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Letters to the Editor

Ask voters: Yes or no?

April 16, 2008

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To the editor:

Let the voters decide:

¢ Yes or no on public transportation. The T had six consecutive years of way above average growth.

¢ Yes or no on impact fees. Residential growth does not pay for itself because the revenue generated by residential does not pay for the services they require from a municipality. In order for the city to have orderly growth, developers need to be responsible for a certain amount of the infrastructure. Most builders understand impact fees are for a purpose that improves their developments.

¢ Yes or no on light industrial sites. How many is the question? The North Lawrence site needs $42 million worth of projects such as flood control, reconstruction projects, bridge and culvert. Then roads, walks, etc. Which site is fiscally prudent for the taxpayer?

¢ Yes or no on new library location. No more than $20 million. I suggest next to arts center, which makes use of underused parking garage across the street. Convert current library building to a convention center. Don't demolish the building.

¢ Yes or no on using Mass. Street for tourism and revenue generation. Tourism is about people enjoying themselves then going home. Fun things - such as more cycling activities, garden shows, farmers markets, sidewalk sales, art shows and maybe a blues and jazz festival - will draw larger crowds downtown consistently.

Richard Heckler,
Lawrence

Comments

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

Downtown Tourism is people having fun,spending some money then going home. Downtown Lawrence is a huge attraction which needs restoration.Mass Street entertainment is the key. Focusing on what exists may bring in more economic growth than spending lots of money trying to create something which may not work. Make existing resourcespay back again and again Cycling competition brings people from all over the USA and maybe the world. Cyclist like Lawrence,the terrain and its' proximity as the center of the USA which means less travel time.-Racing-Racing for 55 and over-Downhill Racing-Rock HoppingArt Fairs are popular so why not schedule in two more on Mass Street in addition to Art in the Park. Promote the Lawrence Art Walk into a large affair that attracts more folks from kcmo/joco,Shawnee County,Leavenworth County etc etc. The Plaza and Westport have been doing very well with art fairs annually. The fairs must be paying back. Lawrence has an "artists" legacy. Make it work big time for Lawrence.Public transportation will be essential to tourists.Schedule spring and fall garden shows on Mass Street. So many people just about everywhere love looking at Landscape ideas and beautiful plants. Invite in a ton of landscapers from surrounding communities. Include the Farmers Market in this show. Again schedule when all schools are in session.Why not move the Saturdays Farmers Market to Mass Street? This change could happen reasonably quickly. How about two sidewalk sales instead of one? One the first week of May and and one the first week of October. When KU students are in town. How about a Blues and Jazz Festival in downtown Lawrence such that KCMO does? Blues stage on 7th street/ Jazz stage on 8th street. Replay Lounge doing something on 10th street. Allow local vendors to cater the events. Schedule this event when KU sudents are around. Lawrence has a solid music historyRepair downtown streets,sidewalks and update downtown landscaping annually. Beautiful landscapes attract visitors. Build a $17.5 million dollar library across the street from the New Hampshire parking garage(saves 10 million) and make maximun use of the parking garageDO NOT demolish the library building. Convert the existing library building into a convention center which could save millions upon millions. Lawrence does not need an extravagant small town convention center. Clean it up,do some remodel and landscape,landscape,landscape... we're set to go. Two large meeting spaces(one downstairs) and two existing smaller places in the current space. This would pay off.*Encourage funding for an economic growth team in city hall that will focus on the central business district which is downtown.

monkeyhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Must be tough to be so miserable and stuck in a town you hate with no way out, and absolutely no power to change anything.There was a vote and you lost, so suck it up. Looks like your bud will be the lone dissenter for a long time to come. No wonder Montgomery wants the progressives back in power. They gave him the moon, and our current CC has enough brains not to give him carte blanche on the backs of the taxpayers.

LogicMan 6 years, 8 months ago

"The T had six consecutive years of way above average growth."Growth rate (percentage). Ridership was so low that any increase resulted in a large percent increase. But the absolute numbers and revenue were still horrible, and slightly decreased riders last year if I'm remembering correctly.The T needs trimming badly -- down to just running the four major streets (Iowa, Mass, 6th, and 23rd) to the edges of town and back.

Joshua Montgomery 6 years, 8 months ago

Voters in the city of Lawrence did make a decision in April of 2007. They decided to put the reigns of the city in the hands of the current administration.If citizens of Lawrence feel as though the current City Commission doesn't represent their views (and many do) they should take action at the poles next April.Democracy only works if you participate. Help build and finance progressive media in Lawrence (the Lawrencian, Larryville.com), donate to progressive campaigns and above all, vote progressive in April '09.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

Grassroots Action offers a solution to the City's budget problemIn 2005, the City Commission cut the property tax levy by 1.523 mills. Since then, Lawrence has experienced what some officials describe as a budget crisis leading the City to impose steep burdens on service providers and low-income citizens:¢ In June 2007, the City Commission imposed a 4% funding cut on two dozen outside human service agencies for the remainder of 2007. The net gain for the City is minuscule ($60,000, less than a single administrative salary); the harm to the affected agencies, which mainly serve low-income women and children, is significant.¢ The City Manager's draft 2008 budget includes a projected cut for the city's bus system, a freeze on city salaries, and a steep increase, from $1.75 to $4.00, in fees for the city pool. Cutting human services, public transit and access to public recreation, while freezing City wages, is not the answer to the City's budget crisis. The solution, rather, is to restore the property levy cut in 2005. The City Manager has said that restoring just two-thirds of this levy would spare the bus system and give City workers a 2% pay raise.We say: Restore the entire levy. Restore human services. Restore the balance. ¢ Return the funding taken from the human service agencies. ¢ Pay all city workers enough to keep up with inflation.¢ Keep the bus system running and affordable.¢ Keep the pool open and affordable.Restoring the City's 1.5 mill property tax cut would cost the owner of a $300,000 house just $51.75. That tax was in effect just two years ago. Restored, it would return Lawrence to enhanced financial stability. (In comparison, a one cent hike in sales taxes would cost a family with a $40,000 income about $40.) 0 City Commissioner Boog Highberger voted against the property tax reduction in 2005, saying "I'm not sure it's the fiscally responsible thing to do." City Commissioner Sue Hack said that "We may be putting a future commission in a position to raise taxes..."*

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

First, the voter turnout in the last city commission election was horribly low - something like 11%.Next, we see the results of the change - another Wal-Mart, back room decisions on tax abatements, questionable practices by commissioners as far as disclosures/conflicts of interest, more giveaways to businesses (Oread Inn), and cutbacks in social/community programs.Seems like the current commission is completely in line with the political culture of the Bush administration.The Oread Inn, just to take one example, would in fact have been profitable without the tax giveaways, just not as profitable as the business wanted it to be (if the information in the paper was correct). Why are we subsidizing higher profits?

WHY 6 years, 8 months ago

First, the voter turnout in the last city commission election was horribly low - something like 11%.This is because 89% of us don't give a damn one way or the other. We all voted for "things are going alright".

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