Today is Election Day. Though it isn’t a presidential, gubernatorial or a mayoral election, it’s still important for students to vote. Today’s election for Ann Arbor City Council members is contested in four of the city’s five wards. Though most students don’t directly interact with City Council members, the members make decisions that can impact students’ lives. Council members enact ordinances for Ann Arbor, address lighting issues in off-campus areas and control funding for public safety. It is essential that all students go to the polls today and cast their votes.
Students make up a large portion of the Ann Arbor population, but historically don’t turn up on Election Day. If students don’t vote and put the best representatives into office, there is no guarantee that City Council members will be invested in the needs of students.
In the Ward 2 race, incumbent Stephen Rapundalo (D–Ward 2) is facing Independent Jane Lumm. Rapundalo has an understanding of the financial challenges Ann Arbor is facing. He told The Michigan Daily he has a strong desire to work on labor negotiations and ensure laborers have fair benefits.
While Rapundalo would like to work on important issues, Lumm appears to better understand the needs of the city and students. Her first priority is public safety. She told the Daily she would like to reallocate funds from the city budget for the police and fire departments and would like to increase lighting on Oxford Road. Lumm also had some great ideas for better communication between council members and engaging more residents in city budget discussions. Because of her commitment to safety and inclusion, the Daily endorses JANE LUMM for City Council, Ward 2.
In the Ward 3 race, incumbent Stephen Kunselman (D–Ward 3) is running against Republican David Parker. Parker was unavailable to meet with the Daily’s editorial board to discuss his plans for City Council.
Kunselman has a solid platform that focuses on public health, safety and welfare. He told the Daily that too much funding has been cut from fire and police departments. His objective to redistribute money to allow more funding to be put toward safety is ideal. Kunselman is also a strong proponent for density downtown. He is a supporter of historic preservation and wants to fight for citizen concerns in neighborhoods. Kunselman has the experience and the priorities to push ordinances that will benefit students and Ann Arbor. The Daily endorses STEPHEN KUNSELMAN for City Council, Ward 3.
The Ward 4 race pits incumbent Marcia Higgins (D–Ward 4) against Republican challenger Eric Scheie. While Higgins has the experience of having served many years on the City Council, her apparent apathy toward the election and her voting record are troubling. Higgins voted against Ann Arbor’s medical marijuana ordinance in June. She didn’t attend the League of Women Voters debate last month and was unavailable to meet with the Daily’s editorial board to discuss the election. It’s unclear if Higgins is truly dedicated to the position.
Though Scheie is a Republican in the typically liberal Ann Arbor government, and therefore an unlikely contender, he seems intent on combating complacency in Ann Arbor government. He is dedicated to revamping projects like the Georgetown Mall — a “brown field” on Packard Street that has been polluting Ann Arbor for more than a year — and freeing up money to deal with cuts to the fire and police department budgets. He also wants to increase benefits for unions.
Higgins has experience, but that experience has seemed to make her complacent in her position. Scheie has the potential to bring a new perspective and attitude toward city government. The Daily endorses ERIC SCHEIE for City Council, Ward 4.
Both incumbent Mike Anglin (D–Ward 5) and challenger Republican Stuart Berry were unable to meet with the Daily’s editorial board. However, Anglin spoke with the Daily during the primaries in August and talked about his desire to create more openness within City Council. He wants to create a committee that would include more public opinion in council meetings and find ways to incorporate more student issues into discussions. Because of his commitment to transparency, the Daily endorses MIKE ANGLIN for City Council, Ward 5.