Along with a contested mayoral election, voters in Ann Arbor will vote to fill City Council seats on Nov. 2. The City Council is made up of two representatives from each of its five wards. The candidates for Wards 1, 3 and 4 run unopposed. The seats in Wards 2 and 5 are contested.

There are three candidates vying for the Ward 5 seat: Independent Newcombe Clark, incumbent Democrat Carsten Hohnke and Republican John Floyd.

Floyd is the only Republican in Ann Arbor to throw his hat in the ring for this year’s city council election — and this isn’t his first campaign. The city is overwhelmingly Democratic and City Council is entirely comprised of Democrats. A Republican candidate offers a nice challenge to the city’s status quo.

But Floyd’s views of students concerns and Ann Arbor appear convoluted and out of touch. It seems that Floyd would like to freeze the city as it was half a century ago — an Ann Arbor that doesn’t serve today’s students’ needs. He doesn’t support downtown housing developments. It seems he would rather leave dealing with students exclusively to the University. But students are a huge economic contributor to this city, and the city must consider their needs.

Clark, a 29-year-old real estate developer who is currently pursuing an MBA from the Ross School of Business, has solid and specific proposals on increasing student involvement in Ann Arbor policy-making and student safety. A member of the city’s Downtown Development Authority, Clark believes in making downtown an inexpensive place for students and graduates to live. In an effort to model the kind of commitment the city and state should show to the arts, Clark intends to donate his salary to charities supporting the arts if he is elected. Clark has promised to not seek re-election. And while many of his ideas are promising, it’s uncertain if two years is enough to see them to fruition.

Incumbent candidate Carsten Hohnke is seeking re-election because of his desire to serve his community. As the owner of a local spa and fitness center, he has management and budgetary experience. In his last term, he sat on the Greenbelt Advisory Commission and worked to expand Ann Arbor’s recycling program and institute single-stream recycling that has already led to an increase in recycling. He also favors downtown development to increase the supply of student housing. He doesn’t have Clark’s youth and idealism, but he has shown that he can get things done, and has goals to continue reducing how much the city puts in landfills.

During his tenure as a councilmember, Hohnke has produced results. And though Clark is an idealist, it seems unlikely that he could live up to Hohnke’s reputation of getting things done in only two years. In Ward 5, the Daily endorses CARSTEN HOHNKE.

This year’s candidates for Ward 2 are Democratic incumbent Tony Derezinski and challenger Emily Salvette, a Libertarian.

Salvette, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Michigan, intends to focus on fiscal responsibility. She doesn’t favor increasing taxes, and she has proposed paycuts for city council members in the hopes of helping to maintain the budget. She also recognizes that the only way to decrease the cost of rent around campus is to increase the supply of housing, and doesn’t support height caps that often place a stumbling block in the way of development. Despite this, she doesn’t seem tuned in to what students need and want — including a safe, well-lit city.

Derezinksi is probably the city’s most experienced council member. He’s spent years serving at various levels of government, from a stint in the Michigan legislature to several years on the city council. In order to find a way to balance the city budget, he is interested in considering a city income tax so that individuals who commute to the city to work contribute to funding the services they use. He’s specifically interested in continuing the city’s push for more bike lanes. He’d also be open to re-evaluating the current layout of the ward system, which separates the student vote and makes it difficult for students to make their voices heard. Derezinski understands that making the city accommodating to developers is crucial to decrease the cost of rent — though he supports what he calls “reasonable” height caps.

After serving in the legislature and specializing in law practice for many years, Derezinski has the experience necessary to be successful. Derezinski’s understanding of Ann Arbor and students’ needs is encouraging, and Salvette just can’t compete. In Ward 2, the Daily endorses TONY DEREZINSKI.

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