Alice Liberson is running for Ann Arbor City Council in the 3rd Ward. Here is the candidate's submission for the 2018 WEMU Soapbox Summer.
Hello. I’m Alice Liberson, and I’m running to represent the people of the 3rd ward in Ann Arbor City Council. I am a retired veterinarian and former owner of DogmaCatmantoo. Before that, I worked in market research and strategic planning for over 15 years, valuable experience for the work of council.
Ann Arbor is a great place to live, but our growth spurt is bringing problems to the surface, including pressures on the environment, infrastructure and affordable housing.
City Council has the power to make decisions affecting these critical issues. But the absolute majority controlling council imposes their priorities when shaping our future. They seem more interested in developers and the people that they want to move here than the people who are already here. I am a political newcomer. I am not part of any bloc or alliance. My only loyalties will be to independent thinking and the people of the 3rd ward.
Let’s take a look at the record.
Affordable housing is a priority to Council and the community, and we all acknowledge there has been minimal progress. At the recent League of Women Voters debate, my opponent said if the sale of the library lot to Core Spaces goes through, we will have 5 million dollars for affordable housing, and could create 200 to 500 units of affordable housing. Really? That’s $10,000 to $25,000 per nit. If this is true, why are they willing to pay Core Spaces 1.5 million dollars for nine units of housing, or $162,000 per unit. Someone needs to check their math.
Council majority makes many such false claims in an attempt to take credit for things they have not accomplished. For example, we are not doing everything we can to clean up the Gelman Plume or to combat climate change. I have been endorsed by the Sierra Clubs of Huron Valley and Michigan for my stance on these and other environmental issues.
Regarding infrastructure, the city is spending a half of a million dollars for a consultant to study how to improve 6 blocks of Huron Street. That’s $500,000 for the study, not for any road work. Why not use the money allocated to this project to fix our roads? Another infrastructure concern is our water and sewer system. We will have double digit increases in these bills every year for the foreseeable future to pay for needed improvements. Council made the deliberate decision to transfer a greater share of this burden to homeowners, raising their base rates, while lowering those of the university and owners of luxury apartment buildings. Council says the law requires us to do this. This is not the law, this is their policy decision.
Because we don’t have a daily newspaper, many of these issues can remain hidden. The only time Council members have to answer to the people is at election time.
I will bring a thoughtful, independent voice to City Council. I will not be a rubber stamp, and I will speak the truth – not the party line. I will represent all the great neighborhoods of the 3rd ward, not just my own, and I ask for your vote on Aug 7.
Please go to my website, aliceliberson.com, to learn more or to contact me directly.
Thanks to WEMU for sponsoring this and for all their great programming.