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PRIMARY DECISION: Here’s where the candidates stand on the issues posed by voters

On behalf of The People’s Campaign Community Network, Operation Turnout and LexTown Media Group, LLC, we thank the community members and voters who attended the April 30th Mayoral candidate forum and submitted questions.

We also thank Ronnie Bastin, Linda Gorton, Teresa Isaac and Kevin Stinnett, the invited primary election Mayoral candidates, for their commitment to Lexington voters and agreeing to answer the remaining audience questions from the April 30th Mayoral candidate forum in writing.

The following answers were provided by the candidate campaigns to The Key Newsjournal. Responses were compiled and formatted for publication but were not edited in any way. Candidate responses are in alphabetical order. Publication of questions and responses should not be considered endorsement of either candidate by The Key Newsjournal or the event sponsors or hosts.

AUDIENCE QUESTIONS FROM APRIL 30TH People’s Campaign, Operation Turnout

CANDIDATE FORUM

 

  1. What will you do to ensure that your administration is reflective of the population it will serve?

BASTIN: It was said to me early on that you govern how you campaign. That is why my campaign staff is diverse ethnically, politically, by gender and age. Our first campaign hire was a millennial, woman, African-American campaign manager. Our second, a white, male, millennial campaign advisor. Our treasurer is a white, male, baby boomer, and my volunteer coordinator is a white, female Republican. When it comes to diversity and inclusion, I put my money where my mouth is.

When I became Lexington Police Chief in 2008, I selected the most diverse command staff that the department has had since the merger of our government in 1974. I have a proven record of inclusion.

I will carry this same spirit of diversity and inclusion to my administration. I do not have a learning curve in this regard. I currently, and in the future, will continue to embrace diversity.

GORTON: My administration will serve the entire population of Lexington-Fayette in all its diversity, meaning that it must reflect all demographics. I want to empower the vast array of voices that call for inclusion in government. That means meaningful hiring practices and thoughtful appointments to boards and commissions made in consultation with community leaders – appointees who can truly speak to (and advise me on) the diverse needs of all constituents.

ISAAC: I would seek to retain a diverse workforce like I had when I was Mayor. I will strive to ensure that all employees and applicants for employment enjoy equality of opportunity and employment opportunity free from unlawful discrimination based on color, national origin, sex, age, physical or mental disability, protected genetic information, or reprisal based on EEO protected class.

STINNETT: As I have done throughout my service as a Council member, I will reach out to all Lexingtonians for input and ideas.  I will create and appoint a Diversity Council to assure that I have a range of perspectives on all issues.

  1. Rate our current mayor from 1-5. Talk about one issue he handled well and one that he did not handle well. How would you have handled it differently?

BASTIN: I am supportive of Mayor Jim Gray. He has done a great job in embracing progressive values, while being financially responsible and moving Lexington into the future.

It’s so easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, and criticize and critique; so I will not engage in this behavior. I believe he has done the best he could in each circumstance, and as mayor I hope to do the same.

GORTON: I think Jim Gray has been a good mayor, so I would rate him near the top, at 4. He is extremely effective at managing all logistics, expectations, information and anxieties during extreme weather events.  This works because he hires competent leaders and holds them accountable for preparation and operations.

Handling of the Rupp Arena TIF Project came early in his term and was a closely held process that ultimately failed because state leaders did not get behind it.  There may always have been a strong possibility of this, but I would have engaged the public and Lexington’s elected representatives and key stakeholders much earlier in the process to help develop it and build buy in.

ISAAC: Mayor Jim Gray has handled economic development well and the area most needing improvement is safety.

STINNETT: As a member of the task force charged with addressing the police and fire employee pension issue, I am proud of the work we did to resolve that crisis.

  1. How will you impact (young people) already at risk? Mentoring will take time to have an impact.

BASTIN: As mayor I will continue funding and support for the One Lexington program, which uses a public health model for violence prevention and intervention in young people susceptible to violence and violent behaviors.

