Reader comments

On Letter: What’s wrong?


Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 10 months ago

If it takes several years to spend $3.5 million, there is either something wrong with what exactly they are trying to spend it on, or there is something wrong with the way they are going about it, I would think.

Crazy_Larry 4 years, 10 months ago

Our "friendemy", the Chinese Communist, will gladly take our money now and spend it to by machines of war in preparation to do harm to the USA later. Notice how much they've been spending on "defense" lately? No worries! As long as the Dow Jones continues to rise!

Richard Payton 4 years, 10 months ago

The USA spends nine times more than the Chinese on defense. China is the next closest nation to us on defense spending.

Crazy_Larry 4 years, 10 months ago

I know...The USA spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

Why is this person supporting the Communist Chinese government instead of the American workers that made corporate America wealthy?

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 10 months ago

oneeye_wilbur, of course it is easier to do business in Communist China than in the United States, because they have almost no environmental regulations, the minimum wage varies between approximately 96.12 and 208.14 US dollars per MONTH depending upon location, and there are almost no worker safety rules.

As a direct result of all that, many workers are killed, maimed, and poisoned, and the air in parts of Beijing is so polluted that it is yellow, and breathing it is the equivalent of smoking 5 packs of cigarettes a day.

So yes, it is true that it is easier to do business in Communist China. The problem is, it's a terrible place to work, except in some places and in some industries.

kochmoney 4 years, 10 months ago

It's also easier to sell baby formula tainted with poison in China. What's your point?

kernal 4 years, 10 months ago

Really, Wilbur? Do you understand that corporate executives from the U.S. and other countries have begun leaving China because of the horrible pollution and some cities have had 1,000 deaths a day due to the environmental problem? China may also begin up rejecting some of our recyclables, such as electronics, due to the pollution they are causing in China.

I wouldn't rely too much on that invester group as they are lacking in foresight and not keeping up. There's going to be change in China.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 10 months ago

“China is a sleeping dragon. When it awakes, the world will shake.”
- Napoleon Bonaparte, 1808

akt2 4 years, 10 months ago

It probably doesn't matter one way or the other. They obviously would have closed one or more of their "several" locations by now if business was so bad.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

The lack of details in that conversation is one thing missing. Was the conversation truly and obviously vague?

This repeal will not be necessarily be friendly to existing retailers in Lawrence but wayyyyyy more friendly to further saturating the Lawrence retail market. Apparently there is the mentality that Lawrence,Kansas has access to trillions of unknown retail $$$$$ in spite of the fact that Lawrence is not growing. And in spite of the fact that Lawrence is surrounded by larger retail opportunities within a few minutes drive. http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/assets/agendas/cc/2013/07-23-13/pl_ta_12-00205_ord8882.pdf

Eliminating any part of a Retail Market Study ordinance threatens the local economy and should not be considered as a fiscal responsible decision. Federal and State level politicians can wreck a local economy quite well on their own. Local politicians should be the checks and balance NOT part of wreckanomics.

I know some on the commission believe we should bring the shoppers to Lawrence because they have said so. But why would Topeka metro and KCMO metro shoppers want to come to high dollar Lawrence when in fact they have multiple choices, lower prices and larger selections within 15 minutes from their homes?

Of course the local movers and shakers believe all Lawrence shoppers to flock to the westside developments which of course are quite limited in scope. Their choices are not Lawrence choices.

rtwngr 4 years, 10 months ago

Merrill, I can't help but wonder where you got the idea that the opening of these other retailers is, in some way, meant to attract KC and Topeka shoppers. That's an absurd conclusion. The idea is to keep Lawrence dollars in Lawrence. If a major retailer can run a viable business in the Lawrence community, why not? Most of the times, these "Retail Market Study" ordinances are merely a form of protectionism. "High dollar" Lawrence is high dollar simply because of the lack of competition. Lawrence is not growing because Lawrence has perpetuated an attitude that we don't want growth and industry in this town. Whether it be protectionist downtown retailers sitting on the city commission or the ignorance of the overeducated from the university elite, the entrepreneurial leadership and spirit that was once the Bowersocks and Hills of our community is dead.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

Art should be a primary industry in Lawrence as opposed to sprawling retail,expanding the bedroom community and warehouses.

Another industry should be education which is being buried by sprawling retail,expanding the bedroom community and warehouses.

The other industry should be bicycle competition as opposed to sprawling retail,expanding the bedroom community and warehouses. BTW where is the women's triathlon team which would be a wise investment for Lawrence tax dollars?

What I don't understand is why Lawrence is not putting effort into attracting a quite healthy cyclist community over sprawling retail,expanding the bedroom community and warehouses?

Providing safe cycling paths throughout Lawrence for all ages that connect the entire community costs a whole lot less money that new streets,4 lane roadways and sprawling retail,expanding the bedroom community and warehouses.

The art industry needs money and attracts money as does the education industry and the cycling industry. Now we're talking about a trio that would breed strong economic growth for a whole lot less money than sprawling retail,expanding the bedroom community and warehouses.

Repairing old sidewalks could be an industry in and of itself not to mention a wise investment.

rtwngr 4 years, 10 months ago

The answer to your questions is obvious, those "industries" that you hold up as examples do not provide any tax base. You are the biggest opponent of tax abatement to attract companies on these blogs but every example that you gave will need public funding of some sort which is essentially the same thing. The only problem is the arts are not self sustaining. They always need subsidizing. Oh, and bicycle competitions? There's a real money maker! Education always needs subsidies. Every example you gave is a drain on the public sector and does nothing to bring new tax dollars into the local coffers. Sidewalk repair industry? Really?

