Arnold L. Farr- 2018 Primary Candidate Questionnaire
Running for: Urban County Council At-Large
Candidate Website: https://arnoldfarr.com/
1. What is the biggest challenge and opportunity facing the city of Lexington and your district (if applicable)?
There are several challenges with are also opportunities facing Lexington. First, the city is growing at a rate of twenty thousand persons per year. The challenge here is accommodating such growth without compromising the aesthetic integrity of the city and without encroaching on farm land. Another challenge here is providing gainful employment for all of our citizens. Other problems include the rise of violent crime, drug and alcohol addiction, and poverty. Solving these last three problems require dealing with the way in which they are interconnected. People who lack a sense of well-being due to economic stress are more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol as well as engage in violent behavior. We must seek preventive measures and move beyond band aid type fixes. The challenges are also opportunities insofar as our success in dealing with them says a lot about the character and future of our city. How we respond to these issues will determine how well we have heard Martin Luther King Jr’s call for us to become the “beloved community.”
2. The newly adopted Goals and Objectives of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan prioritize infill/redevelopment as a primary strategy to accommodate our growth needs. In fact, studies indicate there are many infill/redevelopment opportunities throughout the city. What specific recommendations do you have to protect the character and context of existing neighborhoods while pursuing this needed strategy? Would you support a program that provides incentives for infill/redevelopment projects within the Urban Services Area? If so, what specific types of incentives.
I would support a program that provides incentives for infill/redevelopment projects within the Urban Services Area. This is important with regards to creating jobs and opportunities for new members of our growing city. There is still enough space and unused properties in Lexington to grow and develop without compromising the integrity of our neighborhoods. Any decision that impacts a certain neighborhood should be made on the basis of conversations with members of that neighborhood. Members of the affected neighborhood and City Council can work together to determine what possibilities for development are present within that neighborhood so that development would not have a negative impact.
3. Land use planning and economic development go hand-in-hand. What are the main economic pillars in Lexington and what specific planning policies support their growth? What specific policies do you support to ensure we create 21st jobs that maximize our unique assets?
As I see it, the main economic economic pillars of Lexington are agriculture, the horse industry, and the presence of a land-grant university. I support the Purchase of Development Rights Program form the protection of our farms. Lexington has also benefited from its technological growth and strong industries. For this reason I support the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement headed by Mayors Gray and Fischer.
4. Why are you the best candidate for the position you seek?
I think that I have a balanced perspective. The character of a city or community is determined by how it takes care of all of its citizens. For that reason, I have always worked to overcome poverty and any form of injustice. Three of the problems that I mentioned earlier, violence, drug and alcohol addiction, and poverty are often as separate issues. I believe that they are interconnected and that you can’t effectively solve one without solving the others. This is a matter that is very important to me and it is one that I will dedicate myself to. I am also very good with people of all types and believe in interacting with them and learning from them. My down to earth manner creates a level of comfort for people even if we are quite different. This is an important quality for someone holding public office. People have always felt that they could talk with me. Also I believe that if I can’t get something done by myself then I need to form an alliance with others. For example, a short while back our local government voted to raise the minimum wage here in Lexington. The State did not approve. The wage problem is too important to give up on. My strategy would be to form a coalition with Mayors and City Council members from other towns who are like minded to put pressure on the State.
5. Like the rest of the nation, Lexington’s population is aging. In the next decade and beyond, a majority of households will be headed by someone 65 or older for the first time in our history. Our aging demographic has significant implications for housing and neighborhood design. What specific recommendations do you have to ensure we provide safe, accessible, affordable housing to our seniors in ways that ensure they maintain independence and social connections as they age?
Housing that is designed for the elderly should be readily available at an affordable price. I’m sure that we would need to increase the number of Assisted Living homes in the city. There is one thing that should be done now. There need to be more bus stops near places where many of our elderly citizens live. Those who depend on public transportation often have to walk too far. I got this information directly from some of our elderly citizens.
6. Fayette County agriculture is an annual $2.3 billion industry that supports one in twelve jobs in Lexington. Fayette County farmland is the factory-floor of this industry, which also anchors a burgeoning travel and tourism industry. To ensure continued viability of our agricultural industries, do you support an annual funding allocation to the Purchase of Development Rights Program? Why or why not. What other specific policies do you support to ensure the continued strength and growth of our agriculture industries?
I do support an annual funding allocation to the Purchase of Developmental Rights Program because as I said before, it is important that we protect our farms and the aesthetic integrity of the city.