Monday, December 2, 2013

Are you ready for tonight's City Council Meeting?

Gentle reader, have you cleared your calendar for this evening? Have you stocked up on tall cold ones? Have you familiarized yourself with the issues on the agenda? If so, then you are ready to watch tonight's city council meeting.

Perhaps the biggest issue facing the council tonight is the second reading of the motion to repeal the current pedestrian safety ordinance. Personally I think that would be a bad idea. Opponents of the current pedestrian safety law say that it has led to an increase in pedestrians being hit by cars. For a thorough treatment of the data (and a pretty heated discussion in the comments) check out this article in the Chronicle. Tldr; the annual and monthly pedestrian/vehicle crash data have a lot of noise. See chart 10 in the Chronicle article. Anyhow, the proposal to repeal the pedestrian safety ordinance passed a reading at the Nov. 18 City Council Meeting. That means if it passes the second reading tonight, the pedestrian safety ordinance is no more. The ordinance to repeal currently has 5 co-sponsors: Sally Petersen, Sumi Kailasapathy, Jane Lumm, Mike Anglin, Stephen Kunselman. With Jack Eaton likely supporting the co-sponsors, a repeal of the crosswalk ordinance. Nevertheless, a last minute deal is possible. We could see an agreement to delay voting on the ordinance to repeal. Alternately we could see modification of the language in the ordinance to repeal. What is certain is that there will be tons of people speaking about this tonight. You might want to pop some popcorn.

The Washtenaw Biking and Walking Coalition is encouraging folks who currently support the pedestrian safety ordinance to do the following: show up at the City Council Meeting tonight at City Hall (7pm) to voice your support; call/email or write the City Council to share your ideas; and sign their petition.

Another potentially significant, though likely uncontroversial item on the agenda tonight concerns the sale of the Edwards Brothers property at 2500 South State to the U of M. Due to a stipulation from a 2011 Tax Abatement, the City holds rights of first refusal on the property. The parcel is currently assessed at about $3 million and if the sale to U of M goes through, it will leave the city's tax roll. That said, it's unlikely the City will elect to exercise this right considering the sale price to U of M is $12.8 million. Will we see grandstanding about U of M encroaching on the city and reducing tax base? One can only hope.

If you'd like to preview more of tonight's City Council meeting you can read this article by our very own Ed Vielmetti or take a more in depth look over on the Chronicle.

As for following along with the actual meeting, you can stream the meetings on CTN here. You should also take a look at the #a2Council hashtag on the Twitter and if you miss anything, there's always the Chronicle's live updates. See you in cyberspace shortly gentle readers.

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