Candidates debate for contested Ward 2 seat
With Election Day less than a month away, City Councilmember Jane Lumm (I–Ward 2) and former Democratic councilmember Sally Hart Petersen took to the podium Sunday to pitch their candidacies for City Council.
The Ward 2 race is the only City Council seat that will be decided in November’s general election. Races for the other open seats were largely determined during the August Democratic primary, though those nominees will still appear on the ballot next month.
Sunday’s event was held at the Traverwood Branch Library. After a brief opening statement from each candidate, both fielded questions from the audience.
One topic of discussion was potential expansion of the rails that pass along the Huron River and through Ann Arbor’s forests. Petersen pointed out how the expansion would bring in revenue, as well as provide convenient service for students and other travelers. Lumm said there might be an issue with locals and students if public parkland was repurposed.
“The $64 million question would be if the trade-off of the public parkland and the train-track expansion would pay off economically,” Lumm said.
From there, the candidates moved onto the topic of the deer cull — the killing of deer in Ann Arbor by hired sharpshooters to curb the deer population — that is set to take place in January.
Lumm said she approves of the council’s vote to hold the cull. Petersen disagreed, saying when the council voted for the cull, public concerns were not fully taken into account. She also pointed out how the cull would not be very effective due to the park’s proximity to the Nichols Arboretum.
“The University of Michigan has voted to not hold a cull,” Petersen said. “The arboretum is right next to Gallup, and if the cull happens in Gallup and the deer run into the arb, they are then off limits, so how effective would the cull be if the arboretum is where the deer really live?”
The candidates addressed bike and pedestrian safety in Ann Arbor. Specifically, they discussed a 2010 ordinance that states Ann Arbor drivers must yield to pedestrians in areas where there are no traffic signals in place.
Both candidates said the ordinance is not being enforced. To improve the situation, Lumm proposed increasing the number of police officers monitoring traffic. She pointed out that only three permanent police officers assigned to traffic and pedestrian safety.
Election Day is Nov. 3.