Letters to the Editor

Wal-Mart politics

May 17, 2007


To the editor:

A week ago I noted in this space a letter that enumerated a series of "sins" attributed to Wal-Mart as an argument to support the company's exclusion from the corner of Sixth and Wakarusa. And I thought all along that this was a land-use issue and not a corporate vendetta.

The letter was obviously written by someone of intelligence and apparently represents the views of a number of people. Did we somehow fail to provide the necessary education in civics and economics to help these people understand the difference? Perhaps those focused on the corporate Wal-Mart do understand but believe that direct action should lead to desired goals regardless of the law. Do we have a sizable population that thinks a city is run like a sorority - if we don't like you we exclude you?

Whatever the case, it is kind of frightening - Wal-Mart today and Catholics tomorrow! I truly feel sorry for our law givers, who are apparently confronted by such people demanding outcomes based on ideology and not law. We certainly do have the right to manage our growth through the application of appropriate zoning regulations. If our process is clear, consistent and generally applied, no large box store will ever be located at Sixth and Wakarusa.

If not, we will have spent a lot of sorely needed resources to try to please a bunch of people angry at Wal-Mart with no productive outcome for the community at large.

George Lippencott,



KsTwister 10 years, 7 months ago

Oh great, more studies, just set a match to several thousands of dollars. How much better the budget would be if the city replaced the several million dollars worth of studies. Lawrence needs common sense and I highly doubt you can say Lawrence needs more studies. You don't need a study to tell you that some major businesses no longer locate in Lawrence and that tax base has not been replaced. Anyone can see that.

blackwalnut 10 years, 7 months ago

EmJones (Anonymous) says: Property owner's rights vs. the safety of schoolchildren, hmmmmm, that's a tough one. What will the city commission do? I'd hate to be in their shoes.

That would be a no brainer, for me.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 7 months ago

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 7 months ago

Good studies are good studies, and bad studies are bad studies. To suggest that every action the city takes can be made strictly on "common sense" defies common sense. Good decisions require good information, and when that information is lacking, making decisions without it will most often mean bad decisions. That doesn't mean the city hasn't spent a lot of money on bad studies that provided little in the way of useful information. But that shouldn't be used blanket justification for essentially navigating blindly.

And while there is a good case to be made against Wal-Mart (and the whole economic model of greed, waste and exploitation that they represent) the letter writer makes a good point-- "We certainly do have the right to manage our growth through the application of appropriate zoning regulations. If our process is clear, consistent and generally applied, no large box store will ever be located at Sixth and Wakarusa." Unfortunately, commissions previous to the last one, and now the current one, have failed to do so, and the penalty to the rest of us will likely be another "23rd St." at the entrance of one our two high schools, and at the west entrance of the city.

Mkh 10 years, 7 months ago

"We certainly do have the right to manage our growth through the application of appropriate zoning regulations. If our process is clear, consistent and generally applied, no large box store will ever be located at Sixth and Wakarusa."

If this were actually the case we'd never be having this debate.

"Do we have a sizable population that thinks a city is run like a sorority - if we don't like you we exclude you? Whatever the case, it is kind of frightening - Wal-Mart today and Catholics tomorrow!"

Goebbles would be proud of that fear mongering Mr. Lippencott. I'm not as familiar with the inner workings of sorority politics, but I can tell you that this city is run by those who have the Developers/Real Estate interests in mind, not the taxpayer. I feel sorry for those of you who trust Sue Hack. Honestly I'm at a loss for words for those in the pro-Walmart crowd. What can you say to someone who believes that a second Walmart is the answer to Lawrence's prayers? I'm not sure that a reasonable discourse is possible.

Stephen Prue 10 years, 7 months ago

if wal-mart haters can get more studies thereby drawing out the process their hope is that their opponent will become wary and give up or compromise further on the original project. the tactic is death by inches not all out war while hoping that investors and wal-mart will tire and go away. i agree with Mr. Lippencott that this is a matter of law not a public forum on the evils of box stores. fair application of the rules make the game fair. i don't think the investors or wal-mart have been treated fairly to this point. does lawrence need a second wal-mart should be based on facts and law not feeling and emotions.

