I’ve been gone for a few months and there’s so much news you may not have heard about it’ll take two months to catch up.
Council Business: The Ordinance Committee didn’t have a quorum of regular members at any of its meetings during March and April. Each of the four members of the committee missed at least one of the bi-monthly meetings during that period. Councilor and Mayoral candidate Modesto Maldonado had a fundraiser the night of one of the two meetings that were cancelled.
Two regular members showed up for each of the remaining meetings during that period, which could only convene since the rules were recently changed to allow the president to make a quorum at committee meetings if necessary. It seems our councilors want to do everything but their jobs.
Campaign Finance: On June 1, Councilor Maldonado finally started filing deposit reports for this year’s receipts with the Office of Political and Campaign Finance. Deposit reports list the names of the contributors and the amount they donated.
He filed three deposit reports dated March 8 of this year, with a total of $5,955 being deposited on that date. Unfortunately, the bank report shows receipts of $3,545 for the first half of March. Someone should tell him that those numbers are supposed to match up. Mr. Maldonado still has approximately $20,000 in contributions from unknown sources.
At a South Lawrence West Neighborhood Association meeting this spring, I asked candidate for Councilor-at-Large James Blatchford if he was in favor of Lawrence being a sanctuary city. He said that he wasn’t going to “fight a losing battle”. When pressed to clarify, he merely repeated the statement.
At the last council meeting of May, Pavel Payano, another candidate for Councilor-at-Large, had to be taken as an emergency item so he could speak about the importance of the city contributing to the school budget. There appeared to be problems with the video during parts of his talk. He had to wait until everything was running before continuing, since the main point of his speech was to be on camera looking important.
The only at Large candidate I’m supporting is Richard Russell. He will prepare for meetings. He will not ask questions then sit back while others to do the work for him. For full disclosure, I am his campaign treasurer.
Mandatory Recycling: At the same meeting a presentation on mandatory recycling was shown. Mandatory means tickets will be given for offenders. Currently there is no draft ordinance, but I guess this signals someone is working on one.
Luckily for us, the new ordinance won’t even have to appear on an agenda as new business since there’s a document from February 2015 regarding recycling already tabled at the Ordinance Committee.
I’m all for recycling, but I see potential chaos with mandatory recycling. Who gets the ticket if one family in a three family house doesn’t recycle? Landlords will have to be rooting through their tenants’ trash every week. What’s to stop a neighbor from throwing an offending trash bag into your receptacle? It will happen.
Let’s hope that an ordinance doesn’t get pushed through in one of the irregularly scheduled meetings the council has during the summer, like the infamous “Trust Act”. Since it doesn’t have to appear on the agenda as new business, even a person who follows the council could easily miss the whole process.
Mayoral Race Rundown: I divide the candidates into four categories, the incumbent, the carpetbaggers, the “the most important thing is that Lawrence has a Hispanic mayor” crew, and William Green. Throw out the middle two categories and you have Mayor Rivera or William Green.
To be sure, Mr. Green is a controversial candidate, but he’s the only mayoral candidate I know of who has said we have to stop thinking of ourselves as Dominican or Puerto Rican or Anglo and start thinking of ourselves as American. He holds conservative values, isn’t bankrolled by special interests, and has good ideas.
Many people whom I respect vehemently disagree with me. William Green has certainly made mistakes, but he should not be immediately discounted and deserves a closer look. It’s going to be a long, hot summer; hang on to your hats!