by Dave Alexander
This year, Ann Arbor CTN has produced short (2-3 minute) videos in which all the candidates running in the Aug. 8 Democratic primary election have a chance to introduce themselves and their campaigns to Ann Arbor voters. The videos, produced by CTN staff, allowed candidates to make use of a teleprompter. Candidates took advantage of multiple takes to be able to offer up to voters finished campaign videos with high production values.
Jack Eaton is a labor lawyer and a two-term Council member. Magiera is a Ward 4 resident who lost to Eaton in the 2015 Democratic primary election.
According to his campaign website, Eaton was first elected to City Council in 2013. During his tenure on Council, Eaton has served on the Audit Committee, the Council Rules Committee and the Ann Arbor Public Schools Traffic Safety Committee, among others.
In his four years in office, Eaton has sponsored 48 resolutions including three ordinances.
- On April 3, 2017, Eaton sponsored the Ordinance to Amend the Code of the City of Ann Arbor by Adding a New Chapter Which New Chapter Shall be Designated as Chapter 120 (Solicitation of Immigrant Status) of Title IX of Said Code (Ordinance No. ORD-17-02)
- On June 6, 2016, Eaton sponsored the Resolution to Disclose Information Regarding Potential Locations for a New Amtrak Train Station;
- On Nov. 5, 2015, Eaton sponsored the Resolution to Require Voter Approval for Any Agreement to Sell or Lease Development Rights to Any Portion of the Library Lot Site;
- On Feb. 17, 2015, Eaton sponsored the Resolution Removing Moratorium on New Lighting of the Public Right-of-Way in the City of Ann Arbor;
- On Oct. 6, 2014, Eaton sponsored the Resolution for Public Legal Opinion Regarding Homeowner Tax Assessment
Eaton’s legislative record corresponds to what his 2017 campaign literature asserts to Ward 4 voters. Among his resolutions are also five which were symbolic:
- Resolution Directing the City Administrator and City Attorney to Report to City Council on Issues Raised by Presidential Executive Order No. 13,768 Dated January 25, 2017
- Resolution to Urge President Obama and Ann Arbor’s State Legislators to Take Action to Protect Deferred Action for Child Arrivals Program Youth
- Resolution against the Elimination of Local Governments’ Authority to Raise Local Labor Market Standards above State Minimums
- Resolution Authorizing the City of Ann Arbor to be Listed as a Supporting Municipality in an Amicus Brief to be filed with the United State Supreme Court in April DeBoer, et al., v. Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, et al
- Resolution in Support of International Day of Peace on September 21, 2014
When he ran in 2013 against 14-year incumbent Marcia Higgins, Eaton captured 65 percent of the vote. Higgins had the endorsement of then Mayor John Hieftje, as well as five members of City Council. When challenged by Magiera in 2015, Eaton captured 60 percent of the vote. Mayor Chris Taylor walked Ward 4 on behalf of the challenger and endorsed him. This year, Taylor did not endorse Magiera. Magiera is endorsed by Hieftje and six members of City Council.
In his 2012 campaign against Margie Teall, Eaton said he “supported placing a park on top of the new underground parking garage on South Fifth Avenue.” He told voters in 2012 he supported an amendment to the city Charter that would require a public vote before parkland were to be repurposed (such as the parkland on Fuller Road still under consideration for a new train station). Eaton also identified “the city’s spending priorities” as another of his main issues. “You have to allocate that money based on priorities,” he said in 2012. That year Eaton said while running, “We need to pay more prompt attention to repairing our roads.” When he ran in 2013, about density downtown, Eaton said he, “supports density in the downtown core — just not where it has a negative impact on surrounding neighborhoods.” As a candidate in 2013, Eaton opposed the Foundry Lofts development at 413 E. Huron Street.
In his 2017 CTN Candidate Comments video, Eaton tells voters, “I’ve demonstrated responsible budget priorities….I voted against spending $4 million to re-skin City Hall….I supported increased funding for streetlights and sidewalks.”
Both assertions are confirmed by city records and media coverage of the votes in question.
Eaton goes on to say in his 2017 CTN video, “I have a positive vision for our town’s future….We must work to protect our environment.”
Eaton supported a park land protection amendment to our City Charter (proposed by Council Members Lumm and former Ward 5 Council member Mike Anglin) which did not have enough votes among Council members to be placed on the ballot. The Michigan Sierra Club, as well as its Huron Valley Chapter endorsed Eaton in April 2017. In every Democratic primary election he has run, Eaton has captured the endorsement of the Michigan Sierra Club, as well as its Huron Valley Chapter.
With the exception of a resolution to direct the City Administrator to find additional funding for roads (or to accelerate repairs), and a handful of symbolic Council resolutions, Eaton’s legislative record, his 2017 CTN video and his votes reflect what he told voters his priorities were in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Those priorities remain the same in 2017, according to his campaign literature and his website.
Jack Eaton’s CTN video appears below:
The Ann Arbor Independent recently reported that one of Magiera’s endorsers, a City Council member, purported in his public endorsement of the Ward 4 candidate that, “Jaime has a strong track record of ethical leadership.”
Magiera’s actions and statements while campaigning seriously undermine this assertion.
