Archive for Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Incumbent Mike Dever still financially conservative, wants to create more jobs if elected to second term on Lawrence City Commission

City Commissioner Mike Dever answers three questions about his campaign.

March 1, 2011


Mike Dever

Mike Dever

Related document

Mike Dever substantial interest filing ( .PDF )

Related document

Mike Dever campaign finance report ( .PDF )

There were lots of questions.

Lawrence city commissioners had just agreed to put two referendums on the November 2008 ballot that would decide the fate of Lawrence’s financially struggling public transit system.

Among the cynical, the question was: What are you trying to do, kill the bus system? City Commissioner Mike Dever assured them that wasn’t the case.

Among nervous bus fans, the question was: Do we have enough votes to win? Dever assured them that they did.

Among casual City Hall observers, the question was: Mike Dever is the champion for the bus service?

Dever, the lone incumbent in this year’s field of five City Commission candidates, knows his first term in office may have left some surprised at times.

“I came across as a fiscal conservative in the campaign, which I am, but I think some people may have thought I was a conservative in all areas,” Dever said.

He’s not. Dever said he’s a moderate that tries to take the best ideas from both sides of the spectrum. That includes providing a government service, like transit, to help people be more efficient members of the community.

But the conservative side of Dever also insisted that the decision ultimately be left up to the people. Dever was the commissioner who lobbied that two transit sales taxes be their own separate questions on the November 2008 ballot, rather than being lumped in with a general sales tax that would have funded streets and several other items.

“The community needed to speak on the transit issue because it really hadn’t spoken on it for 10 years,” Dever said. “I wanted a message to be very clear. We needed a mandate.”

Voters approved both transit sales taxes with 70 percent and 68 percent of the vote. The sales taxes won in every precinct in the city.

Money matters

Maybe Dever’s mix of philosophies comes from a youth that clearly had two story lines. As he shared during his last campaign, Dever, 48, led a fairly normal existence in a Chicago suburb, but then received a shock at age 16 when his father died.

Dever helped the family make ends meet by working as a golf caddy at a country club. The job also created a path to college. He attended Kansas University through a scholarship program for caddies, choosing KU simply because it was the one university that still had a spot available in the program.

Dever went on to get degrees in environmental studies and geography, and now is an owner of Lawrence-based GuideWire Consulting — a firm that provides a variety of environmental site assessments for property owners or those looking to buy property.

Today, Dever said he still has a very conservative view when it comes to money matters. He said budget issues — particularly what he and fellow commissioners found when they took office in April 2007 — stand out as the big topic of his first term.

“The first thing that jumped out to me was that previous commissions had cut the mill levy and they were deficit spending,” Dever said. “That’s a recipe for economic disaster.”

Dever and his fellow commissioners in 2007 agreed to take the unusual step of making mid-year budget cuts, including several that immediately reduced funding to several social service agencies.

“We decided to do the hard cuts right away, and I think that has helped us in the long-run,” Dever said. “But raising the mill levy wasn’t an option. That is what has been different. I’m proud that we haven’t put it back on the homeowners.”


Dever’s last campaign — he was the top vote winner in April 2007 — was dominated by talk of increasing the number of jobs in the community. Dever concedes the job numbers still aren’t where he would like them to be.

“We were handed the keys to a storeroom that was fairly barren of available land and opportunities for new businesses to come here,” Dever said. “We didn’t have very many options.”

So, Dever said the commission decided to invest what money it could into preparing Lawrence to prosper when the economy improves. He points to three major projects that he thinks have been a success on that front:

  • Construction of a biosciences incubator on KU’s West Campus that was done as part of a partnership with KU, the county and a multi-million-dollar investment from the Kansas Bioscience Authority.
  • The purchase of an existing laboratory building at Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive that the city and county will use to house companies that eventually outgrow the incubator space.
  • Completion of a deal to take over ownership of the 467-acre former Farmland Industries site that will be converted into an industrial/business park as the city cleans up its environmental problems.

Dever also said the community has improved its image to outside companies, which he said are now starting to consider the city for projects in greater numbers. He said the community has lowered its contention level just enough to make new businesses feel more welcome.

“I’ve told people that I’m proud the community is willing to fight for what it believes in, but we need to temper that desire to keep Lawrence special with some good news that comes out of City Hall every once in awhile,” Dever said.

