Ann Arbor voters pass three ballot proposals, elect five new members to City Council

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - 9:36pm

Five new council members are officially elected to seats on the Ann Arbor City Council in Tuesday’s general election while three ballot measures pass.

Five new council members are officially elected to seats on the Ann Arbor City Council in Tuesday’s general election while three ballot measures pass. Buy this photo
Alec Cohen/Daily

Ann Arbor voters passed Proposals A, B and C in Tuesday’s general election. Five new councilmembers were also officially elected to seats on the Ann Arbor City Council.

Proposal A, receiving 75% of votes, calls for a renewal of the city’s 2.125-mill tax to repair local streets, bridges and sidewalks. Around 63% of voters supported a new 0.2-mill tax to help fund construction of sidewalks from 2021-2026 as part of Proposal B and close to 73% of voters passed Proposal C, a new one-mill tax to acquire more affordable housing units for low-income residents.

The new councilmembers include Lisa Disch, D-Ward 1; Linh Song, D-Ward 2; Travis Radina, D-Ward 3; Jen Eyer, D-Ward 4; and Erica Briggs, D-Ward 5. All candidates also won the Aug. 4 primary and four ran unopposed. Eric Sturgis ran against Disch as a write-in candidate.

Lisa Disch, D-Ward 1

Disch will be taking former Councilmember Anne Bannister’s seat, who she successfully ran against in the August primary.

As a University of Michigan professor and Ward 1 resident since 2008, Disch said she is committed to using her unique perspective as a way to work collaboratively with other members of the council. Throughout her campaign, Disch said she will prioritize affordable housing options, improve sustainability efforts and ultimately encourage a collaborative tone to City Council meetings, among other goals.

In a previous interview with The Michigan Daily, Disch wrote in an email that she also plans to work on Ward 1-specific issues while on the council, such as the A2Zero sustainability plan and traffic management.

“There are many pressing issues in Ward 1 that I want to be prepared to take up right away with staff,” Disch wrote. “Such as traffic management on residential roads like Pontiac Trail and Barton Drive that have become major commuter through-ways, and implementing the parts of the City’s sustainability plan that help reduce the disproportionately high costs of energy for lower-income households.”

Before the election, Disch told The Daily she was focused on efforts to pass the Affordable Housing Millage, which would raise around $130 million over the next 20 years to create 1,500 affordable housing options.

Linh Song, D-Ward 2

Song is replacing former Councilmember Jane Lumm, whom she unseated in the August primary.

The newly-elected Ward 2 councilmember is president of the Ann Arbor District Library Board of Trustees. She ran on a platform that emphasized a need for improving public transportation, affordable housing and community engagement. 

Throughout her campaign, Song also placed a particular emphasis on issues of racial justice. As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Song ran as one of the very few women of color running for council. After winning the primary in August, Song told The Daily her own experiences with racism are an important perspective for the council.

“Racism happens here in Ann Arbor,” Song said. “I think it matters that people can speak directly to their own experiences if it’s going to influence policy.” 

Travis Radina, D-Ward 3

Radina will be replacing former Councilmember Zachary Ackerman. Ackerman did not run in the August primary and endorsed Radina.

The new Ward 3 councilmember ran on a platform supporting police reform, mixed use and carbon-neutral housing and advocacy for LGBTQ+, race and gender issues. Radina serves as the director of Global Alumni Communities for the Alumni Association at the University and has been the Ann Arbor LGBTQ liaison since 2018.

Radina aims to work with the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission to improve transgender sensitivity training for officers, recruitment of officers to better represent the community and bias and de-escalation training. He is also a strong advocate for building housing along major transit corridors. 

“Pretty immediately, I would like for council to reopen the discussion on transit-oriented development,” Radina said in a previous interview with The Daily. “Councilmember Ackerman … had a proposal to direct the Planning Commission to explore a policy around transit-oriented development so that we can build additional housing along our major transit corridors, and council tabled that. And so I think we need to bring that back.”

Jen Eyer, D-Ward 4

Eyer is taking former Councilmember Jack Eaton’s seat on council after defeating him in the August primary.

During her campaign, Eyer highlighted the importance of prioritizing climate action issues, promoting more sustainable transportation methods, increasing diversity efforts and implementing affordable housing options throughout the city. Eyer said she is also committed to supporting a cleanup plan for the Gelman dioxane plume, the A2Zero initiative and other environmental action plans.

In a previous interview with The Daily, Eyer said she wants to work on Ward 4-specific issues while on the council, including flooding, power outages and roads. 

“I want to focus on how we manage our budget during a pandemic and the resulting budget constraints that we will have that we are having right now because of it,” Eyer said.

A resident of Ann Arbor for over 20 years, Eyer will be taking the Ward 4 seat after having experience working for both MLive and The Ann Arbor News, which she said has helped her develop close connections with the Ann Arbor community.

Erica Briggs, D-Ward 5

Briggs will be replacing former Councilmember Chip Smith, who did not run in the August primary and endorsed Briggs for the seat.

As an Ann Arbor resident for half of her life, Briggs has served on the Ann Arbor planning commission, the Ann Arbor Energy Commission and the Ann Arbor Zoning Board of Appeals. She campaigned on strong support of the A2Zero campaign, creating more affordable and inclusive housing and more sustainable city transportation systems. 

Briggs earned her doctorate in political science at Michigan State University this past spring and has a background in environmental and community activism. She aims to make the Ann Arbor government more transparent and support local businesses who have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a previous interview with The Daily, Briggs highlighted her experience working with the community and her goals of using this in her work on the City Council. 

“I’ve been a longtime community activist so I know what it means to try to fight for change and work for changes,” Briggs said. “I hope that I can be a really strong voice on council for connecting people with government and helping them solve their problems.”

Daily Staff Reporters Hannah Mackay and Kristina Zheng can be reached at mackayh@umich.edu and krizheng@umich.edu.


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