June 5, 2007

Open letter to Lawrence City Commission on human services budget cuts


Projecting falling sales tax revenues, the City Manager has informed many human services and other public agencies (including the library) that 6% cuts are forthcoming. These cuts are potentially devastating. But they may not be needed at all. Grassroots Action investigated the City Manager’s projections, and find them to be seriously inadequate. They appear to be: radically incomplete; substantively unreliable; methodologically unreliable; and a weak foundation for policy. UNTIL WE HAVE MUCH BETTER DATA, WE CALL UPON THE CITY COMMISSION TO REFRAIN FROM CUTTING NEEDED SERVICES — AND WE INVITE OTHERS TO JOIN US IN THIS CALL.

To continue reading, click on attached PDF listed above.

The Candidates Respond

Grassroots Action circulated a questionnaire
to the City Commission candidates.
Here’s what they said….

1. Congress just passed legislation raising the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. Do you favor or oppose this legislation? Please explain your answer.

Bush: “This is a federal issue, if you have questions or concerns with how your state legislators and senators are reponding to or voting on theses issues you need to be raising those questions with them. The City Commission in the past has not paid due diligence to current issues, getting embroiled in situations and discussions that they have no vote over — and most importantly, that are not local issues. It is a shame that local issues have been lost or relegated to a secondary position so that some power seekers can impressed their values and moral issues on state and federal representatives and do this in the guise of representatives of the citizens of Lawrence. I find this is one of the primary reasons that there is dissatisfaction with some current city commissioners. Our focus should be on local issues and our attentions and time should be spent on creating legislation that is beneficial to the most (at a local level) while doing the least harm to the fewest numbers (again at a local level).”

Chestnut: “As a candidate for City Commissioner, I do not either favor or oppose federal legislation. As a city official, I would be bound to abide by the federal law. I believe the overall focus of the City Commission should be creating jobs in Lawrence that will raise wage rates as we create more demand for labor in the local job market.”

Dever: “I am in favor of the Federal Government raising the minimum wage. It is important that the Federal Government sets a wage that attempts to keep pace with the inflationary pressures of the economy and provides a baseline for employers. However, I will leave it to the Fderal Government to set the exact level of the minimum wage and do not express an opinion on the current proposal.”

Highberger: “I favor legislation raising the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. The current minimum wage is lower in real terms than at any time since 1948, and even after the raise it will be lower than it was from 1956 through 1981. Kansas currently has the lowest state minumum wage in the country. I also favor state legislation raising the state minimum wage to at least the level of the federal minimum wage.”

Maynard Moody: “I do support the federal minimum wage raise to $7.25. It’s a matter of equity and social justice. We also benefit from a work force that needs no social services or medical support because wages are adequate. Unfortunately $7.25 per hour doesn’t cut it. It’s not enough to keep workers out of poverty.”

Schauner: “I favor this legislation. Even the $7.25 an hour figures fails to assist the working poor earn enough to be fully participating members of their community.”

2. In 2003, the City Commission passed a living wage ordinance that requires firms that receive city tax breaks to keep their workers 30% above the poverty line for a family of three. Do you favor or oppose this ordinance? Please explain your answer.

Bush: “If candidates approach all existing regulations as targets for reconsideration, review and rewriting our chances of moving forward as a city are severely hampered. While this might not have been the format a current policy would be written in, until or unless there are clear and documented instances where such a local policy has tken the City our of the running for businesses anbd industries that are interested in Lawrence, this would not be something I would purposefully put on my goals to accomplish as a city commissioner. That does not mean, that if problems were clearly identified and documented with the current policy that I would be opposed to reconsidering how the policy is currently drafted and implemented.”