“I think we have done a better job with that. It is important. If we can get a company to consider us, we have a great shot — because once you’re here — the quality of the community really does speak for itself.”


Catalano 6 years, 11 months ago

Good news from City Hall = "not special"?

justoneperson 6 years, 11 months ago

A question (as I truly do not have the answer): how many net jobs did the city gain as a result of the policies Dever supported?

Also, what are his proposals for creating jobs in the future? More growth? or something else?

average 6 years, 11 months ago

Ha ha. Eco-devo never has to show any kind of measurable success. Greatest slush-fund going. You can say "but it creates jobs" in much the same tone as you justify other things with "but it's for the children".

Of course, the eco-devo hangers-on will be there in force whenever there is a ribbon-cutting, whether the eco-devo largesse made any difference. Nowhere to be found when businesses close.

parrothead8 6 years, 11 months ago

Have you ever lived in a town with a casino? Casinos don't build communities, they destroy them.

William McCauley 6 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Dever will not answer emails nor return phone calls, and even when met in person and says he'll contact directly he blows it off and dodges constituents, that is unless it's someone like Compton or another client of his. Mr. Dever you don't have my vote and I hope you lose and are shown the door out by the voting public.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

ok Sven when will this stop? This is a lie and you know it. This "meeting" never took place.

William McCauley 6 years, 11 months ago

How do you know it's a lie? They were both @ eggs & issues.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

he did not say eggs and issues...he said "we had a meeting in a local coffee shop..." Sven is tring to portray that he and Dever are all buddy buddy because Dever is CRUSHING him in the online poll. Sven has done nothing but attack Dever since he was elected. If the LJW would do the responsible thing and post all the comments Sven made under several (11 was the last count ) accounts, you would see that his campaign is based 100% on vendetta.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

and will Mr. Dever confirm this meeting took place?

KU_Dude 6 years, 11 months ago

I'm guessing he only met with after incessant calls and emails from you. You wore him down and the only way he would get you to stop bothering him was to meet with you.

I've been at numerous city meetings that you've attended and it's almost like a party if you leave early.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Candidate- what day was this meeting? You say 'some time ago'...was it before or after you filed? Should be easy to provide an answer, all successful businessmen keep an appointment book. And if it was indeed a meeting, Mr. Dever would have granted you an appointment.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

Here's something you agreed with: "i have decided to leave the forum. goodbye. i am signing out. SVEN January 29, 2011"

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

LeBo 6 years, 11 months ago


Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

I say we need 3 different faces: Nothing against Dever but he and Carter have had their turn for the past few years in Lawrence politics. Time for different faces.

  1. Sven Alstrom
  2. Bob Schumm
  3. Michael Machell

All of these candidates know about Lawrence codes etc etc which is important and all three want higher paying jobs for Lawrence. All candidates want more jobs for Lawrence and more economic growth. All three will vote that way and all three are quite intelligent people. All do agree that more lower wage jobs will NOT grow the economy.

Stephen Roberts 6 years, 11 months ago

Since Merrill is voting for the three people he listed, i am not voting for those three people. Merrill & his buddies "thye Progressives" have helped make Lawrence business unfriendly. They want everything from companies. They want to spend taxpayers money like drunken sailors and then cry like spoiled brats when the money is gone.

One of my clients was looking to purchase an additional warehouse when the PLC was in the majority. I ran some cost benefit analysis for him. The analysis did not include any tax abatements. Two sites were in Lawrence. He looked a th analysis and immediately selected a Kansas City Missouri location. this location had a higher cost than both of the Lawrence sites.

He reasoning. Lawrence does not want businesses in town & it would take too long to go through all of the red tape to add a warehouse in Lawrence, so he chose the Kansas City location.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

"Lawrence does not want businesses in town & it would take too long to go through all of the red tape to add a warehouse in Lawrence, so he chose the Kansas City location."

Of course. The Chamber of Commerce has been telling everyone that for at least the last ten years. Why would he doubt it (especially with you confirming it?)

I hope your job isn't sales. If it is, you're pretty bad at it.

Stephen Roberts 6 years, 11 months ago

Bozo - I am not in sales nor was my job to "sell" the idea that he acquire a warehouse in Lawrence. I was hired to do a cost benefit analysis. Was I asked where I would purchase the warehouse, yes and I told him I would purchase one in Lawrence because both the cost benefit analysis was good and other factors.

