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Archive for Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Campaign donations hit new heights

Two candidates top $20,000 mark

February 20, 2007

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Where the money is

Here's a look at the amount of money raised by the nine City Commission candidates from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15. Voters will narrow the field to six candidates during the primary a week from today. ¢ Rob Chestnut: $19,743.76 ($23,268 for the entire campaign*)¢ Mike Dever: $15,690.09 ($21,655 for the entire campaign*) ¢ Carey Maynard-Moody: $10,495¢ David Schauner: $9,202¢ James Bush: $6,660¢ Boog Highberger: $5,520.47Candidates Sam Fields, Michael Limburg and Jake Davis did not report raising any money during the time period. * Note: Chestnut and Dever both started accepting contributions prior to this 2007 reporting period. None of the other candidates did so.

Who is leading the City Commission race - in funding?

Just more than a week from local elections, and new details tonight about who's leading the race in funding. The numbers were revealed today as a deadline passes for Lawrence City Commission candidates to report campaign contributions. Enlarge video

The money is flowing now.

With a week remaining until the Lawrence City Commission primary election, two candidates already have raised more than $20,000 in contributions, which is equivalent to the amount many past candidates have spent for an entire campaign.

Campaign finance reports filed Monday with the county clerk's office showed that Rob Chestnut - the chief financial officer for Allen Press - has raised $23,268 since starting his campaign late last year. He raised $19,743 during the most recent 46-day reporting period, from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15.

Mike Dever, the owner of a Lawrence-based environmental consulting firm, was close behind with $21,655, including $15,690 received from 134 people during the most recent reporting period.

No candidate during the last City Commission election, in 2005, raised more than $11,000 during the January to mid-February reporting period.

Chestnut and Dever both said they thought the spike in campaign contributions was an indication of how disenchanted voters are with the current City Commission.

"I think it says that the community believes this is a very important election and there are a lot of people getting engaged in the process who haven't been involved in prior elections," said Chestnut, who listed 188 contributors on his most recent campaign finance report.

'Like-mindedness'

But other candidates are seizing on the fact that Chestnut and Dever received several large donations from members of the real estate and development community. A complete listing of contributors for each candidate is online at www.ljworld.com.

"My fear is that what their contributors will want in return for that investment is a development process that doesn't benefit the greater community," said City Commissioner David Schauner, who is running for re-election and raised $9,202 from 147 contributors. "I'm sure they're right that their contributors do want a change.

"They want at least three votes that will approve whatever comes before the commission. I'm not accusing anyone of selling their votes, but if I make a donation, I'm expecting like-mindedness from them or else I wouldn't throw $20,000 at them."

Dever - as he did at a campaign forum Thursday - took exception to Schauner's comments. He said a campaign contribution doesn't guarantee his support on any issue.

"I have noble intentions," Dever said. "If somebody is questioning my intentions, I have to question his. If he thinks I'm going to be influenced by my contributors, I wonder if he presumes that because he's influenced by his contributors."

Dever and Chestnut also said people were mistakenly being led to believe that all their donations were coming from the development community.

"I'm really thankful for a broad base of support," Chestnut said. "If you look at all my contributors, they are from all walks of life."

Some concerns

But concerns about the amount of special-interest money in the race were widespread among other candidates.

Commissioner Boog Highberger also expressed concerns Monday about the large amount of money being contributed to campaigns.

"I think there are some people with financial interests in the outcome of this election, and they really want to see a change," Highberger said.

Highberger raised the least amount of funds of any candidate actively seeking donations: $5,520. The report did not detail how many contributors he had because about $2,000 in donations was listed in a lump sum under the category of unitemized contributions less than $50.

Carey Maynard-Moody, a retired school social worker, said she was concerned about the amount of money being raised in the race.

"It is telling," Maynard-Moody said. "I think it speaks volumes and should be concerning. I think a lot of those donations represent deep pockets rather than the wider citizenry of Lawrence."

Maynard-Moody had the third-highest campaign contribution total in the race - although it was still less than half the second-place total - with $10,495 from 171 contributors.

'Strong-willed'

Sam Fields, a local bail bondsman, accepted no donations during the period. He said he did not seek donations, in part, because he doesn't like the influence of special-interest money.

"I've learned everybody has their own fish to fry," Fields said. "I'm just going to try to be a strong-willed candidate."

Fields has spent about $4,500 of his own money on the race.

James Bush, a local pastor, checked in with the fifth-highest fundraising total in the race with $6,660 from 50 contributors.

Bush thinks there's a significant amount of money being contributed from people who are concerned about the city's progress.

"The message I'm hearing is that our growth has been hindered too much," Bush said. "There may have been some well-intended actions taken, but the outcome has been that growth has slowed to a near standstill."





School board reports not required yet

The eight candidates running for Lawrence's school board don't need to file campaign finance reports before the election, according to a county election official. They fall under the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission's "local guidelines," which say they don't have to file reports until 30 days after the April 3 election, said Keith Campbell, deputy of elections for Douglas County."Some of them have filed affidavits saying they won't spend more than $500 on their campaigns," Campbell said.Those include Mary Loveland, incumbent Rich Minder, Robert Rauktis, Victor Sisk and Michael Machell.Three candidates - Marlene Merrill, Michael Pomes and Scott Morgan - each filed reports declaring a treasurer, which means they anticipate spending more than $500, Campbell said.

Comments

justsomewench 7 years, 10 months ago

before i cast my votes, i'd certainly like to see which of these candidates comes in a good deal under their own budget.

by the way, mike - the joke should read: how many fritzels does it take to make $500?

it looks like the practice is to split the donation from several checking accounts so you can leave the $150 reporting contributor's occupation conveniently blank.

do they think we don't recognize the names?

if a candidate has nothing to hide, then why does it look like they're trying to hide something?

x96merrill3 7 years, 10 months ago

I wonder psychofan, did you ask the same question when you lefties voted for Sebelius last fall? She had over $5.18 million in her pocket, a new record for governor's races. Barnett only had $1.19. Heck, that's even more lopsided than what Schauner is whining about. I wonder if that prevented David from voting for Kitty???? Any guesses? I wonder what her contributors expect in return from her?

