Archive for Monday, September 4, 2006

Lawrence job seekers battle tight market

September 4, 2006


Ryan Lemieur rolls the cursor across his digital resume, fiddling with the font, the words spelled out in front of him.

How many resumes will this be? Twelve? More?

This time, he wants to make sure the resume is personalized, specific. Not some cookie-cutter thing.

This time, Lemieur wants a real job, a college-town job that pays well.

"You don't want to do an $8-an-hour job," he says. "You want something permanent."

For months, the former U.S. Marine and longtime truck driver has scoured the Lawrence job market, searching for a job with long-term prospects and a respectable salary. Right now, he doesn't have a job at all.

He worked as a bank teller for a while, then hopped around at a few jobs. He doesn't like it, he says - "It makes you feel like crap" - but for eight bucks an hour, employers likely aren't surprised when people don't stay too long.

Now, he's sitting at a cubicle in the lobby of the Lawrence Workforce Center, getting ready for job interview No. 13 or so - the product of dozens more job applications.

Lemieur isn't alone at the center, 2540 Iowa. On the same weekend that many working folks in Lawrence try to get out of their jobs early for the long Labor Day weekend, those here at the center are just trying to get a job.

But often, their choices are sparse. On average, 375 people or more come into the center every week looking for jobs, officials say - equaling more than 19,500 first-time and repeat job seekers a year.

With the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reporting the number of unemployed workers in Lawrence around 2,600 during any given month, officials say the city's work force suffers from both unemployment and underemployment.

"It's been going on for quite a while in Lawrence, Kansas," said Cheryl White, manager of the state-run center.

Some skills in demand

Some people spend months searching for work in a job market tough on highly trained professionals and unskilled laborers.

For professionals with lots of education, White said, jobs aren't always readily available in Lawrence. She relayed stories of folks with degrees searching more than a year for a job in town.

"That's why people go outside of the area," White said.

For laborers, most kinds of specialized work requires employees who have vocational training or experience in a certain field. Rodney Carr, a development representative at the center, said even low-paying handyman jobs at local apartment complexes require several kinds of training in various trades, such as plumbing or carpentry.

"A lot of people lack the education, the basic skills to get those kinds of jobs," Carr said. "We have a big void in Lawrence, Kansas, to help these individuals."

Part of the problem, center officials say, stems from the lack of a true training center in Lawrence. The nearest vocational or technology training centers are in Topeka and the Kansas City area - and people who can't afford to commute for a job likely can't afford to pay for training there, either.

Carr said the push for training in Lawrence has been going on for years. He was on a task force in the 1990s that examined training in the area.

Even then, a training gap existed between what skills local companies need and the education level of the local work force, he said.

In May 2005, the Policy Research Institute at Kansas University issued a report for a Lawrence school district task force that mirrored the experiences of work force center officials - including gaps in worker skills and a lack of skilled employees in Douglas County.

"We really need to improve in that area," White said.

Driving for dollars

But even for people with those skills, wages in the city drive some to commute.

At another cubicle in the work force center, Hope Anderson waits for an e-mail from her new employer in Overland Park.

A trained nurse, Anderson said she likely could have worked in town for a hospital or care facility, but she couldn't turn down the added cash she gets working in the Kansas City area.

"Even with the cost of gas, they pay enough to make it worth it," she said.

Lawrence Chamber of Commerce officials said there is hope on the horizon for local workers. Jamie Blaylock, director of the chamber's business retention and attraction programs, said companies have been vying to bring new projects to the Lawrence area, possibly adding jobs soon.

In the meantime, officials said, local employers such as Berry Plastics Corp. and Del Monte Foods often ramp up seasonal hiring this time of year, and those seasonal jobs can turn into full-time positions.

But at the work force center, full-time positions are still hard to come by for people like Lemieur, a high school graduate. Carr described many of his clients' attitudes as depressed, distressed, frustrated.

But Carr and White said they worked hard to ensure that even when jobs are scarce and unemployment payments are running out, their clients keep a positive outlook.

"Landing that job could take five or six months," White said. "But there are always opportunities. We want people to stay motivated."


Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years, 2 months ago

I can identify with the folks affected by the topic of this article having been in this situation several times in the last ten years. I have lived here 30 years and seen numerous articles about how the city commission and chamber of commerce are busy attracting new jobs. Like Serioligicals, a firm that spent a lot developing a plant here for all the unemployed scientists and engineers on your block. Great for those folks, little for anyone else. And then they left town. E & E specialties used to run their business with part time and temporary help, but according to officials there, couldn't survive in the market with this business plan. They are gone.Ditto Gustin-Bacon ne Aeroquip corporation, a large corporation that made a business plan of shuffling their various product lines around the U.S. finding the lowest local wage area and most gullible city government. Many of these businesses get tax breaks, but then fold and leave. I don't have an answer for this problem (suprise, everyone!!), just disappointment at a community where I have lived for 30 years and found the occasional search for employment to be a voyage in frustration.

Kat Christian 9 years, 2 months ago

and it doesn't matter how much experience or eduction you have if you are in the older population that just makes it even more difficult to find employment in this town. So bascially if you have money or are a woman married to money and don't have to work this is a perfect town to live in. Otherwise this town is pushing out the working stiffs - perhaps on purpose to make it a resort town. It would give them good reason to build a huge resort around the Clinton Lake.

Sigmund 9 years, 2 months ago

Cannery or a plastics factory? Cannery or plastics factory? I knew that advanced degree would pay off! Face it folks, the bigger higher paying employers won't touch Lawrence with a twenty-five mile pole.

As hostile as Lawrence residents and their PLC Kommissioners are to businesses (unless they produce free-range fair-trade radishes, won't build a new building, won't cause any growth and promise to ride buses) there are just too many other rational choices for those kind of employers. You may think Lawrence is great, but they don't. Wonder why?

I know lets raise taxes to study the problem! Perhaps we can get the new Business Czar, fundraiser and contributor to the PLC, Dave Burress, to study the impact on The Merc. Maybe Merrill can build another roundabout to help with all the traffic! Afterall, we have a World Class Swamp! What more could an employer possibly want?

Sigmund 9 years, 2 months ago

Sunshine, I have to agree with you. Look at the facts. In their effort to make housing and rents more affordable the PLC Kommissioners restrict new housing. In their effort to lower the cost of living in Lawrence, the PLC Kommissioners will raise taxes (just after they are re-elcted). In their effort to bring new business to Lawrence the PLC Kommissioners will annoint a Business Czar who will determine what new businesses will be allowed to open then tell them how much workers must be paid and if they can use a cell phone in their car.

You have to ask yourself, are they lying to us or are they simply idiots? In either case Lawrence deserves better leadership.

lunacydetector 9 years, 2 months ago

i totally agree with sigmund. i know i keep saying this but it is a fact of life: lawrence is the most restrictive community towards business in the state of kansas. this isn't coming from me, this is coming from anyone and everyone i have talked with and not only in the private sector.

things need to change and drastically. the first thing that needs to stop is the 'living wage' requirement.

let's say by a remote chance that somehow some company decides to take a look at lawrence. they scour the area and find the perfect spot of vacant land or the perfect empty industrial building. these locations aren't generating much property taxes as they stand because they are empty.

so, in JANUARY they ask lawrence for a tax abatement - after they pay a non-refundable $1500 fee (just to ask).

the city says, how much money are you going to pay your employees?
the company says, the lowest paid employees will get $9-10.00 per hour doing the menial jobs while the workers doing the more intricate work will get $15-$20 per hour. someone in management will get $100,000 per year.

well, says the city, what is the overall average per employee?
the company says, well, there is more menial jobs 3 to 1 over the more intricate work and there will only be a couple of managers, one making $100,000 and one making $50,000.

