Friday, July 28, 2017

Should landlords be able to limit the political speech of their tenants

An interesting discussion popped into my Facebook stream this week. A supporter of the Water Street Millage initially thought their yard sign had been stolen, but upon further investigation, it turned out their pro-millage yard sign had been removed by their anti-millage landlord. I am not too concerned about the specifics of this event, but rather this question: If there is nothing in a lease forbidding yard signs, should a landlord be able to forbid placement of political yard, or window signs with which they disagree?

I asked Damn Arbor's in-house counsel for their thoughts on the matter and our three attorneys gave me four different answers on the legality of a landlord preventing a tenant from placing a yard sign: no, yes, maybe, and it's complicated. The crux of the issue seems to be whether a tenant's ability to place a yard sign of their choosing would come under the protection of a quiet enjoyment clause. Our legal team did agree on one thing: they would not advise the tenant to challenge the landlord in this case because 1) the landlord has deeper pockets for a court case and 2) landlords have usually have much more power than tenants.

I know there is some precedent for limiting someone's ability to place yard signs. For example, condominium associations and co-op boards can forbid placement of signs in yards as well as windows. Gentle readers, I wonder what you think about this. I know the ability to place a political yard sign in one's yard is just a small component of political speech. Nevertheless, it seems like an important avenue for political engagement, especially at the local level. Personally, I think tenants should be able to place yard signs of their choosing, especially overtly political ones. I realize this could lead to a tenant placing signs the landlord disagrees with, or even morally repugnant signs (say for example a sign endorsing AG Bill Schuette for Governor). Still, I think the ability to freely place yard signs is an important, if small, component of one's speech. Just because one does not own the property in which they reside, should not keep them from exercising their speech.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Twenty Pound Carp announces candidacy for Ann Arbor Commission

Ann Arbor's perennial city council candidate, the Twenty Pound Carp, announced his intention to seek a seat on the city's Elizabeth Dean Trust Fund in a tweetstorm last night. The fund supports public trees in the City of Ann Arbor.

Beyond bisecting Main Street with trees, the carp has also proposed establishing an Ahistoric District Commission. It remains to be seen whether the carp will be able to curry sufficient support to gain a seat on the Dean Fund.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Skatepark fundraiser tomorrow in Ypsi's prospect park

If you're looking for something to do this Saturday and want to avoid Art Fair come on over to Prospect Park. The event is a fundraiser for the Prospect Park Skatepark. There is going to be food and live art. Also, if you've never had a chance to see the Prospect Park Skatepark, it's a great opportunity to see this super cool DIY project.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Art Fear 2017

It's that time of year again.

Photo via: airosche5


Art Fair Bingo 2017

Ann Arbor's top 10 Astronauts on Ann Arbor Stories

Apollo 15's Jim Irwin

Who knew there were enough astronauts affiliated with Ann Arbor to have a top 10 list? Well, I guess Rich Retyi did. Check out today's Ann Arbor Stories, which is all about our local astronauts including the all U of M crew of Apollo 15.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tight Pizza

A photo of pizza from the Damn Arbor Photo Archive. 

Tight Pizza is a pizza review website by a young man named Ted. Ted is from Long Island, a place he describes as " a pie paradise and mecca of mozzarella." He relocated to Ann Arbor for school and has stayed since graduating and has been on a quest to find the perfect fordable slice of Pizza in Southeast Michigan. From the inaugural post:

As I am quickly running out of friends willing to listen to my constant moaning about the state of pizza in Michigan and beyond, I’m turning to this blog to document my efforts to find whatever’s closest out here! Maybe we can pin down the missing pizza link and have some nice surprises along the way.
I really love this sort of blog that is dedicated to a personal obsession. Since launching in November, Tight Pizza has reviewed 35 pizza places in Southeast Michigan which is really impressive. I reached out to Ted with a few interview questions which he graciously answered.
Damn Arbor: What is your favorite pizza place so far in Southeast Michigan and why?

Tight Pizza: Mani Osteria is my favorite pizza place in SE Michigan. It's a Neapolitan style pizza, so it will be a thinner crust with charring. A bit different from your typical pizza place out here. What I like best about their pizza is the sauce, which is sweet but does not overpower the pizza. Mani really has their pizza game down. They've got killer appetizers as well. Their pickled tomatoes are to die for. Their pistachio cannolis are brilliant as well.

DA: In general how does true NY pizza differ from the approximations we have here?

TP: Midwestern style pizza places serving up a round pizza have a few flaws that separate them from the ideal NY slice. Firstly, they're extremely doughy, both on the body of the slice, and at the ends. A lot of times, the dough ends up being undercooked as well, possibly because of how much is present. All in all, it leads to a flavor profile because of how much dough you get in each bite. Secondly, the cheese to sauce ratio ('CSR', if you want to be a pizza pro) is critical for that NY slice flavor. A lot of pizza places in the Midwest dump loads of cheese on their slice. In general with pizza, less is more. A delicate balance between cheese and sauce gets you that nice mottled cheese/sauce color all New Yorkers can recognize at a glance.

