Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (December 17, 2023)

Dec 17, 2023 | Newsletter

Hello neighbors!

Welcome to my Ann Arbor City Council newsletter, where you can connect with primary sources to understand the work of your local government. My goal is to provide clear explanations of all the issues your elected representatives will be discussing at their next meeting and alert you to local policy and decisions that have been assigned to unelected Mayoral appointees.

This week, City Council considers a very long agenda. There are three public hearings ahead of final approval for leaf blower regulation and the rezoning/site plan at Pontiac Trail/Dhu Varren). Council will also consider two ordinance at first readings: permitting ground-level solar panel arrays in residential districts and rezoning of about 200 acres on Plymouth Road. Council Members submitted no questions to the agenda this week.

Two items have been removed from the agenda: 

  • First reading of an ordinance to address hiring discrimination among City contractors against people with criminal records
  • A resolution expressing support for a statement by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell calling for a bilateral ceasefire in Gaza 

The details of these agenda items no longer exist in the public record of Legistar and they will not reappear unless they are reintroduced. For more on that, see my “Additional Thoughts” section below.

The Consent Agenda includes eighteen items, including a $10 million construction contract for rehabilitation of the East Medical Center Bridge (this project was supposed to happen in 2023 but Council delayed it by one year). Also on the Consent Agenda: two consultant contracts from the Office of Sustainability and Innovations (OSI) adding up to $1.5 million. Consultants will be hired to design, plan, and coordinate a Residential Rebates Program and a Home Energy Advisor Program. 

CA-11 (23-2019) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Elevate Energy for Administration of the Residential Rebate Program ($600,000)
CA-12 (23-2021) Resolution To Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Walker-Miller Energy Services, LLC for Administration of the Home Energy Advisor Program ($900,000)

In CA-11, a $600,000 proposal from Elevate LLC will utilize nine different staff – four through Elevate and five subcontractors from Michigan Energy Options (MEO) – to execute a Residential Rebate Program. As part of their proposal, Elevate offered examples of “Involvement with Similar Projects” that include support for both private and public power utilities: WPPI (a collaboration including six municipal and one cooperative utility in the UP), Lansing Board of Power and Light, Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, ComEd (Illinois), and Traverse City Light and Power. Additionally, Elevate worked with the City of Madison, Wisconsin.

In their proposal, Elevate also refers to service they provided to the City’s OSI department. Earlier this year, the City paid Elevate $300,000 to administer and distribute grants that, according to Elevate, resulted in an energy chiller at Baker Commons and new windows at four Avalon properties. 
https://a2gov.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=6020535&GUID=DCB5C919-17FE-4696-B0E7-C95B3EF12E0F

The $900,000 proposal from Walker-Miller Energy Services in CA-12 is slightly different. This contract will fund three full-time Walker-Miller staff to act as program manager, energy advisor, and project coordinator (with additional part-time support from three more Walker-Miller staff) to administer a Home Energy Advisor Program. As part of their proposal, Walker-Miller offered examples of past work, primarily with private utilities: DTE and Ameren Illinois.

The staffing included in both CA-11 and CA-12 provide broad categories of management, administration, coordinating, and IT support. Job descriptions for the 20.5 full-time employees in the City’s OSI department include six coordinators, three specialists, five analysts, a director, a manager, and a management assistant. The screenshot below is page 220 of the approved FY 2024 budget, including 8.5 employees added to the OSI department just this year.

FY2024 Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability FTEs

Madison (Wisconsin) is the only other municipality named by these energy consulting companies as a reference. However, in terms of human resources, the city of Madison is very different from Ann Arbor. Madison has a sustainability department that employs only three staff — they are supported by an advisory committee:
https://www.cityofmadison.com/sustainability/about

Residents of Ann Arbor voted in support of a millage to fund climate action work. That millage helps fund 20.5 employees in the OSI department as well as consultant contracts like CA-11 and CA-12.