Chestnut: “To begin with, I do not believe that the living wage ordinance applies to many employees within the firms that receive tax abatements, and I believe there are significant downside impacts to living wage ordinances that overshadow the benefits it delivers to the small range of employees that fall into this wage bracket. The specific ordinance (No. 7706) does not apply to all employees who receive tax abatements. The ordinance refers to ‘covered employees’ and there are many exemptions for the employer. Relevant research on living wage ordinances have shown that the impact of such ordinances have not had the desired effect. The 2000 Living Wage Survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center surveyed over 300 labor economists in the United States regarding this issue. The major findings were as follows:
— Over 75% believed it would result in employment losses
— More than 50% rated the Earned Income Tax Credit as a very effective tool for income needs of poor families. Only 7% believed the living wage ordinance was a very efficient tool for income needs of poor families.
— They were divided on the impact to poverty rates with the highest percentage (43%) believing that such a policy would lead to increased poverty rates. Overall, I believe the impact of living wage ordinances on jobs, overall costs in the local economy and the questionable impact it has to working poor does not merit such an ordinance.”

Dever: “To date, I have not seen an analysis of the impact of this ordinance on either the employees affected by it or on our economic development efforts. Therefore I am currently neutral in regards to the need for a municipal living wage ordinance. I believe that we as a city need to do our best to attract employers that will provide responsible pay and exceptional benefits to their employees. The market often will demand hourly rates that exceed the living wage if left to market forces. Also, many employers offer benefits packages that when taken in total, will exceed what can be mandated by the living wage ordinance.”

Highberger: “I helped pass the Lawrence living wage ordinance and I support it. The living wage ordinance has raised the wages of some Lawrence workers, and to the best of my knowledge it has not discouraged any new investment in our community. In fact, annual job creation and attraction has increased steadily after the passage of the ordinance. The current ordinance applies only to projects that have received tax abatements after passage of the ordinance. I support adding a living wage requirement for drivers in the next contract with our bus contractor, and it may be time to consider a living wage requirement for other companies who contract with the city.”

Maynard Moody: “I favor this because I can’t see how bringing an employer who keeps workers in poverty helps the community. Employers who strive to keep workers out of poverty help the whole community.”

Schauner: “I not only favor this legislation I was instrumental in its enactment. It has been good for Lawrence. The recent abatement given to PackerWare contains this requirement and a performance agreement to monitor the company’s compliance with the ordinance. They are expanding in Lawrence and investing approximately $90 million in the community.”

3. Between 1997 and 2007, the federal minimum wage lost 20% of its purchasing power. Recognizing this, many states now raise the minimum wage annually to keep up with inflation. Do you favor or oppose raising the minimum wage annually to keep up with inflation?

Bush: “Again this is an issue that we could discuss at a local level but why—the elected and appointed officials that have sway or can vote on such an issue reside in the State Capital. Lobby the correct public officials and let local officials focus on local issues which for too long have been overshawdowed by social reformists that want to create social reform when there are pressing needs for crumbling infrastructure, lack or insufficient low to moderate housing, desires for a new library and funding needed to support ECO2.”

Chestnut: “As a candidate for City Commissioner, I do not either favor or oppose federal or state legislation. As a city official, I would be bound to abide by the federal and state law. I want to create a job environment in Lawrence where minimum wage rates are not relevant to the vast majority of people who are employed in Lawrence.”

Dever: “Although I would leave this decision to our state legislators, in concept, I am not apposed to Kansas establishing a minimum wage law that is independent of the federal rate. I am also not opposed to the rate being adjusted, but I am not sure if an annual adjustment should be the standard. There are negative effects of state minimum wage rates that are just now being tested, some of which are a reduction of jobs for teenagers, droputs, and high school educated individuals. I think it is prudent to see what effects have surfaced from other states, prior to implementing a rule that might have deleterious effects on Kansas citizens.”

Highberger: “The period from 1997 to 2007 is the longest period in which the federal minimum wage has not been adjusted to account for inflation. I favor annually adjusting the federal minimum wage to keep this from happening again.”

Maynard Moody: “I am in favor of raising the minimum wage annually to keep up with inflation.”

