. He knows housing .

    But if you think you could get a charter amendment go ahead. I look forward to seeing how far you get with that.

  68. anonimal
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    @FF
    No, I’m annoyed because I don’t like people using a shallow take on someone else’s culture as a starting point for some dark metaphor about their own cultures deep violent past. And I don’t like people using that culture for a way to justify their own modern political beliefs (with moony eyes: Native Americans never would have had a tragedy of the commons, etc). I’m not an SJW, but man, I think both political sides treat native americans like crap and it pisses me off. I lived outside of a reservation for a bit and had some NA drinking buddies, and I’ve cared about this quite a bit ever since.

    I’ve never noticed DM comment on here, so I have no idea. I actually think religion is underrated, but struggle to be religious myself (I try, I’m just not good at it, maybe I’ll find a way back someday). If he turned back to his faith thats great, he’ll have a deep well of history and culture to draw from. I think that cultural liberals cut themselves off at the knees by rejecting faith. Being tied together by “a sense of community” in a culture defined by a need for constant change isn’t going to work. “A sense of community” just leads people to choose sides, coke or pepsi, yankees or mets, growth or no growth.

  69. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    In case you don’t remember who was supporting Jack Eaton let me give you a refresher. This is the kind of great minds that will be advising the new majorities leadership.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Weiser

  70. anonimal
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    @FG
    So you are a troll!!!! I knew it! Its kind of like figuring out that someone you know is a superhero

  71. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Get over yourself.

    McKinley has been wanting to work with the city to build workforce housing in town for years. Do a little research before you hurl accusations.

  72. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Here. Let me help you.

    https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/10/mckinley_ceo_makes_case.html

    Do you want to solve the problem or not?

  73. John Brown
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    What is McKinley offering? First Martin promised everyone a pony.

    Fruition? Don’t get ahead of your self.

  74. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Workforce housing.

    But you’re more in favor of the luxury variety, right?

  75. Anonymous
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    That article was from 2015. Why has it not been built? I think Ann Arbor could use any kind of housing, though. We need more, not less.

  76. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Good question. Who’s been in charge of the city? Maybe they would know.

    I believe it has something to dos with maximizing profit as opposed to providing for social benefits. What we’ve been doing hasn’t been working. To think the Core building was going to change things was a fantasy that I can’t believe the people of Ann Arbor fell for, especially not 47% of them. Then to demonize us for wanting a downtown park. Laughable.

    Someday when there is workforce housing downtown those families will get to enjoy the park after an event at the Library. Do you know what they call it when people keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome?

  77. Stephen Kunselman
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Jean – yes I lost back in 2015, but my friends who followed me are winning now and I don’t even have to go to all those thankless meetings! And it’s a great moment of satisfaction reading Team Taylor supporters floundering in their loss considering how duped they’ve been by “he who smiles and says nice things”. Who was it that said if we want affordable housing we have to build public housing – me. Who was it that said the DDA has the enabling legislation to build multi-family housing downtown – me. Who was it that said if the DDA has enough money to subsidize the parking system with TIF taxes and send 20% of parking revenue to the City general fund, they can certainly subsidize public housing downtown – me again. Yep, I lost but so did those that worked against me on Council – remember that in politics what goes around comes around. And let’s not forget, who was it that solely sponsored the resolution to sell the Library Lot – ME! Who knew my effort would result in an IRS audit, a voter approved charter amendment, 2 lawsuits, and Mayor in the minority! Whoo hoo – who’s winning – ME!

  78. kjc
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    “Someday when there is workforce housing downtown those families will get to enjoy the park after an event at the Library.”

    will libraries still exist on that magical day?

    i asked my smart liberal townie boss how she voted on Prop A. she voted yes. she said everyone she knew was voting yes.! then she acknowledged she had no idea what the proposal was about or anything related to it. Just saying.

  79. John Brown
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Lawsuits and audits. Trumpian winning. Grudge match. Parking lot.

  80. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I hope so.

    It would be more likely if the AADL started working with the people that are moving the city forward, or at least stayed out of politics.

    I’m sorry about your boss. She’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  81. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Steve Kunselman — yep, it’s all about you. Everything is actually about you. Except when it’s about Trump. You guys should arm wrestle or something. You’re both winners… according to yourselves.
    PS I never heard your name mentioned once in reference to any of those races or the prop A campaign. Not once.

  82. Greg Pratt
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    Kunselman: you lost in Aug 2017 [last year] too, remember? http://bit.ly/2zc8fRR

    “Who knew my effort would result in an IRS audit, a voter approved charter amendment, 2 lawsuits, and Mayor in the minority! Whoo hoo – who’s winning – ME!”

    What a bizarre manner in which to celebrate the legacy of one’s public service: that it lead to an IRS audit and two lawsuits against the city [one of the lawsuits brought by one’s allies on council].

    #LOLAnnArbor indeed Steve. We can’t wait for you to run for public office again.

  83. Flower Granpa
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    You all just don’t get it. Are you going to keep rehashing yesterday’s loses? Or move forward.?
    At least he was concerned with affordability issues way back when he was on council I wonder who stopped him in his laudable efforts?

    The commons is meant to revive a way of thinking anchored in the public good, public ownership, public effort. To dismiss it as a ploy by greedy landlords is short sighted.

    You really haven’t noticed which group of politicians has led the gentrification, re-segregation and corporatization of the city? Probably the same ones who are recusing themselves from voting on issues that effect their country club.

    Ann Arbor should be leading in addressing affordability issues in a creative manner instead of crying about how our park ruined all your half-baked schemes.

  84. Flower Greandpa
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Resistance often utilizes disruption as a tool to stop the machine.

  85. Schembechlers ghost
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  86. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Steve told me a few times that homelessness is a non-issue in Ann Abor, panhandlers are criminals and poor people can go live in Ypsi. I’m guessing he implied so on record as well, but I stopped listening. His interest in public housing was about offering an alternative to growth in dealing with affordable housing (it’s not; both are necessary) and to cripple the DDA.

    Hayner’s first action has been to try to send the Mental health and public safety millage rebate back to the county (for use however they please) rather than use it for affordable housing, climate action, and transportation safety– appropriations that were earmarked before the voters approved of the measure.

    Is this the love economy and the new commitment to transparency and respecting the will of the voters?

  87. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Flower Gramps– you talking about half-baked schemes is hysterical.

    Where’s the plan for the park. Where’s the plan for funding the park? Where’s the plan to get to either of those. Please be transparent re your efforts.

  88. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    “The commons is meant to revive a way of thinking anchored in the public good, public ownership, public effort. To dismiss it as a ploy by greedy landlords is short sighted.”

    –except that your efforts were mean and divisive and your definition of the community clearly only extended to private homeowners, especially long-term, and their interests. I am one of the people who fall into that category and I was met with derision and dismissal whenever I questioned your effort or its impact. I have never seen a campaign so disinterested in the perspective and interests of people with different political and personal viewpoints.

    It will be interesting to see you try to turn that around. You will need to put more than words forward. So far, most of what your side seems to be counting on is not community engagement but the accrual of power by reps on your side. When those reps start presenting proactive v restrictive actions for the city, I’ll pay attention. When you start actually convening the citizenry for input on what should happen on the library lot, I will be paying attention. Until then it’s all just words. If no action like I described occurs, then those words are misinformation at best.

  89. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    You are incapable of even owning up to the fact that where we are today is exactly where Taylor wanted us to be. Economically and racially segregated and a playground of fancy eateries and dwell worthy downtown condos with exciting architectural detail and flourishes. A parade of virtue signaling 10% ers out on the town protesting that they’re selflessly working for the marginalized. give it a rest.

    At least we’re honest. We just want a park. Same as all those stupid students who didn’t know what they were doing. Give me a break. Within 6 months you’ll see movement towards our objective. Rome was not built in a day.

    Steve, thanks for your contribution to the city. I’m hopeful that you’ll be working behind the curtains to help move us forward. we need all the help we can get.

  90. Anonimal
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Steve,
    Not even your own family supported you in office and complain how self obsessed you are. If you can’t get them, then why expect anyone else to support you? Your home reputation follows you around.

  91. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    That’s just mean. But not a surprise. We’ve learned to expect that sort of low blows and half truths. I’m sure one day you’ll be full of apologies for your despicable ways and failed policy’s. Hindsight is always 20/20.

  92. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    “behind the curtains’– apt metaphor for the transparency I expect from this group.

    At least we all agree that the status quo is unacceptable. What you are ignoring/evading Flower Gramps is that all of this has been a proxy for the choice about whether our city needs to grow or not. And that decisions impact on affordability. I believe the evidence is clear that we must grow and much more rapidly than we have to prevent further cost escalation and to move towards affordability. We also need to do so to have the necessary revenue for affordable housing, climate action, better infrastructure etc etc. Agins this is an evidence-based position. I would prefer Ann Arbor could stay small and be inclusive and affordable but that’s not a viable choice.

    Denial of the need for growth is the climate denial of Ann Arbor liberals. When you are prepared to show me evidence that we can be an affordable and accessible city by limiting development and growth or present a serious plan to get us to the necessary growth via zoning changes etc, then please put that forward. Without that there is literally no way we can get to affordability via public housing alone while restricting other growth. It’s not either/or; it’s both/and. Progressive change has been hard for Ann Arbor. Because much of the citizenry resists change. No thanks to you and the fantasy you peddle.

  93. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Flower Gramps should present his anti-YIMBY/pro-affordable housing theories to TODD Talks. Maybe we should host a TODDxTalk locally.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvtp-dKfbco

  94. Posted November 17, 2018 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    It makes me sad to read something like this… Someone just shared my post on Facebook with the following.

    “Mark Maynard is absolutely right. I wish he’d written this before the election rather than after it.”

    I take some comfort in knowing that it wouldn’t have made a difference in terms of the outcome, but the idea that I could have helped flip even one vote, if I’d posted this before the election, makes me feel pretty bad.

  95. SP
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Just for fun, watch the architect of this debacle spout his complete hippie bullshit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk_FQLk_LA0

  96. anonimal
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    @Mark
    City council should have shown the leadership to prevent this from getting this far in the first place. The list of should haves is a mile long before it gets to you.

    As much as I agree with the mayor on many issues, he’s shown very little leadership or the capacity for meaningful accomplishment. Same with Warpehoski, I like him, but he’s not mean enough (unless your a deer). Heifje showed much more tenacity and was more effective, he was willing to bare his teeth every once in a while. Despite thinking Councilman Kunselman was a slimy two faced liar who has an extremely inflated sense of himself (the first time I met him, he mentioned he was on council like 6 times in a 5 minute period), his point about he who smiles much is spot on.

    The deer cull thing is probably the only substantial ‘win’ that any of the pro-development wing have had in a few years, its kinda pathetic. All the development that’s actually occurred lately had the groundwork laid by the previous mayor.

  97. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    RE the McKinley workforce housing proposal. As I understand it he said it was feasible with the donation of public lands to him, the developer. It seems to me that giving a developer public land for their ownership is never ever going to happen and for good reason. That’s why it was a non-starter. If he wanted to develop workforce housing on contract with the city (assuming we had the funds) and we would own it, or better yet allow worker ownership, that would be awesome, but I don’t think he offered that.

    Dear Pocahontas, no one here spoke ‘for’ Native Americans. At least no more than you did. Spare us your righteousness on their behalf. Using them to make your ideological points is akin to using them for spiritual gratification.

  98. iRobert
    Posted November 18, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    It’s not your fault, Mark. I blame Jean. She could have been spearheading the “No on A” campaign, but was instead spending all her time posting comments on this blog.

  99. Stephen Kunselman
    Posted November 18, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Poor Jean, Poor Greg, still cheerleading for Team Taylor – how’s it feel to be on the losing side? Still can’t admit your efforts failed this past election? Of all the hypocrisy exhibited by Team Taylor supporters, you guys win! Jean, do you still own a house in the most restrictive land use zoning in town? What happened to that “tiny home” you told me you were going to put in your driveway to help the homeless? Didn’t Taylor help you get er dun? Ha ha – of course not. And Greg – who you cyber bullying now? Didn’t Taylor reward you with a seat on the HHS Commission after my loss in 2015 for your efforts to try and recall me? But where’s your homeless camps now? Oh yea – I got a homeless camping policy passed in one meeting with yes votes by Taylor and your supporters on Council that shut you down – thank god no more homeless people freezing to death like they were cause of you and your self-proclaimed righteousness. Have you been able to wash the blood from your hands of the frozen to death homeless you encouraged to sleep in tents during bitter cold Michigan winters. Weren’t you the one bragging at City Council public comment about how you were running propane tanks to the homeless in their tents, but when they froze to death you took no responsibility?! You know I have no respect for you, none, zilch, nada. People died that you bragged about helping. Yep, I’m winning – you’re losing Jean and Greg! Keep trying to spin it, but it don’t matter to me cause I know that you know, what we all know is – your side lost.

  100. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 18, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Kunselman for Council!

    We need to keep the forward momentum going. Come to City Hall monday night as a true group of reformers get sworn in and then watch as really substantial change sweeps our fair city. We need to keep public land in public hands. ADUs will be nothing but cash generators for citizens/developers . Big developers don’t care about anything but extracting profits-period. Real progress towards affordable housing will require a public commitment and public investment. Let the success of Prop A be an inspiration to everyone who wants to see citizen led change. It’s possible. And as Mr.Haber said at the Council meeting after our victory, the passage of Prop A will be good for affordability. The journey of a million miles starts with a single step, or in this case a single Proposition. We have the power to thwart the powers that be and elect public officials that will serve the public. Public parks, public housing, public benefits lets put the public good front and center. Not the interest of corporate developers.

