Archive for Thursday, February 28, 2013

Editorial: Important choice

It’s important for local voters to look at the experience and knowledge candidates would bring to the Lawrence City Commission.

February 28, 2013


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.


Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 1 month ago

I actually like this slate of candidates. There is a bit of choice in political persuasion, in work experience, and the like. I believe each of them to be reasonable people who have the best interests of the whole city in mind. There have been many years we've had a much less appealing slate.


oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 1 month ago

Would there be enough support for someone who would bulldoze roundabouts?


Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

Incumbents,former commissioners and like thinkers which is most of the candidates running will only bring more of what so many have expressed disdain.

New thinkers with new faces and smaller campaign budgets just might be the key.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

Scott Criqui has done a lot of homework is coming to us reasonably well prepared = real good.

Leslie Soden is coming to us very well prepared as a result of her self driven motivation to learn city codes,ordinances etc etc etc over the past few years. Leslie Soden is quite intelligent, pragmatic and is not stupid about numbers.

Leslie Soden has been supporter of mixed use development in East Lawrence neighborhood. East Lawrence believes small business and neighborhoods are compatible.

East Lawrence Neighborhood has supported mixed use development in their neighborhood for years and years.


oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 1 month ago

Mr Simons must understand that all of the candidates will move the status quo forward.

It's the same old blabber from the, create jobs, create a retirement community, help the homeless. Here is the candidate who wants to secure the jobs already here, encourage retirees to stay, and those who have homes afford to stay in them.

Not one new idea has surfaced!


cheeseburger 1 year, 1 month ago

You're way out of line, sycho. What again is the impetus for your personal attack on Mr. Farmer?


Jeremy Farmer 1 year, 1 month ago

As the CEO of Just Food, I have deliberately reached out to people all over this community in an effort to educate them about the mission of Just Food and to raise money to support that mission. I am proud to be supported by each and every person who has contributed time and/or money to my campaign as I know the vast majority of them because they support the food bank.

It is fine to disagree about issues in our community, in fact I think that disagreements on issues help strengthen our community, but to attack the character of someone you’ve never met (whether it’s me or someone else) does not help to keep our community healthy---it widens our divisions. I believe in creating jobs so that fewer people need to use Just Food’s services. To do that, people from every corner of Lawrence need to be heard. I remain committed to building bridges, and to do it with integrity and transparency. I’m happy to talk with anyone about who I am and what I believe in. My cell phone is 785-691-9100 and my email is


George_Braziller 1 year, 1 month ago

Commissioners don't have as much power or authority as people seem to think they do. In general it's the city manager who runs the show and commissioners just make decisions based on the amount of information they're provided and staff recommendations.


Catalano 1 year, 1 month ago

"Check your facts. i am not the author of the above passage as you claim." Exactly.

"When you critique, be sure you have the right person. But then again, we are both humans, you and I, and we both made honest mistake,"

But, don't you see, when one doesn't check one's facts and ends up making an "honest" mistakes in one's posts, damage can inadvertently be done. And credibility goes down the tubes.

Now, get to work on the Venn diagram.


Catalano 1 year, 1 month ago

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


rockchalker52 1 year, 1 month ago

Looks like Mr. Farmer has the ability to garner support from the entire length of the political spectrum. He seems a lot more genuine and a lot less elitist than TheSycophant. If I lived within the city limits I would vote for him.

I live in the county but still have a Lawrence address. The decisions made by our local government affect me as much as in-town residents. I wish county residents with a Lawrence zip code were eligible to vote for city commission candidates.


Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago


Let us celebrate the poor,

Let us hawk them door to door.

There's a market for their pain,

Votes and glory and money to gain.

Let us celebrate the poor.

Their ills, their sins, their faulty diction

Flavor our songs and spice our fiction.

Their hopes and struggles and agonies

Get us grants and consulting fees.

Celebrate thugs and clowns,

Give their ignorance all renown.

Celebrate what holds them down,

In our academic gowns.

Let us celebrate the poor.

(No, I didn't write the poem. Found it on the internet. I will leave it up to each individual reader to determine its relevance to the city commission election)


Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

Again, I only had time to research the "official endorsers" list. A savvy voter should also make themselves aware of who is contributing financially to a specific candidates campaign. The initial list of Farmer's financial contributors can be found here:

I did quickly glance through the list, and noticed that many of the people who "endorsed" Mr. Farmer also contributed financially to his campaign. But I also noticed a couple of prominent financial contributors who are worth mentioning.

