Voting for a city commissioner is an important opportunity and responsibility.
Those elected to the commission for two- and four-year terms will play a significant role in the future of Lawrence. The three individuals elected on April 2 will represent a majority of the five-member commission. Voting as a group, they would control the city in most every respect.
The election of city commissioners should not be a popularity contest but, rather, a serious study of the experience, knowledge and talent an individual would bring to the city’s governing body.
It’s a big business, and it is questionable to what extent it should be a “learn on the job” exercise. Those seeking a position on the commission should have some skills, knowledge and experience that give the city the best odds of continued growth in an environment where competition among cities for growth, fiscal soundness, vision and quality of life is becoming more intense year by year.
Also, the Lawrence City Commission faces another responsibility, and that is the importance of working with Kansas University officials and sustaining the reputation the city and university enjoyed for many years of having one of the nation’s finest “town-gown” relationships. This positive working relationship was achieved not by city or university officials thinking or behaving in a manner that suggested they were “buying” that relationship with favors, but rather through a sound, cooperative and mutually respectful understanding.
The April 2 elections are important for current residents and will play a significant role in how the city progresses in the years to come, whether it moves forward or stagnates because various factions in the community are pushing narrow-minded, selfish interests. Many in Lawrence are proud to point to the wide diversity in the city as one of its strengths, but, at the same time, carried to the extreme, this situation can hinder the city’s growth.
Now is the time for city voters to study the backgrounds, experience, knowledge and expertise that each candidate would bring to the city.
It’s an important election that deserves the close inspection of each candidate by voters.