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Let failed automakers file for bankruptcy

Let GM die- it has always been on the tail end of innovation since the 1980s and has focused on the competition, not on its customers or quality control. The company is too large, and the smaller vehicles they offer are no longer competitive.Chrysler seems to pull a rabbit out of its hat at the last minute- First the K-Car in the 1980s, then the minivan craze, then the Dodge Intrepid platform, and recently the 300 series rear drive cars- they all sell like crazy the first few years, but sales level off after a while. Chrysler fails to update its cars often enough to keep selling them off the lots. The 300 hasn't been updated since it came out, neither has the Charger. I'd buy both cars, because I would like a large rear-drive sedan, but if they could keep them current they would probably sell more. Maybe offer a hybrid Charger? I think that would sell well. Lastly, Ford. Ford needs to bring all of its European models here. They are quality cars over in Europe. The European Focus is infinitely better than our focus. Problem is, Ford is managing so many other marques- Mazda, Volvo, etc. That sell the same car platform under a different badge. The Mazda 3 is the European Ford focus with a different badge, same with the Volvo C30. Ford will probably weather this storm better than GM and Chrysler, because they have a diverse array of global products they can sell, as well as the F-150. Perhaps a re-designed ford ranger would help out their truck sales?

November 18, 2008 at 10:37 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Planners seek ways to make county greener

I like the idea of builders using greener methods to build homes in Lawrence; or making new homes more energy efficient. I think they will sell better in these hard economic times because homebuyers are looking to save money. The neat thing about building green is that it often lessens the demand for city services. If a developer builds an environmentally friendly and energy efficient subdivision, perhaps they could get some sort of tax break equivalent to how much less stormwater, trash, drinking water, and street maintenance services the city will have to provide. I know our government is broke and probably can't afford to forgo the extra tax revenue, but you never know- it might just work. BigPrune- We've experienced the wrong kind of growth in the last 10 years- too much housing and retail, not enough commercial office and industrial. Until we can catch up with more jobs in Lawrence, I say no new housing, no new retail. We need some more offices, factories and places for people to work before they can come to live here....

November 18, 2008 at 10:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

City commission to hear request for campsite for homeless people

A homeless camp in Lawrence is a really forward thinking idea- when the economy slumps even more we'll have land set aside for the ever growing shanty town. What will we call them now? Bushtowns? Clintonvilles? Cheney Cities?

November 11, 2008 at 12:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

3-D dreams: Architect sees innovation, environmental concepts take form through projects

can someone tell me why people insist on living in traditional-style homes? Why did the push for modern home design end in the 1960s?

November 6, 2008 at 9:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Chrysler struggles to come up with big seller

Mercedes Benz did a good job marketing Chrysler products when they owned the company. Many american buyers for years wanted a larger rear drive sedan with a V-8 engine. Mercedes benz realized that this demand existed and rolled out the 300C, which proved to be a very popular car. Most other american auto companies have ignored the car market and focused on their pickup and SUV markets. This will undoubtedly cause their downfall, unless they can come up with compelling small/medium car offering. Without the guidance of Mercedes Benz, Chrysler will without a doubt falter in this economy.

November 2, 2008 at 9:23 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Chrysler struggles to come up with big seller

"Blame your neighbors, not the car companies; the manufacturers are building both what people want and what the environmentalists/liberals/government wants - but what the *people* want is what they've been plunking their money down to buy."I would argue that the Big Three (ford, gm, mopar) have failed to offer a compelling smaller car that people actually want to buy. Nobody wants to drive a dodge neon, chevy cobalt or ford focus, but for some reason sales and re-sales of Honda Civics and Toyota corollas seems to be pretty high...I would say that people who want to "buy american" are forced into buying more expensive trucks and SUVs not because they want a larger vehicle, but because the smaller vehicle offerings from Ford, GM and Chrysler are so horrible nobody would buy them unless they needed to. In international markets GM and Ford produce desirable smaller cars- the European Ford Focus has been very popular and very reliable; Opel products sold in Germany tend to be much more stylish and have greater build quality than their American counterparts. It's true that people desire SUVs, but could it be that the American auto companies realized they could potentially make more money by selling a larger vehicle? Could they have engineered american tastes through advertising and poor small car offerings to desire a larger SUV or pickup truck?

November 2, 2008 at 12:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

T tax benefit

John, Nice LTE- you make some valid points. However, you fail to realize that the sales taxes we will vote on are regressive in nature. I don't like the idea of funding transit through a sales tax- it could potentially hurt the people it was designed to help out (low income transit riders) while the upper tax bracket drives to other locations to shop. I'm sure the neo-cons like the idea of the users paying more for the system, but I for one would rather fund it using stable property taxes. I am voting yes on this issue, only because destroying a transit system in this time of need seems like a pretty dumb idea. -sjschlag

October 30, 2008 at 12:52 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

T commitment

Barb-Thanks for writing this letter. I hope all turns out well on Nov. 4th for you and the rest of the "T" family. It's been stressful the last few months for anyone who has any connection to Lawrence Transit- drivers, riders, and supporters alike. I will be happy to see this all behind us, and will be happy to vote "YES" on Nov. 4th.-sjschlag

October 30, 2008 at 12:45 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

City may sell land for riverfront project

If the developer is fronting the cash, go ahead and sell. The city needs all the money it can get. I still think this development could go bad- look at how everything else is faring in north Lawrence. Let's just hope the city doesn't have to buy it back and find a hotel/call center to live there.

October 28, 2008 at 10:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Bus profits

"I think the city should get out of the bus business and allow free enterprise to take over. Allow a private company to provide bus service. They will make a profit in profit is available. The fares will reflect that. Instead of the city taxpayers subsidizing the poorley run bus system."I love hearing this neo-con free market mantra when it comes to public transportation. What many fail to realize is that free enterprise USED to run public transportation for a profit. Then cars came along, and the auto giants used their muscle to make it unprofitable and inconvenient (read up on GM's Streetcar Scandal) to promote sales of personal automobiles. The Big Three then set about lobbying for more road infrastructure and automotive scale urban environments, making the possibility of a profitable public transit system a dream of the distant past. So, there's a reason the city runs the bus system. There's a reason that KU essentially had to take over Lawrence Bus Company in the 1970s. Private enterprise tried to run these systems in the past, and when the cost of fares became too great to keep people riding, these companies turned to government entities for subsidies to keep running. Public transit is a valuable city service, and even in places like New York or Chicago still fails to break even or make a profit. The operatioal and capital costs are simply too great to be covered by fares; if they weren't subsidized, fares would be too high, and nobody would ride- not even the people who needed a ride.

October 28, 2008 at 10:07 a.m. ( | suggest removal )