Monday, November 20, 2017

#a2council preview

The borders of the Lower Town parcel from Washtenaw County's GIS system

Gentle readers, there is an Ann Arbor City Council meeting tonight. You can see the agenda here. Tonight's meeting could be long--there are 4 public hearings scheduled. Three of the public hearings are on the Lower Town development at 1140 Broadway. The other is on the Weber Site Plan. The Weber Parcel, at 2857 Packard, is 7.66 acres of largely undeveloped land. The proposal is coming from the planning commission with unanimous disapproval. As always you can follow all the #a2council action live on twitter.

Gentle readers, what are you most interested in seeing at tonight's Ann Arbor City Council Meeting?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Vote tomorrow

Gentle readers, if you are registered to vote in Ann Arbor, tomorrow is your last chance to vote in an odd-year city council election. You wouldn't want to miss that. Also, unlike most years, there are contested races in a majority of wards. Here's a summary of the contested races linking to Ann Arbor Votes excellent candidate profiles.

In Ward 2, Democratic candidate Jared Hoffert is challenging incumbent Jane Lumm, an independent.

In Ward 4, independent candidate Diane Giannola is challenging incumbent Jack Eaton, a Democrat.

In Ward 5, independent candidate Ali Ramlawi is challenging incumbent Chip Smith, a Democrat.

In the lifespan of this blog, Jane Lumm has been the only successful independent candidate. It will be interesting tomorrow to see if the independent challengers will be able to unseat the incumbent Democrats in Wards 4 and 5. Also, though they are both democrats, CM Eaton and CM Smith are on different factions in the City Council. I'm curious to see if the independent challengers will have more traction against Eaton or Smith.

There are also two countywide ballot proposals. One for a renewal of the Washtenaw County Intermediate School District Special Education Millage. The other is for the somewhat confusing Washtenaw County Public Safety & Mental Health Services Millage. From Ann Arbor Votes:

Anyone who owns property in Washtenaw County would pay the new tax. It would be levied at 1 mill for eight years, starting in December 2018. It would raise an estimated $15 million in its first year.

The proceeds would be distributed in three ways:

Thirty-eight percent (38%) would go to the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, led by Sheriff Jerry Clayton, for public safety services.

Thirty-eight percent (38%) would go to the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health Department. They provide services for the mentally ill.

Twenty-four percent (24%) would be divided among communities that have local police forces, including the cities of Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Milan, Saline and Ypsilanti, as well as in Pittsfield Township and Northfield Township.

For the 24% divided among municipalities with their own police forces, there are no restrictions on how that money is spent. That is, the proposal does not stipulate that those communities must spend the tax revenues on public safety or mental health services.

Gentle readers, take some time this evening to plan your election day tomorrow. Make sure you get out there and vote.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Sounds from the Inside tomorrow at the Neutral Zone

Michigan is one of only 5 states where 17-year-olds who are alleged to have committed a crime are automatically charged as adults. This is morally abhorrent (as is charging any juvenile as an adult). How can a 17-year-old, who does not have the legal capacity to vote, or marry, or own a firearm, have the capacity to have adult criminal culpability. Raise the Age Michigan is a campaign dedicated to ensuring that 17-year-olds who are alleged to have committed are tried as juveniles. They are having a fundraiser tomorrow at the Neutral Zone's B-Side.

The show is from 7:00 to 11:00 and will feature music and spoken word poetry written by people incarcerated in Michigan prisons preformed by local artists. Cover is $10 for adults and $5 for youth. Gentle Reader, you should go to Sounds from the Inside and give Raise the Age Michigan your money.

Friday, October 27, 2017

YpsiGLOW tonight

Gentle readers, tonight is YpsiGLOW, a wonderful event from the makers of FoolMoon and FestiFools. The event is sort of a hybrid between Halloween and FoolMoon, basically folks are encouraged to wear glowing costumes. It should be super fun. Here's a video from last year's event:

YpsiGLOW is tonight from 6:30 until 9:30 on North Washington Street in Ypsilanti.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Taking a Knee at the City Council Meeting

Apparently we aren't the only ones who care about A2 City Council meetings; the N.Y. Times has an article about City Council members taking a knee at this week's City Council meeting.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ypsilanti City Council Preview

Tomorrow night at 7 pm the Ypsilanti City Council will be meeting in Ypsilanti City Hall. Here's the agenda if you'd like to take a look at it. There are two items on the agenda relating to the proposed International Village project. First, Economic Development Director, Beth Ernat, is giving a presentation on the trip to China she, the mayor, the mayor pro-tem, and the police chief went on. There is also a resolution to approve funding for independent legal services to investigate the aforementioned China trip. I anticipate much of the public commentary at the beginning of the meeting will be about International Village and the China trip.

There is also a first reading of an ordinance to establish a Citizens Police Advisory Commission. The commission would serve as liaison with the YPD, review, and report findings of police complaint investigations. There are also two recommendations from Sustainability Commission on establishing definitions of sustainable development as well as sustainable design guidelines.

#a2council preview

A yearling buck in Ann Arbor Township
Tonight at 7pm is the second Ann Arbor City Council Meeting for October. The agenda does not look too dense. There's one public hearing on site plans for a DTE substation at 2551 South State Street. The site, which is situated between State Street and the AAPS Balas buildings, is currently a DTE substation. I don't anticipate many comments from the public during this public hearing.

The agenda item that is likely to draw the most public comments is CA-16, "Resolution to Approve Amendment No. 1 to Contract with White Buffalo, Inc. for Combined Surgical Sterilization and Sharpshooting Management Services for the City’s Deer Population." I *think* the reason that this is just on the consent agenda is because the item comes from the amendment from last year's approval of the contract for services with White Buffalo. Perhaps someone who understands City Council process better than I do can clarify that point.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Odious human, Charles Murray, to speak at U of M this evening

Noted bigot, Charles Murray, is speaking at U of M this evening. If you're looking to brush up on what precisely makes Murray so terrible, I highly recommend Nathan J. Robinson's article, Why Is Charles Murray Odious? Here's an excerpt:
From his earliest days, Charles Murray was—to put it charitably—a shockingly oblivious human being when it came to matters of race. As a teenager in the 1950s, he and some high school friends staged a cross burning on top of a hill. Murray claims he was stunned when the residents of his Iowa town instantly thought the flaming cross was somehow racist. “It never crossed our minds that this had any larger significance,” he insisted. Forty years later, with the publication of The Bell Curve, Murray would once again profess himself surprised that people could view him as a racist. “I’m befuddled by it… I don’t know what to make of it,” Murray said when even old acquaintances began calling his book dishonest and bigoted. Murray wondered why he was being “punished” for producing perfectly valid social science research on a matter of public import.

Two U of M Professors named 2017 MacArthur Fellows

Two University of Michigan Professors, Derek Peterson and Jason De León, were just named to the 2017 class of MacArthur Fellows. Peterson studies eastern Africa's intellectual cultures in the History Department. While De León directs the Undocumented Migration Project which is a long term study of clandestine border crossings combing techniques from sociology, anthropology, and forensic science.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Last day to register for November election

Gentle reader, as you know, we take all elections very seriously here at Damn Arbor. We encourage you to vote in the upcoming November election. If your registration is not up to date (e.g. you have moved since the last election) today is the last day to update your registration for November's election. There are two countywide proposals on the November ballot (Special Education Millage and Public Safety Millage) as well as contested city council races in Wards 2, 4 and 5 in Ann Arbor. You wouldn't want to miss your last opportunity to participate in the final odd-year city council election, would you?

You can update your voter registration at your city clerk's office or at a Michigan Secretary of State Branch Office.