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Archive for Friday, February 26, 1993

PUTTING COMMISSION IN THE CITY

February 26, 1993

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Like most candidates, Milton Scott says he's had a blast going door-to-door in his campaign for city commission.

Unlike some, he said, he doesn't want that contact with residents to stop if he's elected.

Scott, assistant director of student housing a Kansas University, said one of his goals was to take the commission into the city.

"I would like to set up different sites for city commission meetings," he said. "That's a highlight of the campaign you get to go out and meet the constituents. So why stop it?"

Putting the commission on wheels is behind one of the 31-year-old Lawrence resident's key platforms: to bring various elements of the community government, residents, the university, businesses together.

He said a public transportation system was vital for his vision. Scott, who also plans to receive a master's degree in May in educational policy and administration, said establishing such a system was his top goal.

"WHAT I WANT to do is utilize our existing funds for public transportation and work with the school board, with the county commission and KU on Wheels to establish a comprehensive public transportation system," he said. "It would be a bus service that would fill in the gaps of our existing transportation during breaks, weekends and the summer."

Besides providing transportation, he said, a bus system would be an economic asset for Lawrence.

"Obviously, it would provide new jobs," he said. "It also would be attractive to businesses, who could be assured that their employees would be able to get to work."

Scott said another cornerstone of his campaign was to establish programs for youths. He said that by working with businesses, community groups, the university and other groups, he hoped to create programs in job-training, education and recreation.

AS AN EXAMPLE, Scott said he envisioned a program in which business owners allowed teen-agers to sit in on board meetings and watch day-to-day operations.

"We talk about the need for kids to be around role models and to stay off of drugs and away from gangs, but we don't give them any options," he said.

Scott said he would study successful youth programs in other cities to see whether they could be adapted to Lawrence. He cited an example from his hometown, East St. Louis, Ill., in which the city organized a mayor's youth committee to provide input about programs.

Scott, who is single, is making his first run for public office. If he wins, and if he is able to achieve his goals, he would only be able to run two more times.

To make the government more accountable to residents, Scott said, he would seek term limits for commissioners. Although he supports a vote on the issue, Scott said he leaned toward a three-term limit.

"We don't want government to get stagnated to forget why we're here," he said.

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