Schauner: “Adjusting the minimum wage to keep up with inflation is on balance a good thing.”

4. The City’s Housing Needs Taskforce says that when new subdivisions are approved, these subdivisions should be required to provide a significant share of housing which is affordable for low- and very low-income households, to ensure housing opportunities for all income groups. Do you favor or oppose mandating the inclusion of affordable housing in all new residential subdivisions?

Bush: “The City’s Housing Needs Taskforce is an advisory body to the city. Their work on these issues is very valuable. Abdicating the responsibility and authority of a City Commission to do what is best for the community, however, should not hingea on the aadvice or recommendations of one board or commission. The use of mandates for requiring development of mixed income level subdivisions has had mixed reviews. The success of such a program is generally tied to a community where subdivisions consist of 100’s or 1000’s of acres at a time. Economies of scale are the great levels in this type of mandate legislation. In communities such as Lawrence where subdivision average in size (I believe it to be between 30 to 65 or 75 lots, the requirement that a percentage of the lots be developed with or dedicated to low r moderate income households could further stymie an already sluggish real estate market for residential home sites.”

Chestnut: “I believe that solid long-term planning and proper zoning will address the needs for housing for all income groups. Thus, I do not support mandating this for each and every residential development. That being said, one advantage of the soon to be considered Smart Code would be to allow for more of such developments in the future. On a broader level, we need to work toward reducing land and development costs in Lawrence to increase housing affordability.”

Dever: “I am not in favor of mandating affordable housing in all new residential subdivisions as I am not sure that it is the most effective way to provide the necessary housing. I believe the city of Lawrence needs to do more to incentivize the location and construction of affordable housing throughout the city. Arbitrary mandates that are not geographically inclusive will not serve the current needs of our community. Such an ordinance would only stimulate the construction of such homes if the additional areas are platted and constructed, but does not take into consideration the needs of today and the very near future. That being said, I do generally support traditional neighborhood designs which do a far better job than traditional subdivisions of integrating all housing types.”

Highberger: “During my term as mayor, the City Commission appointed a Housing Needs Task Force at my request. The Task Force has set a goal of making sure that everyone who works in Lawrence can afford to live in Lawrence. The Housing Needs Task Force has recommended starting with an incentive-based inclusionary zoning ordinance, which would provide density bonuses or other incentives to developers who: 1) include a specified percentage of affordable units in a new development; or 2) contribute to a fund for rehabilitating dwellings in our older neighborhoods that can be made available to lower-income buyers. The Task Force has recommended monitoring the results of the incentive-based program, and then moving to a mandatory program if the incentive-based program does not provide an adequate number of affordable units. Although my personal preference would be to start with a mandatory ordinance, I support the Task Force recommendation.”

Maynard Moody: “I favor it. Mixed neighborhoods are healthy in all ways.”

Schauner: “Favor.”

5. The pace of housing growth is faster than the pace of population growth in Lawrence. This leads to out-migration from older neighborhoods to subdivisions on the perimeter of the city, which causes school closings and the decline of older neighborhoods, further reducing the value of older neighborhoods and frustrating the city’s efforts to preserve older neighborhoods. Do you favor or oppose regulating the pace of growth of the housing stock to keep it in line with population growth?

Bush: “I think there are some incorrect assumptions here. I know of no documentation to support that the pace of housing growth – in all income sectors- is outpacing the population growth of the community. This question seems to contradict question #4. I question when and in what cases should the city commission become involved in ‘correcting’ market forces – just in the area of housing or in housing and retail commercial sq footage, or in all areas. Can a city commission sit in judgment declaring where, when and how the market forces should be adjusted to keep the ‘model’ city structure from being hurt by economic forces.”

