Archive for the 'On the campaign trail' Category

Aug 06 2008

The Day After.

Published by under On the campaign trail

The “hangover” will probably last a few weeks…. but I know this too will pass.

The emotions that you experience losing an election run the gamut from sorrow to anger to jealousy to relief.  I will let go of the negative emotions very quickly as they are “cancerous” and sap your energy.  I promise to learn from this experience and quickly move on to whatever the next step will be.  I need some time to sort that out. I plan to stay involved in the public process going forward so that I do not have to re-educate my self again.

I have started a small flame of “public awareness” that I want to keep alive in some way.  That process will not be entirely my decision to make.  My family, friends and trusted advisers will have to help me sort that out.  If there is any one thing that defeated me it is voter apathy, VA, and I promise to keep the fight to overcome VA alive in some way.  Over 800 hundred people voted for me. I was beaten by a margin of 400 out of 2000 votes cast in a ward with 17,000 registered voters.  We can do better than that.   The way I see it I have chance to get 15,800 votes in the next election.

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Aug 05 2008

Election Day

Published by under On the campaign trail

Wow…Up at 5:00 without an alarm!  Then, my wife Jan and I made a mad dash to get  my signs pulled up from around the Ward and distributed out to the 9 polling places.   Nothing to do now but wait.  Sort of like watching paint dry but I can get caught up on my campaign accounting.

I will get back to you after the polls close.

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Aug 04 2008

The Day Before the Election

Published by under On the campaign trail

I slept pretty well last night.  I guess my personal promise to introduce myself to each resident of the ward has had an added benefit or two.   I have lost 5 pounds and I am sleeping  better despite the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I could have done much better.  I have learned a great deal about how to manage a campaign, salesmanship and myself.  Next time I will be sharper and harder to beat.

The real benefit from “Walking the Ward” is that I have met so many of you personally and discovered parts of the ward I never knew existed.  Local candidates have an advantage over candidates in state and national elections.  Local candidates can discover what the “real” issues are in the ward and get to know their constituents in a way that other candidates can only “pretend” to do.  I have “felt” the problems good and bad.

Having covered more ground than any candidate in Ward 2,  I can assure you the  tangible problems in the ward go way beyond building heights, compost container discussions and other more mundane issues.  They have touched me in a profound way that I never could have imagined or dreamed.  The personal revelations came from reading “Shut-Off” notices posted on doors and from abandoned houses and homes with windows missing.  They slammed into me  from knocking on doors hanging from a hinge and weathered wood that it is too late to paint.  Ward 2 is probably one of the most affluent wards in the City but some of our residents are feeling the pain of lost jobs and even…..home foreclosures.  We can do better but first we must open our eyes.

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Aug 02 2008

“Productivity & Perfomance” v “Status & Credentials”

Published by under On the campaign trail

There is no doubt my opponent is running on his resume.  His campaign material shouts it out.  What he won’t address is why the Mayor and the Council majority are working so hard to get him elected? Hmmm?  I have been walking all over the ward this last week and I am getting to know the mail carriers in many of our neighborhoods.  We often joke that I could help deliver some of their mail!

Our postal carriers  are delivering an 8.5 by 11 inch sheet for my opponents listing his credentials (many from 30 years ago) and I am hand-delivering my energy, passion, commitment and a love for my home town.  I will deliver for you to council an independent analytical mind that asks the right questions.

Like my opponent, I do have a  Masters Degree.  Mine is in business with accounting and financing concentration from a “Blue Collar” school earned at night while I was working two jobs in the 90’s.  His is from an Ivy League School earned in the 70’s.

My energy and passion will deliver to council the type of person you need that is willing to roll up his sleeves, get his hands dirty and tackle the tough issues with your input.  My opponent appears more ready to use his pedigree to make decisions for you with the Mayor and the other handpicked members of council.

It is Your Voice and Your Ann Arbor.

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Jul 23 2008

Planning & Zoning Meeting

Published by under On the campaign trail

I attended a Planning & Zoning, P&Z,  meeting at City Hall yesterday.  The meeting was conducted By Jeff Kahan, Matt Kowalski and Alexi (I did not catch her last name).  Only two members of the Planning Commission attended, Ethel Potts and Jean Carlberg. Also in attendance was a local architect, Alice Roberts.  This was a very talented group and the discussion  technical at times.  I was surprised I actually knew what they were talking about most of the time!  There is a great deal to learn.

The Committee was trying to deal with the average setback issue.  You may recall a few weeks ago, the Planning Department wanted to rewrite code so that average setbacks are eliminated with only Minimum and Maximum setbacks established for R1,  Single Family Residential.  As you can guess this might affect a few streets in the 2nd Ward so I was very motivated to understand this very complicated issue. Not much was decided, except that further study is necessary.  I will keep track of this issue as it works its way through the approval process so I will keep you posted.

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Jul 23 2008

My First Television Interview

Published by under On the campaign trail

I had my first television interview yesterday for a local program shown on the Cable Television Network, CTN.  The production “crew” ( i.e Dan Reeves) set up all his equipment in my den so I was feeling very comfortable.   Dan Reeves was also the interviewer.  Dan has a very relaxed style that puts you instantly at ease.  We covered a variety of subjects that will do a great job of getting my message across to the voters, I hope.  Who knows? I have never been interviewed before.  I did not have any “make up” on so who knows how I am even going to look.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.  I will let you know when it is going to be broadcast.

Tonight I have a live “debate” with my opponent on CTN also. This should be interesting.  I don’t think I have ever watched a debate for City Council so I cannot imagine it will affect the election much,  but your guess is a good as mine.  I am not a politician so I don’t try to put the correct spin on things.  I just call things as I see them, and I am motivated to vote for what is best for the city I love.   You will not agree with everything I say or do, but I guarantee you will know why I decided the way I did.

