robchestnut (Rob Chestnut)


Comment history

City Commissioner Leslie Soden files to run for Douglas County Commission

I agree with Carol. Although I don't always agree with Commissioner Soden's perspective, I do appreciate her willingness to serve. It is not about the compensation.

May 25, 2018 at 10:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Developers to propose downtown project with conference center, hotel and high-rise condos

I believe that the city incentive policy is written to entertain tax incentives for developers taking all of the risk in private development. This proposal as described is asking the City of Lawrence for significant capital investment to be funded by hotel guest tax. If the City determines that the parking and convention center are important assets to be paid through bonding to support downtown, that is one consideration. But I can't see how you justify this investment as well as long-term tax incentives that will generate very little incremental revenue for the City over the first 10-15 years.

December 11, 2017 at 1:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Affidavit reveals new details in Josh Jackson car vandalism case

Players need to understand that their behavior is scrutinized. This is especially true of a player with the future earning potential of Mr. Jackson. That being said, I am sure that these type of encounters happen often among 18-22 year old kids. My guess is that the affidavit is not far from the truth, but I am sure that the Douglas County DA did the calculus on what can be proven in court and will adjudicate it appropriately.

March 17, 2017 at 8:11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Few surprises at town hall

While I am not in favor of shouting matches, I think the town halls have shown a desire to maintain elements of the ACA that will set a baseline for any new legislation. Recent days have seen a number of Republicans hedge on the current proposal due to estimates of displacement of coverage for many current enrollees. The process is working.

March 15, 2017 at 7:42 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter to the editor: Brownback ideology

Richard - Now we have gone over the top. My letter is directed specifically at one administration and its lack of accountability after making sweeping policy changes.

As a moderate, I do not aspire to the opinion that one party or philosophy is responsible for all the ills in government. The federal government on both sides of the aisle have managed financial regulation poorly.

Issues with entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare stretch back for decades through many administrations.

January 6, 2017 at 7:20 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter to the editor: Brownback ideology

I believe the Kansas spending cited by Mr. Lassman totaling $9,972 per student is from the US Census Bureau Annual Survey of School Systems. I would consider this a reliable source. This same information shows Kansas ranking 29th in per student spending by state with a 5.5% decline in spending over the 5-year period ending in 2014.

I believe the issues with public education do extend beyond money. Outcomes do matter, and our country needs to rectify a number of issues in the public schools.

However, my concern for the short-term is a precipitous decline in spending after the next legislative session due to the same ideology that believes lower taxes will produce an economic stimulus that will produce higher revenues for the state. That did not work, and I do not believe the current administration will hold itself accountable for actions taken with regard to school funding. It has not done so in the past.

December 30, 2016 at 9:34 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Revenue insult

This is not a matter of who won an election. Honestly, I think that the point has no relevance. The issue is a higher responsibility of administering the business of the State of Kansas with transparency that is essential to the public trust. It is not an option.

Revenue estimates are the basis upon which the state budget is put together. Comparisons to the previous year are completely irrelevant. If revenue estimates fall short, it triggers the need to reduce spending below budgeted levels. This is a scorecard that the legislature, the public and all the stakeholders (school administrators in particular) need to know.

I do not see this move as an insult to my intelligence. It is a fundamental violation of the obligation that the Governor has to his constituents.

October 6, 2016 at 7:36 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence Public Library leaders say pay lags that of other libraries

I appreciate Mr. Allen advocating for his employees. Several other employee groups within the City of Lawrence have looked at peer communities to ensure compensation is competitive. Both the Lawrence Police Department and the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical Department have representation to provide data to the City Commission each year in order to consider budget requests.

The fact is that all of the analysis of wages misses a large portion of costs provided to employees including the medical plan, vacation plan and the longevity bonus funded almost every year by the City Commission.

If the City Commission really wants to study compensation, it should be done comprehensively across all departments including all benefits provided for city employees. This will take time and investment, but it would definitely give more insight into the competitive position of each department. It would also provide a level playing field for all employees to have equal consideration by the City Commission each budget year.

August 28, 2016 at 3:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

City manager: Positions on chopping block are 'nontraditional'

I was on the commission in 2008 when the City Auditor was hired. This initiative was suggested by the prior commission. The existing commission moved forward with the creation of the department.

From 2007-2011, the mill levy remained flat and generated a surplus in the general fund each year. The preceding year the general fund had a $3.5M deficit spend. The City Auditor department was created and funded in 2008.

I think it is unfair to characterize any particular position as the genesis of the current deficit situation. Obviously, there are other cost drivers that contribute to the situation faced now by the City. I appreciate the City Manager's attempt to balance the budget. Ultimately, the City Commission must decide the priorities.

Oversight is important. Regardless of the decision, I hope that there will be provision made for a process to review internal operations within the City of Lawrence. This is a necessary accountability that is healthy for any large organization whether public or private.

July 12, 2016 at 3:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Analysis: Brownback's view of Kansas economy as a 'three-legged stool' no longer accurate

Randolf, I do like to take people at their word. However, I agree that intent must be evaluated in the face of the evidence. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

June 28, 2016 at 11:50 a.m. ( | suggest removal )