Get real people, if you ask me, 2 guys who know how to GET MONEY as opposed to SPEND MONEY are exactly what we need in this town right now. I look at this as a huge PLUS for these candidates. Tired of Schauner's "woe is me" tactics.

Mike Blur 7 years, 10 months ago

Looking at Rob Chestnut's campaign finance report, big surprise: Tim and Tom Fritzel contributing $250 total to Chestnut's campaign.

Warning to Lawrence voters: A vote for Rob Chestnut is a vote for the Amyx/Nalbandian/Fritzel endorsed $100MM library/project/land giveaway to Fritzel Construction.

Also, an open letter to Rob Chestnut: On 1/24/07, Jerald and Carolyn Johnson contributed a total of $500. You listed their occupation as an "airospace engineer."

Might you want to proofread your campaign finance disclosure statements prior to submission.

You'd actually look somewhat literate to discerning voters such as myself.

Postscript: LJW: Where is Dever's disclosure statement?

justsomewench 7 years, 10 months ago

D.R.I.V.E.'s 2007 legislative priorities: http://www.teamster.org/action/political/07agenda.htm

while i'm sure it's not unusual to receive monies from political action committees, surely it's a nod and a handshake that you won't be stepping in their garden.

anyone know if Allen Press is unionized?

commuter 7 years, 10 months ago

I guess if I contribute to Boog and Schauner campaign, i could get something too. If so, i am willing to contribute 500 to each campaign. My only request, is to DROP OUT OF THE RACE.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

The plc/amigos have greatly raised awareness of public office in Lawrence. Prior to living here, I have rarely known the names of the mayors, let alone the names of the commissioners. It is no surprise that campaign contributions are high for "anyone but them". They have themselves to both thank and blame for that.

It's ludicrous for Schauner to accuse other candidates of pandering to their contributors, while expressing faux concern for the "greater community". The "bunch of three" ran unabashedly on the plc agenda and have vigorously pursued that agenda.

I wonder what percentage of contributors to Dever/Chestnut are actual TAXPAYERS? You know, kinda like the ones who are getting fleeced the most in this city, while being disregarded and treated with disdain by the current commission? Then, let's compare those contributors with the contributors of Boog/Schauner.

One (or three) cannot encourage residents to move closer to their jobs if they commute, advocate potholes as passive traffic calming devices, ignore the deplorable conditions of our streets and infrastructure, waste our money on slanted studies (some of which are totally disregarded if they are adverse to their personal opinions), force themselves into our private lives, while subsidising private business. They also cannot send letters, expressing their own views, in the names of all Lawrencians, and then expect residents to just fall in line and shut up.

The silent majority just may speak up loud and clear next Tuesday.

cowboy 7 years, 10 months ago

i feel a large crisp cleansing wind coming thru lawrence

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"Godot: You have made all sorts of assumptions about me and put words in my mouth."

And that's his good side.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"2 guys who know how to GET MONEY as opposed to SPEND MONEY"

And guess where they intend to GET it? They intend to GET it by using the power of the city commission to funnel it into their pockets, and SPENDING a lot of taxpayer dollars while doing it, and making an even bigger mess than the one they created in the decades prior to the election of the PLC.

So bitch all you want about the fact the PLC couldn't fix in 4 years a badly broken city government-- one that was broken by decades of government by Realtor/Chambocrat cronyism.

But don't try to pass off as "enlighted anger of the voters" the sheer stupidity of letting the city commission to again be sold out to the highest bidder-- bidders who will extract a very high return on their investment, at the expense of the vast majority of Lawrence taxpayers.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention how the plc/amigos always blame their cr@p on someone else.

According to boozo, paid blogger, if you vote for anyone but the boog/schauner ticket - you are stupid!!!

boozo, please enlighten us as to exactly what your buds have done for the greater good of Lawrence?

Seems like you guys are running scared.

cowboy 7 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

sourpuss 7 years, 10 months ago

I don't like anyone who tries to bend the good of a community to make money, as I feel developers have been doing in Lawrence for years. Speculate on land, then get your buddies on the CC to approve some expensive project so your land goes up, then you sell it to them. Sorry, but that is just sleazy (though yes, it is the way these two-bit developers become the plump fish in our tiny pond). You don't have to agree with the "progressives" but why would you ever vote for someone who is more interested in doing right by some rich people than by the community, regardless of their stance?

Lawrence is small-time and so is the corruption. Are these candidates taking money for their votes? NO!! They already agree with Fritzel and co. The richies are just trying to make sure their candidates get in.

My prophecy: Those who raise the most money will earn the most votes. Poor people don't vote, college students don't vote. They just have to canvass certain neighborhoods with slick, expensive promotional materials and promises of higher property values (though who is going to buy these houses, dunno...) and they'll win. Easy as pie.

jafs 7 years, 10 months ago

As far as I can tell, about 200 people have contributed to each of the various campaigns. I'm not sure how much that tells us about "the will of the people" since Lawrence has about 100,000 people living here.

Of course, each politician will be "like-minded" or beholden to their contributors - the question is what the viewpoint of those folks is.

The growth in Lawrence over the last ten years appears to me to have benefited developers and realtors more than anyone else. Do we have a large number of good full-time jobs with benefits? A large number of well-made affordable houses? Any significant increase in the quality of life?

In fact, some of the most obvious problems these days can be attributed to growth - problems with our infrastructure, increases in crime, homeless/street people, etc.

Why not focus on taking care of our current needs first, and consider growth if and only if it will actually benefit our community, and only after we've figured out how to deal with the current problems?

x96merrill3 7 years, 10 months ago

"And guess where they intend to GET it? They intend to GET it by using the power of the city commission to funnel it into their pockets"

Prove it.

You are throwing speculated accusations out just like Schauner is doing. If this is an unfounded statement, you should be ashamed. Show us all an example of Dever and Chestnut's history of corruption. There is none.

