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Archive for Friday, August 10, 2007

Wakarusa upgrade to wait for Wal-Mart

August 10, 2007

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Wakarusa improvements needed

New developments headed in northwest Lawrence have nearby residents calling for major improvements to Wakarusa. Enlarge video

Now it's time to think about the roads.

After a five-year odyssey ended Tuesday night with Lawrence City Commission's approval of a new Wal-Mart at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive - and the upcoming Bauer Farms project on the northeast corner of the intersection - northwest Lawrence residents say their streets will need attention.

Wakarusa Drive, built 20 years ago, already handles between 14,000 and 20,000 vehicles a day - a number that's expected to rise with the new developments.

"It's a major thoroughfare, and just by the way the streets are laid out in west Lawrence, it's going to have a lot more traffic," said Paula Pepin, who lives in the area.

Dena Mezger, the city's assistant public works director, agreed.

The new developments are "going to add a lot of additional traffic to that, and that pavement just really was never built to handle that kind of traffic load," she said.

The need for complete reconstruction, she said, is inevitable. But there's no timetable for rebuilding Wakarusa, and officials say it definitely won't happen until Wal-Mart and its neighbors start bringing more traffic to the intersection.

"Those are pretty fast-track developments," Mezger said.

There are other traffic concerns in the area.

Officials have been considering proposals to add traffic signals on Wakarusa at its intersections with Harvard Road and Inverness and Legends drives.

Neighbors are also concerned about the safety of access points to existing shopping centers at Sixth and Wakarusa.

Pepin thinks action on such questions is needed quickly.

"We'd like to see it sooner rather than later," she said, "for the safety of the people who live around this area."

Comments

NotASquishHead 7 years, 4 months ago

This is what frustrates me about the city of lawrence.... absolutely NO foresight or planning. Hello, major four lane road 3 miles from Iowa Street... might get used by a couple of cars. Why wasn't it built with the proper pavement, medians, and turn lanes to begin with?

nell 7 years, 4 months ago

"Now it's time to think about the roads." NOW?! I am so confused...

7/24/07 LJW: Traffic issues had been a major concern of many residents who live near the proposed site. But engineers for the city presented the Planning Commission with a new traffic model that they developed in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The new model, the engineers said, uses more accurate projections for the amount of retail space that will be developed along the Sixth Street corridor. The new model shows far less congestion than a previous draft model from KDOT had shown.

"We feel pretty confident that the Sixth Street corridor can handle the committed projects," Chuck Soules, the city's director of public works, said in reference to the Wal-Mart store and other already-approved development."

I see.... the comment above is about 6th St., not the other component of the intersection, Wakarusa. Again, LJW does its readers no favors with its uninquisitive, lazy, simply unthinking reporting. Not that the developers, Wal-Mart and the city leaders aren't culpable.

nell 7 years, 4 months ago

The Wakarusa upgrades should wait until all that luscious revenue from this big box is realized, like the sales taxes from all that previously unavailable merchandise.

Again, we'll see neighborhood streets suffer because our property taxes are going to fund development infrastructure.

coneflower 7 years, 4 months ago

Congratulations, neighbors to the new Wal-Mart! Your streets will be torn up and under construction for years. Remember last year, when 6th/Wak was torn up for months and you couldn't get your kids to the high school? Get ready for that again!

And we know Wal-Mart isn't going to pay for it.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 4 months ago

I have friends that live very near 6th and Wakarusa. They're looking forward to road improvements and to the new Wal Mart.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

I bet they really like their trips to the dentist, too, eh STRS?

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 4 months ago

I have no idea what that means, bozo. Are you a dentist?

scott3460 7 years, 4 months ago

I've said it before & I'll say it again. The idiots that vote these morons in as our civic leaders deserve every bit of the havoc that is imposed by the efforts of these crooks to line the pockets of themselves, and their politician and "developer" friends. The masses of yupple that have invaded in the last 20 years are too stupid to vote for the progressive and thoughtful leadership that served Lawrence so well for much of the last 50 years & deserve every bit if idiocy and graft that will rain down upon them in the next several years. Lawrence was once a fine place. Witness now as it is dumped upon in the name of "progress," "development" and the naked self interests of the well-connected few.

toefungus 7 years, 4 months ago

These road should be build with specials placed on the owners of property near the road.

abbynormal 7 years, 4 months ago

This is ridiculous!. The high school traffic, combined with the traffic from the turnpike, AND now the Wal-mart traffic (which i will have no part of) is going to make it impossible to get around. Especially since they will probably build the Wal-Mart, then add back roads get get business as soon as humanly possible. The torn up streets with excessively heavy traffic flow is going to make it WORSE than it was a couple summers ago and MORE unbearable than when kasold was torn up.

Oh! And I'll say that about half of the local buisnesses nearby are going to suffer. At least all the really strong and nostalgic shops are downtown and its too crowded to cram in a mega corporation. Thats probably the only great piece of planning (which I would actually only credit to chance) that this city has done.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

Wakarusa needed to be upgraded long before the new Wal-Mart was approved. As someone who has actually lived at near 6th and Wakarusa for the last six years, the lack of traffic lights on Wakarusa between Bob Billings and 6th Street really slows down the flow of traffic and is a major pain. When the new traffic light was installed at Billings and Wakarusa two years ago, there was an immediate reduction in wait time at the intersection and I'm presuming a reduction in the number of accidents.

From the perspective of someone who actually lives in the neighborhood (rather than a majority of you negative posters who do not) and passes through the 6th and Wakarusa intersection at least twice a day on the way to work, I can definitely say that I am not overly concerned about the increased traffic and I can't wait to save 30% on my groceries and necessities when the new Wal-Mart opens in a few years. Maybe then I can afford to pay the increased property taxes to subsidize the inefficient T.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Those who oppose WalMart should be grateful for the long needed upgrade to Wakarusa.

"The masses of yupple that have invaded in the last 20 years are too stupid to vote for the progressive and thoughtful leadership that served Lawrence so well for much of the last 50 years & deserve every bit if idiocy and graft that will rain down upon them in the next several years."

Not sure what "yupple" is, but this post provided the chuckle of the day. Sounds like the words of one of the entitled, not to mention the obvious class envy.

The voters spoke, and most all of them realized exactly what we would be getting. I'm glad they are not prolonging the agony.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

Due to the infinite wisdom of the previous City Commission in actively running businesses out of town, I am forced to drive to another city each day to find a decent-paying job. Even though I'm more than happy to pay property taxes to support essential city services (public schools, fire and police protection, street maintenance, etc.), I think it is ridiculous to raise the mill levy for the T rather than pursuing a small reducation in operating hours when only a very small portion of the city's population actually uses that service.

The fact is that new residential and commercial construction in the Wakarusa area contributes a great deal of property tax revenue to the city and county each year. While you are allowed to harbor this unhealthy resentment towards residents of West Lawrence, you might want to acknowledge that even though you hate me and all those who live near me, our property taxes probably pay for more services in your area of the city than yours do. When you bash new residents in Lawrence, just remember that we are paying for your public services.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

I think you failed to note the increased property tax revenue associated with new residential and commercial development. The last time I checked every new home I have purchased in Lawrence has been subject to special assessments and impact fees to pay for aterial street improvements and water and sewage hookup.

If I choose to live in a large house and drive a supposedly large vehicle, then how is this any of your business? Since I have chosen to provide an adequate residence where my children can grow up comfortably and I have also chosen to live in West Lawrence, how does this make me a prima donna like Paris Hilton? The fact is that I am still contributing a much larger share of property tax revenue to the city than you are, which means that since it doesn't cost any more to deliver fire and police protection to me than it does to you, I am paying for a portion of your services. A thank you would be nice at any time!

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

Tony88 --

More of the same useless whispered accusations and hysterics. Go sell crazy somewhere else, this forum is stocked up on it. Just because you may not agree with the policies of the current City Commission, does not mean there is some dark and shadowy conspiracy behind all the recent actions. The fact is that your preferred candidates had their butts handed to them during the last election and the majority of the voters in Lawrence voiced their preference for a change in how local government was conducted in this city.

If you are not happy with it, then exercise your constitutional right by voting for someone else in two years when Amyx, Hack and Boog will be up for re-election. But don't make me listen to these ridiculous conspirary theories for the next year and a half. Shouldn't you be protesting a Wal-Mart or burning an SUV somewhere anyway?

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

The candidates for the City Commission said before the eleciton that they would be willing to take another look at a re-submitted Wal-Mart application. If the citizens of Lawrence who disagree with the policies of the current City Commission didn't vote in the last election, then that is their problem. Even though you have the constitutional right to vote, I guess I need to remind you that you can't be too LAZY to exercise that vote if you wan't to complain about how government is functioning.

Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 4 months ago

Look, folks, the piper has been paid and the tune has been called. First, let's make the best of this situation. Second, let's be better prepared to have thoughtful, rational conversation next time so we can provide better input to the process.

Oh, what am I saying? That wouldn't be nearly as much fun as belly-aching and name-calling. Never mind.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

"West Lawrence wonders why they are wearing on people's nerves,"

Second biggest chuckle of the day. Have any of those fortunate to live on the west side ever wondered that? And, if they have, do they even care if some of the merrill/boozo/mcclure/smith/burress types are annoyed by our voting habits? What bothers them most is that we do not kowtow to their opinions or their form of socialism. Maybe we have been on earth long enough to get over childhood fantasies of the world should be like. We have started paying taxes, and most of us have the insight to see what our money is buying.

It is refreshing to not to have our city lead by some on the hill using its citizenry as a social experiment for their next publication.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

Logicsound --

I believe I go through his company to buy my property insurance, that does that mean I am part of the pro-growth cabal? Never mind that they were able to quote me a very good rate and saved me a considerable amount of money over my old property insurance policy.

In the last few elections, Governor Sebelius and State Senator Marci Francisco have received large amounts of campaign contribution from public schools teacher unions, does that mean they should not be allowed to take action on issues affecting public education or teacher salaries??? The next time you want to restrict or inhibit free political speech (which includes contributions), you may want to reference the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Lonestar1 7 years, 4 months ago

People in India are protesting in large numbers to keep Wal Mart out of their communities.... they all fear it will destroy the local traditional Mom & Pop shops:. but they will fall prey to Wal Mart just like Lawrence did. You will be assimilated!

monkeyhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

kshiker, It occurs to me that I also have most of my insurance with this company for the same reason, not to mention that I have an excellent agent. I have happily given them 3 autos, five properties, corporate insurance, personal liability and my umbrella.

So, for all of you with great disdain for WalMart, and this particular insurance company, you are probably spending a lot more for the same, just to be trendy or idealistic.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

Lawrence is clearly not Johnson County and it will never be. However, it might be somewhat nice to become a little bit more like them since they are one of the country's fastest growing areas in terms of economic and wage growth.

If wages and employment were growing in the City of Lawrence at a leven even remotely close to how they are growing in Johnson County, then we might not have so many people complaining about not being able to afford to live in Lawrence.

storm 7 years, 4 months ago

Here come the plastic bags!! On your lawns, in your bushes, way up high in the tree, over there by the play-house, mashed against the fence at Lawrence Free-State High School, over in the fields, under the wheel of your car as you drive by. One item per bag. We can pretend they're actually tumbleweeds.

gccs14r 7 years, 4 months ago

If you want the JoCo lifestyle, that county is just a few miles down K-10 and you're welcome to move there. Please quit trying to bring their McCulture here.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

gccs14r --

I don't want to move to Johnson County. I think I will stay in West Lawrence. If you like socialism and hate growth so much, why don't you move to Cuba??? It is just a short 5 hour flight to the southeast!

Mkh 7 years, 4 months ago

"In the last few elections, Governor Sebelius and State Senator Marci Francisco have received large amounts of campaign contribution from public schools teacher unions, does that mean they should not be allowed to take action on issues affecting public education or teacher salaries??? The next time you want to restrict or inhibit free political speech (which includes contributions), you may want to reference the First Amendment to the Constitution."

KShiker,

Do you really not understand the difference between campaign contributions and business deals? If you think extremely hard, I bet you could figure out the difference...give it a try.

gccs14r 7 years, 4 months ago

"If you like socialism and hate growth so much, why don't you move to Cuba???"

I'd rather move to Germany where they have figured out how to have healthy, balanced communities with a proper mix of capitalism and government services, but I don't qualify.

BTW, the proper mantra isn't "grow or die", it's "sustainability." Unchecked growth is the life cycle of the tumor; eventually the host dies because it can no longer support both itself and the tumor.

If you guys want your own city run your way, I'd vote to cleave Lawrence at Kasold and let you guys do what you want on your side; you could start by paying for your own water, sewer, and streets. We could go back to a more reasonable sales tax rate and mill levy and wouldn't be stuck subsidizing you guys.

knownasb 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper- "You guys keep talking like what we have to do is build retail so people from out of town will come and buy stuff that they can already get in KC and Topeka and cover all our debt."

There is no reason for Topeka or KC residents to come to Lawrence and shop, regardless of what retail establishments are erected here. The problem is that Topeka and KC have so many more retail choices that Lawrence residents travel there to shop. This means a loss of revenue opportunity for the city of Lawrence.

scott3460 7 years, 4 months ago

Yupple: a made up (and deragatory) term meant to denote the plural of "yuppie." A group of largely self-centered, materialistic, trend worshipping humans given to living in large concentrations of bland suburban blight. Generally devoid of any degree of "soul" or descernible sense of humor. See also, "sheeple."

"The voters spoke, and most all of them realized exactly what we would be getting."

That, I believe, is exactly my point. The mass of yupple that have invaded in the last twenty years are getting exactly what they want. Your heaven, however, looks just like my hell.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

GCCS --

I think you would be unpleasantly surprised at the amount of property tax revenue generated by new residential and commercial development west of Kasold. In fact, I would counter that growth in this area of the city unfairly subsidizes your streets, sewers and infrastructure. Frankly, some of the neighborhoods in the older parts of the city barely raise enough property tax revenue to pay for their own maintenance, let alone other parts of the city. You can send me a check at any time to reimburse me for your city services.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

Logicsound --

That is the most ridiculous argument I have ever heard. There is absolutely nothing illegal or unethical about a pre-existing business relationship that allegedly exists (didn't see any evidence offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted) between a private citizen and the spouse of a public official.

If this ridiculous argument were to be followed to its fullest extent, then Mike Rundle would have been unable to vote on the Wal-Mart application since it could potentially affect his employment at the Merc. Mike Amyx could not vote on any pending rezoning permits for a GreatClips or SportClips because this could potentially affect his business. Schauner would have needed to recuse himself from all items relating to public education as he is an employee of the KNEA.

On the alleged Wal-Mart contributions, there is a contribution limit of $500 in place for the City Commission elections. Even if the Wal-Mart corporation decided to make a financial contribution to one of the candidates, the maximum amount they could have given would be $500 in each election. More hysterics and unsubstantiated innuendo; can't say that I am surprised!

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

I don't claim to like East Lawrence. In fact, unless I am going up to campus, attending the occassional event on Mass. Street or eating at the Jade Mongolian BBQ Buffett (love it), I rarely cross Iowa Street. On the other hand, I am a huge fan of everything in West Lawrence and would not choose to live anywhere else.

scott3460 7 years, 4 months ago

"I don't claim to like East Lawrence. In fact, unless I am going up to campus, attending the occassional event on Mass. Street or eating at the Jade Mongolian BBQ Buffett (love it), I rarely cross Iowa Street. On the other hand, I am a huge fan of everything in West Lawrence and would not choose to live anywhere else."

Thanks for coming to town and ruining Lawrence so that you can live in an exact duplicate of 90% of the rest of American suburbia. Probably a good thing you don't often venture in to that foreign weirdness east of Iowa. There are probably quite a few folks there who despise all the corporate materialism and consumerism you so foolishly embrace.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

Scott --

I'm glad you love your nice little faux-utopian, hippie existence where you live. Please feel free to not come over and visit where I live. You don't have to like me. I don't have to like you. Enough said. Have a good life.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

Lets compare property tax bills and see who pays more for infrastructure in this city. I would beg to differ with your characterization that just because your neighborhood is older it deserves more government spending. Again, it might be nice to show some form of proof that new development does not pay for itself. You hippies are all the same. Don't come to West Lawrence if you don't want to; the truth is that we don't want you. If you plan on coming over here, at least plan on taking a shower first! The stench in your neighborhood is probably unbearable.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

Hawk --

I really don't think Wakarusa is that bad right now either. In fact, the West Lawrence Neighborhood Association was the major group claiming that 6th and Wakarusa will not be able to handle the increased traffic due to the new Wal-Mart. Since I definitely don't agree with anything that group believes anyway, I would highly doubt that Wakarusa needs to be upgraded to support traffic from Wal-Mart. If the city does not want to upgrade Wakarusa, I really don't care. Its a great deal better than Louisiana or Kentucky already.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

It sounds like you might need a basic Semase Street lession in real property taxation (as well as personal hygiene). Property taxes are based on two factors. One is the fair market value of the property and the other is the mill levy rate. An increase in the amount of property taxes paid can result from either an increase in the mill levy rate or an increase in the fair market value of the property.

Since real estate is an asset that is known to appreciate, it is fairly reasonable (and typically desirable) to anticipate that one's property will appreciate in value over the course of ownership. If the value of your home has risen more than the cost of inflation, then surprisingly, your property taxes will increase more than the cost of inflation (shocker). Therefore, even though the city may not have increased the mill levy rate, your property taxes may increase due to an increase in fair market value.

The reason that homes increase in fair market value is that the demand of homes outstrip the supply. Where demand for housing is greater than the supply of housing, housing will become more expensive. How can you reduce the price of housing? By increasing not restricting the supply of housing.

Since our previous City Commission was more interested in preventing rather than encouraging the construction of new housing by passing new and burdensome regulations on development, housing supply has not kept up with housing demand in Lawrence. Thus, the price of housing has increased. Ergo, the value of your home has increased. Ergo, your property taxes on said home have increased!

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

Thank heavens Lawrence has KU and Clinton Lake. Outside of those two prime assets (and of course the entirety of West Lawrence), the old neighborhoods downtown have basically little charm and are about as aesthetically pleasing as a tour through Borat's Khazakstan.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

Do you have any FACTS to prove that new residential and commercial development does not pay for itself with increased property and sales tax revenues? The simple fact is that a $250,000 pays a lot more in property taxes than a $100,000 home. When you add 1,000 new $250,000 homes into a city, you see a marked increase in property tax revenue.

As far as this lovely myth perpetuated by the McClure/PLC half-wits that new homeowners do not pay the cost of adding new infrastructure, then I guess I should disregard the special assessments that I have to pay each month for streets, sewer hook and water hookup. I guess that enormously large monthly expense that is added on to my property tax bills is just a figment of my imagination.

Has your house increased in price at a pace quicker than inflation in the past ten years or not? If it hasn't, then you are clearly living in a dismal part of town because everything else in Lawrence has. While it may be slightly down over the next few years, you can bet that it will start increasing again soon. We wouldn't want to make it easier for someone to build new homes in Lawrence. Then we would degrade your little utopian existence.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

Most of the people hanging out downtown are vagrants and panhandlers. Perhaps they should go to McDonalds to find employment. Maybe they could stay with you?

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

Isn't that what you do anyway?

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

Hippies like you are an annoying yet necessary side effect of living in West Lawrence. All I have to do is belittle and put up with you on this forum, but thankfully I don't have to interact with you for the majority of my life here in Lawrence.

I can hear a constant whining noise from East Lawrence which I believe is the usual hysterics emerging from you PLCers, but it really doesn't make much of a difference to me. As long as I can sneak across Iowa to attend KU football and basketball games, then I can always come back to where I would rather be.

If you would just let the state construct the remaining portion of the K-10 bypass, you would never need to see me in East Lawrence! Good riddance for you and me.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

JackRipper --

I'm not whining about anything. In fact, I am quite pleased with life in West Lawrence. It seems to be the PLC crowd who is more concerned with West Lawrence than their own backyard. What do you care if another Wal-Mart opens up in West Lawrence? Don't shop at it and don't come over here! I'm already in paradise; just stay where you are.

kshiker 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm going home. Keep whining. Knock yourself out! Have a nice, pathetic life.

soonerborn 7 years, 4 months ago

I will see all of you at Wal-Mart!! YEAH

justsaying 7 years, 4 months ago

Whatever your opinion, for or against Walmart, there are always positives and negatives that come with growth/change. Walmart takes a lot of heat, but I hear very little about Target.... can't really tell much difference other than Target prices the exact same item a few cents to a dollar more than Walmart. Downtown Lawrence has its nitch and hopefully always will, but Lawrence needs jobs, ANY jobs at this point. We have lost out on major businesses coming here because the tug of war over smart growth is so controversial that we either give companies excessive tax breaks (call it whatever you wish) or we keep potential companies at bay for long periods of time (such as 5 years for Walmart). I realize that Lawrence doesn't want to be like every other town, but I don't really think Lawrence ever will lose its charm. What does concern me is that more and more people are living here and working and shopping in other towns/cities.

janeyb 7 years, 4 months ago

Any street improvement on Wakarusa should be funded by a combination of the whole city and a benefit district--with taxes heavy on the benefit district. People living along Wakarusa and west will use the streets daily, and be able to stop daily at Walmart or the other businesses. People throughout the rest of Lawrence might use it once a week. Wakarusa really isn't used as a quick way across town like Kasold--or Naismith!!! As for the high school, that is a dangerous five minutes twice a day. Those kids can clear a parking lot fast!

I drive Wakarusa often and prefer the 4 way stops. Most of the time you can stop and go. There are certain times of the day it is busier, but once they put stop lights in, it will always be hurry up and wait--especially the way Lawrence synchronizes stop lights. I also drive Harvard often--it is like a carnival ride with the speed bumps and roundabouts. They should do a study on how many older people don't yield at roundabouts--or better yet--go the wrong way when entering them! Anyway I find Harvard and Kasold a much scarier intersection than Harvard and Wakarusa.

One last thing. Can anyone explain the speed bumps on W Harvard to me. Why do they have channels so you can just straddle them and not slow down?

jonas 7 years, 4 months ago

Janeyb: I think you're assuming that any of the traffic things in the W Harvard area are the product of sense. And I think that assumption is mistaken

Godot 7 years, 4 months ago

"Mkh (Anonymous) says:

"In the last few elections, Governor Sebelius and State Senator Marci Francisco have received large amounts of campaign contribution from public schools teacher unions, does that mean they should not be allowed to take action on issues affecting public education or teacher salaries??? The next time you want to restrict or inhibit free political speech (which includes contributions), you may want to reference the First Amendment to the Constitution."

KShiker,

Do you really not understand the difference between campaign contributions and business deals? If you think extremely hard, I bet you could figure out the difference:give it a try."

MKH, in a state where government IS the biggest business, there is absolutely no difference.

HMcMellon 7 years, 4 months ago

What's wrong with a world that evolves to where one mega-corporation owns every business in the United States, China and elsewhere. What's wrong with a gigantic conglomerate controlling all the governments of the world and everything we do or think?

A system like that worked very well in the Soviet Union for 75 years. What's wrong with returning to that kind of system but on a worldwide basis? Already, the cooperative relationship between the totalitarians in China and the major corporations is working very well. The resulting trade deficit is leading to China owning America's debt. Everyone has to be beholden to someone. What's wrong with America being beholden to China? Let's face it, the sooner that everyone is under the control of International Monopolies, the sooner we will have peace on earth.

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