Renaissance (Matthew Herbert)

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Comment history

Commissioners, public criticize staff cuts in Lawrence city manager's budget proposal

I want to apologize for my comments that were offensive to the city of Topeka. The comments were made out of frustration for a series of budget cuts aimed at the arts that I felt sadly mirrored many similar cuts made in Topeka at the state legislative level. My ‘anger’ with Topeka on this topic is with the legislature which convenes in Topeka, not with the private citizens and artists of Topeka. I am hopeful that my overall message isn’t lost in articles that focus only on the one controversial statement; I stand behind the ultimate message which was that many people choose to live in Lawrence because of the artistic and culturally diverse strong environment it offers. Many people have written me since the release of the recommended budget with great concerns for the direction we appear to be taking with the 2017 budget. Many expressed displeasure with many of the choices being suggested that will negatively impact our community. In expressing my desire to see Lawrence stick to their culturally vibrant roots I didn’t need to degrade anyone else’s city. That was a very poor choice and for that I am truly sorry.
-Matthew

July 13, 2016 at 10:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Capital city begs to differ with Commissioner Matthew Herbert's Topeka bashing; Herbert apologizes

I want to apologize for my comments that were offensive to the city of Topeka. The comments were made out of frustration for a series of budget cuts aimed at the arts that I felt sadly mirrored many similar cuts made in Topeka at the state legislative level. My ‘anger’ with Topeka on this topic is with the legislature which convenes in Topeka, not with the private citizens and artists of Topeka. I am hopeful that my overall message isn’t lost in articles that focus only on the one controversial statement; I stand behind the ultimate message which was that many people choose to live in Lawrence because of the artistic and culturally diverse strong environment it offers. Many people have written me since the release of the recommended budget with great concerns for the direction we appear to be taking with the 2017 budget. Many expressed displeasure with many of the choices being suggested that will negatively impact our community. In expressing my desire to see Lawrence stick to their culturally vibrant roots I didn’t need to degrade anyone else’s city. That was a very poor choice and for that I am truly sorry.
-Matthew

July 13, 2016 at 10:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Multimillion-dollar Bob Billings Parkway traffic-control project starts this week

David,
It has always been the policy of the city to pay for the initial installation of sidewalks throughout the community. What Tom Markus has advocated for is requiring homeowners to maintain the sidewalk on their property. This has been the policy of the city for as long as I can recall and corresponds with current state statute.

June 29, 2016 at 6:42 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence Arts Center CEO confident East Ninth Project will move forward

Brett,
On April 11th ELNA voted to support the E.9th project. Individual members of ELNA have expressed opposition, but as a collective organization their vote demonstrates support.

May 26, 2016 at 11:03 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

KU business dean selected as university's next provost

Wonderful choice! One of the most impressive public speakers I've ever had the honor to hear speak.

May 14, 2016 at 8:15 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence City Commission rethinks citywide fireworks ban, open to softening enforcement

I encourage you to go back and watch the meeting. Chief Khatib gives a very good explanation of exactly why confiscation is more efficient and frankly more appropriate.

May 11, 2016 at 6:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Art in the Park returns this weekend amid 'rebuilding year' for Lawrence Art Guild's event

Art in the Park is always held on the east side of South Park. The west side of the park is used to host the dog frisbee competition.

April 29, 2016 at 8:47 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

City commissioners withhold information about process for selecting new mayor; more info on pending movie theater upgrades

Hi Brett,
The decision to have a two-person committee look at this was based around the premise that commissioner Lisa Larsen and myself are the only two commissioners not traditionally in line to be mayor at any point. Therefore, the thinking was that since we have no personal 'dog in the fight' we would be best able to make an unbiased decision for how to move forward in light of changes at the state level. More specifically to Chad's article, it is worth noting that the Lawrence city commission has, to my knowledge, never released a memo stating who will be selected mayor prior to the meeting where the selection is made.

April 26, 2016 at 12:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

School districts report testing problems as KU Internet issues persist

Being unable to spend our days doing mandatory state testing meant we got to spend the time doing ACTUAL teaching with ACTUAL learning by way of ACTUAL engagement. A high-five to the individual that cut the line. Well done, sir.

April 1, 2016 at 4:36 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

City Commission considers creating own janitorial staff; plan would come with high price tag

A couple items that I believe are of importance to note:
First, part of my dislike of our current contract with ISS for janitorial services is that ISS is a Topeka-based company. I believe in a town of nearly 100,000 people we shouldn't have to farm out our janitorial services. Our budgetary expenses should be kept inside the city whenever possible. Buy local but think global, right?
Secondly, the article mentions how much more expensive it will be to run janitorial services internally instead of hiring them out to an outside provider. I'm not ready to fully agree with this math just yet. It will of course be more expensive, but just how much more expensive is highly debatable. Under our current agreement with ISS, we have one full-time and three part-time workers cleaning city facilities. The math that was provided last night as a comparative showed the city hiring five full-time workers. I need to get to the bottom of exactly why 1 full-time and 3 part-time have to be replaced with 5 full-time to mimic services.
Finally, given that the city has received some complaints about the quality of the work being done, most recently from Bert Nash, what better way to handle quality control than to actually staff those who do the work? I can imagine it is very difficult for ISS to keep good people. After all, you work them 22 hours per week and pay them as little as $8/hour with no benefits. There aren't a whole lot of people wanting to do top notch work for $176/week before taxes. There are even less of those people who can pass a thorough background check to allow them to work in places such as a police station. I believe we will have a much easier time finding (and more importantly retaining) good quality workers as a city if we offer full-time work at a living wage. It's the difference between $504/week and $176/week, before taxes.
My time spent working as a teacher has taught me one very important life lesson; you have to model the behavior you expect from others. As a city government, if we expect businesses in our community to pay a living wage, we must lead that charge and ensure that those who work inside our city government buildings are also making a living wage.

February 17, 2016 at 8:04 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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