Ann Arbor at the Crossroads
Kunselman, a fifty-year-old U-M energy management liaison, and Eaton, a sixty-year-old labor lawyer, aren't running against the mayor in the August 6 Democratic Party primary (though Kunselman says he will next year if Hieftje tries for an unprecedented eighth term). They're running against those they see as his proxies: Kunselman against Parks Advisory Commission chair Julie Grand, a thirty-eight-year-old health policy studies lecturer at the U-M Dearborn, and Eaton against Marcia Higgins, sixty, who's served on council since 1999.
Higgins supported the Justice Center and the Library Lane projects, and last fall voted to fund a study for a new train station. Eaton says that the city should have rented space instead of building the Justice Center; that Library Lane "should not have been built until the plans for what goes on top were concluded," and he says he'll oppose using general fund money to build a train station "while we have understaffed police and fire departments and unresolved infrastructure problems."
The Justice Center and Library Lane are the past, and the train station--if it's ever built--is in the future. For the moment, the hottest issue is private development--specifically, the giant 413 E. Huron high-rise.