GORTON: Mentoring does take time, and it is time well spent, but we need intervention at the earliest possible moment in the lives of at-risk children. That means strong support for early childhood education and for the families struggling to rear their children in healthy environments. Immediate impacts can be addressed by making sure we strengthen the relationships between our schools and social services to proactively provide the most necessary needs (food, school supplies, clothing, transportation) that are often the first warning signs of a child not receiving the support he or she needs.  This relationship is also vital to making sure all resources are engaged in understanding the other impacts negatively affecting a child’s life.  Older children and teens need access to safe, healthy, fun activities in which they can grow, thrive, and begin to experience the world. That means recreational facilities – parks, indoor centers, “healthy hangouts,” as well as opportunity to gain appropriate education and skills to pursue the kind of work they want and our economy needs.

ISAAC: I would work with the Partners for Youth program and establish the immediate needs. This group supports over 50 seasoned programs in Fayette Co and can make a swift impact.

STINNETT: Mentoring can have an immediate and positive impact on the lives of young people.  I plan to expand on those programs as Mayor.  I also plan to continue to work with FCPS to expand the Career Academy program already in three Lexington high schools.

I will continue to support programs we have in place for young people in Lexington, those within the of auspices of local government and others in the non-profit sector.

  1. You each talk of working to end unfairness and discrimination in the future. What will you do to resolve the existing unresolved discrimination actions pending against the city?

BASTIN: My administration will ensure that discrimination in all forms: religious, gender-based, sexual harassment and retaliation, will not be tolerated. Pending cases will be handled by appropriate authorities, and bias and diversity and inclusion training will continue—and or—expand in a Bastin administration.

GORTON: It is probably not a good idea for the next potential mayor to weigh in on pending cases against the city but I have always been and will remain committed to making sure no opportunities are exempt from anyone based on who they are.  The city not only needs to enforce its non-discrimination policies in employment and contracts but needs to better reach out and pursue minorities in the process.

ISAAC: I will review each action and work with the EEO officer to resolve properly and fairly. My law degree is certainly an asset in working on these cases plus my commitment to treating all people fairly no matter the circumstances.

STINNETT: We have an established process for addressing specific unfairness and discrimination actions.  I will work to support and improve on those existing structures.

  1. How will you ensure that diversity is a priority in hiring for LFUCG positions?

BASTIN: I will continue support and funding for the office of Diversity, which works to ensure diversity and inclusion inside the LFUCG.

GORTON: The city recently established a Chief Diversity Officer position to increase the diversity of LFUCG employees. That position, augmented by other city staff, needs to serve as an ambassador to under-represented communities. LFUCG needs to step outside its walls and find employers that have succeeded in hiring a diverse workforce. There are important lessons that we can borrow from to improve the city’s hiring practices.

ISAAC: I will strive to ensure that all employees and applicants for employment enjoy equality of opportunity and employment opportunity free from unlawful discrimination based on color, national origin, sex, age, physical or mental disability, protected genetic information, or reprisal based on EEO protected class.

STINNETT: See question 1.

  1. As mayor, what would you do at the local level to improve the safety of animals and would you support an ordinance that would strengthen animal safety measures?

BASTIN: A Bastin administration will continue our partnership with Lexington-Fayette animal care and control— and the Lexington Humane Society– to ensure that all animals (wild and domesticated) are kept safe, protected from abuse, and placed into loving families when appropriate. The state of Kentucky currently has robust protection laws for animals, but I would be open to considering additional laws as they are presented.

GORTON: I would make sure our Animal Control personnel work in close coordination with other agencies, such as Police and Code Enforcement, who see potential problems to take a more proactive approach in defense of our animals.  I would be supportive of new ideas that further protect animals.

ISAAC: I would support policies that align with animals being treated fairly and humanely.

STINNETT: I would support reasonable ordinances that would strengthen animal safety measures.  I chaired the Dog Task Force in 2007 that brought sweeping changes to how we treat animals.  We increased enforcement officers from three to ten.  We changed the kennel license requirements to prevent the hording of animals.  We stiffened the penalties for vicious dogs and the inhuman treatment of animals. I am on the Animal Care and Control Board that deals with these issues daily.

  1. Gentrification in Lexington is a real problem in inner city / low income communities. How will you address it moving forward?