Bozo, why have you made it your person mission to protect these guys? Aren't there any other hippies running for those seats that you could support? Why are you backing two guys who don't have an interest in the economics of this town? Why wouldn't you want commissioners who at least live AND work in the town they are supposed to be working for?

Should you respond, I would challenge you to use only facts. Draw you conclusions through a deep foundation of truth. You may not call names or speculate about someone's integrity without evidence.

My guess is that you can't do it.

psycho....just for you ?????????????

cowboy 7 years, 10 months ago

If you want a straight answer on who drives the election it is probably not the money raised but the coverage by the LJW , the city's only real news source beside KLWN. If you use you limited chances as a candidate to appear halfway intelligent you have a shot regardless of the number of signs you print.

a little mini trend of note from my perspective , I have had five different jobs this month getting houses ready for sale by professionals leaving Lawrence for greener pastures. Thats unusual for me. There are a record number of homes listed and it will only grow larger in the next two months. I think we are in for a very dismal home sales season and this is reflective not only of Lawrences economic health but the regions loss of manufacturing and now high tech jobs.

all the more reason to get some folks in there who can be receptive to new business ventures to try and if nothing else keep us from losing even more ground than we have the past few years.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"Should you respond, I would challenge you to use only facts."

That's funny-- I didn't see a single one in your posts. Mostly just calling people you don't know "stoners" and other bits of childish pettiness.

So tell me-- what are you expecting to get when big money controls the city commission again? Is your name on that donor list?

commuter 7 years, 10 months ago

Jafs-

the growth also benefited the following groups:

Construction Companies

Places that sell building supplies- drywall, lumber etc

People who construction for a living (carpenters, drywallers, painters, electricians and plumbers)

The city benefited because they could tax the land at higher value and collect more taxes than agricultural land

USD497 benefited because they collect more taxes on residential and non-residential property instead of agriculural or vacant land.

People who sold the land.

So there are more than just the realtors and developers who benefited from new construction.

cowboy 7 years, 10 months ago

No surprise agendas Focus on local priorities fair governance , if you follow the rules you get approved progress on infrastructure budget oversight No dada day reduction of process time and cost to do biz in lawrence revamp of the role of C of C end the subsidy of downtown at all costs reveiw efficiency of each city department reveiw staff positions . qualifications

hows that for a short list ?

Rationalanimal 7 years, 10 months ago

""My fear is that what their contributors will want in return for that investment is a development process that doesn't benefit the greater community," said City Commissioner David Schauner, who is running for re-election and raised $9,202 from 147 contributors."

Says Schauner who raised over $9,000 himself. I suppose for $9,000 your contributors can't expect favors, but at the "magical" figure that Dever and Chestnut, well then, there is going to be all kinds of favors flying around town. You just have to love Lawrence liberal/socialists. The only time they gripe about campaign contributions is when their getting beat by the other side, and then all of the sudden campaign contributions is an inherent evil corrupting our political system. Its a classic change the rules mid-game to favor yourself. Since Mr. Schauner loves to ask questions, he ought to ask what the connection is between the City's failed growth policies and two contending candidates raising tons of campaign cash from local citizens have in common? Hmm? I wonder.

jafs 7 years, 10 months ago

Commuter, point taken.

I wonder of all of your list, how many of those that benefited actually live and/or work in Lawrence? It's certainly possible that construction companies buy materials elsewhere, and bring workers in from other towns as well.

There may be some benefits which I didn't include, but there are always drawbacks which pro-growth people seem to exclude. More people=more demand on existing infrastructure and more need for new infrastructure. I imagine the city doesn't make much on increased taxes if one factors in the extra expenses.

Also, if more people bought existing houses and fixed them up, that would benefit many of the above workers as well.

I'm all for helping Lawrence become a fuctional and sustainable city - I just don't believe that continued growth without direction is the best way for us to go.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"No surprise agendas"

There will be no surprises the the Chambocrat/Realtor agenda-- rubber stamp all the way.

"Focus on local priorities"

As long as you define "local" by the donors on the list, right?

"fair governance , if you follow the rules you get approved"

With the rules being anything goes, that will be pretty easy.

"progress on infrastructure budget oversight"

It took the PLC to get the city to do an audit of the condition of city streets-- and wonder of wonders, decades of doing things on the cheap have created a real mess.

"No dada day"

Pretty indicative of your ability to focus on the trivial at the expense of the bigger picture.

"reduction of process time and cost to do biz in lawrence"

Pretty much already under way, but I think what you mean is a rubber stamp to whatever those on the donors list put before any city commission or department.

"revamp of the role of C of C"

You mean put them back in charge?

"end the subsidy of downtown at all costs"

To be replaced with whatever subsidies the donors list wants-- which will include their own downtown investments.

"reveiw efficiency of each city department reveiw staff positions . qualifications"

Already underway.

jafs 7 years, 10 months ago

Also, having seen some of the new construction I think it is poorly built for the price - I'm not sure I'm glad about that, even if it does mean construction companies make money.

In fact, I'd rather see reasonably priced well-built houses, and construction companies making smaller profits.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

Well, RA, there is a huge difference between Joe or Jane Average Citizen making mostly small donations to a campaign because they want city government to look after the interests of all its citizens, and businesses who make really big donations expecting that the actions of that city government will be very beneficial to their very narrow financial interests.

commuter 7 years, 10 months ago

JAFS- Points well taken but my main concern isn't really the direction. My concern is people and developments that follow the rules and then the city commission deciding to ignore their own rules.

I also think they need to re-evaluate their budget. I do not know how many groups have their hands in the pocketbook of the city. I do not like larger governments. Sorry, I am for small governement. I want government to give a hand up not a hand out.

For your information. The sales tax rules changed about a year ago. Kansas went to a stream lined sales tax. You pay sales tax on when the goods are transferred. For example, you buy lumber in Kansas City, Kansas and have the same company deliver the lumber in Lawrence, you would pay the sales tax at the Lawrence rate. If you would load the lumber on your truck, you would pay the Kansas City rate.

