Archive for Monday, March 14, 2011

Local issues spur division of Lawrence City Commission candidates’ views at forum

Lawrence City Commission candidates Sven Alstrom, Bob Schumm, Mike Dever, Mike Machell and Hugh Carter participated in the Voter Education Coalition forum Monday, March 14.

March 14, 2011


Traditional hot button topics like the South Lawrence Trafficway and funding for the Chamber of Commerce produced a split Monday evening among the five candidates for the Lawrence City Commission.

Not an equal split, mind you.

On a host of issues, four candidates — Hugh Carter, Mike Dever, Mike Machell and Bob Schumm — largely agreed, while candidate Sven Alstrom played contrarian of the field. Candidates were participating in a City Hall forum sponsored by the nonpartisan Voter Education Coalition.

“Dividing the wetlands will ruin the wetlands,” Alstrom said on a question about the future of the South Lawrence Trafficway. “It is wrong to build it there. It should be south of the Wakarusa River.”

Alstrom was the only candidate in the field to take that position. The other four candidates said they could support the proposed 32nd Street alignment for the project, although with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

“It would not be my first choice, but I wouldn’t try to do anything to change it,” Schumm said. “To me, it is an issue that has been decided.”

Machell, on the other hand, said he “appreciates” the project is finally coming to fruition, while Dever said it was needed to provide better connectivity and Carter said it could be a major economic development tool.

The same split emerged on a question about whether the city should re-evaluate providing $200,000 a year in economic development funding to the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.

Alstrom was the lone commissioner to say he would remove some of the chamber’s funding and disburse it in other ways at City Hall. The other four candidates offered varying levels of support for the chamber.

Schumm said he would like to “see how things go” before considering any major changes. Machell said that he thought the chamber was the “right group” to advocate for the city and that the community was starting to get “strong traction” on economic development issues. Dever, the lone incumbent in the field, said that if the city took over its own economic development marketing operations, it would be more costly and that the chamber does a good job of representing the city on a “professional level.” Carter said he would not favor a reduction in funding. Instead, he said he would urge city staff members to work more closely with the chamber on job recruitment projects.

In other issues:

• The field was more split on the idea of requiring city inspections for rental properties more than 20 years old. Alstrom said he supported the idea. Dever said he now was more open to the idea than in previous years. Machell, however, said he did not think the program would be cost-effective. Schumm and Carter both expressed concern about rentals and the impacts they can have on neighborhoods. But both stopped short of saying they would support a new inspection program.

• Candidates each gave an answer to the one area of city government that they think needs to be changed. Alstrom said the city process needs to be more open to neighborhood input. Carter said city leaders need to have a primary focus of growing jobs and incomes, and suggested more outreach to existing business leaders. Dever said he wants to change how people sometimes negatively view the city’s planning and development services department. Machell agreed with Dever and said the City Commission needs to do a good job of setting expectations for the community. Schumm said he wanted the city to focus more on creating home-grown jobs.

The five candidates are vying for three seats on the commission. The election is April 5.


Tim Devine 7 years ago

I can only support a candidate that is in favor of the South Lawrence Trafficway as designed and approved by many organizations who's job it is to make decisions about our infurstructure. Any other position is only following the passions of those few who have emotional ties to the idea, not based on rational thought.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"Any other position is only following the passions of those few who have emotional ties to the idea, not based on rational thought."

You know, there is really nothing "rational" about ad hominem attacks such as this.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years ago

How is that an ad hominem attack? There are rational arguments and non-rational arguments. The poster rightfully points out that the latter of the two are generally made by people who are emotionally invested. This isn't an attack on the person making an argument (i.e. ad hominem), it's an attack on the method of argument. Try again.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

LJW needs to publish a "greatest hits" of the posts that got Sven banned from this forum a dozen times. Let the voters see what he's really like.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Sven Alstrom played contrarian of the field = one who should be elected. Otherwise we get very little discussion and more rubber stamps.

BruceWayne 7 years ago

Svenderella made a FOOL of himself. And what up with that wedding band?

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Why waste several hundred million dollars when the same and more can be accomplished using existing resources:

To say there is no other way is simply not acceptable. There is always another way. Such as " many concepts built into one fiscally responsible plan = prudent thinking.

SAY NO to the high tax dollar obsolete Trafficway that will NOT improve 23rd street. The only way to improve 23rd is to SAY NO to KU students…… good luck on removing the ONLY dependable Lawrence revenue source.

SAY YES to a no tax dollar bypass that can accomplish many things such as saving tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars.

I-70 connectors east of Eudora were among the potential choices. This could be a toll road thereby users to include 18 wheelers help finance the project. This concept accomplishes many things. First and foremost it saves taxpayers closer to $300 million.... I'll never believe the obsolete trafficway can be built for $188 million after 20 years.

The new I-70 connectors off K-10 going north, I-70 and the west leg of K-10 should all be toll roads. This combination provides a loop around Lawrence thus eliminating any need for further construction of new pork barrel highway projects.

Thus saving about $200,000,000 - $300,000,000(million) for taxpayers.

It also services: • Johnson and Douglas county traffic going to northwest Lawrence or Topeka. Or Lawrence and Topeka traffic going to JOCO. • the Eudora Business Park east of 1057. • East Hills Business Park and the southeast Lawrence industrial park. • the Lawrence airport. And it: • diverts traffic around the city. • keeps the SLT out of the wetlands. • reduces congestion for morning and afternoon commuters. • Douglas County taxpayers save millions upon millions of dollars. • Eliminates use of tax dollars. • Eliminates the need for an eastern bypass * Would not dump fast moving traffic off uncomfortably close to the congested city limits on to the K-10 speedway • allows KTA fees to pay for the highway and maintenance.

Now this plan is on to something….. many concepts built into one fiscally responsible plan = prudent thinking.

I-70 is there to be used so let's do it. Saving REAL BIG tax dollars is a new concept.

South Lawrence Trafficway is a Pork barrel project = wasted and inefficient use of tax dollars.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

SAY NO to copy/pasting the same text more than 800 times.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years ago

spam spam spam spam. You are the Rebecca Black of LJW posters.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

The Wakarusa Wetlands is an educational institution BTW.

Not only that why destroy billions in flood control that the Wetlands provides naturally. Have we not yet learned that human beings cannot control Mother Nature the all powerful?

BigPrune 7 years ago

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

BruceWayne 7 years ago

I would like to see LJW run another "which 3" online poll. After last nights performance, my guess is The Svombie would be down around 2%. His Facebook Page is down to 124 members, tumbling from 163 twentyfour hours earlier. He placed all 12 of his campaign signs in his own hood, not very effective.

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