In Case You Missed It…

On my YouTube channel, you can find recordings of public meetings that are open to attend live (online or in-person) but are not made available by the City to view later. Please reach out if you have suggestions about public meetings that should be recorded. Subscribe to my YouTube channel if you would like to be alerted to new content as it gets added.
https://www.youtube.com/@a2elnel

Council Administration Committee: December 12, 2023

This is a recording I made of a Zoom audio meeting held on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 by the Ann Arbor Council Administration Committee. Video was not made available. Note that the Zoom audio quality is poor.
https://a2council.com/council-administration-committee-december-12-2023/


Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Agenda

Below is my summary of issues on the City Council Agenda this week, with links to more information about each of them. If you have comments about any of these issues, you can email all of Council at CityCouncil@a2gov.org

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting
Monday December 18, 2023 7:00PM

Ann Arbor City Hall (2nd Floor)
301 E Huron St, Ann Arbor 48104

The full agenda (including a link to the latest published PDF agenda, and instructions for dialing into the meeting) is on the A2Gov Legistar website:
https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=1062187&GUID=2E465431-BA69-45E6-99B2-2D5F86AE77CB

City Council meetings are broadcast live by CTN on Comcast (channel 16) and AT&T (channel 99) and online at a2gov.org/watchCTN
Meetings are also streamed live on the CTN YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/ctnannarbor

How to reserve public comment

People that wish to comment at a City Council meeting must sign up with the City Clerk’s office in advance. Speakers are allotted 3 minutes, with the first 15 speakers allowed to speak in a 45 minute session near the beginning of the meeting. Remaining speakers will speak at the end of the Council meeting. Public comment can be made either in person or remotely via phone/Zoom audio.

To sign up for public comment, please go to or call the City Clerk’s Office at 734-794-6140 on the day of the meeting between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. At 4:00 PM, all speakers that have signed up are randomly ordered in “priority groups”. After 4:00 PM, speakers are added to the end of the applicable priority group in the order received. No new speakers will be added to the list after 5:00 PM. For more information, visit the City Clerk’s webpage about electronic meetings, section “City Council Public Commentary Time”
https://www.a2gov.org/departments/city-clerk/Pages/Virtual-Meetings-.aspx

Questions to the Agenda

In preparation for a Council meeting, Council members can ask questions of staff about scheduled agenda items. Questions must be submitted by noon on the Wednesday before a Council Meeting, and answers are returned the next day (Thursday) by 5pm.

AC-1 (23-2074) Agenda Response Memo and eComments – December 18, 2023
This agenda item has a PDF attachment with all questions raised by Council Members, and the answers provided by staff. 

Council Members asked no questions to the agenda this week.

Communications from the Mayor

MC-1 (23-1868) Appointments – Confirmations
This appointment from the Mayor was presented at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Therese Perlowski – Leslie Science & Nature Center Board of Directors

Consent Agenda

Below is the list of items included on the Consent Agenda. If no one on Council specifically requests that an item be pulled for discussion, the whole of this list will be approved in a single vote.

CA-1 (23-2015) Resolution to Approve the Sale of the South Parcel of the Maisel Buy-Protect-Sell Property to Kristen Muelhauser for $204,000.00 (8 Votes Required)

CA-2 (23-2014) Resolution to Approve the Sale of the North Parcel of the Maisel Buy-Protect-Sell Property to Matthew Demmon for $122,000.00 (8 Votes Required)

CA-3 (23-1947) Resolution to Approve Amendment No. 1 to the Professional Services Agreement with Trace Analytical Laboratories, Inc. for Certified Laboratory Water and Wastewater Testing Services (Amendment $160,000.01, Contract Total $235,000.00)

CA-4 (23-1989) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with Erie Construction LLC for the Barton Nature Area Border to Border Trail Project and Appropriate Funding ($1,287,382.00) (8 Votes Required)

CA-5 (23-1988) Resolution to Approve An Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County, by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission Regarding Responsibilities and Cost Allocation for the Construction of the Barton Nature Area Border to Border Trail Project

CA-7 (23-1852) Resolution Approve a Construction Contract and to Ratify an Emergency Best Source Purchase Order with E.T. MacKenzie Company for Repairs to the Sanitary Sewer Main on Hilltop Dr. ($224,812.20)

CA-8 (23-2005) Resolution to Approve a General Services Agreement and to Ratify an Emergency Best Source Purchase Order with Schindler Elevator Corporation for the Water Plant Freight Elevator Jack Replacement ($446,104.00)

CA-6 (23-1977) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with C.A. Hull Co., Inc. for the East Medical Center Drive Bridge Rehabilitation and Widening Project ($10,173,757.03)

CA-9 (23-1794) Resolution to Accept a Sanitary Sewer Easement at 1300 S. Maple Road from Grace Bible Church (8 Votes Required)

