A2 News on Student for Council

I found this photo of Eugene Kang, a 21-year old U-M senior running for City Council, on his facebook profile.

Kang was profiled in this week’s Michigan Daily. Readers of my blog will find some of these themes very familiar:

“The
only people who can live Ann Arbor are the extremely wealthy. Those in
the middle who don’t make $150,000 per year won’t be able to live
here,? he said.

Kang said that current residential areas in Ann
Arbor that people enjoy would not exist if introduced to the city
today.“A lot of the cooler places built down Main Street could not be
built now because of city zoning,? Kang said.

Kang said he is
also concerned about student participation in city politics. Alex Donn,
one of Kang’s campaign advisers and a third-year Law School student,
said that the political limitations placed on students have been a
concern of his for quite some time. “Local voting regulations impinge
on the rights for students to vote in Ann Arbor,? Donn said. “The same
people who say students should pay attention are putting voting
regulations on them.?

“The primary takes place when all the students are away.?
“It’s not like they all decided to take a three-day vacation and missed
the primary. Students are here 75 percent of the year,? Donn said. Kang
said that the five wards prevent students from collectively raising
their concerns to the city and that the wards that divide up Ann Arbor
were created to better represent diversity.“Unfortunately, that hasn’t
been achieved,? Kang said.

The Ann Arbor News also had a recent story on Kang, reproduced below. (Via ArborUpdate)

University student plans run for council
U-M’s Eugene Kang wants 2nd Ward seat
Friday, June 17, 2005
BY ART AISNER
News Staff Reporter

Eugene
Kang, 21, said Thursday he has collected well more than the 100
petition signatures required to run for council in the 2nd Ward and
will file with the City Clerk’s Office by Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline. His
entry into the race would guarantee a second Democratic primary for a
council seat this August, a rarity in recent council elections. A
contested primary is also expected in the city’s 4th Ward.

“I
don’t see this as my future but as a community service,? said Kang, a
life-long resident of the 2nd Ward majoring in both English and
philosophy en route to a career in law. “The City Council, in general,
has the best ability to give back to the community and do positive
things for the city, which is what I want to do.?

Former
Republican mayoral candidate Stephen Rapundalo announced earlier he is
running as a Democrat for the 2nd Ward seat. He filed his nominating
petitions Wednesday, city officials said.

Second Ward Council Member Mike Reid, the council’s lone Republican, in April announced he will not seek a third term this fall.

Ann
Arbor attorney Thomas Bourque has indicated he is circulating petitions
to run as a Republican, but had not filed by Thursday, city officials
said.

Kang, whose parents immigrated to the United States from
Korea in 1969 and settled in Ann Arbor in 1973, said he believes now is
the right time to make his first attempt for public office.

“As
a student, my time is my own and I can dedicate as much of it to the
city and researching issues as I can,? said Kang, who is entering his
senior year at U-M.

He sheepishly admits to spending hours
watching City Council meetings on television and reviewing agenda
packets at the library, which have helped him develop a platform to
address ongoing budget problems, affordable housing and improving
political participation from all segments of the community.

He
said his age should be viewed as an asset rather than a detriment
because he can offer fresh ideas. Also, growing up in the 2nd Ward and
attending

U-M gives Kang a unique perspective into issues that intertwine both the city’s and university’s interests, he said.

Five of the council’s 10 ward seats are up for election this year.

Art Aisner can be reached at aaisner at annarbornews.com or (734) 994-6823.

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Author: Rob Goodspeed