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Kentucky Primary 2020: Louisville Metro Council District 10

District 10 covers a central portion of Jefferson County that touches a number of neighborhoods including Buechel, Germantown and Audubon Park.

Democrat Ryan Fenwick is challenging incumbent Pat Mulvihill for the seat. There are no other candidates of any party in the race.

Mulvihill was elected to the council in late 2015 after a special election to fill the seat of former Council President Jim King, who died while in office. He is now running for his second full term. Mulvihill is an attorney who previously served as general counsel for Mayor Greg Fischer and worked in the Jefferson County Attorney’s office.

Last year, he was chair of the council’s Democratic caucus. Now he is vice chair of the parks and sustainability committee, and serves on the budget committee; he is also on the community affairs, health and education committee.

He has received a number of endorsements, including from local unions, the Fairness Campaign’s political action committee and Better Schools Kentucky.

Mulvihill’s council record includes sponsorship of an ordinance that cracked down on panhandling, and he was among a group of council members sued last year over allegations that they were withholding communications that should be public records.

Fenwick is an attorney and urban planner, and a former mayoral candidate. He has participated in efforts such as the People’s Guide to the Budget with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

He was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky and the Kentuckians For The Commonwealth’s New Power PAC.

Both Mulvihill and Fenwick completed a questionnaire for WFPL. Read their answers below.

What are your ideas for helping residents in your district weather the continued challenges posed by coronavirus, both in terms of health and finances?

Mulvihill: “I believe we are still in the triage stage of response to the pandemic and I want to be sure residents of District 10 and the larger community have access to testing and treatment. We are fortunate in District 10 to have the finest medical care available at Norton Audubon Hospital, a 432-bed acute care facility that is well equipped to respond to the pandemic. Residents can make an appointment and get tested for COVID-19 at the former Walmart in the Shoppes of Audubon adjacent to the hospital. A resident does not have to exhibit symptoms to get tested. No copayments apply. Insurance is not required. If someone is uninsured, they can still be tested, and no charge will be assessed by Norton to such resident.

“For our residents to recover economically, it’s important for the federal government to allow local governments the flexibility to use CARES money for loss revenues. Clearly, Metro Louisville experienced a significant drop in funding due to reduced income tax revenue from closure of businesses and employee layoffs.

“We have been able to help local restaurants by waiving zoning restrictions to allow as much outdoor seating as possible. In addition, as we move forward, we need to look at tax abatement measures to allow businesses to reopen, especially if they would open where there is now a vacant structure or business. These abatement measures may require changes in state law.”

Fenwick: “We will have to meet this unprecedented challenge with flexibility and adaptability. For example, in D10, our thriving businesses along Goss Ave should be allowed to work with planning and zoning administrators to find reasonable waivers to impediments to serve customers, such as allowing conversion of private parking, use of sidewalk easement space, and even, where convenient, modification of traffic patterns. City-wide recovery will likely come in the form of large federal grants to be administered at the city level. We must ensure we don’t retrod worn out strategies for attracting the creative class and tourists and creating low-wage jobs. We must be transparent and diligent in our efforts to rebuild our local small businesses and assist the many residents who were financially impacted. To protect health we need to listen to workers and their unions to make sure they are healthy at their jobs and have adequate protections. City-wide, we have to listen to health experts and continue to take precautions adapted to the best available science to prevent loss of life and hospital strain.”

What, if any, reforms to the budget and policies of the Louisville Metro Police Department would you advocate for as a Metro Council member?

Fenwick: “Our budget for policing and incarcerating in Louisville is half of our yearly spending. It is immoral and unsustainable to spend so much on policing when the mounting evidence shows investment in alleviation of root causes, such as drug addiction, mental health, domestic violence intervention, peer-led violence interruption, at the city level is likely a more effective and more humane remedy. Each year in Louisville, more money is poured into the police force, and each year crime increases. The policing we are receiving is far beyond the scope of the reasonable, peaceable demands I hear from my constituents, who largely want to stop seeing petty crime, need the party next door to quiet down, or want something to be done about traffic. I want us to have a community conversation about how we are implementing hot-spot policing and strongly believe that dialogue will result in the elimination of the practice. I support a powerful civilian review board for police conduct with authority to subpoena, investigate, and discipline when officer conduct is out of step with community expectations.”

