Archive for Thursday, February 22, 2007

Candidates Dever, Highberger differ on development issues, registry

February 22, 2007


Lawrence City Commission candidates Boog Highberger and Mike Dever were online Wednesday at 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.


Bladerunner 11 years, 4 months ago

FYI Bozo.....Accidents reports are free if downloaded from the LPD's website.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the tip, bladerunner. Fortunately, I don't have need for them very often, but the LPD doesn't publicize that fact, and the investigating officer didn't tell me, either.

abby 11 years, 4 months ago

I wish Boog would take ownership in the "mistrust" issue instead of finding fault with others. We cannot move forward as a community until we respect each other and find ways to trust one another and work together to meet the needs of everyone in the city. It starts with the city commission!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

The mistrust started with the power elite using the city commission to rubberstamp any and all of their projects during the decades that they controlled it.

With the mountains of cash they are pouring into this campaign trying to regain control of the commission in order to re-establish business as usual, it's very narrow-minded and disingenuous to try to put this problem all on Highberger.

abby 11 years, 4 months ago

No one said it was completely Boog's fault, but he is one of the commissioners running for re-election at the time when mistrust runs the highest. He should share in the problem and show leadership on how to correct it.

Perhaps the amount of money being spent on the campaign from ALL candidates indicates that people are tired of the current state of the city and want change. Even Carey raised more money than Boog......Take a look at the "supporters" of some of these candidates on their websites and you will see a cross mix of people from Lawrence.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

"He should share in the problem and show leadership on how to correct it."

The fact is the city commission was structured to be little more than a rubberstamp to what the power elite brings before it. Merely having commissioners in there who have a desire to do more than that can't overcome the inherent powerlessness of the position. I think the PLC comissioners have tried to lead, but lacking the power to do so effectively means that all we get is gridlock and the petty sniping so common on this forum.

"Perhaps the amount of money being spent on the campaign from ALL candidates indicates that people are tired of the current state of the city and want change."

I believe you are right, but the current state of the city is much more a result of decades of control by the power elite than it is the past four years of trying to find some different ways of doing things, although if you read these forums regularly, you'd get the impression that every problem this city has was created in the last four years. And I really don't think it's a fair assessment to characterize the contributors to Chestnut and Dever (and to a lesser degree Bush) a broad cross-section of Lawrence. The majority of their funds comes from people with a clear commercial agenda that controlling the commission greatly facilitates.

"Even Carey raised more money than Boog"

From my perspective, that's mainly because Carey made a greater effort at fundraising, but I think it's also because Boog has attempted to stake out some sort of middle ground (that is his general way of operating) and that hurt him with some of his past supporters.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

". If we still have crappy streets, which nothing has been done about since the last election,"

I've seen no decrease in road repaving projects over the last four years-- as a matter of fact, they have increased expenditures on road repairs.

After they got rid of Wildgen, who had been dragging his feet on doing an audit of the condition of the city's streets, Mike Rundle (one of those nasty PLC commissioners) finally got the staff to get it done. The news wasn't pretty--the result of decades of building roads on the cheap, as the power-elite commissions chose to do in order to get their developments up and sold while looking shiny and new, but destined to fall apart in a few years, just like the houses they built. Fixing that mess will be just one more subisidy to the cancerous growth industries.

rhd99 11 years, 4 months ago

It's not just Highberger, folks. Mr. Dah Dah is in la la land if he thinks that the governed don't have a voice in politics. WE HAVE A VOICE. Now let's use it at the polls. When we want answers, if some City Hall Bureaucrat wants to give us the runaround, then we take further action. Someone earlier said that the research fee for governmental information under FOIA they requested is $30/hr?! How is that free & open government? Time to get rid of Dah Dah & ambulance chaser Schauner before Lawrence's future goes down the tubes. Oh, my bad, it already has! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

rhd99 11 years, 4 months ago

By the way, if free & open government is the rule, yet we are forced to pay OUT of our own pockets for information on how much money our city government wasted on Studies & out-of-town consultant goons, I suggest we start flooding the City Finance office phones right away! Government waste & red tape under Dah Dah & ambulance chaser Schauner has sky rocketed since they were elected! Now, time to throw the garbage away!

Godot 11 years, 4 months ago

I have observed that Bozo and Merrill have lots of facts and figures about city budget, etc., at their disposal. Maybe they can offer some insight as to how to get around the inconvenience and expense of filing a Freedom of Information Act request.

rhd99 11 years, 4 months ago

Well, Godot, let's ask these two any question. They sure beat the heck outta the bureaucrats in government who refuse to answer direct questions!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

I see we're off on the latest red herring complaint.

I'd be happy to see FOIA requests be filled free of charge, although it doesn't take much imagination to know that city staff could easily be bogged down with endless requests from whacko busybodies like Marion.

I seriously doubt that the existing policy is unique to Lawrence, or that it originated under the tenure of this city commission.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

Fees are SOP pretty much everywhere I suspect. Try getting something from the US State Department without paying fees.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

And FWIW, if you want to get an accident report from the Lawrence PD, it'll cost you $5.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

The "janitor," and everyone else on city payroll, likely has plenty of other duties without being required to do specialized research to satisfy an individual citizen's request.

That doesn't mean any given question isn't one that ought to be answered, but considering that this particular one comes from those who profess a preference for government that is "fiscally responsible," exactly who do these "fiscally responsible" folks think ought to pay for researching these informational requests?

justthefacts 11 years, 4 months ago

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law, it applies to records possessed by federal agencies, not by state or local public entitites.

If you want to read the rules on the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA), you can go to and link to "open government" for a summary or go to and look up all the KORA statutes (45-215 to 45-240).

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

True enough, justthefacts, but is it, or is it not, SOP for all government agencies to charge for research time in KORA requests?

Richard Heckler 11 years, 3 months ago

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