The real revolution came twelve years later, when out-of-state students were allowed to vote in local elections for the first time. In April 1969, Bob Harris, U-M law professor, was elected mayor, and I won the traditionally Republican Second Ward by an eight-vote landslide. Three other Democrats joined us to comprise our party’s first council majority in thirty years.
But revolutions have a way of encouraging disruption. Ann Arbor soon began experiencing weekend invasions of rock music played at glass-breaking decibels in many of our public parks. Within weeks, everyone in government installed an unlisted telephone line to dodge the complaints of Ann Arbor’s symphony-oriented older generation.
After many weeks of near-riots and dueling threats from both the increasingly deaf participants (including the preprofessional Iggy Pop) and their distressed and equally confrontational parents, I met with Skip Taube, “minister of education” for John Sinclair’s White Panther Party and spokesman for the insurgents. We peacefully resolved the dispute by restricting the music to the field bordering Huron High, comfortably out of range of the city’s residential antagonists, and the bands agreed to limit their volume to ninety deci-bels—still enough to break glass while leaving most skulls intact.