by Diane Silver
The April 3 city election is an important one for Lawrence. As we muddle through picking three members for the City Commission, I see this election as being dominated by two issues -- economics and fairness.
The first is the ever-present problem of growth. How can we manage to keep the local economy healthy and preserve our quality of life? Three of the candidates are what local curmudgeon Tim Miller calls "chambercrats:" Rob Chestnut, Mike Dever and James Bush. (Bush, by the way, is also a Southern Baptist minister).
These are the Chamber of Commerce's favorites. What makes this group even more interesting is that they're largely bankrolled by the local real estate and building community. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I'm just a tad (well, maybe more than tad) worried that the top priorities of these folks will be making money for developers and builders. That doesn't translate into better quality of life and a fair tax structure for the rest of us who could end up footing the bill for poorly planned developments.
Second, and very importantly, Lawrence is poised to become the first city in Kansas to pass a domestic partner registry. So far, the only candidates who have openly said they support a registry are the three progressives: Dennis "Boog" Highberger, David Schauner and Carey Maynard-Moody.
The chambercrats all say they need to "get more information." That answer is ridiculously inadequate given the amount of information that has been available in the local media, from city hall and even from a simple Googling of the issue. If the three chambercrats are so, ah, dull in the mind that they can't figure out a stand on this issue, then none of them should be elected They simply wouldn't have the brains to do the job.
To me the registry is nothing more or less than an issue of fairness. The registry is a simple list of names that would not confer legal rights on same-sex or heterosexual couples. However, a registry would allow same-sex couples to take advantage of benefits already offered by their employers.
For those reasons, I'm supporting the progressive candidates and urge you to do the same. You can get more information on them, and donate (please GIVE today) to their campaigns by visiting their web sites or sending checks to the following addresses. (Key dates in the city election are listed at the bottom of this post.)
Carey for City Commission
P.O. Box 133
Lawrence, KS 66044.
Schauner for City Commission
Lawrence, KS 66044-8101
Dennis "Boog" Highberger
Boog Highberger for City Commission
Lawrence, KS 66044
You can also donate online to Boog's campaign.
March 14, 2007
Advance voting begins for the general election
March 19, 2007
Registration books close - last day to register
April 2, 2007
Advance voting closes (12 noon)
April 3, 2007
SPRING GENERAL ELECTION