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Archive for Friday, April 6, 2007

Western part of Lawrence produces higher voter turnout

April 6, 2007

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Geography played role in City Commission Election results

The numbers show that eight of the ten precincts with the highest turnout were West of Iowa St., which helped fuel victories by political newcomers Mike Dever and Rob Chestnut. Enlarge video



















Top and bottom 10

Here's a look at the 10 Lawrence precincts that had the highest voter turnout percentage in Tuesday's elections:

1. Brandon Woods Retirement Community, 1501 Inverness Drive, 39.6 percent 2. Langston Hughes School, 1101 George Williams Way, 38.9 3. Central Junior High School, 1400 Mass., 38.9 4. Pioneer Ridge Retirement Community, 4851 Harvard Road, 38.4 5. American Legion, 3408 W. Sixth St., 35.4 6. Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St., 33.4 7. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 2211 Inverness Drive, 31.2 8. Drury Place, 1510 St. Andrews Drive, 30.3 9. Mustard Seed Christian Fellowship, 700 Wakarusa Drive, 30.3 10. Southside Church of Christ, 1105 W. 25th St., 28.9

Here are the 10 precincts with the lowest voter turnout percentages:

1. Burge Union, 2104 W. 15th St., 0.62 percent 2. Central United Methodist Church, 1501 Mass., 4.8 3. Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt., 6.1 4. South Park Recreation Center, 1141 Mass., 7.0 5. Lawrence Jewish Community Center, 917 Highland Drive, 8.4 6. Schwegler School, 2201 Ousdahl Road, 9.4 7. USD 497 Administration Center, 110 McDonald Drive, 10.2 8. Kennedy School, 1605 Davis Road, 11.6 9. United Way Building, 2518 Ridge Court, 11.7 10. Haskell Coffin Sports Complex, 155 Indian Ave., 12.2

The west was best.

At least in terms of voter turnout, that's the clear conclusion from Tuesday's election results.

An analysis of voter turnout numbers found that of the 10 precincts that posted the highest percentage, eight were west of Iowa Street. All 10 of the precincts with the lowest voter turnout were east of Iowa Street.

Candidates are convinced the split made a difference in the outcome, which saw political newcomers Mike Dever and Rob Chestnut - the top two fundraisers in the race - take the top two spots in the election.

"I think what this election represented was not just a message about money and the candidates who raised the most of it, but it also was about voter discipline," said City Commissioner David Schauner, who lost his seat by finishing fourth. "Their base went out to the polls and voted."

But figuring out why the west side of the community seemed more motivated than the east side was a head-scratcher for many.

Was it economics?

Commissioner Boog Highberger, who held on to his seat by finishing third, said the lack of a local hot-button issue may have led to lower turnout on the east side of town. As for why west-side residents turned out in greater numbers, he guessed that there may have been some new economic issues that caught their attention.

"We've been in a housing slowdown for a while now," Highberger said. "That's a national issue that really isn't related to the City Commission. But that might have motivated a different group of voters."

Others said it was just a result of Dever and Chestnut starting their campaigns earlier than anyone else, and spending a lot of time targeting west Lawrence residents. Both candidates started campaigning before the beginning of the year.

"They definitely started early," said Carey Maynard-Moody, who finished sixth in the election. "It was like when the starter's pistol went off, they were already halfway down the first straightaway."

Some people, though, said the west-side turnout was driven by the fact that four of the six candidates live west of Iowa Street. Highberger and Maynard-Moody are the two candidates who don't.

Lois Liebert, a poll worker at Kennedy School, 1605 Davis Road, said she thought west Lawrence residents were getting out to vote either for or against their neighbors that they know personally.

"Name recognition means a lot in these city elections," Liebert said. "A lot of people don't pay a lot of attention to how the candidates stand on the issues."

PAC not active

Some East Lawrence leaders also conceded that perhaps they did not do enough to motivate voters in their neighborhoods.

"Apparently we didn't do a good enough job of helping people realize what was at stake in the election," said Phil Collison, president of the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association. "I talked to a few people on the phone about the importance of getting out and voting. Looking back, I probably didn't knock on enough doors."

