To the editor:
It is common among politicians to disregard their election promises once they are elected. It is doubly shocking, however, when it happens at the local level, in our own city, and done by one whom we know personally and for whom we campaigned and voted. We are referring to the deal made between Boog Highberger and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce to destroy a living-wage ordinance, proposed for the city of Lawrence.
We voted for him to support the ordinance and not the emasculated version of the City Commission's resolution. As a lawyer, Mr. Highberger knows very well a resolution does not, and cannot, be enforced by criminal prosecution, and thus is toothless. It can be easily reversed by the next commission, or even this one should Mr. Highberger make another deal with the chamber.
We went to the commission meeting Aug. 19 to show our support for the living-wage ordinance. David Smith made an excellent argument for it. Neither he, nor any of us from the alliance, could have known that "the fix was in." Perhaps now is the time to organize support for an ordinance forbidding the city to give any further tax abatements. Perhaps it is time to say no to those who would take the money and run from their promises and responsibilities and relocate before the 10-year abatement expires. What's next? A deal with Wal-Mart to build a superstore at Sixth and Wakarusa? We would not be at all surprised.
Jarek and Maura Piekalkiewicz,