Chestnut: “Housing growth over the last 15-20 years has grown at the pace of population. Looking at this pace over a shorter horizon is not reflective of our overall population growth in Lawrence since the late 1980s. I believe that the city is responsible for continuing to refine Horizon 2020 and provide zoning that is appropriate for the spirit of this plan. I do not believe the city can succeed in trying to specifically regulate housting stock. It will lead to a continuing development of surrounding communities meeting the demand of people who would like to work and live in Lawrence.”

Dever: “I do not agree with the premise of the question as it asserts ‘facts’ which in reality may be opinion. I do not think that older neighborhoods, in general, are decreasing in value nor declining, due to the existence of new housing stock. I believe that in Lawrence there will always be persons who choose to live in newer homes and those that elect to live in homes constructed in 1886-1986. The city should always consider the need for infill in areas where infrastructure already exists. The city should also seriously consider the impact of constructing new subdivisions on the budget and the existing housing stock.”

Highberger: “I do have some concerns about vacancy rates in multi-family units in older neighborhoods, and I think it may be worthwhile for the city to monitor those vacancy rates. At this time, I favor using an incentive-based approach toward maintaining higher occupancy rates in our older areas. My concern about regulating the growth of new housing is that it could artificially inflate the cost of housing in Lawrence and work against our goal of making sure that everyone who works in Lawrence can afford to live in Lawrence.”

Maynard Moody: “I favor regulating the growth of housing stock, and maybe another disincentive for housing development is exacting impact fees (infrastructure cost).”

Schauner: “I favor involving the city’s new Economic Development Coordinator position in informing all parties about the absorbable retail and residential growth. Better tools for polity makers and owners should enhance our decision making process.”

6. Cost-of-growth research shows that when residential development occurs on the edge of town, the costs to all taxpayers are above average since infrastructure (sewers, roads, etc.) must be stretched to reach the new units. Many people feel these costs should be substantially covered by impact fees to pass more of the cost of growth onto the new homes that are being built. Do you favor or oppose impact fees for new residential subdivisions?

Bush: “I am not sure if this is a reference to the currently funded cost of growth research from Tishler and Bise that the City Commission just receive a report from on last Tuesday that seems to contradict their previous assumptions in an earlier report. Questions this raises for me are: how will the city pay for the necessary infrastructure improvements needed to handle increased density in the older neighborhoods (because if the density doesn’t increase then we are talking slowing or stopping growth or a mandatory requirement that if you own property in the central city area it must be occupied by a family and not an individual.): where will the rental housing be located which is occupied by, in general, the lowest income levels in the city; is this a reverse form on segregation of KU students and if so, what is the benefit of moving them and rental housing to the edges of the city – increased traffic, crime statistics in Lawrence have risen in area that have experience the clustering large numbers of students in apartment complexes. I wonder if this not trading one set of problems for another? Will bringing families back mean the school district will reopen the schools they are closed? The new Development code was written to address the issue of compatible development from a built form and aesthetics point of view. The previous code was revised to define a ‘family’ as those related by blood, marriage or no more that three unrelated individuals.”

Chestnut: “Again, the premise of this question is not fact. Some development pays for itself, some does not. The issue with impact fees is two-fold. First, the increase cost to new homeowners will impact the overall market and contribute to the already challenged housing affordability issue in Lawrence. Second, the use of impact fees needs to be specified if they are to be put into place. Many have referred to impact fees used in Johnson County. The benefit of the use of these fees has been infrastructure built in advance of growth in order to have a coordinated long-term plan. This has not been the case in Lawrence. We have attempted to pay-as-you-go, and this is a short-term strategy that should be changed.”

Dever: “I am curretly neutral on the use of impact fees to cover the cost of growth in new areas of the city. In particular, I will await the report of the consultant hired by the City to study this issue and the public process thereafter before forming an opinion. That being said, my belief is that the impact fees will be passed along to the home buyers, further increasing the cost of the new homes. The rise in the price of the new homes will also cause a rise in the value of existing homes, further exacerbating the rise in home valuations. By increasing the value of al homes, the availability of affordable homes will decrease further. Although I am undecided on the need and/or value of such fees, I would further research the impact such fees have on the marketplace.”

Highberger: “I support the use of impact fees to fairly allocate the cost of growth. The use of impact fees is not particularly radical – many of the cities in Johnson County have impact fees or excise taxes or both to help pay for the cost of growth. The recent cost-of-growth study by Tischler Bise showed that there will be substantial public costs if the city continues to expand, and I do not think it is fair for existing homeowners and businesses to bear all of those costs. City wastewater rates are already increasing because of the cost of construction of the new Wakarusa wastewater facility. I think that adopting impact fees should be accompanied by a new city commitment to guiding growth by doing detailed planning and building infrastructure ahead of growth, rather than responding to one subdivision project at a time as we are currently doing.”

Maynard Moody: “I favor impact fees for residential subdivisions.”

Schauner: “I favor impact fees. All research I have seen strongly suggests that these fees do not increase the cost of housing to the ultimate consumer but do provide an additional revenue source to the city to provide infrastructure for the newest grwoth area. In other words have new developments contribute to the cost of their growth i.e. streets, sidewalks, parks and related infrastructure.”

7. Many people feel that the City could encourage families to purchase and renovate homes in the older parts of Lawrence. This could be stimulated by reducing some of the associated costs through building fee waivers, freezing of tax assessments, tax forgiveness, and low cost financing. Do you favor or oppose encouraging invesment in older neighborhoods by incentives of this kind?

Bush: “The only proven way for in-fill development to work in established neighborhoods is to prvide encentives in addition to lessening the time spent in the development process. Unfortunately, infill development is strewn with concerns related to inadequate infrastructure, increased traffic and related transportation improvement requirements. In addition, there exists neighborhood opposition to changing the character of the neighborhood (which ranges from increased density, capping the number of low to moderate income allowed in an area, to not allowing development of homes in price ranges that are so high they cause the reappraisal of existing neighborhood housing stock upward).”

Chestnut: “I favor creating a favorable investment environment for renovation within older neighborhoods. However, some of the suggestions in the question may not be possible from a legal standpoint such as freezing tax assessments or tax forgiveness. I believe the best way to encourage renovation is to simplify our neighborhood planning process that is very costly for many people that have worked on renovation projects. I also believe that an option could be Neighborhood Revitalization Act funds that shelter increase property values by rebating back those funds to the owner.”

Dever: “I am in favor of encouraging investment in older neighborhoods through the use of some of the vehicles listed in the question, however I believe some of these approaches would require state authority before they could be implemented. In addition, I would support an expanded use of the Neighborhood Revitalization Act to address this issue.”

Highberger: “I support the use of the Neighborhood Revitalization Act (NRA) to encourage reinvestment in older neighborhoods. We are close to finalizing our first NRA district to finance the infrastructure for a proposed historic preservation/redevelopment district in East Lawrence. I hope that we can move quickly to create a district for the rest of East Lawrence and for other neighborhoods. The NRA allows a refund of property tax increases that result from people fixing up their homes and businesses, and an NRA plan for a neighborhood could be designed to encourage families to return to the neighborhood.”

Maynard Moody: “I favor this.”

Schauner: “Favor – I initiated the discussion about using the Neighborhood Revitalization Act in Lawrence. This is not a new tool in Kansas but new in Lawrence. Low cost financing and other tools are difficult for the city to fund with its current revenue but freezing tax assessments on improvements to existing property is what the NRA provides to owner occupied property.”

8. Do you favor or oppose…

– Lawrence’s smoking ban?

Bush: “I believe the smoking ban has become a non-issue, as I have not heard any of my fellow candidates, post primary, indicate a desire or inclination to change this.”

Chestnut: “I favor the existing smoking ban.”

Dever: “I am in favor of the current smoking ban.”

Highberger: “I voted for Lawrence’s smoking ban, after some initial reluctance, but I think it has been a great success. I think it has had a positive effect on public health. Although I think it has hurt revenues for a few local businesses, and I regret that, I think it overall it has benefitted the local economy.”

Maynard Moody: “Favor.”

Schauner: “Favor.”

– setting up a domestic partnership registry for gay and lesbian couples?

Bush: “The domestic partnership registry is not written to apply only to honosexuals. Why is it being portrayed in that sense? One stated reasons at the hearings in Topeka on this issue is that it makes domestic partners eligible for health insurance. Is there a downside to this for small, mom and pop businesses that we want to nurture and encourage in our downtown? I don’t know but it certainly is deserving of study. If the registry will not create probems, only solve them, why does it seem that aadvocates are not willing to discuss if there are any downsides? If the questions of legality has been sent to the Attorney General’s office why would it not be respsible to wait for that response?”
Chestnut: “As a community, we must work against discrimination in any form. The domestic partnership registry is under review currently with the Kansas Attorney General’s office. I will wait for this ruling prior to evaluating the existing proposal.”

Dever: “I am currently undecided on the implementation of the municipal domestic partnership registry. I am awaiting the ruling from the Attorney General, prior to formulating a public opinion. I also need to understand the value of the registry and the impact such a registry mgith have on those that seek to use it.”

Highberger: “I support establishing a domestic partnership registry for both heterosexual and same-sex couples. The partnership registry would allow public recognition of partnerships that are not otherwise recognized under current law, and would give many Lawrencians access to health insurance and other benefits through their partner’s employment. I do not believe that the domestic partnership registry violates the Marriage Amendment passed by Kansas voters in 2005.”

Maynard Moody: “Favor.”

Schauner: “Favor.”

– funding city improvements with new property taxes?

Chestnut: “In the short-term, I would be very hesitant to use property taxes as a source of funding for additional city amenities such as the library. Our tax burden for homeowners in Lawrence has skyrocketed over the last 4 years. I would hope in future years as we increase the business property tax base by creating more jobs we can review the options.”

Dever: “I am not currently in favor of adding any additional property taxes. I believe that most citizens think that we all currently pay too much in property tax. I am in favor of reapportioning certain amounts of the existing property tax revenues to new or different recipients.”

Highberger: “During my time on the commission, the property tax mill levy has decreased by approximately 5%, while the tax rates for the other local taxing bodies have increased. I think the city commission has been very conscious of the effect of tax rates on local citizens, especially those on fixed incomes, as our property values have continued to rise. The next city commission will need to continue to find a way to provide essential city services without placing an unreasonable burden on taxpayers.”

Maynard Moody: “Oppose.”

– funding city improvements with new sales taxes?

Bush (re both of the above): “New property taxes and new sales taxs – I believe I have already answered these questions as well as they can be until I have the privilege to serve as acommission and have the same kind of updates on budget and expenditures that the current City Commission gets from staff on a quarterly basis.”

Chestnut: “Sales taxes represent another burdent to modest and fix income families spending a significant amount of their income in Lawrence. If they spend $200 per week for food and other family needs, they pay an additional $100 annually in sales tax. We will need to review all of our funding options to pursue city amenities. If a sales tax increase is considered, I would measure the impact to Lawrence citizens as well as ensuring that we are not increasing the overall sales tax to a level that is noticeably higher than surrounding communities.”

Dever: “I am not in favor of raising the sales tax in order to fund city improvements. Sales taxes are currently added to food and other basic sustenance items and additional taxes would impact those with the least amount of means the greatest amount. Additional sales taxes might also cause even further retail leakage from our city. However, if the citizens of Lawrence were to ask for an increase in sales tax to fund a project, and the general popjulation was to vote such a sales tax into effect, I would not be opposed to such an increase.”

