Number of years as resident
I have an undergraduate degree in political science and a law degree. While attending college, I drove a bus and became president of the local union representing bus drivers. As union president, I developed skills in collaboration and negotiation that are valuable as a Council member.
I am a retired lawyer who represented labor unions and their members. That practice provided me with the experience of balancing many interests and working cooperatively with an opposing party to reach resolution of problems. I have served on City Council for 6-1/2 years, through seven budget cycles. I am familiar with the City’s finances which I believe is important as the Council faces significant revenue reduction during the recession. During my years on City Council I have worked collaboratively with my colleagues to serve the residents of my Ward and the City.
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.
If I am re-elected, I intend to continue my work on affordable housing, environmental issues, and police reform. The pandemic and recession have had an impact on the local economy and the City budget. My goal is to identify the planned expenditures that can be delayed or eliminated so that the City can provide excellent public services without increasing taxes.
My years of experience with the City budget has given me an understanding of the City’s spending that will be useful in prioritizing what will be cut and what will not. The City will need to address the shortfall in revenue at the same time it addresses the additional need for human services.
The City will continue to grow after we emerge from the recession. It is essential that the City plan for that growth and our residents must have a say in how that growth occurs. One of my opponents supports relaxing zoning rules to allow building fourplexes in every residential neighborhood. The other has not taken a position, but has implied that she might relax zoning, saying that she rather have a triplex built next to her than see an existing home replaced by a big foot McMansion. I believe that our neighborhoods are what make this town special and should protected from expensive oversized development. I will continue to pursue neighborhood friendly development. The City cannot satisfy the demand for affordable housing by supplying luxury apartments and expensive condominiums.
I make myself available to my constituents through social media, including nextdoor.com and Facebook. I hold coffee hours twice each month to give constituents direct contact with me. I attend meetings in the Fourth Ward and meetings about Fourth Ward issues so that I can hear what residents say about the issues the government is deliberating. After the election, I will continue to make myself available in these ways.
Number of years as resident
A former Washtenaw County Commissioner, longtime news editor, community volunteer and mother of two, I’ve worked for decades in Ann Arbor helping organizations solve tough issues.
During my career as a journalist and editor with The Ann Arbor News, I engaged with city politics as a professional, not a partisan. A journalist listens to all sides and pursues the truth. That’s how I was raised and educated. It’s fundamental to who I am, and that’s how I intend to represent Ward 4 in City Hall.
Currently, as a partner in a communications firm, I fight for progressive policy on behalf of labor unions, public schools and civil rights organizations.
Ann Arbor is at a crossroads, with people being priced out and left behind. There are critical threats to our water supply. The pandemic is hurting our local businesses and our city budget. I will bring new energy and new ideas to City Council, and I will take bold, creative action to lead Ann Arbor forward.
I will take action to lead Ann Arbor forward responsibly, inclusively, ethically and sustainably:
*Accelerate road repairs by taking advantage of historic low interest rates to finance construction
*Break logjam on projects to reduce flooding in Churchill Downs and Lansdowne
*Reduce power outages by working with DTE and the Michigan Public Services Commission
*Expand our tax base through responsible growth
*Set aside a portion of taxes from new developments for the affordable housing fund
*Move forward on the city's proposed affordable housing sites
*Help seniors on fixed incomes who are struggling to pay property taxes
*Champion criminal justice reform
*Advocate for renters’ rights
*Listen and communicate with all residents
*Make independent decisions
*Follow all ethics and campaign finance rules
*Reduce our carbon emissions
*Advance green transit and regional mass transit
*Fill sidewalk gaps and complete our bike lane network
Ann Arbor is a highly desirable place to live and work. Over the past few decades, the number of jobs has grown by tens of thousands, but the number of new housing units has not kept pace. This lack of housing supply coupled with high demand has driven up prices so much that many people who work here are unable to find housing they can afford. More than 84,000 people now commute into Ann Arbor every weekday.
