Archive for Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Lawrence city manager resigns under pressure

March 8, 2006


After months of criticism over City Hall's failure to anticipate the extent of Lawrence's growth, longtime City Manager Mike Wildgen this morning submitted his resignation.

Assistant City Manager Dave Corliss was appointed by the City Commission to serve as the interim city manager.

After three days of evaluations, commissioners said Wednesday morning they had asked for Wildgen's resignation.

"We appreciate the years of service Mike has given to the community," the commission said in a written statement. "Lawrence has greatly benefited from his dedication and service."

The press release added: "The City Commission has made a change in leadership in the position of city manager to respond to the challenges facing the Lawrence community."

Wildgen will be available as a consultant during the transition period, commissioners said.

Commissioners first met on Thursday to conduct Wildgen's annual evaluation. They met for two hours without Wildgen in a closed-door executive session. When they emerged, they said they needed more time and scheduled another session for Monday morning. Commissioners on Monday were originally scheduled to meet two hours, but came out 30 minutes early and said they hadn't yet finished their discussion. Wildgen was in the room for Monday's discussion.

Mayor Boog Highberger declined at the time to get into specifics about what performance issues had led to the lengthy review. But Wildgen and staff members have received tough questions regarding whether the city has adequately planned for growth. Concerns about whether the sewer system can handle projected growth in the northwest area of town has stopped some private developments from receiving final city approval.

Amid the concerns, longtime planning director Linda Finger resigned her position at the end of the year after being told by city administrators her future with the city had dimmed.

Wildgen has had extended reviews in the past. Last year commissioners met for two days to discuss his performance, but ultimately voted unanimously to give him a 3 percent pay raise and publicly praised his experience and integrity.

In January 2002, Wildgen was put on a six-month evaluation schedule after commissioners said they wanted him to make city government more "user-friendly." Wildgen was evaluated six months later and received passing grades and a 3 percent raise, though current City Commissioner Mike Rundle voted against the pay increase.

Wildgen has a long history with the city. He came to Lawrence in 1974 as an assistant city manager, but he was made acting city manager following the death of then-city manager Buford Watson in 1989. Wildgen had the acting title removed in April 1990 after commissioners conducted a nationwide search. Wildgen is only the fifth city manager in Lawrence history.


BROWNIE 12 years, 1 month ago

Sadly, I don't think it was all the commisson.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 1 month ago

Are those current or are they a year old? I don't know.

getagrip 12 years, 1 month ago

Hippies love us all, people. Don't you get it?

DGL 12 years, 1 month ago

An even better example. DeLay (the former Texas representative) was a pest exterminator.

BJ 12 years, 1 month ago

Another victim of past city commissions.

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 1 month ago

No i don't. They just are symbols of grrrrreeeeeed

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 1 month ago

Why do you call Boog and Mike "ignorant hippies". What would you call Einstein or Galileo?

avhjmlk 12 years, 1 month ago

Godot--that kind of action requires a public vote...

rhd99 12 years, 1 month ago

Instead of Wilgen resigning, BOOG, RUNDLE & SCHAUNER need to GO.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 1 month ago

GODOT: support your proposal...are you suggesting a petition drive? please count me in.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 1 month ago

okay, pilgrim, if not Godot's, what's your idea to change what's obviously headed the wrong way FAST!?

Ken Miller 12 years, 1 month ago

Wildgen will be a consultant now? And how much will he be paid to do that?

Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

Pilgrim, there are many communities in America that have had success with the system I propose. How many thriving, successful communities have the same system we have in Lawrence?

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 1 month ago

I feel bad for Wildgen but I do think that it's time for some new blood.

Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

Merrill, four years is a good start. Think about new employess. The first year they are learners, not leaders; the second year they start to get the hang of things and provide useful input; by the third year they should be leading and producing and by the fourth, we should see the fruits of two or three years of their labor.

