How many years have you been a resident of Ann Arbor?
32 years, since January 1985.
Bachelor of Arts from University of Michigan and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School
I have an undergraduate degree and a law degree. I attended public schools and public universities. While in college, I worked as a city bus driver, and served as Local Union President. That experience taught me the importance of listening to varied opinions and working to satisfy divergent interests. As Union President, I represented employees facing discipline, and I negotiated labor contracts.
Professionally, I work as a labor lawyer, representing public sector unions and I am an experienced negotiator. I regularly work to find common ground between parties who have significant disagreements. I always try to be civil, even when i disagree.
I am the incumbent. When I first ran for City Council, I promised to focus on improving our basic services and maintaining our essential infrastructure. I promised to represent the common sense point of view of Ward 4 residents. I have kept those promises.
I have supported increased funding of safety services, helped make road repair our top priority and addressed neighborhood flooding.
My goals for the coming term of office are to maintain our focus on improving public services and essential infrastructure. We have started to address long neglected roads, water mains and sewers, and we must resist distraction from this important work.
Our biggest challenge is to address the needs of the community within the constrains of our revenues. We are projecting tight budgets in the near future. The City has huge unfunded liability in its pension program and retiree health care program. We have many employees who will be eligible for retirement in the next few years, and we need to address that liability. We also need to address our long neglected infrastructure, our failing recycling facility, our understaffed safety services and important environmental concerns. If we are careful to identify our spending priorities, we can accomplish much of this without passing new taxes.
While most of the issues that come to Council receive unanimous support, hot button issues are often decided with little regard to the preferences of our residents. I would like Council to become more responsive to the point of view of Ann Arbor residents.
I will always be an advocate of responsible spending. I frequently hear concerns about neighborhood traffic safety from residents. I will seek additional police staffing to address those concerns.
I will continue to seek funding for road repairs, crosswalk improvements and improved street lighting. We must identify funding for storm water projects needed to address neighborhood flooding.
I am willing to cut administrative staffing, if necessary to afford public safety staffing. Our spending priorities must address what best serves our residents. I will continue to question the necessity of hiring consultants.
How many years have you been a resident of Ann Arbor?
MS in Business Administration / Project Management
I have a thorough understanding of our city polices due to my service on the City Planning Commission form 2009-2014 and the Historic District Commission from 2007-2010. In my professional career I have been an operations manager and a project manager, which require skills of budgeting, planning, and accountability. I know how to navigate difficult bureaucracies when trying to get something done.
My goal is to simply be a more effective and informative voice for the 4th ward. I believe that there is more to being a councilmember than just voting or pushing your own personal initiatives. There is a customer service aspect to the position that I think is not appreciated by some who currently serve on the council. I want to not only inform residents about issues, but to help them understand what things mean, what is doable, and what the ramifications might be for any given issue. Also, I would place an emphasis on finishing current initiatives before adding new ones to the city's agenda.
The biggest challenge facing Ann Arbor is affordability for ALL residents, not just in relation to low-income affordable housing or downtown workforce housing which are the two areas that get the most attention from City Council. The cost of real estate and the high taxes make it difficult for many to not only move to the city, but also for others to stay in the city. Implementing a city income tax potentially could help with affordability because there would be a property tax reduction for many residents offsetting the cost of a new 1% income tax, resulting in a property tax DECREASE for many residents.
I would like to see council put more emphasis on the needs of the entire city and not just on areas that have residents who have the loudest voices. The factions on council both answer to specific special interest groups and arrogantly ignore other residents. If elected to council, I plan on representing the residents with the ‘quieter’ voices, so that they are not forgotten.
I don’t believe that there is any room to really “cut” the budget. City staff has been drastically cut over the years, so there is not any efficiency to be gained by reducing staff. Council can help the city budget by simply not throwing away future revenue. Sale of the air rights over the library lot can bring in 10 million dollars. This one-time revenue can be and should be used to finish initiatives that have been ongoing for years (e.g. sign and light ALL crosswalks). It is fiscally irresponsible to just throw away large amounts of revenue while constantly telling the residents that there is not enough money to provide some services.