Renaissance (Matthew Herbert)

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Trio of Lawrence commissioners say they want to get tougher on economic incentives

At the end of the article, where it notes that Commissioners wish to spend $75,000 studying the issue of affordable housing, I would like the record to show that I DID NOT support that expenditure and in fact spoke out against it in the study session. We have $110,000 in an account SPECIFICALLY for affordable housing. I believe that money ought to be put towards affordable housing expenses, NOT to hire an outside company to come in and tell us about a problem we already know exists.

June 9, 2015 at 9:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Important input

4) "It’s an important decision that deserved a more thoughtful process than it apparently will receive."

Under the proposal that was withdrawn by Commission Boley (not voted down/rejected as the article states, incorrectly) our ad hoc group was to be asked for a recommendation by November. If we had any hope of proceeding with facilities within the 2016 budget, a recommendation was to be required by July, from a group that as of June 1st didn't even officially exist. When we met with three of the individuals who were suggested for the group they themselves agreed the timeframe was probably unrealistic given that the ad hoc committee would have to arrange meeting times around individual work schedules and was unlikely to meet more than 3-4 times per month. Even if we moved budgeting to the 2017 budget and gave the group until November as presented, the ad hoc group was unlikely to meet more than a dozen times before a recommendation was to be presented. As to the implication that this is rushed, recall that discussion for expansion of the police facility began in 1993. An ad hoc group would have added 90 days to a process that has been in the works for 22 years.

June 5, 2015 at 4:41 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Important input

There are a few facts that are either presented wrong or conveniently left out of the editorial in an effort to sell the narrative. Allow me to present a few facts so that your readers may understand the ENTIRETY of the story.

1) "a majority of city commissioners on Tuesday decided they knew everything they needed to know about the topic and that further input from an ad hoc committee of community and law enforcement people wasn’t needed."

INCORRECT. The individuals whose names were submitted to form this ad hoc group had a combined experience in law enforcement of exactly 0 days. There was absolutely NO ONE from law enforcement that was taking part in this group.

2) "From their discussions, it appears commissioners are preparing to move forward on a police facility that is similar, if not identical, to what voters turned down"

INCORRECT. The proposal that voters rejected by 500 votes in November involved a significant sales tax increase. This is why, legally, it was put to a vote. The building of public safety infrastructure such as fire stations, police stations and water treatment facilities (like the one we just voted on last month without an ad hoc commission and at a cost more than double a police station) require no public vote if done within the existing budgetary confines. You cannot raise sales taxes without a vote. A majority of the commissioners, myself included, on Tuesday night made it very clear that IF we are to proceed with a police facility it must be done within the context of the existing budget. This is not a minor insignificant difference from the previous rejected proposal. Additionally, as to creating a facility "identical" to the one voted down in November, it is conveniently not mentioned that a different proposal is being looked at, involving the owner of the Journal World presenting a sales offer to the city for the facility and stands to make many millions of dollars from the deal. That fact is not mentioned in the editorial anywhere.

3) Advisory boards and task forces are not the same. See Michelle's comment above for an understanding of the differentiation. Rejecting the idea of one does not necessarily equate to a rejection of the other.

June 5, 2015 at 4:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence construction totals on pace for record year; more details on costs of large apartment project; eco devo leaders confirm details of new manufacturer

Richard, where in the article does it mention EPS receiving ANY taxpayer incentives or corporate welfare?

May 28, 2015 at 3:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawhorn's Lawrence: A tombstone tour

On May 3rd Watkins Museum led a 'walking tour' of Oak Hill that moved you chronologically through the history of American warfare showing graves of one soldier from each conflict from the Civil War through Vietnam, complete with reenactors telling their stories. Truly a very neat experience

May 24, 2015 at 7:58 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence High graduation: Voracious student of history prepares for school in Scotland

Kennedy is a wonderful student. She will go on to do truly great things

May 15, 2015 at 6:13 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence to pay $29,500 for citizen survey on how well local government is functioning

I want to clarify my position on my one of my votes last night. The issue of the city survey came before the commission and as is noted in the article, I was the lone vote of dissent. I did not vote "no" to silence the public, but rather I voted "no" due to cost/benefit analysis I did. Keep the following things in mind: First, the city survey will cost taxpayers $29,950. Given that the survey group anticipates receiving back only 800 surveys, we will be asking taxpayers to pay $37.43 PER RESPONSE. Secondly, given the timing of the survey with regards to the timing of budget season, NONE of your responses will be back in time for them to have ANY impact on the 2016 budget season. Best case scenario, we just spent $30,000 to help us make decisions for the 2017 budget. In theory, some of the issues at play on survey may have already been dealt with by that point. Finally, less than one month ago our city held an election and voted in 60% of a new city commission. During the campaigning process, all three newly elected commissioners, myself included, individually spoke to more members of the public about their concerns than this survey could ever hope to reach...and we did so for FREE. I personally knocked on 4700 doors. This survey will reach 2,500 doors. The idea that 800 community responses will somehow open our eyes to a community movement that we didn't know existed is frankly not realistic. I apologize to any community members who took offense with my vote, but I campaigned on the promise of "your city, your money, your choice" and I intend to honor that. This, in my analysis, is not a good use of your money.

May 6, 2015 at 7:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Free State Brewing Company creates new beer series; AT&T expanding broadband service; City Hall creates new online public forum

^^ nailed it. Thanks Rick. We have about 650 very active citizens engaged in dialogue on a daily basis regarding issues coming before the commission. We only ask that the discussion focus on ways to improve the community; negativity for no other purposes than being a grouchy human isn't highly productive or helpful so we ask that such commentary remain with the LJW blogs. Feel free to join the discussion at http://www.facebook.com/groups/herber...

May 5, 2015 at 5:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

County commissioner: Justice Matters event 'inappropriate'

This is a big reason why mental health expansion and police facility issues need to be separate conversations. You can be in favor of both or opposed to both without having to treat them as the same. When we make them the same issue, we ignore the masses of individuals who suffer from mental health issues but are not criminals.

May 5, 2015 at 12:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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