Incumbent Barkley Clark, a lawyer and university teacher, became the sixth announced candidate for the city commission race. He had been mayor in 1975 and 1976. Barkley eventually served 12 years on the commission, longest in local history, before resigning to move to join a law firm in Johnson County.
On Jan. 27, 1902, the Lawrence World wrote, "Mayor Selig is right in declining to take the responsibility of having the sparrows shot inside the city limits. It is a most dangerous thing to do. The birds can be shot in the country without any danger, but every shot fired within the city limits endangers a human life. We must be careful. The shooting in town is purely for sport and in no sense for the destruction of the little pest. Let us have a care how we jeopardize human life for mere sport."