News & Info from The CivCity Initiative
Looking to get more involved? Here are 3 things you can do this week!
1. What did the Ann Arbor City Council do this month? Take time to learn about at least one action they took. (More below!)
2. Find out who represents you on the Washtenaw County board of commissioners.
3. Sign up for the Michigan Redistricting Collaborative e-newsletter. You'll get updates on this nonpartisan effort to eliminate gerrymandering when drawing lines for legislative districts.
Read on for more info about these items – then go forth and be civic! (And if you missed last week's Civic To-Do List, here's a link.)
BONUS: Play the Ann Arbor Wards Challenge!
MI Redistricting Collaborative:
Gerrymander – the word itself conveys disfunction, right? The term refers to drawing the boundaries of legislative districts specifically to favor one political party or group.
The Michigan Redistricting Collaborative is a nonpartisan effort to reform how districts are drawn in this state. The group includes the League of Women Voters, Common Cause Michigan and the Michigan Nonprofit Association.
Learn more on their website, where you can also sign up for their e-newsletter to stay informed.
One more thing: There's also a separate nonpartisan effort called Count MI Vote that recently launched. Check out their website to see how you can get involved, or follow them on Twitter at @CountMIVote.
Washtenaw County: Know Your Commissioner
There are nine districts for Washtenaw County government, with each district represented by an elected county commissioner. Ann Arbor is represented on the county board of commissioners 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.
District 7 (east, northeast and southeast Ann Arbor) is represented by Andy LaBarre.
District 8 (central and south-central Ann Arbor) is represented by Jason Morgan.
District 9 (west, northwest and southwest Ann Arbor) is represented by Conan Smith. (Smith's county bio page is currently blank. Here's a link to his bio on Ann Arbor Votes.)
The nine Washtenaw County commissioners with county administrator Greg Dill (standing, left).
County government doesn't have a high profile, but the staff and elected officials are responsible for a wide range of services
, including public health
, community mental health
, economic development
, public safety (including the sheriff's office
, prosecuting attorney
), parks & recreation
Click here to see a list of all county commissioners
. They meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at 220 N. Main in downtown Ann Arbor. The board's agendas are posted here
prior to their meetings. They meet next on Feb. 1.
One more thing: The county administrator
, who is appointed by the county board, is Greg Dill. Click here to read his January 2017 newsletter
Ann Arbor City Council: January Action Items
First, some background. Two news outlets typically cover the Ann Arbor City Council: MLive
and The Michigan Daily.
That said, those publications only report on a small percentage of actions that the council takes.
So what happened at the council's January meetings? Here's what the local press reported:
Want more? Make popcorn and watch videos of the Jan. 3
) and Jan. 17
) meetings. Better than Netflix!
Looking ahead, the council usually meets at city hall on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month, starting at 7 p.m. (The next meeting is Monday, Feb. 6.) You can watch live on Community Television Network (CTN) Channel 16 or online here
. Or follow the action with local Twitterati using the hashtag #a2council.
What We're Watching
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, the Michigan Theater
is screening the documentary "I Voted
." The filmmaker, Jason Smith, explores the integrity and security of our nation's elections.
The film includes an interview with J. Alex Halderman
, University of Michigan professor of computer science and engineering. At the Jan. 25 screening, Halderman – who also serves as director of UM's Center for Computer Security and Society – will give a brief presentation on the topic.
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 email@example.com for details.
Ann Arbor Wards Challenge!
The Ann Arbor Wards Challenge is an online game that springs from the creative brains of two awesome Ann Arbor dudes – Chris Salzman and Stephen Kemsley, of Scope Creep Studios. It's totally addictive. Try it now!
So fun you won't even realize you're learning about the structure of city government. Bwahahaha!!
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.
Please share this newsletter with your friends, family & colleagues – we'd appreciate it!