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News & Info from The CivCity Initiative


March into Local Civics!


As we say farewell to February, grab a pączki and march into civic action! Check out these ways you can get involved:

1. Sign up to get the Washtenaw Housing Alliance newsletter and attend the public debriefing on Tues., Feb. 28 to hear about the latest Point-In-Time Count, assessing the extent of homelessness in our community.

2. Get to know your Washtenaw County commissioners. They're holding a retreat on Thursday. And take a minute to learn about services that Michigan counties provide.

3. Volunteer for the annual Frog & Toad Survey, organized by the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources.

Read on for info about these items and more – including news about statewide redistricting – then go forth and be civic! (And if you missed previous Civic To-Do Lists, catch up on the "Get Involved" section of CivCity's website.)

REMINDER: Monday, April 3 is the deadline to register to vote in the May 2 special election. Click here for details on how to register. And check out CivCity's AnnArborVotes.org for info about the ballot proposal to fund school infrastructure.

 

Homelessness in   Washtenaw County


Earlier this year, the nonprofit Washtenaw Housing Alliance organized volunteers to conduct a local "point-in-time" count of people who are homeless in our community. It was part of a national effort mandated by the federal government.
 

On Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 9-11 a.m., the WHA will discuss the results of the count at a forum held at Washtenaw Community College's Morris Lawrence Building, 4800 E. Huron River Dr. The event is free and open to the public.

Go to the WHA website for information about Washtenaw County's Blueprint to End Homelessness. You can also get updates by subscribing to WHA's newsletter.
 

Washtenaw County Commissioners: What's Up?

 
On Thursday, March 2 starting at 6:30 p.m., the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners will hold a retreat that's open to the public. You can go in person at 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor, or watch online here.
 
The current Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners.

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners is a group of nine elected officials, each one representing a district in Washtenaw County. Ann Arbor is represented on the county board by three main districts – Districts 7, 8 & 9 – as well as a small part of District 2, which includes a piece of northwest Ann Arbor. 

County commissioners are elected for a two-year term. Their main responsibilities are to oversee and approve the county’s budget, to hire and supervise the county administrator, and to make appointments to county boards and commissions, including the quasi-independent Washtenaw County Road Commission. The job of county commissioner is part-time, earning a base of $15,911 annually. Officers of the board earn more. Chairs of the board, ways & means committee and working session earn $18,911, and the board vice chair is paid $16,911.

Graphic on the website MI County Matters.
 
Want more info about what counties in Michigan do? Check out this website by the Michigan Association of Counties.
 

Help Count Frogs & Toads


Since we're in the county mood (heh – see what we did there?) how about volunteering to help with the state's annual Frog & Toad Survey?

If you see a frog & toad riding a bicycle, LET US KNOW ASAP!! 

The survey is organized by the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources. Here's an excerpt from their press release:

"Declining populations of frogs, toads and other amphibians have been documented worldwide since the 1980s. Studies suggest amphibians are disappearing due to habitat loss, pollution, disease and collection. Michigan’s annual survey efforts help biologists monitor frog and toad abundance and distribution in the state."

Click here for details about how to volunteer. Or check out the survey's website for more info and data.
 

Redistricting Update


Last week, a group called Voters Not Politicians announced plans to push for a statewide ballot proposal in 2018 to create an independent redistricting commission. Read their statement.
 

The effort is spearheaded by Count MI Vote, which will be holding town hall meetings starting in March 2017 and organizing volunteers to collect the required signatures.

Read an article in the Detroit News about the Voters Not Politicians effort: "Group plans gerrymander fight in Michigan."


What We're Reading


A report by Joel Appel-Kraut in the Ann Arbor Community High School publication, The Communicator: "Detained, but not Deported: A Family’s Final Chance to Remain Undivided."
 
Home page for Community High's The Communicator website.

The article describes the pending deportation of Ann Arbor resident Yousef Ajin and the impact on his family – including his daughter Betoul, a sophomore at Community High.

A deportation hearing will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. in the McNamara Federal Building, 477 Michigan Ave. in Detroit. The family and other community members will be gathering there in a show of support, according to the article.


Support CivCity's Work!

We work hard to inform, educate and inspire participation in local civic life. But we can only do it with your support. Please consider making a one-time or monthly online donation. It's tax deductible and feels great! 
 
Or you can send a check to:
 
The CivCity Initiative
118 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor MI 48104

CivCity also accepts stock donations! Contact Mary Morgan at marymorgan@civcity.org for details.


Final Thoughts


“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” – journalist Edward R. Murrow
 

Journalist Edward R. Murrow

Please share this newsletter with your friends, family & colleagues – we'd appreciate it!
 
The University of Michigan is on break this week. Will students be spending part of their free time thinking about whether to run for public office?

I guess we'll find out. We do know that others are thinking about it – and taking action.

As of this morning, five people have pulled petitions to run for Ann Arbor City Council later this year: Jason Frenzel (Ward 1), Jane Lumm (Ward 2), Zach Ackerman (Ward 3), Jack Eaton (Ward 4) and Jaime Magiera (Ward 4). All but one are incumbents.

