To the editor:
Lawrence must be a terrible place to live. “Lawrence almost dead last in economic survey,” shouts the headline. Lawrence is ranked 178 out of 179 metro areas, says one detail; 339th out of 366, says another. We must really be miserable here. Thank goodness our newly elected Lawrence United commissioners vow they will save us and “reverse recent negative trends” that have, presumably, prevented developers from getting everything they’ve asked for from the city.
And yet— is Lawrence really all that blighted and backward? To answer, compare it to the other cities that so soundly beat us on these lists of economy indicators. Would you really rather live in St Joseph? Joplin? Or for that matter Topeka? Uhhh … no thanks.
It seems to me there is a disconnect going on here. Although economic development is one component of a prosperous community, it is hardly the only one. Unless you think Lawrence is the dump these economic indicators would suggest, it apparently it isn’t even the primary one. If Topeka is supposed to be the shining example of how we could improve Lawrence, I think I’ll pass. Besides, don’t forget that study from a while back that proves that, in economic terms, the smartest strategy for economic development in a community is to convince retirees to move to here, not manufacturing industries.
I suggest we keep a close eye on our new city commissioners, particularly when it comes to offering tax breaks and other giveaways that benefit the few while sending the bill to the many.