    Maybe we could lease the Kline lot to McKinley for the biggest workforce housing project ever?

  101. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 18, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    And it maybe hippie but it’s not bullshit!

  102. Greg Pratt
    Posted November 18, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Steve: The amount of delusions you have about you your trajectory and mine are striking.

    It’s truly bizarre that you are so obsessed with me to want to reframe the way you targeted homeless folks in Ann Arbor claiming that somehow I am the cause of people sleeping outside in the winter.

    Most people who follow local politics in Ypsi/ Arbor understand this fact and your role in making the life of working class/cash poor/housing insecure folks more difficult than it was already.

    Re: Homeless Camping policy of 2015, you withdrew your proposal adopting ours which made it explicit that police will not seek out to remove people camping where no one is complaining.

    You have the right to your opinions about who’s winning and what should be done about the housing crisis, but you can’t just rewrite history like you do when you write stuff like the fantasy you wrote above.

    It’s true Prop A passed and now we will negotiate over the meaning of “civic center commons.” It’s also true that “your side” beat “team taylor.” But it’s also true that “your side” lost the mayoral race 59-41.

    And beyond that I am on neither side. I advocated for Taylor this time because budgets are moral documents and your side was advocating less for causes I think need to be better funded.

    Finally, it matters zilch, none, nada whether or not you respect me. You have such a thin skin and can’t take it when it’s pointed out to you how wrong your policy proposals are, as well as, your behavior online and in-person.

  103. Jean Henry
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Steve– as I recall, you suggested in FB discourse about housing and homelessness, that I should house the homeless if I felt a camp in a neighborhood was no problem. I said I would. What I didn’t say at the time was that I was in fact already housing a homeless woman (now housed happily, if not securely so ) who shared my A2 home for two years in my room, while I slept on the couch. So the camper idea was really for that express purpose. I never asked Mayor Taylor for help because I know he cannot change zoning regs and building dept restrictions at will.

    I have housed many housing insecure people over the years. It’s never been anything but a gift to me and my family. They have all been able to move on and into independent lives, usually in a few months.

    Part of why I’m interested in rezoning neighborhoods and increasing density is because of my experience seeing what OWS historic district and other restrictions have done to that neighborhood. I live in Whitmore Lake now.

    It’s interesting how your faction in council insist they are independent thinkers and ‘not a block’ but consistently vote in concert and position everything on disabling the mayor and anyone who supports any of his initiatives. I guess the others are just better politicians than you are and know better than to reveal their hand so obviously.

    It stuns me that you ever held office.

  104. Jean Henry
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    “Budgets are moral documents” — I’m stealing that one Greg.

  105. Jean Henry
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    The love economy is really in evidence now, Flower Gramps.

  106. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    The most interesting fact that has come to light is the amount of money team No spent. The Michigan Realtor PAC seems likely to have spent $10s of thousands of dollars to defeat us. A well funded statewide PAC seemed to want to stop this park in Ann Arbor, Why? Because they’re concerned about affordable housing? They want to help the homeless? No. They want to make money. Big money by destroying our cities character and charm. Well, when you add up all the money that was spent against us you start to see that money doesn’t always win.

    Mr. Kunselman was a strong, vibrant and colorful voice on council and his presence has been missed. But you don’t have Steve Kunselman to kick around any more. It was nice to see him match wits with the opposition again. We especially look forward to seeing Mr. Hayner and Mr. Ramlawi sitting at the council table. They promise to bring a colorful verbal acuity to issues that has been lacking in recent years.

    Whitmore Lake eh? I’ve often heard that referred to as North Ann Arbor. Gentrify much? One thing we agree on is that it’s OK for INDIVIDUALS who don’t live here to participate in the discussions around what happens in our city.

  107. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Or should we just discount your voice as a greedy out of town landlord?

  108. John Brown
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    You mean that wasn’t “Parody Steve Kunselman”????

    What a dick.

  109. Jean Henry
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    “Or should we just discount your voice as a greedy out of town landlord” — My tenants would be happy to speak to that accusation. I think my voting record also indicates otherwise. I can’t wait for my A2 home value to go down.