(in the meantime, the spot they pick is decided by a few vocal environmentalists to be the most pristine virginal farmland this side of the mississippi)

the average pay will be under the current 'living wage' requirement.

in DECEMBER, the city rejects the tax abatement.

the company licks their wounds, tells other companies how many hoops the city made them jump through and they go down to ottawa and get their tax abatement in 2 days with ZERO opposition.


the only other answer is for people to start their own business. being self-employed is risky but there are many benefits. you have nobody to answer to but yourself. you aren't slaving away under the nose of someone higher up. you have to deal with the tax situation, which by the way (thanks to governor sebelius) you have to pay every month instead of on a quarterly basis - but you are your own boss.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 2 months ago

Commissioner Amyx is out on the streets pusing for a tax increase. Perhaps the mayor should get with the chamber to see about new higher paying jobs. Hopefully higher paying jobs requiring college or higher skilled training would attract those "educated employees" away from the lower wage jobs in Lawrence. Thus opening up those jobs for others which might just create an increase in wages if there were not 20 others standing in line wanting that job.

A VO-Tech center in Lawrence is not a bad idea.

I speculate gasoline prices will drive some commuters closer to their jobs no matter what their income. Spending additional dollars on gasoline is simply not as enjoyable as going out to dinner,a movie,a brew or two or perhaps a new pair of sneakers. There is no joy in burning up gasoline. Gas prices have dropped some however after 2006 elections grab your wallets.

opinion 9 years, 2 months ago

I don't think gas prices will have the big effect you are predicting, merrill. Say you drive 100 miles round trip each day to work. If you get 25 miles to the gallon, a one dollar per gallon increase at the pump means just over $1,000 more per year. For most commuters, they are getting way more than $1,000 in salary difference for anything they could find in Lawrence.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

"For most commuters, they are getting way more than $1,000 in salary difference for anything they could find in Lawrence."

True enough, but in just the last two years, that means they have seen a drop in their net earnings of at least $1500, and could easily see an equivalent loss of another $1500-2000 over the next couple of years. As the saying goes, that's starting to add up to real money.

I suspect that more people will find more efficient ways of getting to work, such as carpooling, before they move, or find jobs in Lawrence, though.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 2 months ago


I am with you each step of the way.

My point is that in retrospect instead of developing a bedroom community the powers that be should have been looking to excellent paying green employment because that is the future. This is not a new perspective. Planning and thinking outside the box was not the prevailing circumstance.

Going after the same type of employment that everyone else is chasing will not produce anything significant anytime soon. The fertilizer plant is a grand display of polluting industry that taxpayers cannot afford.

The inflated housing industry boom driven by the real estate industry produced some big profits for a few. 20 years ago KU was the primary industry and the local economy was quite healthy a point emphasized to me for about two hours one fall day by one local real estate giant.

At the moment Lawrence has too much housing and small town sprawl is expensive to maintain as our property taxes indicate.

lunacydetector 9 years, 2 months ago

WOW! none of you "Progressive" sympathizers disagree with my "Lawrence is the most restrictive community towards business in the state of kansas."


an appropriate slogan.....

lawrence, kansas business UNfriendly

ps. i can't wait for when your people get kicked to the curb come next election. all 3 are up for re-election.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

"Lawrence is the most restrictive community towards business in the state of kansas."

Just more of your same old Filberts!, luny.

ASBESTOS 9 years, 2 months ago

Sunshine said:

"So bascially if you have money or are a woman married to money and don't have to work this is a perfect town to live in. Otherwise this town is pushing out the working stiffs -"

That is the way it is in the entire state, why would Lawrence think that it is different. Currently the largest growing portion of the state is the JC/Manhattan area, and alot ot that is "Speculation building and growth". Many are gonna loose their shorts on that deal. BUt it is SHOT TERM growth. Once the buildings are built, that is about it, with a slight addition from resturauants and shopping. LOOK at all the GROWTH items in the state of Kansas over the last 20 is all about shopping, places to eat and tourism. That "tourism study" and the support for it needs to die a horrible death. We can increase tourism, but cannot and will not ever make it an "industry" in Kansas of any consequence. Next time you hear a politician or State Agency talking about that, remember it is SHORT TERM GROWTH, and tell them to shove it in their.. ear! Everything in this state has been prostituted for the agriculture industry, the cities, counties, and state entities. DOn't believe me, look at the largest employers in the State of Kansas...PUBLIC ENTITIES!!!

That says it all!!



"A long term expertise incubated by a combination of state, local and KU funds is the answer."