Stephen Roberts 10 years, 7 months ago


Great suggestion about " * DEMAND a detailed Cost of Community Services Study to discover what part of the tax base expansion did not work then cut that activity. "

So I guess we need to cut randabouts, traffic calming devices, bike lanes, funding DLI, and art. I guess it is only a good suggestion when the stuff YOU want does not get cut.

By the way, the city can hire another profession group to determine the reatil market is NOT over built. Being a consultant and going throught the interview process, you pick up on things the client really wants to know and which side of the fence they are on. With Boog, Schauner, and Rundle, it doesn't take a smart person to know what they wanted the report to say.

maybe we should start having some unbiased work.

blackwalnut 10 years, 7 months ago

'Whatever the case, it is kind of frightening - Wal-Mart today and Catholics tomorrow!"

To compare criticizing Wal-Mart because of its foul business practices, to bigotry against a religion, makes no sense whatsoever. That statement is just ridiculous!

redglare 10 years, 7 months ago

RE: "it is kind of frightening - Wal-Mart today and Catholics tomorrow!"

That is ridiculous. As if!

Look, there are good people who want to protect this unique and vital city, including a downtown with many locally-owned businesses, from the most rapacious corporate plunderer of American communities in history. Confuse them NOT with bigots or Nazis. That's beyond a red herring -- it's one of the most absurd things I've read in this paper. Franky, most of this letter makes no sense.

The arguments here that are actually understandable show the lack of intellectual honesty typical of those who would sell out their own hometown for discount marshmallows and sweat shop blue jeans.

peppermint 10 years, 7 months ago

"If our process is clear, consistent and generally applied, no large box store will ever be located at Sixth and Wakarusa."


That's the problem! The process is not clear, consistent or generally applied.

We have Mayor Sue Hack who jumps when 6th/Wak developer Doug Compton barks, and she has admitted she does so because Compton puts pressure on her husband's insurance business. We have Chestnut and Dever whose campaigns were financed by the would-be profiteers - spread around and under different company names, to get around the limits on contributions. We have Dever whose environmental consulting firm has done work for Doug Compton. We have the Journal World whose biased reporting does not even get the facts out to the public. If you only read about this issue in the Journal World, you don't have all the important facts.

Taxpayers of Lawrence: Doug Compton is suing you. Doug Compton is costing you money - $300,000 so far. Doug Compton is a bully who, until now, has been able to threaten, buy off and sue everyone to get his way. Doug Compton believes his money rules everything. Now Doug Compton has bought himself a city commission. That city commission is supposed to represent you the taxpayer, not Doug Compton.

Taxpayers, if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

peppermint 10 years, 7 months ago

Someone above said "if wal-mart haters..."

This is a despicable tactic straight out of the playbooks of the likes of Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh, who took divisive politics based on fear and hatred to a whole new level.

Anyone opposed to anything is now reduced to a "hater!"

Nice try pulling that one but I"m calling you on it.

WWoftheW 10 years, 7 months ago

Why has the city so conviently allowed Doug Compton to tell us that Wal-Mart is strictly a land use issue? If Wal-Mart loses does that mean we won't get any commercial at 6th and Wakarusa? No! Why are we the only community to fight the battle on land use issue only? Is it becuase Wal-Mart usually loses when their horrible business practices are brought into the discussion? Why is it that Wal-Mart has presented 3 plans all of which were practically identical except for the size of the foot print and has been denied 3 times that the City changed rules in the middle of the game? Is it becuase Wal-Mart , Doug and Bill didn't get what they wanted? Why does it look like the city is the bad guy suing poor little Wal-Mart when it is the Wal-Mart and their local cohorts suing you?! Why is it that when the developers were in charge and running the city commission that a strange variety store concept was used? Was it so Wal-Mart could get around the zoning codes? There is plenty more when you stop and think about it and not just spew developer sound bites.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 7 months ago

Exactly right, peppermint. It's a disingenous attempt to shift the discussion from the real subject by making a spurious personal attack, thereby diverting the discussion off on a baseless tangent.

blackwalnut 10 years, 7 months ago

"I truly feel sorry for our law givers, ..."