I should know I have purchased a few items from nebraska Furniture Mart and had them deleiver to my house. Including the delivery charge, it was about $50 cheaper than paying the sales tax for Wyandotte county. Also, the goods I purchased were not available in Lawrence.

I am willing to give a Chestnut and Dever a chance. I personally feel Boog and Schauner both should be on the commission. To me they pander to the PLC too much.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"To me they pander to the PLC too much."

What does that mean?

cowboy 7 years, 10 months ago

"No surprise agendas" Smoking ban , stop growth activity's , forcing the mayor to sign letters , Walmart legal costs

There will be no surprises the the Chambocrat/Realtor agenda-- rubber stamp all the way.

"Focus on local priorities"

As long as you define "local" by the donors on the list, right? keep our nose out of OPB

"fair governance , if you follow the rules you get approved" last minute balking after sub committee approvals

With the rules being anything goes, that will be pretty easy.

"progress on infrastructure budget oversight"

It took the PLC to get the city to do an audit of the condition of city streets-- and wonder of wonders, decades of doing things on the cheap have created a real mess.

when was the last time a city budget was cut ?

"No dada day"

Pretty indicative of your ability to focus on the trivial at the expense of the bigger picture.

"reduction of process time and cost to do biz in lawrence"

Pretty much already under way, but I think what you mean is a rubber stamp to whatever those on the donors list put before any city commission or department.

You obviously have never tried to do biz with the city , its a cluster f88k.

"revamp of the role of C of C"

You mean put them back in charge? No i mean fire them all and get someone effective in there

"end the subsidy of downtown at all costs"

To be replaced with whatever subsidies the donors list wants-- which will include their own downtown investments.

End city subsidy of private business , if they want to subsidize something set up a biz incubator area for local owned new business

"reveiw efficiency of each city department reveiw staff positions . qualifications"

Already underway.

The same overpaid , home grown , administrators are making the same mistakes that have been there for years

Rationalanimal 7 years, 10 months ago

"So tell me-- what are you expecting to get when big money controls the city commission again? Is your name on that donor list?"

That's funny, now that High-burger and Schauner's reelection are in doubt, big money is suddenly going to control the City again, destroy the Baker man-made wetlands, run the SLT through every neighborhood, ruin downtown, burn the library, put Walmarts on every corner, and steal lollipops from babies. Boy, those two have been real vanguards of not cowing to special interests, like for example, a faction of people that have a certain ideological agenda for the City's growth. No. Not High-burger and Schauner, they are men of moderation and pragmatism. They follow reason above their ideological viewpoint.

JohnBrown 7 years, 10 months ago

From the book URBAN FORTUNES: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF PLACE by JR Logan and HL Molotch):

"ORGANIZATION OF THE GROWTH COALITION "The people who use their time and money to participate in local affairs are the ones who - in vast disproportion to their representation in the population - have the most to gain or lose in land-use decisions. Local business people are the major participants in urban politics, particularly business people in property investing, development, and real estate financing. Peterson (1981:132), who applauds growth boosterism, acknowledges that 'such policies are often promulgated through a highly centralized decision-making process involving prestigious businessmen and professionals. Conflict within the city tends to be minimal, decision-making processes tend to be closed.' Elected officials, says Stone (1984:292), find themselves confronted by ' business community that is well-organized, amply supplied with a number of deployable resources, and inclined to act on behalf of tangible and ambitious plans that are mutually beneficial to its own members.' Business people's continuous interaction with public officials (including supporting them through substantial campaign contributions) gives them systemic power. Once organized, they stay organized. They are "mobilized interests". Rentiers (those who collect rents) need local government in their daily money-making routines, especially when structural speculations are involved. They are assisted by lawyers, syndicators, and property brokers, who prosper as long as they can win decisions favoring their clients. Finally, there are monopolistic business enterprises (such as the local newspaper) whose futures are tied to the growth of the metropolis as a whole, although they are not directly involved in land use. When the local market is saturated with their product, they have few ways to increase profits, beyond expansion of their surrounding area. As in the proverbial Springdale, site of the classic Vidich and Bensman (1960:216) ethnography of a generation ago, there is a strong tendency in most cities for "the professionals (doctors, teachers, dentists, etc.), the industrial workers, the shack people and the lower middle class [to be] for all intents and purposes disenfranchised except in terms of temporary issues."

"Because so much of the growth mobilization effort involves government, local growth elites play a major role in electing local politicians, 'watch dogging' their activities, and scrutinizing resources, keeping peace on the home front, or using the city mayor as an 'ambassador to industry', local government is primarily concerned with increasing growth. Again, it is not the only function of local government, but it is the key one."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"Smoking ban"

This was a very popular measure, and would certainly pass any referendum on it.

"stop growth activity's"

Any slow down in growth in this town has been because of a general economic downturn nationwide.

"forcing the mayor to sign letters"

Never happened. Or are you suggesting that the mayor should rule by decree.

"Walmart legal costs"

I suggest you take that up with Wal-Mart, not the candidates or the voters. BTW, Schauner made no secret of his opposition to the Wal-Mart on W. 6th when running, and winning, the two previous elections.

"The same overpaid , home grown , administrators are making the same mistakes that have been there for years"

Actually there's been quite a bit of turnover in administration, but it's pretty silly to expect that going back to the same developer/chambocrat-dominated city commission that created all of the problems we have (and appointed the administrators you chastise) will magically cure everything.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

Great post, John Brown-- but anti-intellectual know-nothings like RA won't be able to understand it.

Emily Hadley 7 years, 10 months ago

Crud, my landlord was on that list with all the other realtors and contractors...

One bad thing that I have already noticed around town is that supporters in the real estate business have extra land--unbuilt lots, rental property, apt. complexes-- that they can put campaign signs on.

Although my beautiful old house is rotting into the ground from neglect, at least my landlord hasn't tried that!

Bud Stagg 7 years, 10 months ago

I love how the NEGATIVE statements start coming out when the amigos are threatened. The developers have the right to support candidates just as much as the roundabout lovers do.

