To the editor:
I have been fascinated with the discussion of commuter-creep, the purported danger of the increase in commuters exiting Lawrence. Although I don't wish to take a position on the issue underlying the discussion -- no/some/lots of growth in Lawrence -- I do want to comment on a couple of the assumptions made in the editorial "Important decision" (March 21).
Do commuters commute strictly in pursuit of money? Couldn't it be for job satisfaction and a civil work environment, especially for those involved in higher education? Granted, a higher salary comes as a welcome secondary result, but for some a daily drive on K-10 may be downright relaxing compared with their prior work environment.
Doesn't the drive itself generate income for the local economy? Where are the vehicles, gasoline, tires and car insurance purchased? Where are the vehicles maintained? Where is the additional child- or parent-care provided that is necessitated by a caregiver's commuting?
And where are the salaries deposited? Where is the disposable income spent? As long as Lawrence protects its unique, independently owned stores, commuters will have a reason to maintain their habit of shopping at home. It's when they discover that their purchasing options here are no different from what is available from national retailers in malls in Johnson County or Topeka that the disposable income won't make the commute back to Douglas County.
Mary Pat McQueeney,