Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2007

Undemocratic

August 11, 2007

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To the editor:

We attended Tuesday night's meeting of the City Commission, and the discussion of the Wal-Mart issue was a lesson in democracy. This is what we learned:

  1. Adhering to the city's own blueprint for development doesn't matter. One public commenter said the proposed store of nearly 100,000 square feet violated the provision in Horizon 2020 that no discount store in the type of commercial center designated for Sixth and Wakarusa (CC200) can be over 65,000 square feet. Commissioner Highberger asked a city staff member if this is correct, and she replied that she did not know. He suggested that it would be good to delay action on the Wal-Mart proposal until this issue could be cleared up. No other commissioner responded in any way to his suggestion.
  2. The opinion of the people doesn't matter. Twelve of the fourteen people who spoke during the public comment session opposed the Wal-Mart proposal. One of those speakers carried a petition with several hundred signatures asking that it be put to a referendum and noted that an unbiased telephone survey of over 200 Lawrence residents found them to be opposed to the proposal by a two-to-one margin. These matters went utterly unrecognized by all five commissioners in their discussion of the proposal.
  3. Despite the above, the proposal passed 4-1, with Commissioner Highberger in opposition.

So what did we learn from our lesson in democracy? That today, in this town, democracy is in serious trouble.

Louise and Allan Hanson,

Lawrence

Comments

Ragingbear 7 years, 11 months ago

KU owns Lawrence. KU wants Wal-Mart.

Of course, KU also created the Dole Institute. Somehow thinking he is a good role model.

KS 7 years, 11 months ago

Ragingbear - Where did you pick up such a negative attitude?

Punkin 7 years, 11 months ago

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

"Marion 1) We elect city commissioners to make decisions FOR US."

That is new thinking for you now that special interest money elected a special interest majority on very low voter turnout. The special interest money and low voter turnout are both sad.

Godot 7 years, 11 months ago

Mr. and Mrs. Hanson obviously believe that mob rule is a form of democracy. They should be happy that their mob ruled in the T decision.

Remy 7 years, 11 months ago

i've heard this survey called "scientific" and "unbiased" now in a few letters. the survey didn't call those residents randomly, instead opting for calling registered voters. 1/3 R, 1/3 D and 1/3 I.

that's neither scientific nor unbiased. most importantly it doesn't accurately reflect how Lawrence residents would vote on this issue. however, voting does. and we elected these commissioners knowing their intentions regarding Wal-Mart. stop acting so surprised.

(and i don't favor a wal-mart so no need to flame me with the propoganda)

thusspokezarathustra 7 years, 11 months ago

Why is it that no one can seem to get more than 400 signatures on a petition against Wal-Mart? I thought that an overwhelming majority of people opposed it.

"400-plus voice opposition to N.W. Lawrence store"

Jeanne Newman, who lives in northwest Lawrence, organized the eight volunteers who collected petition signatures Monday and Tuesday. She said planning commissioners should be expecting a strong neighborhood contingent Wednesday  the petition effort proves that.

"I think it's more than 400 signatures," Newman said of the petition. "I'll bet I can get 4,000 easily." from LJW Oct. 17th 2002

Yet 5 years later the overwhelming opposition is not 4000 but still 400 signatures?

Typically you need to get 5% of registered voters to force action through a petition & that would be over 3000 signatures not 300.

A pathetic grassroots movement, 400 signatures in 5 years? Check out what this kid did:

Chris Paradies, 16, and a junior at Lawrence High School, and some friends sought signatures in support of scrapping the city's fireworks ban at the Lawrence Sidewalk Sale last month.

He said they collected more than 900 signatures that day - 500 from those older than 18 and 420 of those from registered voters. LJW Aug. 16th 2005

Grassroots Action should hire this kid.

Godot 7 years, 11 months ago

That is why California is so screwed up.

Godot 7 years, 11 months ago

"Godot (Anonymous) says:

That is why California is so screwed up."

That was a response to max1 "Clearly, Kansans have way too many freedoms. Let's elimnate the few that are still on the books. http://www.citizensincharge.org/main/usm: California - You have full Initiative & Referendum rights. Kansas - You have no statewide Initiative & Referendum rights."

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 11 months ago

And your point is????? I do not know anyone who is opposed to the new Wal-Mart. I do not shop there very much at all. A lot of folks, including the writers of this letter have gotten themselves all worked up over this insignificant issue. They have devised all sorts of non-verifiable notions to bolster their desires. Just wanting something to be true does not make it so.
I will not shop at the new Wal-Mart, I go to Target because it is on my way home from work. What folks really need to be concerned about is the waste of money on the empty busses. It is a very poor substitute for the public need for transportation for those who REALLY NEED public transportation. The horrible traffic on Iowa Street, expecially late in the day is a disgusting problem. There need to be "No Left Turn" signs all along the stretch from 9th street to 15th street where people turning left block that lane of traffic for blocks waiting for opposing traffic to clear. The city has gone plain crazy with these European fads called roundabouts. They are yet another cause of traffic problems, in spite of what the self-appointed traffic experts say. There are truly more pressing issues than worrying about Wal-Mart. Do you ever get tired of beating your heads against a concrete wall??????

Mkh 7 years, 10 months ago

I thought one of the most interesting things about the CC meeting was Mayor Sue Hack's suspension of the 1st Admendment. I can understand it when people are shouting out of turn, but how is it justified to not allow someone to hold up a sign? Is there a precedence for this rule?

It was downright hilarious when Hack tried to get the cop to take away the people's signs, and he asked, "what do you mean". It seriously troubles me that a former Civics teacher and current mayor feels it necessary to remove signs during a city commission meeting. In Sue Hack's own point of view she is not serving to represent the electorate, as she herself stated many times at the meeting, "this is a business meeting". Indeed it was.

Godot 7 years, 10 months ago

Mkh, Mayor Hack used the same tactics on the opponents of the smoking ban. She is an equal opportunity stifler of dissent.

Dixie Jones 7 years, 10 months ago

i just have to wonder how many of the ones that are so gun ho on putting down the cc have actually ran for cc? maybe if you dont like whats happening you should try running so you can be the one to make the changes for a positive future. i have to wonder if half of the complainers even voted at the election of the CC...?

Mkh 7 years, 10 months ago

Godot (Anonymous) says:

"Mkh, Mayor Hack used the same tactics on the opponents of the smoking ban. She is an equal opportunity stifler of dissent."

That may be Godot, but that doesn't justify her behavior. Sue Hack is dangerous for the citizens of this community.

You know, there were some positive attributes to the old "tar and feather" method of civil disobedience.

kansas778 7 years, 10 months ago

Let the people of Lawrence vote! Build the Wal-Mart, and if no one shops there, then that means the people against it. If people do shop there, then the people vote for it. It's called the free-market system, and that's what America is supposed to be about.

laughingatallofu 7 years, 10 months ago

Man, am I glad that I don't live in Lawrence. What a screwed-up city.

I can live with the residents, college kids, homeless, whiners, (even Marion!!! :), etc.

But WHO elects the yahoos that you have in city government??? Have you flushed your brain down the toilet---and then went out and voted???

Here's my plan for ending the war in Iraq:

Transplant the Lawrence City Council to Baghdad and rename Baghdad "Lawrence, IQ". Then let 'em loose. The insurgents (and everyone else) will be gone in no time.

kshiker 7 years, 10 months ago

SwanDiver --

The paternalistic subjectivity of your post makes me want to throw up. If you don't like West Lawrence, I and most people that live here could really care less. Then let us do what we want on our side of town without interference from your trash! You be content and live on your side of town and I will stay on my side of town.

I don't want to live in East Lawrence, I happen to have a clear preference for clean streets, low crime and attractive neighborhoods! Now I wan't to shop at Wal-Mart now too! If you don't like, convince 100 of your friends to vote at the next city commission election. I will be working hard to convince 200 of my friends to support Hack and Amyx. Have a good life!

frank regnier 7 years, 10 months ago

I'm sensing some hostility between the residents in West Lawrence and East Lawrence. Maybe a "WALL" constructed along Iowa street would be a "good idea" eh? Wait,,,,which side are the "EVIL DOERS" on? Just want to make sure I am on the "good guys" side of the wall.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 10 months ago

Isn't this "hate speech" and a racist comment?

"... like the endless White suburbs across this country. It's the geography of no place - with no face, and no culture, and no heritage of any kind."

Are you saying the "White suburbs" have no culture or heritage? How does one establish "heritage" in less than 2 decades?

I think you either have some anti Caucasian issues or you have some self hate issues.

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