I'm tired of people looking at how to build urban style stuff that no one wants. Why is west of Wak growing? Most people want bigger yards, bigger houses. Why don't developers build more urban style stuff, it DOESN'T SELL WELL! If it did, they would build it. Why is the commission tring to ram it down our throats?

Rationalanimal 7 years, 10 months ago

JohnBrown's and bozo, for that matter, argument provide lots of conclusion that businesses are ruining urban politics without a scintilla of supporting evidence. You are least true to roots of fear mongering and passing down so many conclusions that people begin overlooking the fact that there isn't the slightest meat on the bones of your argument. Last, what supports your implied argument that Dever and Chestnut, simply because they are successful businessmen, will pillage the City coffers. I suppose a keen understanding of balancing a budget, spending less than your revenue, maintaining assets, all skills necessary and inherent to running a successful business, just have no place in urban politics. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, bozo, and JohnBrown have it, we need to have people that can't balance a check book, spend more than the City generates in revenue (i.e. the alarming depletion of the rainy day fund), and favor downtown businesses pursuant to their growth ideology. Yes bozo, if wanting men (or women) who have succeded in running businesses, who bring experience, pragmatisim and reason to city politics instead of rigid and dogmatic ideology is your definition of an anti-intellectual, then your derision has not exposed me, but has exposed your own near-sighted inability to look past your own unbending ideological biases. That is why Schauner is scatching his head over the failed policies from the last 4 years. Credit Schauner for even questioning their failure. High-burger and others either don't see their policies as a failure, or simply don't care. That is why change is needed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"The developers have the right to support candidates just as much as the roundabout lovers do."

Yes they do-- but money in a political campaign functions mainly as a megaphone, and it's perfectly logical to wonder what it is they are yelling about.

And it's pretty clear that promoting their financial interests, and not the interests of the average citizen, is precisely what they've funded Dever and Chestnut, and to a lesser degree, Bush, to do.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"JohnBrown's and bozo, for that matter, argument provide lots of conclusion that businesses are ruining urban politics without a scintilla of supporting evidence."

Actually, John Brown's post is very well supported, and quite obvious to anybody willing to be honest about it.

And nothing could be more fact-free and unsupported than the rest of your post RA- but as I said previously, you're an anti-intellectual know-nothing, so it's to be expected.

Rationalanimal 7 years, 10 months ago

bozo the benevolent said: "you're an anti-intellectual know-nothing."

"Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

As an "anti-intellectual," I'm in pretty good company. Thank you for pointing it out bozo.

justthefacts 7 years, 10 months ago

Here is an idea. Instead of casting votes for the current council member or for the new crop of developer bought candidates....how about voting in the new kids who aren't in either camp?

Sure, they may not be very politically experienced, but that might work in favor of those who are sick of special interest groups running the show. And maybe they don't anything going for them except a desire to hold office, but at least they aren't in someone's pocket already. Or are they? Any facts out there on that topic?

monkeyhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

I see boozo, paid blogger, chose to ignore my very valid question "what have your buds done for the greater good of Lawrence?" Typical lib/socialist scheme to attack rather than defend.

Where were lawyers ranked on that poll that asked about trust issues? Were they just above or just below the used car saleman? At any rate, they were number 1 and number 2 from the bottom.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"I see boozo, paid blogger,"

That's really funny. You support those who really are seeking to pay themselves through control of the city government, but somehow or another, my support of city government that looks after all citizens must be "paid for."

You're not just anti-intellectual-- you're a non-thinking simpleton.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

boozo, you don't have any idea who I support. Maybe some of us have not made up our minds, so why don't you just tell us why your guys should retain their seats?

At any rate, you validated my point. I hope your blog employer feels they are getting their money's worth, otherwise we might be seeing you at the wet shelter.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Rationalanimal 7 years, 10 months ago

And despite your continued derision, you still don't dispute my genius.

Your phony bozo, face it. You can't discuss issues and make a real argument because you can't back up your conclusions with facts, so you are left with hating others for not agreeing with your incomplete arguments. Thus, you are left with attacking others in a feeble attempt to change the focus from facts and arguments to personal attacks.

Bozo, your modus operandi is all to transparent.

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

Looks like the big bidness, pro-cancerous-.growth groups have picked their favorites and are trying to buy thema seat on the commission. I certainly hope they are unsuccessful. The last thing Lawrence needs to do is continue its willy-nilly, haphazard, extemporaneous enlargement.

Rationalanimal 7 years, 10 months ago

"continue its willy-nilly, haphazard, extemporaneous enlargement."

"Continue" implies that willy-nilly growth is currently taking place. If that is true, then the anti-growth PLC crowd, the folks in power in case you just moved to Lawrence, are the people in charge. Thus, pro-business commissioners do not pose to foster"extemporaneous enlargement" any more than the anti-growth PLC socialists.

sourpuss 7 years, 10 months ago

I don't argue that growth is not a bad thing, but it should be done in a way that is environmentally conscious, economically viable, and beneficial to the most people, not just a few, select business and property owners. Any commission needs to balance the needs of the different groups in the city - that is their job. What ticks me off are knee-jerk commissioners who vote based on the pocketbook or ideals rather than what is actually reasonable and feasible for the community.

Unlimited building contracts in this day and age would be devistating for the local economy. What, we need MORE houses on the market? Property owners would love that. Many people would prefer new construction to old, so you're out of luck if you're selling. Again, who will move into these houses? Do we want a bunch of old, blighted houses falling down all over town? What Lawrence needs to do is to attract good businesses (not more Wal-Marts) that will allow people to earn enough to buy property here. THAT is the hard part, putting up houses is easy.

I would rather elect someone who really cares about the community and being fair than someone with a particular ideology or certain friends/connections. And I think we should have a variety of different people so the commission is representitive of the community, not just a pack of developers or "hippies" or whatever other group you want to pick out. If you have five different kinds of people up there with different concerns, then if three agree, then it is probably a decent decision.

