Welcome to our online chat with Lawrence city commission candidate Lynn Goodell. The chat took place on Thursday, March 27, at 4:00 PM and is now closed, but you can read the full transcript on this page.
Moderator: Welcome to today's chat with city commission candidate Lynn Goodell. We have several questions queued up, so we are ready to begin. Feel free to submit your questions.
Irene Tsuneta: How should the city commission deal with the vacant property left by PayLess Cashways (and soon K-Mart)? How do you think the existence of vacant commercial property should affect the commission's decisions about building new commercial buildings? What if the new construction would displace homes?
Lynn Goodell: I believe the vacant Payless property might be better marketed if there were better traffic circulation in that area. Completing the SLT would probably help in that respect. I also believe an over-abundance of vacant commercial property should be a signal to the commission that a significant amount of new commercial buildings is not warranted. I would hope that new commercial construction would not displace homes, but if it were proposed to do so, a mitigation plan would be required.
Laurie: Why do you think you would make a good city commissioner?
Lynn Goodell: I believe I would be a good commissioner because I have a career track record of listening to the concerns of citizens and working with them to solve problems. I have been able to pull together people from all walks of life to gain a consensus on solutions. Because I was the director of Housing and Neighborhood Development for the City of Lawrence, I am familiar with what is available and who to call.
Concerned: Lynn, What stance do you have regarding affordable housing?
Lynn Goodell: Affordable housing is one of my main goal for the citizens of Lawrence. While I was the director od HAND, I was able to be a major part of creating affordable housing opportunities. As a matter of fact, my staff and I received an award from HUD for our affordable housing project on Haskell Avenue. That project was possible because I pulled together neighborhood people, home builders, lenders, and surrounding property owners to accomplish the project, I will continue to search for other ideas.
Long time Lawrence resident: Lynn,
You were the brains behind the HAND development in East Lawrence. My understanding is that lower income folks were able to get into homes valued then at $100,000 for approximately $75,000 due to the efforts of you, the Lawrence Home Builders and others. Can you tell me how that project was developed and if you feel there are opportunities to continue this type of collaboration in the future? Why are you the guy who can get that done?
Lynn Goodell: That project was developed by seeking as many stake holders in the community as I could. Together we were able to iron out the details. There are always opportunities to collaborate on new ideas because people look for ways to solve problems. There are non-profit organizations, as well as for-profit organizations that are willing to help. I am the guy who can get it done because I know how to combine the people and resources. My track record is one of the best, and people trust me to do the job in a sensitive manner.
Shaun: Your largest campaign contributors are big developers, construction firms, and property management services. They seem to have a vested interest in getting you elected. Why do you think that is?
Lynn Goodell: I believe all of my campaign contributors, including those that you mention, have a vested interest in getting me elected. I believe this is so because they know I shoot straight, follow the rules, and I am consistent in my decisions. My record in dealing with all segments of the community is there for all to see.
Colleen: Four of the six city commission candidates, yourself included, have or do depend upon the government for their livelihood. As a small business owner in Lawrence, that concerns me.
What experience do you possess that would give small business owners in Lawrence a certain level of comfort that, if elected, you would understand and be responsive to their particular needs?
Lynn Goodell: I have limited experience personally as a small business person. I owned a small downtown grocery store in a city in southeast Kansas. I definitely know how tough it is to make a small business a success. I have also worked with small businesses through the SBA during my career. I would hope that my record as a government employee would be a source of comfort to anyone who knows me and my accomplishments on behalf of citizens.
inquiring mind: The year after you left your job as Director of Housing & Neighborhood Development, it was revealed that the city had not done final follow-up inspections on several thousand building permits over a period of years. Homeowners were unaware of this problem and believed that contractor's work was safe & inspected. You did not publicize or correct the problem while in office. With a track record for poor management and record keeping like this, how can we trust you to run the city?
Lynn Goodell: I was aware of some inspections that were not completed such as water heater replacements, etc. I was not aware of any major construction that was occupied without the proper required inspections. I do believe that homeowners were, and are, safe. Most managers I know constantly work at improving the delivery of services to residents. My record of management and record keeping is actually very good and was recognized by HUD as such. As a commissioner, I will continue to be vigilant for good management.
Keith: What are your thoughts on the way the city has handled those protesting on South Park, in violation of ordinance?
Lynn Goodell: My thoughts are that the city has handled the situation in a very sensitive manner. The protesters have been allowed to make their point in a peaceful manner and have been asked to move on.
JHawk: Good afternoon.
I saw this morning that you're interested in getting a National Register of Historic Places designation for downtown. What would that entail, and what impact would that have on downtown renovations and plans like the one to build condos on the lot with the Borders elm?
Lynn Goodell: Such a designation would impact certain areas in differing ways. If a project is within an historic district. the requirements would be more stringent than if the project were outside the district, but within the "environs". In either case, I would offer incentives to those who would develop projects that would enhance the area and bring about the kinds of amenities the community desire to strengthen downtown.
Jane: So you don't think that developers have financed your campaign so that they will be allowed to have special consideration when asking for zoning changes, and other exceptions to the rules?
Lynn Goodell: I cannot speak for the thoughts of anyone who has contributed to my campaign. I do know that I do not sell special considerations nor do I give more or less considerations to developers than I would to you.
Moderator: Time is almost up; we'd like to thank Lynn Goodell and all of you who joined us today. We'll take this one last question.
Ted: What's your position on the proposed Wal-Mart at 6th & Wakarusa. Would you take pro-active steps to stop the project from going forward?
Lynn Goodell: My position on the proposed Wal-Mart is the same that it has always been: If all of the rules and requirements of the City have been met there seems to be no reason to say no; if these rules and requirements have not been met, then the project should not move forward. I would take steps to satisfy myself as to whether this has occurred.
Lynn Goodell: I thank all of you for your interest in this election and for asking very good questions.