CA-10 (23-1795) Resolution to Accept a Water Main Easement at 1300 S. Maple Road from Grace Bible Church of Ann Arbor, Michigan (8 Votes Required)

CA-11 (23-2019) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Elevate Energy for Administration of the Residential Rebate Program ($600,000)

CA-12 (23-2021) Resolution To Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Walker-Miller Energy Services, LLC for Administration of the Home Energy Advisor Program ($900,000)

CA-13 (23-2017) Resolution to Approve the Renewal of the City’s Contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) to provide administrative claims processing services for Group Medical and Group Pharmacy benefits, and related Stop-Loss Insurance through BCS Insurance Company for the City’s Health Care Plan on Behalf of Employees and Retirees and Their Dependents, and to Authorize the City Administrator to Execute the Necessary Documentation ($2,050,146)

CA-14 (23-2001) Resolution to Approve the City’s Contract with Delta Dental Plan of Michigan, Inc., for Claims Administration Services relating to the City’s Dental Plan through December 31, 2026 ($707,455 in 2024, $735,753 in 2025, and $765,183 in 2026)

CA-15 (23-2002) Resolution to Authorize Payments to Unum Life Insurance Company of America and to Renew Associated Group Term Life, Accident, and Disability Insurance Policies for City Employees and their Eligible Dependents, and to Authorize the City Administrator to Execute the Necessary Documentation ($615,000 in 2024, $615,000 in 2025)

CA-16 (23-2006) Resolution to Approve the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor and Teamster Civilian Supervisors, effective January 1, 2024 – December 31, 2026

CA-17 (23-2012) Resolution to Approve the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor and the Command Officers Association of Michigan, effective January 1, 2024 – December 31, 2027

CA-18 (23-2013) Resolution to Approve the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor and Police Service Specialists, effective January 1, 2024 – December 31, 2026

Public Hearings

Anyone wanting to comment on these issues may speak for 3 minutes, without having specifically reserved time. Issues subject to public hearing will also be up for a vote by Council later in the meeting.

PH-1/B-1 (23-1930) An Ordinance to Add Chapter 75 (Leaf Blowers) to Title VI of City Code (ORD-23-35)
A new ordinance will ban the use of gas-powered leaf blowers from June 1 to September 30. Use of leaf blowers will be restricted with the goal of eventually banning gas-powered blowers entirely by 2028. Fines for violation of the ordinance will be not less than $100 for a first offense and $250 for subsequent offenses.

At first reading, an amendment was approved to eliminate specific time-of-day restrictions. Leaf blowers will be subject to existing time-of-day restrictions in the City’s noise ordinance: 
https://library.municode.com/mi/ann_arbor/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TITIXPORE_CH119NOCO

PH-2/B-2 (23-1696) An Ordinance to Amend the Zoning Map, Being a Part of Section 5.10.2 of Chapter 55 of Title V of the Code of The City of Ann Arbor, Zoning of 5.9 Acres from TWP (Township District) to R4A (Multiple-Family Dwelling District), 2520 Pontiac Trail and 2540 Pontiac Trail (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 9 Yeas and 0 Nays) (ORD-23-34)
Two parcels at 2520 and 2540 Pontiac Trail will be rezoned from TWP (Township) to R4A (Multiple-Family Dwelling District, to be added to the Village of Ann Arbor Site Plan. Rezoning the additional 5.9 acres will allow the construction of 120 more housing units, as part of a larger project totaling 78.5 acres and 604 dwelling units.

The developers held a public engagement meeting for this project on March 27, 2023:
https://a2council.com/village-of-ann-arbor-resident-participation-meeting-march-27-2023/

The Planning Commission approved this rezoning on September 19, 2023:
https://a2council.com/ann-arbor-city-planning-commission-september-19-2023/

PH-3/DB-1 (23-1982) Resolution to Approve The Village of Ann Arbor Site Plan at 1710 Dhu Varren Road (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 9 Yeas and 0 Nays).
A proposed site plan adds approximately 11 acres to “The Village” development at Pontiac Trail and Dhu Varren, which will result in an additional 120 stacked apartment units in four buildings at the north side of the site. With this addition, the site will be approximately 78 acres in size. The entire site now consists of the following parcels: 1680 Dhu Varren Road, 1710 Dhu Varren Road, 2670 Pontiac Trail, 2672 Pontiac Trail, 2600 Pontiac Trail, 2540 Pontiac Trail, 2520 Pontiac Trail, 2678 Pontiac Trail, and 2682 Pontiac Trail. See PH-2/B-2 above.

