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Archive for Friday, February 16, 2007

City candidates clash in first forum

February 16, 2007

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Candidates for City Commission work to get their names out to voters

Seven of the nine people running for three open seats took a chance to get messages out to voters at a debate at Lawrence High School tonight. Enlarge video

Sharp differences and a few sharp words between City Commission candidates emerged Thursday night at the campaign's first true forum of the season.

The seven candidates who participated in a debate sponsored by Grassroots Action expressed clear differences on community growth issues, but the most charged part of the evening came after Commissioner David Schauner suggested that members of the development community were expecting favorable treatment in return for donations made to candidates Mike Dever and Rob Chestnut.

"I want to know what those folks think they will get in return for their investment," Schauner asked of Dever and Chestnut supporters. Dever and Chestnut were the top two fundraisers in the race when campaign finance reports were last filed in late January. Both received several donations from members of the development community.

Dever and Chestnut said campaign contributions would never sway their votes on an issue, and said they had a wide base of supporters that extended beyond the development community. But Dever took particular offense and suggested that Schauner had been irresponsible in his comments.

"I'm not a negative person," Dever told the crowd of about 100 people at Lawrence High School. "I would never point at a person's character and assassinate it in front of other people."

Candidate James Bush - although not mentioned by name by Schauner - also suggested that he was disappointed in Schauner's comments.

"I didn't want to get in an arm-wrestling match of 'my supporters are better than the people who support you,'" Bush told the crowd during his closing comments.

Focus on growth

Much of the nearly two-hour debate, though, focused on growth-related issues. The issue of whether the community has allowed its retail market to become overbuilt created a division among candidates.

Both Schauner and Commissioner Boog Highberger said they had seen statistics that indicate the Lawrence retail market may be adding space at a quicker pace than the community can absorb.

Highberger said he had seen figures that indicate that sales per retail square foot in the community are lower than average.

"I think that means there are businesses out there who are struggling," Highberger said. "I think it is also important to remember that the quality of our downtown today is in part because we have in the past successfully resisted inappropriate retail on our edges."

Dever and Chestnut both said they had seen statistics - specifically sales tax receipts and vacancy rates - that suggested the community was not overbuilding its retail market.

"I think it is clear that we're losing a lot of our sales tax revenue to other communities," Chestnut said.

Carey Maynard-Moody, Jake Davis and Bush all said that if the retail market was overbuilt, the free-market system eventually would correct the situation.

"I have a lot of faith in the market to take care of itself," Maynard-Moody said.

Candidates also disagreed on fiscal issues. Both Schauner and Highberger said they would push for new impact fees that would be charged to newly constructed homes and apartments to ensure that residential growth is paying its fair share for city services.

Other candidates, though, stopped short of specifically endorsing impact fees to shore up the city's finances. Dever said the community needed to be "more welcoming" to new people and that the community's job growth had slowed considerably during the last five years.

Bush - as all the candidates did - said new jobs were important, but residential growth also added to the city's economy. He told the crowd of how when he and his family bought their Lawrence home that on the very first day in town he did business with a builder, a banker, a real estate agent, a hardware store, a wireless phone store and a pizza shop.

"My one family touched five-plus businesses in that one day," Bush said.

Chestnut said the community needed to add industrial land so that it was in a position to accommodate good businesses that are interested in moving here.

Maynard-Moody said the city should take a hard look at all its infrastructure and determine whether some of it could be phased out, which would create a savings in maintenance.

"I'm not going to name it now, but it is out there," Maynard-Moody said of nonessential infrastructure that the city was maintaining.

Davis said the city needed to focus more on tourism, especially promoting the downtown area as a unique destination. He also said the city should adopt more environmentally friendly policies, such as requiring commercial buildings to make use of solar roof panels that look like shingles.

"If we put policies in place that make us function like a green community, that will attract attention from green companies that want to do business here," Davis said.

Candidates Michael Limburg and Sam Fields did not participate in the forum, which was hosted by the Grassroots Action group, a new Lawrence-based advocacy organization that studies local environmental and economic issues.

The field will be narrowed to six candidates during the Feb. 27 primary. Voters will elect candidates to fill three at-large seats on the five-member City Commission when they go to the polls in the general election April 3.

