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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Ann Arbor City Council Ward 5

The City Council is the legislative body that governs the city. The City Council consists of the Mayor and ten Council members, two from each of Ann Arbor's five wards. One half of City Council is elected in annual partisan elections. The members elected in 2017 will serve three-year terms. Those elected in 2018 will serve four-year terms.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Ali Ramlawi (I) Owner of Jerusalem Garden

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    Chip Smith (Dem) Urban Planner

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Biographical Information

What in your education and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this position?

What are your specific goals for the office and how will you work to accomplish them?

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Ann Arbor in the next five years?

What changes would you like to see in the direction of City Council?

Which areas of the the city budget would You fight to retain or increase? Which areas would you be willing to cut?

How many years have you been a resident of Ann Arbor? 17
Education My formal education was interrupted with an untimely family death as I was attending my freshman year at Michigan State University. I returned to Ann Arbor to work in my family business while I took classes at Washtenaw Community College and Eastern Michigan University. My true education was in the form of real-world, first-hand experience of running a successful small, local business for 25 years.
As the owner and manager of a local, downtown business for 25 years and a resident for 17 years, I appreciate the issues facing residents, other small businesses and people who work in our city. I had to learn on-the-job how to make difficult decisions in changing economic climates, to be flexible and see through both the short-term difficulties and the long-term benefits of those decisions. You cannot succeed in business for 25 years without the integrity to listen to people and being responsive to changing economic times.
I would like to shift Council’s attention and re-balance our priorities so that they reflect the true wishes of the people. A new perspective will ensure that our city can achieve the cultural and economically diverse society that once defined Ann Arbor. I will take a practical approach to decisions, one that listens to the people and includes them in the process on issues that affect our quality of life issues that matter to all of us – safe neighborhoods and streets, clean air, clean water, and a sustainable and inclusive city.
The biggest challenge is the lack of affordable, workforce housing. Without adequate workforce housing, our community will not be able to achieve or sustain a healthy diversity and we will not see real economic growth in our city. This will require tough decisions and we need to put our resources behind making this a priority for Ann Arbor.
I believe our City Council needs to move towards a balanced, inclusive direction. We need a more diverse perspective on council, one that will help lead to a more diverse community that will address social justice through economic means. We need to truly empower and fairly employ our citizens’ groups to participate in their government.
I would fight to retain funding for our city parkland and for our roads; that’s some of what residents feel are most important as I go door-to-door. We need to restructure our budget priorities to focus on today’s needs that will help us become a more balance community in the future. We need to redirect taxes from programs and areas that have successfully outlived their purposes; those redirected taxes will be used to fund today’s challenges.
Address 517 Krause St
Campaign Phone (734) 709-2022
How many years have you been a resident of Ann Arbor? 23
Education BA History - Macalester College MLA - University of Michigan Graduate Certificate - Local Gov't Mgmt - Eastern Michigan Universit
Masters in Landscape Architecture; AICP certified Urban Planner; 18 years as a local government consultant working in communities across Michigan.
Affordability, addressing Climate Change on the local level, and safe transportation for all. To do this we need to: 1) Spend within our means 2) Allow for more housing. Affordable housing IS an issue of supply & demand 3)Fund climate change programs to prepare for & mitigate the impacts of climate change 4) Create safe transportation system that provides all users safe access. Making sure roads are safe, that we’re building safe bicycle facilities and making sure that pedestrians improvements are built in conjunction with road projects. Funding lighting upgrades and building awareness around pedestrian and bicycle safety in our community.
Affordability and Climate Change
I’d like to see Council devote real funding to climate change and affordable housing. These are the new basic services. I’d also like to see a restructuring of our approach to public input. Folks are becoming disengaged or disheartened with a process that can often feel endless and doesn’t respond to their input. We need a more effective process for engaging the community. One where we identify the entire engagement process at the beginning of the project; make a commitment to how & when the public will be asked to provide feedback, guidance, or comment.
Increase the amount of funding for climate change programs and affordable housing. What can be cut? I’m not sure that we can really focus on “cutting” anything. We have to be strategic in how we spend our money, which may mean that a huge outlay for a new train station may not be in the cards – we may have to accept something a little more no-frills. That’s just one project, but the point is we have to use our resources better. Instead of adding new traffic control officers, I believe we can work collaboratively with our police department to deploy resources for more effective traffic enforcement.

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