With a two year term, we'll never have a mayor; we'll have someone who is clueless the first year, and running for office the second.

cutny 12 years, 1 month ago

multidisciplinary...that is what i'm talking about...hometown's right there. I've been checking stuff for parts of the last hour

DGL 12 years, 1 month ago

Unlike terrapin2, I'm not going to say there's anything respectable about being a soy-drinking, bicycle riding vagina. However, I do agree with terrapin that having a humble day job is not a bar to serving as an official. Amyx cuts hair for a living, and the guy was the friggin mayor.

Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

Maybe we'd be better off if the positions remained open until after the next election. Maybe we need to get serious with a petition to change the whole city governance so we can put the issue before the voters in the primary ballot.

cutny 12 years, 1 month ago

go to the real estate section of the ljw and click on the property values or valuation or whatever it's a gas

cutny 12 years, 1 month ago

OK, here's another property valuation curiousity. Wildgen home went up 0%. 310,610 to 310,610.

ZERO PERCENT???? Totally suspicious

cutny 12 years, 1 month ago

no it hasn't. I looked it up 5 minutes ago. Wilden's is under something other than michael wildgen...look it up by his address...801 Louisiana I think

tpatric 12 years, 1 month ago

Pilgrim, KC and Chicago are huge metropolises, you can't compare Lawrence to them. Look at cities like El Cajon or La Mesa, CA or Champaine IL. I believe a strong mayor and representative commission is what we need. I am tired of having no representative from or representing the part of town I live in. At least if the mayor screws up WE would decide his fate.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

So, do you think a change in the type of govt will lead to more "hippies," or fewer, Godot?

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 1 month ago

OTR, Your post at 3:02PM. That is the last thing I need to say to you. Goodby and get a life ya'll...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

Quint2724 has a good point, and it may be why Wildgen is leaving now-- so the new manager can appoint the people he/she wants.

Don't take the bashing of Rundle, Highberger and Shauner too seriously, terrapin2. If you notice, the vast majority of the "criticism" would be considered shallow even for a bunch of grade schoolers. They're a bunch of petty whiners who don't know any more about how this commission and the city government than what they make up between themselves in this little echo chamber.

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 1 month ago

Still nobody has sincerely answered the question. My posting days are done. Remember the Golden Rule ya'll.

WilburM 12 years, 1 month ago

Do we know, really know, who the three (or more) commissioners are that voted to ask Wildgen to resign?

Rundle's a given, but who were the other 2 (or more)? Let's not speculate on motives or coalitions until we know. And the commissioners owe the citizens of Lawrence an expalantion of who pushed him -- and explicitly why.

cutny 12 years, 1 month ago

off to the's all still there. Click the real estate tab at the top of this page, go to property values....just pulled up someone's name with 8 properties in one shot

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

From Godot, We need commissioners elected by precicnt, and a full-time, accountable mayor who is elected for that specific job by a majority of the citizens, serving a term of four years.

1.Fair representation is not a new idea. 2.It's been talked up some. 3.Probaly an acceptable approach. 4. Will not likely happen before a city manager is hired. 5. Would like spending caps on the total campaigns 6.Would like to see one governing body instead of two that do not agree on growth patterns(property taxes). 7. I may not be able to support a full time 4 year Mayor. 8.Take your time and put it before the City Commission. 9. How about 7 precincts ?

tpatric 12 years, 1 month ago

Wow! Haven't been on all day and now to find out there has been a hippie coup! Grab your socks and sandals and boogie down Mass!

The city code says that only the governing body can change the city code. Do you think they would vote themselves out of existence if we submit a petition for a mayor/representative council form of government?

wonderhorse 12 years, 1 month ago

"...but the public is not educated enough to know how to use them ...." Are you talking about yourself? I have no problem using them, I just don't like them.

terrapin2 12 years, 1 month ago

What has this town come to? I won't waste my time trying to explain how wrong some of you are about our city commissioners & city manager, as if any of you would be willing to take on that kind of responsibility on top of holding down a full-time day job. But I will stand up for Mike Rundle and explain to all of you who keep belittling him by saying he is a 'grocery sacker' and 'floor mopper'. Mike Rundle is "a shift manager and head cashier at the Community Mercantile Co-op", as printed in the LJW April 14, 2005. I personally believe that is a very respectable job, especially considering the limited options in this town.

