Lawrence City Commission candidates Boog Highberger and Mike Dever were online Wednesday at ljworld.com to discuss campaign issues.
Both candidates were asked about a recent consultants' report that suggested that developers find the permitting process at City Hall to be mystifying and unfair. They offered different reasons for the cause.
"I think we need to im-prove the way our current city staff serves the potential users of city services," Dever said. "We need to encourage a friendly, professional, engaging process for applicants to follow, and hold them to it."
Highberger said a new "Smart Code" would help solve the problem - but suggested some fault belongs to developers. "I don't think it was a surprise to anyone to learn that there is a high degree of mistrust here," he said. "I think that stems at least partly from a long history of people proposing projects here with little or no consideration given to the impacts on the neighborhood and the community."
In other topics, Highberger said he supported a domestic partnership registry, while Dever said he was undecided.
"A domestic partnership registry could help give a lot of Lawrence citizens access to health care benefits that they are not eligible for now," Highberger said.
"I believe that we as a community must be prepared to defend the rights of our citizens," Dever said. "I need to become more informed on this issue to be able to make a sound decision."
The primary election is Tuesday; the top six candidates will advance to the April 3 general election.