Council hopefuls unveil goals

By Lara Moehlman, Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 10, 2015

With the Ann Arbor City Council’s August primary elections approaching, two new candidates pulled petitions to run for office last Thursday. Two current members of the council announced their re-election campaigns last week as well.

Council members Jack Eaton (D–Ward 4) and Mike Anglin (D–Ward 5) will both run for re-election, facing Democrats Jaime Magiera and Chip Smith, respectively.

To earn a spot on the ballot, candidates must collect 100 petition signatures.

Eaton is a labor attorney who has lived in Ann Arbor for 30 years. He joined the council in 2013. Anglin, a retired teacher and electrician, was elected to Council in 2007 and has since won re-election three times.

Smith moved to Ann Arbor in 1995 to earn a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. He now works as a consultant with Wade Trim, Inc., an urban planning firm.

“I didn’t think I’d be here that long and I just ended up falling in love with the city,” Smith said. “I just think it is the most wonderful city to live in.”

After leading an unsuccessful write-in campaign against Anglin in 2013, Smith will again vie for a seat on City Council. He said he sees an opportunity to improve the quality of life for Ann Arbor residents.

“There are a lot of things that we need to do better,” Smith said. “I’m thinking specifically about pedestrian safety.”

In recent years, the city’s crosswalk ordinance has been the subject of debate. In 2013, the City Council considered repealing the current ordinance, which requires drivers stop for pedestrians at the curb or edge of a crosswalk.

Smith said the city must be a safer place for bicyclists and drivers as well.

He also voiced concern over the limited access to affordable housing in Ann Arbor, citing the need for more options for recent graduates as well as mid-level professionals, which he defined as workers earning roughly $12 to $20 per hour.

“I wouldn’t be able to live here if I hadn’t been able to afford a house on that kind of salary,” Smith said. “The fact that it’s now unattainable for people making that kind of money is really a problem for us.”

Smith said he thinks Council needs to work together more cohesively.

“I think my own personal approach to listening to people and working together is really based on this kind of Midwestern, pragmatic, ‘let’s roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves, let’s find out what the best solution is,’ and I think that that’s really been kind of missing on council for a while,” Smith said.

Magiera has been an Ann Arbor resident for 26 years and graduated from the University with a degree in Performing Arts Technology. He currently works as an Information Technology specialist at the University while running a weekly technology talk show on WCBN 88.3 FM. He also runs a small programming, multimedia and photography business.

In an e-mail to The Michigan Daily, Magiera said he wants to be on City Council so he can help Ann Arbor restore city services lost during the recent recession.

“I’d like to help bring those services back up to speed while continuing to grow the cultural aspects of the city,” Magiera said. “We have a wealth of resources available to achieve these goals. Some of those resources haven’t been tapped as much as they could be by Ann Arbor City Council.”

Magiera also said he plans to focus on increasing communication between the city government and its residents, as well as safe and reliable pedestrian and biking infrastructure and mass transit.

Councilmembers Sabra Briere (D–Ward 1), Jane Lumm (I–Ward 2) and Stephen Kunselman (D–Ward 3) are also up for re-election this year.

Briere is expected to face University alum Will Leaf, a former co-chair of the Mixed Use Party, while Lumm is expected to face Democrat Sally Hart Petersen, a former councilmember who ran unsuccessfully for mayor last year. Kunselman is expected to face LSA senior Zachary Ackerman in the Democratic primary.