Talk of changing the city's smoking ban and moving the library into the former Riverfront Mall will be campaign issues during the City Commission election, thanks to two last-day filers for the race.
Jake Davis, a local musician and data entry worker at Pearson Government Solutions, and Sam Fields, a Lawrence bail bondsman, both filed just hours before Tuesday's noon deadline. The two filings set the stage for a Feb. 27 primary where voters will narrow the field from nine candidates to six. The general election is April 3.
Smoking at bars
Davis, who performs acoustic guitar under the stage name Basin, said he would lobby for a change in the city's smoking ban. Specifically, he said he would like the city to allow smoking in bars after 10 p.m.
"With Topeka and lots of other cities not having a ban, we're still at a pretty good disadvantage," Davis said.
Davis, 28, also said he was disappointed that city commissioners have spent time debating issues that are far outside of their reach - such as a resolution related to the Iraq War. He said he would rather see commissioners spend more time on road maintenance and other city services.
He'll also push for changes in the city's building code that would require new construction to be more environmentally friendly by perhaps requiring the use of more solar energy and better insulation.
"This town has a history of progressive, new ideas, but on the green front it seems to have fallen backward compared to other cities," Davis said.
Davis, who lives at 941 Ind., has lived in Lawrence since 1996, he said.
Fields, who owns Applejack's and AJ's bail bonds, said he would push for the city to relocate the library to the former Riverfront Mall building rather than build a new $30 million structure.
"I got to thinking about the old mall building and how it would make a great library, a spacious library, and would really be second to none," Fields said. "There's a whole generation of people in this town who have never been in that building and seen that view, and that is a real shame."
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Fields said he also hoped that renovating the Riverfront Mall building would be less expensive than building a new $30 million library.
The ownership group of the building is led by members of the Simons family, who own the Journal-World and its parent company, The World Company.
Fields, 46, said he also wants the city to put energy into cleaning downtown sidewalks and making the area more presentable to visitors.
"I'd like us to look at purchasing some machinery to vacuum and scrub the sidewalk better," Fields said. "Maybe we can squeeze that into one of those pork-barrel budgets."
Fields, who lives at 1201 Ohio, has been in Lawrence since 1989, he said.
Here's a look at candidates who filed earlier for the race:
¢ James Bush, 41, is senior pastor at Lawrence's First Southern Baptist Church. Bush, 3717 Crossgate Terrace, said he'll run a campaign urging the city to do more to implement previously approved growth plans that are part of Horizon 2020, the city's comprehensive plan.
¢ Rob Chestnut, 45, is chief financial officer for Lawrence-based Allen Press. Chestnut, 5209 Fox Chase Drive, said his financial experience and background of creating consensus in large corporations would be assets to the City Commission.
¢ Mike Dever, 43, is owner of GuideWire Consulting, a Lawrence-based environmental consulting firm. Dever, 1124 Oak Tree Drive, said the city needs to do more to embrace growth and work to decrease its reliance on residential property taxes.
¢ Commissioner Boog Highberger is seeking a second four-year term. Highberger, 47, is an attorney for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Highberger, 1301 Vt., said he wants to continue to work on community planning issues, such as how to make the city more pedestrian- and bike-friendly.
¢ Michael Limburg, 38, is a forklift operator for Amarr Garage Door Group. Limburg, 608 Maine, said he thinks the city may need to slow growth in order to have a better opportunity to plan for it, and attract more industrial development.
¢ Carey Maynard-Moody, 62, is a retired school social worker. Maynard-Moody, 1645 Barker Ave., said she would run a campaign that emphasizes making Lawrence more environmentally friendly and attracting environmentally friendly businesses.
¢ Commissioner David Schauner has served two, two-year terms. Schauner, 61, is general counsel for the Kansas National Education Association. Schauner, 5002 Jeffries Court, said he'll campaign on creating fiscally responsible government and improving job-creation efforts and planning processes.
Three at-large seats are up for election on the five-member City Commission. Commissioner Mike Rundle is not seeking another term.