Issue 2
Summer 2019

What's Left Ypsilanti

Ward 3 City Council Seat Filled

Ruth Cassidy

Ypsilanti City Council voted on June 4, 2019 to appoint Annie Somerville to the vacant City Council seat in Ward 3. City Council’s process lacked transparency and did not reflect public constituent input. In-person interviews of candidates to fill the Ypsilanti Ward 3 City Council seat took place on May 28. The four candidates were John McMillian, Desiraé Simmons, Annie Somerville, and Tyler Weston...

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Housing Unafforable to a Great Many in Ypsi

Nathanael Romero

Over the past year and a half, I served on the City of Ypsilanti’s Housing Affordability and Accessibility Committee. The term “affordable housing” can be confusing to many. Oftentimes when people hear the term, they think of government-subsidized housing. The term is often a loaded one in the minds of people who, for one reason or another, don’t like the idea of government being in the business of housing or who simply don’t want to see subsidized housing in their neighborhood...

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White Men/ Racial Murders

JC (Black Ink)

Black Commissioners Not Reappointed by New Mayor

What's Left Contributors

In Ypsilanti, the mayor has the sole power to nominate people to the city’s commissions. City commissions are government bodies made up of volunteers who make decisions that affect Ypsilanti. Some commissions merely advise City Council; others actually have the final decision-making power over city matters. Ypsilanti’s commissions cover a wide range of topics, from sustainability and parks and rec, to police oversight and development zoning. In one four-year term, a mayor could easily nominate upwards of 100 people to commission positions; the mayor’s power of nomination can heavily influence this side of the city’s government....

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Interview with Grace Sweeney: Her Life and of Her Late Husband Council Member Pete Murdock

Amber Fellows Read More

Comic by Dr. Ruby Hotts

City Council Ticker

Summer 2019

Racial Equity and Representation — Since her inauguration on November 12, 2018, Ypsilanti Mayor Beth Bashert has failed to reinstate two Black city commissioners to their respective commissions. A Freedom of Information Act request revealed that Mayor Bashert has not nominated a single non-white Ypsilanti resident to a new position on a city board or commission, despite at least three opportunites to do so. At the same time, it appears that, of those who have applied since September of 2018, Mayor Bashert has nominated ten out of fifteen white applicants for new positions on city boards or commissions...

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The Look In Their Eyes

Anne Brown

I recently had the opportunity to give remarks at New Americans Got Talent, a St. Vincent Catholic Charities event launching World Refugee Week. This is a week set aside to celebrate new citizens, their cultural beliefs, dress, and an understanding of why they are considered refugees. I chose to focus on the theme "Honoring the Journey," because each person shared a very personal story about what issue forced them to flee their country. We heard from speakers the lessons learned along their routes to freedom, and how those lessons will...

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Unfinished Business

Desiraé Simmons

One of my early one-on-ones with late Ward 3 Councilmember Pete Murdock was like any typical day in Ypsilanti. It was a warm December day in 2017 as I walked down to Depot Town to visit a still-newish Cream and Crumb. There was Pete in his ever-present ‘Ypsilanti’ sweatshirt, hunched over his coffee waiting patiently for the young agitator he was used to seeing at City Council meetings. I can still hear his voice, always hoarse and sometimes just grunts with shrugs to show agreement or displeasure. I sat down and he instantly launched into why we need a mandatory recycling ordinance. That was something I came to appreciate about Pete—he wasn’t one for small talk...

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Emancipation Day

Matt Siegfried Read More

Street Questions

Christine Gliha
& Aaron Apsey
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Julia Bayha

I am this person
who must wrestle with my relationship 2 words
alone, intimately & deeply
yet then, when I have reached a place where
this works, where
it feels good, when
I feel sated with this practice of
grappling & scribbling,
sounding out what will work...

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light, love + lucid dreaming : summer + fall 2019

SoulGalaxyGirl ⚡

The good news is: we made it. With one more eclipse in December we've successfully survived eclipse season and Mercury retrograde. The Universe is ready to reward us for dealing with emotional (Cancer) and structural (Capricorn) upsets in our lives with an astrological gold star: a new moon in Leo to bring in mercury's forward movement with a fiery wind at our backs on July 31st. Let the sun shine in! Leo season is sure to be the best summer season this year. Make a new start, set intentions, and be as creative as your heart of gold inspires you to be, as we...

