January 10, 2022

GOOD MONDAY MORNING and welcome back to A2 Outlook! We hope you had a restful holiday season and have been staying safe amid rising COVID-19 cases.

With Martin Luther King Jr. Day coming up next Monday, MLive has compiled a list of in-person and virtual events across the county this week.

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A University of Michigan student receives a COVID-19 booster shot Friday. Maddie Hinkley/Daily. Buy this photo.

COUNCIL CATCH-UP: City Council voted unanimously to approve the first reading of an updated disorderly conduct ordinance. ANSWER Detroit, a sex worker advocacy group, called on City Council to remove the provisions prohibiting prostitution, according to MLive. Deputy City Attorney Arianne Slay told MLive the updated ordinance aims to make penalties clearer and use gender-neutral language.

Despite Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit’s announcement in January that his office would no longer prosecute consensual sex work, ANSWER told MLive that keeping the law on the books risks exposing vulnerable groups to police profiling and violence. 

City Council’s meeting last Monday was held in person for the first time since transitioning online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates to the state’s Open Meetings Act  require all public bodies to meet in person beginning Jan. 1, 2022. In their final virtual meeting, City Council passed an ordinance requiring masks to be worn in council chambers.

City Council passed an ordinance Monday night which shortens the approval process property owners must go through to make changes to their development. The ordinance amended a previous policy which stated that once developments have met state and local guidelines, approval is no longer needed from City Council.

The resolution, sponsored by CMs Lisa Disch, D-Ward 1, and Travis Radina, D-Ward 3, aims to reduce approval costs and times for development projects in Ann arbor.

Mayor Christopher Taylor announced Wednesday he will be seeking reelection. Taylor remains the only candidate seeking the seat to date. Meanwhile, CM Julie Grand, D-Ward 3, announced last Monday that she will not be seeking reelection. 

BACK TO SCHOOL: AAPS modified return-to-school plans in response to a rise in COVID-19 case rates. Classes began Wednesday instead of Monday, and classes were held virtually Jan. 5-7.

SCHOOL LAWSUIT: The Brain Injury Rights Group, a disability-rights advocacy group, filed a motion Wednesday requesting a temporary restraining order against AAPS, the Michigan Department of Education and the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. The order would stop the cancellation of classes or transitioning to online learning due to COVID-19 if approved. 

The motion argues that the cancellations and transitions to online learning are in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and is part of a lawsuit filed in July by AAPS families. According to the Brain Injury Rights Group website, the organization is also working on a class-action lawsuit in New York against mask mandates.

COMMUNITY CHEST: The city of Ann Arbor is seeking input on how to allocate $24 million of federal stimulus funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. The city will be hosting virtual information sessions from Jan. 12-20 to garner input from community members and inform the public about potential uses and projects.

SAFETY REINVISIONED: Last Monday, Interim City Administrator Milton Donohey and Assistant City Administrator John Fournier issued a report to City Council detailing the city’s work on developing an unarmed 911 response program for non-violent and non-criminal incidents. City Council passed a resolution in April directing city staff to begin to work on the project.

According to Donohey and Fournier, costs for the program would likely exceed $3 million, a figure proposed for a two-year pilot by the Coalition for Re-envisioning Our Safety, a local advocacy group. Donohey and Fournier suggest that the program would need long-term funding beyond an initial allocation of $2 million of American Rescue Plan funding that was proposed by city staff in October.  

GAVE IT A SHOT: The Ann Arbor Police Officers Association lost its lawsuit against the city of Ann Arbor for its COVID-19 vaccine mandate on Wednesday, according to MLive. A request for a preliminary injunction against the mandate’s deadline had already been denied in November.

AAPD is now fully in compliance with the vaccine requirement and no officers were terminated or resigned due to the mandate, according to Assistant City Administrator Fournier.

Meanwhile, the Jan. 4 deadline for all Washtenaw County employees to be vaccinated has been pushed back more than a month as negotiations with law enforcement personnel and the union representing sheriff’s deputies continue, according to MLive

REPORT RELEASED: The report of a follow-up investigation into former City Administrator Tom Crawford was made public this past week by City Council. The Dec. 7 report, authored by Jennifer Salvatore, an outside attorney hired by the city, alleges that Crawford exhibited gender bias in hiring and discrimination by not offering benefits to an employee of color.

Crawford resigned in August following a July report which alleged he made racially insensitive comments and engaged in gender-based stereotyping.

“Title IX lawsuit against UMich ECRT director alleging “deliberate indifference” allowed to proceed”The Michigan Daily

“Longtime LGBTQ+ activist Jim Toy, first publicly gay man in Michigan, dies at 91”The Michigan Daily

“Jon Vaughn reveals cancer diagnosis, says it will not impact protest or regent campaign”The Michigan Daily

“32 Ann Arbor developments to watch in 2022, including new downtown high-rises”MLive

“UMich undecided on following menstrual products ordinance”The Michigan Daily

“What new Congressional, legislative maps mean for Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County voters”MLive

“Dingell moving to Ann Arbor to run in newly drawn congressional district”MLive

“Daily investigation finds administrators knew of numerous allegations of bullying against former UMich CSE professor hired to Georgia Tech”The Michigan Daily

Washtenaw County reported 1403 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours and 6,896 cases in the past two weeks. 78.9% of Washtenaw County residents aged 16 and over and 50.8% of residents aged 5 to 11 have received at least one vaccine dose. 

“‘I feel disrespected overall by the administration’: UMich students face long waits, difficulties with quarantine and isolation policies”The Michigan Daily

“UMich COVID-19 dashboard shows record case count, N95 masks & isolation guidelines released”The Michigan Daily 

“Some U-M faculty, graduate student instructors turn to e-pivot for first two weeks of semester”The Michigan Daily

“Over 700 UMich students send open letter advocating for fully in-person semester amid calls to modify plans”The Michigan Daily

“Climbing COVID-19 cases delay start of Washtenaw Community College’s semester”MLive

“Looking for a COVID-19 booster before the Feb. 4 deadline? Check out these pop-up clinics”The Michigan Daily

A2 Outlook editors Dominick Sokotoff and Shannon Stocking can be reached at and, respectively.

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