Peace, love, & hippieness

Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

avhjmlk wrote: "Godot--that kind of action requires a public vote..."

I know. Let's get started.

jacmax 12 years, 1 month ago

All of you who have not held a position that is subject to political appointment need to chill out an take an enema. None of you could hold a candle next to the job that city manager's such as Mike Wildgen did. You are really in the minority and I believe that the voters in this community (the majority) are now awake and realize it is time for the defeat of the left over liberal hippies that are now in office in this sick and twisted community.

BROWNIE 12 years, 1 month ago

Yes. But what type of city manager do you suppose the three "smart growth" commissioners will seek out?

I doubt it will be one who will push for the SLT or even the redevelopment of the Farmland property.

samsnewplace 12 years, 1 month ago

When they ask for your resignation, to me that means you're fired. Good decision City Commission!

james bush 12 years, 1 month ago

I really like Lawrence as a place to visit, especially downtown! Whatever this city manager had to do with that, I say thank you and thanks to whoever else was responsible. Just don't go far left liberal and bring some east or west coast radicals when selecting the next CM. For gawd's sake don't get someone who likes to put "calming devices " in the streets.

Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

Pilgrim, you are wrong.

As it is now, when we elect a commissioner, we are also electing a mayor for 12 months. This system is nothing but a cop out, it is a way for people to make a coalition, push an agenda, and have no accountability.

Mayor supervising professional city manager, advised by commissioners elected by precinct. This is what we need.

cutny 12 years, 1 month ago

Gee're ashamed. I could cry....really, i just feel so badly. I can't believe you read and respond either, clearly you have many more matters of importance to attend to. Sorry for wasting your time....really

lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

it's all about passing the buck. the commission needed yet another fall guy (person).

oh well, the city commission have officially run out of people to blame for any problems....i guess there's always corliss.

I wonder which hippies they have in mind to replace the planning director and the city manager. i wonder what the odds are the replacements have already been picked?

nbnozzy 12 years, 1 month ago

There's a "knife" in the back of Mike and I'll leave you to guess who's finger prints are all over it. If you thought Buford Watson was a hard @ss..........get ready for a Stalinist type of city manager.

I hope Wildgen runs for city commision. He'll have a chance to get revenge.

/hearing the sounds of Boog and Rundle imploding.

badger 12 years, 1 month ago

Truthlawrence, I've been meaning to tell you that your capslock key is stuck. I'm sure it's just an oversight.

Also, may I please introduce your dear friend the comma (,) to the period (.), the apostrophe ('), the question mark (?), and the exclamation point (!).

I'm sure that they'll all get along most swimmingly.

Fred Sherman 12 years, 1 month ago

This is great one question that needs to be asked and aswered is will the city fill the open department head positions before they fill the now open City Manger position? Being a City Manager is somewhat like being a head basketball coach, and the department heads are key players positions in the organization. To give the next CM a decent chance at making a difference, the CC needs to allow that person choose and hire key positions on the Mgmt team. Let's see there is an open Planning Director position, an open Utilities Director position, and open Stormwater Engineering Position:. This town will be lucky to have a complete "team" in place by next April's CC elections.

Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

I don't see that they would be voting themselves out of existence. We would still have commissioners. In fact, it would be easier to get elected because there would be more spots to fill, and one would only need to appeal to one's precinct, rather than the community at large. My thinking is that we would get back to basic needs, rather than the "vision" thing we've go going now.

kawrock 12 years, 1 month ago

The next to go should be Boog, Mike, and David.

dthroat 12 years, 1 month ago

OK, I know I am VERY late in posting, but if anyone is still here think about this.

