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Stuart Boley
March 27, 2015

City Commission candidate Stuart Boley answers your questions


Hello and welcome to our online chat with Lawrence City Commission candidate Stuart Boley. We're still accepting questions for the chat. You can submit them in the space below. Thanks for being here, Stuart.

Stuart Boley

Hi to all! Thank you, Chad, for this opportunity. As a first time candidate at age 60 I'm having many new and different experiences, including this one.


Green building codes are being adopted by cities such as Ft. Collins, CO and Santa Fe, NM. How do you feel about Lawrence adopting such a practice?

Stuart Boley

This is something I need to learn more about. I can understand the interest in green building, but I'd have to gain a fuller understanding of the benefits and the costs. I'm sure that many folks in Lawrence have the expertise to inform me, and as a city commissioner my job would be to listen to all and make decisions based upon what's best for the entire community. While Ft. Collins and Santa Fe are wonderful places, we need to develop an understanding of what we as a community can generate as our own policy.


Do you think it is about time to remove those damned fool roundabouts from our city street intersections? I ride every day on school bus as an attendant and the near misses and close calls at these stupid European devices by distracted drivers who do not know the meaning of "Yield" signs is very frightening.

Stuart Boley

I'm afraid you'll be disappointed with my answer, but, no. After serving on the Traffic Safety Commission for several years I've gained a respect for the engineers on the city staff. The data that they provide demonstrates the effectiveness of roundabouts in preventing serious collisions. As a driver or passenger, your life will not be changed or ended by another driver in a crash at a roundabout. Those consequences are possible at four way stops and traffic lights. One day I was driving west on 19th Street approaching Naismith. I had a green light and it had been green for some time. Just as I was about to enter the intersection, a car ran the red light in front of me, not slowing a bit. That event made the data provided by the city engineers more immediate for me. I'm convinced that what bothers most folks about roundabouts is not the roundabout itself, but other drivers who don't understand how to negotiate them. More education and experience will help with that.


Hi Mr Boley, my elderly friends were excited to have you visit them at Presbyterian and they spoke highly of you. With that in mind, what are three things you would implement as a commissioner to hold down the costs for current retirees in Lawrence? Specifically, city water bills, city portion of property taxes and would you consider a taxi voucher system for transportation for seniors. The bus system just does not work.

Stuart Boley

Hi, David. I really enjoyed my visits with friends at Presbyterian Manor. One thing that folks should keep in mind is that I would need other commissioners to agree with me--one commissioner can't implement policy alone. You may know that I've talked about sales taxes from the first day of my campaign. The city's reliance on sales taxes has increased significantly over the past ten years and i'm concerned that the combined rate of 8.7% is higher than it needs to be. So, if elected. I plan to continue talking about sales taxes, especially with my fellow commissioners. There is a good deal of energy in our community around the topic of affordable housing. I've been walking around in our neighborhoods and talking with residents, and the other day one lady told me that she and her husband were going to have to move back to Overland Park because their housing was too expensive here. On the subject of transit, there will be the opportunity for improvements with the implementation of the transit hub. This will allow for a better route structure and also provides an opportunity for economic development, if we create a destination hub rather than a remote hub.


For years I've heard that Mass. Street is the dividing line for East/West Lawrence...do you agree?
And, why oh why does East Lawrence only have Dillons when folks are living further out East? I get that we're the poor neighbors, lets move the jail, the homeless shelter, Venture Park out there, but please Give us A Grocery store. Driving across town to Aldi's while may not be a hassle to some, but please give us choices.

I love living where I do, but seems to me no one is even interested in 'doing the right thing' by East Lawrence.

AT ALL.....Its 1.5 miles to walk one way to dillons from where I live and the T bus takes you there in twice the time that walking does round trip...

Stuart Boley

I'm not sure about dividing lines for Lawrence, but as the city continues to develop we may see Iowa and 15th/Bob Billings as dividing lines. As I just mentioned, the implementation of a new transit hub provides the opportunity to restructure the bus route structure. I'm convinced that if we do this right we can increase convenience for riders and gain ridership as a result. The study of where to locate the hub centered on Iowa between 6th and 23rd Street, as that would provide the most central location for the hub. I'm very interested in the East Lawrence Neighborhood and hope that through the efforts of the 9th street corridor group, including Phil Collison, good things will be happening in your neighborhood. I'm also hopeful that Brook Creek will gain better bus service when the routes are adjusted.


We're nearing the end of our questions, so if you have a question for Stuart, now is the time to submit it. Use the space below. Here is an e-mail question from Melinda: If elected, how would you use social media to enhance communication with the residents of Lawrence?

Stuart Boley

Hi, Melinda. This is something that I'm not particularly adept at right now. My skill set is definitely geared to financial analysis. But I can learn. When I started working for the IRS almost forty years ago we used calculators and sheets of green accounting paper. By the time I retired we were all using computers and I had been working closely with computer audit specialists for several years. I understand that Jeremy Farmer has been taking the lead in this area, but you probably don't want all of your commissions to have identical skill sets. So I offer experience in financial analysis and the interest and ability to learn new things. I've taken some computer classes at JCCC and learned recently that they offer a class in social media. Opportunities like that would equip me to use social media to enhance communication with the residents of Lawrence.


Currently, property owners are responsible for the cost of constructing or repairing sidewalks. That's a major obstacle. The city commission just created a task force to address issues related to nonmotorized transportation.

What are your thoughts on how to improve infrastructure in Lawrence for pedestrians and cyclists? How should it be financed? How should it be prioritized?

Stuart Boley

There's a great deal of interest in this issue. To make real progress our community needs to develop a common understanding of walking and bicycling as transportation rather than as just recreation. The task force is a major step in that direction and should be supported and encouraged by the commission. Process is very important in dealing with important issues and in many instances takes a great deal of time and effort. As the issue is considered, solutions will emerge and widespread agreement on how to implement the solutions is possible. I feel that to shortcut that process is a mistake, because rather than developing agreement on the issue and the possible solutions, we as a community start arguing about the solutions. I believe that we need to try to develop agreement on issues, and then work on solutions that emerge organically.


Well, we've reached the end of our chat. Thank you to everyone who participated. A special thanks to Stuart for his time. This was our final online chat for the City Commission election season. Election Day is April 7.

Stuart Boley

Thank you to all who participated. Chad, I appreciate your invitation to take part in this chat. Lawrence is a wonderful community. I'm fortunate to live here and to be able to participate in this election. Our system provides the opportunity for citizens to select those who represent them and I encourage everyone to vote, either during the early voting period or on April 7.

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