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Archive for Monday, April 13, 2009

City splits

The new Lawrence City Commission will face important decisions for the future of our city.

April 13, 2009

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As usually is the case a week after election day, Tuesday’s Lawrence City Commission agenda will be a light one.

Once they get past the consent agenda, the commissioners largely will be focused on the ceremonial transition that will mark the exit of two commissioners and the seating of two new ones.

Mike Amyx, the top vote-getter last Tuesday, will return to his seat for another four-year term, but two other veteran commissioners, Sue Hack and Boog Highberger, will step down. They both deserve the community’s gratitude for their years of service on the commission.

The two new commissioners who will be sworn in Tuesday, Aron Cromwell for a four-year term and Lance Johnson for two years, also deserve thanks for their willingness to step up to help lead the city during some challenging times. They will join continuing commissioners Mike Dever and Rob Chestnut, who is expected to be chosen as Lawrence’s next mayor.

There has been the usual amount of analysis after last Tuesday’s election, looking at the dismal voter turnout, the rise of voting in western parts of the city and a decline in the east and what “category” those who were elected fit into. Offering online analysis as election results came in last Tuesday, former Commissioner John Nalbandian talked about the possible absence of “what we would in the past have considered a ‘neighborhood candidate’” on the commission. He speculated that if voters bypassed two candidates he placed in that category (neither were elected), Lawrence would have a more “business oriented” city commission. He conceded, however, that he wasn’t sure how Cromwell, who was elected, “fits into the traditional way we break down candidate positions.”

How refreshing to have one or more candidates who don’t fit into the roles we so often assign: east Lawrence vs. west Lawrence or neighborhood vs. business. Wouldn’t it be great if we could look at our city commissioners as people who were willing to step out of those roles and simply do what’s best for Lawrence? We’ll soon know if this is the case with the new City Commission.

Despite the lack of interest local voters showed in Tuesday’s election, these commissioners will face issues that may be pivotal to the future of Lawrence. We thank them for their commitment to that task and wish them all the best.

Comments

Godot 5 years ago

Who cares?

ps I voted.

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logrithmic 5 years ago

"Let's get government out of the lawn mowing and doctoring businesses."


Hunh? Are you going to a VA hospital? Are you a member of the armed forces? Didn't think so. So what doctor do you visit and how is he/she working for the government (besides the typical method of paying taxes)?

Lawn mowing? Man, put down the booze...

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Chris Ogle 5 years ago

Kinda hard for those elected to represent us, when most of "us" don't even vote......

When will it change???? When it gets bad enough for those who bitch, to go out and vote.

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Marion Lynn 5 years ago

gl0ck0wn3r (Anonymous) says…

People still listen to Nalbandian? Wow."

Marion writes:

What is the sound of Nabandian speaking, Grasshopper?

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parrotuya 5 years ago

So when will the inept and ineffective city commission be dissolved? That is truly the first order of business for the soon-to-be-dissolved city commission. But, I suspect, they will find a way to screw that up as well.

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jayhawklawrence 5 years ago

It appears to me to be a thankless job.

I have disagreed with Boog concerning the South Lawrence Trafficway which I think is necessary to future economic development.

I have criticized Sue Hack for her business connections that were not as transparent as I would have liked.

That being said, I thought they were intelligent and dedicated to their jobs.

I am sorry if they felt unappreciated in any way.

I did vote for both of them at one time or another even though I disagreed with them on some issues.

I think they will be missed and I wish them well. I am grateful for their investment in our community.

I am sorry that it was probably difficult at times, but I will always be grateful to them. I believe they did the best they could in a difficult job.

Thank you.

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Pilgrim 5 years ago

ocean (Anonymous) says…

I think it's past time to call all these people out on their lies — and let the people of Lawrence know that the ridiculous 'beauty-contest' electoral format staged under our Commission-Manager form of local government, produces a governing body, year in and year out, on which a majority of office-holders almost never got a majority of the votes of participating citizens, on election day.

When you add in the fact that turn-out was an embarrassing disgrace, you'll begin to understand the nature of the ugly truth of Lawrence 'politics.' Our city commissioners don't represent anyone but themselves, and the pathetically tiny number of people who supported them at the polls.


Spoken like a true backer of the losers.

Want some cheese to go with that whine?

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Marion Lynn 5 years ago

"City splits".

What's new there?

The City of Lawrence has for years been both hare-brained AND split-brained and may now be rat-brained!

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XD40 5 years ago

logrithmic: the quality of your life is your responsibility not the governments'.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years ago

logrithmic,

Explain to us again what right or responsibility city government has over "maintaining green space (and) funding health departments"?

Let's get government out of the lawn mowing and doctoring businesses.

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gl0ck0wn3r 5 years ago

People still listen to Nalbandian? Wow.

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Steven Gaudreau 5 years ago

Cromwell spent $10,000 of his own money to get elected. Why would someone do that? Could it be he owns a business that services companies? Perhaps companies that he will try to bring to Lawrence. All you greenies got duped.

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Phil Minkin 5 years ago

Ocean, It is a problem, but short of "vote or go to jail" what is your solution? Few, if any, elected officials get a majority of elegilble(all citizens over 18) voters. Some say it's because of ignorance and apathy, but personally I don't know and I don't care. The Supreme Court has said that campaign spending=speech, so you can't restrict it.