They have tried that SO MANY times! Every time we get the "tourism" crap (ala the selling of the lakes), or some buzzword such as "high-tech", and *maximizing the potential of our non engaged emonomic drives". YOU THINK!!!!

NO government needs to GET OUT of BUSINESS. THey can't even fulfill their own responsibilities, and do not understand business development. Have you checked at the KS Dept. of Commerce? NONE of those folks ever owned their own business! IF you did own a successful business, why would they work for the KS. Dept. of Commerce.

Too much of the private sectors possessions of free enterprise have been tied up and sequestered inthe academic settings and the Departments and public entities in Kansas. THAT IS THE SOLE REASON THERE IS NO OPPORTUNITY HERE.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm all for public-financing the campaigns for city commission, but the newspeak notion that the PLC is a "special interest" is just laughable.

It is financed by ordinary citizens whose interest is only in public service, and even if you disagree with the policies of the PLC commissioners, their interest in serving on the commission is driven only by the desire to serve public interests.

But you filbert whiners will gladly return control of the commission to the chamber of commerce, who are truly a special interest.

Sigmund 9 years, 2 months ago

Assuming the price of gas goes up and assuming wages don't increase and assuming no other expenses decrease and assuming my next car doesn't get more MPG, then the price of gas might be relevant.

Why is it Kansas City, Wichita, and Topeka can attract and keep enough jobs without a "special combination of taxpayer funds and KU money"? It it not the Government job to create jobs, that is what the private sector does, unless everyone in Lawrence will work for KU, The City Of Lawrence, or the State of Kansas.

Honestly are the PLC Kommissioners so retarded that they need all this special help anyway? I thought the PLC's and their Business Czar's living wage was the answer. If they can't keep the people and companies from leaving (negative growth) what chance do they have of implementing policies that lead to growth?

Really and truly Lawrence is a University Town/Bedroom Community and always will be under the PLC. It doesn't matter what anyone does Lawrence won't become Overland Park nor Portland. However, Lawrence will extend its lead as the most expensive and most restrictive place in Kansas to live, along with its shrinking population, if the PLC Kommissioners are allowed to continue on their current course.

On the other hand, reduce taxes, lift all the PLC imposed restrictions, live within current budgets, and most importantly remove the PLC Kommissioners and their hostility to the private sector and Lawrence might just grow. Will Lawrence look just like it did in the the 60's or today? No, nothing that grows ever does. Lawrence deserves better Leadership.

hipper_than_hip 9 years, 2 months ago

"Face it: You live in a college town, you have to learn to live underemployed. Has been true for all of my 44 years. You want to make money? Don't choose a college town, choose a big city."

Lawrence is truly the land of low wages, and people need to understand that nothing is going to change that.

OP and Topeka are only 30 minutes down the road. If you want to make decent money AND live here, then get in your car and drive.

lunacydetector 9 years, 2 months ago

the chamber of commerce don't have any cajones anymore. there are two things wrong with the chamber.

1) they embraced your people and let them in, even if your people don't own or run a business (the KU folks). this gave your people credibility. this lead to their advocacy of tax increases and the eventual election of the Progressives. chamber's of commerce aren't supposed to support tax increases, yet this one until recently, embraced every tax increase proposal coming down the pike. this was the giveaway that it had happened, that they had sold out to the lunatic fringe.

2) today, if the chamber voices dissent against your commissioners, the Progressive commissioners threaten to cut off their money, or create a so-called business recruiting czar, but the Progressives have removed any incentives to recruit businesses. the last business recruiter for the chamber was totally and utterly useless. the new person, i hope is better but her hands are tied. the Progressives have made it certain that no incentives are to be used to create new jobs. debbie moore was a good one, and hopefully the new person isn't a political or business puppet like the last one.

the chamber of commerce USED to be something. being a member USED to mean something. now, it means nothing.

I WISH the chamber of commerce would stand up FOR businesses, regardless if they lose their money from the city. then, and only then, will they have credibility again.

lunacydetector 9 years, 2 months ago

the previous comment was directed at bozo, i mean david.

LiberalDude 9 years, 2 months ago

Reality_Check and hipper_than_hip are right on the money here. Lawrence is a great college town but you aren't many high paying jobs here, especially for people without a bachelor's degree.

