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Potential shake-up in leadership of Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods in the works


If you are a follower of the political process in Lawrence, tonight might end up being an interesting evening.

It sounds like a shake-up is in the works at the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods. The group has its meeting where it elects its officers at 7 tonight in the ground floor meeting room of the Hobbs Taylor Lofts Building at Eighth and New Hampshire streets.

It looks likely that longtime LAN chair Gwen Klingenberg is facing a major challenge to keep her leadership position with the organization. Sources tell me a strong push is being made to install Laura Routh, a longtime City Hall observer and frequent critic of the police department, to the top spot.

In fact, the effort may be so strong that Klingenberg may not even seek another term. One source told me that she essentially had resigned her seat leading up to tonight’s vote, but I haven’t been able to confirm that with Klingenberg.

Routh, however, did confirm to me that she is seeking the position.

Some of you may be wondering why you care at this point. That’s understandable. LAN doesn’t always garner a lot of attention, but it has been one of the major political players at Lawrence City Hall in the past. As the largest neighborhood organization in the city, it has an ability to muster forces for or against any number of projects.

Within the last decade LAN has held considerable sway with the commission at various times. How much sway it holds today is debatable, and that may be what this change in leadership is partially about.

A member who called me up about this potential change, said there is a split in the organization currently. One group, it appears, is seeking more aggressive advocacy from LAN, while another group is concerned that if such aggressiveness is perceived as being confrontational with City Hall that it will make it more difficult for LAN to get things done.

Routh stopped short of saying that her platform as president would involve amping up the aggressiveness of the organization. But anyone who has watched City Hall much recognizes that Routh is not hesitant to challenge commissioners and call them out on issues.

“I’m a pretty known quantity,” Routh told me. “I’m a pretty direct person. I think people know that about me. But my intention is to serve as the membership desires."

LAN runs a pretty open ship. Its meetings are open to anyone interested in Lawrence neighborhoods, but only members of the organization can vote.


Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

A more vocal citizen voice is long overdue.

MarcoPogo 5 years, 5 months ago

Well, you certainly wouldn't have to worry about Routh being a wallflower.

Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

I respect folks who have the courage to speak up.

Old_Oread_Phart 5 years, 5 months ago

You mean a person who could not win a city election who self appointed herself into something of a non-functioning position is getting ousted?

Sounds like Corncob, Hawk-perched-on-the-riverfront, one-eyed Wilbur.... I think he achieved electoral numbers close to 3% when he ran for office. And yet he bitch*s about every thing going on, while he runs his Oread neighborhood into the ground.

Old_Oread_Phart 5 years, 5 months ago

We need more slumlords like One-Eyed Wilbur to protect and preserve Lawrence neighborhoods. Lets hook him up with the Wheel and the Hawk since they are the significant cost of police protection in the community. (he is already hooked up).

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

This position is among the toughest jobs in Lawrence, Kansas. Can we say bordering on thankless?

Make no mistake about it Gwen Klingenberg put in many many hours for LAN over the past six years and is a wealth of information. Gwen is among the few who know more than many city commissioners and planning commissioners regarding codes and ordinances.

Lawrence,Kansas should be thankful someone and neighborhood organizations step up to the plate to do the constant battle with local politicians and other organizations. It's all about protecting the character of our neighborhoods, downtown central business district and the quality of life for all local citizens.

In many cases it is the lack of enforcement or refusing to honor guidelines that make organizations such as LAN and neighborhood associations quite important to Lawrence,Kansas.

Intervention by these organizations also is trying to protect how OUR tax dollars are spent. LAN and neighborhood organizations are tax dollar watch dogs as well as code enforcement and quality of life watch dogs. Politicians and their financial backers by their very nature bring on the watch dogs. Watch Dogs are not going away anytime soon!

flyin_squirrel 5 years, 5 months ago

Only merrill would think LAN is important and not an utter waste of everyones time. At one point it may have been productive and had influence, but not anymore.

irvan moore 5 years, 5 months ago

so the meeting was last night but nothing in the paper or here this morning? a little follow up to know what happened would be interesting

Catalano 5 years, 5 months ago

Geez, give Chad some time to wake up and have some coffee.

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