Ordinances – Second Reading

In order to amend the city code, Council must vote to approve the change, via ordinance, at two Council meetings. The following proposed ordinances were approved at a previous Council meeting, and are also subject to a public hearing as listed above.

B-1 (23-1930is the same as PH-1 above
B-2 (23-1696is the same as PH-2 above

New Business – Boards and Commissions

DB-1 (23-1982is the same as PH-3 above

Ordinances – First Reading

In order to amend the city code, Council must vote to approve the change, via ordinance, at two Council meetings. The following proposed ordinances are being introduced for “first reading”. If approved, the ordinance will be voted on at a subsequent Council meeting (“second reading”), where it will also be subject to a public hearing.

C-1 (23-1973) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code), Rezoning of 53 Parcels in the Plymouth Road Area to TC1 (Transit Corridor District), City-Initiated Rezoning, (CPC Recommendation: Approval as Amended – 7 Yeas and 0 Nays)
Fifty-four (54) parcels at Plymouth Road (197 acres) are proposed to be rezoned to Transit Corridor district (TC-1). Staff originally recommended the rezoning of 45 parcels (127 acres). An extra 70 acres were added to the district by mayoral appointees on the City Planning Commission at their November 1, 2023 meeting.

The City held a public engagement meeting about this rezoning on October 12, 2023:
https://a2council.com/tc-1-plymouth-road-rezoning-public-meeting-of-october-12-2023/

The Planning Commission approved these changes on November 1, 2023:
https://a2council.com/ann-arbor-city-planning-commission-november-1-2023/

At their November 1, 2023 meeting, the Planning Commission postponed consideration of Planned Unit Development (PUD) amendments for 35.26 acres at Green Court. According to a staff memo, this project had previously been postponed twice, “due to concerns about public benefits and the PUD Supplemental Regulations.” Staff recommended another postponement to January 2024. Discussion of the PUD public benefits at Green Court was postponed and later in the meeting, Mayoral appointees on the Planning Commission simply added those 35.26 acres to the Transit Corridor zoning district. 

Commissioners also added four other addresses to the district — 2350, 2400, 2500, and 3000 Green Road — at the request of Oxford Properties (CEO is campaign donor Jeff Hauptman). During the meeting, a total of 70 acres were added to the zoning district that not been recommended by staff, were not listed on any public agenda for the commission, or presented in public engagement meetings about the TC-1 rezoning. Two written requests for exclusion from the district were ignored/denied.

C-2 (23-1983) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.15, 5.16 and 5.37 of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Banquet Hall, Personal Services, Veterinary Uses) CPC Recommendation: Denial (5 yes, 0 no)
An amendment to the Uniform Development Code has been requested Oxford Properties (CEO is campaign donor Jeff Hauptman). When this issue was discussed at the City Planning Commission, then commissioner (and current chair of the Planning Commission) Wonwoo Lee had to recuse himself, due to his employment as Chief Real Estate Officer for Oxford Companies. The amendment calls for adding “Banquet Hall” as a permitted use in all mixed-use zoning districts. Additional amendments will expand permitted uses in the Office (O) zoning district: all types of personal services, fraternity/sorority, student cooperative housing, club headquarters, community center, religious assembly, private [K-12] schools, indoor recreation as primary uses (rather than special exception), trade/industrial schools as primary uses. The amendment also separates kennels/animal boarding from veterinarian offices in the permitted use table.

C-3 (23-1990) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.16 of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Personal Scale SES) CPC Recommendation: Denial (8 yes, 0 no)
An ordinance amendment will explicitly permit placement of solar panel arrays in front yard setbacks and removes the maximum rear setback lot coverage requirements (35%) that currently applies to all accessory structures. Currently, solar arrays are considered an accessory structure subject to this term in the Uniform Development Code:

5.16.6.A.2.d
Accessory Buildings may occupy Rear Setback Areas provided that such Buildings do not occupy more than 35% of the required Rear Setback Area and are not closer than three feet to any Lot Line.

This amendment will permit the placement of personal scale solar arrays up to ten feet from the Lot Line, and allow unlimited coverage in the Rear Setback Area.

C-4 (23-2034) Prohibit City Contractors’ Inquiry Into Job Applicants’ Criminal History Until After Conditional Offer of Employment; and Require City Contractors to Document Efforts to Employ Local Persons for City Construction Contracts

This item was removed from the agenda on Dec 15, 2023.

Motions and Resolutions

The following agenda items are motions and resolutions, which are approved or rejected in a single meeting. Agenda items marked “DC” are proposed by Council members, items marked “DB” are proposed by City boards and commissions, items marked “DS” are proposed by City staff.

DC-1 (23-1808) Resolution to Recommend Approval of Issuance of a Downtown Development District Liquor License to Michigan Theater Foundation, Inc.
A downtown development district liquor license will be issued to Michigan Theater Foundation, Inc. at 603 E. Liberty St., in Ann Arbor.

The Council Liquor License Review Committee recommended approval at their December 6, 2023 meeting:
https://a2council.com/council-liquor-license-review-committee-december-6-2023/

DC-2 (23-2109) Resolution Denouncing Rising Hate and Discrimination in Ann Arbor and End to Violence in Gaza and Israel
By resolution, City Council communicates its support for Congresswoman Dingell’s November 29th statement and call for a bilateral ceasefire, additional humanitarian aid for Gaza, condemns the actions of Hamas, and calls for a release of all hostages. The resolution condemns all forms of antisemitism, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism, and Islamophobia while declaring support for all Arab, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian, and other members of the community. City Council asks the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission to engage with affected communities, to uphold the enforcement of the Non-Discrimination Ordinance, and to educate residents on how to file complaints of discrimination or harassment.

This item was removed from the agenda on Dec 16, 2023.


Additional Thoughts

This week, City Council met for an annual “planning” session. These sessions are not typically recorded, but they also often occur in locations outside of City Hall, where recording equipment is not available. This week’s planning session occurred at City Hall where recording would have been easy. They simply chose not to do it.

Below are several MLive articles reporting on what happened at this Planning session (note that these are “subscriber exclusive” stories that require an MLive subscription)

Ann Arbor may start fast-tracking developments as part of new city strategy
https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2023/12/ann-arbor-may-start-fast-tracking-developments-as-part-of-new-city-strategy.html

University of Michigan’s growth costing Ann Arbor millions in lost taxes, city says
https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2023/12/university-of-michigans-growth-costing-ann-arbor-millions-in-lost-taxes-city-says.html

Also this week: three Council Members added a resolution about Gaza and Israel to the agenda and then requested that it be deleted from the agenda. The resolution in DC-2 was added to the Council agenda on Friday. Sometime between Friday and Saturday, the sponsors of this resolution were persuaded to have it deleted entirely. To their credit, City staff complied with this request at 9:10 pm on a Saturday night. This is what the Agenda looks like now:

DC-4 Deleted from Ann Arbor City Council Agenda Dec 18 2023

Missing from that image is all details of the resolution, including its sponsors: Council Members Erica Briggs, Ayesha Ghazi-Edwin, and Linh Song. Community members have gotten confirmation from multiple Council Members that this resolution will not be considered. Council Member Briggs emailed a constituent that it was pulled because “Unfortunately, we received notes that many advocacy organizations in favor of a ceasefire were organizing to protest against it.”

This is the text of the resolution that was deleted:

Resolution Denouncing Rising Hate and Discrimination in Ann Arbor and End to Violence in Gaza and Israel

Whereas, On October 7, 2023 Hamas terrorists killed over 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped 240, including 30 children, elderly people, and pregnant women. In response to the vicious October 7 attack, Israel launched a campaign with the stated aim of completely dismantling the Hamas infrastructure that controls Gaza;
 
Whereas, Israeli forces have killed an estimated 18,000 Palestinians and injured 50,000 in Gaza as of 12/14/23 – 70 percent of the total fatalities are believed to be women and children. According to United Nations Relief and Works Agency, approximately 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 percent of the population, are internally displaced, many of them have been displaced multiple times;
 
Whereas, On December 13, the United Nations General Assembly called an emergency session and voted, by an overwhelming majority, for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire;
 