I vote the Lawrence slogan to be:

Lawrence, Kansas- lunacydetector unfriendly

lunacydetector 9 years, 2 months ago

i'm just a voice of reason pointing out the lunacy of our local leadership.

Lawrence, Kansas business UNfriendly

...i grew up in this town, so i've seen the good and the bad. we are in the baddest of the bad cycle right now. negative growth for the first time in lawrence's history. good paying jobs, hopefully, are on the way -once the Progressives are removed from power.

LiberalDude 9 years, 2 months ago

The Progressives won't be removed from power. Everyone I know thinks they are doing a great job.

Also what's so bad about negative growth. You know the whole world doesn't need to be covered by urban sprawl. Green spaces are good.

Sigmund 9 years, 2 months ago

You might ask Garden City, Dodge City, and Salina about the "benefits" of negative growth and tons of green spaces. Negative population growth would be fine with me IF there was a corresponding negative growth of taxes, negative growth of living expenses, netative growth of City government and their budget.

The problem we have with negative growth is that everything except population, wages, and the tax base is experiencing positive. Really you need to try harder to pay closer attention, otherwise the rest of the class is going to have to move on without you.

LiberalDude 9 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for the lecture Sigmund....

The problem with your genius theory is that Lawrence isn't Garden City, Dodge City or any other Kansas town in the middle of nowhere. It hosts the largest University in Kansas and is right between two of the biggest cities- KC and Topeka. Over time Lawrence is going to grow but it's just a matter of having some control over it and making sure it is done right. The current city leaders are doing a good job with this.

If you love growth so much, I know of a few cities in Arizona and Nevada that are exploding right now. Perhaps you'd be happy there. See ya.

ASBESTOS 9 years, 2 months ago

Actually, Gardern and Dodge City and Salina are in "growth" mode. BUt the growth is the low wage jobs usually snapped up by illegals such as at IBP, or the feedlots. Talk about a mess. Dude, you want natural, you are welcome to all the "natural" out there in the SW Kansas area, steaming piles of poo. That ill come back to haunt us. THe only thing out there is ethanol production and corn for that and feed for feedlots, that means lots of water. Kansas again tied itself to a dwindling resource driven economy.

JUST WAIT, until the Kansas LEgislature starts up on that! IT will be Conservatives raising taxes to benefit the corporations that are "agricultural" in nature.

it is a lose-lose situation!

white_mountain 9 years, 2 months ago

Keep the jobs out of Lawrence.. once you start drawing in higher paying wages you start getting uncontrolled growth... not good.

GOPConservative 9 years, 2 months ago


Meat packing plants? Warehouses? How could you be against them?

You need to spend less time ranting and more time listing to Sigmund and lunacydetector.

Clearly, these individuals are experts in social engineering. They understand how to use our taxes to attract big companies. They understand the importance of making the City pay for as much infrastructure as possible and give tax abatements and other subsidies to encourge the right kind of growth.

They understand that big companies, the speculators and the developers all need a big incentives to move forward.

They understand that farmland in the bottoms is being wasted. Fooding does not need to be a limitation. All that is needed is eight feet of fill on an warehouse site. Then, you put the 40-acre box right on top. It's that easy.

We don't need all that farmland. Even though it is some of the best in the world, there is plenty of farmland in California, Mexico and Chili. That's what globalism is all about. We have Mexico, I-35 and I-70 to provide us will all the food we will ever need.

In addition to more warehouses, we also need more commuters to locate here from the Kansas City area and more roads to get them back and forth.

Once the Artic National Wildlife Refuge is opened to drilling, fuel for commuters and truckers will drop to pennies per gallon, and we'll need more highways to bring in our food and get people to their high tech jobs in the big city.

Let's face it. There is no money in high tech here in Lawrence. Sure high tech companies may pay $20 or more an hour, but they don't need much space. In fact, many could survive quite well in existing buildings. High tech companies do nothing to stimulate growth.

We need to bring back tax-and-spend liberals to the City Commission, who were willing to use our tax dollars to attract more warehouses and commuters to Lawrence. We need more Commissioners like Mike Amyx and Sue Hack.