  110. Jean Henry
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    MI Board of Realtors funnels money to the local chapters as they request. They did their own independent No campaign by buying ads which are expensive, and probably a waste of money. They have supported our most progressive candidates. Prop A proponents. for the most part, support housing growth as well as one way to address the housing shortage and affordability crisis. It’s quite obviously in the interests of realtor groups to encourage housing growth in the area. IT’s not a crime to make money or have a profit motive, Gramps. Some of us need to make a living to get by. We certainly need to do so to live in Ann Arbor. Housing growth can create a lot of economic opportunities (including jobs) for a broad group of citizens while restricting growth only benefit those greedy private property… err homeowners. The denial of a profit motive for many proponents of Prop A was particularly egregious given that they call everybody else profiteers.

  111. Jean Henry
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    PS I don’t think my neighbors consider me a gentrifier. You should see my lawn. Most citizens here seem to want growth. The schools need money and students and the Main Street is largely unoccupied by businesses. There is a small very conservative group who controls the township and owns a lot of property and is restricting growth by making development very difficult. Sound familiar? At least they don’t hide behind anti-capitalist rhetoric. They just hate change and love power.

  112. Jean
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    You really thought Kunselman represented himself well there? Haynor and Ali have verbal acuity? That’s what you call it, eh? It was fun to watch the trolls actually have to take responsibility for budgeting decisions last night. I think I’m going to enjoy watching them wrestle with actual choices and the difficulty of weighing priorities in governance based on the actual budget.

  113. Anonymous
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I’m hoping they do something about leaf pickups. #MAARA

  114. Jean Henry
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Well, Ali definitely speaks for the trees. (That’s for the 30 people who actually watch city council meetings)

  115. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    It’s good to see Mr.Ramlawi working across the council divide on a practical efforts to combat global warming. As he stated a citizen participatory effort to plant trees could double our annual planting and make a tangible effect against global warming as well as let citizens be involved in these efforts. It was refreshing to see him out of the gate speaking for common sense low cost initiatives the city can do immediately! With his great ideas we might not have to spend 100s of thousands to figure out what to do. He’s already saving our tax dollars in his first week on duty.

    Plus, imagine all the trees that will grow on the Library lot.

  116. Anonymous
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    “It’s good to see Mr.Ramlawi working across the council divide on a practical efforts to combat global warming. ”

    Urban sprawl and single family homes will contribute to climate change far in excess of a few trees in above ground planters on top of a cement parking lot.

  117. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    This particular issue was to let citizens get trees to plant on their easements. Less government spending, more citizen involvement and a blow against global warming! Win win. Kudos to Mayor Taylor for not fighting the correction of the climate change funding vote. It’s nice that he’s finally listening to the will of the citizens. Gracious is how I believe some council members characterized it.

    The park is just the icing on the cake.

  118. John Brown
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    The park is the waiter spitting in our soup.

  119. Flower Grandpa
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    That’s it. I have no patience for sore losers.

  120. John Brown
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    But you love bad winners like Kunselman. Got it.

    Get to work on your park. We’re waiting.

  121. Jean Henry
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh well, unfortunately, the problem with seeing a few trees as a carbon offset is that when they die and decompose or get burned they become… carbon. Most carbon calculations assume a 100 year lifespan for a tree (with those offsets growing over time) and include the carbon sequestration from all of those years, but not end of life carbon emissions. Any tree planting for sequestration would ideally not happen in dense urban centers where people can both live in more efficient multiunit housing and limit their use of vehicles.

    Planting trees on that park, with all the re-enforcing and drainage construction work required would create net positive ghg emissions. If Ali would like to plant many many forests around Ann Arbor that might offset some of our CO2e emissions, but that would eat up our farmland. Otherwise, we will need to use technology and greater density in the urban core and transit hubs to reduce our fossil fuels use. https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/trees-carbon-emissions-bob-mcdonald-1.4132679

    Everybody wants a silver bullet answer to climate action, but there isnt one. Solar panels arent going to be enough either. We have to do it all. We especially have to change the way we live. The good news is that the young already are choosing to live that way– if we build enough housing in our cities and near jobs to let them. And build out alternative transportation systems to suit. All things Eaton, Ali and faction seem to think are a waste of money.

    I know that level of complexity must make Ali’s brain hurt, but that’s why we hire professionals to do this work. Of course, the council majority made clear that they think they can tell the pro’s what they should and should not be doing– making cuts to specific program area they deem to be excessive in order to make a show of their fiscal responsibility. Do I hear a herd of elephants??? That was some paternalistic bullshit there.

    There is also Ali’s obsession with parking to consider. Clearly Granpa and crew like appealing, overly simple and unworkable solutions to complex problems, especially those that allow everything t stay just as it is. It’s going to be interesting to watch them face reality, assuming they are willing to listen to the experts now at last. If they don’t, Ann Arbor is screwed.

