Here's the latest from The CivCity Initiative!
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News & Info from The CivCity Initiative

Thanks to CivCity's Interns!

As the semester winds down and finals approach, it's a good time to publicly thank CivCity's amazing interns, Meghan Cuneo and Madeline Nowicki. Both are students at the University of Michigan.

Meghan has taken on several projects. She organized CivCity's Party at the Polls on Election Day in August and November, helping voters celebrate our democracy. She's developing a brochure with civic info for new residents, and is spearheading our effort to create a community-wide task force to promote local elections and increase the turnout of informed voters.

CivCity intern Meghan Cuneo spoke during public commentary at the Oct. 6, 2016 Ann Arbor City Council meeting.

Madeline, who serves on the Michigan Daily's editorial board, is working on CivCity's social media efforts, setting up accounts on Instagram and Medium to expand our reach beyond Twitter and Facebook. She's also helping develop our "How Ann Arbor Works" project, using skills she's gained through her studies at UM's School of Information.

We're so grateful for the energy, intellect, creativity and good humor that Meghan and Madeline bring to our civic engagement work!

Give Feedback: City Ordinance

The Ann Arbor City Council is considering a new ordinance that would require closed captioning to be turned on for any TV that's operating in a public place, like bars and restaurants. Read more details about the proposed ordinance by clicking here. It was brought forward by Ward 2 councilmember Kirk Westphal.

The city is seeking feedback on this proposal, via its Open City Hall site. Click here to take a survey about the ordinance. The deadline to participate is noon on Friday, Dec. 16.


Throw CivCity Some $$ Love!

Your donation to CivCity goes a looooong way – so your impact is significant for our small (but mighty!) nonprofit.

Our ambitious plan to build a more informed, engaged citizenry relies on you. Please help support our nonpartisan work by contributing a one-time or monthly online donation. It's tax deductible! 
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 for details.


Appointment-Palooza Part II


Both the Ann Arbor City Council and Ann Arbor Public Schools board are appointing members to fill vacancies. 

Tonight, council is expected to appoint a representative to the Ward 1 seat that Sabra Briere is vacating. Seven men applied and were interviewed last week – you can watch that public session here and read their application materials here.

The AAPS board is interviewing six candidates on Friday, Dec. 9 starting at 9 a.m. at the Courtyard Marriott, 3205 Boardwalk. That session is open to the public. The appointment will be made at the board's meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14. 

The AAPS seat is vacant following the resignation of Donna Lasinski, who was elected to serve as District 52 State Representative on Nov. 8. Applicants include three people who ran for the AAPS board on Nov. 8 but weren't elected – including current board chair Deb Mexicotte. Click here to see the full list of applicants as well as details about the appointment process.

What We're Reading

This week, check out "If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities" by Benjamin Barber. He posits that local governments are better positioned to tackle many important challenges in our society.

If you're looking for a quicker overview of his ideas, watch Barber's TED Talk here

Bonus Factoid: Barber's examples are from cities with a "strong mayor" system – unlike Ann Arbor, which operates under a "council-manager" form of government. What's the difference? Check out this video for the low-down. (It's produced by Kirk Westphal, who's a videographer by trade, as well as a Ward 2 councilmember. Remember that serving on council is a part-time gig, and most councilmembers have day jobs.)

You can check out this book at the Ann Arbor District Library!

Final Thoughts


Please share this newsletter with your friends, family & colleagues – we'd appreciate it!
Civics is about more than government. It's about building relationships to strengthen our community.

You've probably heard about the hate mail recently sent to Islamic centers nationwide, including the one in Ann Arbor. (If not, here's a link to a Michigan Radio report.)

Regardless of your politics, I trust you'll agree that this kind of abhorrent rhetoric is unacceptable. If you're looking for a positive way to respond, you can send letters of support to the Ann Arbor Muslim Community Association via their website. They're posting some of those letters online.

The health of our community – and our country – relies on strengthening bonds between all residents. I hope you'll join me in that effort.

– 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. Dec. 5: 5:30 p.m. Ann Arbor Brownfield Plan Review Committee. City hall 3rd floor conference room, 301 E. Huron.

Mon. Dec. 5: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor City Council. City hall council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Click here to view the full agenda. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Tues. Dec. 6: 5 p.m. Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees. Morris Lawrence Building, Room 150, 4800 E. Huron River Drive. Click here to view the full agenda.

Tues. Dec. 6: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor Planning Commission. City hall council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Click here to view the full agenda. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Wed. Dec. 7: Noon-2 p.m. Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. 150 S. Fifth Ave., 3rd Floor. Click here to view agenda.

Wed. Dec. 7: 6:30 p.m. Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. 220 N. Main St., Ann Arbor. Click here and here to view the agendas. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Wed. Dec. 7: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education. Huron High School, 2727 Fuller Road. Click here to view agenda.

Thurs. Dec. 8: 1:30 p.m. Ann Arbor Building Board of Appeals. City hall council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Click here to view agendaWatch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Thurs. Dec. 8: 3 p.m. University of Michigan Board of Regents. Michigan Union's Anderson Room, 530 S. State St. Click here to view agenda.

Thurs Dec. 8: 6-8 p.m. Public workshop about Ann Arbor's crosswalk design guidelines. Slauson Middle School, 1019 W. Washington. Click here for details.

Thurs. Dec. 8: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor Historic District Commission. City hall council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Click here to view the full agenda. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Fri. Dec. 9: 9 a.m. Interviews for candidates to fill a vacancy on the
Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education. Courtyard Marriott, 3205 Boardwalk. Click here for more info.

Know of a nonpartisan civic-related event you'd like to publicize? Email Mary Morgan at

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
Linh Song

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
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!


Copyright ©2015 The CivCity Initiative, All rights reserved.

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

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