Will Tuesday’s election for Lawrence city commissioners be another ho-hum, cookie-cutter occasion? Will there be a lot of talk about how voters should carefully study candidates’ stands on the important issues facing Lawrence then cast their ballots only to learn after the election that only a small fraction of eligible voters took advantage of the opportunity to put the best qualified candidates into office?
It happens year after year.
Will it be the same this year?
Lawrence is facing serious challenges. There isn’t enough money to meet all the important needs of the city and its residents. Lawrence schools need more money, and the city’s slow growth has reduced property tax revenues, which are not sufficient to transform Lawrence into an even finer community. The city needs more large building sites for industry and business. The relationship between the city and Kansas University is not what it was years ago, and KU is looking for a new chancellor.
What will be the level of interaction and cooperation between Lawrence and university leadership? How can the “town-gown” relationship be im-proved? What needs to be done to generate more good jobs for Lawrence residents?
How can the long-delayed South Lawrence Trafficway be finished along the 32nd Street route? What can the city do to increase its supply of fresh water to meet the inevitable demands? How do we make Lawrence a safer city for its residents?
What can Lawrence residents do to help KU tell its story to state legislators so lawmakers can realize the areas of true excellence on Mount Oread? A properly funded university with strong, visionary and courageous leadership will make Lawrence a better city and Kansas a better state.
The challenges and opportunities are vast, and unless Lawrence and Douglas County have good, strong, honest, visionary leadership in City Hall and the courthouse, the city is severely handicapped. Lawrence has no chance of reaching its potential with just “average” leadership. It needs dedicated, smart and honest individuals with sound records of accomplishment.
Voting in Tuesday’s election is important business. It is important to the city and to every current resident. It is a matter that deserves the attention and participation of more than just an embarrassingly small percentage of voters. Tuesday’s voter turnout will offer the best possible proof of the level of interest local residents have in the welfare and future of their city. Do they really care or do they just talk a good talk?
Lawrence used to be looked upon as one of the most progressive, forward-looking cities in Kansas with every opportunity to set the standard for the entire state. What’s happened in a relatively short time? Could it be a malaise of complacency and indifference and the failure to elect well-qualified and properly motivated individuals to positions of leadership in City Hall?
Are Lawrence residents sufficiently concerned over the future of Lawrence to do something about this dangerous drift and start getting involved by voting in Tuesday’s election?