City Commission candidate Mike Amyx to chat with LJWorld.com readers.
March 30, 2009
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Hi. I'm your moderator Chad Lawhorn. With us today is City Commissioner Mike Amyx. Thanks for being here, Mike. We have some questions, but still are accepting questions from the audience.
Thank you for having me here online today. I look forward to visiting with as many people as I can.
What are your thoughts on the recent outbreak of violent crime in Lawrence? What does the city need to do to lower crime rates and make this a safe place again? Thanks!
City commission needs to work closely with the police chief and police department and understand needs that may exist in the police department. We are being kept abreast of these problems that have recently come up. The police department is doing a great job of being able to answer these calls, and bring a resolution to the crimes. One thing that I would hope is that if people have ideas, better ways to help, I would appreciate them. I think the statement that was given from the university last week that we need to be more aware of our surroundings, take precautions needs to happen for safety. As a commissioner I have always placed public safety the highest on my list of priorities.
You have been reported as being opposed to the addition of "gender identity" to Lawrence's human relations ordinance? Why is that, and what information might open you to changing your mind?
First of all I'm am opposed to the addition of gender identity to the city's human relations ordinance. One thing I have always believed in is that items such as gender identification should be a function of the state. In answer to the second question you have, maybe it is just my lack of knowledge or understanding about the entire issue. Like anyone else, I can be further educated on the issue, and maybe this will help make more of an informed decision.
I tried to rent a space for a business in a shopping center. I was told by City Hall that because I was going to be a different type of business replacing the one that went out of business, I'd have to file a site plan for the whole shopping center. I was told by an architect it would cost me $3000. I was told by the Planning Department that they would need 30 days to approve or deny my request to rent the space, after the site plan was filed. I was also told that because of the change in parking code, I'd most likely have to file a parking variance which could take a minimum of 45 days if approved but it could still be denied. There is an abundant amount of parking from what I can tell. The landlord told me that is why there are vacancies around town and it has been going on for a few years now. Now I'm looking at Lenexa because they do not require a site plan or parking variance to rent a small space in a shopping center.
Mike, what have you done to make Lawrence more business friendly while you've been in office?
Over the last four years, I've had many people contact me who are trying to start a new business in Lawrence, Kansas. One of the things I've done as calls or communications have come to me is to make sure that people understand which departments they need to contact and what that process entails. Needless to say, our development code has been said to be tough, but at the same time, it is a code that has gone through a tremendous amount of public comment. Furthermore, I would have to say that my availability to help potential business owners go through the process is a way that I help on a daily basis.
We're nearing the end of our submitted questions. But we are still accepting questions from the audience.
We have certainly seen a surge in violence around Lawrence lately. These events seem to be taking place all over the city and not in any one isolated area. According to city records, the police seem to spend a large portion of their time inside five local bars looking for minors drinking. Four of the five bars have no history of violent activity in or outside the business. I work in a local bar and can attest to this fact. Don't you think Lawrence would be a safer place if our police were on the streets where the violence is taking place instead of spending tens of hours a week inside businesses where no violence or history of violence is taking place?
This is a great question. This is one way that we can listen to the public and try to make a determination of where our police officers on the street would be better served. I will visit with the chief and the city manager to get an understanding of how much time we are putting in on bar checks as opposed to officers actually out on the streets.
That will do it for this chat. Thanks to everyone who sent in a question. Also, thank you, Mike. Our next chat is set up for 1:30 Wednesday. It will be with City Commission candidate Dennis Constance. As a reminder, the election is April 7.
I just want to thank people for giving me the opportunity to serve over the years I've been at Lawrence City Hall and the Douglas County Courthouse. It truly has been an honor. My goal is always to seek as much input as I can on every issue that becomes before the commission to be able to make the most informed decision. I take the job very seriously. Thank you, again.