A Crisis of “Cool”?

The only other U-M student on Ann Arbor’s Cool Cities Task Force, Toronto native (and victim of a little online sniping) Eugene Chan, has resigned. Although I have my theories about why he might resign, I’ll let his letter of resignation speak for itself, which he has given me permission to post. The Task Force is planning a Town Hall Meeting to be held at the Ann Arbor Brewing Company in March, I’ll let you know exactly when as soon as the date is confirmed. Suffice it to say I’m hoping that meeting is an interesting one.

“Hello all,

I regret to inform you that I have decided to leave my position as a member on the Ann Arbor Cool Cities Task Force. As a result, I will not be attending next Tuesday’s session at the Ann Arbor brewery.

While I still am devoted to making Ann Arbor a “cool” city, however you define cool, I find that our current progress, which firstly I find a lack of, is focusing on the economic aspects of improving the city. By this, I mean that recent discussions have primarily focused on job development, housing and taxation issues. I, personally, find this to be irrelevant at all.

I understand these financial matters are quite important to young people, but this would be best left to an economic development committee, and not us. Our job is to attract young people. I agree, jobs will attract, but that should not be our focus. In Governor Granholm’s report, she does not put primary focus on jobs and economy; rather, she focuses on improving “nightlife,” cultural events and how young professionals connect with their community. This should be our focus as well.

As such, I feel that I can not positively- and productively- contribute to our discussions. You can see that in our first two meetings I have been the most quiet one. This is based on part of my introverted nature, but is also due to my lack of interest in economic development.

I no way “disagree” with your economic proposals; I do not know enough of economics to say so. I am sure your ideas will be effective to a degree. It is just my belief that our focus should be on something else, not economics. I do wish you the best in making Ann Arbor a “cool” place, and know you will make it a cool place. But I do hope that you will take some time to focus on the issue at hand, and not those in which we are not experts.

Wishing you all the best of luck and progress,

Eugene Chan”

Author: Rob