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Jun 27 2008

“Best & Brightest”

Published by under On the campaign trail

There is a grease board on the wall in Systems Planning at Larcom that staff use to keep track of who is “in” or “out” at any given time. Staring at the board prior to my meeting yesterday with Craig Hupy, (rhymes with “guppy”) Manager of Systems Planning I tried to figure out what all these Managers, Coordinators, Analysts and Senior Engineers had in common. My initial impression was that after the “Big Bang” reorganization the City went through four years ago, the people responsible for putting the jigsaw puzzle back together simply lost interest while there were still 8 “extra” pieces that did not seem to fit into the puzzle. Out of time and out of money they just lumped these disparate offices into a corner and grabbed a “senior”, Senior Project Manager, Craig Hupy and made him Manager.

As usual my superficial analysis was for lack of a better word, “superficial” and after an hour of visiting with Craig I learned that the “extra pieces” indeed have something in common…they were critical pieces in the reorganization that demanded the best and brightest and my guess is that reorganization actually started with Systems Planning and worked outward.

A more astute observer would have noticed that the color of the “8 pieces” is Green and actually that is the common denominator of these various offices; Energy, Water Quality, Solid Waste, Storm Water, Forestry and Natural resources and indeed they were staffed with the best and the brightest! How lucky we are to have staff dedicated to disciplines other cities only dream about. Digging deeper into Craig’s background I learned that his “real passion” is pipes! What better qualifications could you have in a municipal project engineer? I suspect that instead of watch at retirement we will have to buy him Backhoe!

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Jun 17 2008

And Miles to Go before I Sle……

Published by under On the campaign trail

Watching the national campaign closely over the past 8 months has given me a great deal of respect for the amount of stamina that it takes to effectively mount a serious political campaign, and then if elected to keep up with the demands of the office.  Witness Obama and Clinton with their cross country trips with constant jet lag, endless town meetings, debates, necessary fundraising dinners, high pressure newspaper interviews and strategy meetings not to mention keeping up with the ordinary duties of the office for incumbents or “day job” for the challengers.  Politics is not the job for the faint of heart.

On a much smaller scale and closer to home, I am lucky that I have great health, “young” legs, a supportive family and numerous motivated supporters, but I must admit that the demands of the trying to run an effective campaign have pushed my limits.  There is always something to do or write.  I have tried to use some of the time management techniques I have acquired over the years but there always seems to be something else to do.  Tonight  I came to the realization that I have to accept that I must prioritize, accept that I have limits and not worry when I begin to think of one more thing I need to do before I go to sleep at night.  There will always be one more thing!  Good Night! I can post this in the morning.

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Jun 16 2008

A “People Person”

Today I had the opportunity to meet with two members of the Ann Arbor Fire Department union. We had what I felt was an an excellent discussion of my background and personal philosophy and why I felt I would be the best candidate for the City Council position. As a young lieutenant in the Air Force, I quickly learned that the only real “assets” that any organization possesses are its people. I saw first hand how “good” people made up for “bad” equipment everyday. First, our enemy in Viet Nam showed that despite being outnumbered, out gunned and out supplied they could hold their own against a supposedly superior enemy by working harder and being smart. 1000’s of miles away, behind the Iron Curtain, the Communists in the Soviet Union, another “Super Power” was able to bluff us into believing that they were a “Super Power for 40 years before we were able to unmask the fraud!

These experiences convinced me that when I get to be in charge of my own organization, military or civilian, that I would conduct myself with the following inviolate priorities:

1. Put People First! Hire the best and brightest!

2. Train, Train, Train!! and then train some more.

3. Equip them with the best equipment money can buy.

This personal priority list has served me well whether running an Air Force Squadron or small business and I am sure it will work with police and fire department. I will never deviate from these priorities. Our recent discussions on spending $42M for a new municipal complex reminded me of my personal priority and it is unfortunate that certain members of City Council consider a building more important than the people that occupy it. A building cannot respond to a 911 call. Only police can. We need guaranteed “feet on the street”.

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Jun 03 2008

Our most important resource

Published by under On the campaign trail

I was more than a bit envious as I sat with Laura Rubin the Executive Director of the Huron River Watershed Council yesterday. I failed to conceal my outright jealousy as I looked out the window of her office and observed first hand the beauty of the Huron River and Argo Pond, a small part of Laura’s domain, that extends through 7 counties and 67 separate local government agencies. Wow! I have always admired individuals that have dedicated their entire life to some narrow but useful spectrum of life’s opportunities and managed to make an occupation out of an avocation. Laura certainly fits that mold. I imagine that Laura rarely views her daily routine as “work”.

The Huron River evokes many fond childhood memories for me. As a very young child I can recall going to the submerged bridge at the Arb and driving out and washing my father’s car with him. I think it was a 1938 Packard that my father was so proud of. (I wish I still had it!) What a spectacle to see a car “floating” in the river. I know now that washing cars is not the best use of this natural treasure, but it was an accepted practice that smart people later figured out was not sustainable. Most Ann Arborites will not know what I am talking about when I discuss the submerged bridge, but Laura knew exactly what and where it was. It is gone now so don’t try to find it. Later, I spent more hours than you can imagine in high school with my best friend in a canoe with bow and arrow out near Dixboro trying to land the biggest carp in the river only to complain about the slime we got on our hands as we removed the arrows. My friend Peter was so good with the bow that I suspect it has taken till now for the carp population to recover.

Whether you use it or not, as resident of Ann Arbor the Huron River is inextricably linked to our lives and enriches our quality of life even if you only drink it. As individuals we need to become aware that we are only “borrowing” resources like the Huron from nature and if every citizen tried to leave it a little better than they found it, the cycle can continue.

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