Comments

bill_priff 7 years, 7 months ago

Chad - You forgot to mention that it was the supporters of Dever and Chestnut who characterized their support as a "Unique Investment Opportunity."

Here is the text of the email that Mr. Schauner was referring to -

Subject: Unique Investment Opportunity From: Ron Durflinger

Invest in the Future of Lawrence Support Lawrence City Commission candidates Michael Dever and Rob Chestnut

Please attend an EMERGENCY PARTY to raise funds for Rob and Mike.

When: Monday, February 12, 2007 7:00-8:30 PM Where: First Management Gymnasium, 601 N. Iowa Street, Lawrence, KS.

Use the link below for directions if needed. http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?formtype=address&addtohistory=&address=601%20N%20Iowa%20St&city=Lawrence&state=KS&zipcode=66044%2d9643&country=US&geodiff=1 Bring your checkbook; Bring your friends; Bring your friend's checkbook! There will be beer and soft drinks to cry in. We can't change everything, but we CAN change the faces of the Lawrence City commission "There are Republicans. There are Democrats. And then there are Emergencies!"

Ron Durflinger, Chairman of the Emergency Party

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cowboy 7 years, 7 months ago

Schnauer shows his true colors , as usual

bitter little man

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cncrndctizn 7 years, 7 months ago

We need to elect people that can work well together. Personally, I was not impressed by Dever's combative and aggressive responses regarding questions of his sponsers. People in leadership roles need to be able to accept criticism in an effective way. I don't see it happening.

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HoosierPride 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm dissapointed I missed this debate. Does anyone know if you can view it in its entirety anywhere?

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cowboy 7 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like Schauner is having trouble raising money. Any candidate pro biz would easily raise funds in this environ. After the past few years of being subject to the three whack jobs currently on the commission.

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ilovelucy 7 years, 7 months ago

Concerned: You call Dever combative and aggressive? What about Schauner? His remarks were in poor taste and he should not have made them. I doubt Dever would have been "combative and aggressive" if Schauner would have held his tongue and conducted himself in a professional manner.
Having observed his arrogance over the past years, I'm not sure Schauner CAN conduct himself in that manner.

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Mike Blur 7 years, 7 months ago

Bowhunter - obviously you opt to revise history to suit your agenda. It's your heroes, Amyx, Nalbandian and Fritzel who are in FAVOR of the 30MM library boondoggle/land giveaway to Fritzel.

Your PLC nemeses are the ones actually OPPOSING this ol' boy network deal.

Thanks for bringing it up! Maybe we can make this an issue in future candidate debates all the way up to April.

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cncrndctizn 7 years, 7 months ago

ilovelucy:

Schauner should not have brought up the attack; however, I believe the citizens of Lawrence should take his arguments seriously. Mr. Chestnut was also attacked, but he handled the situation in a MUCH better way. I also felt like at least Chestnut was knowledgeable in his comments.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 7 months ago

I don't think the questions posed last night could have been more biased in favor of the incumbent commissioners. Nearly all of the queries assumed a need for government growth and further meddling into the business of private citizens.

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Mike Blur 7 years, 7 months ago

Bowhunter, you're just digging your hole deeper.

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cncrndctizn 7 years, 7 months ago

psychofan: Well said! I really appreciated the intentions and sincerity of the young candidate (Jake).

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jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

I was glad to attend, and wish it had been more heavily attended - Chad's previous article didn't include enough information or a contact number, although those were provided by the organization putting the debate on.

Shauner's attitude was a bit combative, but sometimes we need directness and confrontation in political debate.

I think, regardless of their responses, that one must consider the obvious likelihood that the candidates endorsed by the LBOR will vote in ways that are likely to enhance the pocketbooks of realtors/developers.

Impact fees are interesting, but if they are simply passed on to buyers, it doesn't change the essential fact that homeowners are paying for more than their fair share of costs.

No one said what I'd really like to hear, but I've narrowed my choices down to 3, so the debate served that purpose.

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cncrndctizn 7 years, 7 months ago

psychofan--Can you tell me then name of the article? Or when it was out?