I personally like Mike (his valuations are probably under Henry M. Wildgen for those that care) but he has always been a "financially frugal" manager which may be why some things are the way they are.

Besides that: No one is commenting on the temporary replacement of Corliss to fill in. Think City Hall was un-friendly before?? Hang on. This man is an @ss and I would not be too surprized if he had a hand (backstab) in helping Mike out the door. Just my personal thought and nothing to back it up other than knowing him and how he operates.

Good Luck for all of us. We may need it. Just think --- It is THIS commission who will hire the next manager. I'm sceeaared!!!

Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

Here are the property valuations for our city manager, fathers and mother:

2006 $347,000 2005 $310,610 2004 $310,610

Hack: 2006 $310,530 2005 $302,580 2004 $283,300

Schauner: 2006 $428,500 2005 $418,800 2004 $418,800

Highberger: 2006 $177,000 2005 $164,400 2004 $147,800

Amyx: 2006 $239,200 2005 $230,300 2004 $209,200

Rundle: 2006 $0 2005 $0 2004 $0

nonimbyks 12 years, 1 month ago

Well, the roundabouts are about the best thing they've done, but the public is not educated enough to know how to use them so the work as very expensive stop signs from what I have seen.

mom_of_three 12 years, 1 month ago

Well, Hawkman, I don't know who you had to deal with, but evidently, we deal with different people.

Centrist 12 years, 1 month ago

Yep, time to get rid of "Bong High-Bugger" and Trundle ... lol

Let's get some representative local government. Let's get someone who will give a damn about the east side, too while we're at it.

Oh, and .... let's get some ACTION on the Farmland property and the SLT! It's about bloody time!!!!

WilburM 12 years, 1 month ago

Strange, remarkable, and more than a little depressing. To the Commission: Be careful what you wish for.

badger 12 years, 1 month ago


I object to "By never critisizing these money at all costs pagans..."

What have pagans ever done to you? We're nice people. Don't associate us with politicians or we'll hex your cows.

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 1 month ago

You are correct Badger. my apologies. I simply meant these good people of our community seem to worship only money. Please accept my apology. Real pagans worship the Earth Mother. That is closer to God than most organized religions get.

Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

I think having commissioners elected by precinct will result in a broader representation of the very diverse interests of Lawrence citizens.

scary_manilow 12 years, 1 month ago

HAHAHAHAHA! Finally! I had started to lose faith in Boog, but I guess he isn't quite the puppet of the CoC that I thought he was... It took some soild gold stones to make this decision. Good riddance!

badger 12 years, 1 month ago

Apology accepted.

Your cows are safe from me. Unless they're tasty cows made of rare steak.

Then they might be in trouble.

looks for little marking-out lines on cows to indicate where the Steak Bits are

cutny 12 years, 1 month ago

Yo, multidisciplanary....not sure where you get knowledge = bad

over knowledge = empowerment, but this has been up for several years, and most cities have them as a matter of public record. Didn't know that you could see into the future far enough to know that they are going to pull the site, which by the way, they won't...just curious though, since you seem to know, what time are they pulling it?

Steve Jacob 12 years, 1 month ago

City managers don't normally last as long as Wildgen. He did good, and the growth issue was fixable. I hope Wildgen runs for city commission next year!

nonimbyks 12 years, 1 month ago

Aww man.... traffic on 23rd every day? It's there to support the businesses that are on there. IF the SLT ever was completed, those businesses might not be able to stay. That would be less tax revenue for Lawrence. We CANT build the SLT for that very reason. Oh, and the salamanders now.

BROWNIE 12 years, 1 month ago

Hawkbygod... You are right. But if you have ever been in to speak with the City Manager himself, you would find out that his role is much more than errand boy and daily organizer.

Most of the "legislators" have no idea what goes on in his office day to day. Just ask any of the commissioners if they knew how bad the misjudgment was about the sewer issue.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 1 month ago

Cutny, can you share your source? I'd love to look some others up.

