Press enter after choosing selection

Mayoral Candidates Tell Why They're Running

Mayoral Candidates Tell Why They're Running image
Parent Issue
Copyright Protected
Rights Held By
Donated by the Ann Arbor News. © The Ann Arbor News.
OCR Text

Editor's note: Aun Arbor voters will go to the polls on April 7 to elect a mayor and new city conncil. Prior to that electton, The News will carry statements ; from the candidates, outlining their pro grams and qualifications. Today's state: ments are from the three candidates for mayor: James H. Stephenson, Republi can, who is seeking re-election; Albert H. Wheeler, Democrat; and Carol Ernst, Human Rights Party. "With rising unemployment, two digit inflation, and a serious energy crisis the next two years will be very difficult for city government. A large part of our efforts over the past two years have been directed toward cleaning up the mess in City Hall, eliminating inefficiency and waste, and in insuring the city didn't spend' more than its income. We have made excellent progress; however, the dismal general economie situation makes it imperative that these efforts be continued. This is no time to turn city government over to inexperienced persons. Neither of my opponents has held an elective office in our city, county, state or federal governments. Neither has the depth of knowledge and management skills needed to provide effective leadership in these critical times. Further, both opposition candidates come from "big spender" political parties. We don't need "big spenders" pushing up our future tax bilis. "Over the past two years we also have made the city safer and improved police-citizen relations. It has been especially gratifying to observe the sharp drop in the rate of violent crimes in the city. This decline has been achieved through organization of the Burglary Squad as well as stepped up efforts by 1 all of the pólice. "The, Anti-Rape Advisory Board, and the expanded Community Service Officer j Program to handle non-criminal calis, have done much to improve 1 citizen relations. Morale in the Pólice Department also has improved 1 bly over the past two years. Neither of I my opponents has demonstrated the skill I or ability needed to lead the Pólice I Department nor to have harmonious 1 lations between the Department and City Hall. If there is any single area of the Mayor' s job where both of my opponents would be very weak it is in dealing harmoniously with the pólice. "Qg3 of the worse messes in city governnt left by the inept DemocraticHRP coalition was public housing. We (CONT'D ON Wm PAGE) . had to rescue the Public Housing 1 mission from the brink of bankruptcy. The commission had failed to collect untold amounts of rent from the tenants and had allowed the projects to deteriórate badly. Today the Housing Commission is isolvent and is able to provide the tenants with the services they need. "A great deal of effort also has gone into reorganizing City Hall and improving efficiency. Our new city administrator, Sylvester Murray, has done a splendid job. The improved efficiency was most noticeable in the clearing of city streets during the recent heavy snowstorm. We had our worst snowstorm in the city's history and the best job ever in clearing the snowf rom thé streets. "There have been very serious problems this winter with potholes in city streets. We have taken a number of major steps to correct this chronic problem. We authorized a large bond issue to provide money for action over DemocraticHRP opposition. We alsp have our new 99-Holes telephone reporting system so citizens can get speedy service on the worst potholes. In addition, we are moving to correct the underlying problems. "We also have made great progress in increasing citizen input into major decisión processes. The spending of Federal Revenue Sharing funds is an excellent example. During the last days of the Democratic-HRP coalitions control over the city, they met and divided up the Federal Revenue Sharing funds for political patronage. You have paid for this waste through poorer City services. "In contrast, our procedures for deciding on how to spend the Revenue Sharing funds have been open and under citizen control with city-wide hearings. Our procedures have been set forth as a model for other cities to follow by the Federal government. "We also passed a broad comprehensive Campaign Reform Ordinance to better regúlate elections and political fund raising. We were one of the nation's leaders in campaign reform at the local level. "We live in very precarious times and we need experienced leadership in City Hall. We have shown clearly over the past two years our willingness to act and act decisively to meet problems as they arise. We all know what kind of a City we want Ann Arbor to be over the coming years. I will do my utmost to fulfill this dream and these goals." Stephenson, 48, a local patent attorney, was first elected to Council in 1968 and was elected Mayor in 1973. He lives at 2217 Delaware Dr. Wheeler "I want to be mayor of Ann Arbor because I want to serve a community where a majority of its citizens has shown that it cares enough to right things that are wrong; to elimínate conditions that offend their sense of fairness; and, who, if given the chance, will elect an imaginative, courageous mayor to do something about them. Ann Arbor is such a town and I can provide that type of leadership. "For the past 25 years I have been involved deeply in creating changes that have made Ann Arbor a more desirable place for its many diverse people to live. I have been at the forefront of efforts to gain equality for those who were the least equal, the blacks and the poor of every race. I have seen the end of blatant I discrimination that once was taken for granted, and now is unthinkabie. "I have always asserted that the fight for equality, social justice, personal dignity, and a realistic hope for the future is not just a cause for a racial minority or the very poor. These are the rights of all citizens. Equality and justice are causes for every resident who, directly or indirectly, pays city taxes, some of which are quietly manipulated to subsidize the special privileges of a few. Equality of City services is a cause for every resident whose leaf and snow remoyal, needed street repairs and overflowing sewers are at the bottom of the list in City Hall. It is a cause for each child who walks to school on unsafe sidewalks, past shopping centers pouring traffic out across curb cuts that should be closed. "Equality is a cause for every resident whose neighborhood has become a prize for developers; for any senior citizen entitled to a homestead tax credit, which the City could help