News & Info from The CivCity Initiative
Your Civic To-Do List!
Looking to get more involved? Here are 4 options!
1. Sign up for the free Ann Arbor Citizens Police, Fire & Courts Academy. It meets weekly from March 7 through May 9. The deadline to apply is Feb. 24.
2. Attend a session of the Michigan High School Ethics Bowl, on Jan. 28-29 at UM's Palmer Commons. Watch local high school students discuss ethical conundrums, including some that focus on civic issues.
3. Give feedback on proposals to develop the Platt Road site that's now owned by Washtenaw County. Take a look at the proposals, then contact your county commissioner to weigh in before they vote – possibly as soon as February.
4. Be a Citizen Pruner! Sign up with the city by Jan. 17 for training on Saturday, Jan. 19. Details here!
Read on for more info about these items – then go forth and be civic!
Platt Road Development:
What's Your Preference?
Washtenaw County is reviewing six development proposals for property that the county owns at 2270 Platt Road – south of (and adjacent to) County Farm Park.
The proposals are posted on the county's website, and were summarized in this article on MLive.
Staff of the Washtenaw County Office of Community & Economic Development (OCED) are reviewing the proposals this month and will make a recommendation to the Washtenaw County board of commissioners. That elected entity will eventually decide what to do with the property, where the county's juvenile detention facility was formerly located.
Tell the commissioners what you think. Here's a link to their contact information.
One additional note: A group of residents – Citizens for Responsible Planning for Platt Road – has formed to oppose any development on that land. You can find out more on their website.
Ann Arbor Citizens Police, Fire & Courts Academy: Apply Now!
The city of Ann Arbor is accepting applications for its Ann Arbor Citizens Police, Fire and Courts Academy. The deadline to apply is Feb. 24 – click here to fill out an application.
The academy is a free 10-week program held at the Ann Arbor police and fire departments, Washtenaw County Community College and the 15th District Court. Weekly classes are on Tuesdays from 6:30–9:30 p.m. beginning Tues. March 7 and ending May 9. Click here to learn more.
Michigan High School Ethics Bowl: Save the Date!
What?! You've never witnessed the awesomeness of the Michigan High School Ethics Bowl? Then this is the year to get inspired as teens from across the state converge to discuss real-world ethical challenges. The event, organized by the nonprofit A2Ethics, takes place on the weekend of Jan. 28-29 at the University of Michigan's Palmer Commons, 100 Washtenaw Ave.
As added incentive, this year's case studies cover several civic themes, including one written by CivCity founder Mary Morgan about conflict-of-interest issues in local government. (Check out Case Study #10 here.)
Students from Pioneer, Huron, Ypsilanti, Greenhills and Saline high schools, among others, will be participating. Special thanks to A2Ethics and the UM Philosophy Department for holding this annual event!
What We're Reading
A column by Amanda Taub in the New York Times
describes how deeply divisive partisan politics is affecting our nation's democracy.
She writes that "the fake-news phenomenon is not the result of personal failings. And it is not limited to one end of the political spectrum. Rather, Americans’ deep bias against the political party they oppose is so strong that it acts as a kind of partisan prism for facts, refracting a different reality to Republicans than to Democrats."
Taub continues: "Partisan refraction has fueled the rise of fake news, according to researchers who study the phenomenon. But the repercussions go far beyond stories shared on Facebook and Reddit, affecting Americans’ faith in government — and the government’s ability to function."
Graphic by Stephen Savage for the New York Times.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
"America, we weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character aren’t even willing to enter into public service. So coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are seen, not just as misguided, but as malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others." – Barack Obama, in his Jan. 10, 2017 farewell speech in Chicago
Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama
But Wait! One More Thing
As part of their MLK Service Week, students and staff of the UM School of Information's Citizen Interaction Design initiative worked on CivCity's "How Ann Arbor Works" project. CivCity's two interns, Meghan Cuneo and Madeline Nowicki, also participated. We're grateful for the terrific ideas and energy generated during that two-hour session – with more to come!
UMSI's Julie Cruz, Maggie Davidson and Scott TenBrink.
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