Letters to the Editor

Growth issues

July 16, 2008

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To the editor:

I read recently that the Lawrence population grew 0.7 percent last year.

A prominent community planner said that was "failing" and we needed to grow 2.5 to 3.0 percent a year to be "successful." I have heard this reasoning all my life, and wonder why population growth (i.e., money, jobs, new business, etc.), always seems to be THE measure of progress. We even offer enormous financial incentives (funded by current taxpayers, of course) to lure new business to Lawrence. How about quality of life? Shouldn't that be the main component in any discussion of a community's "success"?

I never hear discussion about the consequences of continuous and steady growth. Do we really want to grow indefinitely so we can satisfy some arbitrary definition of success? I made some calculations based on a current population of 90,000, increasing at 3 percent a year. In 20 years Lawrence would be over 162,000. In 40 years we would be up to 293,000. Perhaps we could eventually have the "success" of continuous housing from Lawrence to Kansas City, along with the additional pollution, traffic headaches, increased crime, etc.

The major factors in my family's decision to move here when I retired was the size and atmosphere of Lawrence. I previously lived in Houston, Tulsa and Kansas City and have experienced the impersonal way of life and other negative issues in those heavily populated areas. I love Lawrence just the way it is.

To quote Joan Rivers' famous line: "Can we talk?"

Jerry Lyons,
Lawrence

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

"This has put Lawrence in a recession for years and now the national economy follows. "I'm sure the world's economists will be glad to know that the world-wide recession has its origins with the Greater Lawrence Anti-Growth Conspiracy.

BigPrune 6 years, 9 months ago

The No Growth machine has been running Lawrence this decade. This has put Lawrence in a recession for years and now the national economy follows. Lawrence's quality of life is worse today than before. This No Growth mindset carries on in City Hall, proven by their disappointment that the Progressive City Commissioners lost the majority this past election. They bite the hand that feeds them.It's time for some new blood.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 9 months ago

A custumer/consumer can (if they want to) live within their means. A taxpayer is stuck.... after the election. Please vote!

Chris Ogle 6 years, 9 months ago

Dear Bozo on the bus:I respect your opinion, but I disagree. The difference between business and government:If business attempts to force something on the consumer, the consumer goes away. If Government does the same, we pay more taxes, whether we like it or not. Too bad more of us don't vote.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 9 months ago

Business is like a flower. It either grows or it dies. Government on the other hand is different. Government is like a noxious weed. If not controlled it will choke out everything else in its path.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 9 months ago

"Can we talk?"More and more, I fear, the answer to that question is no. The "public" airwaves and forums (such as these boards) are filled with a supply of deliberately unreasonable and deceptive commentators spewing lies and misinformation at every opportunity. Should a valid point be raised, these proffessional propagandists are always there with a quick diversion or obfuscation to prevent any meaningful give and take. All attempts quickly devolve in to name calling and insults. Without meaningful conversation, polarization and escalation of partisan feelings rule the day. Would our parent's have behaved in the ways that we see exhibited regularly here every day? I was raised to hold my tongue unless I had something valuable to say. The lesson imparted to me was that you could easily open your mouth and reveal yourself to be a fool, better to wait until you had something intelligent to say. Sadly, that is not the case today. We have made it too easy for the idiot, the ill-informed, the evil partisan to have their say and to have it go unchallenged. To be sure, there are some here who try to combat the lies and slanders thata regularly occur, but there are too few. I encourage each and every one of you off sound, fair and decent judgment to speak up the next time you read the riddiculous, unffounded or untruthful statements of some of the more notorious posters here. Perhaps together we can bring back a bit of the shame a fool should feel when he opens his mouth and revealshis true nature for all to see. Certainly, politely ignoring the situataion is not making things any better. To wit: building a trafficway allegedly results in less pollution in our (still) fair town. I understand a vehicle running at highway speed uses more energy per second than a car does while idling, so I would think that there would have to be some sort of mathematical study done to support the conclusion so many here have jumped to. And what of the point that making it easier to travel means that more people will make the trip.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

" In 40 years we would be up to 293,000."Even at 0.7% annual growth, population in 40 years would grow to 118,000. Hardly a disaster, even if you worship at the altar of growth.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

Population growth is not necessary to experience economic growth. Just bringing in say green collar industries to employ the existing population would provide new economic growth.Making use of existing resources to draw tourism to downtown Lawrence also provides economic growth. Population growth is necessary for the real estate industry to sell homes that do not pay back to the community. Otherwise there is no real need for additional populationgrowth.Older neighborhoods paid back because tenants worked and spent money in Lawrence,Kansas. And Lawrence obviously did not experience irresponsibly managed growth. It appears it grew with a plan not helter skelter. Lawrence was not over stocked in residential and retail.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

BP,You must be pleased with the current commissioners then.They have: Agreed to various TIF and other tax abatements for businesses.Cut various programs (mostly social) from the budget.And, strangely enough, we need a tax increase to pay for infrastructure maintenance.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 9 months ago

"If Government does the same, we pay more taxes, whether we like it or not. Too bad more of us don't vote."Not so. When a majority of the people are concerned enough to vote for change, government is restrained.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

And, before we get the predictable response that previous administrations are responsible for the lack of infrastructure maintenance:When I first moved here, it seemed that Lawrence did a fair amount of maintenance annually. After a few years, that seemed to stop - I can only conclude that they diverted those resources to building new roads, widening roads, etc. in order to plan for growth.Growth has costs as well as benefits.I would much rather see a sustainable well-maintained town than a continually growing one.

BigPrune 6 years, 9 months ago

Bozo on the bus and others,Lawrence has been in an economic recession this current decade. It is a fact that can be backed up by hard numbers directly caused by the City Government's self-imposed policies. Anyone trying to blame Lawrence's woes on the national economy is being disingenuous. Now the national economy is suffering. Add the overall poor local economy to the now poor national economy spells potential ruin to our City. Now is not the time for the slow growth minority's failed policy to carry on.Things need to change NOW. Replace everyone at City Hall that encourages slow growth. Slow growth cannot sustain our local economy. How many more years do we have to endure this failed policy?

Chris Ogle 6 years, 9 months ago

scott3460 (Anonymous) says: "If Government does the same, we pay more taxes, whether we like it or not. Too bad more of us don't vote."Exactly!!!! Please Vote

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

"Business is like a flower. It either grows or it dies."No, businesses need to offer products that their customer base wants, and do it at a fair price. If they do that the business owners and their employees make a decent living, and all is good. If their products and services are good enough, they may grow, which can be a good thing, but it's not at all essential to the survival of the business, and the rest of the community certainly shouldn't be expected to subsidize them in their attempts to grow."Government is like a noxious weed. If not controlled it will choke out everything else in its path."Government is a necessity because we are social animals-- if we don't work together, we go extinct. Can government be abused? Can it be ineffective? Sure, but that's true of lots of things essential to our survival.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

Your basic question of why must we grow that way is one of substance. Thanks for putting that question to the public.Growing the way Lawrence has for the past 25 years is a mismanaged style and the style of management is not changing. People in real estate make a ton more money building residential so that is what they did without due regard for the cost existing residents would bear or how that type of growth impacts the city aka high taxes bedroom community.Focusing only on over building residential and and over building retail is gross mismanagement of a city. There are tools at a governments disposal that could have prevented such negligence. Today those tools are still ignored.The Chamber influenced city,county and planning commissions chose a economic pollution,economic displacement and no economic impact studies policy to run our fair city. As a result one of the most beautiful sections of the city is ignored aka east Lawrence.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

The green collar industry is about blue and white collars.

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