My campaign platform…

My name is Leslie Soden, and I am running for City Commission.  I have lived in Lawrence for 15 years, and I truly love this city. For the last 8 years I have owned and operated a pet sitting business called Pet Minders, a business I built from scratch. Prior to that, I worked for 7 years as an IT/computer professional.  Community involvement has been especially important to me. As a graduate of Leadership Lawrence, an appointed member of the Joint Economic Development Council, and through active involvement in my neighborhood, I bring a unique combination of experience to city hall. The following issues are important to me:

  1. Public Safety: It is clear to me that the police facilities do need to be upgraded and that deferred maintenance needs must be addressed. Citizen discussion groups in collaboration with county and university law enforcement, as well as public service agencies could prioritize our community’s public safety needs and explore improved ways to prevent crime.
  1. Budget Priorities: Our budget priorities need realigning. Building a regional recreation center before a new police facility is the clearest example.  I am very concerned about our current economic path of giving tax breaks to developers on one hand, and raising property taxes, sales taxes and water rates on the other hand. Making sound financial decisions, acting as a guardian for taxpayer money and prioritizing our community’s needs has been lacking in the last 4 years.
  1. Economic Development: Recent studies have shown that our city is one of Kansas’s most expensive communities to live in, and yet we have one of the poorest average wages. I am fully committed to securing permanent, full-time jobs that provide a living wage and benefits. I support the Chamber’s new economic development plan, which focuses on the expansion of businesses already located here in Lawrence and Douglas County.
  1. Affordable Housing: I currently serve as co-chair of the Lawrence Affordable Housing Coalition, which has been working to add a Safe & Affordable Housing chapter to the revisions of the Horizon 2020 community plan. Such housing is essential to a growing workforce and will address the needs of all of our citizens.
  1. Cultural Amenities: Our core historic neighborhoods and Downtown Lawrence are the twin jewels of our city’s cultural heritage and need to be maintained and protected. However we need to be sure that future long-term planning includes a distribution of cultural opportunities throughout the city.

I am eager to get to work on these issues on behalf of Lawrence citizens, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.  I appreciate your vote of support for me in the upcoming election. Please vote for me in the general election on Tuesday April 7th!!

6 thoughts on “My campaign platform…

  1. Hi Leslie,

    I have lived in Lawrence since 1965 attending KU, then left for a bit to the service, Army, and returned. Worked for Kmart Dist Center for almost 26 years and retired. I have followed much of what has gone on in the city.

    I have one basic question regarding property taxes. Do you , or have you , ever considered the amount going to the school district as opposed to the county and/or the city.?

    Also, what is your thought on new business and the NEW taxes generated either with abatement or without. Do you believe that the new income should be applied to lower property taxes or be used only to allow for necessary pay raises and basic city expenses?

    It seems that when a new home or commercial business is built and paying taxes, that the city, county, and school district cannot wait to get their grubby hands on the money, only to spend 10fold what they are receiving.

    You have a business and I am sure that you, when you raise your prices, it is only to cover your basic costs which may have risen. Likewise, the city , county and school district should do the same.

    This property tax, the mill levy needs to be lowered to attract new homes and new manufacturing facilities. The proof of that is when abatements are given, the abatement in effect is a mill levy reduction for the new operation.

    Just thinking here…


  2. It was a pleasure to meet you briefly at my home last Saturday. I am sorry that there was a game on and that my cat was trying to sneak out.

    I have always been concerned for this community that I chose, mostly on the basis of a job with a local company. That job and company offered no career opportunities, but I was young and was not concerned about that at the time. It proved to be a very frustrating choice as far as I am concerned.

    Hindsight is 20-20 vision. I have had the opportunity to leave several times, my family was here in school and I did not chose to return to a much better situation civil service job I could have had as a Navy and Viet-Nam era veteran.

    I am retired from over thirty years of frustration and I now work for the First Student School Bus Company as a school bus monitor. I enjoy working for a brief time daily with special needs students on my bus.

    Since I have lived here since leaving the Navy in 1971 I have seen a lot and a lot I did not like at the time and still do not like. I feel that the city government is elected by a miniscule part of the eligible voters and that citizens need to take greater interest in city elections.

    There is much history in this community, much of it ill-starred, and there needs to be a much more dedicated group of city commissioners, in my humble opinion.

    If you would be interested in learning more, I am usually home after school and would like to have the opportunity to chat with you.

    Thanks for coming by, not too many candidates come to our neighborhood.

    Fred Whitehead Jr. (There is a “Fred III, my oldest son)

  3. I plan to vote for Ms. Soden. I would like to know her position on the proposed seven-story building at 11th & Mass, the pretext being that down needs another grocery store.

  4. Leslie — REALLY proud of you for persevering with the city commission races. You knocked it out of the park today!!! Congratulations. Under this system — you’ll one day be the mayor of Lawrence!!!


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