Letters to the Editor

Letter: Public trust

July 9, 2013


To the editor:

In the article, “Attorney questions city’s authority to issue no-bid contract for Rock Chalk Park” (Journal-World, July 2), Mike Amyx is quoted as saying that when he voted for Charter Ordinance 19 back in 1984, he had no idea the city would use it to circumvent the bidding process in the future. I think I know how he feels. Some of us who voted for the 1994 sales tax initiative had no idea that our good intentions — to support improved public health services in the county — would be hijacked nearly 20 years later to justify building a $25 million sports complex without public approval.

The City Commission has apparently grown fond of exploiting ambiguities in our old legal documents. This may seem clever, but it is terrible for representative government; it is divisive and sows voter distrust. Personally, I was so disgusted by the way the sports complex was handled I almost voted against the latest school bond issue. Why? Because I could only guess at what legal fodder I might be providing for irresponsible commissioners in the future. As Mr. Amyx found out, if you vote for anything in Lawrence, your vote becomes free game for reinterpretation decades later.

This has got to stop. If the city wants to maintain public trust, it needs to bid out the Rock Chalk project. Sure, it may take longer. Doing things the right way generally does! There isn’t a law on the books that can negate that simple truth.


Abdu Omar 4 years, 10 months ago

I also agree. This whole project has been suspect since the beginning. Why don't they sit back, ask the public what we want and then build that? How can they just do what they want with our taxes? Why don't they truly represent us, the voters, the taxpayers, the citizens of Lawrence?

Keith 4 years, 10 months ago

Locally, politics is a microcosm of national politics. Our elected representatives take care of the 'people who matter', that is those who contribute the most.

Phil Minkin 4 years, 10 months ago

Sadly, Keith is right. The cost of getting elected to the city commission has gone up dramatically over the last few years. It used to be yard signs, a few radio and LJW ads and lots of door-to-door. Now we have expensive TV and multi-media ads and even robocalls. There's no longer an opportunity for "the little guy" to mount an effective campaign that can overcome big money. Leslie Soden tried but was outspent 3-4 to 1.

lawrencereporter 4 years, 10 months ago

“Due to a desire to have a high-quality environment [at the complex], KU Endowment is going to provide the land to the city at no cost,” Dever said. “In return, they want to make sure what we build is going to be high-quality and will be consistent with the facilities that are constructed throughout the university.”

    For the record: Bliss has never built anything for the University of Kansas before. Fritzel and family are just donors.

“We had opted for trying to find a way to build this thing without competitive bid,” Dever said. “The university wanted us to use Bliss because they’re already contracted to build KU’s facilities, and they wanted us to use Bliss to build ours.”


minimadoff 4 years, 10 months ago

Jeremy Farmer’s champagne contributions from just the Fritzel family and Paul Werner totaled over $1500.00

The PAC ‘United Lawrence’ contributed hundreds of dollars to Farmer, the Fritzel’s and Werner were large contributors to ‘United Lawrence’.

Would they have spent this kind of money on Farmer if it wasn’t for Rock Chalk Park needing approvals from city hall?

Maddy Griffin 4 years, 10 months ago

If we want to get corruption out of government, we should start at the local level.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

Excellent thinking letter writer. Bring the matter to a vote. There is plenty of time to solves the issue.

Haste makes waste as is all too clear.

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