Archive for Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Five people seeking three seats on Lawrence City Commission

January 25, 2011, 12:50 p.m. Updated January 25, 2011, 4:58 p.m.


With this economy there are cutbacks everywhere — even in city commission candidates.

Five candidates — the smallest field in recent memory — will campaign for three at-large seats on the Lawrence City Commission. Not joining the group will be incumbents Rob Chestnut and Lance Johnson. Neither commissioner filed for re-election prior to Tuesday’s deadline.

“Honestly, I just need to focus on my family and my business right now,” said Johnson, who owns a Lawrence-based engineering firm. “That’s what it comes down to for me.”

Chestnut, who is the chief financial officer for Lawrence-based Allen Press, also said the time commitment that goes with a seat on the City Commission was a major factor in his decision.

“I’ve just got some other personal and professional priorities that I have to focus on,” Chestnut said. “But it has been an experience that has been as great a professional experience as any I’ve ever had.”

Commissioner Mike Dever — the owner of a Lawrence-based environmental consulting firm — did file for re-election. The commission’s other two members — Mike Amyx and Aron Cromwell — have two years left on their terms.

The other candidates are:

• Sven Alstrom, a Lawrence architect and former member of the city’s Historic Resources Commission.

• Hugh Carter, a financial planner and former Lawrence-Douglas County planning commissioner.

• Mike Machell, a human resources manager and chair of the city’s Library Board.

• Bob Schumm, a downtown restaurant owner and former mayor and city commissioner.

The field of five candidates is the smallest for a City Commission election since at least 1969, said Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew. Records at the county clerk’s office show that the average size field for city commission elections over the last four decades has been about 12 candidates, and once hit 20 candidates. That was in 1975.

Shew said he’s not sure why interest dropped off this year, but he said the poor economy may be causing some potential candidates to have second thoughts.

“With the economy and the issues governments are currently facing, these positions are not easy,” Shew said.

Chestnut said he also thought the economy was playing a role, but from a slightly different angle.

“People have a lot of priorities right now,” Chestnut said. “Everybody has to pitch in a little bit more at their full-time jobs to keep bread on the table. As much as they may want to do public service, there may be other priorities that are holding them back.”

The small field means there will not be a primary election in March. The general election will be April 5.


BigPrune 7 years, 3 months ago

Wow, what a list. How disappointing. When will this town ever turn around? Time to pack the bags. More retread hippies or closet progressives. Such a shame.

Kash_Encarri 7 years, 3 months ago

WIth that line-up to choose from, it looks like the time to consider leaving Lawrence.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 3 months ago

Spiderham is concerned about your drainage!

1029 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm voting for whoever will lower my taxes and stop trying to take away my guns. Beyond that, stuff's just too complicated for me to follow. And if Lawrence was really progressive, we'd become the first city to outlaw the murdering of babies. And no new library--this isn't 1980, we have the internet now.

deec 7 years, 3 months ago

It's already illegal to murder babies.

ralphralph 7 years, 3 months ago

Where are the Women?

C'mon, Ladies! We gave you the right to vote, you can get driver's licenses and everything, and not a one of you shows up to run the City?

Must have been a fad ...

somedude20 7 years, 3 months ago

I heard that story, something about a pepsi (no soup for you whitney) deal that went bad out at Clinton Lake. Funny, I have heard this story told to me by at least 8 different people and theie stories were almost all the same and that is weird as people seem to change tales as they tell em

no soup for you whitney

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 3 months ago

So we lose the only professionally trained and experienced financial manager with an accounting degree.

Not good.

BigPrune 7 years, 3 months ago

I'd vote for maybe one out of the 5. Those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it - like the past 10 years all over again.

Bob Forer 7 years, 3 months ago

What's happened to democracy in Kansas. The progressives ought to be ashamed of themselves for not ensuring that their voice--a large one, at that--is represented on the ballot. (Sven may fit the bill, but I think he has too much baggage for many folks, and is probably not a viable candidate).

Sadly, the large progressive community in Lawrence is all talk and no organizing. i guess they are too busy sipping wine at Friday evening art parties. Shame on them.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe they've given up.

The results of the last election were a bit discouraging for progressives, who got virtually no seats on the commission - Cromwell seemed ok, but has turned out to be quite pro-business.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 3 months ago

So I guess the progressives, as you call them in this town, are anti-business.

I don't know how that is a good thing.

I am still waiting to see how the library expansion is going to be managed considering how we will be paying for it for the next 20 years.

Terry Jacobsen 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm sorry I hate labels. Most anyone would label me a conservative. But I am pro library, pro business, pro education (I have more than the average number of kids in the Lawrence school system). I am for the statewide 1 cent sales tax for education. I dislike wasteful government spending, and my instincts tell me you cant spend more than you earn or you eventually go bankrupt. What would I be called if I were running?? Sadly I think that keeps more people from running than anything else.

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