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Civic Matters: Primary Elections, Broadband Internet Service, Inglis House And More

Primary elections day is Tuesday and there are five communities in Washtenaw County headed to the polls. However, turnout is only expected to be in the 12-13 percent range. In this week's edition of "Civic Matters" WEMU's David Fair and Mary Morgan of the CivCity Initiative discuss a variety of issues, including what appears to be a decline in civic engagement. 

Every Monday morning, the executive director of the CivCity Initiativejoins WEMU's David Fair  for a conversation on topics pertinent to Washtenaw County and the city of Ann Arbor. Mary Morgan  provides news, analysis, commentary and explain the various ways residents can become more engaged. 
Mary Morgan brings a wealth of experience to the airwaves. While heading up the CivCity Initiative now, Mary was previously co-founder and publisher of the Ann Arbor Chronicle. Prior to that she served as a reporter and editor for the Ann Arbor News when it was a daily, print-edition newspaper. 

Topics This Week: 

  • Tuesday, August 8th is Primary Election Day. A reminder: You can get an absentee ballot until 4 p.m. Monday if you go in person to your local clerk's office.
  • Initiatives to address broadband equity issues in Washtenaw County: There's an Aug. 8 ballot proposal to fund a public high-speed network in Lyndon Township. Also, last week the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners appointed members to a new broadband subcommittee. Mary Morgan wrote a column about these efforts: "Broadband Dead Zones In Ann Arbor’s Backyard." 
  • Due to Election Day, this week's Ann Arbor City Council meeting is on Thursday, Aug. 10. (Meetings are normally held on Mondays.) That means the new eComment feature is open on the agenda until 4 p.m. Thursday. Looks like a light agenda, with a reminder that fall is just around the corner – a request to close streets for UM home football games.
  • Public input about a potential Inglis House historic district. Ann Arbor City Council appointed a study committee earlier this year, which released a 27-page draft report and is soliciting feedback from residents. The committee will also hold a public hearing on Sept. 26 at city hall, before making recommendations. UM is selling this 9-acre estate and mansion, listed for $5.9 million. 
  • U-M's Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) has released results of a new survey of Michigan's local government leaders. Key takeaway: civic engagement at the local level appears to be in decline.


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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director, and host of Morning Edition Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email him at dfair@wemu.org

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
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