Centrist 12 years, 1 month ago

He won't speak while they're paying him as a 'consultant' ...

hawkbygod 12 years, 1 month ago

Let me get this straight.. Some of you are blaming your increased home values, roundabouts, and development on the recently fired city manager? Do you really understand what a city manager does? Home values are a function of policy decisions made by a legislative authority coupled with exterior economic forces. Roundabouts were called for by the public safety commission and voted on by the city commission. Development issues go through the planning commission.

A City Manager's job is to handle the day to day operations of the city. For decades he dealt with the bureaucracy that is Lawrence politics, and did as good a job as anyone in his situation could have.

cutny 12 years, 1 month ago

Meanwhile, back to the task at hand, the rising property taxes. Interesting that the appraiser, Marion Johnson's house went from $210,000 to $216,000, which is less than a 3% increase while the average last year was up around 9%. I'm sure all of you who know and are friendly with Marion will consider this a coincidence. I, however, do not as my taxes went up the full 9%. Might be a good question in there for Marion.

badger 12 years, 1 month ago

Well, my lack of surprise is stunning in its depth and intensity.

Whether it bodes well or ill, it promises to be quite the ride, which (no offense to you fine people) I'm glad to be watching from a distance.

badger 12 years, 1 month ago


"...the hippies on the commish making ignorant decisions..."

I think 'ignorant hippies' isn't REALLY that far of a stretch there.

True, smart people can make ignorant decisions, but the implication there wasn't that this was some very nice hippies you'd ordinarily think well of just having bonehead days.

badger 12 years, 1 month ago

Ooooh, and enter leftwingfarmboy's SECOND announcement that he's leaving, complete with the requisite 'get a life'!

Should we all turn off our computers and go outside, too? I know this song, let's sing along!

We're not the ones who announced our posting days were done (the first time) when a question posed at 2:22 hadn't been answered by 2:42, there, sparkypants.

dudesmithy 12 years, 1 month ago

wa wa wa...


wa wa wa...

Smoking ban...

wa wa wa...

The progressives...

You know, all you right wingers out there complain about how liberals are whiners. It seems to me that all the right wingers in this town whine more than anyone.


RetiredArmy 12 years, 1 month ago

We need to get someone in that is not afraid to speak there mind and to say what is right. Don't be afraid of the comission and say what they want said but get in there and say the truth and get stuff from under the rug that everyone is hiding and just getting rid of the lower people. Get in there and be strong.

cutny 12 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, yeah, yeah....Get rid of him. Complacency leads to uninspired leadership and decisions. All of you people that are sticking up for him are likely the same ones who complain about the traffic on 23rd and every other little inconvenience you face every day. Things change, people...move on

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 1 month ago

macon47, same goes for the Highway to Nowhere. Build that so we can please a bunch of displaced Johnson County people. Thanks for the point! Building a road vs. a library. How dare we have a building to educate people at the expense of saving some people 15 minutes to Johnson County in an overpriced house in west Lawrence.

ModerateOne 12 years, 1 month ago


Do you know any of the Fritzels? Your original question assumes Fs & C should be criticized simply because they have been successful. How goofy is that?

Your premise seems to be that a person/family with talent and/or resourcefulness should be criticized. "Let none be more successful than another, lest the other feel bad."

Perhaps you will get an answer as to why Fs & C are not criticized more if you can articulate why they should be criticized at all.

lily 12 years, 1 month ago

Obviously this is all politics, of course it's city government. I feel sorry for Mike. He's been under the gun. Who can do better? He does have to answer to the commission and we've had some real winners over the years. I think he's an ok guy in my dealings with him. Who is to blame for lack of planning? Certainly not him alone. Why would we permit builders to build if we don't have a capable sewer system? Where does the money come from for that? The tax payers. So, while we've got all this other stuff out there grabbing our tax $$ how can the sewer system take a high priority. Given the quality of some of the houses being built on the NW side, we need to put a stop to this fast paced building. I don't want to be Johnson county west. I liked Lawrence a lot better before we got closer to Topeka and Johnson County.

