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Archive for Tuesday, January 17, 1995

DESIGNER MULLS CITY COMMISSION RACE

January 17, 1995

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Lena Johnson would be the seventh candidate for the Lawrence City Commission if she decides to file for the office.

An interior designer wants to remodel Lawrence into a "sustainable community" from a seat on the Lawrence City Commission.

Lena Johnson, a self-employed architectural and interior designer, is the author of a master's thesis on the concept of sustainable communities -- "Where the people of the community come together, they have a common vision and they work toward solving problems," she said this morning.

By educating government leaders, planning for problems before they occur and concentrating on neighborhoods as a whole -- "not just roads and houses" -- Lawrence could ensure a healthy community for generations to come, she said.

Among her goals: invest in public transportation, start a curbside recycling program, protect historic and natural resources and encourage local artists and businesses.

"We need real interaction with the public," Johnson said. "That's what helps you fight crime. That's what helps you maintain a healthy community."

Johnson, 41, joins a crowded field of candidates for the April 4 election. Four candidates already have filed, including Commissioner Doug Compton, while Johnson and two others have announced their plans to run. Three seats on the commission are up for election.

The filing deadline is a week away. If more than six candidates file, a primary election would be held Feb. 28.

Johnson, 3225 Yellowstone, has lived in Lawrence since 1990, when she moved from Kansas City, Mo., to study architecture and urban design at Kansas University. She holds a bachelor's degree in environmental health science from the University of Georgia, and bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture and urban design from KU, where she currently is seeking a doctorate.

Her dissertation also involves creation of sustainable communities.

"This is my career," she said.

Johnson currently is a board member for the Douglas County Preservation Alliance and co-founder of the Coalition to Preserve the Wetlands. She previously held leadership positions in several business, design and planning associations.

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