BASTIN: As Lexington continues to grow, we must ensure that all affected parties and stakeholders are at the table when growth occurs. Without the input of communities—especially those in low income areas— gentrification is often an unintended consequence of what some view as neighborhood revitalization. I would encourage conversations between builders and citizens to discuss ways to keep affordable housing options, affordable amenities in areas as growth occurs.

GORTON: While we like to see neighborhood improvements and enhancements – restaurants, coffee shops, etc. along sidewalks that once offered little – we must take care to protect citizens who have called these neighborhoods home for so many years. That means maintaining and increasing affordable housing. I believe we must increase the budget for our Affordable Housing Program, and I would like to see a dedicated funding stream for this purpose. As Lexington continues to attract new jobs, we must offer safe, affordable, attractive neighborhoods, but, more importantly, protect our long-time Lexington citizens.  Further, there needs to be a dialogue between city officials, the Property Value Administrator, and Fayette County Public Schools. The PVA is the main entity responsible for actually assessing a property higher which leads to increased taxes. That person can play a large role in controlling the impact of gentrification.

ISAAC: Gentrification is complex just like many of the diversity issues. The lack of affordable housing to give people options is just one of the problems. Among the most important Lexington issues and one that I am extremely passionate about is affordable and low-income housing. Under my past administration, Lexington experienced a revitalization of its downtown through increases in residential housing and business.  I have been a tireless advocate and supporter of affordable housing and have initiated several programs to enhance housing in Lexington’s downtown like the “Live Where You Work” program with special low interest loans for UK, LFUCG and Hospital employees.

STINNETT: Affordable housing is a major issue and gentrification is a contributing factor.  We need to provide more flexibility in planning and zoning to allow for creative housing options.  We also need to work to address the high cost of land in Fayette County.  The Council recently voted to explore starting a program that would help pay portions of property tax bills for poor, longtime homeowners in affected areas.

  1. How would you address gun violence in the city?

BASTIN: Gun violence is in many ways related to drug activity—the best way to reduce gun violence is to address drugs. A Bastin administration would do this by: encouraging tough enforcement on drug dealers, and those who profit from the sale of drugs, as well as violent criminals. I would also suggest a number of multi-disciplinary intervention and violence prevention tactics, which are detailed in my crime plan. The plan can be viewed at www.bastinformayor.com

GORTON: The Kentucky legislature has forbidden local governments from enacting gun legislation, but we must do what we can to educate citizens about gun safety – storage and safety locks. How tragic to hear of accidental shootings that could easily have been prevented, or perpetrators of violence given access to weapons that were not properly stored. Further, we must address the causes of violence – drugs, joblessness, poor or lack of education, and poverty.  Mental Health Court is an important part of the solution also.

Along with this we have to make sure crimes committed with a weapon are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

ISAAC: When I was Mayor I initiated a gun turn in program and would re-instate one like it. I would work with the Police at Comp Stat to monitor where gun violence is predicted and then target efforts for youth development, police coverage, strengthen neighborhood coalitions and churches. I would continue to support the BUILD program – an interfaith coalition of churches working hand in hand with the Fair Housing Council.

STINNETT: I supported funds for 30 additional police offices in the last budget and will continue to support additional personnel and equipment to assist police and fire fighters in their jobs.

  1. What measurement/plan would you implement to assure the people that their safety is the number one priority?

BASTIN: Safety is my top priority. So much so, that my campaign recently released a crime plan, which can be viewed at www.bastinformayor.com

GORTON: The safety of our citizens must always be the Number One priority of local government, and it tops my list. We need a multi-pronged effort to assure the safety of all our citizens. Police support is important, and I have always supported our public safety officers. I want to see a closer relationship among our officers and our neighborhoods, a relationship that builds trust in the place of fear. I’m proposing a multi-disciplinary approach to address the growing opioid/drug problem – closely linked to an uptick in crime – that threatens neighborhood safety. And, again, I believe that our government must work to address the underlying problems of unemployment and poverty.

Policing alone will not improve safety and I think little could demonstrate that better than the record number of officers we have on the street at the same time that violent crime continues to grow.  We have to empower our neighborhoods and citizens to take back their communities and know that they have the full backing of their government.  We have to restart neighborhood organizations that have disappeared and reconnect people who are willing to speak openly and honestly about the problems we face and engage the right personnel in the process.

ISAAC: One of my strengths is bringing people together with the vision to unify rather than divide.  When I was Mayor, my relationship with the police, fire and EMS personnel was strong. This relationship along with leaders in the schools, churches and community is what will improve safety and outcomes in our community.

STINNETT: I have publicly and consistently said that crime and public safety are the number one issues in Lexington.

  1. There is a $30,000 median income gap between white and Black Lexingtonians. How will your policies reflect equal pay regardless of race and gender to ensure better quality of life for everyone?

BASTIN: I believe that everyone should receive equal pay for equal work—regardless of race and gender identity. My administration will be committed to ensuring parity in salaries where equal work is being completed by people of different genders and races. I will encourage other employers to do the same.

GORTON:  Government should lead by example and I remain committed to the non-discrimination policies affecting employment and salaries in government and believe they should apply to every organization that wants to do business with the government.

ISAAC: As former Mayor, I reviewed all LFUCG positions (3200 employees) with Human Resources and the EEO officer and if there was a disparity we made it right.

STINNETT: Issues such as the cost of land and unnecessary barriers to development are discussed in response to other questions.  Those must be addressed to encourage and stimulate job growth.

I will also continue to support programs I helped establish like Lexington’s Workforce Development Office, the Workforce Development Grant Program and the JOBS Fund.

I readily accept the Mayor’s responsibility to make sure that these and other programs are fairly and equitably administered.  I also appreciate the fact that we must focus special attention on the areas of greatest.

Note: Only questions addressed to all four candidates that participated in the forum were included in this compilation.  Questions primarily addressing federal, state, school board and personal issues were not forwarded to the candidates for responses.  

BELOW ARE THE CANDIDATES RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS 11-24 RELATED TO CODE ENFORCEMENT, REVIVING THE MAYOR’S TRAINING CENTER, FUNDING NON-PROFITS and OWNERSHIP OF UTILITIES.

Ronnie Bastin

  1. Code Enforcement condemns housing units, but landlords just repair enough to pass inspections. How would you give more power to the Code Enforcement Office?

I would consult with citizens and code enforcement authorities to see how to best serve the needs of the people, with existing laws. Then, I would be open to recommendations for strengthening ordinances as the need arises.

  1. Are growth and conservation goals mutually exclusive?

Not in my opinion. Lexington is wonderful city that people want to move to. This will continue, growth will continue. At the same time, a large part of why people want to move to Lexington is our bluegrass, horses and rural land. This signature landscape makes Lexington special. Growth and conversation are not in competition, but rather complement each other. We must have smart growth—which values our green space (as a draw) and uses our existing land wisely. If we plan for growth in a way that keeps both conservation and innovation in mind, Lexington will continue to be a wonderful place to live.

  1. What is your position on Town Branch and the linear park. Is the project a waste of resources and would destroying the viaduct be a waste?

The Town Branch Park would transform downtown. It is projected to be a draw for entertainment, recreation and would give the economy a boost. 

  1. How will you work with school system to ensure our schools are safe?

In my 6-point crime plan, I have a very specific set of recommendations to keep schools safe. You can read the plan at www.bastinformayor.com 

  1. Do you support preserving the Urban Services Boundary? And the PDR program?

The Urban County Council voted to maintain the current Urban Services Boundary for several more years. I support this decision. We must be thoughtful and careful about how we grow. I support a smart growth strategy, which prioritized infill development, and respects the uniqueness and value of our farm land. 

  1. Should citizens be able to vote on whether to continue the PDR Program via a public referendum?

Yes.

  1. What is your understanding of racial disparities in Lexington? And what specific policies will you recommend and push for if elected mayor?

I have a clear understanding of the socioeconomic, educational and employment disparities in Lexington, as delineated by racial lines.  These issues are problematic and require a multi-disciplinary approach to alleviate the root causes of these problems namely: structural inequality, poverty and discriminatory practices. 

  1. We often hear that (Commerce Lexington) is failing as it relates to workforce development and (job) creation for blue collar workers and low to moderate income communities. Would you revive the Mayor’s Training Center?

