Q. If voters should reject the $4 million bond issue for the south Lawrence trafficway during the general election, should the county proceed with plans for the road. If yes, what action should be taken?
A. I believe the current city and county commissions have agreed to be bound by the vote. That is as it should be; for public officials to override the express will of the people is an insult to voters.
I support comprehensive, long-range transportation planning. Our approach to traffic and transportation has been piecemeal projects with little overall coherence and inadequate public and professional input. We need to begin by developing community consensus on both our community needs and the specific ways we will meet those needs.
Q. What steps will be necessary in the next few years to ensure that the county has adequate jail or detention facilities for both juveniles and adults?
A. Provide punishment and holding facilities other than expensive jails for those who do not threaten others. Community corrections is working well and can be expanded. 2. Mandatory drug treatment for drug- and alcohol-related crime will help. 3. Create work programs to enable inmates to pay their room and board. 4. New facilities may be a last but necessary resort for those who must be incarcerated.
Funding the proposed regional juvenile facility should be shared as much as possible. It must have adequate capacity and we must coordinate with schools, social services and mental health so intervention results in rehabilitation.
Q. What should the county's role be in producing the planning document Horizon 2020? What planning philosophies regarding development and land use to you want to see reflected in that document?
A. This plan must be based on a genuine consensus on community goals. It should provide for:
A mixed, rather than an elite Lawrence.
Affordable housing programs.
Condensed growth to minimize public costs, reduce traffic and encourage public transit.
Ways to improve eastern parts of city and county.
A stable tax levy by anticipating public costs of growth, developing capital budget planning for major costs, and making sure new development pays its fair share for the demands it creates.
We cannot support our downtown and another regional center until county population hits 150,000; our plan should provide for that if that population is anticipated by the year 2020.
Q. What, if anything, can the county do to lower taxes; or is the county faced with the need to find alternative sources of financing, such as a countywide sales tax? What specific programs would you like to see funded if such a tax were enacted?
A. Sales taxes hit the poor the hardest and should be a last resort.
The county must monitor expenditures extremely closely.
Tax breaks for industry come out of your pocket; we need to curb the practice of giving such breaks to profitable businesses without adequate payback in the form of jobs with good wages and benefits. We also need the protection of written agreements with those who receive abatements.
Our best new source of revenue would be equitable user fees on new development such as are found in some of our growing, progressive neighbors in Johnson County.
Q. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a county commissioner?
A. 1. Providing the best services for the lowest possible cost: I want to keep taxes down.
2. Land-use planning decisions facing Douglas County: We need to recognize the choices ahead and make them consciously. We do not need, for example, to allow the county to be swallowed up by Kansas City and Topeka.
3. Giving environmental and recycling issues a high priority.
I intend to serve as a full-time county commissioner. I intend to use my time to meet with the people of Douglas County and use my experience as an elected official to make county government accessible to all citizens.