- Erin Kirkland/Daily
One Ann Arbor City Council seat will change after the results of elections last night.
Sabra Briere (D) 95.3%
Jane Lumm (I) 60.37%
Stephen Rapundalo (D) 39.46%
Stephen Kunselman (D) 21.43%
David Parker (R) 21.43%
Marcia Higgins (D) 58.84%
Eric Scheie (R) 40.06%
Mike Anglin (D) 79.59%
Stuart Berry (R) 19.59%
Proposal 1: Street and Bridge Millage
Proposal 2: Sidewalk Millage
Proposal 3: Pension Board
With 63.68 percent of the vote, Independent candidate Jane Lumm beat incumbent Stephen Rapundalo to become a council member for Ward 2. The other four winners — Stephen Kunselman (D–Ward 3), Mike Anglin (D–Ward 5) and Marcia Higgins (D–Ward 4) — are currently on council. In Ward 1, incumbent Sabra Briere (D–Ward 1) ran unopposed.
Voters also passed three proposals last night that dealt with road and sidewalk issues and the city’s retirement regulation board.
In an active race for Ward 2, Stephen Rapundalo, a Democrat, faced off against former Republican Council member Jane Lumm, who served from 1993 to 1998 and chose to run with no party affiliation in this race. In an interview at her watch party at Paesano Restaurant on Washtenaw Avenue, Lumm thanked members of her campaign for helping her gain the victory.
“I’m excited, very grateful and this is truly the result of an incredible team effort,” Lumm said. “So many people … did so much to make this possible.”
When she assumes office in January, Lumm said she'll place a greater emphasis on constituents’ voices in city politics. Lumm added that she will easily adjust to her new position given her prior experience on council, and she said she's already thinking about issues to bring before the council.
University alum Tim Hull, a programmer at the University’s Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics and a candidate in the Aug. 2 City Council primaries, worked on Lumm’s campaign and expressed enthusiasm about Lumm's win.
“It says something that Democrats, Republicans, Greens, all types of people from all parts of the political spectrum got together to support her,” Hull said. “That says a lot.”
In a phone interview last night, Rapundalo said he cannot predict how Lumm's lack of party affiliation will affect the dynamic of City Council but feels that she will face the same struggles many members on council deal with.
"I think she will be faced with a lot of challenges on issues and constituencies just like I did and others around the council table (did), and she’ll have to use her good judgment in addressing them," Rapundalo said. "So whatever her political leanings may or may not be ... I think will manifest themselves in due course.”
At Lumm’s watch party, Briere said Lumm will bring a fresh perspective to the legislative body.
“It will be good for us because you get used to each other, and you don’t question your assumptions,” Briere said.
Briere also commended Rapundalo on his tenure on council.
“He really dug into what he was doing,” Briere said. “He was on a lot of committees, and he knew his work.”
Kunselman — who beat Republican challenger David Parker with 77.28 percent of the vote — said Lumm's election reflects a need for change.
“It’s indicative of some changes that needed to be taking place within the city government and city politics,” Kunselman said. “And that (change) is bringing a level of integrity back to the City Council.”
Kunselman said he wasn't worried about his re-election.
“I have the history of Ward 3 being a very strong Democratic ward, so I was not really feeling any heat from … the Republican candidate in this case,” he said.
Kunselman acknowledged Parker’s campaign effort, but said voters ultimately sided with the right candidate.
“Mr. Parker certainly should be commended for putting his name out there and participating in the race,” Kunselman said. “But in the end, it's still about getting out there and knowing the voters, and I’ve got a strong record of doing so.”
Parker could not be reached for comment last night.
In Ward 4, Higgins faced Republican attorney Eric Scheie. Higgins protected her seat on council by gaining 58.84 percent of the vote. She was not available for comment last night.
In a phone interview last night, Scheie said though he lost the election, he felt gaining 40 percent of the vote indicated a need for opposition.
“I do think that I sent a message that there’s a lot of discontent, and in combination with Jane Lumm’s victory. I think it indicates that a lot of people in Ann Arbor believe there should be some sort of viable opposition," Scheie said.
Scheie said Higgins may not be the best representative of the residents of Ward 4.
"It’s not so much that I think I should be the city councilman for the Ward, but I’ve met a lot of people who just feel disenfranchised, and that’s what kept me going,” Scheie said. “They don’t like what’s going on, they feel the City Council does not listen to them and I think that Marcia Higgins has shown that she really doesn’t care about her ward or the process.”
Mike Anglin — who beat Republican Stuart Berry with 79.59 percent of the vote in Ward 5 — said in an interview at his watch party at Old Town Tavern on West Liberty Street that facing opposition forced a more thorough examination of the issues.
“I was glad that I had an opponent in Stuart Berry because I think the dialogue increased, and with different people of course in a town like this will have many different opinions,” Anglin said. “But I think it’s important that we, after the elections, join together and try to achieve all possibilities in what people wanted."
Berry could not be reached for comment last night.
All three of the city’s ballot proposals were passed by more than 50 percent of the vote.
The passage of Proposal 1 will replace a current tax that funds street reconstruction between 2012 and 2016. The proposal is expected to raise more than $9 million in its first year. Proposal 2 adds another tax to Proposal 1 that will go toward sidewalk improvement and is expected to generate an additional $563,000 within a year. Its passage also transfers responsibility for sidewalk maintenance from homeowners to the city.
With the passage of Proposal 3, the city administrator will no longer serve on the city’s Employee’s Retirement Board. Also as a result of the proposal, two new citizen trustees will be added to the current 10-person commission.