89.1 WEMU

Soapbox Summer - Kevin Leeser

Jul 25, 2016

Kevin Leeser is running to represent the city's 5th Ward on Ann Arbor City Council.
Credit Kevin Leeser

Kevin Leeser is running to represent the city's 5th Ward on Ann Arbor City Council.  This is Kevin's submission for WEMU's "Soapbox Summer" series.


Hello all you incredible listeners and supporters of WEMU, My name is Kevin Leeser, and I am a democrat running for the seat of Ann Arbors City Council in the 5th Ward.   I’m looking forward to taking these next few minutes to introduce myself to you.

My wife and I Moved here from Chicago 12 years ago, we found a little house on old west side and have been here ever since.   We live on south 7th street, which is a road that carries a lot of north south traffic, which was never that much of a concern for my wife and I until we had kids.  Now we have two.

Our family, and our neighbors are now faced with the dangerous reality that our children are growing up and playing near a road that is handling more thru traffic that it was designed for at a rate of speed that is simply not sustainable.

Today there are over 20 children that live between Liberty and Washington along 7th street.    So we are not the only parents that have chosen to raise kid in this part of town.  In an effort to assure the safety of the kids that walk to Slausen Middle School, and those who play in waterworks park, I have already gotten the speed limit reduced on 7th street to 25 miles per hour, and the city was kind enough to provide a mid street cross walk at our request.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think 7th street is the only problem area in Ann Arbor.

Vehicle speeds, along with distracted and aggressive driving are increasing the risk to pedestrians cyclists and other drivers all over town to the point where I consider this a public health issue that needs to be address like one.

I’m a registered nurse, I work on the ICU step sown unit at University of Michigan Hospital, and the amount of carnage that I witness on that unit is pretty startling.. When you hear about a fatality that’s one thing, but what we see are TBI’s (traumatic brain injuries) and injuries that last years.  That is why I consider this a public health issue that needs to be addressed at a city level

I ride my bike to work every day even in the winter. My commute takes me across the entire downtown region.  As a biker I get to observe a lot more than a typical driver does, for one thing, its very hard to text and ride a bike at the same time. I see where the safety issues are not being addressed, and I see a ton of potential for engineering some low cost experimental protected bike lanes.  The goals of Vision Zero are purely common sense put into words, of course no one should be getting hit by cars, what I want to see is Ann Arbor setting the standard for pedestrian and bike safety, not trailing behind.   I’ve lived all over the place, Chicago, Los Angeles, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Philadelphia, Hazel Park, Hamtramck to Hoboken, and my career as a documentary film maker has taken me all over the world.  I’m finally settled done in a town I love, and I feel like can put all of these urban experiences to work for us.  

A few more issues I want to cover before I run out of time…. The Deer Cull,  I just feel like it was rushed, and I don’t think it was an important issue, maybe for some people, because their vegetables were getting eaten, but at this point we have to make sure our citizens are safe from vehicles.    None of the people that are being killed or injured are being hit by deer. They are being hit by cars. Even the Mayor agrees that another $110,000 is too much to spend on this deer problem. There is so much more to say but I would like to invite you to visit my website at http://www.Kev4council.com and I would really like to thank WEMU for putting this together!