Louisville mayoral forum hosts candidate for discussion on affordable housing, incarceration

(From Left to Right) Bill Dieruf, Mannetta C. Lemkheiter, Craig Greenberg, Marina Kunnecke.
(From Left to Right) Bill Dieruf, Mannetta C. Lemkheiter, Craig Greenberg, Marina Kunnecke.(WAVE News)
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 10:36 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Four Louisville mayoral candidates gathered in Newburg to discuss community concerns in a mayoral forum on Friday night.

The four candidates in attendance at Mixx Restaurant on Poplar Level Road were Democrat Craig Greenberg, Republican Bill Dieruf, and two Independent candidates, Mannetta C. Lemkheiter and Marina Kunnecke.

The forum, hosted by VOCAL-KY, discussed several topics the community brought forth, including dealing with homelessness in the city, mass incarceration and ending the war on drugs.

Dieruf argued that money going into affordable housing needs to be looked at as a temporary solution, not a permanent one.

“We have to have home ownership, so that they come from the apartments and move into home ownership,” Dieruf said. “So we have to look into rent to own. Where your rent helps you get the down payment to where you can get a house in the future.”

Greenberg said while the city has made a good first step in investing in affordable housing, more must be done.

“We must address those at the 30% or lower average median income, below 50%, below 80%, below 100%, we must address all of those issues,” Greenberg said. “But in addition to just being affordable, we also need to make sure it’s quality.”

Lemkheiter said the housing system needs to be looked into as it forces people who have maxed out incomes into higher rent.

“Most of the time they cannot afford the higher rent coming into play,” Lemkheiter said. “We have to establish programs for people because when we go in to inspect a unit, it’s unlivable because no one has taken the time to learn how to clean it.”

Kunnecke criticized how money dealing with homeless and creating affordable housing has been spent in the past.

“Under my administration, we’re going to go to ground zero,” Kunnecke said. “We’re going to do an assessment of where the money has gone in the past, because it’s not as if there’s been a shortage of money spent. It is how the money has been spent and how the gatekeepers have been spending the money.

When asked about improving conditions at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, which has come under fire in recent months due to multiple inmate deaths, Greenberg said he hopes to address the crisis.

“What we need to do about it is improve the programs that are there for those who are incarcerated with skills treatment, addiction treatment, better mental health treatment,” Greenberg said.

Kunnecke said more needs to be done to look into those who are employed within the corrections facility.

“We’d have to do some analysis in terms of fitness for service in that capacity, not everyone is fit for that type of service,” Kunnecke said.

Dieruf said more needs to be done to make sure those with behavioral problems aren’t automatically placed in jail cells.

“We need to look at both the building, the people, and then we need to look at how do we help the people so they don’t come back and return,” Dieruf said.

Lemkheiter said there needs to be better training for employees within corrections.

“Better training and following these employees who allow these illegal things to come into the system,” Lemkheiter said. “They are, a great portion of them, responsible because they turn their heads.”

There are nine total candidates on November’s ballot for Louisville mayor. The elected candidate will replace current Democratic mayor Greg Fischer, who was elected for three terms in 2010, 2014 and 2018.