Don't. Don't feel sorry for them. They've already been paid, whether it's through campaign contributions, business thrown to Sue Hack's husband's insurance company, Doug Compton's business thrown to Mike Dever's environmental consulting firm, Allen Press patting CFO Rob Chestnut on the back for voting to recuse them from their tax abatement related obligations, the chance for all of them to hobnob with the local fat cats... There are many forms of bribery. Let's be honest and call it what it is. What it is NOT, is integrity. It is not integrity.

Feel sorry for the taxpayers who no longer have representation on the City Commission. The developers own at least three of the commissioners and probably four. Boog is the only one who stands up for the majority of citizens and for Lawrence.

karensisson 10 years, 7 months ago

The writer of this letter calls any opposition to Wal-Mart a "corporate vendetta" ?

Let's see, Wal-Mart's agenda is:

to drive out all competition, selling items at a loss when required, so it can charge any price it wants (ask the good people of Goodland, who once had three grocery stores and now have only Wal-Mart, about that)

to never own the land and buildings it operates from, so it can more easily abandon them when it builds a bigger store, but hanging onto the lease long enough to prevent its competition from moving in until the new store is well established (shoppers form habits that are hard to break)

to raise the minimum wage - yes, it's true! - because their customers are longer able to spend as much money at Wal-Mart with the declining economy, trickle-up effect of Bush era economics, and rising costs of medical care as people fall off the insurance rolls and prices skyrocket... yes, it's true, Wal-Mart just reported the worst quarter since they started reporting their earnings in 1980

Do I even have to go on? That's just a beginning. I could do this all day.

Corporate vendetta? If that's what you want to call it, go ahead. It doesn't change the truth: Wal-Mart deserves our boycotts and opposition. Corporate vendetta? Hell, yeah!!!!!

Any store who behaves like this has no place in our town. We'll keep educating people because, once they know, people refuse to shop there.

karensisson 10 years, 7 months ago

"...we will have spent a lot of sorely needed resources to try to please a bunch of people angry at Wal-Mart with no productive outcome for the community at large." George Lippencott

Exactly what resources are being spent by the city because people are speaking out about Wal-Mart's despicable business practices? Please elaborate.

The anti-Wal-Mart crowd is not costing the city any resources. This is simply an untruth.

Doug Compton is costing the city resources. That is the truth. $300,000 so far.

It was Doug Compton who brought the lawsuit against the taxpayers because he didn't like the impact of the city commission's legal ruling on him, personally. Apparently he can ONLY use this land for a Wal-Mart, therefore he feels entitled to use his deep pockets to force the city to let Wal-Mart build whatever they want. I don't know why he doesn't just sell or lease his land to some other bunch of stores so that corner won't be ruined by big box store levels of traffic. Maybe it's because of his relationship with a Sam Walton granddaughter. I guess Compton doesn't care if he ruins Lawrence, as long as he profits off the town.

Doug Compton is costing the city money by waging a lawsuit against the taxpayers, joined by Wal-Mart and his business. The city's resources are being spent because Doug Compton won't take no for an answer.

The anti-Wal-Mart dialogue is not costing the city any money. It might cost Wal-Mart money because when people learn how Wal-Mart operates, they tend to join the national boycott. That is what you really mean: that the dialogue is costing Wal-Mart money. It is not costing the city any money.

Mackadoo 10 years, 7 months ago

From the letter: "Do we have a sizable population that thinks a city is run like a sorority - if we don't like you we exclude you?"

No, the problem is that we already have a WalMart. It's located a very short 5-8 minute drive from the proposed one. Somebody please tell me, again, why we need a second? I doubt we are losing valuable West Lawrence dollars to the WalMart in Topeka.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 7 months ago

Seems to me that the companies doing all these "studies" are making a big profit, too.

What is wrong with local governments anymore? They used to be able to make decisions on their own, without some company to tell them how.

Wal-Mart is actually going to have a major loss in profits this quarter, from what I've read. I was informed by a Wal-Mart employee the other day that, although there weren't enough employees in area stores to provide good customer service (resulting in numerous customer complaints), Wal-Mart in this area has now imposed a hiring freeze, as they aren't making a profit here.

Then why are they still so hell bent on building another damn store?