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ocean 5 years ago

Did you realized that Lance Johnson will serve two years on the commission, after spending a record $25K on his campaign, while receiveing only 38% of the vote?

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ocean 5 years ago

This Johnson character will hold a seat on the Lawrence City Commission for two years -- having won 38% of 14% of the REGISTERED!!!

It's absurd

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ocean 5 years ago

who said that:

Here are the REAL election results from Tuesday's City Commission vote:

Amyx 59.3% Cromwell 42.5% Johnson 38.1%

You didn't see these figures anywhere else — did you? That's because the folks who own and operate Lawrence at their own behest don't want you to know that two of the three new commissioners to 'serve' the people of Lawrence, on our 'democratically-elected' governing body, voted in on Tuesday, have far less than 50% of the vote of the 9,374 people who cast ballots. They add up ALL the votes cast, of which each voter has up to three, and call it 25,000 votes — and divide the number of votes each candidate received into that figure — giving Amyx a 21% figure — which is nonsense, and a number and statistic which is less than meaningless.

All this journalistic fraud unfolds in an environment lorded over by an elected county clerk, and the so-called 'political scientists' of KU's poli-sci department, and their Department of Public Administration, who are, it is obvious to me, are a part of the charade.

I think it's past time to call all these people out on their lies — and let the people of Lawrence know that the ridiculous 'beauty-contest' electoral format staged under our Commission-Manager form of local government, produces a governing body, year in and year out, on which a majority of office-holders almost never got a majority of the votes of participating citizens, on election day.

When you add in the fact that turn-out was an embarrassing disgrace, you'll begin to understand the nature of the ugly truth of Lawrence 'politics.' Our city commissioners don't represent anyone but themselves, and the pathetically tiny number of people who supported them at the polls.

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ocean 5 years ago

Topeka not Lawrence is the most restrictive in Kansas.

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tumbilweed 5 years ago

logrithmic, the lights going westbound from downtown on 6th street do just that, all the way out to wakarusa without stopping.

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Bowhunter99 5 years ago

The utterly useless 'city living wage' comes to mind... I think that's enough to chase any potential employers.

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grimpeur 5 years ago

Prune sez: "As it stands today, Lawrence is one of the most restrictive communities in the United States for new businesses."

Examples, please. Compare the restrictive aspects of Lawrence to those of other cities of similar size and demographic. Be specific. What particular "restriction" have you encountered in your dealings with the city?

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logrithmic 5 years ago

"The key for all the commissioners, old and new alike, is to make Lawrence a more business friendly community."\


Nonsense. It is to improve the quality of life for its citizens. So-called business and developturd concerns would be part of the issue. But so would maintaining green space, funding health departments, ensuring that sidewalks and potholes and sewer systems are maintained, and that older neighborhoods aren't jettisoned for cheap tract housing. In addition, there certainly should be restrictions on sprawl and commercial development -where much of the cost is borne by the taxpayer - and where, after only a few decades, we end up with eye sores and the traffic problems of 23rd Street.

Finally, I'd ask the city commission to make coordinated street lights a reality. Just the other day I was driving north on Iowa from the "bridge to nowhere" and stopped every few minutes. Lights should turn green in a coordinated fashion to move traffic on our major throughfares - including 23rd Street, 6th Street, Iowa, etc.

Thanks for playing!

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dubstep 5 years ago

I must say, despite our residents' complaints about our city government, and the ideological differences that they may have with each other, at least they are respectful of each other and do keep in mind that Lawrence's residents won't stand for a lot of the more extreme "pro-business" governments, and if you want to understand what I mean, just look at Topeka's city government, which is so factionalized and prone to conflict and pettiness, and Kansas City's regular uproar over Funkhauser, etc. I truly believe that each one of them takes the position seriously, and the $9000 per year salary for a 20-30 hour per week job shows they clearly aren't in it to get rich.

Despite times I disagree with their decisions, I believe they genuinely do what they feel is best for the community. Despite the low voter turnout, there are a few dozen people pay close attention to our city commission, and they make sure to keep a close eye on our commissioners. Congrats to the winners, especially Mike Amyx, who I don't always agree with, but I voted for him because he's a stand-up guy who has spent a large part of his adult life in public service.

Also, if you know about the new buy-local policy, you should thank a Tuesday regular, Hubbard, who raised questions about the bids and asked if any local vendors were close. Thanks to his comments (in removing an item from the CONSENT agenda) we are now supporting a Lawrence car dealer (nearly 200K). We all know they could use the help right now.

I'm looking forward to see how the future plays out for our city.

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BigPrune 5 years ago

The key for all the commissioners, old and new alike, is to make Lawrence a more business friendly community. So far, the previous election supposed pro-business elected commissioners have been a dismal failure in changing the attitude at City Hall towards helping recruit new businesses. As it stands today, Lawrence is one of the most restrictive communities in the United States for new businesses. With the current national economy failing, now is not the time for the City of Lawrence to be restrictive towards businesses at all. The local stagnation and economic downturn Lawrence has experienced these past years (2000 through today) will only continue without a positive attitude from City Hall in recruiting businesses or being receptive to new businesses and local businesses that want to expand in our community.

Why does our city have such a horrible reputation? Because they require a dog and pony show.

Now's the time to turn lemons into lemonade.

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