We must add new housing and grow our tax base in a responsible manner. In this year's budget, new construction accounts for about half the increase in property tax receipts to the city, providing new revenue to fund road improvements and other priorities. When we add residents and businesses, it’s important to first focus on building in areas where the cost of delivering services is lower and public transportation is accessible, such as downtown and along transportation corridors. In this way, we are taking steps to help both our affordable housing shortage and our climate crisis.
It’s critical to reach out and engage with people in a variety of ways in order to convey information and seek input. People have different preferences for how they receive information, so it’s important to recognize that and provide as many options as possible. These are skills I’ve honed as a longtime journalist and editor, as spokeswoman for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in her gubernatorial campaign, and as a county commissioner.
I will hold regular coffee hours, both virtually and in-person as safety guidelines permit. I will publish newsletters in a variety of formats -- email, website, social media -- to keep all residents informed of council actions. Additionally, I will pioneer new technologies in order for council to safely and effectively listen to and gather input from residents on key community issues. As a final note, I will respond to all constituents whether I believe they personally support me or not, because as a public servant, that’s what a council member should do.
Number of years as resident
I’ve defended our environmental rights, our public health, and our human rights at Ann Arbor City Council meetings for many years. I’ve advocated for early preparation to get ahead of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
My education and experience prepared me for that: I’m an environmental toxicologist with over 30 publications. I was awarded the Rachel Carson Prize, for my work on the impact of war on the environment and public health. I was an Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences in Iran, and an invited speaker at universities worldwide: at Michigan, Harvard, Boston University, MIT, Mount Sinai, Columbia, Princeton, Washington, and in the UK, Norway, Germany, and Iran. My latest publication, on Iraqi children’s exposure to war contaminants, is here:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026974911834243X
My studies on Iraq have been reported on globally, for example in the Intercept and the Guardian. Finally, as a union member, I saw the need for strong unions.
I’ll demand the immediate City cleanup of that toxic Gelman dioxane plume, before it engulfs our drinking water. I’ll also demand:
• A field hospital plan from the City, to prevent COVID-19 from overwhelming our existing hospitals.
• Our own $15 an hour minimum wage law, so people can pay their rent!
• A City push against union-busting laws like the Taft-Hartley Act, and against state obstacles to a $15 an hour minimum wage.
• Concrete cash relief, and medical coverage, for those who fall through the cracks during this massive unemployment and public health catastrophe.
• Good public housing and transit, enough to allow Ann Arbor workers to survive in Ann Arbor.
• A City Council resolution against military aid to the apartheid state of Israel. Israel doesn’t deserve another $38 billion. They have massacred thousands of Palestinians, and even demolished a Palestinian coronavirus clinic.
• Increased funding for the Neutral Zone’s Jobs Corp program. No more endless meetings.
Densely developed cities offer a much higher quality of life and more efficient use of resources than the suburban superhighway culture. I intend for that development to be public, not private. Architects and developers will create public housing which Ann Arborites can afford and want to live in.
We can certainly emulate the public housing model seen in Vienna, Austria: youtube.com/watch?v=HogpkAj6NOw
About 60% of Vienna’s 1.8 million people live in high-quality mixed-use housing, rented to them by the city or nonprofit housing associations. It’s not charity for a tiny number of lucky housing voucher winners -- it’s for everyone.
That’s how we can all afford to live and work here. I’ll also push to increase our local and regional mass transit services to serve us where we live and work. Fewer cars means a higher quality of community life, lower living expenses, a lower level of pollution, and less need to fill up city blocks with parking garages.
The easiest ways for residents to reach me will be by calling me, emailing me, Skyping me, using WhatsApp, or simply by meeting me at the City Hall during my constituent hours.
I will use all of those methods to stay in touch.
• Voters who want more detail can see my campaign video here: youtu.be/4kYdnvS6aQI
• My campaign website is here: https://voteforthedoctor.com/
• My Washtenaw County Democratic Party biography is here: https://www.washtenawdems.org/candidate-corner/mozhgan-savabieasfahani