Archive for Friday, July 9, 2010

Lawrence city commissioners considering going back to old primary system for elections

July 9, 2010


Candidates haven’t even begun to emerge, but a primary election in the next Lawrence City Commission race seems more likely.

City commissioners at their meeting this week will consider relaxing the requirements on when a primary election must be held in City Commission races.

A new state law in 2009 made it unnecessary for the first time in decades for the city to hold a primary to narrow the field in the City Commission race.

The new state law does not require a primary election unless 10 or more candidates are vying for the three City Commission seats that are up for grabs every two years.

At their meeting on Tuesday, commissioners will consider exempting the city out of the state law and going back to the old system that required a primary anytime seven or more candidates filed.

“I think the plan that we had before worked extremely well,” said Mayor Mike Amyx. “It gave people a chance to go through a primary and become known to the voters.”

Amyx said the last election had problems with candidate forums being overly long because nine to 10 candidates were trying to answer questions.

Commissioner Rob Chestnut said he also supports going back to the old system to give voters more time to learn about the candidates.

“I think we need to try to encourage primaries,” Chestnut said. “It just seems that we don’t get the level of attention that is necessary without a primary. The election creeps up on you.”

There could be a cost associated with the change. Every time the city avoids a primary election, it saves abut $35,000 that otherwise would be spent to stage an election.

Amyx, though, said the cost is reasonable, especially given that City Commission elections occur only once every two years.

The next City Commission elections are slated for 2011. A primary election would be in February. The general election will be in April.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.


blindrabbit 3 years, 9 months ago

When did Lawrence go the present form; I think it was back in the 1950's. Was Chris Kraft the last real mayor??


jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

Well, if more people turned out for the elections, they'd be a better representation of Lawrence's population - can't blame that on the system.

But I sort of like the idea of commissioners from different neighborhoods and an elected mayor.


swan_diver 3 years, 9 months ago

Yes. Lawrence's city government is a fraudulent form of so-called democracy. The Manager-Commission system was invented to short-circuit public involvement in municipal governance -- so special interests like business, banks, developers and real estate interests could reap their spoils, with as little interference from the field slaves as possible.

Look at one pathetic bunch of city commissioners after another here, 'selected' in the ridiculous 'beauty-contest' primaries and general elections. Look at your voter turn-out. Look at the percentage of registered voters supporting each of the winners at election. I guarantee you (it can be statistically verified to the decimal point) that two or three of the sitting commissioners didn't even receive a majority of the votes cast on election day, to win their seats -- and NONE of them ever serve with more than the support of 15% of the number of registered voters in the city. They represent no one but themselves. The whole system is a sham, and it's going to stay that way.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 9 months ago

Not only is the "commission" form of government dysfunctional, the general attitude of the public towards city elections stinks. Commissioners are elected primarily by how many yard signs their supporters can afford. I wish this newspaper would do a public survey, ask 25 people on the street (J-W Loves to do these kind of fluff pieces) to name 2 of these public officials. I think the results would be damning!

Once elected, they sit on their butts and ignore citizen imput and information. They are the most outrageously incompetant group of government "officials" I have ever seen, and being a former military brat, I have been around a bit. I have never seen such a dilapidated form of government that this city suffers under, nor have I seen so much public need being ignored by these clueless individuals who only respond to the instructions of the city manager, Mr. core-less.


Hoots 3 years, 9 months ago

Elections are popularity contest much like a beauty pageant. How often is the most popular or prettiest the brightest?... Not very often in my experience.


Randall Barnes 3 years, 9 months ago

3 communist from west lawrence and 3 commisioners from east lawrence we need a mix of people on the commission


classclown 3 years, 9 months ago

It's Jesse "The body" Ventura.

Jim Carry was Ace Ventura.


bearded_gnome 3 years, 9 months ago

yes Jessie "ace" ventura is in MN.

Wisconsin is ruled by nutty liberals though.

a representative city commission would lead more lawrence citizens to feel that their city government represents them, and genuinely cares about their neighborhood.

and yes, the strong city manager system we have now means that the city manager does not have to face the voters directly, despite however many spears he has to catch.


bearded_gnome 3 years, 9 months ago

thank you NWYT.

Pilgrim, yes KC is really messed up but there I think the fault is exactly those power groups and the mayor doesn't have *enough strength in that syste.

Merrill, no, not interpretation. on an article about an accidental power outage you actually did write that a system of these would be good to force energy conservation.

many times RE the SLT and other road projects you have stated that you just simply want people not to drive.

so by your own words you admit you oppose smooth streets here. thanks.


blindrabbit 3 years, 9 months ago

igby: i think Jessie was Minnesotan not a Cheese Head.


igby 3 years, 9 months ago

God help you bikers when your butt hits the pavement on this new "chip and seal" cheap fix pavement. It the roughest surface I've ever seen. Och!


macon47 3 years, 9 months ago

if we cant got back to districts to at least have some one to accept responsibility for a part of town, , at least make sure any women candidates dont shave thier armpits , or bath on a daily basis that always works well in lawrence


blindrabbit 3 years, 9 months ago

Better than the current Commission form, Lawrence needs a "Strong Mayor" form of government. City needs a professional administrator that is directly elected by the voters . Get rid of this "beauty contest" and get a real functional professionalism.

We've put up with this crap long enough.


Flap Doodle 3 years, 9 months ago

Copy/pasting the same set of links over 100 times is a sure sign of a troubled mind.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

the roundabouts - yes I do subscribe to roundabouts

new "smooth" streets promote faster driving - yes I have said that

All the other is simply interpretation aka conjecture.


bearded_gnome 3 years, 9 months ago

Oh, did Merrill-spambot come out from under its rock?

Merrill was a vital figure with GRA, and before that the Progressive Lawrence leftists. part of his psychosis is demonstrated in that he brings up president Bush under an article like this LOL!

he has advocated: the roundabouts; that broken streets make good passive traffic calming devices; though he is on the dreaded traffic safety commission, he has repeatedly posted that he is opposed to all driving; he has promoted nude hiking, nude biking, and nude gardening; he says that if we all lived in caves it would be much better for the environment; and he is actually in favor of forced power outages as a way to conserve electricity.

All of these wacky positions and more can be found in his very checkered posting history, if you sort through all the mindless cut-and-paste drivel.


bearded_gnome 3 years, 9 months ago

while I agree with MikeA and RobC about the utility of a city commission election primary, there's something else our city needs far more!

our city must change from at large city commission seats, basically beauty contests that are often ruled by small pressure groups who can wield inappropriate influence ("grass Roots Action" for example).

instead we need to localize our representative democracy: Lawrence should have five or seven "alderman" positions, each representing a distinct neighborhood. and, the mayor is not the "Miss America" of them all but only he/she has to win a city-wide election, holds the mayoral office for four years, etc. thus, the mayor would not be an alderman too.

areas of lawrence which are routinely underrepresented on the commission would thus always have their representatives there.

the ruling elite of this community seems to scoff at this idea. thus, it is apparent that an alderman system is much more needed.

how many commissioners now and in the past twelve years have been from west lawrence? vs: how many from east lawrence? North Lawrence ...


Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

Don't vote for the candidates that the chamber and real estate industry are supporting. This group has ruled for most of the last 23 years and now the city is a fiscal wreck.

Sorry folks we cannot blame Bush/Cheney for gross urban mismanagement in spite of the fact that Bush/Cheney pulled off another major fraud. Reagan/Bush did well too.

Lawrence began to slow down around 2006 then 2007. The city was not planning for the "boom town economy" to end. All "boom town economies" crash....... always.

Bedroom communities and over built retail do not pay back.


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