One last thing that bothers the hell out of me are the places that cut their pizzas in 16 'baby' slices instead of 8 regular slices. This prevents a good fold, a hallmark of the NY slice experience.

DA: Has writing about pizza changed your perspective on Pizza? Has it made eating pizza different?

TP: Writing about pizza has brought me closer than I have ever been to the food. It forces you to think about the details of each slice. You might normally think to yourself 'I liked this' after eating, but now you're thinking about the texture of the crust, the CSR, the taste of the ingredients, etc. Analyzing each slice helped me understand why I felt the way I did about midwestern pizza, whereas before I could not properly articulate it. Now when I eat from a new pizza place, I enjoy analyzing it and pointing out what they could do better, rather than sulking about how much I miss proper NY pizza.

I'm glad that Ted has taken it upon himself to chronicle his pizza adventures and look forward to reading more reviews.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Art Fair Bingo 2017

Gentle readers, there is a brand new Art Fair Bingo card for 2017. Made by Umich Senior, RJ Cron, this Art Fair Bingo game has tons of great updates for the modern era: double man buns, Jim Harbaugh, and Clinton Kane campaign buttons. It also still has the classics that make Art Fair Bingo great: art on a stick, pan flute musicians, etc. If you'd like to check out previous Art Fair Bingo cards, you can see them here.

Image by RJ Cron, used with permission.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Showdown in Tree Town, Part II

Gentle readers, this evening the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area is hosting their second forum for Ann Arbor City Council Candidates. Tonight's event will be broadcast live on CTN Channel 19 and streamed live. It will feature Ward 4 and Ward 5 candidates. Here's the schedule:

7pm-8:30pm. Moderator: Geoff Smereck

7:00 – 7:30 Ward 4 Candidates: Jack Eaton and Jaime Magiera
8:00 – 8:30 Ward 5 Candidates: Chip Smith and David Silkworth
While we are on the topic of the August 8th election, now's a great time to check your calendars. Will you be out of town on the 8th? If so, you probably will want to file for an absentee ballot.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Social History of the Huron River

Gentle readers, our favorite local historian, Matt Siegfried is giving a talk on the social history of the Huron River tomorrow at the Michigan Ave. branch of the Ypsilanti Library. If you've never seen one of Matt's presentations, you're really missing out. He does an incredible job bringing past people and landscapes to life. Matt's talk is tomorrow from 6:30-8:30 at the Michigan Ave. Ypsilanti Library.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Showdown in Tree Town, Part I

Gentle readers, tonight the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area is hosting their first forum for Ann Arbor City Council Candidates. This evening's forum will feature candidates running in Wards 1 and 3. Then on Thursday, there will be a forum for candidates in Wards 4 and 5. The forums will be broadcast and streamed live on CTN channel 19. Here is the full schedule:

Monday, July 10, 2017, 7pm-8:30pm. Moderator:Gillian Gainsay

7:00 – 7:30 Ward 1 Candidates: Jason Frenzel and Anne Bannister
8:00 – 8:30 Ward 3 Candidates: Zachary Ackerman and Stephen Kunselman

Thursday, July 13, 2017, 7pm-8:30pm. Moderator: Geoff Smereck

7:00 – 7:30 Ward 4 Candidates: Jack Eaton and Jaime Magiera
8:00 – 8:30 Ward 5 Candidates: Chip Smith and David Silkworth

Since we're on the topic of elections, I will take this opportunity to remind you that TODAY is your last chance to register to vote in the August Primary.

Friday, July 7, 2017

July First Friday tonight in Ypsilanti

Gentle readers, tonight is the July First Friday art walk in downtown and Depot Town Ypsi. There are 27 stores hosting events. You can check out the list here. If you haven't checked out Ypsi lately, now's your chance.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Ann Arbor Stories: Ann Pellegreno flies around the world

50 years ago this week, 30-year-old Ann Pellegreno took off from Willow Run in a 30-year-old Lockheed 10A Electra to recreate Amelia Earhart's 30-year-old attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Though national media referred to Pellegreno a "housewife from Michigan" she actually worked as a counselor and teacher for Saline Public Schools. To hear all about Pellegreno's flight, check out this week's Ann Arbor Stories. If you listen carefully, there are several clues for the AADL Summer Game hidden in the program.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A special Fourth of July Message from Damn Arbor

Happy Fourth of July gentle reader. I hope you are enjoying your fireworks and grilled foods. I am writing this to remind you that there is nothing more patriotic than voting in your local elections. This August 8th, there are primary elections for Ann Arbor's City Council as well as a millage in the City of Ypsilanti. You have until July 10th (that's just one week) to make sure your are registered to vote if you wish to participate in the August Primary.