Though each of the city’s wards will be electing a new council member on Tuesday, there is only one contested race: the Ward 5 election between Democrat Carsten Hohnke and Republican John Floyd. Hohnke, who received the Daily’s endorsement in the August Democratic primary, is running because of his passion for serving the Ann Arbor community. Floyd is driven by a blind democratic desire to provide voters with an alternative, in this case, a choice that is unfit to be on council.

Floyd, an accountant by trade, is the sacrificial Republican this year in Ann Arbor’s general election. He is running largely on his commitment to two-party democracy, protecting Ann Arbor’s quality of life and the idea that Ann Arbor’s current council is hiding something from residents. But while Floyd correctly argues that Ann Arbor’s emphasis on the summer primary disenfranchises many voters, especially students, that’s about all he’s right on.

Floyd’s entire campaign seems built on the false idea that Ann Arbor has no appealing characteristics aside from being a nice place to live. This misguided idea has led him to rail against downtown density and ramble about a lot of disparate city projects. On top of that, he neither seems to understand nor care about student concerns. He condescendingly believes that there is nothing that distinguishes student concerns from anyone else’s.

On the other hand, Hohnke is a worthy, if not somewhat typical, City Council candidate. He is the owner of Vie, a local spa and fitness center, which has given him management and budgetary experience. Like most of the council, he prescribes to the idea of dense downtown housing, surrounded by strong neighborhoods and green spaces. He also stresses the importance of managing the city’s budget well.

Compared to his opponent, Hohnke has the most potential to be a strong advocate for students. He speaks sympathetically to student needs, agreeing that the ward system is unfair to students. He has also recognized the need for more affordable student housing. His challenge will be to find ways to actually implement policy changes and reach out to students in the process.

And though we have concerns about his ability to put his words into action, the contrast between Hohnke’s words and those of John Floyd’s is stark enough to momentarily forgive Honke’s shortcomings. The Daily endorses CARSTEN HOHNKE for city council from Ward 5.

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