Al Wheeler (Democrat)
The most critical race this year is the Mayor's. Rabid conservative James Stephenson, leader of the GOP pack, is seeking another two year term to continue Ann Arbor's return to the Dark Ages.
Elected two years ago by a minority following vote-splitting between Democrats and the Human Rights Party, Stephenson and cohorts went on to turn the city over to bankers, developers, landlords and the Chamber of Commerce. If you didn't play golf on the right greens, you were treated with contempt by GOP Council members and city officials under them.
Even as their majority deteriorated with the loss of the Fourth Ward last year (Democrat Jaimie Kenworthy beat the Republicans rising star, William Colburn), the GOP ignored their declining popularity and rushed forward with plans to pave over Ann Arbor. Rather than bring the city together, as Stephenson had promised during his campaign, the Republican Council not only cut out the left/liberals, but alienated many moderates.
Now, with this year's election only a week away, voters are being offered a choice between Democrat Al Wheeler a black civil rights activist and HRP's Carol Ernst, a lesbian and blue collar worker. Since referential voting has largely ended the potent vote-splitting, a vote for the HRP candidate would probably not endanger the city with a return to Republican rule. Carol Ernst has no possible chance of winning, so some people may choose to vote for her first, and make Democrat Wheeler their second choice. But for such people making that second choice is viral to shutting out the GOP. Stephenson had 48 percent of the vote two years ago, just short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to win even with preferential. In a race that is again likely to be close, voters who make a first choice for Ernst and either make no second choice for Wheeler or write in an alternative second choice could serve to put Lord Jim back in the driver's seat. However, the SUN is not endorsing Ernst even with preferential voting. We support the concept of a third party - an alternative to both major capitalist parties - but HRP falls far short of our expectations. While its platform contains ideals we accept, its tactics for implementing these goals are often irresponsible, alienating to many potential supporters, and harmful to the city as a whole.
During the SUN's interview with Ernst, she supported a number of views we believe represent the most serious problems with the current HRP. She suggested that it was necessary to make primarily an avante-garde radical statement through the electoral process, regardless of the practical consequences. She supports, without exception, that all Democrats and Republicans are alike. This view blinds many radicals to individual and very critical differences between various local Democrats and Republicans. Therefore, she is supporting the idea of writing in an "alternative" second choice in the mayor's race since it would rake "nu difference" who is elected. With the possibility that only a few votes could make a tremendous difference for Ann Arbor in the next two years, such a position cannot be condoned.
Which leads into our choice for the mayor's seat, Democrat Al Wheeler. Wheeler has an excellent chance of winning people like those who read the SUN turn out in large numbers on April 7th to take action against the GOP.
The SUN's interview and our dealings with Al Wheeler have shown him to be a warm sincere person with a deep concern for all the diverse viewpoints represented in Ann Arbor. His campaign has stressed essential human services, people oriented growth and a revamping of city hall. Although by no means a radical, he is serious about working towards a number of reforms we fully support. Of course, not all his ideas are equally agreeable to us, but compared to Stephenson we know he will be a qualitative change for the city. While we disagree with Al's specific objections to the Rent and Day Care proposals, we cannot question his very real historical commitment to these causes.
But ultimately, the Democratic party is not the solution to the problems this country faces. Their alliances with wealthy interests and existing power structures (especially on the national level) will prevent the Dems from taking the full range of steps needed to socialize the system. Evidence of this is apparent even in this year's mayoral race, where internal racism has prevented the Democrats from mounting the highly visible, effective campaign needed to guarantee Wheeler's victory. Campaign contributions have dropped from previous levels in the mayoral race apparently because Wheeler is black.
But, at present, certain Democrats offer programs which will make the city move in the right direction. Radical and alternative institutions will be allowed to flourish without interference, and in some cases, may even receive city assistance. We believe such institutions have far more potential for radicalizing the population than an emphasis on rhetoric or "radical ideas." Electing Wheeler won't solve all Ann Arbor's problems. Even with his progressive stands on issues, we all must keep pressure on him so he continues pushing for the changes we need. But unlike the current GOP mayor, this Democrat is amenable to our efforts. Democrat Al Wheeler is our first and only choice for mayor.
-The SUN Collective
David Goodman FIRST WARD (Human Rights Party)
Rent control and day care are central issues in this ward which contains major portions of the city's black and student "ghettoes," and were the determining factors in the SUN's endorsement of David Goodman. He is the only candidate in the First Ward backing all three ballot issues.
Although we have been critical of the Human Rights Party, Goodman is one of the most practical and responsible people still remaining active in HRP. His contacts with us both as a writer and party spokesperson indicate he is rooted in reality, shown by his public statements that he personally will cast a second choice vote for Al Wheeler in the mayor's race for the good of the city as a whole.
Like all HRP candidates, Goodman s supporting such issues as community control of police, limited growth with an emphasis on low income housing, and reorganization of City Hall and city priorities. His commitment to these goals is backed by active organizing work in Ann Arbor, including opposition to a campus McDonalds and the war research institute, ERIM.
Goodman's Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Taylor, has also proved her administrative abilities during a two year stint as county commissioner, and has her radical credentials together. Her intense concentration on details of city issues speaks highly of her dedication as a potential Council member. These together could make her a highly effective legislator.
But certain stands Taylor has taken during her campaign are deserving of criticism. Her attacks on both the rent control and child care ballot issues are partially based on distortions (see stories on day care and rent control on the next page). In fact, during her primary she voiced no support for rent control of any kind, stating it dried up the housing supply. Her opposition to the Day Care proposal is based on the unrealistic notion that "organizations" shouldn't be funded, because that only "creates bureaucracy." Particularly sad has been her attack on the recent Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) strike at the University of Michigan. Publicly terming the organizers "immature," and the strike as a mere "demonstration" serves to undermine the union to the benefit of University administrators.
Taylor's positions on many issues are good. but her highly individualistic opinions do not guarantee the necessary responsiveness to First Ward residents or the city as a whole. We believe Goodman is the best choice for first ward voters. Goodman's chances are good in this ward which HRP lost by only 165 votes last year. Republican candidate Karen Graff is expected to run a poor third.
Carol Jones SECOND WARD (Democrat)
Somehow, controversy follows Frank Sloichet's campaigns like rats did the Pied Piper, and we don't think it's simply a case of bad luck. Rather than offering a positive alternative, Shoichet has too often stooped to backroom dealing and backstabbing so typical of traditional politics and alienating to most voters. The current campaign has been no exception. Shoichet got himself on the ballot, but not by turning out supporters during the primary. In the process of getting a somewhat questionable ordinance passed allowing himself to be substituted for primary winner Richard Ankli. Shoichet ended up looking worse than the Democrats he was attempting to discredit.
Democrat Carol Jones is a proven leader after two years on Council. Well versed on issues and n tune with the special interests of the student fit led Second Ward, she rates far above Shoichet. Jones has worked well under a difficult GOP Council, and should do even better in the future working with the HRP-Democratic majority we hope to see gain power April 7th.
Jones is the only Democrat supporting all three ballot proposals, and was instrumental in setting up a public forum at City Hall to publicize them. However, she must now live up to her campaign promises and actively initiate change. In the past two years, she has introduced little legislation, pointing out it would only be defeated by the Republican majority. After this election, she should have a chance to work with a more cooperative Council, and excuses will no longer be acceptable for not implementing such programs as police reorganization, adequate funding for community services, or pushing for enforcement of existing laws like unit pricing or the human rights ordinance.
The third candidate is Robert McDonough, a business administration major supporting rent control, voter registration and consumer rights. The contradictions between his personal stands and Ann Arbor's Republican party are, to say the least, peculiar. Again. Republicans have no chance in this ward, but Jones will need voter turnout to win in what could be a close race.
