Monday, December 20, 2021

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: December 20, 2021

Gentle reader, tonight is the last #a2Council meeting of 2021. Here's the agenda. You'll also want to make sure you listen to the A2AF episode about tonight's meeting. 

The evening starts off with a small, 6-item consent agenda. Of note CA-6, a resolution to purchase 730 Madison Place, an undeveloped 0.410 acre lot on the city's west side, for $320,000.

What the agenda lacks in consent agenda items, it makes up for in public hearings; there are 6. PH-1/B-1 and PH-2/DB-1 are on the rezoning and site plan for the Mill Creek Townhomes development at 3002 Chelsea Circle. This (PH-1) rezones 32.6 acres from R3 (townhouse) to RB4 (multi family). These come to council with full support of planning commission. I'm happy to see this increase in density. 

PH-3/B-2 is the second reading of the Dominick's PUD. This is about the promised deletion of a driveway. PH-4/B-3 is an ordinance to amend Chapter 27 (Water Service). I feel like this is important, but I don't remember what it's about. 

PH-5/B-4 is an update to the laws criminalizing sniffing model glues. The update makes it easier to read and add gender neutral language. I think trying to solve public health problems (substance use) with our broken criminal justice system is a bad idea. I think that this law should be repealed. They discuss this on A2AF and you can read more of my thoughts here

PH-6/B-5 is an update to the law that criminalizes nunchuck possession. No thoughts on this other than this: when the outlaw nunchucks, then only outlaws will have nunchucks. 

Elsewhere on the agenda we have two ordinance first readings. C-1 is the first reading of a township island rezoning. C-2 is the first reading of an ordinance updating the rules for city purchasing in light of the charter amendment revision that passed in November. 

On to the resolutions. DC-1 is a resolution to appoint new members to the Independent Police Oversight Commission. DC-2 is a software purchase agreement. DC-3 is an employment agreement with the new city attorney, Atleen Kaur. DC-4 is the city's participation plan for the National Prescription Opioid Settlement. And finally, DC-5 is a resolution to require masks at future, in person, #a2Council meetings. Wait there's more: DS-1, a resolution to approve new advanced water metering infrastructure and opt-out fees. 

And that's it, I think. As always, gentle reader, I am probably forgetting some very important items here. What agenda items are you most looking forward to seeing. I am guessing that tonight will be another late night around the virtual council table. Hopefully we will see you there. The CTN stream starts at 7 pm. Make sure you follow the action on the #a2Council hashtag.

Ann Arbor should get rid of its laws criminalizing drug use

The city council should start tonight by deleting Chapter 113: Regulation of Model Glues.

The penalties section from Ann Arbor City Code, Chapter 113: Regulation of Model Glues


Ann Arbor is in the process of reviewing all the city's ordinances and modernizing them. As explained by City Attorney Slay at the Dec. 6th council meeting, part of this effort involves making sure Ann Arbor's ordinances use gender neutral language, and that they are are easy to read. These are admirable goals. The systematic review of the city's ordinances gives council the opportunity to get rid of all city ordinances that criminalize drug use. 

Substance use disorder is a disease. Laws that criminalize drug use are ineffective at curbing drug use. They are also immoral; these laws serve as a legal means for the use off state violence against members of our community with substance use disorders. Our broken criminal justice system is an inappropriate tool to use to solve a public health problem. 

At tonight's #a2Council meeting, the council will have a public hearing and vote on the second reading of an ordinance to modernize the city's laws that criminalize inhalant use (PH-5/B-4). It is my hope that council will not pass this ordinance as written and will instead delete this entire chapter from Ann Arbor's Code of Ordinances. If you feel the same way, please write council or share your thoughts tonight during Public Hearing 5. 

Monday, December 6, 2021

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: December 6, 2021

Gentle reader, tonight is the second to last #a2Council meeting of the year. It promises to be a barn burner. Here's the agenda. Check out the Ann Arbor AF episode about this meeting. I always do before writing these previews. The elephant in the room tonight is not really on the agenda. Last week, council voted to release the content of the Guajardo/Fournier report. This was an independent investigation of allegations made by former HR Director Guajardo against Assistant City Administrator Fournier. The report absolved Fournier but also revealed that two CMs, Ramlawi and Nelson, may have broken the confidentiality of a closed session. I imagine this will come up at the meeting. 

The evening kicks off with a substantial, 25-item consent agenda. Of note: CA-4, renaming Winchell Park, which is named after a super racist former Ann Arbor resident. 

There is one public hearing on the agenda tonight on PH-1/DB-1, the site plan for 106 North Forth. This is a relatively minor addition and comes with unanimous support of planning commission. 

There are 4 ordinance first readings on the agenda tonight. C-1 is on a rule change to the opt out program for advanced water metering infrastructure. C-2 is updates the rules around Storm Water Management, Soil Erosion, and Site Plans in the Unified Development Code. C-3 updates the criminalization of huffing model glue to include new types of glues. This is part of an ongoing modernization of local laws. This is a great opportunity to truly modernize our laws and stop ciminializing substance abuse disorders. This should be sent back to the drawing board. C-4 is a modernization of the city's laws around weapons. Interestingly this maintains the city's prohibition of nun-chuks and throwing stars.

On to the resolutions. DC-2 is going to be a spicy chili. This is council committee appointments for 2022. Two things to note here. CM Hayner is not being appointed to any committees as a consequence of his slur usage earlier this year. Also, CMs Nelson and Ramlawi are not being reappointed to the Council Rules Committee as a consequence of their potential violation of closed session confidentiality. So, you can expect a lot of speeches during DC-2. DC-3 is the resolution to order a ballot question for charter amendment for a community climate action millage. DC-4 is a resolution of internet specifying how the millage funds should be used. DC-5 is a resolution directing the Administrator to develop criteria to utilize low embodied carbon building materials in building and infrastructure projects. And finally, DC-6 a resolution asking the DDA to continue the curb side carryout program. 

And that's it, I think. As always, gentle reader, I am probably forgetting some very important items here. What agenda items are you most looking forward to seeing. I am guessing that tonight will be another late night around the virtual council table. Hopefully we will see you there. The CTN stream starts at 7 pm. Make sure you follow the action on the #a2Council hashtag.