The owner of the company does not just listen to the Chamber of Commerce, he talked to alot of people and visits Lawrence quite often.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

In posts that have since been deleted from LJW, Sven has spoken approvingly of acts of vandalism in Lawrence. Does he still endorse damaging the private property of people he disagrees with?

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

another lie. the proof is there, will JK and WM step up and do the right thing? We will see. Like I have said the truth(s) will be coming soon, one way or another.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

it is time for LJW to publish these comments that they have admitted he made under many different user names.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 11 months ago

I'm also curious if Sven approves of theft of services through spam activity. It appears as if this has taken place within his campaign.

independent_rebel 6 years, 11 months ago

Do municipal employees have barganing unions, other than the police and firefighters? Do city or county employees have the same power? Anyone know?

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

my guess is no other candidate has been banned from this site for threats and multiple TOS violations. JK had to warn you, and you still kept it up. Am I right? Did JK warn you and you could not stop yourself?

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

reason # 2,256,426 to Svote NO for the Svombie.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 11 months ago

Very mature response from someone seeking office. Will you behave this way if elected? Also, when are you going to comment on the theft of services perpetrated by your campaign? Your silence on this issue is telling.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

Sven- should the LJW publish and or make public the comments you made under multiple now banned user names?

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

the "air incivility on the forum" came the moment WM decided to let you back on. A decision she claimed to be "one of the hardest " she has ever had to make. Why was it such a hard decision? My guess is that JK gave her the "Sven File", and after reading all the comments and TOS violations that THEY have admitted YOU made it was INDEED a tough decision. Again I ask you Mr. Candidate, should the LJW make public the comments you made that resulted in a LIFETIME ban from this site?

melott 6 years, 11 months ago

Of course he wanted to kill public transit. Otherwise why break it out for a vote? You could choose to break anything out for a public vote, like all the subsidies they give to business. He chose that, because he wanted to kill it. End of story.

BigPrune 6 years, 11 months ago

Bob...errr....John....errr.....Mike Denver is a progressive in drag. Acts business friendly to get elected, ignores constituents and promotes the progressive way and believes anything anti-business the City is doing should be ignored.

I'm casting my 3 picks for our other multiple personality candidate: petronius, cool, Spiderman, Jaguar, Bronze, and Ariadne (as write ins only and under those aliases).

Quite frankly all the choices suck!

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

How do Russian host sites and spam attacks fit into your campaign plan, svombie?

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

I am an anonymous poster and I approve this message.

pea 6 years, 11 months ago

Sven's contributions here all undermine any credibility he may have feigned in this campaign. That he is oblivious or unconcerned with this speaks volumes about him. He's apparently trying to stand up for himself but by the time he needed to, it was way too late.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

pea 6 years, 11 months ago

OK, let me spell it out for you: You are making yourself look like a fool and you do not seem to mind. At all.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

how about answer this one question and I will back off until after you lose the election. Have you ever launched a personal attack on this site against a fellow architect and then asked him for a job within 48 hours?

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

Сколько из кампании Свена управляла подруга?

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

Сообщение комментарии! Сообщение комментарии!

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

Interesting that only one candidate for city commission is on LJW getting all whack-a-doodle and dodging questions about his association with cyber-squatting websites and spam-bots.

vuduchyld 6 years, 11 months ago

Being on the City Commission is not an easy job. I think Mike Dever has done really well in the position. The Commission has made some choices I haven't agreed with. So it goes. I haven't agreed with every single position Dever has taken, but overall I think he has done a very good job.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

petronius (Sven Alstrom) replies… I am not 'shamed' by the stupid and inappropriate comments on this forum...

now ...are we talking about the comments you made that got you banned, or the comments you have made since the LJW made a huge mistake and let you slime your way back?

Treehouse 6 years, 11 months ago

I believe that Mike Dever is a true advocate and visionary for the city of Lawrence and that he has contributed very much during his tenure in city government. His tenacity for the future of our residents and business enterprises is for the good of the people and for the people.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

it appears the Svombie took his toys and went home, not wanting to play anymore. yes, this is the type of behavior you can expect if he is elected.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

Sven Erik Alstrom Campaign Manager John Wysocki and I will be at my home SATURDAY for organization meeting if you want to join for coffee around 4pm. Yard signs have been ordered but will not be ready yet this weekend.

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