Matthew Herbert 4 years, 10 months ago

So let me sum up your story: Some anonymous guy who owns some anonymous store is having trouble spending money for some unspecified reason. Yes, very helpful and thought provoking letter.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

"Lawrence has perpetuated an attitude that we don't want growth and industry in this town." That is perpetuated by over saturation of the market which is unfriendly to business and demonstrates inflation.

The real estate industry does well because they make money selling off parcels. That is not an indication the market and taxpayers can withstand reckless development. Simply put when retail establishments cannot produce expected sales thus produce expected tax dollars the taxpayers lose because city hall will come back on the taxpayers to make up the loss.

City Hall spends based on projected/expected tax dollar revenue generation. The new budget is designed based on an "expected growth in sales" which is without substance because no one knows if that projection is true or will ever materialize.

City Commissioners of late believe taxpayers must take risks no matter that taxpayers are annually hit with fee and tax increases over the past 25-30 years. Which says all of the new "so called growth" is NOT producing economic growth. Would these same commissioners spend as reckless their own small business dollars? Probably not for they would be out of business.

Liberty275 4 years, 10 months ago

How much did you spend on artwork last month?

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 10 months ago

Personally, I spend a lot of money on artwork. Just about every product I buy has beautiful artwork on its packaging!

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence movers and shakers are concentrated on stealing jobs from other communities. This is not healthy for the nation nor for the Lawrence economy. This kind of predator economics requires tons of corporate welfare to bribe others to Lawrence which is unfriendly to taxpayers. We're led to believe that Lawrence does not need these tax dollar tax handouts while at the same time taxpayers are subjected tax /fee increases throughout the process.

Why isn't industry standing on their own two feet? People tell us if Lawrence does not bribe jobs will not relocate to Lawrence. I say fine taxpayers cannot afford those jobs. Those jobs will again relocate elsewhere to the next highest bidder. Nothing solid about predator economics aka reckless

Yes I am for protecting solid economic growth over speculation any day. Tighter markets produce more value and generate solid economic growth. High dollar Lawrence is based on the fact that Lawrence is a college town which for some absurd reason creates a large amount of inflation. Inflation is a negative under most economic umbrellas.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

Yes I am for protecting solid economic growth over speculation,higher taxes and higher fees any day.......... absolutely.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 10 months ago

Upon being introduced, he said to me, “What’s wrong with Lawrence? We have been trying for several years to spend $3.5 million on one of our Lawrence locations, and we can’t get it done. We’re about to take our $3.5 million and go elsewhere.”

They are trying to upgrade a location.

Well, now, let's put our heads together and see if we can come up with a retail chain store in Lawrence that needs upgrading. David, please, more information.

jack22 4 years, 10 months ago

"There could, of course, be a lot more to the story, and I am not offering any opinion on the subject. I simply felt the conversation was worth repeating." Yes, there certainly is a lot more to the story, you're not giving us enough information. The who, what, where, and why are all missing from your conversation.

FlintlockRifle 4 years, 10 months ago

Dave, you have been around this town long enough to know all the hoops that business like you have and had have to deal with. Well put point and right on, just look at Menards troubles.

average 4 years, 10 months ago

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average 4 years, 10 months ago

"Troubles". We went from no Menards in the works to overriding our entire city development code for them in slightly over two months. That's not 'troubles', mate, that's 'bending over backwards'. What more do you people want?? Build their gorram building for them?

FlintlockRifle 4 years, 10 months ago

Menards here to stay, Home Depot , move on down the road, please

overthemoon 4 years, 10 months ago

It is not difficult to get a project thru city hall if you've done your homework, fill out applications thoroughly and have a design plan that solves problems rather than creating them. A business that tries to 'get by' city hall will have problems. Best practice is to have meetings in advance (before plans are done) with planning and zoning, codes admin, city engineer), and, if need be, historic resource planner. They love to be included on the planning process because it makes the review process much easier and more efficient.

Anyone who submits development applications and is surprised by requirements or costs they didn't anticipate has done a lousy job of planning. Everything is on the city website. Having an architect and/or engineer familiar with local conditions on the team is a very worthwhile investment.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps--and this is just a perhaps since I've not worked with the Planning Dept. and don't know what they already do-- it would be worthwhile for the Planning Department to get feedback from prospective/successful/failed projects in terms of what were the good parts, the OK parts, and the areas of difficulty in working with the Planning Dept. Any service oriented organization does this in order to continually monitor their performance interacting with the public in order to learn and tailor their capability to meeting the needs of a wide variety of customers. For instance, the needs of an out-of-town based retail chain who DOESN'T have any local contacts might be very different from the home grown business that is not a chain. It seems to me that the goal of providing consistent guidelines for establishing/running/expanding businesses should have an overall tone of: "we are excited for you to consider our town for your business needs--we are here to provide you with the necessary guidance for you to meet our regulations and be able to succeed in our unique and growing community." And getting feedback at the end of the process would provide invaluable information as to whether that tone was maintained and what, if anything can be done to improve the process.

scaramouchepart2 4 years, 10 months ago

The Planning Department does ask. Problem is how the Planning Department is graded. To many times at Planning Commission meetings and City one hears from staff they need to work around codes and policies. Case in point fake grass, 901 NH, Varsity house to name a few recent.

kochmoney 4 years, 10 months ago

There could, of course, be a lot more to the story, and since I'm not naming names, I could just be making this whole thing up. Enjoy!

parrothead8 4 years, 10 months ago

Maybe he should buy a golf course, since he seems to enjoy them so much.

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