GreatHornedOwl 7 years, 10 months ago

The hawk has been eating lead infested prey. I can see better than you and know money is not the solution to your problems. New blood is needed and soon. Businesses are afraid of Lawrence and need to be shown we will be a good place to do business. New businesses mean new jobs. New apartments mean nothing.

rhd99 7 years, 10 months ago

So, how come Mr. Dah Dah Highberger isn't raising that much money like Dever or Chestnut? Hmm, (DUH!), hello, Highberger has lost the edge. There is NOTHING left of him or Schauner! Maybe, just maybe Lawrence city government will FINALLY get back on track. DOWN WITH BOOG! So long, Schaun!

ShastaMcLaine 7 years, 10 months ago

Interesting that Durf and friends are acting like a PAC, but aren't registered as one. Wonder if that makes all the $$$ Rob and Mike received at the party qualify as illegal campaign contributions? Tsk. If they want to run city government, they really ought to know the rules and play by them accordingly.

WWoftheW 7 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps becuase the many people in Lawrence don't have the pockets of the few. Especially when the few have more than one group to fund from. It seems that the numbers donating are not that much different. Subtract the donated more than once via different groups the numbers of donors decreases even more.

justsomewench 7 years, 10 months ago

Can we take a poll of the employees working for these candidates and see how they feel about the jobs that were created for them under their current leadership?

Would those employees like to see many more jobs just like theirs, in theory, created?

Can the candidates share with us what positive impact they've made in their day to day business, if any?

Can they tell us what impact their participation in the City Commission would have on their current job performance?

Would they share with us what their current professional dependence on the use of consultants is? Would they admit to who they chose to employ for the consulting and what their relationship to that vendor is?

Would they be willing to share with us who they have made political contributions to and what their relationship with that individual was? Can they attest that they did not benefit from making that contribution?

Which of them has the guts to answer?

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

""Continue" implies that willy-nilly growth is currently taking place. If that is true, then the anti-growth PLC crowd, the folks in power in case you just moved to Lawrence, are the people in charge. Thus, pro-business commissioners do not pose to foster"extemporaneous enlargement" any more than the anti-growth PLC socialists."

Very rational, although I think you presume a bit too much.

I think the PLC has doen a lot to slow the rate of cancerous growth, but they have not done n early enough to create a unified vision for what Lawrence will become. Horizon 2020 was DOA. It is too little and too limited.

However, while I think the PLC has not done enough proactively, I firmly believe that placing the pro-cancer crowd back into positions of leadership is a huge setp backward. Under their leadership, Lawrence will become OP West. I have been in Lawrence for nearly 20 years. I would like to enjoy living here for another 30 - God willing. If I wanted to live in Olathe, I would have moved there.

Godot 7 years, 10 months ago

Regarding which candidates created the most jobs, I would be Highberger and Schauner. Of course, they were government jobs. That is why they people who support them, and Maynard-Moody (they seem to share they same supporters) tend to be on government payroll, in one form or another.

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

"Of course, they were government jobs. "

Yeah? What jobs did Highberger and Schauner create through their work as our city commissioners? Public or private, really. I think that is one area that they have been weak on.

Of course, I don't see the pro-cancer group bringing forth any great ideas for job creation - other than in the building trades - either.

zimmerman 7 years, 10 months ago

Are you kidding me??? Either you people are developers yourselves, or you're living in denial, but come on, these two guys are obviously going to approve any and all development plans that come through, regardless of whether it will actually be good for the community or not. Reality check---- Lawrence is dying from the inside. The huge amount of development taking place on the outskirts is killing the heart of this town. If you want to check the facts, google KU Professor, Kirk McClure's report on Sustainable Growth in Lawrence, Kansas. He used census data that's available to everyone, and if you look at that data you'll see what I'm talking about. The town is simply growing beyond its own means, so instead of actual growth, we're just spreading ourselves thinner. Now, if you want to say that you don't care about the center of the town, then at least that's honest. I don't agree with the idea that government should NEVER interfere with business, but at least say that, if that's what you believe. The current commission gets a lot of flack from the development community because they don't approve everything that's put in front of them. If anyone ever tries to tell you Schauner and Boog are anti-business or anti-growth please realize that not all growth is good (some can be cancerous). Do we really want to build a bunch of new stores and houses on the outskirts of town, just so we can leave more abandoned buildings in the center?

Godot 7 years, 10 months ago

Well, come to think of it, this commission probably has created some private jobs: support staff for all of the consultants. Of course, those jobs were not in Lawrence.

rhd99 7 years, 10 months ago

Boog & Schauner are the red tape that has stymied job growth & economic prosperity in this great city. They are also a prime example of governmental waste. WHY do they constantly have to hire outside consultants when they (SUPPOSEDLY) have public administration professionals at City Hall who could do the studies more efficiently at less cost? Is that asking too much?! Wages are stagnant, & these two guys have NOT helped one bit! If some say wages have gone up in Lawrence, please tell me that the wages went up in MORE than just bureaucratic positions at City Hall! Otherwise, it's time to shop for a new city commission!

Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 10 months ago

I have a simple solution to everyone's problems. Let's just split the city in two right down -- say Iowa Street. East Lawrence (Nogrowrence) could place a moratorium on all new developement, while the West (Growrence) would actively court new growth and investment. True, Growrence would have to build a new city hall and a sewage treatment facility, but they can afford it with their much higher and GROWING tax base. The split would also free up millions being spent on maintaining the old infrastructure of Nogrowrence.

Growrence would have to get busy to develope a new Commercial center perhaps near Clinton Lake with Hotels and, oh my God!, big box stores. Besides they are all tired of driving all the way to Borders or Target to by CD's and stuff.

Nogrowrence could focus their efforts on widenening their streets to support bike paths and install roundabouts at every intersection. But wait, where will they get the money? No matter, thats what they make 30 year bonds for.

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

Really? So the McHouses sprouting like tumors west of Kasold are paying for the infrastructure and government services needed to support them? I don't think so.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 10 months ago

Who do you think pays for it? Do the math. The average new home is now nearly 300k. The average of all homes in Lawrence is half that. Why wouldn't it work?

ilovelucy 7 years, 10 months ago

Zimmerman: how do you know that the two guys will "obviously" approve anything that comes across their desks? Are you one of them? Do you have the inside track? Are you psychic? Can you foretell the future? You "obviously" know some inside news that no one else knows. Please share! OR, gasp! gasp! You are being fed "obvious" misinformation from the Schauner/Highberger/Moody camp?
Obviously you are!