  122. Jean Henry
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I’d place Ali’s ‘common sense’ climate action solutions right up there with raking forest floors.

  123. John Brown
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Jean, yes regarding urban trees: The early C sequestration numbers used to model trees was based on natural forests and assumed a fairly high proportion of “burying”. This is reasonable only in undisturbed situations where the duff can accumulate to the extent that is literally buried outta the oxic zone. This is not happening in any modern human environment. Urban trees are indeed temporary, and have a carbon footprint of their own, from cultivating, nursery, maintenance, and disposal, that must be offset first.

    So while they do respire and help cool the local environment, they are little more than green washing as far as climate action goes.

  124. Jean Henry
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    John– You said it better; thank you. Please talk to Ali as he won’t talk to me. And the city climate action coordinator who was requesting of council added funding was not in good position to tell those council members that they were full of shit.

    Ironic that the CM’s who felt that education efforts were unnecessary were the ones presenting the least informed positions.

    Or not ironic, actually.

  125. Scott T.
    Posted November 29, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    “Everybody wants a silver bullet answer to climate action, but there isnt one … We have to do it all. ”

    Yep, and Ann Arbor is one of the few communities that has the resources to harness to be a real leader in showing how small cities can be smart about how to approach this, both in reducing our impact on climate change, making our city more resilient to natural changes (especially increase in rainfall), to human/economic changes (let’s get ready for the waves of coastal & southern climate migrant-refugees) without reducing our quality of life. This is a monumental challenge and if we can’t help figure it out, nobody is coming to show us the way. I believe it is possible but I have yet to see the leadership & the will.

  126. Anonymous
    Posted November 29, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Have fewer children. Eat less meat. Live in downtown apartment. Thanks.

  127. Flower Grandpa
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Give the new council a little time buddy. It hasn’t even been a month since the election. We have a great group of private citizens working closely with the new council members to address every issue. Affordability, climate, social justice, racism, recycling , traffic, roads, expanded leaf pick up and even noisy trains. You will be blown away! And to top it off a beautiful new downtown park. It’s a revolution.

  128. Jean Henry
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Flower Grandpa– I hope this collaborative work is happening in accordance with the open meetings act. You all demanded transparency and I expect you all to provide it now that you have the reigns. Given the bad think and fundamental misunderstanding of basic economics, affordable housing funding mechanisms, housing affordability’s relationship to housing supply, city budgetary limits, willingness to consult with and be advised by city staff and now failure to understand the basics of climate action, I think any proposals you all develop need to be heavily exposed to the light of critique… err outside input– early and often. I’m highly suspicious of the volunteer (extra-governmental) advisors as it seems they are taking on the roles of city staff without being vetted. It sounds a bit like a junta to me.

    I’ll wait and see, but you can expect close scrutiny.

  129. Flower Grandpa
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    These are private citizens using their own time to help council. Not paid consultants. You should be happy. Council members will be bringing the ideas forward and everyone will be able to have their input. This represents a forward movement in government. I know change is hard but give it a chance . Please. This is people motivated by love to help our city instead of pursuit of filthy greenbacks.

  130. Jean Henry
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Paid consultants are hired and so are accountable for their actions and to results. Unappointed volunteers should not be interfering with the or even advising government work.

    There is nothing wrong with working for a city paycheck. No one working in any job wants some volunteer off the street reworking how it is they do their work or taken over direction of it. Everything I’ve heard about this unapproved advisory group is that they are reworking strategy. It’s unconscionable overreach. It’s unelected or hired citizen takeover of city governance. Luckily the city manager really runs the city and can keep you power hungry idiots in check.

  131. Jean Henry
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Flower grandpa is a classic populist. He derides as greedy or corrupt anyone with differing viewpoints in order to accrue power into his own hands. And while supporting policies that enrich himself and people like him.

    Money is not the problem with humans. Power is. Money is just one way to gain power. It’s not the only one.

  132. Jean Henry
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Ps Gramps— I voted for change; your side was only advocating for the status quo. After years of slowing progress in Ann Arbor, you are now finally able to hold it to a complete stop.

