The following was originally published in my Nov 2, 2019 Newsletter in the “Additional Thoughts” section
It has now been nearly one full year since I was sworn in as a City Council Member. In that time, I have attended all 23 City Council meetings, written 24 agenda newsletter summaries ahead of our meetings (including this one), posted 23 voting charts to illustrate the results of Council meetings, and generated about 120 additional posts on my website re: various public meetings, Ward 4 traffic and construction updates, and other city news I’ve been asked to help publicize. I have tried to share relevant information that can prompt feedback and community conversation. In a town like ours, I believe that democracy works better when more people are engaged and sharing perspectives.
In the last year, I have also hosted approximately 30 public coffee hours (2-3 a month), attended 15 Council Caucuses (optional public meetings, where residents discuss topics on upcoming agendas with participating CM’s), and observed many public engagement meetings for new developments, stormwater drainage solutions, traffic calming measures, short term rentals, and the Gelman Plume. In between, I had many more additional one-on-one conversations with residents, business owners, and other advocates, some of which led to meetings with city staff about how to craft solutions. I believe that the best communication is both direct and specific.
We live in a town where the values of mutual respect, intellectual honesty, and social equity are integral to who we are. In Ann Arbor, organized community groups and institutions remind us every day that these ideas aren’t just buzz words. In a town full of passionate citizens, committed advocates, professional experts, scholars, and other devoted community leaders, we are well equipped to both ask hard questions and engage in the thorough and comprehensive discussion required to find answers to them. When confronted with something that is confusing or troubling or shocking, we are an educated population that asks questions: “Is that true? Why did this happen? What else is going on? How can I understand this better? What can I do to help?”
I thank everyone who is working to make Ann Arbor an environment where we can problem-solve with wisdom and compassion!