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

There exists tons of material on the issue of whether residential development pays for itself. The consensus is "no." Obviously, there must be more to a viable, sustainable community.

The Brookings Institute has published several documents covering the issue; several states have reports that delve into the issues of property tax, impact fees, and sustainable communites; Asheville, South Carolina has a nice site - there are literally hundreds of sources of information about the challenges of balancing the unfettered growth championed by pro-cancer developers with the stagnation of the strictly historical view.

A common thread among all these sources if that residential property development by itself can not sustain a community or even the costs of its own growth. It isn't even a debatable point from what I have seen. I would be willing to look at new information, though. Did your suggestion to "do the math" refer to some actual hard data and real equations?

Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 10 months ago

So the answer is stop all development, good, bad, cancerous or benign.

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

I did not say that. If you are suggesting it, I disagree.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 10 months ago

I did not suggest that Growrence should depend on residential growth only. So you agree that some growth is desirable and perhaps even healthy?

Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 10 months ago

What is sustainable growth? Obviously Lawrence still exists. It also has one of the lowest mill levies in the state. Is it not therefore sustaining itself?

Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 10 months ago

Baille,

Perhaps then you agree with the results of the latest $140,000 Cost of Land Uses study that says we need more big box stores and less apartments?

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

I stand by my earlier post. "Sustainable growth" in this sense is a term of art and for a fruitful discussion it must be considered apart from its lay definition. There is a lot of information about controlled growth, sustainable growth, and vision-guided community development available both digitally and by more archaic means. As I remember, KU has some good materials in its library system on community development.

Godot 7 years, 10 months ago

Oh, I get it; professional government employees have a special language that lay peope (i.e. average citizens) are not privvy to, so that they can talk about things in a way average citizens do not understand. Then the professional government empoyees can call average citizens "uninformed."

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

No. With specialized knowledge and a large body of people actively using and/or applying that knowledge comes the need for precise language, common definitions and understandings, and ultimately terms of art that must be used correctlt. It is not some great bureaucratic phenomena nor is it the productive of an Ivory Tower mentality. It simply is what it is. We see the same problems in the discussions about evolutionary processes and the theory of global climate change caused by the unforeseen retention of thermal energy.

Why are you so sensitive to an unavoidable fact? Terms of art are common to every profession that I have had the opportunity to study or work with.

In any case, I am not aware of any government employees taking part in this discussion. It would be nice if they would, though.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 10 months ago

So Baille,

What do you suppose is the cure to Lawrence's "malignancy". Chemotherapy? Which of the candidates are best suited to treat the disease?

Why not my first suggestion of radical surgery?

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

That is a complicated question, but at the least we need a holistic vision for what we want Lawrence to become and a steadfast and determined commitment to stay true to that vision.

A vibrant city centre should be our focus and we should develop policies that encourage the reuse of our neighborhoods rather than our current and historical tendency to abandon areas in the center of town for unchecked growth along our margins. We also need to focus more energy on developing our employement opportunities.

I am looking for a candidate that is conversant with the concepts and ideas in progressive urban planning and who has the cajones to pull it off. I think radical surgery is great - but I don't want to excise our commissioners. I want to excise the dumb ideas, the overarching pursuit of personal interests, and the myopic visionsthat have threatened to kill this town for the 20 years I have been here.

Obviously, this is less a "cure" than it is a call to arms, but I am hopeful that some candidate will come forward prepared to lead a discussion on true urban planning and a clear vision for where Lawrence needs to go and what it should look liek when it gets there.

Godot 7 years, 10 months ago

Baille, since you are a self-admitted professional in the area of planning, how will you benefit, financially and professionally, by a commission that is committed to progressive urban planning?

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

I have not claimed to be an expert in urban planning. And I will not benefit either financially or professionally by a commission committed to intelligent, progressive, or any other type of urban planning.

Frankly, I would probably do better on both counts if the pro-cancer people win.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

It's just plain illogical to think that "growth" is somehow necessary. Why are the "pro-cancerous growthers" so insecure in the ability of Larryvillagers to produce what we need with the people currently living here?

And before the apoplectic complaints about how we can't "build a fence around Lawrence" start up, not being addicted to growth (which is precisely what the developer/realtor blah blah blah crowd is) doesn't mean that growth has to be stifled, either.

Recognizing that growth can and will happen, and dealing with in a rational way, is a totally different mindset from thinking that Lawrence needs to someday (soon) be as big as Overland Park, or we'll shrivel and die.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"Frankly, I would probably do better on both counts if the pro-cancer people win."

Same here, as long as I don't consider having a livable city for the majority of citizens as an important component of the quality of life here.

The pro-cancerous growthers wants what's best for them within the confines of their McMansions, cul-de-sacs and country clubs, and outside that isolated world, they couldn't care less.

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

"Same here, as long as I don't consider having a livable city for the majority of citizens as an important component of the quality of life here."

Yep.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 10 months ago

A vibrant city centre should be our focus and we should develop policies that encourage the reuse of our neighborhoods rather than our current and historical tendency to abandon areas in the center of town for unchecked growth along our margins. We also need to focus more energy on developing our employment opportunities.


Well said, though somewhat idealistic. It seems that infill developments or renewal are just the type of projects that are the toughest to get through the commission and certainly the toughest to finance. From the residential point of view, projects that would raze older neighborhoods and rebuild them are criticized for taking our affordable housing problem in the wrong direction. On the commercial side, some strides have been made. But usually one building at a time.

With respect to the western urban sprawl. It is important to note that this is really one of the only areas in town that is growing, besides a small amount to the southeast. Lawrence is largely locked in by floodplains to the North, South, East and a large lake to the West. The only corridor for growth is toward Lecompton. With all the development focused in one area, the growth seems faster than it actually is. Permits in 2005 and 06 are at 15 year lows, but many think Lawrence is booming.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"Permits in 2005 and 06 are at 15 year lows, but many think Lawrence is booming."