The Bastin Administration would be committed to workforce development, job training for those who are underemployed and job placement for felons and those with criminal records.  I will also bring schools and business together, to ensure that our students are being trained for the jobs of today and tomorrow. We need to make sure that the pool of employees can meet the needs of the employers.

  1. What is your plan to address the conditions of poverty in Lexington?

In addition to workforce development, job training and job placement for felons; The Bastin Administration will work to encourage employers to provide a living wage to workers. I will also encourage developers to continue to build affordable housing. Finally, I will maintain the city’s affordable housing fund—which provides housing payment assistance to Lexington residents.

  1. How will you (help) fund existing non-profit organizations in Lexington?

The city of Lexington’s annual budget provides funding for a large number of non-profit organizations in Lexington. As mayor, I will continue to recommend non-profit funding in the budget.

  1. There are many things that we need to do to deal with the opioid problem. There are no long term treatment programs here. What will the city do to remedy that major problem?

To my knowledge the city of Lexington has a variety of long-term and short term drug and opioid treatment programs. You can learn more about these resources at: http://gethelplex.org/

  1. What will you do to encourage clean energy in our city? Do you see an opportunity for more clean and energy sector jobs?

As Police Chief, I helped to reduce the carbon footprint of the police department by buying hybrid vehicles, cutting down on paper use and encouraging recycling agency-wide. I know the importance of being a good environmental steward. As mayor, I would encourage the purchase of more fully electric or hybrid vehicles, and am open to learning more about bringing alternative forms of energy to Lexington on a large scale.

  1. What are your thoughts about city ownership of utilities?

I believe that the means of production, including utilities, are best to be owned by private entities and regulated by government. This allows for a proper system of checks and balances.

  1. Phoenix Park sits at the center of our growing downtown. As mayor, what will you do to help improve the park and make it a vibrant downtown destination?

In recent years, Phoenix Park has had a number of updates and revitalizations, to ensure it is userfriendly. More open space now exists, a dog mini dog park is located there and regular programming and festivals are scheduled in this area. As mayor, I will continue this sort of public-private partnership and investment in the park.

 LINDA GORTON

  1. Code Enforcement condemns housing units, but landlords just repair enough to pass inspections. How would you give more power to the Code Enforcement Office?

This absolutely must happen. I’ve been struck as I walk neighborhoods and see first-hand some serious housing issues. As Mayor I will insist on stricter code enforcement – that might require legislation – and I will develop a strategy to initiate public/private investments to help sustain our neighborhoods.

  1. Are growth and conservation goals mutually exclusive?

 No. Growth, we hope, is inevitable, and conservation is a must. We must plan carefully so that we can offer infill development that is efficient, attractive and affordable. And we must encourage a wide variety of conservation strategies – recycling, solar energy, and waste management. The phrase smart growth is overused, but it hasn’t really been applied successfully in Lexington. We need to expand our toolbox, while working with leaders of established communities, developers, and rural landowners to think comprehensively about the needs of a growing city and how to preserve what makes us unique, rather looking at opposing views as the enemy.

  1. What is your position on Town Branch and the linear park. Is the project a waste of resources and would destroying the viaduct be a waste?

I’m a strong supporter of the Town Branch Commons.  The Commons Park is being created with private funding. When completed, it will offer green space, bike and pedestrian paths, art, water features and add immensely to the quality of life in Lexington.  I am interested in seeing the final plans regarding the viaduct before judging what is best relative to the park and alternate transportation venues.

  1. How will you work with school system to ensure our schools are safe​?

During my service as vice mayor/council member I initiated a committee composed of city and school officials that met monthly to collaborate on issues of common concern. As mayor I will reestablish this crucial communication and planning entity. We cannot separate our joint responsibility to ensure safe schools. We must consider all resources available with a multi-faceted approach to safety, including metal detectors and other supportive measures.

  1. Do you support preserving the Urban Services Boundary? And the PDR program​?

Yes, I am committed to both. Without the Urban Service Boundary, our planned infill development would be lost. We have thousands of acres left within the boundary to offer developers, businesses and home-buyers adequate space to expand. At the same time, we know that Lexington offers a landscape that is unique – possibly in the entire world, according to geological surveys. We must protect our unique brand for tourism, and we must protect our $2.3 billion agriculture industry, remembering that one of every 12 jobs here is dependent on it. 