This was the first election since 2001 that the Progressive Lawrence Campaign - a political action committee that previously worked to elect Schauner and Highberger - had not been active. Collison, though, stopped short of citing that as a reason for the low turnout.

He said he thought there were still several groups of volunteers who organized to worked on behalf of candidates.

"Honestly, I don't know what happened," Collison said. "I'm surprised because we have a history of being activists on this side of town."

Chestnut and Dever both said the surge in support from the west side was the result of those residents - many of whom commute - agreeing with their message about the need for more Lawrence-based jobs.

But both candidates also tried to downplay the notion that their victories were fueled solely by west-side support.

"I hope people believe I appeal to more than just the west side," Dever said. "I think I do. I'm definitely going to represent the city as a whole."

Chestnut also said he hoped the idea of a divided city wouldn't linger.

"I think it is really important that we stop thinking about east versus west and really look at the entire community," Chestnut said.

Comments

jmadison 7 years, 5 months ago

Property taxes have risen an exorbitant amount under the "leadership" of the plc types. Throw the bums out that caused this raid on private citizens incomes.

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Michael Capra 7 years, 5 months ago

lets not forget Bowhunter you can work at the merc for 8.00 an hr or go to walmart for 10.00 or go to american eagle fo 16.00 now lets kick back and let Amyx,Hack,Dever,Chestnut clean house and get the city back on track and get a new slogan in town.Welcome to Lawrence KS how may we help you,and let us show you what will work. concept drawings.and teach the city to return phone calls AND HELP ANY BIZ YOU CAN DONT TRY TO SHUT THEM DOWN

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commuter 7 years, 5 months ago

Merrill, Log, and Bozo:

What happened? Is this a comspitacy against the east side? Or maybe people in West Lawrence had a hot button topic and rhe people on the east side didn't?

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Michael Capra 7 years, 5 months ago

schauner lost in foxfire where he lives what does that tell you.Now thats funny

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Michael Capra 7 years, 5 months ago

Has anyone thought it was because they didnt do one thing to help lawrence. All they did was cost the tax payers millions

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Michael Capra 7 years, 5 months ago

Remember Ballies statment it was the black vans with big antenas hacking the election away infront of the polling places

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"Property taxes have risen an exorbitant amount under the "leadership" of the plc types. Throw the bums out that caused this raid on private citizens incomes."

Delusions such as this go a long way to explaining it. I think people actually want to believe that the decades of government by cronyism and corporate welfare aren't to blame for the level of property taxes they pay, and that somehow returning to that will magically have different results.

Well folks, there will be no significant expansion of the job base, your taxes will not go down, and infrastructure in the older parts of town will continue to deteriorate-- moreso on the east side than the west, as always.

But, hey, you'll get a new Wal-Mart!!

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abby 7 years, 5 months ago

There sure seemed to be a "hot button" issue on the west side! Just because the PLC group doesn't think that jobs will drive the local economy doesn't mean the rest of us agree. We have been letting the tail wag the dog for 4 years now and it was time for a change...at least the majority of people in Lawrence think it was!

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KsTwister 7 years, 5 months ago

"I think it is really important that we stop thinking about east versus west and really look at the entire community," Chestnut said.

And Chad just has to stop that. Western part of Lawrence produces higher voter turnout

Are they not the BIGGER precincts ???

Walmart wages start at $6 not $10.So lets add another one? http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/planning/documents/Approved6th-WakPlan.pdf

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Sigmund 7 years, 5 months ago

Im sure it had noting to do with merrill's, bozo's, and logjam's unending rants about what "crappy, overpriced, devolopturd sprawl" the people's homes who bought on the Westide are. I am certain that won the PLC/GRA lots of votes out west.

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Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 5 months ago

abby noted that "it was time for a change...at least the majority of people in Lawrence think it was!"

Which is not quite what happened. Only a majority of the 18+% of us who voted thought so. Who knows what the other 81% think?

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abby 7 years, 5 months ago

If you don't vote, you don't count. If you don't get involved in the process then you shouldn't have an opinion after the fact. Of those that got involved and care about Lawrence, their votes spoke volumes.

