Local in Ann Arbor Politics
When I began this blog (the first post is dated April 14, 2009), it was not with the explicit aim of writing about politics in the narrow sense. It was intended as a celebration and an examination of our local community. But as I said, “It is also about how our town will face the challenges in our future.” Unfortunately, local politics is at the heart of that commitment. Unavoidably, coverage of local races and the workings of local government has crept in. (I have stayed pretty much with City Council and have not so far attempted to cover other local governments like Washtenaw County or the Ann Arbor Public Schools.) Since our community has been careening from crisis to crisis, it seems that for the last few months the conduct of council has become the major theme. I hope that this can abate so that other topics can be considered.
There are some pitfalls to maintaining a political blog. One is that readers may question the blogger’s motivation. So much political discourse these days is “spun” and selective that we have grown accustomed to discounting much of what is written as simply manipulative. Of course, I have my point of view and very definitely a vision of where we should be going, and I feel privileged to be able to express it. But I also wish to adhere to some journalistic standards in my writing. So I’ve come to a point where I want to lay down some open guidelines for how I will be covering politics.
I will admit to being something of a political junkie. As I have written earlier, I became involved in local Democratic politics within the first month of arriving in Ann Arbor. I have served on a number of important committees and on the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners (1997-2004). When I left the BOC I had every intention of getting out of politics altogether, but the dire state of my beloved adopted hometown drew me back in. It is just impossible to be concerned about a community without addressing the decision-making process in government. There are too many consequences to what is done in City Hall. I ran for council in 2008 and came within a hairsbreadth of winning. I’ll admit that I have often entertained the thought of a rematch over the last year. But I came to the conclusion some weeks ago that becoming a candidate again would conflict with my true objective, that of fostering a successful local community in Ann Arbor. On January 11 I sent out a press release announcing that I would not run for office this year. This non-news was not picked up by the general media. As the press release says,
“I ran for Council in 2008 because I was very concerned about a number of directions that the Mayor and Council majority were taking the city. I remain concerned about those issues, but believe that I will be more effective as a citizen advocate rather than as a candidate.”
Especially because another political blogger has recently announced her candidacy, I am repeating the announcement here. I will not be a candidate for any office in 2010.
I may support candidates in local races. But I don’t intend to use this blog as a platform for those campaigns. I will not endorse candidates through this blog. If I do write about a specific race, I will attempt to be reasonably even-handed. I will not engage in personal attacks (though I may certainly comment on persons) and I will delete or edit comments that are personal attacks.
All that said, you are likely to hear a good deal more from me about our city council and its decisions. I will also continue commenting on the mechanisms of governance. But I hope that those observations can be taken at face value, and not merely as “political”.
UPDATE: Talk about blogging as an entry to politics, I thought this story on AnnArbor.com about the former A2Politico’s campaign for mayor was extraordinary. (That’s Pat Lesko, who is now maintaining her blog with open support for her campaign.) I can’t imagine this story making it to the old Ann Arbor News. Red meat, anyone?Explore posts in the same categories: Basis, politics