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Mayor Stephenson Prepares To Meet His Waterloo

Mayor Stephenson Prepares To Meet His Waterloo image
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The surprise news of the last two weeks is Republican Mayor James Stephenson filing tor reelection, Following voter approval of pret'erential voting in November. Stephenson announced hte wanted to gei back fo his neglected law practice and would not seek a second term. Informed sources claim Stephenson was persuaded to run when no other candidate satisfactory to the majority of the party could be tbund. With preferent ial voting making a GOPvictory diftïeult f not impossible, otlier candidates were not easy to fmd. Squaring off against Stephenson will be Democrat Albert H. Wheeler and Human Rights Party candidate Carol Ernst. With a Democratie victory predicted by most political analysts, Ann Arbor will have its first Black mayor. Wheeler, an M.D.. is best known locally for his work with the Model Cities Policy Board and as a membei of the NAACP. The majoi issue of the spring campaign is likely lo bc money. with Stephenson aiready accusing Uw 1IR1' and Dems ofbeing "big spenders." The city lias been faced with a light budgei in the past year, requiring layoffs and a reduction of some services. The Republicana take pride In having balanced the city's budget and reduced its debt. Ai ihc same time, no money went to Social services, and linie has been available fot repairing local streets. Stephenson is likely to be severely handicapped by the Republican record of the past two years in lus bid foi rëelection. The The GOP Council was responsible tor repealing the populai $5 marijUani law. conBscating funds for a people's bailroom, uadermining the city's pewerful human rights ordinance, and cancelling the Blues and Ju Jazz Festival in Ann Arbor. Stephenson will also have to deal with the the pooi record of Council on planning matters.a subject likely lo hurí him among more traditional Republican supporters. The pro-business attitude, which brought in a number of fust food restaurants over citien opposition, approval of a long term budget plan which will widen State Street and pour money into airport development (both defeated in the past at the polls), and backing of various impopular housing and business developments in Republican neighborhoods are sure to be campaign issues. In fact, Wheeler is already saying the city needs a mayor that can represent all the citizen's needs. nol jtist those of a few. Higliteen people have filed for the five city Council positions to be elected in April. Prima ries will determine three of the races on February I 7. In the First Ward (Campus west of State Streel and Model Cities). forme r county commissioner Elizabeth Taylor will take on Bob Elton lor the Democratie nomjnation. Other candidates are David Goodman, IIRP. and Karen Graf, Republican. HRP's Frank Shoichet is once again challenging Democrat Carol Jones in the second Ward, a repeat of ihe ll)72 election which Jones won. Shoichet must first take the HRP primary, where he faces oppesition trom Richard Ankli. Robert T. McDonough is the Republican in the Second. Probably the most interesting primary, and one which the Republican Party is apparently not too happy about, is shaping up in the Third Ward. Incumbeni Robert Henry is tacing a challenge from Paul t. Wensel, who led citien opposition to a proposed shopping center at Packard and Platt Road. Henry, alongwith Stephenson and other GOP candidates in 1972, campaigned on promises to prevent the development, then proceeded to vote for ii once elected to Council. Henry 's support of the shopping center in the middle of this predominantly Republican ward made many GOPvoters ingry, and Wensel hopes to turn this anger into his own victory. While the primary winner in this ward is almost guaranteed the Council seat. some minor opposition is likely from Democrat Michael K. Broughton and IIRP Everett Guy. The city's swing ward, Fourth, has no primanes. Candidates are William Bronson, Democrat; Judy Cibson. HRP, and Ronald L. Trowbridge, Republican. In the conservative Fifth Ward. Gerald Bell is the Republican candidate. Douglas J. White is running on the Democratie ticket, and Laurie Ross lor the HRP.