Fragmental (Chris Baker)


Comment history

Douglas County voters reject controversial countywide sales tax; leaders say jail project will proceed after public input

Good Lord people. How about just not raising the highest taxes in the state any higher? If this stuff is so important (I'm not questioning whether it's important or not), why can't we just take the money from another source that you (Lawrence) deem to be less of a priority? Can we please exercise some fiscal responsibility?

I always hear how it's too expensive to live here, it's not affordable, etc., and those same people are the ones always trying to make everything more expensive!

May 15, 2018 at 9:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Farmer faced legal issues over unpaid income taxes while he ran for Lawrence City Commission in 2013; did not disclose

Holy cow guys. Farmer is a good dude, he cared deeply for this city and the people he helped serve via Just Food. I know that because I usually disagreed with him and we had several debates over a handful of issues over the last year or two. He genuinely wanted to help people, and was certainly not a scoundrel or a criminal or anything similar. Digging up his relationship details with his ex-wife or making grand presumptions about his past is downright despicable. Just disgusting. He didn't do anything to deserve that. He was a small town city commissioner, not Governor or President, and he didn't do anything illegal here. He just screwed up at work, and he is paying the price. We've all screwed up at work before, we just usually don't have to pay for it in full public view like this. It's just really unfortunate.

August 17, 2015 at 9:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence Mayor Jeremy Farmer submits resignation to city

I completely agree with Paul. NO to Kristi Adair. Wicked Broadband has scammed the city out of enough money over the years and she and her husband don't need even more access to the city's coffers.

August 12, 2015 at 5:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence City commissioners to host listening sessions about police headquarters project

I'm going to second David's comment. MONEY. Lawrence already has the highest sales tax in the entire State. I'm not making that up, it's literally the highest in the entire state. Prior to the Police Headquarters bond measure failing, this city didn't even know how to say no to raising more taxes. According to Chad Lawhorn, here are the results from the last ten years of tax increase voting in Lawrence:

• 2013 USD 497 $92.5 million bond issue: 72 percent yes.
• 2010 $18 million library bond issue: 55 percent yes.
• 2008 Infrastructure sales tax issue: 73 percent yes.
• 2008 Public transit sales tax issue: 70 percent yes.
• 2008 Public transit enhancement sales tax issue: 68 percent yes.
• 2005 USD 497 $54.1 million bond issue: 68 percent yes.
• 2005 USD 497 $8.9 million bond issue: 71 percent yes
• 2003 USD 497 $59 million bond issue: 55 percent yes

It's the way the city commission and school board has used sales taxes and property taxes as a bottomless piggy bank that is the problem. Then you add into the mix the dark cloud of of mistrust surrounding the financing and construction of Rock Chalk Park, and the deceitful manner in which the city/school board often employs when promoting these tax increases, and it's no wonder that even liberal Lawrence, KS finally said no to spending more money. I'm not even arguing whether any of these projects are worthwhile or not, (I bet a couple of them are!) but our leaders need to employ a little fiscal discipline and learn to be more selective.

Maybe a "new" police headquarters really is needed. But I want a fiscal case to be made for it. $28 million is a LOT of money, and I've already shown that Lawrence has given city/school leaders everything they've wanted for decades, so why this now? Why a $28 million dollar building instead of say, a $22 million dollar building perhaps? How much of that $28 million will go to ornate/expensive building materials? How much for things that will be nice/pretty but not neccessarily essential? What will happen to the old police facilities? Will they be sold (as they should be if we are replacing their function) and how much revenue will be generated as a result? "Cost Savings" is a promised incentive for this project, so by how much will the city's annual police budget be reduced going forward as a result of the cost savings from this new project? Or will there be no budget reduction, and the savings will just be spent on something new? Are there other location alternatives that could be less expensive? How would this cost option compare to just expanding & renovating one of the existing facilities?

I'm not saying that the ballot needs to have twenty different options, but how about the city commission make a fair and honest case for why the chosen selection is the BEST option. When we're comfortable with the fiscal justifications involved, then they can make their case for whether or not the expense is worthwhile and needed.

January 9, 2015 at 12:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Synthetic ice rink: Not the same as real ice, but serves its purpose

I don't really know anything about ice rink operation, or what this synthetic ice stuff is or how it works, just to be clear. So my following questions are meant with absolutely no judgement or criticism in mind, I'm just genuinely curious.

Why did Lawrence select this synthetic stuff for an ice rink rather than "real ice?" Is it dramatically cheaper/easier to use? Is it less of an insurance liability?