Whereas, On November 29, Debbie Dingell released a statement addressing “the rising hate in the U.S.,and calling for the continued release of all hostages, a bilateral ceasefire agreement to end the violence between Israel and Gaza, continued and significant humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza, and renewed efforts to establish a framework for lasting stability and peace in the region”;
 
Whereas, As Congresswoman Dingell further noted,“a ceasefire must set the framework for Israel, Palestine, the United States, and our democratic allies to work toward a durable two-state solution that achieves lasting peace and stability in the region, including removing Hamas from operational control of Gaza;”
 
Whereas, Ann Arbor City Council has heard from our community calls for a ceasefire and development of a framework that leads to lasting peace and stability in the region and puts a permanent end to violence, built from parties committed to a two-state solution;
 
Whereas, On November 22, over twenty Michigan State lawmakers including Representative Rheingans, Representative Brabec, Representative Morgan, Representative Conlin, signed onto a letter urging President Biden to facilitate a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas;
 
Whereas, Arab, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, and Palestinian members of the Ann Arbor community have long experienced fear, harassment, stigmatization, and threats of violence;
 
Whereas, Since October 7, these community members report heightened dehumanization, infringements on free speech, identity-based aggression, and vulnerability in Ann Arbor, fueling fear of harassment and violence;
 
Whereas, Disinformation and denials of violence and atrocities against Israelis voiced locally and online is harmful and antisemitic;
 
Whereas, Doxing of pro-Palestian activists, distortion of the violence and atrocities happening in Gaza, and disinformation is harmful to the Arab-American community and is Islamophobic/hate speech;
 
Whereas, Our neighbors are being affected by this crisis, with Ann Arbor residents expressing grief over loved ones lost, harmed, injured, displaced, and held hostage in this conflict;
 
Whereas, The City of Ann Arbor will continue to work with local, state, national law enforcement and community organizations to protect the safety, sense of security, and full civic participation of all persons, including the Arab, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian, and other members of our community; and
 
Whereas, The strength of Ann Arbor rests upon a foundation of plurality, a commitment to the unalterable truth that we are stronger when we see and seek to understand each other, even as we seek to be seen and understood ourselves.
 
RESOLVED, Ann Arbor City Council supports Congresswoman Dingell’s November 29th statement and call for a bilateral ceasefire, additional humanitarian aid for Gaza, condemns the actions of Hamas, and calls for a release of all hostages;
 
RESOLVED, That the Ann Arbor City Council condemns all forms of antisemitism, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism, and Islamophobia; and
 
RESOLVED, That the Ann Arbor City Council expresses its unwavering support for all Arab, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian, and other members of the community, each of whom has the right to worship, gather, advocate, mourn, and celebrate free from intimidation, harassment, and fear of violence;
 
RESOLVED, That the Ann Arbor City Council urges community members to recognize the grief of others, and to honor the depth and diversity of community experience; and
 
RESOLVED, Ann Arbor City Council requests the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission to engage with affected communities during this crisis, to uphold the enforcement of Chapter 12 of the Non-Discrimination Ordinance, and to educate residents on how to file complaints of discrimination or harassment in our city; and
 
RESOLVED, Ann Arbor City Council directs the City Administrator to send a copy of this resolution to Congresswoman Dingell, Senator Peters, and Senator Stabenow.
 
Sponsored by: Councilmembers Ghazi Edwin, Briggs and Song

This resolution was on a public agenda for just over 24 hours, long enough for community members – including all Council Members – to see it and assess its value. Monday night’s meeting would have been the opportunity for Council Members to raise concerns regarding its content, offer amendments to improve it, or wholly substitute new text to make it better. All of those strategies preserve the public record and allow for debate in a public meeting.

At the last Council Meeting (December 4, 2023), Mayor Taylor addressed the possibility of a resolution like this. He appeared to speak on behalf of all ten Ward representatives in declaring “The members will not today, and as I understand it, do not intend to bring a resolution of that nature.” This week, Council members Erica Briggs, Ayesha Ghazi-Edwin, and Linh Song brought “a resolution of that nature” but were quickly persuaded to pull it. It will not be introduced for Council discussion in a public meeting and all details of this version have been deleted from the public record of the agenda. At this point, if Council offers anything as a substitute, it will be a new agenda item and added late. It could be added well after public commenters would have had the opportunity to pre-register for public comment. 


Thank you for taking the time to be informed about our local government!
Elizabeth Nelson