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KsTwister 7 years, 7 months ago

"Candidates also disagreed on fiscal issues. Both Schauner and Highberger said they would push for new impact fees that would be charged to newly constructed homes and apartments to ensure that residential growth is paying its fair share for city services."

Too bad this did not occur to them before hundreds of homes were built during their terms. Have to conclude that anybody can do better than what has been done here thus far.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"So Shauner, Dever, and Chestnut are tied up in dirty politics"

Schauner just didn't ignore the elephant in the room. Dever and Chestnut, (and possibly Bush,) are clearly the annointed candidates of the development industries, whose sole intent is to control the city commission for their very narrow financial interests. There can be no informed vote by the citizens if that fact isn't confronted head on.

Way to go, Schauner.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"Too bad this did not occur to them before hundreds of homes were built during their terms. Have to conclude that anybody can do better than what has been done here thus far."

So, does that mean you'll vote for Chestnut and Dever, who will likely increase public subsidies to the sprawl machine?

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Emily Hadley 7 years, 7 months ago

To the post above me and others, check the left margin in the text of the above article--it has links to the other relevant articles, including the individual candidate stories.

You can also search ljworld.com for "city commission" or the names and even narrow the date range to find any other mentions.

Thanks to ljworld.com for being such a good resource for us, (even if your candidate profile stories came off as sarcastic or biased at times), I have tried to stay informed and up to date and this site has been invaluable, if only to help me find other resources.

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KsTwister 7 years, 7 months ago

Bozo: "So, does that mean you'll vote for Chestnut and Dever, who will likely increase public subsidies to the sprawl machine?"

.....like the current commission did not?? Go figure.

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Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 7 months ago

I cannot believe that there are still people in Lawrence that think the city does not charge enough impact fees and that the city somehow subsidizes new growth. Lawrence currently charges an impact fee of $4,680 for a one inch water meter. Here is the link to the ordinance: http://web.ci.lawrence.ks.us/AgendaArchive/web_based_agendas/12-14-04/12-14-04H/ordinance_7809.html

By comparison, Wichita charges $1,820. Here is the link: http://www.wichitagov.org/CityOffices/WaterAndSewer/CustomerService/ConnectionFees.htm

Also consider that, contrary to popular belief, developers pay for 100% of the cost of new infrastructure either directly or through specials assessed to the lots. This includes streets, sewers, waterlines, roundabouts, speed humps, street signs, sidewalks, street lights, lift stations, storm water retention areas, green space, street trees, bike lanes, and also includes main thoughfares like Wakarusa Drive and its roundabout.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

Tell me, Liberal, is your ignorance feigned, genuine or willful or some combination of the three?

".....like the current commission did not?? Go figure."

I'd say they had their hands full just stopping the inertia of the previous several decades, within the structure a relatively powerless city commission that was designed merely to rubberstamp whatever the movers and shakers bring before them.

But I guess if you want to make sure things go back the to "good old days," Dever and Chestnut are you guys.

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cncrndctizn 7 years, 7 months ago

Liberal:

Maybe you do not know Dever well enough to understand that an attack on his integrity is not so out-of-line. Besides, that's politics, right?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"Also consider that, contrary to popular belief, developers pay for 100% of the cost of new infrastructure either directly or through specials assessed to the lots."

Why do you continue to repeat a lie has been debunked so very many times?

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commuter 7 years, 7 months ago

Bozo- Where is this lie been debunked?

I have tried to stay informed but haven't seen anything on this topic.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"Bozo- Where is this lie been debunked?"

For starters, try the new $80 million sewage treatment plant, necessitated 100% by growth, but not paid for by any impact fees. You can add to that new schools, new fire and police stations and equipment, new and expanded arterial streets, new water treatment facilities, etc, etc, etc.

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rhd99 7 years, 7 months ago

Davis & other candidates say the market can take care of itself. If this is so, then what is it that has BOOG & Schauner all tied up in knots regarding our Lawrence economy? Is it not because of these two PLC dim bulbs that we don't have the jobs that pay higher wages, thus attracting new markets? Isn't that what a free market economy is all about? Oh, I forgot, these two guys get tied up in court rooms, they don't EVER see the light of day. I am curious about Rob Chestnut's view about Lawrence losing money to other communities. Hello, housing prices are TOO HIGH for a community that does not have jobs that pay DESCENT wages. On the other hand, people who have jobs in Topeka or K.C. help Lawrence in that they can afford a house here.

