Metro Council primary offers broad field to replace 3 veterans

Metro Council primary offers broad field to replace 3 veterans

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Making city and county "Metro" carved the pie into twenty-six pieces; 26 voices in how services are delivered and tax dollars spent.

Half of those Metro Council seats are on the primary ballot Tuesday, but three veterans won't be seeking another four-year term.

David Tandy's District 4 is the urban core, with a huge physical and fiscal footprint; Smoketown, Shelby Park, NuLu, downtown and west to the Russell neighborhood. Incomes range from 7-figures to poverty level.

Crime is a growth industry. Aletha Fields withdrew, leaving three Democrats vying to succeed Tandy.

Marshall Gazaway has waged a high-contact, low-dollar effort.

Bryan Burns is a life-long Louisvillian. He works at the University of Louisville, where he's earning his Doctorate in Urban Public Policy. He sees his neighborhood - Shelby Park - as the next target for renewal, hopeful that it won't mean gentrification.

"I'd first like to look at assets that are already there," Burns said. "Empty buildings. The empty storefronts. And look at the residents that could be placed within those, as businesses. So kids can see role models. Entrepreneurs."

Activist Barbara Sexton-Smith sees the 4th as beset with challenges, but ripe with potential; where competing interests can find common ground by treating diversity as a strength.

"I want to make sure that no one feels left out, ignored, forgotten, disenfranchised," she told WAVE 3 News. "We have a lot of that in this community. We need to make sure everybody feels comfortable into all of our public places, all of our businesses."

A field of eight filed to replace long-time Council member and former Louisville Alderman Tom Owen in District 8.

The Greater Highlands stretches from the Cherokee Triangle through Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road to the Watterson Expressway.  Trendy meets timeless. Quirky mixes with class. Houses sell quickly. Traffic can be a curse.

Bio-engineer Josh White believes his background would offer Metro Council unique insight.

"Only scientists have a unique ability to process the data," he said. "We take a procedural approach. We went to school to solve problems."

A change in Frankfort put Spalding University's Chris Kolb into the race.

"When (Republican Governor) Matt Bevin got elected," Kolb said. "I thought somebody's gotta start standing up to this type of politics."

Kolb's field is urban policy. He's a community activist and organizer.

"The heroin epidemic - we have to address that," he said. "That crosses over into public safety."

Norton Healthcare executive Lynnie Meyer agrees.

"We have to talk about how we're managing these individuals through the court system," she said.

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'I'm a big believer in patience, not prisoners, for people who should be treated like patients," White said. "If they have a medical addiction, we should be treating them like that."

Meyer believes the district's evolution and challenges call for a master plan.

"Look at housing on the corridor," she said. "Strengthening the historic overlay and really look at how we do transportation planning."

Attorney S. Brandon Coan has served in Metro government. He brands himself a bridge-builder.

"There are a number of issues related to land use, housing, parking and traffic," he said. "We need someone to bridge generations and can sort of bridge the political establishment, and then what I call the cultural 'makers and doers' of Louisville."

Owen has endorsed a would-be successor; his long-term aide, Terra Long. A video on her YouTube channel features them both, with Owen offering a testimonial for the former community police officer.

"She can be walking into a room of people who are disagreeing with one another, and somehow she's able to help those folks forge a solution that's decent for all," Owen said.

A haven for liberals and progressives, District 8's candidate slate seems evenly split in support of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. All are hopeful that Sanders bid for a primary win - bolstering his chances to overcome Clinton's huge lead in delegate counts - will raise the turnout for their own race.

Northeast Jefferson County's 16th District may be District 8's ideological opposite. Encompassing Prospect, Indian Hills, Spring Valley and a number of sixth-class cities incorporated before merger, it's considered a Republican stronghold.

But Democrat Gill Holland is expected to mount a well-financed effort in the general election.

Retiring incumbent Kelly Downard has endorsed businessman Scott Reed as his successor.

Reed's website counts a number of elected officials in his corner. He considers job growth, Job One. He vows to make government more open and transparent. He brands himself a fiscal conservative.

"We're growing, traffic's getting worse and we're not seeing a whole lot being done," challenger William "Chip" Sobel told WAVE 3 News. "We send a lot of our dollars downtown. We'd like to get some of them back."

Sobel is a promoter of comedy and entertainment acts and developer of an online news service geared to neighborhoods. He also works for a high-profile discount retailer; saying the experience drives home why a local legislator needs to deliver strong customer service.

"I plan to figure out a way to open a satellite office out here in the 16th district," he said. "So if people want to have access to that direct link to how their money is spent, they'll be able to do so."

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