clawhorn (Chad Lawhorn)

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Review finds Lawrence police voided city tickets without proper approvals

Hi Brad. Thanks for the questions. First, let me say I'm fine with your perspective on this. Everyone is entitled to make of it what they will. I do believe it was time well spent on our part. Here are few thoughts. 1. You say the article was presented as a "call for local police policy reform." I disagree that the article made such a call. We reported on some changes that the city plans to make. But those changes aren't because we called for them. The city looked at the information and decided it could do some things better. Personally, I think that contradicts your viewpoint that this was a waste of time. 2. We agree that it is important to note the total number of tickets written during this time period. That is why we included the information in the article. 3. I think you could calculate a variety of error rates related to the data. One is the rate you came up with. Another would be a rate that measures how often an error was made every time a void or dismissal form was filled out. That error rate, at a minimum, would be about 25 percent. 4. I'm not certain that quantity of errors is how the city judges its police department. I would note that the previously mentioned ticket scandal that resulted in two police officers losing their jobs focused on about six tickets, a minuscule amount of the total tickets written during that time period. As I mentioned earlier, however, I don't seek to change your perspective. Our job is not to tell people how to think. But I do want to defend the quality of the journalism here. We did something the general public likely wasn't going to do: Pay a significant amount in fees, and spend a significant amount in time going through thousands of documents. What I think makes it particularly good journalism is that as a result of our work, city officials also examined the same information and concluded that they could make improvements. That's a good thing, in my opinion. Thanks. Chad Lawhorn, Managing Editor

April 17, 2016 at 12:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Several years worth of forms detailing how police officers void tickets can't be produced by City Hall

Hi Brad. This certainly isn't an effort to become involved in the conversation you and Richard are having. Instead, you made a couple of comments that seem to be inconsistent with what was included in the article. There was one sentence that talked about when "Khatib took over following the ticket scandal in 2012." As the article notes, Khatib became police chief on an interim basis in 2010. The interim tag was removed in February 2011. There are about two years worth of records that aren't available during his leadership. But as the article also reports, city policy at that time did not require the forms to be kept. Your comment also uses the phrase "did Khatib refuse to locate these forms, or were they not immediately available?" Two things: 1. The article clearly stated that the city said it didn't have the forms to turn over to us. 2.Nowhere in the article do we indicate Khatib refused to locate the forms. I think we were clear that we did not have any contact with Khatib about the forms. He declined on multiple occasions to be interviewed for this article. As noted in the article, we dealt with other city officials on the forms issue. Thanks. Chad Lawhorn, Managing Editor

April 17, 2016 at 11:37 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Parking proposal for $75 million apartment project produces lots of questions, high stakes for Oread neighborhood

Hi Bob: In our original article in October about the bankruptcy filing, the company said in court documents that it had to stop work on the parking system for Lawrence. It was uncertain when, if ever, it would be able to restart work on the project. Thanks.
http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/town_...

March 28, 2016 at 3:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Updated: KU student leader facing misdemeanor drug charges appears before judge; attorney says missed summons due to spring break

Hi Adrienne:
There are a few reasons that the Journal-World covers this story. Among them are: 1. Ms. Grant has been the leader of a significant movement on the KU campus. That movement is newsworthy. In that these charges may impact Ms. Grant’s leadership of that movement, they are newsworthy. 2. Given that we reported on her being charged, it seems only fair that we tell readers how the matter is resolved. 3. I think there are people in the community who want to assure Ms. Grant is treated fairly, and is not unduly punished due to her activism. In order for people to make that judgement decision, someone has to report what happens. Thanks, Chad Lawhorn, managing editor.

March 22, 2016 at 2:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Why in Kansas I get a better deal on taxes by buying beer instead of bread

Hi Chris: Thanks for the comments. You may be right, but I still think the market ultimately determines the end price a manufacturer can charge for its product. Here’s an example. I produce bourbon and my cost per bottle is $5 and I sell it for $10. The government imposes a new gallonage tax of $3 per bottle. As a result, I raise my price to $13 per bottle. (Painful because now my profit margin has dropped, but I did not feel I could charge $16 a bottle and keep sales steady.) I come to find out that sales drop by 30 percent when I raise the price to $13 per bottle. I’m now generating less revenue than I did before the price increase. I drop my price back to $10 per bottle and sales recover. I’m now making the same amount of revenue I did before, but my profit margin has shrunk from $5 per bottle to $2 per bottle. Did the consumer pay for the gallonage tax or did I pay for it through a reduced profit margin?

March 19, 2016 at 9:03 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Why in Kansas I get a better deal on taxes by buying beer instead of bread

Hi: There is indeed a gallonage tax that the manufacturer of the alcohol pays. That has long been the case. The gallonage tax was also in place back when the liquor enforcement tax was much higher than the standard sales tax. The gallonage tax has not been increased since 1977. The rates range from 18 cents per gallon for beer to $2.50 per gallon for spirits. But, it is not a tax that the consumer directly pays. Certainly, manufacturers work to fully pass those costs along to consumers, if market forces will allow it. Thanks.

March 18, 2016 at 5:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Why in Kansas I get a better deal on taxes by buying beer instead of bread

3.2 beer is charged a sales tax but is not charged the 8 percent liquor enforcement tax. So, in Lawrence, you pay the 9.05 percent for 3.2 beer in a grocery story. You pay 8 percent for full-strength beer in a liquor store. Thanks.

March 18, 2016 at 2 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Questions and concerns about the Douglas County Sheriff's Office withholding mugshot photos of crime suspects

Hi: The Sheriff's Department is responsible for releasing all mugshots for anyone in the Douglas County Jail, regardless of what agency made the arrest. Thanks.

March 15, 2016 at 9:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

3 finalists vying to be superintendent of Lawrence schools discuss backgrounds, goals

For what it is worth, here is my perspective: We had two finalists in town Monday. The school district made those two candidates available for interviews on Monday. We interviewed them on Monday. When it came time to report what they said, we felt we should do it on Monday because we try to be timely in the reporting of news. I would note that this is the same process we follow when reporting on candidates for KU positions. KU often has finalists in for public presentations. We report on those on the day that they occur. That has often meant that we report on a male candidate one day and a female candidate another. Thanks. Chad Lawhorn Managing Editor

March 8, 2016 at 5:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )