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Letters to the Editor

City status quo

June 3, 2011

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To the editor:

Well, Mr. Simons, that was a fine rant.

You listed a number of areas where you think local leadership is lacking. Is it your take we should pursue them all? If we do not pursue everything, do you have a process in mind to obtain “buy-in” from the nonparticipating electorate or will our nonleaders decide? Oh, I know we will create another committee staffed with those with axes to grind to provide cover for whatever those “leaders” choose to do.

I might observe that, in my humble opinion, the last City Commission election was a bust. Most of the candidates mouthed the same platitudes. All the local “special interests” got an opportunity to demand more money for their constituency. The candidates then avoided any notion of how to pay for what they and the special interests proposed. Good reading of the voters but absolutely nothing calculated to create real interest or motivation. Sleep quietly; we will take care of you!

Our new leaders had hardly broken in their expensive chairs when the same old mode of operation surfaced. The annual loss leader to justify a tax increase appeared in the context of our police. No notion that we had looked internally to see if the few million (2 to 3 percent of at least one budget rack) sought could be found from older, less important, programs. Apparently everything in our budget is more important than our police department. Right!

If we keep falling for this approach, we have the leadership we deserve and the consequence that will result.

Comments

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

George, you are so miserable here.

I thought you were going to move elsewhere, somewhere you'd be happier.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

Thank you JAFS. Seems typical of at least one segment of the city. I can only hope it is a small segment.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Why?

I want you to be happy - is that such a terrible thing?

What happened to your plans?

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't know why you wouldn't believe me.

The fact that we may disagree on various policy issues doesn't mean anything personal - I hope you're happy, and it seems that you're not happy here.

And that living in a liberal college town is a bad fit for you, in a variety of ways.

nativeson 3 years, 6 months ago

Help me understand what is the same old mode of operation. Over the last 4 years the City mill levy has remained constant at 26.7 during one of the most challenging economic time in decades.

The newly elected commission does have a challenge fending off requests from police, fire and other departments. Unfortunately, they are having a hard time getting their heads around a new economy that will not have 6-7% increase in property valuation every year. Flat revenues are in the near to medium-term future, and it will continue to put pressure on services.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

I was not counting the state sales tax increase which benefits the city (nor the 20% county tgax increase that benefits the city) and I note that in both local cases we took something already in the budget and developed a new revenue stream.

Darrell Lea 3 years, 6 months ago

George, I will pose the same challenge to you that I posted to Mr. Simons about his "fine rant."

It is easy as pie to sit on the sidelines and complain about whatever is lacking in community leadership. It is much more challenging and difficult to get up off of one's posterior and actually provide leadership.

What would George do? What is preventing George from doing that? Inquiring minds want to know.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

If George were the leader of the local Democrats or Republicans (Maybe even the tea party), he would develop a program with goals, schedules and costs to do specific things to make our town better. I would go public, get input (not just from activists), adjust, and then compete in the marketplace of ideas. I know our commission is non-partisan but I really do not believe that for a minute. Since the specifics things would be different for the parties, I avoid my own specifics.

An example might be to focus on tourism. Create a first class museum tied to the civil war and detail the "bleeding Kansas" legacy. Represent ourselves as a national resource. Make the museum a true modern technology example. Draw from federal and state funds (and selected businesses) to make it happen. Put the museum downtown and draw from the I 70 traffic and the KC conference schedule. Stop spending our scarce resources on chasing new restaurants, or whatever. IMHO, we can only afford one initiative. I question the notion of exploiting technology as we are competing with other areas of the country that are better resourced and offer a better environment.

We can continue to take baby steps in response to our local special interests or we can see if we can find a common vision for our future. I realize that we as a community are fractionated and that makes it hard to govern or for that matter to agree to just about anything but snow shoveling. Perhaps what we are doing is all we can do. If so, the consequences of drift will be ours and we will have earned it.

George is 68, not in good health and a lousy politician (as evidenced by my letter). He has already spent more than 20 years in service to the rest of you. Time for me to rest and throw rocks at those who follow as rocks were thrown in turn during my time.

Kasha 3 years, 6 months ago

GREAT letter, Mr. Lippincott. You hit the nail on the head about our insipid, ineffective City Commission. Promises, promises!!! And now, Bob Schumm is all about not letting Olive Garden open a restaurant here because, no doubt, he fears he would lose customers from his own restaurant--wherever that may be other than "downtown." Aren't these "commissioners" supposed to work for the good of Lawrence and its residents? Keep track: whenever there is an open meeting about a topic, the Commission is more often than not going to vote the opposite of what concerned residents of these open meetings ask for. And now with Sam BrownNose well into his roll as Dictator of Kansas, we are sliding downhill. Fast. Just because HE thinks culture grows in a petri dish, he refuses to fund the Arts. Bah humbug! No wonder we're losing people. If it isn't politics it's being tazed to death.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Nobody's not "letting" Olive Garden do anything.

The question is whether we should give them a tax break or not - nobody's said they can't come here if they want to do so.

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