By Allana Akhtar, For the Daily
Published October 1, 2013
Tuesday, the League of Women Voters hosted a forum for City Council member candidates in Wards 3 and 5 to discuss city issues including infrastructure, safety and transportation.
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Ann Arbor City Council elections will be held on Nov. 5, and with the vote nearing, candidates are working to inform the community about their platforms.
Mary Stasiak, manager of community relations for the League, stressed the inclusivity of the forums and said she believed candidates should have a chance to explore the issues in a productive way.
“Our being nonpartisan allows us to bring all people in and have civil discussions about the issues that we all care about,” Stasiak said.
Candidates for the 3rd Ward included incumbent Councilman Stephen Kunselman (D) and Sam DeVarti, a challenger from the newly formed Mixed-Use Party. The two discussed issues such as city cleaning, regional bus systems, infrastructure maintenance and accessibility in the downtown area.
Kunselman — a University employee — recently pulled petitions to run for mayor in 2014.
DiVarti, 23, said it was important to for the city to consider residents’ impact on the environment, citing his party’s enthusiasm about zoning plans. The Mixed-Use Party states that these zoning changes will allow people to live in developed areas near businesses to decrease air pollution from vehicles and slow construction on wilderness and farm land.
“I propose some zoning changes which I think are on the cutting edge of urban planning; our ideas for a walking downtown while still protecting residences from high buildings I think are spot on,” DiVarti said.
Kunselman placed more emphasis on ethical governing, highlighting his previous work in public safety and infrastructure. To get active in the community, he said students should know who the council members are, participate in neighborhood meetings and stay involved in environmental issues.
“For students coming in and (who are) only going to be here for four years or five years, (these issues) might not seem so important to them, but they have to remember that, at some point, it may be them asking someone else to take care of their neighborhood,” Kunselman said.
The 5th Ward candidates were incumbent Mike Anglin (D) and write-in candidate Thomas Partridge.
Among his most prominent stances, Anglin emphasized the need for programs for children, parks and recreation advancement, and getting kids in school by age 4. He said there needs to be a “city center” like a park on the undeveloped Library Lot.
Partridge, a University alum, urged students to change their driver’s license addresses to their Ann Arbor addresses if they want to vote in the upcoming election. One of his primary concerns was to make life easier for University students.
“We need affordable housing for students on campus, off campus (and) affordable tuition as well.”