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robchestnut (Rob Chestnut)

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Comment history

KPERS hits 60 percent funded benchmark

While the Brownback administration has a lot to answer for in its tax and education policies, KPERS underfunding is an issue that goes back several decades. I hope this trajectory continues and the State of Kansas honors it's commitments to current participants.

July 20, 2014 at 1:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

City advisory board recommends $1 million loan guarantee for high-speed broadband project

If the City and County are interested in this concept, why would they not seek other proposals for the service? Typically, financial commitments require a bid process.

I would also be concerned about Mr. Montgomery's comments about he project:

"Montgomery said the loan guarantee from the city is critical because it shows other private investors that local officials have confidence in the project."

Private investors develop confidence in a project based on their perceptions of the market and the return possibilities. The fact that local government is willing to back some of the financing is a small consideration for a $25 million plus build out.

"Montgomery said he believes demand will be strong in downtown and the East Lawrence area. If the pilot project is successful, he said he is optimistic there will be enough private financing available to extend the super-fast internet service to all of Lawrence."

What if demand falls well below expectations? This loan guarantee will be part of a small pilot project for a few neighborhoods, and I doubt that this is a sustainable model. So, ultimately it will likely default or be sold to another entity that can further leverage the investment.

"Montgomery is estimating a citywide expansion will cost $30 million."

How good are the cost estimates? What is a realistic number of customers at a price point that is higher than other vendors? Can the revenue really sustain an investment of $30 million?

It is incumbent upon the elected officials to study the ultimate plan and determine if it is reasonable. What is the point of helping the pilot project if the larger plans do not make sense?

Clearly, high speed internet has an economic development impact. They need to be quantified and compared to the risk that is being taken. Is the community willing to take over the network if the project ultimately fails as a private investment?

May 23, 2014 at 7:50 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kathleen Sebelius resigns from Obama Cabinet

Regardless of the politics of the ACA, Kathleen Sebelius has tried to serve the public to the best of her abilities for several decades. I did not always agree with her politics, but she put forth the effort.

Teddy Roosevelt said it best > "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming..."

April 11, 2014 at 6:52 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: KU hindsight

This is a team that is 10-2 in the best conference (by RPI) in the country. The schedule is favorable for them to win the league, and I expect them to do it as they have the last 9 times. K-State is looking to break into the Top 25 again, and Texas is now No. 19.

What happened Monday night? K-State played harder. This is pretty common during league play when you have 18 games and everyone wants a piece of you.

The non-conference losses this year were against teams now ranked No. 2, No. 6 and No. 9 in the country along with Colorado who was in the Top 25 until they lost their best player.

While I would love another 30 win year (which is now the expectation based on our average over the last 10 years), sometimes the schedule just doesn't line up. Timing is everything, and the youngest team certainly I can remember got to play the toughest schedule in the country.

This will be a team that people will want to avoid in NCAA play. Hopefully, we will be ready for the challenge.

Go Hawks!

February 18, 2014 at 8:42 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Shelter help

LCS will continue to demand more and more resources from the City and Douglas County. The work they do is admirable, but they behave as though there are no other worthy service organizations with needs in the community.

LCS has been rewarded for a lacking of planning consistently, and they have been able to continue to be funded at increasing levels by making commitments that they are not able to fund internally.

Why change now?

January 4, 2014 at 1:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Downtown growth

Sven - Downtown has maintained its mercantile district because of the additional residential and business development, not despite it. I can (unfortunately due to age) remember when Massachusetts was the only retail district in town, and the doors closed at 5:30 on weekdays and Saturday and the district was completely closed on Sunday.

Those days are over, and they will never return. But, I can now be Downtown on a Friday or Saturday night and see the evolution instead of walking down a street of empty storefronts.

December 24, 2013 at 8:22 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Honestly?

The source of reporting is not relevant in this situation. The administration does have an accountability to reconcile statements made by President Obama that turned out to be untrue. Unfortunately, neither plausible scenario is a good one.

If the administration did not understand the impact of its own legislation, that is not a good scenario. If the administration did understand the impact and chose to communicate something that was technically true but misleading, that is not a good scenario.

I am not sure if this has been done adequately.

December 10, 2013 at 8:42 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

KU's Student Senate examining student fees paid to athletics association

The student fees that subsidize athletics is the price of admission for being in a BCS conference. As was stated by Mr. Marchiony, the fees are in line with many of the other Big 12 schools.

That being said, I think the bigger issue is where does this all go in the future? Football is the dominant revenue source for BCS schools heavily driven by TV contracts. However, football also garners an every growing amount of money to sustain. Net revenue producing sports are no longer able to fund sports not able to sustain themselves.

We know that KU is currently challenged on Title IX compliance, so it is looking for any and all methods to pay for these costs that are mandated. Rock Chalk Park was a collaborative project that was partially subsidized by the taxpayers of Lawrence. Student fees are another source. The value of the brand is clearly important to the University. But, what transparency should be required by the athletic department given it has sources of funds that are not internally generated?

December 9, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The Brownback Experiment: hard to measure

My hope is that the legislature will revisit provisions in the law in the future to measure impact. LLC income exemption as an example. Did I it generate any incremental revenue?

November 24, 2013 at 8:50 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Plan needed

We have a comprehensive set of downtown design guidelines adopted in late 2008. If you look at the planning department documents on the website you will find a 121 page pdf that details a number of parameters for the proposed structure.

http://www.lawrenceks.org/assets/pds/...

Mr. Harper and other interested parties should participate in the process. Every citizen of Lawrence should have an interest in this project, because it has the potential to be a tremendous gateway to the south end of downtown. However, they do not have ownership in this project. That takes a willingness to risk millions of dollars that could potentially result in significant losses for the investors. That is ownership.

My hope is that we strike a reasonable balance between compliance to established guidelines and the need for a reasonable return in order to get a great project.

November 22, 2013 at 7:44 a.m. ( | suggest removal )