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monkeyhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

...."please understand that most of us in this part of our city like it here. We like weed free lawns and kept grounds. We like choices in retail and far less regulation. We don't shop downtown and have an aversion to the special treatment of one privately owned area of town over all others.

It is quite offensive when you refer to the west side as anything less than what you live in. Had we embraced your lifestyles, we would have purchased there. How can you advocate acceptance and diversity, but are some of the most intolerant people in the country?"

The above was taken from my Wed. post. Though it just touched on a few points, what's not to understand? Why is it a head scratcher? The people in the "other" Lawrence have had no voice in a long time. We finally had the opportunity to speak.

Maybe it also shows the plc types that they really need an issue before they can get votes. Watch for them to cook up something really good just before the next election, (though I really hate to give them any ideas).

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WilburM 7 years, 5 months ago

Elections turn on energy and organization. The energy was clearly with the development/real estate types in this election, with "jobs" as the mantra. And the PLC ran out of steam this year, in part because many PLC types were not overwhelming enthusiastic about the permormance of Bood, Schauner and Rundle. In a sense this was a referendum on the past four years, and the citizens(both those who voted and those didn't) spoke. Now, in 2 or 4 years, let's see if much is different and if the city is any more coherent. Given our geography and the number of veto points in local poicy making, don't hold your breath.

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Godot 7 years, 5 months ago

Since when is it appropriate for a taxpayer funded organization like the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association to have a partisan, political agenda?

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Jamesaust 7 years, 5 months ago

'"Honestly, I don't know what happened," Collison said.'

Perhaps, whatever sympathy exists for the underlying cause of smart growth, the public had little confidence in the competence of the specific individuals advocating it?

I suspect that Highberger will be a far more effective Commissioner in the minority on many of these issues than he proved to be while in the majority. And that its best that Rundle and Schauner are gone.

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x96merrill3 7 years, 5 months ago

(Poop)Log Wrote:

Once the new Wal-Mart goes in and widening and upgrading of roads occurs and all of that increases the mill levies and once the bulldozers start moving on the west side and south side of town, people will begin to question why they ever voted for "buying" jobs with their tax dollars.

---I'm willing to make a wager that the mill levy does not increase AT ALL in relation to development. The ONLY excuse to see the mill levy go up would be to pay for a levee upgrade and even then, I don't see the Hack administration upping property taxes in the next 2 years. They will do everything they can to avoid future property tax increases. Unlike the Rundle Bundle, they have the will and knowhow to run a city without frivolous spending.

KsTwister Wrote:

And Chad just has to stop that. Western part of Lawrence produces higher voter turnout

Are they not the BIGGER precincts ???

---Yes, they are. And that is why the results were expressed in percentages. Nearly 40% of voters on the West Side give a S*!t about the future of Lawrence, as opposed to between 10 and 15% of "Old" Lawrence.

Kinda funny, don't you think, that the "conservative" districts want change while the "liberal" areas are the ones who are content with the status quo?

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lynnd 7 years, 5 months ago

The East Lawrence Neighborhood Association does not, and did not, endorse candidates. Yes, a majority of the members and even board members probably voted for the so-called progressives but I can personally assure you that not everyone who is a member of ELNA voted that way. ELNA tried to encourage people to vote, and I'm sure that some ELNA members encouraged folks to vote for the progressives, but ELNA had no official stance.

And someone earlier hit the nail on the head- "how can you advocate tolerance and diversity, but be some of the most intolerant."

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unite2revolt 7 years, 5 months ago

Suprise, suprise! Who gives a guy $20 let alone $500 to run for office and then doesn't bother to vote for him. IF you raise money, you get votes. IF you spend money, you get votes. IF you sit on your ass, someone steals your Magic cards.

FYI Godot, get out and vote style campaigns are non-partisan by definition. They don't tell you WHO to vote for, just when and where.

Honestly what I am curious about is not why did the Westies get their vote on. But why the candidates are bothering to claim they are unbiased about the different parts of town? They OBVIOUSLY targeted the Westies for both fundraising and campaigning. And what is this commuter vote non-sense, sure jobs in Lawrence make sense but honestly we have more people commuting to Lawrence for jobs than we have commuting out. Why should we give tax breaks to companies that hire people from Topeka?

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commuter 7 years, 5 months ago

I am waiting on log, Bozo or Merrill to blame the loss on the enviroment and or President Bush. By the way where were Bush and Cheney on Tuesday?

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Baille 7 years, 5 months ago

"By the way where were Bush and Cheney on Tuesday?"

Working out a scheme to contemporaneously invade Iran and Syria.

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bearded_gnome 7 years, 5 months ago

"I think what this election represented was not just a message about money and the candidates who raised the most of it, but it also was about voter discipline," said City Commissioner David Schauner, who lost his seat by finishing fourth. "Their base went out to the polls and voted."

that's right^. and, people voted against your 'tude and your plan to narrow east 11th traffic etc. yea.

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bearded_gnome 7 years, 5 months ago

"Some people, though, said the west-side turnout was driven by the fact that four of the six candidates live west of Iowa Street. Highberger and Maynard-Moody are the two candidates who don't."

this is a prime example of why we in lawrence really need a representative city commission instead of five at-large seats. looks as if the west side is overrepresented. now, I generally am glad for the outcome but I feel that once again the older areas of town do not get their infrastructure and service needs met and an alderman system would make each city commissioner responsible to represent his/her district.

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bearded_gnome 7 years, 5 months ago

oh, Baille, how could you miss this, Bush/Cheney were obviously out figuring how to steal oil from some innocent country with a totally benevolent dictator.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 5 months ago

"IF you sit on your ass, someone steals your Magic cards."

Quote of the day!

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x96merrill3 7 years, 5 months ago

JackRipper wrote:

"That is funny, conservative now is defined as buying everything you want on debt, creating special rules for the big guys, and using the government to get what you want.

And the definition of change is turning towns into just an other suburb. Gosh, that is indeed unique and thinking out of the box."

The Rundle commission borrowed more money than it brought in. They used that money to fund social programs and an empty bus system. That created debt (look up the numbers and you will see that I am right about this.) Therefor, it was not the conservatives who practiced buying what they want on debt.

The Rundle commission created specail rules for the "big guys" they just happened to be rules that made it difficult for a "big guy" (employer, job provider, community contributor) to succeed in this town. Then, when the "Big Guy" (Wal-mart, Compton, Fritzel) followed the new rules, the Rundle commission changed those rules.

Using the government to get what you want is a lengthy way of saying "corruption". Would that be like keeping a large national chain grocery store from building in order to protect one's own small town organic grocer who also happens to be the employer of a commission member? Just asking.

Suburbs work economically. "Smart Growth" has NOT show ANY success in Lawrence. I'll take success over failure any day. And it appears that the majority of the voters agree with me.

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MyName 7 years, 5 months ago

w00t! I was one of the 4.8 percent of the people in my precinct that actually voted! I feel extra special today!

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Mari Aubuchon 7 years, 5 months ago

I thought it was the residents of New West Lawrence who were voicing the greatest opposition to the WalMart.

???

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history 7 years, 5 months ago

Good riddins to Rundle and Shauner

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history 7 years, 5 months ago

Mari, you thought wrong. We may be opposing a wal-mart but not at all cost. Some people are willing to sacrafice the whole economy, by electing no growth officials, some people just understand a town that is not growing cant support what we all want,Jobs in town Live and let live

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 5 months ago

"Since when is it appropriate for a taxpayer funded organization like the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association to have a partisan, political agenda?"

How and when does any neighborhood association receive money from taxes? They are funded by dues paid by members. I know some people prefer to go home, shut their door, and not know their neighbors, and that's their choice, but then they don't have to join their neigborhood association. They can be hermits, instead of part of their communtiy, but many of us like to know our neighbors and look out for each other. Neighborhood associations have helped to rekindle community. I know a lot of people who live in the city and they've never talked to their neighbors. So KU kids move here from those impersonal neighborhoods and make noise and trash with no consideration of the people living around them, because they don't know their neighbors.