him or her obtain, but does not; and for any citizen who is unable to compete for City Hali's attention with the special interest attorneys present every day in City Hall. This equality demands that each citizen should have an advocate at City Hall dedicated to the basic principies that the people are supreme and have a right to be kept fully informed of the state of the City, to enable citizens to make informed judgments about future City actions. The elected public officials should be these advocates. "As mayor, I will insist that Council exercise its responsibility of setting clear policies and establishing priorities as a guide for City administration and I will involve citizens more effectively in their government. "The many factors which led the Republican mayor to label Democrats as fiscally irresponsible and falsely proclaim Republicans as fiscally responsible are too complex to deal with in this statement. That City Hall has handled fiscal matters rather irresponsible is hardly debatable. My limited research suggests that Republicans, by what they did and did not do, have been more irresponsible than Democrats. I will have a separate factual campaign release on City fiscal problems. -■ A crucial issue in this period of national economie crisis is how and where can the City obtain sufficient revenues to provide essential services. The answer is not simple, but City Hall cannot limit its possible sources to local property tax. In addition to lobbying in Lansing and I Washington for increased revenues, we I must modify the way we budget_and_ compensaron for City services to the University through direct negotiations or by demanding compensation directly from the state. "Later, I will state my positions on overdue street repairs; use of Community Development Revenue Sharing Funds; City growth policy; reduction of exorbitant rents; correction of water and flooding problems from the Allen Creek and other drains; local crime problems; and the Republican approved Capital Improvement Budget and Plan to spend about 135 milïion dollars over the next six years. "If elected mayor, I promise to bring fairness, equality and true fiscal responsibility and accountability to City Hall and to provide the leadership that may rekindle the sense of community pride that has suffered greatly in recent years. Wheeler, 59, is an associate professor of microbiology and dërmatology at the University. He lives at 234 Eighth St. Ernst "Now that preferential voting has made vote splitting a dead issue, the HRP mayoral candidate can campaign as a valid alternative to the outworn politics of a Democrat or Republican. I want people to know I am serious about this campaign and will be trying to break the silence the two other parties maintain on certain crucial issues. I would also like people to consider what it would mean to have an HRP mayor. "Our present system of government, supported by the two major parties, has brought us to near economie disaster. No matter how liberal or conservative a Democrat or Republican is, they remain tied to this system and continue to use archaic system methods. It should be clear by now that this system cannot cure itself. It is dependent on continually expanding markets and making huge profits at the expense of powerless groups. We need different methods, ones i based on concepts such as cooperative nwnershin rnmnumit rnntrnl wdEker, I control, and sensitivity to fninority concerns. "Solutions must begin at the local level. For instance, the pólice department must come under community control and their budget, now over one-fourth of the total city budget, has to be cut. Rent control would be a first step in correcting the absurdly expensive and continually rising real estáte market. The entire labor relations practices of city administration should be changed. Affirmative action in hiring and promotions would mean women and minorities in all the places they aren't now, like the administrative staff as well as on construction projects. The city should initiate low and moderate income cooperative housing projects and should 5Rcbiff%e low and moderate income cooperative housing rojects and shouldencourage minority COVF'R PLEASE) RAL CANDIDATES . . . "and cooperative busmesses. "The national corruption and bankruptcy is expressed locally in the priorities of the city's representaties, most of whom are upper-class white men. The i mayor has the power of appointment to all city boards and commissions. The AATA, for example, is made up of people who don't ride buses or drive buses. Even though most riders are young, female or members of minorities the current board members are all over 25 and white, with only one female. Appointments to the AATA and all other boards by an HRP mayor would be quite different and I would work to replace the appointment system itself, instituting one I that directly involved the community. "These kinds of changes are not I enough by themselves even though they Iprovide concrete benefits. Only when I they are implemented as part of an onI going effort to radically change our econnmiP nnlitinal. and cultural systems Irom profit-orientation to worker, consumer, and community orientation will human needs be really met in our society. "Especially during economie crises the interests of workers, minorities, and women historically are swept under the rug. A vote for a radical feminist blue collar unionist for mayor at this time would show that you want those interests to be heard and used when decisions that affect all of us are made. "You know something now of my record and priorities. You know that HRP either alone or in coalition with community groups has consistently initiated people-oriented legislation and activities, such as extensión of the Human Rights Ordinance and insistence on its enforcement, support of city workers during negotiations, community control and .funding of day care, consumer tion preferential voting, anti-rape ures, and the Ad Hoc Committee to Stop ERIM War Research. "Consider the choices. Vote for the candidate and party who stand for radical major change and for the interests of werkers, women, gays, minorities, consumers, the young and elderly and the handicapped." While working as a bus driver and dispatcher for the Ann Arbor, Transportation Authority during the past 3% years, Ernst has been active in AFSCME Local 693 on various committees, as a steward, and is now chief steward. She's also been a school bus driver, substitute school teacher, housemother at Michigan Girls' Training School, and a waitress. Since 1968, she has worked on feminist projects and issues and has been active in Ann Arbor's Gay Movement for two yearshesSOandü sa33 Main.