Remember, encouraging high tech companies to locate here makes no sense. All they do is rent space in existing buildings. However, if you put 50 people in a 40 acre warehouse and pay them minimum wage, then you're talking real money.

New big warehouse buildings bring in big money. Money can make on the land speculation. Money can be made on hauling in all that fill dirt to raise the flood plain. Money can make a on the building materials. And everyone gets a cut of the multi-million dollar pot made possible by the tax abatements and subsidies.

There is no money in small buildings for high tech companies. We need the sprawl that only big-box warehouses can bring!

BunE 9 years, 2 months ago

This lack of good paying middle class jobs is nothing new, this is the way of the our 'merican leaders and their war on the middle class. Wages have stagnated, Inflation is on the rise, we cut education and social programs and wonder why people are poor, un educated or unhealthy?

Why do we insist on profit motives for things that are inherently unprofitable? Education is about expanding the mind, but NCLB has reduced it to metrics that leave a graduate only ready for a 10/hr job, ill prepared for college unless they are lucky enough to be sent to the "right"schools. It is clear that the cuts in education are designed to create a new underclass of non-union unskilled workers to maximize corporate profit. Stagnate wages, lack of opportunity and we get?

Silly made up words like death tax, activist judge, and Islamofacist. Ridiculous.

Lawrence is just a microcosm of the reality of America. The wealth is concentrated in the hands of few and those with out the wealth have no voice and have little chance of swtiching sides.

xenophonschild 9 years, 2 months ago

China has our jobs. That may sound overly simplistic, but nonetheless it is true.

Our economy is being hollowed out by manufacturing companies - in search of cheap labor - relocating in China and shipping their finished products back to the American market.

These manufacting companies used to provide the base of wealth and opportunities for new employees; now that base is gone. Their employees made and spent money in their communities; that is gone also.

What this new global economy means is that real wages for American workers have to drop - which is happening - (see today's editorial "More work, less pay") before we can attract and sustain more jobs.

And they have to be manufacturing jobs. The basis of true wealth is producing things, actual items that you can sell to consumers.

Right now, just about all the finished manufactured items you can buy were made in China.

BunE 9 years, 2 months ago

China does have many manufacturing jobs, wealth though is hardly limited to building things. It is too bad that we have so many real estate agents and not so many scientists.

Cheap labor is not the answer unless we are all willing to take a step back to the 1920's. No wage and hour controls, no work week controls, no health and safety controls...

Now we live in a country where the disaster that was Alan Greenspan has left us all in debt up to our eyeballs. We have faux wealth based on real estate, we have a consumer economy that is so fixated on low prices that we would have to pay people so little to build things that they would be unable to buy the products unless the desire to maximize shareholder value at any cost is rethought.

We will see a balance when we focus on fair trade instead of free trade.

PS: anyone notice that Pres. Bush's approval rating is in lockstep with the price of a gallon of gas?

ASBESTOS 9 years, 2 months ago


"The basis of true wealth is producing things, actual items that you can sell to consumers."

I have been saying that for 20 years! The State Legislators only seem to see the agriculture production, and can understand nothing else. VERY good!



"It is too bad that we have so many real estate agents and not so many scientists.

Cheap labor is not the answer unless we are all willing to take a step back to the 1920's. No wage and hour controls, no work week controls, no health and safety controls..."

The first statement is that Kansas chases off the scientists and engineers. The only "production" that is done is a *development" of houses, which are the only "real goods" produced. VERY insightful!

Additionally you are correct with the cheap labor, the reason is it is cheaper is that the safety and health issues, and the environmental issues that other nations do not address the United States does! That is one thig that kills me in other discussions. The US takes the blame for environmental and safety and health actions, but most the rest of the world is MUCH WORSE. They treat their environment terrible, they treat their workers even worse.

The economy is the last indicator of a healthy country. Our economy is falsely healthy, because of the retraction of the middle class which is obvious. Corporations are the ones pushing jobs out of the country at they same time the jobs that are left they want to bring in illegals to fill the jobs cheaper. What they cannot fil or lower the wage here, they will ship[ out of the country.