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history 7 years, 5 months ago

Lost charm? i dont think so. Lawrence is unique not because of downtown. Wal mart is just an example on how this past commisson handled growth. Dig in your heels at all cost ,our cost, tax payers money. Do we need a second wal mart? i dont care . If wal mart thinks that a second store would generate money, why not . My point is you cant restrict a commercial zoned area after the fact just because your personal oppinion differs. Whats best for the city at large that is the commison i want. If there was a special interest group than we just got rid of them. Majority rules. Old west lawrence, times have changed dont hang on to 1950. There is a way to combine new and old. It just takes a little bending and re-shaping. Lawrence will be unique with or without a new wal mart

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"Whats best for the city at large that is the commison i want."

Well, I seriously doubt that you got it.

Time will tell.

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Sigmund 7 years, 5 months ago

Jamesaust (anonymous) on April 6, 2007 at 9:09 a.m:

"Perhaps, whatever sympathy exists for the underlying cause of smart growth, the public had little confidence in the competence of the specific individuals advocating it?"

"I suspect that Highberger will be a far more effective Commissioner in the minority on many of these issues than he proved to be while in the majority. And that its best that Rundle and Schauner are gone."

I think James has it exactly right. I didn't vote for any of the PLC/GRA candidates but I think Boog will be a more effective voice cautioning against unrestrained growth and shaping policies that are not simply one sided decrees, but compromised positions and policies that attempt address a wider viewpoint and interests.

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kugrad 7 years, 5 months ago

The rise in property taxes did not result from the actions of our city commission. Please than Topeka for passing that buck. It is simply false to accuse the city commission of being responsible for this and it shows the ignorance of some posters regarding the reasons their taxes increased in the last 3 years. I think voter turnout was higher in the west because the message of the candidates resonated more with voters in that part of town. Also, I think some who voted for the progressives last election were disappointed that they didn't do something radical - that they were actually very reasonable people, and so they didn't bother this time.

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SloMo 7 years, 5 months ago

Well I don't know why I shouldn't be represented on my city commission just because I can't convince many of my neighbors to vote!

The best thing about representation by district is that, as a candidate, you wouldn't need to reach 80,000 potential voters across this whole city, but just the potential voters within your district. If nothing else, think of how much less money you would need to raise. The way it is now, only the rich can afford to run with any chance of winning, unless they have help from a group like the PLC, which you don't seem to like very much.

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HMcMellon 7 years, 5 months ago

jmadison wrote:

"Property taxes have risen an exorbitant amount under the "leadership" of the plc types. Throw the bums out that caused this raid on private citizens incomes."

What? You are really out of touch. The "PLC types" were fiscal conservatives. They were trying to keep property taxes from going up. They were against subsidized development.

Any tax increases that occurred during their reign was a carry over from the tax and spend days of the developer shills on the old City Commission in the 1990s, who gave sweetheart deals to the developers so new home prices would be low enough to attract all the commuters that flooded in here from Johnson County.

We are still paying for all the costs associated with that run on the City treasury by the tax and spenders of the 1990s. The new sewer plant is just the tip of the iceberg of the additional costs that those liberal developer shills cost us taxpayers.

Now, the stupid commuters who got subsidized prices on their new homes in Lawrence voted in more liberal tax and spenders to the City Commission. What these communters in West Lawrence don't understand is that this time around, they will have to join the rest of us in paying for all the subsidies for the developers that Dever, Chestnut and the others will vote in.

The commuters brought in during the last raid on the City Treasurer in the 1990s will now have to be the ones, like the rest of us, who have to deal with all the additional traffic and the higher taxes that developer shills like Dever, Chestnut and Amyx are going to cause.

Those in the building trades who supported these liberal tax and spenders like Dever and Chestnut must figure the additional business that will be generated by all the subsidies for building more crappy houses for the new commuters will offset their increase in property tax.

For the rest of us, we are going to go back to the property tax raid by the developer shills on the City Commission just like we did in the 1980s and 1990s. Hang onto your wallets, the developer shills are back as a majority on the Commission.

