Archive for Monday, November 8, 2010

Voting patterns

An interesting voting pattern emerged from Tuesday’s library bond issue election.

November 8, 2010


A map plotting the election precincts that voted for and against the $18 million bond issue to expand the Lawrence Public Library discloses an interesting pattern.

Citywide, about 55 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the library funding. Although none of the city’s 49 voting precincts registered strong opposition to the bond issue, a majority of voters in 13 of the precincts voted against the plan. The location of precincts where the negative votes occurred are somewhat interesting.

The entire central part of Lawrence supported the library’s expansion plan. Between Clinton Parkway and Sixth Street and from Wakarusa Drive to the city’s eastern boundary, all but a handful of precincts voted in favor of the bonds.

The highest vote against the bond issue was 56.5 percent at Haskell Indian Nations University. The other precincts opposing the plan were located at the north, south and west edges of the city.

Again, it’s hard to draw many solid conclusions from the relatively narrow margins by which the bond issue was defeated in these precincts, but the ring of opposing precincts around a core of supporting precincts is notable. Are the people in southern and western Lawrence more concerned about property taxes than those in the center of the city? Could that be driven by a higher concentration of rental property in the central area?

Another factor might be the location of the soon-to-be expanded library. Do voters in the outlying precincts feel the library is of less benefit to them because it is located so far away?

Library officials have, until recently, been adamantly opposed to any plan to establish satellite facilities at locations outside downtown Lawrence. However, leading up to Tuesday’s election, Library Director Bruce Flanders acknowledged that the expansion that would be financed by the $18 million bond issue probably would be the last for the current library and that future projects would involve satellite library locations.

There probably were a variety of reasons voters at the edges of Lawrence showed weak support for the library expansion, but the proximity and convenience of the project to where they lived might have been a factor. When it comes time to approve funding for satellite library facilities outside of downtown, will central city voters who live close to the current library get on board? Time will tell.


Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

The Real Estate industry and the Chamber of Commerce were very quiet on this matter. Home Building executives were quiet. Then again the real estate industry,theChamber,some bankers and the home building executives are the Chamber of Commerce.

Never you mind that so much of what these groups promote increase our taxes frequently nickle dime which become dollars at a time so to speak. All of the tax incentives/big government handouts taxpayers are expected to dish out to wealthy corporations.

This is not talked about.

For instance:

A. Adding miles and miles and miles of new infrastructure is like adding miles and miles and miles of new taxes. In a bedroom community this is not expanding the tax base it is expanding our tax bills.

B. If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we might not be in a budget crunch But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by residential does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality.

C. Remember the $88 million sewage treatment plant for the building industry WE DID NOT get to vote for or against.

D. The 4 lane road in southeast Lawrence for the builders voters will not have the opportunity for or against.

E. Remember voters supported a tax increase just to get older streets fixed which in reality should have been figured into the budget as an ongoing maintenance item? Why? Because eastside tax dollars are being spent as we speak on new development elsewhere in the city.

F. Dicephera/Bio Research aka millions

G. The North Lawrence plan for taxpayers dollars.

Considering all of the above expenses Lawrence could have a new library plus a satellite library location. And still have money left over.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Sprawl wastes tax money. It pulls economic resources away from existing communities and spreads them out over sparse developments far away from the core. Taxes subsidize millions of dollars worth of new roads, new water and sewer lines, new schools and increased police and fire protection at the expense of the needs of the core communities. This leads to degradation of our older neighborhoods and higher taxes. WE NEVER get to vote for or against this nonsense.

Suburban sprawl has been rightly blamed for many things: destroying green space, increasing air and water pollution, fracturing our neighborhoods and forcing us to drive gridlocked roads for every chore. But there is one consequence that usually goes unmentioned - sprawl is draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

Sprawl is the result of over five decades of subsidies paid for by the American taxpayer. These range from the obvious to the obscure and include big projects-like the billions we spend on new roads as well as smaller ones-like the tax-breaks that encourage businesses to move to the edge of town.

We've subsidized sprawl at such a basic level for so long, that many people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral. This is false-what we think of as a level playing field is tilted steeply in favor of sprawling development.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Thank you Bruce Flanders and the library board for taking the high road. Yes for allowing taxpaying voters the opportunity to vote for or against.