In his CTN Candidates Comment video, posted to his website, Magiera tells voters, “I have worked for the University of Michigan for 13 years as a Systems Administrator.” The candidate mischaracterizes his work history and claims to have held a position for 13 years that he has held, in fact, since 2015. Likewise, on Magiera’s Linkedin page, he claims to have been a Systems Administrator at the University of Michigan since Nov. 2004.
According to records from the University of Michigan, Magiera has been a Systems Administrator, Intermediate, for the U-M LSA Dean’s Office since 2015. Between 2005 and 2015, Magiera was a Desktop Support Specialist, Intermediate, a computer and network repair person. The two positions are distinct in their titles and responsibilities.
In his CTN video, below, Magiera tells voters, “When I’ve moved from plan to action, I’ve always done so with an ethic of transparency….”
Magiera’s website includes this: “In recent years, it’s become fashionable to describe city politics in terms of factions. That’s a distraction and a false choice being pushed on residents. There are more than two ways to look at every issue. I’m cut from a different cloth and don’t align neatly with any existing group on council. That’s an asset: it means less time playing to internal group politics and more time providing effective representation to constituents. It means a greater variety of options at the council table. It means more time to build consensus.”
In this June 2017 video clip from a scripted A2Insight interview (Magiera was given the questions in advance) with Ward 4 resident James Trost, Magiera claims not to belong to any political camp.
In June 2017, The Ann Arbor Independent reported:
Magiera’s 2017 claim that, “I don’t fall into any of these camps that have been defined in the political scene” called into question coverage of his 2015 campaign for Council that reported Magiera was, indeed, affiliated, accepted campaign donations and touted endorsements from sitting Council members who are allied with Chris Taylor. On July 17, 2015, The Ann Arbor News published, “Jaime Magiera endorsed by mayor and allies in 4th Ward council race.” In that piece, Ryan Stanton writes, “Jaime Magiera now has Mayor Christopher Taylor and his political allies officially supporting his campaign for Ann Arbor City Council.” Kirk Westphal, Julie Grand, Graydon Krapohl and Chuck Warpehoski, along with Chris Taylor, officially endorsed Magiera in 2015.
Below is the invitation to Magiera’s June campaign kickoff party:
All of the named Council member hosts are political allies of Mayor Chris Taylor.
Jaime Magiera’s misrepresentation of his work history and his claim not to fall into any political “camp” are not the only times Magiera has attempted to shape his campaign narrative by exploiting the ignorance of voters.
The Ann Arbor independent reported previously:
On his campaign website, Magiera lists himself as a member of the People’s Food Co-op Board. In 2016, Magiera ran for the PFC Board but did not get enough votes to qualify for a spot. It was only after Jenny Blair stepped down for personal reasons, “the next top vote getter [runner-up] Jaime Magiera received the position,” according to minutes from the April 2016 PFC Annual Meeting. The PFC’s 60-person workforce, unhappy with the Board’s leadership, as well as with the PFC’s management, formed a union in 2017.
The Ann Arbor Independent also recently reported that, “A spokesman from the Huron Valley Labor Federation-AFL-CIO said that the group plans to target Magiera because of his part in thwarting the formation of a labor union by Co-op staff members, and his involvement as a member of the PFC Board in hiring a union-busting labor lawyer. The union is sending walkers door-to-door in Ward 4 and dropping the piece, below, which tells voters that Eaton’s opponent, Magiera, does not support workers’ ‘freedom to organize.’”
When he ran in 2015, Magiera told MLive, “I feel that…the Council member…I’m challenging [Eaton] hasn’t quite taken the steps necessary to move us forward and to take some innovative steps to bring us where we need to be. It’s a question of keeping up with the times, keeping up with the City.”
In his 2017 CTN video, Magiera touts his “ability” to “collect feedback from across the spectrum….” He added that he has always “respected and listened” to that feedback.
Magiera’s over to 1,000 comments in response to articles posted on MLive.com between 2015-2017 show a man who sometimes finds it difficult to be civil to those whom he disagrees with:
“….Maybe if you went downtown more, and associated with the community there, you wouldn’t be so bitter all the time.”
“Budget your money better. Based on what you’ve said in the past, you don’t seem to be very good at that.”
“Maybe if you add more capital letters and anger you’ll convince people I’m a liar.”
“I received 40% of the vote – which is pretty good for a complete unknown in the political scene. I’ll do even better next time. Let me know when you have the cajones and skill to take on such a task and do as well. Your comments highlight my point though. Hate, anger and bitterness are wasted energy. You’re just spiraling into personal attacks. You’ve gained nothing here.”
“I was wrong. Are you happy now?”
“Do you honestly believe that the decrease in oil prices the past few years makes you a sage? You flatter yourself.”
“Perhaps you don’t know the difference between ‘fewer’ and ‘anymore’.”
“[C]ould you take a basic logic class, please? You’ll learn about something called ‘Affirming the Consequent’. It will help you greatly in rational communication.”
“Sorry man, you’re just waisting [sic] my time.”
“Enjoy the Denial stage. You have a few more stages to go.”
“Yeah ‘name calling’. Nowhere were you called a name. You’re having a completely different conversation, with yourself apparently.”
Jaime Magiera’s 2017 CTN video appears below: