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Candidates vie for Lexington city leadership roles at Lyric Theater

Stu Johnson

The two candidates for Lexington mayor responded last night to questions on issues ranging from women’s health care to gentrification to affordable housing. The forum, sponsored by many organizations, took place at the Lyric Theater. As expected, the first question centered on addressing community violence beyond additional funding for public safety.

Afterward, Mayor Linda Gorton said it’s always good to keep an open mind to new ideas in dealing with violence.

“I don’t know that we need a new program. We look at what’s going on in cities all over the country all the time, because we know that best practices may be out there that we haven’t seen yet,” said Gorton.

The mayor said she’s convinced the group violence intervention program is not the answer. Gorton noted there’s no data to suggest GVI has worked to reduce homicides.

Challenger David Kloiber said GVI should be tried. He thinks it could help to reduce second, third, and fourth instances of retaliatory violence.

Kloiber is proposing a designated stream of revenue to bolster affordable housing opportunities. He would like to see the issue come before Lexington voters.

“What I’m hopeful to do is to raise awareness about affordable housing and then put it out to a vote for the public. Are you willing to pay an extra nickel on your property tax in order to make sure that we have $20 million a year in affordable housing,” said Kloiber

Kloiber said he would work to see that question put before voters next November, regardless of the election outcome.

Incumbent Mayor Linda Gorton said her budget called for $2 million dollars in an appropriation and there was an additional $10 million in federal recovery money for affordable housing. She said since 2014, funds have gone to build or rehab some 3000 units in Lexington. Last night’s event at the downtown venue included candidates for council at large in a separate forum.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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