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ilovelucy 7 years, 7 months ago

Concerned and Bozo: just out of curiosity, have either of you talked with Dever or Chesnut? Or are you just spewing based on what your "sources" have told you?

And Bozo, from your above remark, I am assuming that you don't support education and law enforcement. Not that that surprises me. You seem opposed to any kind of change at all.

Lucy

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rhd99 7 years, 7 months ago

One more thing about PLC & this commission election, (Weather not being the only factor here), but how do the PLC & other commissioners decide who fixes our roads? That road & bridge near Kasold & Peterson roads, how long has that stretch been torn up? Yeah, the snow & rain do not help but hamper progress, but even when the weather is nice & dry, why can't they get the job done?

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cncrndctizn 7 years, 7 months ago

ilovelucy:

In fact, yes, I know Dever. Chestnut, on the other hand, I do not know. I think Chestnut answered his questions quite well and I have not said otherwise. Thanks for asking.

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HoosierPride 7 years, 7 months ago

I agree with rhd99. How long does it take to repair that bridge and the surrounding roads? Change needs to happen at the top. This is why I am voting out the incumbents. Growth is not the problem in this city. Lack of intelligent growth is.

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Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 7 months ago

Actually bozo, the impact fees are earmarked for the new sewage treatment plant, new water treatment infrastructure and stormwater projects. Fire and Police stations make up a very small portion of costs compared to impact fees. Again, arterial streets are paid for by new development, though they didn't fully used to be. An exception is 6th (Hiway 40). Most of its cost was paid for by the state. Schools are funded by districts.

Even though existing resident do not pay anything, do you not think that existing residents should be responsible for some of the costs of major arterials, since they do use them? Is it also fair that new homeowners with their brand new infrastructure that they just paid 100% of should pay for the cost of repairs to aging infrastructure like the new waterline down Mass.?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

Actually, the market will take care of itself, eventually. But that doesn't mean that individual players in the market aren't going to make bad decisions and overbuild what the market can bear. The result will be businesses that can't continue, vacancies, and the blight that almost always accompanies that.

In my opinion, there's very little the city commission can do about that except good planning and zoning restrictrictions. If past chambocrat-led commissions are any indication, Dever and Chestnut will allow a development free-for-all which will lead to higher taxes and blight somewhere down the line, and even more problems in maintaining our existing infrastructure.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

If that's true, it's the first I heard about it, Lifelong_Lawrencian, and it directly contradicts everything I have heard about it. When were the impact fees increased to cover these costs?

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Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 7 months ago

The impact fees are actually called System Development Charges (SDC's). If you go to the link I posted earlier it will tell you that the impact fees started in 2003 and increment up each year through 2009.

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Meatwad 7 years, 7 months ago

So far, I'm all for Highberger and Schaunner. The "Real Estate Developer-approved" candidates I'm sure have some great ideas but I worry do they have my intererests in mind? Or the real estate developers? What I mean is that they seem to be of the same mind as the real-estate developers, many of whom just want Lawrence to be a huge overgrown chain-filled metropolis so that it helps their personal financial bottom line. Do the real estate developers suffer when their overgrown retail areas turn to blight with vacant buildings. No, they are sitting in their mansions counting their money by that time. Go visit failed towns around Kansas if you don't understand what poor planning and bad decisions can do to Lawrence. I actually think the musician Jake Davis has some great ideas for tourism and downtown, unfortunately he wants to bring back indoor cigarette smoking in Lawrence and therefore I wouldn't vote for him in A MILLION YEARS.

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Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 7 months ago

Correction, SDC's actually began in 1996 with a different ordinance.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

I don't see anything there that says that the SDC's are paying for anything more than the neighborhood-level infrastructure and hookup expenses-- which is to say, none of those fees cover the new $80 million sewage treatment plan.

And they clearly don't cover the costs of any arterial streets.

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Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 7 months ago

http://www.lawrenceutilities.org/SDCReport/2005SDCAnnualReport22806.pdf

Here is a link to the most current report on the fees that have been collected through 2005. By law, the city must spend these fees only on new infrastructure or enlargement of current infrastructure required by growth.

Do you not consider Wakarusa Drive an arterial? If you don't believe that the entire cost of this street north of sixth was entirely paid for by the developer and special assessments to those who lie near it, call the city planning department and ask them. Otherwise you will have to take my word for it.

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rhd99 7 years, 7 months ago

Speaking of growth, because of Schauner & BOOG, governmental red tape in Lawrence has grown out of control like those pesky weeds we see in lawns. Time to exterminate.

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Meatwad 7 years, 7 months ago

Lifelong said, "I cannot believe that there are still people in Lawrence that think the city does not charge enough impact fees and that the city somehow subsidizes new growth. Lawrence currently charges an impact fee of $4,680 for a one inch water meter. Here is the link to the ordinance: http://web.ci.lawrence.ks.us/AgendaArchi...

By comparison, Wichita charges $1,820. Here is the link: http://www.wichitagov.org/CityOffices/Wa... "

Is Lifelong saying that he would like Lawrence to become more like Wichita in appearance? I SAY NO THANK YOU. Please move to Wichita if you think it's so much better.

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Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 7 months ago

Meatwad, are you saying that even though Wichita charges less than half the impact fees, they are able to finance their sprawl anyway?

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rhd99 7 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, & if people want more roundabouts, just ask Chestnut, heh heh! Come on, that was funny!

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Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

Were the candidates provided with a list of questions before the debate?

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rhd99 7 years, 7 months ago

Pilgrim: "P.S. April can't get here fast enough."

Amen, Pilgrim! I am going out on a limb here, but I think we all agree. COME ON APRIL!

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ilovelucy 7 years, 7 months ago

Question for Bozo: Please name me a commission in the past history of Lawrence that you felt was good and why? I'm trying to understand your point of view better. Thanks-Lucy

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rhd99 7 years, 7 months ago

Forums like the one Hawk described earlier HAVE NO SUBSTANCE. Wow, 100 people attending, what a stinken joke. We must have Fortune 500 executives here in Lawrence that no one bothered to tell US about.

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Don Zimmer 7 years, 7 months ago

Of course the Realtors/builders are financing their economic interests, which is human nature, survival.

Except for the University the business of Lawrence is real estate. whether good or bad. We do not have another job base.

I develop shopping centers in the Midwest (none in Lawrence for obvious reasons) so I see the extent of effort other communities go through to attract jobs.

One community in Illinois (1/4 the size of Lawrence) has added almost 500 jobs in the last two years with incentives from the City and State. I have built three retail centers and looking at a fourth.

Another community in North Carolina whose economy was devastated when it's textile industry was outsourced over seas. They are doing a joint effort bio-agriculture campus with the State, Universities and a private donor (who has committed over one billion dollars). I purchased a former Wal-Mart there and leased it to a pharmaceutical lab company who converted it into production, research, and distribution facility. No tax abatement was allowed because of state laws but was attracted because of the bio-science project nearby.

Lawrence is behind the eight ball even if they just relaxed their anti-business policy.

Speaking off the record with a member of the State of Kansas Economic Development Committee because of the American Eagle disaster Lawrence is not even considered for their endorsement for companies looking to locate in Kansas.

Come on April.,

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rhd99 7 years, 7 months ago

Folks, I close out with this: Red Tape by government KILLS economic prosperity. Lawrence government is just as bad as State & Fed. levels in red tape. Though, here in Lawrence, it's much worse because we have LAWYERS in the City Commission (BOOG & SCHAUNER) who want to sap growth. HELLO, Red Tape kills economic growth. Boog & Schauner have killed what little chance we had to attract better higher paying jobs to Lawrence. Lawrence is behind the 8 ball, alright. How do we stay ahead? We fix our roads & bridges ON TIME with COMPETENT contractors (weather permitting), attract companies & jobs that pay higher wages, we make affordable housing & affordable rental units available to ALL residents, & we control our spending priorities (yes, that includes cutting roundabout spending) & we CUT RED TAPE. Time to cut Boog & Schauner, who ARE the RED TAPE that kills Lawrence's future. It is time to revive our future NOW! Bye for now folks.

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

So far as new employment is concerned the green industry is growing and Lawrence should do all that it can to reach out before it is consumed by other communities. The primary industries in Lawrence have been KU and housing.

All the new housing has cost all homeowners substantial increases in property tax. Impact fees and excise taxes on new housing would provide some relief for the rest of us who are tired of our taxes increasing at more than 3%-4% a year. Dever,Bush and Chestnut did not indicate they would support those new fees and taxes so I assume they will continue to allow US the privilege of subsidizing the real estate industry.

Does new housing make money? Yep! Does new housing bring new consumers to town who pay taxes? Yep! Does new residential pay for itself in so far as Cost of Community services? NO which is common place. Retail and light industrial are taxed are higher rates to offset the difference that residential does not pay.

Does Lawrence need more retail? NO, we are over built by approximately 30%. To build more would not likely generate more sales tax revenue because there are only so many retail dollars to go around. Due to this there will be potentially high vacancies and or like turnover because not enough retail dollars to keep all in business. However the new infrastucture associated with the new retail adds further to the cost of community services which goes on forever.

Could Lawrence use light industrial...absolutely as this is what has fallen behind. Light industrial is usually accompanied with higher pay scales and white collar positions. Why did the real estate industry argue against the SE Lawrence Light Industrial? I speculate because they make tons more money building houses whether or not they are quality built.

While all the new faces may say they are going to come in and cut this and that to reduce taxes what they are likely to find out is there is nowhere to cut. Too many "business people" always think that just because they are in business miracles can be forced. Taxpayers must remember it was all those business people such as real estate brokers, bankers,builders,window sales,carpet sales and architects who controlled our city government for 20 years that got Lawrence home owners into this inflated property tax fiasco

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Don Zimmer 7 years, 7 months ago

Merrill

You give the above too much credit.

Those industries are demand driven not the other way around.

Government creates the "inflated property tax fiasco".

round-a-bouts, T, golf courses, etc.

"Retail and light industrial are taxed are higher rates to offset the difference that residential does not pay" is right on and Lawrence has done very little to attract industry and retail.

And again, retail is demand driven. You should see the demographic process retailers go through to see if their store is feasable. Talk about a "retail impact study" without hiring consultants that return only the results they want or they ignore the results the consultants give.

This goes both ways. The City Commission hhires consultants that have the same values as they share. Again only human nature and the developers/retailers hire consultants that share their views.

And any consultant that wants more work from Lawrence better support the Commissioner's views or they will not be hired again.

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commuter 7 years, 7 months ago

Merrill: Man lay off the pipe man or at least you and Boog should share with Schauner.

Where are you getting your facts that Lawrence retail is overbuilt by 30%? I find this hard to believe.

taxes increased due to the property values increasing. they also increased because our city, county, state and school district have a HUGE appetite for money. The more they can get the better.

Maybe the city should start looking at what they spend their money on. 250 grand for a study. heck, I know people who would have done it for 1/3 less and would have come out with about the same "utopian" concept. the problems is that there concept looks great in theory but is too hard to swallow in real life.

Remember Comrade merrill- Communism works great in theory but PEOPLE screw it up.

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bearded_gnome 7 years, 7 months ago

incredible. here's a summary of what has been written on this thread so far: hate bush dever and the other guy because they've had builder/realtor support; builders/realtors must be evil. commissioner Schnauser must be good for confronting this support issue--making an evil implication; class warfare makes sense just about anybody getting rich must be evil; antigrowth commissioners just put another name on it; and the idea that some one might give money to a candidate they actually agree with and not just to get something, is well, a foreign concept.

this forum run by plc/gra...that would be like, on the national scene, the democrats running a presidential debate between the nominees of the democrat party and the republican party. didn't expect much from this setting.

maynard-----moody has faith in the self-corrective nature of the free market??? that's a good laugh, she doesn't believe in the free market correctivity when it comes to the ecology; instead, she believes in a very very big government role. it can be argued successfully that her sierra club and another eco group actually caused the Katrina disaster for NO because they fought and successfully stopped a plan to build major storm surge gates, in the 1970s. these h could have been deployed to prevent the Katrina disaster. also, locally Maynard---moody led the sierra club in its opposition to the initial building of the SLT because people would actually drive on it!

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KsTwister 7 years, 7 months ago

If retail is overbuilt then someone tell me why at taxpayers expense Tanger mall was voted in? As you exit the turnpike the first look at Lawrence is an expansive and basically empty strip mall. It is not the only one. Then you get to drive our fine roads with crumbling curbs. Attention to detail has not been done for the last 10 years and it shows. New faces on the commission cannot do any worse. I for one am waiting for the the streets in Old West Lawrence to cave into the drainage sewers, and more water main breaks like those that closed streets downtown. Not because I want to see it happen but no one at City Hall cares if it does now . Many of the arterial roads into the city can't handle growth,therein may lie the reason there is none of substantial tax base importance. Houses with no jobs make Lawrence a bedroom community,whose fault is that?

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Jackson 7 years, 7 months ago

No forum has yet addressed Lawrence's most pressing problem - " The conversion of single family neighborhood housing to the business of rentals to students, or unrelatd renters".

Defective zoning has ruined (but not limited to) Central Lawrence for family housing, closed two schools, and is responsible for "unaffordable" housing in older neighborhoods.

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oldgoof 7 years, 7 months ago

Without saying anything about any City of Lawrence issue, I would point out that the Kansas NEA is one of the largest political fund dispensing organizations in the state. As its attorney, counselor Schauner might want to tread carefully when he attacks the motives of those who make campaign contributions. The mirror is an ugly thing to view sometimes.

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

"Government creates the "inflated property tax fiasco". from doesnotplaywellwithothers

"it was all those business people such as real estate brokers, bankers,builders,window sales,carpet sales and architects who controlled our city and county government for 20 years including the planning commission that got Lawrence home owners into this inflated property tax fiasco." from merrill

Last night it was revealed that 5 families control/own most buildable property and dowtown so they control or set prices with this 5 family monopoly. Owning so much of the buildable property keeps the very small builders/ business owners out of the picture. As Jake Davis pointed out last night one downtown building rents for 1200 while the one next door rents for 6000. At 6000 per month it will require a chain store to meet that demand however a chain store(not too damn many) strategtically located throughout downtown would likely benefit the small business people as walk by traffic would be created. The antique mall was once J.C. Penneys if my memory serves me well. If Comp USA rehabilitated and located into the masonic lodge it would probaly be good for small business people at the south end of town. Too many chains would ruin the character of downtown.

Downtown is about to gain a small grocery store in the 800 block which I believe is great for downtown and eastside residents. It won't be anywhere a like a supermarket.

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budwhysir 7 years, 7 months ago

Water and oil, finger painting with cement, mud on the new carpet, these all clash.

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Don Zimmer 7 years, 7 months ago

Merrill.

Whoever those families are (please name them for my education) control the supply not the demand.

A chain store such as Comp USA does not like a downtown location because the size is usually not appropriate, lacks conveinent parking and delivery areas and customer traffic.And they certainly will not pay a rent that is uneconomical no matter what the owner wants.Lawrence is still a nice place to live but is not that wonderful to a business if it does not make sense.

no matter what consultants dream the majority still desires to drive to the supermarket, have a home in the suburbs and live on a cul-de-sac.On a day like today did anyone ride their bike or walk to the store or when it is 100' do the elderly or handicap ride their bikes or walk to downtown.

Look what urban renewal did in the 60's and rent control in New York. Governmental intervention has a way of producing the exact opposite result than their intentions.

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Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

Well, it certainly appears to me that all of the candidates running are of the "protect downtown at all costs" school of thought.

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Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

The needs and concerns of residents of SE, SW, NW and North Lawrence will remain unrepresented on the new city commission, regardless of who is elected.

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Mkh 7 years, 7 months ago

"Invest in the Future of Lawrence Support Lawrence City Commission candidates Michael Dever and Rob Chestnut

Please attend an EMERGENCY PARTY to raise funds for Rob and Mike.

When: Monday, February 12, 2007 7:00-8:30 PM Where: First Management Gymnasium, 601 N. Iowa Street, Lawrence, KS."