ModerateOne 12 years, 1 month ago

Why in the world would anyone want this job? Either Corliss will get it by default or we'll get someone with great liberal intentions but no real world understanding.

wonderhorse 12 years, 1 month ago


I'm with you. I have never had any but good experiences with the people at city hall. Sometimes they were saddled with bureaucratic bs, but they were always nice about it, and explained it to me.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 1 month ago

Sigmund is dead on. A city manager can only do what needs to be done from within an environment where the manager doesn't have full control. "Here are three banannas and a cup of milk. Make us a chocolate pie."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

Really, Sigmund? What makes them the worst? Because they are "hippies" who dare to question the baseless but self-serving assumptions that previous commission used to line the pockets of their political benefactors?

JimmyJoeBob 12 years, 1 month ago

Aren't the Commissioner ultimately the ones responsible for what goes right or wrong within the City. Aren't they ultimately the ones who make all the decisions regarding planning and budgets etc. Why don't we start at the top and work our way down.

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 1 month ago

OTR Dude! Their kharma is the last thing I would be jealous of. Please stay in your own mind. I read a psychoanalysis of you on this forum a few weeks ago. You obviously didn't take it to heart. PLease try to quit calling people names. It really only reflects on you and your upbringing and level of intelligence. Please, for your sake, be calm and be constructive. Try to always put yourself in the other persons shoes. Treat them as you would yourself. Do you think Boog has it out for you personallly?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

Having seen exactly how Compton and Fritzel projects are run, you wouldn't want the city to emulate them if efficiency means anything.

The real roundabouts are generally fine, in particular the one at 19th and Barker.

The one at 17th and NH serves the purpose it was designed for (slowing the traffic that used to cruise at 40 mph) but it is a bit constrained.

The little yellow traffic circles south of campus should go away, but it's not like there was any huge investment in those failed experiments.

nonimbyks 12 years, 1 month ago

Ok, solutions: Build the SLT. Move bar closing hour to 1 or 2 am. Any legal infractions by students are also reported to ther school leading to dismissal from the school. Leave the public school open campus lunch alone. Stop zoning the city for apartment complexes, forcing KU to build dorms to support their enrollment. Force KU to stop their silly polluting bus system and make them ride the T. There, how are those solutions to the problems in Lawrence. And DO it, not just sit and cry about who's feelings you're going to hurt.

Hawkman 12 years, 1 month ago

well, mother of took me three months to get a stupid building permit when it should have taken 5-10 days( like their web site says). The right hand had no idea what the left was doing. Maybe next time I can call you and you can tell me who to deal with. Is that a deal?????

nonimbyks 12 years, 1 month ago

pippens is right, what the hell? I mean, come on and get with the rest of the nation. But wait, we must cater to the college crowd and "provide" for them with tax dollars and people that are long term citizens. When the city elect realize that Lawrence with still have KU no matter what their policies, only then will Lawrence grow and get out of the business of running a college party/dorm living.

MerryPresent 12 years, 1 month ago

I doubt if they'll "consult" with him on much. Probably just added that "he'll be available for consulting" to make it looks like he's still available to help out.

CITY MANAGER is a tough, tedious, unglamorous job.

He deserves some time off, though, so I hope he gets to rest while he's "available for consulting." That's a hard job and I don't see who would want it. Mike did a good job and I wish he'd change his mind. Or, I wish they'd change THEIR minds, the people doing the evaluation. Some thanks they show him.

Maybe he just got sick of them criticizing him and he said "I quit." They shouldn't let him go.

