Ann Arbor at the Crossroads
"We are at a turning point," agrees Jack Eaton, a challenger in the Fourth Ward on the city's southwest side. "For many years, a large majority on council had unchallenged control over the budget and the council agenda. Over time, new voices have been added. It began with Mike Anglin, Steve Kunselman, and Jane Lumm. The 2012 election added Sumi Kailasapathy and Sally Petersen."
Kunselman frames the August 6 vote as a choice as "between politicos that want to hold onto power and those of us who want good government." But his real complaint is not about how local government does its work--it's about what it's trying to do. "The leadership of the city," he charges, "is trying to turn us into a metropolis."
Eaton agrees, asserting that mayor John Hieftje has "shifted the emphasis away from good public service to changing the nature of our city." Eaton opposed building the new Justice Center, would have delayed the Library Lane parking structure, and says that on council, he'd favor "eliminating all spending on regional projects that are not funded by all communities in the region, such as commuter rail." That's a direct jab at Mayor Hieftje, an enthusiastic advocate of commuter trains--and of a new station to serve them.