THAT my friends is treason, and not good business. And for a conservative to say that, there is real problems within Republican party.

Fixin' to go Perot again!

GOPConservative 9 years, 2 months ago


You have to accept that Globalism is here to stay. That's why Lawrence needs to quit trying to attract scientists and become a major distribution center for Chinese and Mexican products.

We need to cover the Kaw bottoms with eight feet of clay and build warehouses for Chinese goods so that companies like American Eagle and Walmart have places to organize and distribute their imports.

Bigger and better highways are then answer to making money on Globalism, not science. After all, it is science that promotes Satanic ideas like evolution.

Lawrence is fortunate to be in the golden triangle between I-70 and I-35. Our prime geographic location could make Lawrence China's main distribution point for the entire United States!

Besides, for every 100 acres taken up by warehouses, hundreds of new jobs will be created. What could be better for the enonomy?

To fill these prime new jobs, we will need hard-working people, who don't mind making $7.50 per hour.

Let's face it. All these high tech smartypantses, some of whom post on these threads, are too good to run a forklift. I suggest Mexican labor. Those folks know how to work!

We might also need some new trailer parks down there in the bottoms. That way, the people can live close to their jobs (that's environmental).

I know all these new workers will be proud that they are part of the supply line for materials made by our great allies in China and by their cousins back home in Mexico.

China has become America's best friend since the Christian Coalition took over Washington. They provide us with all the neat stuff we love at very low prices. Then, they kindly have loaned it back to pay for the War in Iraq.

China also provides a model of how to create a stable society without all the loud-mouth troublemakers we have here in America.

China has a much lower percentage of their population in prison than us. That says a lot. The people of China are obviously happy and content.

God Bless the Chinese.

xenophonschild 9 years, 2 months ago

GOP Conservative:

You are quickly becoming a personal favorite on this site. You grasp nuances of issues our - how shall I say it . . . less intellectually inclined - brethren ignore completely.

We are locked into a global economy . . . until civil unrest in China destabilizes our own economy (they hold half a trillion in our bonds) or the Islamofascists are able to get international oil contracts written in a currency other than dollars.

We need manufacturing jobs here to create a base of wealth for other endeavors to flourish. It would be wonderful to have technological jobs paying 30-50 dollars @ hour; unfortunately, those jobs come only at the apex of a manufacturing, industrial complex that can sustain them.

Our manufacturing, industrial base is in China, or is heading there.

ASBESTOS 9 years, 2 months ago

You need to remember the Mexican "Port" in Kansas City, with the North American Interstate/Rail system being championed. The Mexican Canada highway will put the rest of our national producers out of business soon.

This is not however only George Bush's doing(he is part of it and is destined it seems to tear American ecnomy down), if you remember it was NAFTA by none other than Pres. Bill Clinton. BOth Presidents and Both Parties are selling out the American people.


"The agreement was initially pursued by free-trade conservative governments in the United States and Canada, led by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and U.S. President George H. W. Bush. There was considerable opposition on both sides of the border, but in the United States it was able to secure passage after President Bill Clinton made its passage a major legislative initiative in 1993. Vice President Al Gore attempted to build support for the bill by debating the issue with H. Ross Perot on the Larry King Live talk show. Perot was an outspoken critic of NAFTA during his 1992 presidential campaign, claiming that passage would cause a "giant sucking sound" of jobs leaving the United States for Mexico.

After intense political debate and the negotiation of several side agreements, the U.S. House passed NAFTA by 234-200 (132 Republicans and 102 Democrats voting in favor) and the U.S. Senate passed it by 61-38. Some opposition persists to the present day, primarily directed towards specific clauses within the agreement."

pz5g1 9 years, 2 months ago

Whether you want Lawrence to grow is probably irrelevant. The US Census Bureau estimates the nation's population will grow by 140 million by 2050. Those people need to live somewhere. They can't all squeeze into California, Texas, Florida, and Phoenix.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Twenty three years ago I struggled to find a job in Lawrence. I found the job with a corporation that had offices in Wichita and Johnson County in addition to the one in Lawrence. I was paid less than others in the company in the other two cities, while doing the same job. Seems the corporation had done a study that had shown that people are willing to work for less in Lawrence, even though their level of education was higher.

