The challenge facing Lawrence is to find a balance between growth and a sense of community, said Lawrence City Commission candidate John Nalbandian.
"The key to growth is not only to make these investments in economic vitality," said Nalbandian, 47, 2545 Mont. "We also must come to grips with the fact that we need to invest in the kinds of things that will be able to represent, in tangible ways, our commitment to the sense of community."
The city must make investments in education, roads and police, Nalbandian said, but investments in such things as recycling, transportation and the arts center also are necessary.
Nalbandian, an associate professor of public administration at Kansas University, said imagining Lawrence without a recycling program in 10 years was as difficult for him as imagining the city without "some sort of southern trafficway."
"RECYCLING IS in the cards, and now it's just a matter of how do we calculate the investment to make it economically feasible and make it happen," he said.
Similarly, Nalbandian pointed to the various public and private agencies in Lawrence now providing transportation services, some at public expense.
"We have to coordinate those systems as the city grows and make more investments," he said. "I don't need to be convinced. I need people to help us move. I am ready to move in these areas and we need to do it quickly."
Help in formulating the new policies would come from what Nalbandian called providers and consumers of the services.
"Then we blend those interests and that information with the work of our professional staff to create proposals to bring before the commission," he said.
THE WAY the commission now conducts its business is a concern of voters, Nalbandian said. "They are concerned that the commission does not appear to be as effective as a problem-solving body as they would like it to be."
Disagreements must be expected, he said, but a policy must be developed to allow commissioners to completely explore and acknowledge their differences before reaching an agreement.
"Then let's move on and acknowledge that you had to give something, I had to give something, and let's not keep trying to get what we gave up every time the issue comes up," he said.
Regarding tax abatements, he said the goal should be to formulate an easy-to-understand policy that could be consistently applied. He supports using tax abatements in attracting businesses to Lawrence.
Nalbandian said he also supports maintaining downtown as Lawrence's central business district.