WWoftheW 10 years, 7 months ago

And for those of you who feel Wal-Mart is reaching out the people who have to travel an extra four five miles to get to a Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is planning on building an upper scale store they call on their website a "Gracie" store not the "Darla " store that they usually build. Why? To break Target. NW Lawrencians shop at Target I am told and that the new Wal-Mart is planning on going after that shopper. So don't feel as if Wal-Mart is trying to help the low-income families. Imagine the West Gateway to Lawrence after Wal-Mart in their usual way leaves 6th and Wak. Wal-Mart's practice of not allowing someone else to lease will leave a huge vacant building, along with the businesses that they destroyed while at 6th and Wak. Dillions, Walgreens, Westlake and so forth. A year ago Wal-Mart had 800,000,000 sq ft of vacant buildings in this country. Don't think for one minute that Wal-Mart feels any allegiance to Lawrence that they would not continue the same practises that they have done since the kids took over. There are grandkids being born yearly that don't want to have to ever work and so there has to be more monies raise at whatever cost.

karensisson 10 years, 7 months ago

This news came out a couple of years ago:

Tuesday, June 28, 2005; Posted: 12:47 p.m. EDT (16:47 GMT)

(CNN) -- Wal-Mart heir John Walton died Monday when his ultralight aircraft crashed after taking off from an airport in Jackson, Wyoming, the company announced.

Walton, 58, was the second son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and served on the board of directors of the world's largest retailer.

He was ranked No. 7 on the Forbes magazine list of the 400 wealthiest Americans in 2004, with a fortune estimated at $20 billion.

Walton died when his plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Jackson Hole Airport shortly after 12:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. ET), said Joan Anzelmo, a spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park.

I wonder what John Walton was thinking, as he plunged to his death on a Monday afternoon in his pleasure craft when most ordinary people were working.

I wonder if his last thoughts were, "Gee, I wish I'd made more money."

blackwalnut 10 years, 7 months ago

krazyks says: Wal-Mart is actually going to have a major loss in profits this quarter, from what I've read. I was informed by a Wal-Mart employee the other day that, although there weren't enough employees in area stores to provide good customer service (resulting in numerous customer complaints), Wal-Mart in this area has now imposed a hiring freeze, as they aren't making a profit here. Then why are they still so hell bent on building another damn store?

krazyks, if Wal-Mart is true to its pattern, the point of a #2 store is to put a few competitors out of business so that people will have to shop at Wal-Mart. They often sell items at a loss just to steal business from existing stores.Their game is to starve out Dillons, Hy-Vee, Westlake Ace Hardware, and Walgreens, and get more business by eliminating alternate choices for consumers. Wal-Mart won't care if it loses money for awhile, if the end result is to strengthen their monopoly. Of course, when they have forced out the competition, then they raise their prizes. They've done this in other towns.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 7 months ago

"That's prejudicial against a company and ANY court of law will side with them."

Purely conjecture, since no court will ever rule on this, thanks to our new bought-and-paid-for city commission.

WWoftheW 10 years, 7 months ago

Actually Homerule gives a community the right to just say no. Countries have made Wal-Mart get out after they built becuase of Wal-Mart practices. The world has had enough. Countries, towns and even states have had the right to tell Wal-Mart NO! It doesn't matter how many time Wal-Mart has applied and been denied. Or how many unique tricks Wal-Mart has tried to get around the codes. And unless Lawrence has become a Doug Compton feudal state, Lawrence has the same rights!

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 7 months ago

Wal-Mart is a destroyer of communities and should be forever barred from Lawrence, not based on land-use issues but based on economics and ethics. Whatever wondrous gains Wal-Mart lovers see in bringing a second behemoth store to our fair city are mere hallucinations from spending too much time under florescent lights, sniffing cheap terrycloth.

altarego 10 years, 7 months ago

Blackwalnut says - "Feel sorry for the taxpayers who no longer have representation on the City Commission."