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 1 month ago

Do you think Fritzel and Compton care about our community? You guys listed items that you think are solutions, but it does have to be well thought out. Otherwise, we will have another Topeka here in Lawrence. We can't develope where there is no sewer. Do you think the developers pay for that sewer or maybe it comes out of your and my pockets (which it does). Trust me! Compton and Fritzel should be forking over some cash to make cash. Not get subsidized by me. Folks we share this planet! It can never be 'my way or the highway'. I personally disagree with the Highway to Nowhere (ntn, which you call the SLT -man, i wanted to add a 'u'). However, that's just an example of not getting what you want.

Hawkman 12 years, 1 month ago

I agree, it is time he go. A majority of people who work at city hall are the most unfriendly people with whom I have ever had to deal....and that atmosphere starts and is the responsiblity of the city manager!!I say "good riddins"!

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

I thought there were 5 commissioners not two?

It appears as though this decision got a big push since Commissioner Amyx came on board. It must require more than two commissioners to facilitate a resignation. We must assume it was something serious. My interaction with Wildgen was always friendly and he was helpful with neighborhood situations. I have found city staff helpful and friendly as well.

Commissions have been approving traffic calming devices since the mid 90's without Boog, Schauner or Rundle even round a abouts.

Our property taxes began substantially increasing since 1990 without Boog or Schauner. The county commissioners play a major role in this even those no more taxes commissioners Jere McElheney and Bob Johnson. No more tax commissioners have held the majority on the county commissioners forever.

A lot of houses have been built since the arrival of Boog,Schauner and Rundle and the local economy has done anything but stagnate.

Amandak 12 years, 1 month ago

Mike Wildgen was an asset to Lawrence. His commitment and experience will be missed. Unfortunately, because his position is appointed he becomes the scapegoat for an ill-informed and poorly eqipped city commision. Our city commission is a joke (i.e. Rundle and Boog!).
Good luck Mike! What's next you morons?

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 1 month ago

OFTR, I was raised on a farm by depression era parents who fought in two wars. My father knew that Bob Dole and the Republican party were tools of corporate America when I was a child in the '60's. He knew Dole sold out the family farm to corporate America. I just happen to be left of the Democratic Party. It is my belief that Jesus Christ was the first practicing Socialist. Please try not to confuse Socialism with Communism or Atheism. I am a cross between a Socialist and a Libertarian if you can believe that. PLEASE ANSWER MY QUESTION? Thanks...

Sigmund 12 years, 1 month ago

I agree we need new blood, but at the City Commission level. Mike didn't make policy or set budget priorities, he was there to implement (or manage if you like) the Commissions agenda. If it turned out to be short sighted, then who is really to blame? Mike is the latest scapegoat and sacrifical lamb for one of the worst Lawrence City Commissions I can remember.

moveforward 12 years, 1 month ago

Thanks Mike - for all of your years of service, long days, willingness to make tough calls, and your dedication. The winds of the commission have certainly not been easy to navigate, nor kind to you on wat too many occasions. Good luck in your future ventures.

shanefivedyes 12 years, 1 month ago

What a tough job to have and be successful. I returned home from the military in 1989 and bought a house for $29,000 making $5.65 an hour,Try that now.That same house is now valued at 129,000. I am not saying Wildgen had anything to do with the housing price explosion , but 1989 was the last year for affordable housing in Lawrence. Our kids are now getting out of high school and cannot afford to buy a house in the town they grew up in, what a shame.....I hope the best for Wildgen and Lawrence.

Bruce Bertsch 12 years, 1 month ago

There is nothing wrong with roundabouts. They do what they are intended to do.

Anyone who thinks that building the SLT will reduce traffic on 23rd is smoking some really good ganja or has never studied traffic patterns. Traffic will remain the same if not increase once the SLT is completed. It happens like clockwork in every city that builds arterials to reduce traffic. Think of it in terms of nature abhors a vacuum.

A good city commission/government would be encouraging private $$$ to expand and rehabilitate areas east of Massachusetts as an alternative to the "westward ho" feeling of development. It would cause needed infrastructure improvements and help in stabilizing the downtown area. One apartments, single family homes or multi-story single family condos only.

