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Ken Easthouse

Comment history

Easthouse (Ken Easthouse) says...

Two years ago, I was against an indoor gun range at this intersection, not because of the guns, but because the intersection has not been integrated into the city planning process. The existing businesses operated under an old zoning code that hadn't been updated to align with the rest of the city. To my knowledge, nothing has changed in those two years.

Be it a gas station or gun range or the new Amazon headquarters, we need to integrate this intersection with the long term planning of the city BEFORE any development takes place.

Easthouse (Ken Easthouse) says...

Because the last time we had a Republican experiment in Kansas it turned out GREAT.....

Easthouse (Ken Easthouse) says...

@Josh, in the employment world, people are protected by anti-retaliation laws, where an employer cannot make negative employment decisions based on reporting harassment or discrimination. Your employer may not give you a safe space, but they most certainly are obligated to investigate any acts of retaliation and respond appropriately.

When I was younger, it's not that people across the gender spectrum didn't exist, but society as a whole told everyone a little different to sit down and shut up; that not fitting into the "boy means x, girl means y" paradigm was a reason for the rest of society to marginalize you as a person. We have learned this to be wrong, and slowly begun the process of deprogramming ourselves away from the harmful attitudes of the past. It's tough, I even catch myself saying things wrong every so often, because I don't always understand the nuances. But I'm working on it.

So when these kids - who would certainly have been marginalized in ages past - stand up and say they won't take it, they are saying they will not reverse the progress we have all worked so hard as a society to obtain. They are doing the heavy lifting that adults should have been doing for a long time.

Easthouse (Ken Easthouse) says...

You know, there was one city commission candidate who was openly against increasing the mill levy to fund a new police station, entirely on the premise that voters should have a right to weigh in on the decision. Lo and behold, that person lost in the city primary by a not-small margin.

As much as it pains me to say it, looks to me like the voters have spoken.

Easthouse (Ken Easthouse) says...

Brett,

I'm not saying there aren't some benefits to infill projects, however there are other issues we are grappling with as a city. According to the 2010 Census, Lawrence was among the most-dense cities in Kansas, significantly higher than Topeka, Wichita, and Kansas City. And that was before these downtown projects started.

I would rather our city incentives focus on solving our housing shortages, incentivizing single family homes under certain price levels to deal with both the shortage and look at working class affordable housing. Downtown projects for mixed usage are profitable on their own and push the limits of what NRA incentives were designed for.

Easthouse (Ken Easthouse) says...

Cross posted from my campaign Facebook page:

Unfortunately, Mr. Wilbur's proposed solutions aren't even close to fixing everything that would happen if the sales tax isn't renewed. Affordable housing initiatives can't have funding removed and the difference made up by simply saying "bring in higher paying jobs." You can't lament the regressive nature of sales tax in one breath, then propose increasing fees for city transit in the other.

That being said, I've always thought there needs to be a reasonable opposition to anything we do in government to keep us on check. While I don't agree particularly with Mr. Wilbur, I applaud him for his willingness to speak up.

Easthouse (Ken Easthouse) says...

I have some numbers for you, Chad. I did a comparative analysis using 2014 Census data (the most recent available at the time) looking at not just total jobs in Lawrence, but the number of commuters we have in Lawrence and made some comparisons to similar communities in the region. I compared Lawrence with Topeka and Manhattan for a Kansas perspective, but also Iowa City, IA, and Columbia, MO, to compare similarly-sized college towns.

For a baseline, about 49% of jobs in Lawrence are held by people who commute to Lawrence from outside the city. That is the lowest percentage of the 5 cities I compared. Iowa City capped out at 67.9% of job holders commuting from outside the city. The closest to Lawrence was Topeka, who still had 56.4% of job holders commuting into town.

Next, let's look at the number of people who live in Lawrence but commute out. Lawrence actually LEADS the 5 towns at 42.2%. Interestingly, Topeka led the way with only 31.2% of people leaving town for work, and the closest to Lawrence was Iowa City, with 39.1% of people leaving town for work.

So what happens when Lawrence has the highest ratio of people leaving town for work and the lowest ratio of people coming to Lawrence for work? A poor start for a regional economic hub. In terms of sheer numbers, in 2014, Lawrence had a net of +4,780 people coming to Lawrence to work. That is less than half of the next lowest, Manhattan, who even though is half the size of Lawrence, has +10,271 people commuting to town for work. Cities like Columbia, MO, were in the +30,000 range.

Our unemployment is low, yes. But people are commuting away for good-paying jobs because they are relatively scarce in Lawrence. Before long people simply won't live in Lawrence, but live in the towns where they work. That will be a drain on the city for years to come if we don't address it.

Easthouse (Ken Easthouse) says...

Chad,

To clarify, my family moved here in 1995, when I was still in elementary school. I moved away for college and moved back when I could. Let's not quibble over technicalities, though, this is my home.

Easthouse (Ken Easthouse) says...

Yes, the School Board fought hard against the rezoning of 31st and Haskell to allow Sells to operate his business there. I don't think that was the argument that won the day, though...

Remember how much money the city and state just poured into 31st and Haskell? That entire area has no long-term strategic plan. It's been listed as a minor arterial entrance to Lawrence for so long, and the current businesses there operate under grandfathered zoning regulations. With all the traffic about to come to the area, we need a comprehensive plan for the entire area. Instead, one guy with one business asked for one of the most restrictive zonings allowable under current city law, which would have put similar restrictions on what could be a significant economic hub for the town.

Yes, schools and guns got some people on board, but the economic reality is that we could do a LOT better in terms of generating tax dollars for 31st and Haskell. THAT was the argument that seemed to win the day.

Easthouse (Ken Easthouse) says...

Matthew Herbert and I don't agree on everything, but on this point, he's absolutely correct. A single apartment for that price is not affordable, and should not be considered "affordable" for any sort of incentive process.

Let's throw another variable into the equation: Lawrence resident median income versus median income for jobs available in Lawrence. We have a LOT of commuters who travel to Kansas City and Topeka for better-paying jobs. Someone who can't afford to regularly travel back and forth to these locations (or use public transit) must then take lower-paying work, putting them even further into the hole that is Lawrence housing.

While it may be a bit complicated (and this whole issue is complicated), let's also look at what we can provide as a city in terms of wages when calculating what would constitute affordable housing.

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