Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ms Iassac Gets A Turn

Today it was Ms. Issac's turn to face the Sisterhood of the Temple Adeth Israel and explain her desires and plans for pursuing the Mayor position. We did have somewhat better weather, it was raining slightly and well milder than last week, yet a smaller group of attendees. I would say about 15 at the most but the discussion became more lively.

Ms. Issac began by explaining why she felt that she needed to run again. To her and a seemingly growing number of Lexington residents, there is an expanding disconnect of the current administration from the various community factions; business, arts, youth, and even the city employees.

She cited, what she feels are some of the strong points from her administration that are missing from the Lexington of today.
  1. The desire to enhance the Department of Public Safety. She points to the latest incident concerning Haiti and the Fire personnel assigned to the FEMA special teams, as only the most recent situation to come up. (I am sure that some will bring up that collective bargaining for Police and Fire as something which led to the current fiscal problem, but all candidates will have to deal with how it is). Ms. Issac does still have a strong backing from public safety folks.
  2. The move to redevelop more of the inner city property, including surplus public land. This seems to be left to the developers as a whole and not coordinated by the City in any way. She feels that she should change that.
  3. The efforts of the City to develop and enhance public spaces as an element to increase the interactions of diverse groups. This is not limited to downtown and does not concern CentrePointe in any way.
  4. Efforts similar to the Indoor Smoking Ban. While the smoking ban has been expanded and pretty much accepted by Lexington(and other cities, including the State of North Carolina), other measures to improve the health and well being of the public are languishing.
  5. A dismantling of her Aging in Place initiative by the Newberry administration. This is something that I feel strongly about and that it should include such things as land use changes and more transportation choice as well as government programs on housing(this is something for a later blog).
  6. Her efforts for Employee Morale. Her interactions with the current employees have led her to conclude that they feel like the Newberry administration doe not work well with employees and changes are being thrust upon them which disrupt work flow much more than improve efficiency. Concerns over public employees and their treatment is always a questionable stand in an election and does not set well with some voters.
  7. The ongoing contact and dialogue between the City and the business community, not just downtown, but out in the subdivisions and including the rural areas. The need for inclusion in decision making processes is key for an open and transparent dialogue.
One point in concluding her prepared remarks was, that she had beaten Mr. Gray -once and Mr. Newberry -twice. What that means in the great scheme of things, I will let you decide.

Audience questions featured the usual suspects, CentrePointe, Lexington Mall and Ky American Water Co.

On CentrePointe, Ms. Issac noted the failures to involve the young patrons of the block and cited a need for a small area plan. I, alone, can remember many times when development removed locations where young people gathered without involving them and all resulting in no major economic disaster. I also believe that the Downtown Master Plan would serve as a small area plan, yet it was not adopted in full, either by the Planning Commission or the Urban County Council.

For Lexington Mall, she noted her statements on eminent domain of the property and the trouble it caused. She still feels that something more can be done to prod the owners although it is a tough situation.

As for the water company, the voters have spoken, and loudly, yet she still thinks that it was the right thing to do.

She summed up her questions with a list of her top three priorities, Public safety, Employee morale and community success with government support.

It will be a while before we hear from Mr. Newberry as he is scheduled to be there on March 21. I will be there to see how that goes too.

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