City Commission candidate Stan Rasmussen answers your questions

March 24, 2015

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Stan Rasmussen

Stan Rasmussen, one of six candidates for three seats on the Lawrence City Commission, answers reader-submitted questions in advance of the April 7 general election.


Hello everyone. Welcome to our online chat with city commission candidate Stan Rasmussen. Please feel free to submit questions in the space provided below. Thanks for being here, Stan.

Stan Rasmussen:

Thank you giving me this opportunity to participate on the on-line chat. I look forward to seeing the questions. Lets go!


Stan, In the Journal World questionnaire, you stated that tax breaks would be based on approved economic development guidelines. (Not an exact quote by any stretch.) what economic development guidelines were you referring to? Would you elaborate?

Stan Rasmussen:

The City has economic development guidelines that were updated in 2010. Generally the lay out the criteria and process for considering economic development requests. If I remember correctly there are five primary considerations: 1) Does the development proposal comply with economic development goals of the City/County Comprehensive Plan (a.k.a Horizon 2020); 2) does the development enhance downtown; 3) does the proposed development promote infill; 4) does the project incorporate environmentally beneficial elements; and 5) is a catch all about general community benefits. I was able to find these guidelines on the City"s website.


Do you think it is about time to remove those damned fool roundabouts from our city street intersections? I ride every day on school bus as an attendant and the near misses and close calls at these stupid European devices by distracted drivers who do not know the meaning of "Yield" signs is very frightening.

Stan Rasmussen:

I think when designed and used correctly, roundabouts provide safety, transportation, and environmental benefits. Roundabouts are safer than traditional 4-way stops because they force a reduction in speed when crossing an intersection and they eliminate t-bone crashes. Studies have shown that roundabouts more more cars per hour through an intersection than 4-way stops so travel is more efficient. Finally roundabouts reduce idling time at an intersection thereby saving fuel a reducing air pollutions. I would encourage you to reconsider their benefit to our community.


At a city commission meeting last year, I raised the question of setting campaign spending limits in order to achieve a more level playing field in our local political scene. There are many well-qualified, civic-minded citizens who would love to serve on the commission, but lack “deep pockets” of their own, or a long list of wealthy potential backers. In looking over this year’s financial disclosure reports, your “campaign war chest” is easily double or more than that of your opponents. What surprised/concerned me even more however, is the fact that nearly HALF of your contributions came from outside Douglas county or even the state of Kansas! Would you be in favor of setting spending limits in future elections and perhaps even setting geographic limits? Shouldn’t local elections be kept at the “local” level?


Kansas City, MO and Seattle have instant rebate programs for residents who buy energy-efficient LED lightbulbs and Energy Star appliances and air conditioners. How do you feel about Lawrence initiating such a practice?

Stan Rasmussen:

As an environmental and energy law attorney, I am currently working working on solar energy projects for the army. I definitely support energy efficiency. I use LED bulbs in my home and am slowly trying to convert my whole house to LED bulbs (But is slow because they are so expensive). That being said, I would prefer to see Westar implement an LED rebate program. Westar is the City's electric utility and would benefit most from such a program. Nonetheless, I would be supportive of the City helping to facilitate such a program.


We had a technical glitch here. Stan answered ZeeGalliano's question, but his response didn't show up in the chat. So, he'll answer it again below. Sorry for the confusion.

Stan Rasmussen:

I do not support placing arbitrary spending restrictions on campaign spending. Generally, I feel that campaign contributions reflect the popularity of a candidate. Because I have never run for election, I knew I would need to spend time, effort and money to get people to know me. Accordingly I was the first candidate to file of the campaign...back in November. Filing early was part of my campaign plan so that I would have time to raise the funds I thought necessary to run my campaign. I started with $500 of my own money and have relied on donor support to carry me forward. When I announced, I reached out to my Leadership Kansas and Leadership Lawrence classmates and alums to ask for their support. I have also reached out for support from former coworkers and people I have met while working for the engineering firm Black & Veatch and people I have met while working for the Army. I feel fortunate that so many classmates and friends think highly enough of me to give me financial donations. I have also received donations from friends and family out of state. I am fortunate to have so many supporters.


We're running out of time on this chat, so if you have a question for Stan, now is the time to submit it below. This question came via e-mail. It is from Tony: Do you support providing Broadband Fiber(1Gb) Internet to every home and business in Lawrence?


This is an e-mailed question from Melinda: If elected, how would you use social media to enhance communication with the residents of Lawrence?

Stan Rasmussen:

I absolutely support Lawrence moving into the 21st Century and having high-speed internet service available in our community. This is a must for our community! I have a friend who is contemplating moving his business out of Lawrence because of the lack of high-speed internet service. We can't afford to have businesses thinking like that. We need high speed fiber to help entice high tech companies to our community. Last year the City started the process to look at the interest of companies to bring high-speed internet to our community. They received several responses from several firms who are willing to pay the City to have access to build out our community with high speed fiber. We need to get this moving!

Stan Rasmussen:

The City of Lawrence can do better than it currently is at using social media. The first place I would start is out City's facebook page. If you have ever been there you know that it basically regurgitates wikipedia information about Lawrence, and not much more. I work at Fort Leavenworth and routinely get facebook up dates and alerts about safety drills, weather information, social events, installation training activities, etc. It is a useful communication tool, but the Lawrence facebbok page is underutilized and basically ineffective. I would also like to see our City website substantially improved. I find it hard to find information, and generally experience frustration of having to search and search for things before I find what I want. I do appreciate the e-mail notifications you can sign up for, but think that could be expanded and improved.


That's the end of our time for this chat. Thank you to everyone who participated, and a special thanks to Stan for his time. Our next chat is at 3:30 today (March 24) with City Commissioner Terry Riordan.

Stan Rasmussen:

I want to thank everyone for your thoughtful questions and thank the LJ World for hosting this chat. As you consider whether to vote for me, I would ask you to consider my 20+ years of volunteer service to the city working on the original Horizon 2020 project, the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Planning Commission, the Historic Resources Commission, and most recently on the Horizon 2020 Steering Committee. I would also like you to understand that I consider myself an independent thinker and an independent candidate. Other than my home, I own no other property in Lawrence. I am beholden to no one and am ready to support everyone. I hope that I can earn your vote on April 7th.


David Holroyd 2 years, 12 months ago

Well, another that doesn't bring any new ideas. Not impressed with his tenure on the planning commission for allowing an entire neighborhood to be DOWNZONED.

No attempt by him or his colleagues to correct a wrong!

For example, a six plex with one bedroom in each unit was legally built. Zoning got changed and now the owners can only build a triplex with two bedrooms in each unit.

Same number of bedrooms! What is wrong with six one bedroom units?

In fact, the city would benefit more with six water meters and six sanitation charges. now the city gets only three.

Not impressed.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 12 months ago



Chase Blackwood 2 years, 11 months ago

Those are some pretty damning statistics to your assumptions, Fred. I think the issue with roundabouts in Lawrence is education. Too many people don't seem to understand how yield signs work.

Miko Harper 2 years, 11 months ago

Key word being fool. Why would we listen to a fool when it comes to traffic safety?

David Holroyd 2 years, 11 months ago

Has Rasmussen gotten any financial support from LawrenceUnited LLC? Is it sill intact?

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