  1. Should citizens be able to vote on whether to continue the PDR Program via a public referendum?

The PDR enabling legislation was enacted by the state legislature, so I don’t know that the citizens can vote on it.

  1. What is your understanding of racial disparities in Lexington? And what specific policies will you recommend and push for if elected mayor?

​I believe there are housing, wage, neighborhood and possibly other disparities.  As mayor, one of my efforts will be to partner with the school system to bring more pre-school education to our children and to increase the level of citizens with a high school education.  Those actions will interface with job training and re-training efforts, thereby increasing citizens’ ability to be employed.   I will re-institute the Neighborhood Liaison Office inside government, as well as create strong bonds and partnerships with African-American leaders in the community.  I’ll continue to be a proponent of having intentional diversity on all boards and commissions inside government.

  1. We often hear that (Commerce Lexington) is failing as it relates to workforce development and (job) creation for blue collar workers and low to moderate income communities. Would you revive the Mayor’s Training Center?

 ​It is essential that we encourage opportunities for job-training and re-training at all levels. We need skilled workers, and we must work with high schools, BCTC and our universities to make sure we are able to fill this demand. 

LFUCG implemented a workforce development that provides grants to workforce development agencies for measurable outcomes. We need to evaluate how successful the program has been in addressing the workforce needs of our community. Oftentimes, our partner agencies and nonprofits can be more nimble in addressing the needs of the community than the government can. They just need the funding to do it. If this programming is meeting or exceeding the results of the mayors training center, Lexington would be better served by expanding its programming. 

  1. What is your plan to address the conditions of poverty in Lexington?

The current administration and council have done a good job of putting programs in place that deal with some of the effects of poverty (homelessness, affordable housing, and workforce development). These programs need to be coordinated and aligned to deal strategically with issues of poverty. But that is dealing with the effects. In order to be proactive we need to look at the causes of both sudden and systemic poverty in Lexington. Economic Development staff can work proactively with businesses to address layoffs, connect displaced workers with job opportunities if they’re qualified for them, and workforce development agencies if they’re not. We can also look at expanding programming around home affordability through impactful programs from around the country.

 My plan also focuses on jobs. As our community becomes the largest gigabit city in the country, and continues to attract high-tech jobs, we must also be concerned that skilled-worker training gets the attention it needs. We must work with the school system to assure that our schools are adequately funded and supplied – equally across the board. We must continue our efforts to increase safe, stable housing through our Affordable Housing Fund. 

  1. How will you (help) fund existing non-profit organizations in Lexington?

The current scoring and vetting process for dividing funding among existing non-profit organizations is something I fully supported as Vice-Mayor and believe does a good job of adequately evaluating needs, diversity and capabilities.

  1. There are many things that we need to do to deal with the opioid problem. There are no long term treatment programs here. What will the city do to remedy that major problem?

We need to leverage the best minds and assets our city and state have to offer in this field and we are fortunate to have many of them at UK and leading other organizations across town.  They have not been given the platform required to drive real solutions, but my multi-disciplinary approach will do just that.  We have to treat addiction as a disease and work with the healthcare, courts, social workers, rehab and other industries to help our citizens find a cure.  We have to go after those who are profiting off of the problem, whether it’s the dealer on the street or the pharmaceutical companies. We must use with every resource law enforcement has and needs. This means we have to lead a stronger regional approach to syncing with other resources across the region.  And we have to get in front of our most at-risk citizens and build the right safety nets, education and infrastructure around them so they do not become the next to fall to addiction. 

22. What will you do to encourage clean energy in our city? Do you see an opportunity for more clean and energy sector jobs​?

Local incentives should certainly be pursued to encourage more clean energy in Lexington and this is exactly the type of hi-tech industry that we have the opportunity to recruit and grow.  There are already several industries in Lexington we should be partnering with to highlight.  Any new government building should look to incorporate clean energy accessibility when it is economically viable to do so as well.

  1. What are your thoughts about city ownership of utilities​?

When I served the council, I supported the prospect of city purchase of the water company because I felt it would be more cost-effective for our citizens. I adamantly support continuing the city services that we have, including sanitary and yard waste collection and disposal. The best opportunities we have right now to hold our public utilities accountable to the people they serve is to strictly enforce our franchise agreements and make sure citizens have easy access to share their complaints so that they may be addressed. 

  1. Phoenix Park sits at the center of our growing downtown. As mayor, what will you do to help improve the park and make it a vibrant downtown destination?

As a public park, it needs to be open and welcoming to all.  It has been an area of emphasis for quite some time and is considerably more friendly than it has been in the past, but there will always be room to grow.  It needs more secure-by-design improvements and more events that are appropriate for a park its size.

 TERESA ISAAC

  1. Code Enforcement condemns housing units, but landlords just repair enough to pass inspections. How would you give more power to the Code Enforcement Office?

This is a complex issue since many times if Code Enforcement condemns housing, then there is an increase in homelessness since there is a shortage of low-income housing. There is a balance that we strike enforcing code and safety yet realizing that people need a place to live. I believe landlords that continue to be non-compliant should be notified on a case to case basis.

  1. Are growth and conservation goals mutually exclusive?

No

  1. What is your position on Town Branch and the linear park. Is the project a waste of resources and would destroying the viaduct be a waste?

I think we should keep the viaduct and have one lane open for traffic and the other lane for parking for the Historic Main Street Baptist Church.

  1. How will you work with school system to ensure our schools are safe?

As former Mayor, I met with the School Superintendent monthly with the safety of our youth paramount. I would work with our Police Chief who is experienced in safety programs in our schools as well as the PTA and Site based Council at the Elementary, Middle and High School levels.

  1. Do you support preserving the Urban Services Boundary? And the PDR program?

I certainly am a friend to our Bluegrass farmlands. During my tenure as Mayor, the PDR program grew exponentially. There were 4,000 acres on 26 farms when we started and after four years of my leadership, the program protected 17,000 acres on 150 farms. Our PDR program is a model that other states use to preserve farmlands and I believe it began with my team and leadership. I pride myself in being equitable which is also a pillar of the Fayette Alliance, so what I allocate to the PDR program, I also would allocate to the budget for affordable housing.

  1. Should citizens be able to vote on whether to continue the PDR Program via a public referendum?

Yes, I believe citizens should be able to vote on whether to continue the PDR program.

  1. What is your understanding of racial disparities in Lexington? And what specific policies will you recommend and push for if elected mayor?

I understand that disparities do exist and under my leadership I hope to ensure all LFUCG employees are treated equitably. I would make diversity training for all employees mandatory. I personally taught the Hate Crime Classes to the police department and believe in the benefits of diversity training.

  1. We often hear that (Commerce Lexington) is failing as it relates to workforce development and (job) creation for blue collar workers and low to moderate income communities. Would you revive the Mayor’s Training Center?

Yes, I would revive the Mayor’s Training Center but in a different format.

  1. What is your plan to address the conditions of poverty in Lexington?

For poverty to be eradicated, there needs to be early childhood education, affordable healthcare and housing, job training and safe neighborhoods.

  1. How will you (help) fund existing non-profit organizations in Lexington?

I would support these organization thru the Department of Social Services.

  1. There are many things that we need to do to deal with the opioid problem. There are no long-term treatment programs here. What will the city do to remedy that major problem?

I would work in partnership with hospitals, Volunteers of America, and along with the Substance Abuse Taskforce which I chaired as Vice Mayor.

  1. What will you do to encourage clean energy in our city? Do you see an opportunity for more clean and energy sector jobs?

I am committed to the environment and while I was Mayor, Lexington was chosen as the 12th Greenest City in America by The Green Guide and the Sierra Club recognized Lexington as a “Cool City”.

  1. What are your thoughts about city ownership of utilities?

I want Lexington to be as “high tech” as possible while also passing down internet service savings to the residents. The idea of net neutrality and forming an ISP to create a citywide fiber optic internet service owned by the city is an idea worth researching. While I was Mayor, I implemented a program called Mayor’s Fiber which allowed people to have Wi-fi outside downtown which made Lexington cutting edge then.

  1. Phoenix Park sits at the center of our growing downtown. As mayor, what will you do to help improve the park and make it a vibrant downtown destination?

I would continue to promote Phoenix Park as a great place to gather. I would encourage community groups, concerts, Run/walk events and other events.

KEVIN STINNETT

  1. Code Enforcement condemns housing units, but landlords just repair enough to pass inspections. How would you give more power to the Code Enforcement Office?

The Code Enforcement Office will have my full support as Mayor.  We will address those areas where enforcement needs to be improved. 

  1. Are growth and conservation goals mutually exclusive?

I support maintaining the current boundary while Lexington completes a two-year study on a plan for smart growth.  I have also supported the PDR program all 14 years I have been on Council and feel it has done the job it set out to do to protect our rural landscape.

There is no question that smart growth is possible and necessary to build and maintain a stable economy.  I think Lexington has proven the ability to preserve our landscape and provide for growth and will continue to do so.

  1. What is your position on Town Branch and the linear park. Is the project a waste of resources and would destroying the viaduct be a waste?

Turning asphalt in to park land is a desirable goal.  There are many aspects of the Town Branch project that have to be carefully considered, but I generally support the vision for making the area more family and pedestrian friendly.

  1. How will you work with school system to ensure our schools are safe?

School safety begins when a child leaves home for school until they return.  I have worked closely with the Fayette County Public Schools on a number of important projects and expect that positive relationship to continue.  See my response to question 8.

  1. Do you support preserving the Urban Services Boundary? And the PDR program?

I support maintaining the current boundary while Lexington completes a two-year study on a plan for smart growth.  I have supported also supported the PDR program all 14 years I have been on Council and feel it has done the job it set out to do to protect our rural landscape.

  1. Should citizens be able to vote on whether to continue the PDR Program via a public referendum?

I am not opposed to a public referendum if it helps get us to a smart growth policy in Lexington.

  1. What is your understanding of racial disparities in Lexington? And what specific policies will you recommend and push for if elected mayor?

I constant work to fully understand racial disparities in Lexington.  I recognize that reaching a full understanding is an elusive goal, but I will continue to try.  See my response to question 1.

  1. We often hear that (Commerce Lexington) is failing as it relates to workforce development and (job) creation for blue collar workers and low to moderate income communities. Would you revive the Mayor’s Training Center?

We all bear responsibility for workforce development and job creation.  I have worked closely with Commerce Lexington and applaud its efforts and those of others in our community working to provide opportunities all across the economic spectrum. I will not revive the Center as it existed.  We will invest wisely in job creation for every Lexingtonian with special attention to those areas in greatest need.

  1. What is your plan to address the conditions of poverty in Lexington?

See question 10.

  1. How will you (help) fund existing non-profit organizations in Lexington?

The existing budget process provides the Mayor and Council the opportunity to fund non-government agencies that provide much need services in the community.  I will create an incubator to further support non-profits.  I was instrumental in increasing the city budget for non-profits.

  1. There are many things that we need to do to deal with the opioid problem. There are no long term treatment programs here. What will the city do to remedy that major problem?

It is going to take a community-wide effort to fully address the drug problems in Lexington.  As Mayor I will provide the leadership needed to bring the necessary resources together to address enforcement, prevention, and treatment including working with UK and creating a respite care center.

  1. What will you do to encourage clean energy in our city? Do you see an opportunity for more clean and energy sector jobs?

I am committed to doing everything possible to make our community more energy efficient.  I recently initiated action on the Council to make Lexington an Energy Project Assessment District.  The ability to attain PACE financing will have a significant positive impact on our ability to improve the energy efficiency of new construction projects and renovations.

  1. What are your thoughts about city ownership of utilities?

LFUCG and the state Public Service Commission hold utilities accountable for providing quality and efficient utility services.  Ownership is not an affordable goal.

  1. Phoenix Park sits at the center of our growing downtown. As mayor, what will you do to help improve the park and make it a vibrant downtown destination?

Since I have been on the Council we have made tremendous strides to revitalize downtown Lexington, including making significant investments in Phoenix Park and the newly restored Old Courthouse building.  I will continue the efforts to restore downtown as Mayor.  It is part of the Town Branch project and will receive additional rehabilitation attention as a part of that effort.

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