Greg Williams, the CEO of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, contributed $100.00 to Farmer's campaign.

Doug Gaumer, the local community President of INtrust Bank, and also the Chairman of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce contributed $150.00 to Farmer's campaign.

I am sure if Jeremy is elected he will give the poor folks he "helps" a nice pat on the head before taking office and paying off the Chamber of Commerce and the other monied special interests which helped get him elected.


Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

Oddly, Mr. Farmer has attracted a few endorsements from folks who are publicly known for so-called "liberal" or "progressive." viewpoints.

“Ace” Hickey --writes a lot of letters to the editor, all with a progressive bent. Has voiced his opposition to the Citizen’s United decision and the millions of dollars that fuel political Has been a staunch critic of Lynn Jenkins. Appears to be one of the “liberals” Mr. Farmer has duped. I suggest that Mr. Hickey review Mr. Farmer’s campaign finance report once it is filed. Frankly, I don’t think Mr. Hickey is the type of guy who would be comfortable “sleeping with” most of Mr. Farmer’s supporters. Hope he reads this and re-thinks his position. Here are a few other known “liberals” whom I believe have been duped by Mr. Farmer:

Bob Casad, Emeritus Professor of Law

Forrest & Donna Swall. Forrest is an emeritus professor of Social Welfare.

Laura Routh

Caroljean Brune

Hilda Enoch, a long-time advocate for the disadvantaged

All I can say is “come on guys and gal?!??!!!” Do you realize you’re in bed with Thomas Fritzel’s architect, bankers, insurance agents, chamber of commerce people, attorneys for developers. Do you really think a city commission candidate who is endorsed by a guy who gave nearly over 500 to Romney and Lynn Jenkins will represent your values? Jeremy is trying to “make nice” with everyone. Surely you folks are sophisticated enough to know that such goals are hopelessly naïve. If Barrack Obama couldn’t do it, what makes you think a 29 year old kid can? Okay, so he is CEO of a food bank. Big deal. Surely you have heard of the expression, “poverty pimp.”

One more thing, my "liberal" friends. Aren't you curious that most of Lawrence's long time progressive folks are conspicuously absent from Mr. Farmer's list of supporters.


Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

Colleen Callahan --Marketing Consultant at Great Plains Media

Sue Grosdidier --Married to Scott Grosdidier, a Realtor at McGrew Realty

Doug Raney --Attorney; contributed $250 to Romney and $300 to Lynn Jenkins in last election cycle

Erin Hayden --Engineer at EN Engineering (Oil and Gas Industry)

Fairley & Donna McCain --McCain Angus Ranch

Debbie Pitts --Director of Development for Lawrence Community Theatre

Daniel Poull --Plumbing Contractor

Carrie Lindsey --Director of Resident Service at Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority

Kent Fisher --Finance Manager and Officer of Dale Willey Pontiac Cadillac

Rick Falley --Wordpress Admin, Tech Support, Reflective Group LLC; father of Brandon Falley, Operations Manager for Just Food
(I guess I would endorse the boss of my son as well—job security)

Terry Draskovich --Office Manager/Golf Tournament for Just Food, the organization Mr. Farmer runs.

Barbara Pitner -- Client Intake Coordinator, Just Food. Question: Should the head of a non-profit be asking his paid employees to endorse him in a political race? Mr. Farmer signs her check. It sure creates an appearance of impropriety.

Suzana Hicks --Senior Admin. Assoc, Kansas Geological Survey

Brad & Amy Finkeldei --Brad is an attorney with Stevens and Brand. According to their web site, his “experience includes assisting more than a dozen lending institutions and multiple developers and contractors navigate the difficult economic climate that has existed the last few years.” (translation: he is an attorney for the rich developers). He is also a current member of the Douglas County Planning Commission and serves on the Board of Directors for Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Leadership Lawrence. He also supported and contributed to the campaigns of Mike Dever and Hugh Carter. And by the way, one of Finkeldei’s law partners, John Bullock, is Farmer’s campaign manager.

Chuck & Laurel Krider --Chuck is a Emeritus Professor of Business at KU. The couple has homes in both Lawrence and Estes Park Colorado. His specialty was labor relations.

