To the editor:
In this election we should be paying more attention to Bill Gates.
I want a Lawrence that attracts the clean, green, high-tech businesses that savvy investors are increasingly deciding will shape economic growth over the balance of this century. When those businesses decide where they are going to locate, a bottom-line consideration is the quality of the available work force.
This point was emphasized by Gates. When asked by Washington state legislators how states can attract more jobs he said, "The (high tech) industries that I think about most ... are far more sensitive to the quality of talent in the area than they are to tax policies."
Here's the rub: The high-skilled "quality talent" Gates refers to are people who have options about where to live. They want livable cities with good schools, parks and green spaces, and cultural and recreational choices. They want cities with character. They want Lawrence, not Olathe.
This City Commission election provides us with a clear choice. On the one hand, candidates whose shortsighted vision will take Lawrence further down a path that leads to urban sprawl and decreased quality of life. On the other hand, candidates who want to continue the progress the current City Commission majority has made in the past few years toward an increasingly livable city, one where high-tech businesses want to come because the talent also wants to live here.
Gary Brunk, Lawrence