The deadline to file petitions – after candidates have collected the required number of signatures – is Tuesday, April 25. That deadline applies to anyone running as a partisan candidate (affiliated with a political party) in the Aug. 8 primary election.

For nonpartisan candidates, who don't compete in a primary, the deadline to file petitions is Wednesday, Aug. 9 to be on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Interested in running? Check out the
city clerk's website for more info.

– Mary Morgan, CivCity Founder & Executive Director

 

Upcoming Public Meetings


NOTE: Meetings are sometimes canceled at the last minute, so be sure to check the links for updated information.

Mon. Feb. 27: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor City Council Work SessionCity hall 2nd floor council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Click here to view the agendaWatch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Tues. Feb. 28: 4 p.m. Ann Arbor City Council Policy Agenda Committee. City hall 1st floor south conference room, 301 E. Huron. No agenda posted online.

Tues. Feb. 28: 4 p.m. Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission. City hall 2nd floor council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Click here to view the agendaWatch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Tues. Feb. 28: 6 p.m. Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees.  Morris Lawrence Building, Room 150, 4800 E. Huron River Dr. Click here to view the agenda

Tues. Feb. 28: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor Planning Commission Ordinance Revisions Committee. City hall basement conference room, 301 E. Huron. No agenda posted online.

Tues. Feb. 28: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor Downtown Area Citizens' Advisory CouncilCity hall 2nd floor council workroom, 301 E. Huron. No agenda posted online.

Wed. March 1: 11 a.m. Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Executive Committee. 150 S. Fifth Ave., 3rd floor. Agenda is not posted online.

Wed. March 1: Noon-2 p.m. Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Board. 150 S. Fifth Ave., 3rd floor. Click here to view the agenda.

Wed. March 1: 2 p.m. Washtenaw Urban County Executive Committee. Learning Resource Center, 4135 Washtenaw Ave. Click here to view the agenda.

Wed. March 1: 6:30 p.m. Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. 220 N. Main St., Ann Arbor. Click here and here to view the agendas. Watch online here.

Wed. March 1: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor Public Art Commission. City hall 2nd floor council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Agenda not yet posted online. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Thurs. March 2: 9 a.m. Washtenaw County Brownfield Authority. 200 N. Main, lower level, Ann Arbor. Click here for more information.

Thurs. March 2: 4:30 p.m. Ann Arbor Greenbelt Advisory Commission. City hall 2nd floor council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Agenda not yet posted online. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Thurs. March 2: 5:30 p.m. Washtenaw County Historic District Commission. Eastern County Government Center, 415 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti. Click here for more information.

Thurs. March 2: 6:30 p.m. Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners Working Session/Retreat. 220 N. Main St., Ann Arbor. Click here to view the agenda. Watch online here.

Fri. March 3: 8:30 a.m. Washtenaw County Economic Development Coordinating Committee. County Learning Resource Center, 4135 Washtenaw Ave. No agenda posted online.
 

More Civic Events


Tues. Feb. 28: 9-11 a.m. Washtenaw Housing Alliance Debriefing of Point-In-Time Homelessness Count. Washtenaw Community College Morris Lawrence Building, 4800 E. Huron River Dr. Click here for more information.

Mon. March 6: 7:30-9 a.m. Coffee hour with Ann Arbor city councilmember Jack Eaton (Ward 4). Roos Roast Coffee, 1155 Rosewood.

Know of a nonpartisan civic-related event you'd like to publicize? Email Mary Morgan at marymorgan@civicity.org.
 

Support CivCity


CivCity is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit focused on increasing awareness of how local government works and motivating residents to get involved in civic life. Please support our work by sending donations to: 
 
The CivCity Initiative
118 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor MI 48104

You can also donate online by clicking this link – it's easy!

You'll get our heartfelt thanks written by hand (let's hear it for old school!) on a notecard featuring local public art or civic infrastructure. How cool is that?

This image is a detail from the mosaics at the Fourth & Washington parking structure.
 
*******************
 
CivCity Board of Directors
 
Devon Akmon
Paul Courant
Mary Morgan
Ingrid Sheldon


Special thanks for generous support from the James A. & Faith Knight Foundation, the Buhr Foundation, United Way of Washtenaw County, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation, the Mosaic Foundation of Rita and Peter Heydon, and the Ann Arbor Area Spirit of Woodstock Fund!
 

CivCity Online

Find more information – including CivCity's five-year strategic plan – on our website at civcity.org
 
Be sure to join CivCity on Facebook, where we regularly post items of community interest. Ann Arbor Votes is also on Facebook!
 
On Twitter, you can follow us at @A2CivCity and get details about local public meetings and other civic-related info. Get election Tweets by following @AnnArborVotes!

You can also find us on Instagram @A2CivCity!

NOW GO FORTH
& BE CIVIC!

 
Copyright ©2017 The CivCity Initiative, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
118 S. Main St. Ann Arbor MI 48104

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