Archive for Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Realtors group gives endorsements

Board supports three candidates for City Commission

February 13, 2007


A business group is injecting its influence into the City Commission election

For the first time in its 45-year history, the Lawrence Board of Realtors is endorsing three candidates for City Commission. Enlarge video

For the first time in its 42-year history, the Lawrence Board of Realtors is endorsing candidates for Lawrence City Commission.

After interviewing seven of nine announced candidates for three commission seats up for election, board leaders have given the organization's backing - promotional and financial - to James Bush, Rob Chestnut and Mike Dever.

Mary Jones, the board's president, said that while all seven of the candidates interviewed "share our concern for maintaining Lawrence's quality of life," the three endorsed candidates stand out because of their philosophies regarding "expanding housing opportunity, economic development and job growth."

The endorsed candidates each will receive $200 from the Lawrence board's political funds, which come from money returned by the National Board of Realtors. The contributions will be for the Feb. 27 primary election.

If all three candidates advance - the primary will whittle the field from nine to six candidates - each will receive $500 from the board, the maximum allowed by law. Three commissioners will be elected during the April 3 general election.

The Lawrence Board of Realtors, with 335 members, is a professional organization of real estate sales agents who are licensed as Realtors. The group also has about 40 affiliate members - title companies, mortgage providers, banks, home inspectors and others - and dozens of inactive members who live in the city.

Such professionals often participate in campaigns as individuals, at times serving on candidates' steering committees or contributing to individual campaigns. But the board only recently decided to take an active role as an organization.

Candidate mixer

The city's largest business organization, the 1,200-member Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, also has been more active this election season. Its leaders have questioned candidates about issues and will welcome candidates to meet with members and others during an after-hours mixer from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Lawrence Visitor Center in North Lawrence.The chamber can't endorse candidates, given its status as a nonprofit organization, said Joan Golden, chamber chair.

With major issues and expenses facing the community, Jones said, the commission needs leaders committed to boosting employment opportunities in town.

"We're not looking for carte blanche or anything like that on development," Jones said. "We're looking for people to get onto the commission that are business-minded and will help the community move forward and bring some jobs in here. :

"We don't want to be a bedroom community to Topeka and Kansas City."

Added Mike McGrew, chairman of the board's Government Affairs Committee, which recommended candidates for endorsement: "If people have jobs, they can afford to buy houses. But beyond that, Lawrence is a better place if more people have more opportunities for better jobs."

Bush works as senior pastor for First Southern Baptist Church; Chestnut is chief financial officer for Allen Press; and Dever owns GuideWire Consulting, a firm that provides environmental assessments, screenings, investigations and other services.

Candidates Jake Davis and Michael Limburg did not accept board invitations to be interviewed.

The Lawrence Board of Realtors chose not to endorse candidates for the Lawrence school board.


lunacydetector 11 years, 3 months ago

"The chamber can't endorse candidates, given its status as a nonprofit organization"

....but of course not. if they could, they still wouldn't endorse anyone pro-business since they would tick off all the non-business related members who have infiltrated their membership...a perfect example is the chamber's endorsement of raising taxes in recent is like they never saw a tax they couldn't love.

bad for business, bad.

LivedinLawrence4Life 11 years, 3 months ago

It is about time that some of the silent majority stand up and endorse normal candidates rather than the single issue candidates who get voted in even though they have no expertise or knowledge in approving some of the major projects and issues that come before the city commission. City commissioners should get paid $100,000 per year and perhaps then we might attract some people qualified for the job.

And why the attack on Realtors? They have more licensing and education requirements than most jobs and are just a group of people trying to make a living in Lawrence. Check out their Code of Ethics on their website at

On another note, I've heard many contractors have left Lawrence for Junction City where the city and government are actually encouraging and improving development. Perhaps we will elect people this time around that encourage smart growth and not just talk about it or hire consultants then deny projects.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 3 months ago

"And why the attack on Realtors?"

Because a huge percentage of the problems this city faces are because they and the rest of the growth industries controlled city government for too long, and used it to prop up their very narrow business interests. This first-ever endorsement shows that they are desperately salivating at returning to the good ole days, especially given the nationwide downturn in the housing market.

"On another note, I've heard many contractors have left Lawrence for Junction City where the city and government"

Oh come on-- that's nothing but ripe opportunism that's being fueled by the porkbarrel spending that comes with the rebasing of the thousands of soldiers of the Big Red One at Ft. Riley-- along with their families. It has absolutely nothing to do local government policies that could (or should) somehow or other be adopted here.

LivedinLawrence4Life 11 years, 3 months ago

Hello Bozo,

What experience and research do you have to back up that claim. Do you prefer a slower economy with no growth?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 3 months ago

"What experience and research do you have to back up that claim."

Which claim is that?

"Do you prefer a slower economy with no growth?"

I prefer a sustainable economy that provides for people's real needs-- not just pointless economic activity that produces little more than froth. While the growth industries do quite well for themselves on that froth, this conventional definition of "growth" means a very non-nutritious economic diet for most other folks.

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