Gary & Angie Rexroad --Gary is a founder and co-chair of CadreLawrence, a group that came out early in support of Rock Chalk Park. He is in the software business. Angie is a special Ed ParaEducator

Alex Delaney --Owns Indepsys, Inc. (computers), member, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce


Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

Sue Hack --former city commissioner; current Executive Director of Chamber of Commerce Leadership Lawrence,

Al Hack --Sue’s Husband. Owns CEK Insurance.

Mary Lou Wright --co owner of Raven Bookstore

Bonnie Lowe --US Attorney's Office--Financial Investigator; Board Member, Lawrence Douglas County Bioscience Authority.

Jamie Lowe --Bonnie’s husband; Market President, Prairie Land Group (Insurance); formerly employed by three different banks: National Bank of Kansas City, Capital City Bank & US Bank

Jennifer Werner --West Region Sales Manager of Schneider Electric, a large electrical contractor

Paul Werner –Jennifer’s husband; Owner / Architect at Paul Werner Architects; Mr,. Werner was Thomas Fritzel’s architect for the infamous Varsity House project. He is also working with Fritzel on the Rock Chalk Park project. With supporters like this, are we at surprised that Mr. Farmer was an early supporter of the project.

Jean Milstead --Founding Member and Past Chair of Chamber of Commerce Leadership Lawrence

Ron & Dee Bisel --Owners of Minuteman Press

Michael Blumenfield --Retired East Coast Business Executive and Former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army

Linda Watts --Clinical Social Worker; Board Member of Lawrence Family Promise, a faith based charity for the homeless

Thad Holcombe --Director, Ecumenical Campus Ministries at Kansas University

Jerome Marquez --Kansas Children's Service Fatherhood Coordinator

Ron Guerin --Project Management Professional at Computerized Assessments and Learning; Graduate, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Leadership Lawrence

Ernesto Hodison --Vice President Douglas County Bank; Board Member, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce

Greg Gardner (Major General, Ret.) --Former Adjutant General, Kansas National Guard

Michael McGrew --CEO and Chairman of the Board, McGrew Real Estate

Tom Karasek --Owner, Calvin Eddy Kappelman Inc Insurance Agency

David Anderson --Manager, Lawrence H&R Block

Matt Daigh --Asst Funeral Director, Rumsey-Yost

Constance Wolfe --Marketing and Advertising Consultant; Board Member, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce; Graduate, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Leadership Lawrence

Kurt Goeser’; --State Farm Insurance Agent

Cherise Anderson --USD 497; Graduate of Chamber of Commerce Leadership Lawrence

Elizabeth Hatchett --Lawrence Arts Commission

Mary Lee Gilchrist --Mortgage Advisor at STONEGATE MORTGAGE

Tim Bateman --Controller at RD Johnson Excavating Company


Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

Notwithstanding my comment directly above, I do agree with the writers admonition that "[n]ow is the time for city voters to study the backgrounds, experience, knowledge and expertise that each candidate would bring to the city."

Lets start with the supporters of the candidates, specifically the supporters of Jeremy Farmer.

Mr. Farmer has a long list of "official" supporters set forth at his website,

I was curious, so I did a little research (actually, it took a little time) on these folks. Didn't get through the whole list, and mind you, this is simply a list of folks who have agreed to publicly lend their name to his campaign, and does not include the many people who have contributed money to his campaign, although there is quite a bit of overlap.

Interestingly, his support includes a lot of Chamber of Commerce folks, real estate and insurance agents, developers, bankers and others, whose incomes will benefit from favorable decisions made by the City Commission. . I have lived in this town for over forty years and have never seen a so-called "progressive" attract such widespread support from the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. To you liberals who think he is not already in the pocket of the monied interests in town, all I have to say is that you folks are exceedingly naive.

List starts in post directly below


Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

"sustaining the reputation the city and university enjoyed for many years of having one of the nation’s finest “town-gown” relationships."

Jimminy Christmas, what space ship have you been traveling on for the last several decades. "One of the nations finest town-gown relationships"???? Now that's a joke.

Let's start with KU's initial refusal to hold a downtown parade in 2008 for the NCAA National Championship Team. Ultimately, KU relented, but only after being shamed by the citizens of Lawrence.

Writers of editorials are entitled to opinions. But facts are facts. Whomever wrote this editorial needs to acquaint themselves with a little reality.


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