Mulvihill: “As our community continues to mourn the loss of Breonna Taylor and demand change, Breonna’s Law, which eliminates the use of no-knock warrants, will ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again. I was proud to join my Metro Council colleagues in unanimously passing Breonna's Law earlier this week.

“While the passage of Breonna’s Law eliminates the use of no-knock warrants by LMPD, it does not apply to the 15 suburban police departments within Jefferson County. It is critical that these departments also commit to eliminating the use of these types of warrants. I have reached out to many of these suburban city mayors to discuss their policies on no-knock warrants. Most indicated that they could not recall their police department ever asking for or executing no-knock warrants and that it was not their practice to do so. For consistency and uniformity for all our residents no matter where they live, I have called upon these suburban city officials to take executive or legislative action to prohibit this practice. Additionally, I have asked the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office to explore all legal options to ensure continuity throughout Jefferson County with respect to the no-knock practice.

“In addition, the Metro Council is committed to creating a Committee on Race Equity to look at and address inequities and disparities that span across our community to eradicate systematic racism and police violence against people of color. Finally, there will be a citizens’ review panel, which will look at actions involving the police, with the hope that the General Assembly will grant this body subpoena power.

“In addition, a long overdue, top-to-bottom audit of LMPD is underway. A significant part of that process must involve a comprehensive review of recruitment and selection of applicants. It’s important to thoroughly assess the applicants to determine whether they possess the temperament, competence, and moral decency to fulfill the role. We must also review and improve the de-escalation training and cultural competency training LMPD provides to its officers.

“The new LMPD chief must operate with an eye-opening evaluation of the department. He or she also needs to be selected with input from the community with an understanding that he or she will serve not just 1,200 LMPD employees, but 780,000 residents.”

In your opinion, what is the number one issue facing your district and how do you plan to address it?

Mulvihill: “Improving the quality of life and maintaining a strong sense of place through resident-centered economic development is a vital issue for District 10. The residents of District 10 are anxious to have more retail and dining options in their neighborhoods. Just as large national retailers including Costco, Target and Walmart made a huge impact on the Bardstown Road Corridor, I’m working to achieve a similar rejuvenation with redevelopment of the long-dormant Kmart property on Poplar Level Road. Phenomenal growth in the Schnitzelburg and Germantown neighborhoods has provided residents with numerous shopping and dining options with small businesses — which keeps dollars in our community. District 21 Metro Councilwoman Nicole George and I have been working with local elected officials of Audubon Park, Parkway Village, and Lynnview as well as area business owners to redevelop and revitalize the Preston Highway corridor in a similar fashion.

“Along with economic development opportunities, there is also a significant need for single-floor housing options that allows our seniors to stay in the area. Aging in place is a challenge for seniors who have lived for many years in older, multi-story homes.

“Equally important, our neighborhoods need safe pedestrian and bicycle connectivity. Unfortunately, Trevilian Way and Eastern Parkway are not viable options for bike lanes. However, I have been working on a path that would connect the Highlands to Schnitzelburg, Germantown, and the University of Louisville campus using safe residential streets. This will provide the amenities to make exercise safe and better connect our neighborhoods.”

Fenwick: “I believe the number one District 10 challenge is a need to plan and implement investments to take our neighborhoods to the next level without driving out our long-term residents. Some of our finest neighborhoods are simply neglected. Camp Taylor, Bashford Manor, Buechel, and West Buechel all have problems related to speeding on roads that should be residential. Approaches implemented in the Highlands, such as streetscaping with trees and active dialogue about how to keep people’s kids safe are not making their way to much of our district, and even in Paristown, Germantown, and Schnitzelburg we see important streets like Ellison left without modern, safer traffic configurations, and sidewalks left unmaintantained in a condition that doesn’t meet city standards. Outside the Watterson, in all but Watterson Park, a Tree City USA, there are major opportunities for a tree planting initiative to reduce the urban heat island effect, increase property values, and generally increase resident well-being. Where plans are created through extensive community engagement, such as Move Louisville which called for a Premium Preston Street Transit Corridor, designed to encourage infill development, the plans should be implemented rather than calling on the community to come together again and rewrite the plan. I will address this issue by making sure there is close and respectful cooperation between my office, residents, their neighborhood associations, and planning administration. I will treat my office like the full time job it is and make sure I am available to ensure our district’s priorities are given proper weight at the city level.”

Amina Elahi is LPM's City Editor. Email Amina at aelahi@lpm.org.

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