I'm assuming there was some kind of downside to going with real ice instead of synthetic, or else that selection probably wouldn't have been made, right?

January 9, 2015 at 11:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence Superintendent Doll answers questions about mail-ballot election on local option budget

Let's see if I understand this correctly...

The financial deficit was caused when the courts ruled that the students enrolled in our virtual school program could not be counted as students within our district. So the state dollars previously allotted for them ($1.8 million) instead is now directed to the districts they actually live in. The school board voted to raise taxes to cover the lost funds for this program, but we didn't see a mill levy increase because unrelated revenue happened to became available at the same time this year to offset the tax increase. Since the state revenue that offset the tax increase isn't permanent, voting to keep the tax increase will result in an actual mill levy increase in taxes next year, permanently.

Let's start at the beginning, the school district lost funding that we were getting for the virtual school program kids. That's certainly unfortunate, and I don't agree with the court's decision (if USD 497 is bearing the expense for their education, then shouldn't USD 497 receive the state funding that is allotted for that purpose?), but it's not up to us. If USD 497 isn't receiving the funding for these out-of-district kids, then why aren't we just cutting that program to make up the revenue shortfall? Why ask Lawrence to pay for the education of kids from around the state, while their parent's tax dollars that are meant for that purpose stay in their home district?

I work in advertising sales. If "John Doe" decided to stop paying me for their advertising and instead gave the money owed to my local competitor, why would I ask my other clients to pay more in order to keep John's ads running? No, I would just stop running John's ads. If his money is going to go to a competitor, then shouldn't they be the one running ads for him?

This seems like more typical Lawrence tax deception to me. They managed to cover up the tax increase this year, so that they can market the new ballot measure as a "no tax increase" plan, when it is anything but. Let's say you filled up a tank of gas for $20 last week and this week the price increased to $30. If you happen to find a $10 bill on the ground while filling up, would it be remotely accurate for you to boast that the cost of a tank of gas hasn't actually increased at all? That's incredibly deceptive

Cutting the Virtual School won't solve the deficit however, as USD 497 was likely spending most of that money on other things. As Doll mentions above, the money goes into a general fund so they could spend it on anything. After all, why would athletic programs, fine art programs, at-risk programs, etc. be put at risk if the measure isn't passed, if the money wasn't being spent on those unrelated programs? The Virtual School Program surely didn't cost $1.8 million to run, so it likely served as a great revenue generator to provide extra funding for the general budget.

Why can't we just have some honesty from our locally elected leaders?

January 7, 2015 at 1:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback administration drops federal grant program to help people apply for food stamps

This article doesn't even provide the name of the funding program/legislation that is being turned down? Really?

October 9, 2013 at 1:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Misleading claim

Mr. Kean is 100% correct, and isn't arguing whether or not the bond issue itself has merit or not, but simply that it is incredibly misleading. Maybe it is a worthy expenditure, or maybe it isn't, that is for taxpayers to decide. The problem is how it was "sold" to us, and pushed on us by the school system. I received multiple e-mails from the school, my daughter was instructed to talk my wife and I into voting yes on the measure, and I even received a phone call from the district super (recorded message) urging me to vote on tuesday and reminding me not that the bond issue is a worthwhile investment, or how it will benefit our schools, but rather preaching the rediculous claim that it will not represent a tax increase. In fact, she used the system that is supposed to only be used for emergencies or weather delays, even acknowledging that fact by making a joke at the outset of the call, saying something like, "Hi I am [name] and no, I'm not calling to report a weather related cancellation..." Nobody likes being sold to, especially when they are being lied to and misled like an underhanded used car salesman.

April 5, 2013 at 3:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence man, 29, sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting 13-year-old girl

There is a 52 year old man in the county jail for worse charges, or rather, not just "attempted" indecent liberties, and with more than one child. He was in court today and I am hoping the LJW will report on it somehow.

July 7, 2012 at 12:02 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Gas line ruptured

I think the city decided to to do what any other city would do. If you have a street that is repeatedly crossed by hundreds of people a day, jaywalking or not, you should eventually reach the conclusion that some kind of traffic control measure should be installed, for safety purposes if nothing else. Also, it won't be a single northbound lane, it was a really wide street to begin with. The only thing being sacrificed appears to be the few parking metered spots directly in front of the LJW building. People still need to be able to reach the old riverfront mall for the Marriot and Affinitas afterall.

October 6, 2006 at 12:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )