The Lonely Republicans
Though most local races were decided in the August primary, two Republicans and one Libertarian are braving the expected surge of Democratic presidential voters. Ann Arbor voters will also decide the fate of three tax renewals and a city charter amendment-and send a new judge to Fifteenth District Court.
A presidential election year seems an especially lonely time for a Republican to run for city council in one of the bluest cities in the nation. But Fifth Ward candidate John Floyd, a self-employed accountant and Ann Arbor native, shrugs off the seemingly overwhelming odds. "It's always the right time" to run, he says, if you have something to offer your community. Besides, he adds, "no general election should go uncontested."
Floyd, fifty, says he was inspired to get into politics after fighting a series of proposed multifamily projects near his home on Sunset. Though all were defeated, he concluded that city government was unresponsive to neighborhood concerns-and that "uncontested elections-general elections in particular-were the root of [that] unresponsiveness."
Concerned that more tall buildings will destroy Ann Arbor's blend of "small-town feel" with "big-city vitality," Floyd is calling for an eight-story height limit on new buildings downtown. He also suggests that his Democratic opponent, Carsten Hohnke, will "rubber stamp" the council majority and mayor John Hieftje in permitting denser development downtown-a charge that Hohnke dismisses.