The following was originally published in my Oct 19, 2019 Newsletter in the "Additional Thoughts" section
Since our last council meeting, I attended all three public engagement meetings on the topic of short term rentals. These meetings highlighted a lot of concerns and interests, some of which I already knew and some of which were news to me. I’ve also had a number of individual meetings with residents who wanted to share thoughts and ideas. We learn a lot from listening to each other, but there is still a lot that we do not know re: the impact of short term rentals on our community. I look forward to seeing the report from our consultants, as well as advice from our own city staff and legal department. Thank you to everyone who has reached out directly to Council with your perspectives on this issue. It is helpful!
In other news, The New York Times today published a very nice article about the Michigan Daily that includes quotes from me. The article can be found here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/19/us/news-desert-ann-arbor-michigan.html
The Michigan Daily staff are diligent in the work that they do, covering our City politics. Our Council meetings run long when we debate back and forth, but the content of that debate is hardly the entirety of our reasoning and consideration of issues. This is particularly true now that we are trying to adhere to three-minute speaking limits at our Council meetings. That’s why I am truly grateful for the student journalists at the Daily, who regularly reach out to me (and all of my City Council colleagues) for explanation and background on various local topics.
When any journalists reach out to me with questions, I am eager to respond — local media have the power to enhance our conversations about issues and government, beyond the limits of brief remarks at public meetings. It is discouraging that the last time I was quoted in MLive (coincidentally, on the topic of short term rentals), I was not contacted; my remarks were transcribed from a public meeting that happened seven months ago.
I am passionate about the ability of our community to wrestle with issues in a thoughtful and serious way; thoughtful and serious debate can only happen when people are truly informed and understand what’s at stake. A lot of information is accessible through our local Legistar database — I include links in this newsletter so that you can find the documents and reports attached to the items on our agenda. Alternatively, you can simply reach out to your Council Member with questions or ask them when they hold coffee hours. We reach better decisions when we listen to (and understand) each other!
I appreciate everyone who reads this newsletter— it’s encouraging to me that so many in our community are interested in following the work of City Council!