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Elizabeth Nelson's City Council Blog

I write a City Council newsletter with my summary of agenda items coming before City Council. Sign up to receive it first via email, or read it here later on this blog.

Jim Mogensen - Ward 4 People & Places You Should Know(July 16, 2022)

This was part of my July 16, 2022 newsletter


Ward 4 People & Places You Should Know

If you are involved in local advocacy around social services, affordable housing, or food policy, you may already know Jim Mogensen. Jim is a retired occupational safety and health engineer and has been an active citizen since he moved to Ann Arbor 30 years ago. He has lived in Ward 4 for seven years.


I first met Jim shortly after I was elected to City Council, when he was among a group of advocates urging the University of Michigan to reject a Wendy’s franchise in the newly renovated Michigan Union. Jim helped educate me about the poor treatment of farm workers and I brought a resolution about it to City Council.


Jim is on the Washtenaw County Food Policy Council Food Access and Nutritional Policy Action Team. He is also a member of the Interfaith community and served on the City committee that preceded the Housing and Human Services Advisory Board. He serves as the faith representative on the Washtenaw County Continuum of Care Board that oversees and coordinates federal housing funding at the County level. He helped Religious Action for Affordable Housing (RAAH) that has raised money to support nonprofits providing housing to low-income residents.



Twenty years ago, a former staff person at the AAATA (Ann Arbor Area Transit Authority) implied that citizens didn’t attend Board meetings and Jim has been attending ever since. Prior to the pandemic, he had an inbox at the DDA (Downtown Development Authority) because it was easier to include him that way than to respond to endless FOIA requests.


Jim has a reputation as a frequent speaker at public meetings but actually spends most of his time listening and reading public documents to be sure that his comments are relevant and useful. In 2009, the Ann Arbor Chronicle wrote about a particularly memorable public comment from Jim, when he illustrated funding for human services with a red ribbon:

https://annarborchronicle.com/2009/04/22/ann-arbor-allocates-human-services-funding/index.html


A few quips from Jim:

Ann Arbor has a public process that can make you feel like processed cheese! Ann Arbor has a reputation of continuously revisiting the same darn issues. Sometimes it seems that all opinions that could be expressed has been said and sometimes it seems that I have said it! All controversial issues in Ann Arbor have no more than three degrees of separation from the word park. For example, the train station is both a parking structure and on a parkland!

Jim Mogensen is a local activist who has - for years - closely followed the work of our local government. I appreciate his long-term perspective on issues related to housing, social services, and transit. He is someone you should know!