Archive for Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Forum absences raise debate between Lawrence City Commission candidates

Lawrence City Commission candidates Dustin Stumblingbear, top, and Matthew Herbert, bottom.

Lawrence City Commission candidates Dustin Stumblingbear, top, and Matthew Herbert, bottom.

October 31, 2017

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Absences at recent Lawrence City Commission candidate forums are creating debate on the campaign trail.

One of the top three candidates in the primary election, Dustin Stumblingbear, has missed five candidate forums. Stumblingbear has provided written statements to inform attendees he had other events scheduled, but some candidates are publicly criticizing his absences.

Incumbent candidate Matthew Herbert recently posted about Stumblingbear’s absences on social media. Herbert told the Journal-World his main concern is making sure voters actually have an opportunity to engage with all the candidates.

“It’s very difficult to have a candidate forum — where voters are there to figure out what the fundamental differences are between the candidates — when we don’t have all the candidates present,” Herbert said. “For me, as a candidate, it becomes an issue of engagement.”

There have been at least eight candidate forums since the primary election Aug. 1. Groups such as the League of Women Voters, Downtown Lawrence Inc., the NAACP and the Lawrence Home Builders Association have hosted forums.

Herbert said all the candidates have a lot of things going on, but that if they are seeking a job on the City Commission, he thinks the forum is their interview. He also said he wanted to make sure that candidates are committed to the responsibilities of being a commissioner.

“If re-elected, I will end up having to serve with the two other people who are elected,” Herbert said. “I want to make sure we’re putting together a City Commission of people who are actually going to be dedicated to attending meetings and committed to being there. We have to have a City Commission present every Tuesday night.”

Stumblingbear told the Journal-World he hadn’t seen Herbert’s social media posts about his absences and that he’d rather have such conversations in person.

“I think it’s silly that we’re having this discussion about social media posts,” Stumblingbear said. “And I think we can have more mature conversations face to face if someone has a beef, rather than running around and talking behind people’s backs.”

Stumblingbear also said he is committed to his campaign and to voters, and explained in more detail the reason for his absences.

Stumblingbear said he knocks on doors six days per week as part of his campaign and has talked to thousands of residents. He said he is often invited to small voter group meetings or other events, and he schedules these appearances on a first-come, first-served basis. He said three of his absences were due to such scheduling conflicts, including a powwow at Haskell Indian Nations University.

“I’m not going to apologize because I got more contacts through knocking doors,” Stumblingbear said. “I’ve worked hard to talk to the citizens of Lawrence and to get to know them and their issues. I then get invited to events all throughout the city. Just because some people get to my time first doesn’t mean I’m disrespecting other voters.”

Stumblingbear, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, said the other two forum absences were because they were on Sunday. Herbert noted his argument was not about the Sunday absences but about the general pattern.

Stumblingbear said that though he attended one Sunday forum during the primary season, he decided afterward that he was not comfortable attending others.

The six City Commission candidates are competing for three open commission seats in the Nov. 7 election. The other candidates are Lisa Larsen, Jennifer Ananda, Mike Anderson and Bassem Chahine.

Related

VOTER GUIDE: Lawrence City Commission election

Comments

Richard Heckler 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Some of these forums are not there to allow candidates to offer up their points of interest or concerns. Too many are designed to distract from the candidates positions on issues such as growth etc etc etc.

Perhaps special interest questions are designed to color a candidate as anti growth which in reality any body running for office cannot be anti economic growth because city hall still has bills to pay.

I'm curious about why Lawrence Home Builders are sponsoring a forum considering their primary interest is home building?

"Free Lunch: How Local Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Taxpayer Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)." This reveals how local government subsidies and new regulations have quietly funneled money from the local poor and the local middle class to the rich politically connected.

Bill Moyers http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01182008/transcript.html

http://www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/report00/intro.asp

David Cay Johnson – What exactly is TIF? http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

There are many sides to the issue of home building such as who's responsibility is it to manage economic growth the City Commission or the home builders?

http://www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/report00/intro.asp

New residential seldom pays its' own way which says too many new homes on the market becomes a tax burden on others which then begs the question who is managing the lending industries financing 24/7 construction of homes?

Is 24/7 construction actually healthy for the economy? Too many homes on a market can bring down the value of existing properties? Lending institutions blindly financing homes no matter what constitutes inflationary lending thus the potential for inflating the values of existing properties thus higher taxes on existing properties thus costing homeowners more $$$$$ to live in their "own" homes.

In the case of Dustin Stumblingbear a new candidate could in fact be reaching more voters door to door than say a Lawrence Home Builders forum will produce. One on one contact provides an opportunity for voters to vent what is on their minds as opposed to a controlled special interest venue.

Richard Heckler 1 month, 2 weeks ago

As a former candidate attending neighborhood association meetings was more fruitful than participating in a forum controlled by local special special interests.

Again a new candidate could in fact be reaching more voters door to door than a special interest forum will produce. One on one contact provides an opportunity for voters to vent what is on their minds as opposed to a controlled special interest venue.

There are more venues in a community for a candidate than there is time to devote therefore one must choose which ones will be most productive.

Jake Davis 1 month, 2 weeks ago

It obviously did not work out too well for you and I surmise it will hurt Mr. Stumblingbear. Is he afraid of a debate or confronting issues? I don't know or have met the gentleman but the article does not present a positive picture of his capabilities. One thing I look for in a candidate is 1) What are the issues and 2) What are you going to do about it. Most of them just bat around the issues with no plan for solvability.

Richard Heckler 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I should have spent more time door to door rather than making controlled special interest forums that would not allow candidates to present their positions on all issues.

Thank you .....

Richard Heckler 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Do bedroom communities ever pay for themselves? NO

Food for thought:

There is one consequence that usually goes unmentioned - 24/7 construction is draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

24/7 construction is the result of over many decades of subsidies paid for by the American taxpayer. These range from the obvious to the obscure and include big projects-like the billions we spend on new roads as well as smaller ones-like the tax-breaks that encourage businesses to move to the edge of town.

We've subsidized 24/7 construction at such a basic level for so long, that many people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral. This is false-what we think of as a level playing field is tilted steeply in favor of 24/7 tax increasing development.

How we subsidize 24/7 construction?

building new and wider roads building schools on the fringe extending sewer and water lines to new construction projects extending emergency services to the fringe direct pay-outs to developers

How do we subsidize sprawl? Through an array of state, local and federal programs-and through incentives built into the development process itself.

Craig V. Campbell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Herbert said all the candidates have a lot of things going on, but that if they are seeking a job on the City Commission, he thinks the forum is their interview. He also said he wanted to make sure that candidates are committed to the responsibilities of being a commissioner.

Does he mean the responsibility of having millions of dollars sitting in an account paying ZERO INTEREST?

Louise Pennewell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I will be voting for Stumblingbear. He, and his wife came through my neighborhood, in East Lawrence. They visited with us, and were interested in sharing his ideas for our community. I like what he stands for.

Don’t let this distraction taint your vote.

Gene Ramp 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Is commissioner Tootsie Pop buying votes?

Daniel Speicher 1 month, 2 weeks ago

If a Tootsie Pop was enough to buy a vote, the GOP wouldn't need the Koch Brothers.

Francis Hunt 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I tire of Commissioner Herbert's social media posts I find them very immature. To me trash talking another candidate on social media is very Trump-like. I much prefer Mr. Stumblingbear's adult attitude and I respect his "first come first serve" attitude when it comes to meetings. Why should he disrespect one person or group by cancelling their meeting so he can attend another one? The article says "some candidateS are publicly criticizing his absences." Did I miss something because I only see comments from candidate Herbert. Who else is criticizing Mr. Stumblingbear? Also in the article "Herbert told the Journal-World his main concern is making sure voters actually have an opportunity to engage with all the candidates." Just because Mr. Stumblingbear isn't engaging the way Commissioner Herbert thinks he should doesn't mean the voters aren't having the opportunity to engage with him. Maybe Commissioner Herbert should just worry about himself and his campaign then let the voters decide for themselves, we don't need him pointing things out for us on his Facebook page.

Daniel Speicher 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Listen, I think our current president has put social media posts in a bad light. There is a right way and a wrong way to post online and the reality is that social media is the most prevalent forum by which individuals communicate with the world (and the world communicates back to them.). Whether or not we like that trend or not is irrelevant. Whereas our president throws up falsehoods, misinformation, and personal attacks; Commissioner Herbert pointed out a cogent and valid concern. Commissioners may be paid as part-time employees, but their jobs are anything but that. They are called to be "on call" for a number of meetings and, especially, emergencies as the leadership of the city.

I am concerned with anyone who puts any event before the events relating to the public office they are running for or the office for which they have been voted. I am a Christian. I believe in and love God and, most of the time, His Church. Having said that, as a Christian, I also realize that being entrusted with leadership is a very sacred duty in and of itself. My concern runs to what happens if there is a public emergency on Sunday that requires city leadership. What if an emergency meeting needs to be called for some unforeseen reason during a church service. These events are rare. I do understand that. But, I want to know that my city leaders put their civic duty to their constituents as the utmost priority.

Now, it bears noting that I like Mr. Stumblingbear. I love his passion for the people of Lawrence. As a lifelong citizen of the city, I think that kind of "candidate of the people" is exactly what the city needs. I think he do great things if voted onto the City Commission... But, that is when he is present. But, his missing five very important forums makes me question his commitment to the administrative side of the office he seeks. Being a leader "of the people" is only as good as your willingness to go to bat for them on an administrative level. A commissioner who balances those two traits quite well is Commissioner Herbert. He's proven that time and time again in his first term. The candidates running right now would do well to strike that balance as well.

David Holroyd 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Commissioner Herbert and the other commissioners have done a shabby job keeping track of the Shelter finances for one thing.

But more recently,,,the 1220 block of Louisiana is to be closed for 3 months. No traffic, no parking. All the parking will be off the alley and any other place folks can cabbage a spot.

Wouldn't one think the least the commissioners could do would to bring the alley up to snuff with patching a few potholes?

Even the City Manager is inept. I doubt that the commissioners have read the flyers put out.

As for Stumblingbear going door to door. He will meet more people than at a forum which the attendees don't really get to ask questions. They are scrutinized and the attendees are the same "10"people that show up at these FAKE forums.

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