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history 7 years, 5 months ago

3) Downtown, the main attraction of our city will slowly be deteriorate

Main attraction???? Downtown is allready deteriorating, homeless people sleeping on the street, beggers intimitating visitors, and at night well do i have to even go there.Get real, downtown is not what it used to be. I would not want my kids to walk downtown alone in the lat afternoon,

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roger_o_thornhill 7 years, 5 months ago

These 'east of Iowa' numbers are troubling and sad.

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history 7 years, 5 months ago

Logrithmic, my head has been out of the can, yours on the other hand is stuck in schauners a...so deep you can see it when he opens his mouth. you are the reason why people like me find it pointless to talk to tree-huggers like you. After all, you know it all and you know everything better. Sore looser. I'd rather shop south iowa anyday over the overrated downtown.

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history 7 years, 5 months ago

You said: l put my education pedigree and self-made net worth up against your's anyday , I say, a person that blows his own horn aint nothing but a legend in his own mind. Education pedigree? wow, that is well said Net worth? wow, again well said I see what is on top of your list. Is this what you gauge yourself with, is this how you judge people? Is this the best comeback to an arguement. Is this really all you got?Educated beyond your intelligents, that is what you are. Get one more degrre and make some more money you will be a better person after that!! Or will you? You aint nothing compared to a street sweeper,or anyone else that doesnt judge himself by his education. You Sir are an Idiot and a half. As far as net worth, dont let your mouth write a check your a... cant cash. IDIOT

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Sigmund 7 years, 5 months ago

Protecting downtown Lawrence by restricting growth out west will prevent developers from getting rich and insure that downtown landlords will continue to be rich by over charging for downtown real estate.

Those invested in downtown want to keep competition out and they had a City Kommission willing to keep out competition and downtown merchants and customers in paid for it in higher rents and prices. By allowing growth out west downtown merchants will have to face competition and merchants and customers will have a choice. All downtown landlords need to do to keep their buildings full is lower their rents.

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camper 7 years, 5 months ago

Can't blame prospective businesses for trying to negotiate local taxes. Three reasons

1) They are probably already paying plenty of federal & state taxes. 2) If they offer good-paying jobs, revenues should increase anyways. Atleast they are not shipping jobs overseas. They want to do business here. 3) There are many crooked city and county commsioners who, believe it or not, run fine tuned rackets where money is exchanged under the table. They also strong-arm businesses when they audit personal property.

If city commisioners want to play ball, well businesses should be granted the same right.

Though I did not support the former commision, my intuition tells me that they were not in the above mentioned 3rd category. I grant them that. I like the new balance. Respect Boogs opinions too. Let's see what happens. Maybe things will improve. I believe many of us who support new businesses also choose not to support or patronize Wal-Mart.

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bearded_gnome 7 years, 5 months ago

amazing.
History, log-boy calls you a sore loser, though it was his leftist PLC/GRA that got the big slap on tuesday's vote! Log-boy has a long history of being quite rude offensive as well as just vapid in all his noise. at least he agrees with me on representative city commish...its like a monkey in front of a keyboard, sometimes that monkey gets words typed.


Big money has a way of seeking the highest return. If the highest return lies outside of the downtown area (as it will now, especially when tax dollars begin to flow to development out west). Abandoning downtown, as has been done in countless communities throughout the entire U.S., seems like a small price to pay for most.

"big money has a way of seeking the highest return." vapid, and stating the obvious. that's how "big money" got to be "big money." but in Log-boy's world "big money" must be inevitably evil! yet he touts his "net worth." is this a confession of his own evil?

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Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 5 months ago

abby wrote: "If you don't vote, you don't count. If you don't get involved in the process then you shouldn't have an opinion after the fact."

Wow. All the civics classes I took really had it wrong, then. I was always taught that Palko v. Connecticut settled that freedom of thought is absolute, and that freedom of speech was guaranteed through the Bill of Rights.

What if one chooses not to vote as a political protest? We are fortunate to live in a country where not voting is actually a right--do you really advocate for marginalizing 81+% of out population because they behaved within their rights?

Sigh.

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