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Nature Knows More Than We Do

Eddie Zhou

Capitalism values its money over earth’s biodiversity, even though biodiversity is crucial for the planet’s ecosystems to thrive and bounce back from disasters. We’re increasingly hearing news of dangerous pollutants in our soil and water: newly discovered impacts of a former factory, for example, or critical levels of phosphorus in surrounding streams, elevated levels of toxic metals in surrounding areas’ drinking water, or recently discovered levels of carcinogens in nearby rivers...

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Working the Fountain Stage at the AAAF

Isaac Levine

I worked the sound booth at the Ann Arbor Art Fair this year. The “Original” Art Fair is a 60-year Ann Arbor institution in which craft artists selling wares from around the country are given more space in Ann Arbor public life than any artist in Washtenaw County (including of course, Ypsilanti) is given in Ann Arbor the other 361 days of the year. I drove in from Ypsilanti to park in the West Side of town and hike in for my 9-hour shifts in the heatwave. The sound booth where I worked was for the “Fountain” Stage, the second largest stage in the festival...

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  Issue 1 — Spring 2019

Dioxane Plume

Eddie Zhou

An underground plume of dioxane miles wide is traveling underneath the city of Ann Arbor, and more recently the Huron River. Dioxane, or 1,4 dioxane, is a synthetic chemical which is flammable at high temperatures. It leaches rapidly into the ground, which is a process by which liquids percolate downward and dissolve compounds on the way, and is miscible in water ― a chemistry term meaning it dissolves in water evenly making it difficult to separate from the water once it gets in. Dioxane is also a likely carcinogen which means it is linked to causing cancer. Most notably...

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A Community Land Trust Convergence

Desiraé Simmons

I first learned about Community Land Trusts (CLTs) while living in Boston, MA. The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) was created to “empower residents to organize, plan for, create and control a vibrant, diverse, and high quality neighborhood.” The community worked to reclaim land that had been victimized by divestment, arson, and dumping ― all signs of the white supremacist structures we operate under given the demographics of the Dudley neighborhood. So, the strong Black and Brown community in Roxbury organized and created a strategy to develop without displacement and to build economic and cultural power across the neighborhood...

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A Tale Of Two Towns?

Alex Thomas Read More

Retrograde Summer (April — July)

Mutable Mooney

The word “retrograde” may be unsettling to some people — it is commonly known as a difficult time for communication and relationships. However, it is helpful to also consider the opportunity for growth and transformation during retrograde seasons. When a planet is in retrograde it appears to move across the night sky in a reverse motion...

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In Memory of Ditch Witch


Rest in Power to our friend Lisa Leggio, AKA Brooklyn, AKA Ditch Witch, who passed away last month. She was an important activist for environmental justice in Michigan, and she will be dearly missed. As those of us who had the privilege of fighting and resisting the forces of capitalism and climate change alongside her would attest..

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Who Gets to Tell Your Story?

Dan Ackerman

As technology brings digital media into our pockets, we’ve become engaged with world events like never before. In seconds, we can learn about the news in countries and lives thousands of miles away in more detail than we’ll ever need to know. | This information has come at a cost. Printed news has adapted to these changes by focusing on stories with mass appeal, and local voices have been demoted to the walls and comment sections of social media...

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Dam Displacement

Brian Geiringer Read More

Totally Awesome Fest

Aaron Apsey

Late last month What’s Left sent (me) an attaché to cover what may have been THE MOST convoluted and Xtreme press release. I joined some of the organizers on the hallowed floors of Zap Zone where we blasted each other with laser rifles, and got obliterated by birthday party attendees while talking about the upcoming local cultural Xtravagana. I managed to learn some interesting things between the whooping and the zaps.

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Alive On Arrival


There was once a little girl that was going on a trip with her family. She was excited because she was going to fly and had never flown before. She spent her time getting ready — carefully packing for her trip. She packed summer clothes, her favorite blanket to sleep, and her best friend: her doll to love. Basically, she just packed all the necessities she would need into one small case. Her parents spent their time getting ready stuffing everything that was in their closets and dressers into four giant suitcases. Most of what the rest of her family packed wasn’t needed, but they couldn’t picture themselves without it.

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City Council Ticker

Spring 2019

On November 12 2018 the following council members were sworn into office following the general election on November 6th. A seat in Ward 2 is vacated as former Ward 2 rep, Beth Bashert, takes the mayor’s seat. | On Nov 13th 2018 council member Murdock provided the following statement: “You all may have noticed my increasing hoarseness. There is a reason for that...

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