Highberger: “I generally oppose funding city improvements with sales tax increases because a sales tax places a higher burden on people with lower incomes. I would support a state sales tax exemption on food, or at least having a local option to exempt food from sales tax, but I don’t expect this to happen soon. I could support a sales tax as a way to fund an expanded public library if the tax was approved by a public vote and if it had sunset provision so that it ended after a fixed number of years.”

Maynard Moody: “Oppose and I’d like to work at the state level to remove food (groceries, not restaurant food) from the mix of sales taxes (make it exempt).”

Schauner (re both of the above): “These are the only major sources of revenue available to the city. Using this revenue efficiently is imperative.”

9. City Commisioners are often asked to take stands on state and regional issues, and citizens have a legitimate interest in knowing where their representatives stand on pressing social and political issues of the day. In that spirit, we would like to know whether you favor or oppose:

– guaranteeing health insurance to all Kansas children?

Chestnut: “As a City Commissioner candidate, I do not have an opinion about health insurance issues that are regulated by the State of Kansas.”

Dever: “Although I would leave this decision for the state legislator to decide, in concept I am in favor of providing health insurance to all Kansas children.”

Highberger: “I favor making health care coverage available to all Kansans, including children, if it can be done in a way that it does not place an unreasonable burden on small employers. The system recently adopted in Massachusetts, which attempts to achieve universal coverage through a public/private/individual partnership, may provide a useful model. In the absence of state action, I would support a local initiative to help find a way to make it more feasible for local small businesses to provide health care coverage to their employees, through incentives, joint purchasing, or other means.”

Maynard Moody: “I favor this.”

Schauner: “Favor.”

– routing the South Lawrence Trafficway through the Baker wetlands?

Chestnut: “We have an East Lawrence traffic problem that needs to be solved as soon as possible. The Corps of Engineers has issued a 404 permit for the 32nd Street route of the SLT. As a city, we await the feedback from the Federal Highway Administration that is due sometime late in the spring of 2007. I will await their recommendation, but I believe we should support their recommendation in order to move forward on a project within the next 5 years. If this is not done, it is realistic to assume that we will not have traffic relief in East Lawrence for the next 20 years.”

Dever: “I am in favor of completing an east west transportation route in Lawrence in an effort to provide potential and existing employers and employees a viable and environmentally responsible means of navigating our city. The specific route through the Baker wetlands has been approved by the Federal and State authorities and seems to be the preferred path. The net gain of new, well designed wetlands and the addition of an invaluable wetlands education center appear to provide an adequate mitigation to the impact on the existing wetlands.”

Highberger: “Building the South Lawrence Trafficway through the Baker Wetlands and adjacent to Haskell Indian Nations University would be a tragic mistake for this community. I have proposed a route south of the Wakarusa that would connect to an existing interchange east of Lawrence. I think the road should be built not as a freeway but as an at-grade boulevard on existing right of way, which would minimize the cost and environmental impact of the road while still allowing us to meet our current and projected traffic needs.”

Maynard Moody: “I oppose this.”

Schauner: “Oppose.”

– teaching Intelligent Design in the schools?

Bush (with respect to all three of these final questions): “I wonder if people really elect their local officials based on what they want done at a State or National level? And if that is the case, why aren’t the number of voters in local elections as high as they are in State and National elections? As a city commissioner, I will find the greatest value of my time will be spent with development of the local community so it is the best it can be. Local issues, the issues a city commission can confront right in our own backyard will be my top priority.”

Chestnut: “As a City Commissioner candidate, I do not have an opinion about teaching Intelligent Design in the public schools. This is an issue that will be decided by the Kansas Board of Education.”

Dever: “Teaching intelligent design in the schools is a matter that is more appropriately addressed by a school board candidate or a state legislator. I do not believe that I have an adequate amount of information on the impact teaching the theory has on the educational environment to formulate an opinion.”

Highberger: “I think that science should be taught in science classes. Intelligent Design does not appear to be good science.”

Maynard Moody: “I oppose this.”

Schauner: “Oppose.”