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Studying the history and economy of Ann Harbor

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Exploring Ann Arbor’s history, economic and political aspects

Political aspect and policies of Ann Arbor

The history of Ann Arbor is traced back to 1824 through Elisha Walker and John Allen through land speculation. The town was registered under Wayne County as Ann to represent both of their wives sharing the common name. Later, it became the location for Washtenaw County, and the University of Michigan was established in 1837 while Michigan central railway arrived in 1839. People continued to flock in, and the population increased as economic opportunities expanded. Later in 1960s politics of the anti-Vietnam war as well as the activism of anti-discrimination, Human Rights Party and legalization of marijuana/cannabis movements formed in this city (Encyclopedia Britannica, p2). Since then, significant changes in growth and development have been achieved, and this has contributed to the present size and status of the city.

Presently, Ann Arbor is politically governed through council management as the city council government. It is headed by the elected mayor together with ten members of the city council; two from each of the five wards are elected to represent the ward residents. The mayor is elected from across the city, and the team of the city council serves for a duration of four years. During a time of service, mayor becomes the presiding officer of the council and empowered to appoint board, commission and committee members (Encyclopedia Britannica p3).

The council imposes local policies for example on taxation aiming to raise revenue for the city council. Owing to this, businesses have to get permit/license for operations through paying the council although the amount is dependent on the nature and size of business. Additionally, there is an imposition of income tax among the residents at a rate of 1% and 0.5% on the residents and non-residents, respectively (Michigan Department of Treasury, p1). Moreover, there is taxation of property and charges for services like car parking (Stanton, p1).

Besides, there are Michigan state policies like the environmental protection. There are efforts put by the state towards preventing air pollution to improve air quality in accordance to the national EPA standards. This has been through passing the Clean Air Act for controlling the air toxics and allowed mercury standards. Also, there are standards established for protecting the ozone layer from degradation by nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide from the automobiles, factories and power plants in the manufacturing sector (Ballotpedia, p2&3). The overall goal is to lower the amount of smog formation in the air and maintain the required standards by 2020. The plans for clean power adoption have been established aiming to replace fossil fuel and coal with renewable energy like solar and wind energy.

The housing requirements in Ann Arbor have influenced the national policy on housing through Michigan state by establishment of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity program that aims to enhance equality in the provision of houses. This is done through investigation of discrimination complaints as required by the federal Fair Housing Act (US Department of Housing and Urban Development, p1).

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