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Archive for Friday, February 25, 2005

J-W candidate questionnaire — David Schauner

February 25, 2005


These are the responses from David Schauner, incumbent city commission candidate, to the Journal-World's candidate survey.

1. Name:David Schauner

2. Occupation: General Counsel Kansas National Education Association

3. Date of Birth: Wichita,Kansas,1945

4. Years in Lawrence: 5 years

5. Family: Cheryl Hewitt

6. Religious Affiliation:Presbyterian

7. Previous Political Experience:Completing 1st term on Lawrence City Commission

8. In July, a ban on smoking in most indoor public places was implemented by the city. Do you support the ban, and why or why not? I support the indoor smoking ban. The scientific evidence is overwhelming that second hand smoke contributes to respiratory and cardiac illnesses and deaths. As a well known local physician wrote, "The City Commission saved more lives by implementing the smoking ban than I will save during my entire career in medicine." Smoking should be prohibited in public places not only for the health of patrons and customers but for those who work in those places.

9. What's your opinion on how the city has managed and planned for growth during the past five years? The City has not planned well for growth during the past five years. The waste water treatment plant built in the last five years will not able to handle the growth that is expected during the next 10. This means a new treatment plant will need to be built at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. Though much work has been done to modernize our zoning code and development regulations, much remains to be done. We must listen more and plan better.

10. The city has begun a study to determine the fiscal impacts of growth on the city's taxpayers. Do you believe that residential growth pays for itself or costs existing taxpayers additional dollars? If you believe it does not pay for itself, how would you address that issue? We must find a fair method of paying for growth. The city recently hired Paul Tischler and Associates to study the question of whether growth pays for itself. That study isn't complete. But as the city grows, so do needs for police and fire protection, as well as infrastructure. The taxpayer pays too much of the burden. I think those who profit the most from development should pay more of the related expense. We need a common-sense plan for paying these costs.

11. City officials have begun using roundabouts and traffic circles as traffic calming control devices on some Lawrence streets. Do you believe the devices are effective and a good use of city funds? Roundabouts and traffic circles are not the only answer to increasing traffic congestion. They should be used only in those areas where new intersections are being constructed or where intersections can be retrofitted for their successful use. Experience shows that well placed roundabouts do move traffic and save lives.

12. City commissioners have authorized officials with the Lawrence Public Library to explore the possible construction of a new multimillion dollar library in downtown, or the expansion of the current facility at 707 Vt. Do you support moving forward with the project? The Lawrence Public Library must be brought into the 21st century. Construction of a new library should take place in downtown. I support moving forward with the construction of an expanded and modernized library.

13.The city's task force on homeless services is currently drafting a report for a community wide strategy of providing services to the homeless. What's your philosophy on whether or how the city should provide services to the homeless? I support the use of limited city funds to assist in providing services to homeless residents. They are part of our community. Common decency requires that we care for those who can't care for themselves. The city should work in conjunction with Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Bert Nash to provide appropriate mental health services for those individuals in need of it and work toward the goal of assisting homeless individuals to learn job skills and find gainful employment. he current programs aren't working. We must encourage a greater financial role for the private sector as we rethink our approach.

14. Specifically on the homeless, do you support an idea that has been introduced by a task force of Downtown Lawrence Inc. that would require homeless individuals to show a city issued I.D./service card before receiving certain services, such as food and shelter? The city should help provide needed services such as food and shelter to those among us who are truly homeless. People do not live on the streets because they like the open air or the sun on their faces. Many are there because of life-changing events beyond their control. Some are there because of mental and emotional illness. Developing a program that effectively and efficiently delivers appropriate services to those who cannot help themselves should be our goal. Our humanity demands that. Those who deliver services and programs to our homeless people need to buy into the service delivery model. Then we will succeed. I do not support requiring our homeless population to wear badges.

15. Do you believe Lawrence has an affordable housing problem, and if so, how would you address it? Lawrence remains an attractive town. Housing costs have increased in the past ten years and a reversal isn't likely. City government has little ability to control housing prices but it can take advantage of private sector and federal government programs that encourage economic security and promote good-paying jobs. I have helped adopt new zoning rules that will allow lower cost housing to be built in the city. Good jobs for fair pay are also essential. All housing is more affordable if our residents earn a decent wage.

16. Please comment on your fiscal philosophy and whether you would envision the need to raise taxes during your term on the city commission. consider myself a fiscal conservative. In that spirit I strongly encouraged the city manager to develop a budget for 2005 that required no tax increases. In fact, the tax mill levy was reduced for 2005. Nevertheless, demand for services is increasing and this requires additional revenue. It also requires increased efficiency in city government and an analysis of who is creating these increased costs so their burden is fairly and reasonably borne. Local government should operate more like the private sector and be more accountable to all taxpayers as it delivers the services that we all expect.

17. The city currently offers a fixed route public transportation system. Do you believe the system, the T, has been successful and is an effective use of city funds? During its initial months of operation the T was substantially underused but the system continues to gain ridership. The city should continue to encourage its use by local commuters and KU students. Working closely with the public schools and KU, it is possible to increase T ridership and revenues, thus reducing its reliance on city financial support.

18. The city currently operates a municipal golf course, Eagle Bend, which has been operating at a loss during the last several years. Do you believe the golf course is an effective use of city funds. The truth of the matter is that the City has several more years to pay on the bonds that were used to construct Eagle Bend and it is not reasonable or fiscally prudent to close the course. We need to look at alternative ways of supporting and operating Eagle Bend including securing a private operator.

19. The city currently is involved in litigation to stop Walmart from building a new store at the corner of Sixth street and Wakarusa Drive. Do you believe that corner is appropriate for a big box retail development such as Walmart has proposed? I fully support the city's position in the current litigation involving the attempt to build a big box store at Sixth and Wakarusa. That corner is an inappropriate location for such a retail development. Streets in that area can't handle the increased traffic volume. rotecting neighbors and neighborhood property values near that intersection must be a high priority. Unfettered commercial or retail development will harm surrounding neighborhoods and tax even the latest street improvements in the area. Current projections suggest that within a few years there will be more than 100,000 car trips per day on West Sixth between the south Lawrence trafficway and Wakarusa. Many drivers will seek to avoid traffic congestion by traveling on shortcuts through the surrounding neighborhoods. Despite current plans to improve our surface street system, experts predict that many of our major streets will operate at failing levels and may crumble because of lack of maintenance within the next few years.

20. The city currently has a ban that prohibits the use of most fireworks within the city limits during the Fourth of July holiday. Do you support the fireworks ban? I support the fireworks ban. The City should do more to provide community events to celebrate the holiday and work with the business community to have public displays of fireworks.

21. What's your position on whether and where the South Lawrence Trafficway project should be completed? I support finding an east-west transportation link that will provide efficient access from an improved US 59 Highway on the south to K-10 on the east. I also support exploring a connecting road and bridge between the Kansas Turnpike and K- 10 on the east of Lawrence. Developing a strong east west highway connection that supplements 23rd Street is important for our transportation system.

22. If elected, what would be the top three issues you would seek to address during your term? Increasing government accountability will be my top priority. With state and federal support declining, the city has to take a commonsense approach to delivering services. We must respect the competing voices in the community. Neighborhoods are our lifeblood and we must protect and improve them. Growing responsibly while maintaining our livability must be our city's goal. My commitment is to build a livable city that honors diversity and helps to make available high-quality jobs that enable all those who live in Lawrence to work in Lawrence. My compass for decision making will be the good of the entire community not just a favored few.

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