Thank you very much.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 6 months ago

Crazy. I vote at HINU and so do many of our friends. We said "Yes" to the library. We're used to not getting much we need on the East Side. Oops, We're getting 19th street repaired, most of it anyway, AND a new Dillon's in the same decade. Only problem is, we'll have to drive even farther to shop for a year.

lohrewok 7 years, 6 months ago

I certainly can't afford another increase in my tax bill. We're on a fixed income pretty much. Just another reason to move out of Lawrence as soon as the youngest graduates in a year.

Sue McDaniel 7 years, 6 months ago

Some of us are losing jobs , retired , etc. And I think parking garages are invitations to crime

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

The JW seems obsessed with the "get on board" idea right now.

Since many in outlying areas voted against the downtown expansion, why on earth should core areas vote for satellite proposals? Everybody (on some level) votes for what they think is in their best interests.

It would have made a lot more sense if outlying areas had voted in favor of the expansion, and asked for reciprocity when it came to satellites.

Practicality 7 years, 6 months ago

No surprise here.

Now was not the time for an expansion to the library. I also do not understand why the library "needs" to be downtown. Everyone likes to complain that the library isn't as nice as the library in Topeka. This is a true statement, imho, but Topeka has a larger population, and their library is not downtown, or even in a retail district. Couldn't the city of Lawrence get better use of the dollars if the library was moved to a completely different location?

I was not in favor of the library expansion. I do not think now is a good time to do it. Obviously, the majority thought it was. Taxes have been going up across the board, and it seemed reasonable to wait on this measure because of that.

It used to be the case, and it still might be but I am unsure, that any Kansas resident can use the University of Kansas libraries as long as they have a Kansas ID. If that is the case, one cannot rightfully compare the libraries in KC and Topeka to that of Lawrence, considering the options available to Lawrence residents to easily utilize all the resources available in the area.

beaujackson 7 years, 6 months ago

A higher percentage of central Lawrence voters voted FOR the library than outlying areas.

A higher percentage of central Lawrence voters are renters - NOT property owners, and many are students and transients by definition. Very few will pay their tax share for the library.

Only property OWNERS should be able to vote on issues that affect property taxes.

notajayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

So, ya' think the landlords are gonna' eat the increase in taxes, or raise their rents?

kernal 7 years, 6 months ago

I am a property owner who lives on the edge of Lawrence and voted "No" for the expansion. I have stated in the past that now is not the time as we need to take care of the city's aging and outdated basic infrastructure. I do not consider the library to be a part of our basic infrastructure such as sewer, water and gas lines, sidewalks and roads. The Topeka Public Lilbrary solved the problem of satellite libraries for years with the book mobiles. Last I knew, they still use them and added more during the past ten years. I do not understand why this alternative was not even looked into. It would certainly be more cost effective and would serve all areas of the city as well as the retirement communities. I think we missed the boat on this one.

I also think the central Lawrence voters are mostly tenants and not homeowners. Maybe if they had been told that an increase in property taxes will trickle down as an increase in rents, they may have reconsidered their choice. Ditto if the alternative had been book mobiles. So not only are we looking forward to utility rate increases but also tax increases which will turn into rent increases. Congratulations everyone! I hope you enjoy your "new" library.

notajayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

"I do not understand why this alternative was not even looked into. It would certainly be more cost effective ..."

Look at all the empty space on the mT's that could be put to use.

Jayhawker07 7 years, 6 months ago

Hey Merrill,

Maybe you can help me with this one!!!!!!!

1st.-----Where can I find out how many folks actually voted in this town?

2nd---How many of the folks that voted actually voted on the library bill?

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

According to the paper, about 23,000 people voted on the library question.

About 55% of those voted in favor, and 45% opposed it.

Jayhawker07 7 years, 6 months ago

So I guess what you are saying is that everyone that voted, also voted on the library. Not buying that. Just need the answer to my question.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Those are the figures I read on the library question, not total voter turnout.

But find them yourself if you don't believe me.

Probably the last time I'll try to do you a favor, with that attitude.

Jayhawker07 7 years, 6 months ago

Sorry jafs was not trying to give you attitude. I read the paper too! Just needing some help with my questions. Do I need to reword them?

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