Ann Arbor has a unique variety of innovative, passionate, and talented community members that include both University students and “Ann Arborites” or “townies.” As a student, however, I often feel a large disconnect from the Ann Arbor “townies.” I find that beyond two main drags, most students stick to university turf. Our bubble generally does not extend out to the greater community, yet.
It might seem ironic that the only place you can’t practice your 5th amendment right would be a federal courtroom, considering its just such a place the amendment was designed for. It might seem ironic that a process designed to protect people accused of serious crimes can be used to imprison people for up to 18 months who have committed no crime without bringing charges against them. It might, unless you know about grand juries.
Today, 50 million Americans are uninsured, while millions more of us keep jobs we hate in order to pay rising insurance fees. Medical bills cause half of all bankruptcies and millions of evictions. Doctors often pay more attention to insurers than to patients, and America’s infant mortality rate ranks 34th.
Bringing us one step closer to transparency in government, the Sunlight Foundation recently launched Open States, a site to help citizens track what's happening in their state legislatures. A database of activities from all state capitols, Open States allows you to keep tabs on what lawmakers are doing, review their votes, search for legislation and follow bills. You can also receive notifications of actions, check out campaign finance records, gather news articles and more.
The idea behind creating a public space is not just to build a nice-looking addition to a town, but to create a space that people actually use. A plaza with no one in it is just an empty space. Creating a space that successfully engages people is an artform and a science that relies on the input of the community, the testing of ideas, sharp observation and detailed planning.