  133. Flower Grandpa
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Already the new council majority is bringing a fresh feeling to Council . Last nights meeting was a revelation. I’ve never before heard more mentions of equity,affordability and concern for the climate. Two big issues before council last night. Annexation of township properties and a new sidewalk on Traver. Mr. Ramlawi came out of the gate with an amendment to a resolution to make such annexations impose less financial hardship on those annexed. He’s looking out for the little people. And in terms of both annexation and new sidewalks council person Anne Bannister brought up a wonderful point. Bringing new areas into the city as well as putting in sidewalks requires digging, trucks, machines,cutting down trees, killing plants, using materials. Are those really wise choices or choices that contribute to global climate Change? The greenest city might be one that stops all new development.?

    And while you’re watching the meeting see if you can catch Mayor Taylor’s subconscious slip about how he really feel towards vegetarians.

    Still nothing on the park. Maybe next meeting.

  134. Kat
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Am I wrong to assume that Flower Grandpa is a parody account?

  135. Flower Grandpa
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I forgot to mention Mr. Ramlawi has been appointed to the housing affordability task force. He’s a business man, he gets things done, a change is coming.

    Kat, watch the meeting- it’s on YouTube. This is serious.

  136. Jean Henry
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Kat– No he’s not. These are the people asserting control over A2 city council despite losing the mayors race and razor thin margins in all but one council race. They talk a good game but they also proposed taking all the millage rebate funds earmarked for affordable housing and climate action and pedestrian safety and move them to the general fund. They relentlessly insult city staff and threaten to defund them. CM Griswold insulted the City Manager (who actually runs the city) because he wasn’t local (He;s highly qualified and a decent guy who came here from Austin) and Eaton has threatened to fire him if he doesn’t do what they say.

    This is hopeful to Flower Gramps. He’s deluded. This is completely and demonstrably wrong but demonstrates their bias: “The greenest city might be one that stops all new development.” They call themselves the ‘townie party.’ They are regressive conservatives only caring about themselves.

    PS what Ali did was good, but not at all unusual from past council member actions or concerns– except in one way: he discussed the amendment prematurely in public discussion so it would not be reviewed before coming to a vote that same night. So much for transparency.

  137. Jean Henry
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    “He’s a business man, he gets things done, a change is coming.” — Hmmm… I wonder where I’ve heard that before…

    PS Ali is a good guy but hot-tempered, extremely impatient with the democratic process and unknowledgeable about governance and political ethics. I expect him to blow out or bow out before his term is up. Maybe for good reason when he finds out who he’s really partnered with on council. A lot of people who voted for him (outside of the Townie cabal) expect him to produce on affordable housing and climate action…

  138. Jean Henry
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I can;t believe that people with such a backwards understanding of climate action are assuming control of climate action for the city.

    Eaton also said at his last coffee hour that he doesn’t believe the city needs a sustainability office, maybe just one manager who would direct the work of other departments. The sustainability department wants 4 staff members minimum.

    I feel sick. So many good people voted for these idiots and just can’t be bothered to pay attention to what they are doing. Fuck it. They deserve the city they get.

  139. Flower Grandpa
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I just found out Ali also extended the leaf pick up time frame. Thank god. Some of us have a hard time with these task. By next year we’ll hopefully be able to return to the good old days of just raking them into the street. With the taxes we pay we deserve better services.

    Luckily our new council majority hears us and is going to work to make Ann Arbor affordable. Or at least give us what we deserve for what we are paying.

    Ali might leave council when his four years are done but only to run for mayor!

  140. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I think that Flower G is a parody account.

  141. Jean Henry
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I doubt it. They know too much. If it’s parody, it’s veru close to the real thing. And the information about new council actions and intentions is accurate.

    These people are obsessed with leaf pick up and restricting development.

    And harassing the mayor.

    Hey Flower Gramps, are you for real?

    If not, I have better things to do with my time.

  142. Climate Action
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    How is raking leaves in the street going to help with climate change? I think that the extra leaving (get it?) the truck idling might make it worse. Maybe not raking at all might be better?

  143. Flower Grandpa
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    If we didn’t rake the oak leaves would kill the lawn.

    It would be better to have the city trucks doing the pickup rather than hundreds of private crews driving around carrying leaves here and there. The best thing we can do to combat climate change is be more efficient.

    Many people agree with me about the way we would like to see the city go. The election of the new council majority should be evidence enough that we are “real”. Why is it so difficult for some people to believe that there are different ways to approach issues?

    Go to Ali’s page and like his post and comment about resuming the street pick up of leaves. We need to support our politicians when they listen to their constituents.

    https://www.facebook.com/AliforCouncil18/

  144. Climate Action
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Why should all tax payers pay for your lawn? Some tax payers do not have lawns. I own property in Ann Arbor but I don’t pay for other things in your house that might die. Should tax payers pay for the upkeep for your potted plants? Pets? It seems like this should be the responsibility of homeowners, not the city.

