Kirk Westphal (b. 1970) has served on as a Democrat on the Ann Arbor City Council representing Ward 2 since November 2014. He is a filmmaker and urban planner, and operates Westphal Associates LLC with an office in downtown Ann Arbor. Examples of his work include the videos "Insights into a Lively Downtown" and "The Council-Manager Form of Local Government."
Westphal won the 2014 August Democratic primary election in Ward 2, defeating Nancy Kaplan. He was unopposed in the Nov. 4, 2014 general election. The two-year term is for a seat previously held by Sally Petersen, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor instead of seeking another term as councilmember.
He also was the Democratic Party candidate for Ann Arbor City Council in Ward 2 in 2013, but in the November 2013 general election, he lost to incumbent Jane Lumm.
Westphal has served on the Ann Arbor Planning Commission since 2007. He was reappointed in 2009 and again in 2012 for a term ending July 1, 2015. He is the planning commission's representative on the Ann Arbor Environmental Commission. He also served on the leadership & outreach committee for the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority's Connecting William Street project.
He has a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan.
Westphal is married to Cynthia Kortman Westphal, an assistant professor of musical theater at the University of Michigan School of Music. They have two young sons, August and Harry, and live in the Glacier Highlands neighborhood on Ann Arbor's east side.
Timeline: Kirk Westphal
- Dec. 17, 2015: The three-member Washtenaw County Election Commission rejects the recall petition language for not meeting the requirements of clarity and factuality. The vote is 2-1, with support from county treasurer Catherine McClary and probate judge Darlene O'Brien, who chairs the commission. Voting against it is county clerk Larry Kestenbaum, over objections that the state requirement for factuality is unconstitutional. The petitioner, Sabra Sanzotta, does not appear at the hearing. Westphal speaks in his defense, as does his attorney, Jerry Lax, and Chris Dick, director of the University of Michigan Herbarium.
- Dec. 1, 2015. Language submitted by Sabra Sanzotta to recall Kirk Westphal from the office of Ann Arbor City Council Member - Ward 2. "Because on 8/17 and 11/5 he voted to have a deer "cull" killing...."
- Nov. 4, 2014: Westphal, a Democrat, wins the election for a Ward 2 Ann Arbor City Council seat. He ran unopposed. The seat was held by Sally Petersen, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor instead of seeking another term as councilmember.
- Aug. 5, 2014: Won the 2014 August Democratic primary election in Ward 2, defeating Nancy Kaplan. Westphal received 1,819 votes (59%) to Nancy Kaplan’s 1,261 (41%) in a race that was anticipated to be somewhat closer. Westphal had been endorsed by MLive/Ann Arbor News and the Michigan Talent Agenda, a organization created by local Democrat Ned Staebler.
- Nov. 5, 2013: Lost the general election for a Ward 2 city council seat to incumbent Jane Lumm, who received 55.9% of the votes compared to Westphal's 41.8%.
- Aug. 6, 2013: In an uncontested race, Westphal won the Democratic primary election for Ward 2 city council.
- July 2013: Re-elected chair of the Ann Arbor planning commission, a one-year term.
- March 21, 2013: Pulls petitions to run in the Ward 2 Democratic primary for city council.
- July 2012: Elected chair of the Ann Arbor planning commission, a one-year term.
- July 2012: Nominated by mayor John Hieftje and appointed by Ann Arbor city council to his third three-year term on the Ann Arbor planning commission, from July 2, 2012 to July 1, 2015.
- July 2009: Nominated by mayor John Hieftje and appointed by Ann Arbor city council to his second three-year term on the Ann Arbor planning commission, from July 6, 2009 to July 6, 2012.
- 2009: Chosen by the Ann Arbor planning commission to serve as that commission's liaison to the Ann Arbor environmental commission.
- 2006: Nominated by mayor John Hieftje and appointed by Ann Arbor city council to his first three-year term on the Ann Arbor planning commission.
- 2006: Founded Westphal Associates, a custom research and video production company that specializes in educational documentary videos on urban topics. The business has an office on the second floor of 206 S. Main in downtown Ann Arbor.
- DATE: Earned a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan.
- 2001-2004: Worked as quality control manager and research interviewer for The Hired Guns (on behalf of Morgan Stanley) in New York City.
- 1998-2000: Worked as coordinator of the Program for Children at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation in New York City.
- 1997-1998: Worked as copywriter and strategic planner for The Ad Store in New York City.
- 1993-1997: Worked as a strategic planning associate for Warick Baker O'Neill Advertising in New York City.
- 1992: Graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in economics, marketing and statistics.
In the news
Petition to recall councilmember over deer cull vote rejected – Michigan Daily, Dec. 17, 2015
Attempt to recall Ann Arbor council member fails – MLive, Dec. 17, 2015
Group aims to recall several Ann Arbor council members over deer cull – MLive, Dec. 4, 2015
Council member could face recall petition over deer cull – Michigan Daily, Dec. 3, 2015
Post-Party Politics: The Activist Coalition vs. the Back-to-Basics Caucus – Ann Arbor Observer, September 2014
How Ann Arbor Council Races Were Won – Ann Arbor Chronicle, Aug. 7, 2014
Westphal declares victory in 2nd Ward race for Ann Arbor City Council – MLive, Aug. 6, 2014
Three Critical Council Races – Ann Arbor Observer, August 2014
Council Election Finance 2014: Charts, Maps – Ann Arbor Chronicle, July 26, 2014
Live from the Library: Ward 2 Council Forum – Ann Arbor Chronicle, July 14, 2014
Council Candidates Live: Ann Arbor Dems – Ann Arbor Chronicle, July 12, 2014
Ward 2 Candidate Forum: CTN Broadcast – Ann Arbor Chronicle, July 8, 2014
- City Council Incumbents, AAPS Tax Win – Ann Arbor Chronicle, November 5, 2013
Ten Candidates, One Contest – Ann Arbor Observer, November 2013
Ann Arbor Campaign Finance 2013 – Ann Arbor Chronicle, Oct. 26, 2013
- Know Your Kirk: Public Servant – Ann Arbor Chronicle, August 2010
Westphal began his public service while earning his master’s in urban planning at UM. “I got to know the mayor,” he explains, “because I took his class in public policy school … I had also asked him about keeping me aware of any opportunities to volunteer.” [Mayor John Hieftje teaches a course as a lecturer at the UM Ford School of Public Policy: "Local Government, Opportunity for Activism."]
Contributing to This Page
For some existing timeline elements more precise dates would be desirable. Update strategy: Add timeline elements and news links as history unfolds.