New candidate emerges in Ann Arbor mayoral race

Dylan Manna has entered the race for Ann Arbor mayor as an independent write-in candidate. (Dylan Manna)

ANN ARBOR – The race for mayor of Ann Arbor has gained a new candidate as Election Day nears.

Dylan Manna has entered the race as an independent write-in candidate, meaning his name will not appear on the ballot. Instead, voters may write his name on the ballot in lieu of selecting the other two candidates.

Manna is a visiting scholar of physics at the University of Michigan.

He is running against incumbent mayor Christopher Taylor (D) and independent Eric Lipson.

On his campaign site, he describes himself as a “voice of reason,” a “lover of animals,” and an “avid pedestrian.”

Here’s a Q&A from Manna’s campaign site:

What in your education and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this position?

Having degrees in both physics and music, I believe I would approach governance with the perspective of science and the arts in an effort to move the city toward a more enlightened future. My concern is that the citizens of Ann Arbor live in a well maintained and creatively fertile community. Such a goal requires cooperation and transparency.

What are your goals should you be elected and how will you work to accomplish them with current resources?

If I were elected Mayor of Ann Arbor, I would first meet with the longstanding members of the community to learn what I could from their experience both in terms of problems and solutions. I would also reach out to citizens from business, academia, social service, arts, and infrastructure to see what needs are not being met. The greatest resource we have is time and being inclusive requires a commitment to reciprocity, however many hours that takes.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing the city today and what steps will you take to meet this challenge?

I believe the greatest challenge to the city is poorly planned development. Given that Ann Arbor has great schools but scores very low in safety with regard to violent crime, affordable housing, and homelessness, Ann Arbor’s built environment needs to be addressed more comprehensively. The first step I would take would be to form an advisory board composed of local experts in social work, urban planning, criminal justice, economics, and ecology to storyboard a future Ann Arbor which can both thrive and serve as a model for other similarly sized communities around the globe.

What is your opinion of the current rate of development in the city? What would you like to see changed?

Development is a matter of perspective: if by development you mean building ugly tall buildings in an unsafe downtown with high rents and low foot traffic, I’d like to see the rate go to zero and eventually go negative. If by development you mean creating a city that works for everyone, is affordable and safe, I’d like to see the rate grow exponentially. The change I would like to see first would be to protect Ann Arbor’s green space from corporate developers and to change zoning to cap the height of new construction with the goal of allowing putting the consideration of the general needs of the citizens of the city foremost in planning.

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About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.