All you need to know about Dever and Cheasnut is in the "Where" line of this email.

First Management Gymnasium= Doug Compton

It's obvious that Compton and the rest of the "Developers" are firmly backing these two in order to take back the majority on the Commission.

Imagine the power the "Developers" would have with Hack, Amyx, Dever, and Cheasnut on board.

Doug Compton and his "friends" do not share the same ethics and values as myself, nor do they share the same vision for the community. Therefore Dever and Cheasnut will not recieved my vote.

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Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm tired of the "vision" thing. I just want people on the commission who will clean up the messes this commission inherited and started, stop competing with private businesses, stop impeding private business, respect peoples' property rights, quit trying to remake Lawrence in the image of some New England village, and will stop the practice of making the property barons richer by taxing the public to fund the barons' pet development projects.

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KsTwister 7 years, 7 months ago

Godot, I don't think this city has a clue just how many people agree with you now. Ten days and counting.

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Bob Forer 7 years, 7 months ago

Lets get real. The attempt of special interest groups to sway policy decisons for their personal benefit is a simple fact of life in modern America. The developers can plead ignorance if they choose, but they fool no one, save the foolish. The attempt of the powerful to influence govermental agencies is neither good nor evil. Like any corporation, developers are in business to maximize profit. Their appetite is always insatiable. I would kindly ask those who make their livng from develoment to quit youir crying. Your public presentations are always influenced by the financial interests at stake. Accordingly, when you make a pitch for a project, keep in mind that we are not dummies. Yoiu are there for one reasonL: to seal a deal a make a buck. In America you have that right to seek business. But remember, in a democracy government is ideally focusecd on results for the people. The toiwn belongs to the people, not the powerful. When developers seek approval of a project, the job of our representatives is to proectd the rights of all members of the coimmunity. Developers, were are not adverse to your interests. Rather, tjhe purpose of government is to represent the peoples interest. The business coimmunity has no vested right to control the process. When develoipers claim a right to particpate, please keep in mind that your rights are not based onj yoru money. When you lose a specific project, be polite, doin't wjhine, and put sometehing better together. This town belongs to we the people. If you don't like it, tough cookies. We know that the wealthy can grab enough money. Sol quite your innocent act, and remember, that in an informed demorracy, the represenatives elected are beholden to the pubic, not the private. So, chamnber of commerece candiates, go ahead, run fior office and seejk yoiur support. We expect that. But don't be annoyed orv surpruised when the pe ople seek elect different leaders who work for all. of us. Nice job David Shuaner. We expectd yoi to stand up for us. That is your job and your solmen duty.

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Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

Don't like rentals in the core of lawrence? Have KU build dorms and require students to live there. KU is the source of the problem, let KU fix it.

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Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

Best way to protect the neighborhoods from KU is to put some pressure on KU to provide housing to its student body.

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Mkh 7 years, 7 months ago

"Have KU build dorms and require students to live there. KU is the source of the problem, let KU fix it."

Godot,

I am confused as to exactly what you are proposing here. Surely you don't think KU can house 30,000+ students, do you?

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Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

Mkh, probably not. But, then again, maybe, not on campus, but in University-endorsed apartments. My idea would be for KU to require all first year students to live in dorms on campus (with no cars), second and third year students to live in university endorsed, privately owned apartment complexes that are inspected to make sure they are safe and up-to-code, and that are served by direct-to-campus shuttle buses. That would leave just the soon-to-graduate and the graduate students (i.e. those who are, hypotheitcally, more settled and less into big, loud parties) eligible to live in single family housing.

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Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

That'll be $250,000, please.

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Mkh 7 years, 7 months ago

OK, that makes more sense.

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Mkh 7 years, 7 months ago

Of course that plan will really piss off the "Slum Lords", besides the students. Who will they find to pay $1,200-$1,500 a month for a run down, horribly maintained house besides college students spending their parents money?

I like your idea in that it would force these "Slum Lords" to charge a reasonable price for single-famlily rental homes. However, I don't think many folks from KU or the city would like this proposal.

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Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

Mkh, you are right, it makes way too much sense, and solves too many problems.

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Mkh 7 years, 7 months ago

LOL! Yeah, therefore it could never pass a vote.

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