After two years of working for peanuts in Lawrence, I secured a job in KC, doing basically the same thing, that paid me enough money to afford to live in Lawrence.

Low wages in Lawrence is not a new phenomenon; it has been going on for years.

Go to KU, get an education; move away, be comfortable; stay here, be poor.

That is just the way it is.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Asbestos, you should cease using Wikipedia as your source. It cannot be relied upon.

ASBESTOS 9 years, 2 months ago

IT's OK Godot, the info that it provided is the same thing as in the congressional record. SO the WIKI info that I quoted is correct, on what the vote was, whom promoted it, whom passed it, who signed it into law, and what was done.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Asbestos, you never know with Wiki; what was there the last time you checked it could have been "edited" beyond recognition the next time you check it, or link to it. WIKIPEDIA should be viewed as fiction; pure entertainment; nothing more.

missmagoo 9 years, 2 months ago

In this town...where ISN'T there a parking problem??

funkdog1 9 years, 2 months ago

So-called "Informed":

Bwaaa Haa Haa!!!!

PLC money?!?!?!?!?

In this town, the people with money who put up City Commission candidates are developers and truly rich legacy families. The one thing the PLC doesn't have much of is money. Just a bunch of folks who got tired of the developers paving over whatever the hell they wanted to in this town.

Kat Christian 9 years, 2 months ago

Lawrence would not need a living-wage law IF the State of Kansas would realisically raise the STATE MIN wage to equal other state in the U.S. Kansas is at 2.65 while most states adoped the Fed min wage of $5.15 with exception to CA, NH, VT (don't quote me on this) but they are at 7.65 and I understand MD just raise their state wage to 6.15 which allows companies to pay a better wage and give better cost of living raises. I work for a multi-billion dollar company here in Lawrence and have been with them 1 year and 2 months. I just received a raise of just .35 cents and I'm still making under 11.00 for office work. Pathetic. I have a two year degree and over 25 years of Admin experience. Even more Pathetic. Most of the jobs are specific position where someone must have specific training and education. I'm living check to check. Pathetic. Lawrence does need new leaders, smart leaders, Leaders that understand business and know how to build on this town without killing it's charm.

kg52 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm curious. If jobs are so scarce in Lawrence who lives in all of those houses, townhouses, duplexes, etc. they just keep building and building. And how can people afford to live in Lawrence with the cost of housing? I grew up in Lawrence but I don't see how I could afford to live in Lawrence again. Am I missing something? I left Lawrence in the early 80s due to my husband's construction job - we traveled around and ended up in Topeka. The house I have in Topeka (almost paid off) I couldn't afford in Lawrence. Lawrence has always been a college town so why is real estate (rent) so sky high? I just figured the job market must be good but I guess not.

armyguy 9 years, 2 months ago

After looking for a Job for about 5 months in Lawrence and surrounding areas, I tried a new approach.

I threw away my resume and deleted KU as education. Filled out dumb paper applications. The result was full time employment in two weeks. It is not up to my potential, however I can make house and other payments, and still have a little left over. I do not have a long commute and life is good..

kg52 9 years, 2 months ago

What about the people who can't afford to live in those expensive houses or pay the enourmous rent - what do the common folk do for housing? I can't imagine being able to afford a house on a middle of the road salary. My husband and I bring in about $75,000 together but we could not afford the payments on a $200,000 house or even the rent on a townhouse. My son lived in Lawrence for a while and paid $1200.00 rent. I don't know how people can do that. My kids are raised but I feel bad for those trying to raise a family now. I will always have a love for my home town but I guess coming back home is out of the question. At least it is close enough to visit.

Starness34 9 years, 2 months ago

In this town you are lucky if you make 7.00 an hour, if your a college student and trying to work at the same time no one who will work with your schedule pays anything. I once was offered a job making 10.00 an hour as an apt manager but they were unwilling to work with my flex. school schedule and told me that if I quit school then I could have the job.......great thanks but I think I'll get my education. The bottom line is that instead of having a min wage we need to have a living wage and we need to as a country stop outsourcing jobs.

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