Do you speak of the taxpayers that didn't vote? Are these 80% the ones that Boog represents? Is there, among them, one who could write anti Walmart legislation? I am personally appaled at the yard sign corruption of this recent election, but I'm not feeling the whole bought and paid for commission argument. Could be that I'm just stupid.

karensisson 10 years, 7 months ago

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Mkh 10 years, 7 months ago

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WWoftheW 10 years, 7 months ago

BlueHarley: Wal-Mart has earned the anger of so many people. Five years of manipulation in Lawrence has only driven many Wal-Mart shopper to quit shopping at Wal-Mart. Don't be suprised to see picketing next. What happened to old man's philosophy? The kids don't get it, they just want the money. What other reason would you give for the threats and intimidation that so many communities have dealt with when Wal-Mart wants something and doesn't get what they want? Why have many countries kicked them out of the country? Why have so many states created growth management laws and cities had to create capacity and size laws. Is it becuase the Walton's are kind and caring people who support this community and country? There is a lawsuit that Wal-Mart uses regularly called SLAPP - Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation. These suits are filed to intimidate and retaliate against citizens who oppose Wal-Mart. Check their tactics. Are these the tactics of a business that has earned respect or anger. Hate is a strong word. Wal-Mart hater is inaccurate. But Wal-Mart has lost any credibility that would create respect.

karensisson 10 years, 7 months ago

altarego commented: I am personally appaled at the yard sign corruption of this recent election, but I'm not feeling the whole bought and paid for commission argument. Could be that I'm just stupid.

Of course not. Maybe lacking salient information. Most of us are. There are various conflicts of interest that certain city commissioners have. Business and personal ties to entities who stand to profit from the 6th/Wak project. You won't read about it in the newspaper. The more you know, the darker it all seems. I see the Journal World staff removed my previous comment, so I won't say more.

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 7 months ago

Wal-Mart will bring nothing to Lawrence. They make nothing. They will gain market share, as others (local businesses who pay better and keep money in this community) lose market share. The result is NOT economic development, but economic displacement.

coneflower 10 years, 7 months ago

As a resident of the neighborhood near 6th/Wak, I would just like to say that I feel as strongly as anyone that another Wal-Mart would be destructive to our community, but this should not detract from another extremely important issue: traffic. Any store with the same volume as Wal-Mart at the same times of day will create a dangerous and unpleasant traffic condition. Wal-Mart stores have been shown to generate 4 to 5 times the traffic of other big box stores.

Let's not forget there are two schools and a swimming pool near the corner. There are high school kids driving, kids of all ages walking and riding their bikes, and they have to cross that intersection.

Our children's safety should be a top concern. It should trump the rights of any landowner, company or business person.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 7 months ago

"Walmart is NOT violating ANY rules: "

Even if this were totally true (which I seriously doubt), what difference does it make?

I know a lot of people. If one of them wanted to come to my house and, for whatever reason, I chose not to let them in, isn't that my right? Who cares if they haven't violated any rules? If I want to, I can shut my door anytime I want and not let anyone in.

Shouldn't cities have the same right? Why do they need a particular reason?

Richard Heckler 10 years, 7 months ago


Giving preference to local suppliers, even if it means spending a little more, can actually benefit a city's finances. Dollars spent locally generate additional economic activity even beyond the value of the initial contract as the local supplier in turn sources goods and services locally. Each additional dollar that circulates locally boosts local economic activity, employment, and ultimately tax revenue.

Coneflower makes quite a substantial point. I had well connected business man approach me the other night who also made the Coneflower point in a strong way. This is not the location for any big box store.

This man does not care for the Wal-Mart business practices and stressed that a second store will allow Wal-Mart to take a total of $100,000,000(million) retail dollars from this market. I speculate that Bentonville and China are the big winners.

Actually it is the over development of retail in general that creates economic problems for Lawrence thus tax increases. IMO Wal-Mart,Baur Farm and Mercado are equal parts of the problem not only because of the economic impact on existing retail throughout Lawrence but because it will likely require more infrastructure to meet demands = more tax dollars from the cookie jar.

An economic impact analysis of a proposed Wal-Mart in Greenfield, Massachusetts, estimated that the 177 jobs it would provide would be offset by 148 jobs lost from other businesses. A study in Iowa estimated that 84% of the sales at a new Wal-Mart would come at the expense of existing businesses. When the same question was asked of a Wal-Mart proposed in Vermont, it was concluded that 76% of Wal-Mart's sales would come at the expense of local businesses.