Everett Guy THIRD WARD (Human Rights Party)
The Third Ward is solidly Republican, and the Democrats have not even come close to taking the seat, even last year when the Packard-Platt shopping center controversy was raging. Robert Henry Jr., Stephenson's right hand man, should take the Third easily.
Democrat Michael Broughton is a nice guy, but a bit vague on issues. His quiet mannerisms have made him fade to the rear in this three way race.
Since there is no chance of vote splitting here, we are backing Human Rights Party candidate Everett Guy. Not an HRP activist, Guy is new to the electoral scene and brings with him a fresh approach. He sums up his politics by saying:
"I don't eat lettuce or grapes, I sleep with other men, I run a day care center, and l've been living with a cat for three years. "
Guy's pleasant sense of humor captivates listeners, but when he talks, what he has to say is dead serious. He has also indicated he will vote for Wheeler in the mayor's race as a second choice, separating him from those elements in the HRP of whom we have been critical. If you live in the third ward. don't be discouraged by the outcome for this Council seat. Your votes are essential Tor the ballot issues and the mayor's race.
William Bronson- FOURTH WARD (Democrat)
The Fourth Ward is probably the second priority race in this year's election. essential to an HRP-Democratic majority. A loss in this ward would be a particular problem on the city budget, which requires seven votes to change once submitted to Council by the city administrator. It would also increase the chances for a Republican majority in the future. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are considered to have a clear majority in this ward. While Democrats may have a slight edge in population, conservatives tend to be more likely to show up at the polls. The other problem in this ward has been vote-splitting between Democrats and HRP, causing a Republican to be elected with less than 50 percent of the vote.
William Bronson is by no means as left/liberal as some of the other Democrats running this year. He is, however, supporting voter registration and day care. He also talks about changing city spending priorities and limiting growth. Once elected, he is likely to vote with the rest of the Dems. Under the leadership of Al Wheeler, Bronson should be quite acceptable.
His chances should be helped along by the Republican, Ronald Trowbridge, a libertarian who may not even be acceptable to many traditionally Republican voters. HRP candidate Judy Gibson has mostly receded into the background in this race.
FIFTH WARD-NO ENDORSEMENT
In the Fifth Ward, we are not endorsing any of the three candidates. Both Democrat Douglas White and Republican Gerald Bell fall deep into the conservative political philosophy. In fact, even were White elected, it is not entirely clear he would vote along with his Democratic colleagues. We are also not able to endorse HRP candidate Laurie Ross, primarily because of her naive stand on the mayoral race. Ross is intent on making an "alternative" second choice, a course which could lead directly to the reelection of Republican James Stephenson should enough people follow it. Ross says she doesn't see any difference between the Democrat and Republican candidates.
However, this newcomer to electoral politics does have some points in her fav-
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or. Ross, at 19, spent three years working with Youth Liberation and is currently involved in a feminist theatre group. Her stress during the election has been day care, care, and its effect on creating a positive environment for young people.
Like the Third Ward, the Fifth is considered a Republican stronghold, with only a slim possibility for the conservative Democrat to take it. But don't let that keep you from the polls if you live there. Your vote is crucial to the mayoral race and the ballot issues.
BALLOT ISSUES- YES! On Rent Control, Day Care, Voter Registration
We are supporting all three ballot issues in this election. Of course, we are not naive enough to believe that housing problems will suddenly go away, or that day care will be available for every young person that needs it just because these issues pass. They are only first steps in the right direction.
For more on rent control and day care, see pages 14 & 15. On voter registration, the law will provide for up to 600 registrars who can go door-to-door, a procedure much needed in the student areas. In the last two years, the GOP has attempted to make registration difficult in these areas, thus giving their party an advantage. By passing this amendment, people can take registration out of the hands of politicians and guarantee that everyone has equal access to their right to vote.