City Commission candidate Terry Riordan answers your questions

March 24, 2015

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

Terry Riordan

Terry Riordan, 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 everybody. Welcome to our online chat with City Commissioner Terry Riordan, who is one of the six candidates seeking election on the Lawrence City Commission. We're looking for your questions. Please submit them in the space below. Thanks for being here, Terry.

Terry Riordan:

Thanks for the opportunity to talk to the public today. It really is a privilege to speak to the public with you

Terry Riordan:

Thanks for the opportunity to talk to the public today. It really is a privilege to speak to the public with you


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.

Terry Riordan:

Well I understand your frustration because I dont like roundabouts but the following is important
1. They are safer for the public for many reasons, instead of 18 points of conflict there are 4
instead of side impact that hurts people there are rear end collisions that only hurt cars
speed is rarely more than 20 mph
2. It is better for the environment since there is less CO2 foot print
3. It is far more efficient

So although I dont like them I will go with safety and support the other reasons


Send us those questions. This one is an e-mailed question from Tony: Do you support providing Broadband Fiber(1Gb) Internet to every home and business in Lawrence?

Terry Riordan:

Yes I do. But we must use the fiber the city owns to entice companies to provide that service. WE have lots of black fiber that they will want to use for the middle and final mile. We should ask companies to provide this service to all of Lawrence rather than cherry picking. This is an important issue for our growth and getting new businesses to grow or relocate to Lawrence.


This question is from Carol: We are starting to market Lawrence as a retirement community. Other than marketing, what could the city do to attract seniors to stay or move to Lawrence?

Terry Riordan:

I am working with Dennis Doomer for the last two years with a group meeting monthly to discuss this. We gave a one time grant to Senior Services to do this and we are working with KU and developers to get a community of Intergenerational living with aging in Place. Working with KU is a key because they are the attraction. We are just beginning but are making progress


This question is from Ken, and he has a question about the city's budget: With infrastructure being a core responsibility of Lawrence, (water, sewers, streets, interest, police, fire, (hi speed internet?), how much "premium" should be placed on non core items?

Terry Riordan:

We must, absolutely must, concentrate on infrastructure first and foremost along with public safety. WE actually are doing great on our street and have added a 36 inche water line to north Lawrence and replaced the two inlets on the Kaw and also have replaced 6.4 miles of old water lines and I could bore you with a lot more but suffice it to say we are doing just that but we do a crummy job of informing the public.


This question is from Sean, and he has a question about equipment purchases for the Lawrence Police Department: Are you concerned with purchases such as the "riot van", are things like that too expensive, and are you concerned their overuse may contribute to violence in situations that would otherwise remain more peaceful?

Terry Riordan:

I have talked with Chief Khatib on several occasions about just this. That was based on a grant I believe from the govt so I am not sure it cost us much but we should have very specific reasons to use it. We should not inflame a difficult situation or so to say swat a fly with a cannon. We are very careful the last two years to make good cost effective purchases


What is your view on retail expansion in Lawrence providing us with stores we would otherwise have to travel to Topeka or KC to visit?

Terry Riordan:

I am very supportive. I voted for the Menards store and that might pay us back in spades. I never was asked about southpoint since it was nixed by the planning commission but have talke d with Chris Challis about the new plans and they look good. That are on Iowa and Sixth and SLT will be big boons to our economy so yes I think they look good to me.


Please send us your questions. You can use the space below to submit your question. This one is from Shawn: In your perspective, do Lawrence residents feel that they have a voice that is being heard by the current commission?

Terry Riordan:

We are trying but appear to the public as not trying. I want this to be a central part of my platform. Go to my web site riordanforlawrence and you will see this.
We must value citizen input I talked in my living room with Mike Copeland months ago about this since Olathe is doing such a great job at this here are some thoughts

opentownhall is a website we can use to get citizen input that is meaningful
metrics from surveys of citizens that will help guide us
When you go to townhall you get asked how your visit went and we will listen and base raises partially on you feedback
We will use better electronic communications like twitter
and yes never have an no bid contract done by the previous commission
I could go on but time is limited


Unless we get some additional questions, we'll wrap up shortly. Here is a question from Carol:
Economic growth means bringing new money into the community. What type of economic growth projects do you think would fit into Lawrence realistically? And, would you be willing to drop back to 50% on the property tax break?

Terry Riordan:

We should bring companies with good living wage jobs especially if we use Venture Park which is just about to take off

We should support more small business locally grown businesses that have an entrepreneurial spirit and help them grow.

I recommend we go back and look at the 10 year and 50% tax lids and make very specific and reasonable justifications to go above that level\. We need to think more about that since the climate has changed. FYI most of our incentives are for people like stan hernly, Prosoco and the Polar Lofts for low income and BTBC spin offs so that is a good thing


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

Terry Riordan:

I think we need to expand on what Jeremy is doing with facebook and twitter and getting information to the public. I think the opentownhall is a great source. Lets not overlook the library that tons of people go and the Sports pavilion Lawrence as areas to communicate. Lets look at what other cities are doing so we can engage our citizens better and value their comments. We need to do a whole lot better. And don't forget inefficient town meetings with commissioners


Thank you to everyone who has participated in this chat, and a special thanks to Terry for his time. Our next online candidate chat will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday (March 26) with City Commissioner Bob Schumm.

Terry Riordan:

I hope this was helpfull

Go to my Website and you will see a lot of what I stand for. I have no one group that guides me or any philosphy that is other than what is best for our city. I analyze, ask questions from all sides of a question and then form an answer. It has worked for me my whole life. I would ask for you vote on April 7th and encourage all to vote regardless of whom they support to get three people who the city wants to guide their way. Thanks for spending time with me.


David Holroyd 3 years, 1 month ago

"tons of people" overweight is he suggesting?

No new ideas from Riordan and same old mantra about bringing jobs.

Btw, When does Mr McElwain plan to make his big announcement about the big employer coming to Venture Park?

Samantha Martin 3 years, 1 month ago

"I never was asked about southpoint since it was nixed by the planning commission but have talked with Chris Challis about the new plans and they look good."

Apparently he was asked about Southpoint in a private meeting.

Riordan is confused and has issues keeping his story straight. I would suggest not voting for him.

Cille King 3 years, 1 month ago

The League of Women Voters wrote a letter to the Planning Commission regarding "Southpoint". There are numerous reasons not build anything approximating the first proposal. You can find the letter on pages 27 and 28 of the the Commission's packet for the item.:

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 1 month ago



Rick Masters 3 years, 1 month ago

Do we have any stats on roundabout fatalities in Lawrence?

Jake Davis 3 years, 1 month ago

Fred, you are 100% wrong on this subject matter. Roundabouts have proven to be a much safer traffic regulator than any stop sign, stop light, speed bump, or yield sign.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years ago

Where and from whom are you getting these statistics? My experience with distracted drivers at these damned things has been frightening and very hazardous.

David Holroyd 3 years ago

Is Dr. Riordan getting any money from LawrenceUnitedLLC? I believe it is still intact as a PAC group and may even have Crossland contributing to it as well. Certainly Chad could find out if LawrenceUnited LLC is active and has filed a contribution report thus far.

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