Get rid of 21 to Drink and 18 to enter bars. If you aren't of drinking age, be gone. At the same time, recognize that since most businesses close at 5pm, Mass at night is a restaurant and bar district. You can either increase patrols and enforcement or try to convice shopkeepers that they are missing a market by continuing to close at 5pm if you don't want Mass to become Aggieville East.

This is a bedroom community. Ingress and Egress are critical. Build the SLT ASAP.

kujeeper 12 years, 1 month ago

Too bad we can't convince the voters of Lawrence to quit voting hippies to to the commission...then we could really get somethings done in this city and quit wasting money on worthless projects ( roundabouts, homeless shelters, etc)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

Fortunately, you do a good enough of job discrediting yourself that the public will judge the "progressives" on their own merits, not on your silly antics to draw attention to yourself.

What's that website of yours again?

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 1 month ago

OK! I don't post on here often becuz ya'll complain, but never offer solutions. You are not all that astute and I find you quite hilarious. Now with that said I hope you could answer this for me. Why do you blindly blame Boog and Mike yet let the money grubbing developers off? Do you all worship the likes of Fritzel or Compton? By never critisizing these money at all costs pagans it only shows me you do not even begin to comprehend the issue. I know I am simply adding to the mudslinging, but if you could answer (sincerely) the question of abstaining from critisizing the developers it would be beneficial to my understanding of where you are coming from.

Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

Maybe this is a scapegoat situation, maybe not. However, the one constant through the years of poor planning and poor judgment calls happens to be Wildgen.

Let us take this opportunity to change the form of city government. We need commissioners elected by precicnt, and a full-time, accountable mayor who is elected for that specific job by a majority of the citizens, serving a term of four years. Let us put this in place before a new city manager is hired.

It is time for Lawrence to grow up.

tpatric 12 years, 1 month ago

Twenty five years ago my job was transferred to KC from LA. I drove around for 3 days looking for a place I wanted to live. I pulled into Lawrence around 7:00 on a Monday morning and thought the town had been deserted..I saw no one on the streets. I spent the whole day here and fell in love with the city. For years my commute to KC was through a green corrider. The drive to Clinton Lake seemed like it took forever. All of that is gone now. The city has sprawled to the west instead of the logical east and Eudora has kicked the bejesus out of any prospect of a combined county/city government. I have seen alot of changes and listened to a lot of stupid ideas and studies. One thing that remains constant has been ineffective city government. The city has grown significantly, and, unfortunately the new arrivals have not bought into the political process. One of the first things I noticed when I got here was that the city was run by downtown interests; God help anyone who want to put in a shopping center outside of downtown. Then development went nuts. The most politically active of Lawrence residents are the University and Old West Lawrence crowd who don't realize that there is a Lawerence west of Lawrence Avenue or south of 23rd st. The rest of us just sit aroung and bitch about it. One of my earliest recollections of the city commission (I think around 1982)was a picture in the paper of the the mayor and a couple of the city commissioners as they were attending a conference of city leader and how embarrased I was by their appearance and demeanor. I had never given any thought as to who they were before because I was used to my representives being professional. I have hoped in vain for 25 years that this would change. Representative city government (elected commissioners from each distinct area of the city) and an elected mayor are our best hope for the future. This has to be accomplished before the new "downtown" is built in west Lawrence forever disenfranchising thousands of people who will leave the older part of Lawrence to its own devises.

Sorry for being verbose.

"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met. " -Abraham Lincoln

OhioJayhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

Once again, I log onto the JW to catch up on the news from my old home town. And, once again, the warm sense of nostaglia for the great little town I grew up in is immediately bitch-slapped by the reality that nastiness, rancor and polarization now rule the day.

Congrats (and condolences) to Mike for enduring 16 years of this crap. He's a good man and he deserved better than this kind of public caning by a bunch of small-minded amateur politicos.

Every time I get the urge to chuck my current life and move back to my "idyllic" hometown, all I have to do is point my browser here. That quells the urge pretty fast.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.