A common conclusion of big studies is that big boxes create little in new retail sales and new jobs. People don't spend more, they spend in different places, and the jobs follow them. This is economic displacement not economic development.

peppermint 10 years, 7 months ago

WM posted lower sales this past quarter than any quarter since they began reporting in 1980.

Ceallach 10 years, 7 months ago

Pilgrim made a very good point. If the people of Lawrence (the city should not be a separate entity from the people) do not want Wal-Mart . . just don't shop there. If the sales are low enough they will go away.

Oh, and don't use their recycling services either. I see people in line with their recycling, espousing their loathing of Wal-Mart and swearing they would never shop there. That is more than a little hypocritical.

peppermint 10 years, 7 months ago

Liberal complains that Doug Compton paid for some road improvements at that corner. It seems to me those road improvements are necessary to support any future development on his land, whether it's a Wal-Mart or something else.

karensisson 10 years, 7 months ago

Ceallach says... "Oh, and don't use their recycling services either. I see people in line with their recycling, espousing their loathing of Wal-Mart and swearing they would never shop there. That is more than a little hypocritical."

It's deplorable that the city relies on Wal-Mart to provide a recycling center. That said, don't get too misty-eyed over Wal-Mart's providing this service. In other towns, recycling centers PAY MONEY for steel, and aluminum, and depending on the market, they might pay for glass, plastic and paper or they might just take it without paying. These are profitable businesses in other towns. The stuff isn't worth much - we would take a load down and get maybe $3 - but the point is, whoever Wal-Mart outsources their recycling to is not losing money. With the volume that center gets, they have to be making money.

You can take some recycling stuff to a place on New Hampshire that does pay for it, but they don't take everything.

peppermint 10 years, 7 months ago

Liberal (Anonymous) says: Have any of you heard of property rights?

Your property rights have limits when they begin to affect a large number of other people. You can't just do anything you want when it affects, basically, the whole town. You property is in the city limits of a town, and if that town is affected, expect some limitation on what you can do. You've made a bundle off this town and if you are careful not to destroy it, which your actions are in danger of doing, you'll make bundles more. Your disdain for the citizens and taxpayers, expressed over and over and over again in this blog (I read through your previous comments), says it all. To you this town is a field ripe for the reaping and its citizens are just pests who are in your way.

It will all get sorted out. Stop being a bad sport when others exercize their rights, as citizens and taxpayers, to speak their mind on this issue. It's unseemly. Your name-calling and your stereotyping and smearing of all opposition with one single brush is simply childish. It really is not that simple. People from all walks of life and all parts of town are opposed to this project for a wide variety of reasons. They aren't all what you'd call "hippies" and they aren't all opposed just because it's a Wal-Mart. There are many issues and they are all valid. Your property rights are just one part of this equation. Citizens have rights too. Get used to it.

cstern71 10 years, 7 months ago

How does the "think of the children" thing keep coming up? Nearly every single school in Lawrence is exposed to an overwhelming flow of traffic. I sometimes wonder if some of these people with traffic concerns actually drive. A new WalMart will most likely have no relevant influence on traffic other than displacing it near another school. So that would now be a problem. I guess it isn't already a problem. Anybody ever drive near LHS after 3:00 P.M.? I wouldn't want to be trying to cross the street or walk home.

And honestly, how many of us aren't cheap? I have no desire to spend more money than I have to on everyday necessity items. I'm not going to spend more money just to keep it local, and I really doubt any one else will either. It would be great to think otherwise, but deep down, I would rather save money. And the tax dollars stay local from WalMart, except the prices are lower so the actual amount per purchase of tax dollars is less, but I bet they have higher sales due to lower prices and that makes more tax dollars for the city to put in their pockets and take home.

This next statement will provide an answer to every argument:

Lawrence is corrupt. It has been since at least the 70s. Will it change? No. Does the city government care about you? No. Sure they want your vote, but it doesn't really matter because choosing one corrupt person on a ballot with two corrupt people doesn't change anything.

peppermint 10 years, 7 months ago

cstern: Here's what you said a few days ago, and reiterated today: "Traffic is obviously not a concern to the City of Lawrence. Yes, traffic would increase in that area, but does it really matter? Traffic is insanely heavy anywhere you go in Lawrence. The fact that it would increase near FHS is no different than the current traffic near LHS. You must consider the traffic trying to find their way to Kentucky St. so they can head for the ONE bridge into N. Lawrence."