This is a nationwide trend-- it's not just Lawrence.

blackwalnut 7 years, 10 months ago

Cheers to Schauner for daring to mention the source of campaign funds. The public has every right to know where the money comes from, and each can judge for himself what that means.

I'm sick and tired of the developers ramming down our collective throats expensive proposal after expensive proposal that will make them wealthy even if it makes taxpayers poor and hurts the town. All development benefits them, and they don't care if they make something like the bleak mess west of Wakarusa that destroys the character of the town.

I'll support the commissioners who have supported and nurtured Lawrence, and who aren't beholden to the deep pockets that only want to make a short-term profit off the town.

Thanks, Mr. Schauner. You have my vote.

Godot 7 years, 10 months ago

Baille wrote: "I have not claimed to be an expert in urban planning."

after having written: "With specialized knowledge and a large body of people actively using and/or applying that knowledge comes the need for precise language, common definitions and understandings, and ultimately terms of art that must be used correctlt. It is not some great bureaucratic phenomena nor is it the productive of an Ivory Tower mentality. It simply is what it is. We see the same problems in the discussions about evolutionary processes and the theory of global climate change caused by the unforeseen retention of thermal energy.

Why are you so sensitive to an unavoidable fact? Terms of art are common to every profession that I have had the opportunity to study or work with.'

Forgive me for not recognizing that you, Baille, are an expert in everything.

blackwalnut 7 years, 10 months ago

The mess these builders made west of Wakarusa is unconscionable. Those houses are made to look grand and underneath the surface they are built like crap: the slums of the future. I have the misfortune of living in one - arrived in Lawrence with little time to buy a house before school started and ended up in a newer neighborhood. I spend more time fixing my ten year old Fritzel built home than I used to spend restoring my 1920s era home in another city. Now Fritzel wants the city to let him spend tens of millions in taxpayer dollars and some of the commissioner wannabees want to help him do it.

The city needs some growth, but it also needs to face the fact that it is a college town and there is nothing wrong with the college being the main industry. The problem is not so much lack of jobs; it is the HIGH COST OF HOUSING that makes it hard for people to make it here with the jobs that the university can provide - and you can heap some of the blame for that on the developers. If housing crashes, they still made out like bandits - and having overbuilt the west end of town, they are looking now to start new projects the city doesn't need and soak the taxpayers.

$30 million for a library! I attend the library at least twice a week, usually weekends and evenings, and only once in several years have I had to circle the parking lot to find a space. I've never found the library uncomfortably crowded. The high-paid consultants like to compare our library to others in cities the same size, completely overlooking the fact that our city library is IN ADDITION TO THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY.

Godot 7 years, 10 months ago

Well, blackwalnut, if you and your colleagues would drive a harder bargain, the price of homes would not be what they are today.

Yes, you, you highly educated, but too-busy-to-mind-your-money elites who come to Lawrence from the coasts, are the ones who have driven up the property values in Lawrence.

Buyer beware, blanckwalnut. You got taken? Too bad, too sad, you should have done some research for your own benefit before your purchased your bargain. You came to Lawrence, saw a cosmetically beautiful home for one third what you sold your home for on the coast, and you thought you were making a killing, and didn't ask any questions. Now you realize your home is junk and you blame the developers.

You write like you think there should be a lemon law for real estate. Lemon laws are meant to protect the uninformed, the uneducated. They really were not meant to protect the disconnected, the "just too busy" that have so many, more interesting things to do than make sure that they are making a sound real estate purchase.

blackwalnut 7 years, 10 months ago

Godot: You have made all sorts of assumptions about me and put words in my mouth. In fact, every single thing you've written that pertains directly to me is untrue. It doesn't matter to me, but you should be careful, because that sort of thing can backfire on you.

blackwalnut 7 years, 10 months ago

Well, "highly educated" is true. Every other assumption is completely untrue.

Baille 7 years, 10 months ago

You know, Godot, I have never claimed to be an expert in anything. I have some specialized knowledge on a few things and have had the opportunity to work with true experts on occassion. I am grateful for those opportunities. But your ad hominem vitriol is neither warranted nor appreciated.

For some reason you have chosen to attack the messenger and not the message. For instance, blackwalnut asserted that many of the homes built west of Wakarusa are of inferior quality. He bases this assertion on his own experience as both an owner of a west Lawrence home and someone who has experience in home renovation. Instead of exploring his experience or simply arguing a contrary position, you attack him as an east coast elite. You don't attack my rather pedestrian and obvious observations over the development of professional jargon and the need for precision in a debate concerning areas of professsional expertise, but rather attack me personally. I for one will no longer waste any time or energy on replying to your posts.

Godot 7 years, 10 months ago

I will also suggest that the over-inflated prices for properties in Old West Lawrence are nearly 100%caused by the immigrants from the coasts who pay one-third of coast prices for landlocked kansas properties that remind them of home. When the bloom wears off, they realize they have old homes, in need of much maintenance, and they are stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Godot 7 years, 10 months ago

Baille, I am just asking questions. Why do you view questions as attacks?

blackwalnut 7 years, 10 months ago

I don't think it's true that the real estate spike in Lawrence is caused by people coming from the coasts. We don't have that many people from the coasts here. I for one came from a much lower-cost housing market, and not from the coast. Realtors told me that lots of people were moving here from Kansas City and commuting to KC for work - driven here by the high housing costs there. The whole country - not just Lawrence - was in a housing boom, fueled in part by low interest rates and crazy loans that made it possible for people to buy houses they couldn't afford. It's pure scapegoating to blame the housing costs in Lawrence on "immigrants" as you call them (those are your fellow countrymen, just like you, whether you like it or not). You could just as well blame the sellers - the homeowners and developers - the "natives" - for demanding the highest prices thay could get. And by the way: having previously lived in a more expensive housing market does not make a person "elite."

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