  145. Climate Action
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Taxpayer funded pickup is enabling people to have grassy lawns. We should encourage people to abandon grassy lawns. They could perhaps put in rocks or be encouraged to compost their lawn waste instead and put in gardens. I do not think that taxpayers should be responsible for the bad decisions of homeowners to have grassy lawns.

    I think that lawn pickup is a topic of the privileged. We should be talking about increasing housing stock to provide affordable housing to people who work in the city, and living space for those who move here for work and contribute to paying for city services like schools, transport infrastructure and social services for the poor and homeless.

    People can pay for their own leaves and not waste city council time on frivolous topics that only impact a few people around the city, who have the means to pay for it all themselves.

  146. Flower Grandoa
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Again. It’s a priority to some of us to get our leaves picked up in efficient manner. I know some people disagree. I can respect that. However the majority of people who voted voted in representatives who support bulk leaf pickup. I would think you have bigger battles to fight.

    I’d like to see the Mayor veto leaf pickup.

    Regular citizens shouldn’t bear the hardship imposed by attempts to combat climate change. The protest in France show what happens when that burden becomes too onerous.

  147. Jean Henry
    Posted December 16, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Flower Grandpa believe that climate action is a burden too onerous, especially when it involves having to bag your own leaves. I mean homeowners having to bag their own leaves is pretty much class warfare against homeowners. right? First, they are oppressed by having to pay their fair share of water utilities, now they won’t have their leaves collected for them!

    Maybe Flower Gramps IS a parody account.

    PS Did you know that there was a climate action march at the same time as the Gilets Jaunes march with almost double the number of attendees, but without nearly the coverage. Why do you think that is? I guess the news of the oppression of white people never gets old. Those white nationalists sure do make good tv.

  148. Flower Grandpa
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    We’ll get back everything we’ve lost plus our park.

    Even I was surprised that they were already bringing up a resolution to fix the water rates. They’re not wasting any time setting things straight. Both Hayner and Ramlawi made good points in respect to police oversight and water rates. Can’t staff members just take on extra work? Do we need to hire someone to help administer police oversight or consultants for water rates?

    Thanks for the movie clip. You do know which council member was arrested for possession don’t you?

  149. Flower Grandpa
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    I’ll give you a hint. It wasn’t Chris Taylor.

    We’ve also been reading a lot about how the Ann Arbor skatepark got going to try to borrow some of their methods for the center of the city. Did you know Mr.Kunselman was one of the early institutional backers of that effort?

  150. wobblie
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    “Did you know that there was a climate action march at the same time as the Gilets Jaunes march with almost double the number of attendees, but without nearly the coverage. Why do you think that is? I guess the news of the oppression of white people never gets old.”

    JH, you are so out of touch with working folks. You have absolutely no idea of the causes of the Gilets Jaunes movement. You are much like a Russian serf under the czars. You just can not imagine a better life than the one that neo-liberalism imposes upon us. You, EOS and HW all share blind faith in magical forces.

    The Gilets Jaunes protest have caused the neo-liberal regime of Macon to raise the minimum wage, increase pensions, roll back onerous regressive taxes–all things that your Democrats campaign on but seem totally unable to accomplish. They are not pro-nuke, pro-fracking, pro-carbon fuel, so I see why you want to mis-characterize them.

  151. Jean Henry
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The actual forces behind the skatepark initiative have denied Kunselman’s substantive involvement, Flower Gramps. They also came out against prop a and cited the many ways in which their approach worked with city staff and the parks commission as in direct opposition to the strategy used by Prop A supporters. Had they gone about their business with the antagonism you all have displayed, there would be no skatepark today. As there will most likely never be a park on that lot.

    PS who cares about possession charges? Why are you such a divisive and unpleasant (not to mention unreliable) gossip when you espouse such communal ideals?

  152. Flower Grandpa
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Ha – Ha- When you shared that clip I thought you were comparing Mr.Eaton to that Big Lebowski guy. It’s not an insult. It’s street cred. It’s comforting that we’re moving forward. I look forward to what the new year will bring.

    https://youtu.be/ViR6tZa1ss8

  153. Jean
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh Flower Gramps: no one actually thinks pot smoking is cool anymore. It’s no big deal and everyone who wants to do it does. And no one really cares.

    Maybe you are a parody… How is it you didn’t know Alan helped write the Port Huron statement? That’s a legitimate claim to radicalism. You choose the specious ones.

  154. Jean Henry
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Wobbie– The Gilet Jaunes are not pro-carbon fuel????
    Care to back that up?

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