BY FROM THE DAILY
Published November 4, 2002
Ann Arbor mayor John C. Hieftje is running for re-election against Republican Marcia Higgins. In his two years as mayor Hieftje has worked to make Ann Arbor a more ecologically friendly place and has fought for all-around improvements to make a great city even better, which is why Hieftje is the clear choice for mayor.
Hieftje is a native of Ann Arbor. He was born and raised here and because of this he understands the unique character of Ann Arbor. He knows what is important to the people of the city now and what has traditionally been important like persevering its unique cultural and political environment.
His vast knowledge of Ann Arbor also helps him understand the relationship between the University and the city. As mayor, Hieftje has encouraged the University's administration and the city council to work together. He has reached out to student groups and has advocated student involvement in the community. Unlike attitudes in other college towns that pit the local communities against campuses, Hieftje believes the two have a symbiotic relationship.
The environment is also of crucial importance to Hieftje. Before becoming mayor he was chairman of the board for "Recycle Ann Arbor" and was instrumental in creating the current recycling program. Future plans for Ann Arbor include making city buses more ecologically efficient; a Pedestrian Bill of Rights which would encourage beautification of parks and make the city more pedestrian friendly; building more bike paths on roads so more people can use cycling for transportation.
Hieftje has also tried to shift the focus of the homeless problem to that of the local community. Under his administration, activity was undertaken to begin building a new Ann Arbor homeless shelter. He is a supporter of the "Loose Change for Real Change" program that raises real money for the homeless and discourages panhandling.
As mayor Hieftje has instituted positive changes in both the city and the University. It is important for the mayor of Ann Arbor to continue to support a healthy relationship between the city and the University. Especially in light of current safety issues, more would be accomplished to protect students' property and promote safety if the University and city worked together to coordinate efforts. Mayor Hieftje has shown that he is willing to work to foster this relationship and will continue to do so if re-elected.