The KDot traffic study that is already outdated showed traffic at 6th/Wak would be like 23rd/Louisiana with the proposed new development. This is a bad thing. Why would we purposely create another 23rd/Louisiana? That traffic situation was probably hard to prevent because that school has been there a long, long time. Does that mean we have to knowingly create the same dangerous situation at the other end of town? It makes no sense. You may not care about traffic, but many citizens do care about traffic. Parents especially care about traffic. It is our responsibility to keep our kids safe, and not to create a dangerous traffic situation around schools. It is the responsibility of the city commission and the city planning commission to consider the traffic. There are TWO schools, plus a swimming pool that gets 365 day use, and families and kids will see their safety compromised if we replicate 23rd/Louisiana at 6th/Wak. Why would we knowingly do that? Its irresponsible and crazy. Some kid is gonna die, God forbid! and when that terrible thing happens, the city will be sued by his devastated family. It isn't as if the city commission hasn't heard the concerns from families who predict this traffic problem. This is a valid concern and the city commission has a responsibility to address it somehow. And I don't think widening 6th street to 6 or 8 lanes is the answer. It's dangerous for kids to have to cross that many lanes of traffic.

I don't know how the traffic issue can be resolved but it must be resolved somehow before that corner gets more development.

peppermint 10 years, 7 months ago

Liberal said: "The other thing, the school district did not oppose this development."

We, the parents in this school district, are opposing it! Most people are not aware of what might happen soon and when they find out, they are as worried as I am.

peppermint 10 years, 7 months ago

Is it possible those people heard "economy" and "jobs" from the Dever and Chestnut campaigns, but did not understand the subtext was "a high traffic big box store on the NW corner?"

Is that possible?

I didn't hear anybody campaigning on the promise of a Wal-Mart at NW 6/Wak.

The west side is full of people who commute to Kansas City for the big bucks jobs. I don't think they were voting for miminum wage jobs at Wal-Mart which is all Wal-Mart offers. I think they were thinking of something else entirely when they went to the polls. Lots of those people know these candidates who are neighbors and will vote for them just because they are pleasant.

You know how poorly informed people are. It's a minority who really understand the issues, in any election.

Yes I know, apathy has its price for all. That's the downside of democracy. But don't claim a mandate from an 18% turnout and a campaign on buzzwords.

blackwalnut 10 years, 7 months ago

Liberal says: In the precinct that includes the West Lawrence Neighborhood Association, which is clearly the area that stands to be impacted the most, if there is an impact voted overwhelmingly for Dever and Chestnut by roughly 300 votes each, seem to disagree with your we the parents argument.

You know and I know that there are at least that many realtors in that neighborhood. They got out the vote and they won.

coneflower 10 years, 7 months ago

I don't understand why Chestnut and Dever, whose kids go to school with my kids and who live in these neighborhoods near 6th/Wak, want to ruin the neighborhood and hurt their neighbors. I wonder if they understand the degree of anxiety - and the resulting animosity - this issue is creating, as people worry about their children's safety and about increased traffic not just at the intersection but on the side streets in front of their homes. Some of my neighbors have very small kids and bought in the neighborhood because traffic is fairly light in front of the homes. Now it's all going to be ruined, and for what!

It doesn't make any sense that Dever and Chestnut would go against the interests of their neighbors. You have to wonder what their motives really are.

Before you write me off as representing the west Lawrence neighbors association, know that I've heard of them through this forum but I don't have anything to do with them. The opposition in west Lawrence is not limited to that organization.

phogm 10 years, 7 months ago

Many have given intelligent and well thought out responses about the Wal-Mart proposal at 6th and Wakarusa.

Due to a personal interest in what the ordinary citizen of Lawrence feels about the matter, I agreed to be part of a non-profit poll organization and have spent hours and hours over the past 3 days calling citizens of Lawrence to get their views on the 6th and Wakarusa project in a very simple 2 question poll that finished with giving them the ability for them to make a general comment regarding the reason for their position.

This whole thing is just a part of the entire development dispute at that very intersection and areas very close by. I thought it might be instructure to mention various questions posed to me by our citizens who responded to the poll questions.

I didn't anticipate any questions back to me as a poller and told them it was inappropriate for me, as a pollster, to comment on their questions. However, I do believe these unexpected questions show what the "average Joe" is thinking.

Here are some of the questions addressed by those I called for their personal opinion:

  1. If the zoning at that location only allows for the largest building at that location to be 80,000 square feet, why was the City willing to even consider the earlier proposals that were much higher than that amount?

  2. Why did the mayor just recently ask for Wal-Mart to again submit another plan knowing it will be over 80,000 square feet? What is going on here?

  3. Why do we have a city planning department if the zoning rules are continually changed to whatever is requested by any developer? If we have budget problems, why do we need a planning staff at all since the zoning restrictions are ignored and changed to meet whatever request is made? Why not just get rid of the pretense of commercial zoning in Lawrence?

  4. If we have budget problems, why did the city earlier this week approve spending $200,000 at a nearby intersection to handle traffic for something that hasn't yet been approved? Why is the City paying anything at all when it is for the benefit of the developers? Why is the City proposing to cut swimming pool hours and eliminate school crossing guards to save a few pennies while at the same time agreeing to spend this $200,000?

  5. How will a second Wal-Mart bring in any more net sales tax dollars to Lawrence? Why do we need a second Wal-Mart in a town of this size?

  6. Why does Wal-Mart want to build a store at that exact location next to a high school and residential neighborhood? Who owns the land in question and will stand to profit from it?

  7. Who is suing who in the lawsuit or lawsuits?

Those questions are representive of what people asked when give the chance to make general comments about their feelings about a second Wal-Mart at 6th and Wakarusa.

blackwalnut 10 years, 7 months ago


It sounds like hardly any "average Joes" have any idea what's going on.

conservative 10 years, 7 months ago

peppermint. I'm not familiar with the traffic study you cite, but you're missing something obvious from it. Even if it is saying the amount of traffic at 6th and Wak will be similar to 23rd and Louisiana, 6th and Wak is designed to handle it. 23rd street only has 1 left hand turn lane each direction and 6th has 2 in every direction. Not to mention that Louisiana is only 1 lane each direction and Wak is 2. So the intersection is already designed to handle the flow.

peppermint 10 years, 7 months ago

conservative: The Kansas Dept of Transportation study suggested traffic congestion that the city representative (speaking at the May 1 City Commission meeting) said compared to 23rd/Louisiana and to 31st/Iowa. He didn't say the number of cars was similar; he said the congestion was similar.

I've been at 23rd/Louisiana, trying to get to Checkers, after 5 p.m. I've had to back up the side street so that I could get out of there, after giving up trying to cross Louisiana. It's terrible.

A great concern is that, unlike at those two locations, 6th/Wak has many residential streets that come out onto 6th Street. Cars from Wal-Mart would be cutting through the neighborhoods to avoid the clogged intersection.

It's a terrible scanario: bad congestion at 6th/Wak where school kids have to cross, AND more outside traffic through the neighborhoods.

Anything they put at NE 6th/Wak needs to be something that generates less traffic than a Wal-Mart.

I understand this may not be important to people who don't live anywhere near this intersection, or to the developers. It should be important to the city commission because it's a safety issue.

blackwalnut 10 years, 7 months ago

Why is it ok for a city commission to rezone an area just because a business requests a rezoning, but it's not legitimate for the city to rezone an area because THEY decide it is better for the city.


Those of you crying foul over the city rezoning this corner will be the first to support a developer walking up and asking for a rezoning on their own behalf.

karensisson 10 years, 7 months ago

Pilgrim says: "And the property owners at that intersection, having followed all the rules, and having gotten approval from the professional planning staff of the city, are citizens, too. Get used to it."

That's not what I heard. I heard that the city's rules are that if a building permit is denied, it cannot be resubmitted again within a certain number of months unless the new plan is substantially different. SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT. I also heard Wal-Mart submitted the same plan three times and the only thing that varied was the size.

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