The Ann Arbor City Council renewed a parking lease with the University of Michigan and renamed the East Stadium Bridges after former Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., at its meeting on Monday.
Council voted to continue to lease 18 parking spaces at Riverside Park to the University for two years, at a cost to the University of $13,305 for the first year and $13,704 for the second. The money will go to the Parks and Recreation General Fund.
Councilmember Jeff Hayner, D-Ward 1, opposed extending the lease, saying it did not align with Ann Arbor’s carbon reduction goals and calling on the University to augment its own infrastructure without relying on the city for parking.
“I’m simply saying I’m tired of having cars come down into our neighborhood when we’re in the middle of a climate emergency,” Hayner said. “It’s terrible for the air, it’s terrible for the climate, it’s terrible for our carbon counting.”
Mayor Christopher Taylor called the University a business partner and voted in favor of the lease.
“The city and the University of Michigan work closely and well together on a wide variety of matters,” Taylor said. “This is an instance in which we can help them with some of their parking needs in an important area of the community and we can obtain a measure of revenue for our parks … It’s a win-win.”
Taylor also sponsored a resolution to rename the East Stadium Bridges after Dingell, who passed away last February at age 92. Dingell was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1955 when he was 29, retiring in 2014 after 59 years in office. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., who was his wife, now holds the seat and represents Ann Arbor.
Taylor noted Dingell helped Ann Arbor secure a $13.9 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to replace the then-crumbling bridge.
“John Dingell holds a place in Ann Arbor history, of course, but more importantly in American history, serving as the longest-serving member of Congress in United States history, which is truly an incredible thing,” Taylor said. “John Dingell served his district, his state and the nation with dignity and courage and passion and integrity. He was everything that you would want a legislator to be and a true friend to his constituents.”
Councilmember Chip Smith, D-Ward 5, asked to be added as a co-sponsor of the resolution. He spoke of Dingell’s iconic leadership.
“Clearly, we wouldn’t have built those bridges without his help,” Smith said.
The resolution passed unanimously.
During public comment, Ann Arbor resident Abu Ibrahim described his issues with local law enforcement stemming from a case of mistaken identity. The 26-year-old said despite having no criminal record, he was rejected from a job at the University after the school determined he was a felon. After requesting a report from state police officers, Ibrahim said he found eight pages worth of charges of misdemeanors and felonies that he had “nothing to do with.”
“I’ve been told that my name is linked to 44 other aliases, and I’ve talked to multiple members of Council about this over the years to try to address it, try to fix it, what can be done about it,” Ibrahim said.
Last September, Ibrahim filed a complaint with the Ann Arbor Police Department, but he said he was told all the officers involved with his case were exonerated.
“This complaint is tied to a dashcam video of four officers coming to my house in the middle of the night, harassing me, interrogating me, illegally holding me and taking me to jail illegally without any charges,” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim said Police Chief Michael Cox canceled a meeting he had scheduled with him. He added that he wanted the video sent to the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission and the city’s Human Rights Commission, but neither body received it.
“There’s still no resolution to my problem,” Ibrahim said. “I have a huge target on my back every time I’m stopped by the police, I’m driving, whether I’m being detained, it doesn’t matter. This has put my life in danger, it’s added to my plight, it’s got me kicked out of school, fired from jobs. I paid thousands of dollars in fines to the city of Ann Arbor, fines that the city of Ann Arbor has told me — judges and police officers — that they know they’re not my fines, but I have to pay them anyway, which doesn’t make sense to me.”
Ibrahim left after public comment. Later in the meeting, Hayner said the police chief had been made aware of the situation.
“From our understanding what’s going on there is that there’s been a mix up with some information in the lien system, which is monitored by the state and that the city of Ann Arbor doesn’t have anything to do with that,” Hayner said. “We can’t go in there and modify those records or make the change to that record. Apparently fingerprints and other identifying data were switched.”
Hayner added the AAPD was working to let its officers know that Ibrahim had been incorrectly identified by state records.
“They’re doing what they can to make that recognition out through the force that, ‘Hey, this isn’t the guy. (It’s a) different guy, different guy, there’s been a mix-up,’” Hayner said.
Managing News Editor Leah Graham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.