David Penny, one of three Lawrence city commissioners whose seat is up for re-election, this morning filed to run for a second term.
Penny, 45, owner of Kaw Sand Co., became the fifth official city commission candidate by paying a $10 filing fee.
Of the two other incumbent commissioners, only Mike Rundle has announced his intention not to seek re-election. Bob Schumm has said he still was considering seeking re-election.
Penny said he was persuaded to try to retain his seat on the commission by strong constituent support and his belief that other announced candidates were running "no-issue" campaigns.
"A lot of the people that have filed are talking about a lack of consensus. A consensus is three votes," Penny said. "I would say the people that are saying that don't understand the issues."
WITH THE exception of a two-year period in the mid-1980s, Penny said, the commission has been split on issues for about 10 years.
"And it's not a question of personalities. . . . We get along very well unless there's a clash of issues."
Penny said the clashes typically were "conflicts of interest groups," such as "downtown and neighborhood activists against suburbanites and the working-class people."
Penny said he supported the current tax abatement policy as a tool to recruit businesses. He said industrial growth had been restrained by arguments that it would harm downtown.
"Basically, they don't want any more development outside of downtown, but downtown can't be developed anymore," Penny said. "Now they're going after tax abatements, and trying to restrict residential growth through zoning and impact fees."
HE SAID Lawrence was losing $500,000 annually in sales taxes as shoppers made purchases outside the community and an untold amount in property taxes that would be paid by new businesses.
Penny also is concerned about what he called the "moral issues" of bar regulation and a gay rights ordinance.
"It's become dangerous in some neighborhoods because of drinking," Penny said. "We're going to make them responsible for their actions."
He said gay rights would probably become an issue and that he would vote against an ordinance outlining gay rights.
"I just don't see it as a desirable activity in the community. . . . I consider it a criminal activity, and surely not something we want to protect under a rights ordinance."
Penny said he also was concerned about maintaining city services during a recession and that he would hold the line on expenditures.
Penny was born in Lawrence. He grew up in Emporia and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He returned to Lawrence 14 years ago with his wife, Carmen. They and their three children live at 643 Tenn.
The filing period for the April 2 election ends at noon Tuesday. If more than six candidates file for the three city seats, a primary election will be conducted Feb. 26.