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Gorton, Kloiber share perspectives on crime, affordable housing at mayoral forum

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Posted at 6:45 AM, Oct 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-20 13:15:34-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Mayor Linda Gorton and challenger David Kloiber shared their perspective on a variety of topics at a mayoral forum hosted by the Eastland Parkway neighborhood association Wednesday.

Topics included affordable housing, increasing revenue, decreasing blight, improving infrastructure, and more. Nothing has been more on the mind of many in Lexington than the increase in violence.

Asked about their chief goal, mayor Linda Gorton said it’s improving their service to people.

“That quality of life that permeates every single thing, you talk about crime or affordable housing or programs for children or parks,” Gorton said.

Kloiber’s top goal is to reduce violence in the city, he said.

The topic came up multiple times during the forum as candidates differed on what specifically is driving the violence and how to solve it.

Gorton said the city doesn’t have a group violence issue, instead pointing to the high number of homicides related to domestic violence.

Kloiber said that a study found there are 29 active groups in the city, and that after to officers, the number has only increased.

Gorton pushed back, saying the study found there was a very low amount of gang violence in Lexington.

The role of group violence is especially relevant for Kloiber, who is pushing for a group violence intervention program (GVI) to be brought to Lexington to help lower the violence. It’s also a solution being pushed by some Lexington faith leaders. Gorton has opposed the GVI plan, saying it won’t work.

Candidates were also asked about the new Flock security cameras.

“I have been opposed to this system,” Kloiber said. “I don’t thing security cameras make us safer, they’re not a deterrent to crime.”

Gorton defended the program.

“Now I think most people in our community would argue that catching a murderer from Detriot would be preventing crime,” Gorton said. “This happened just a couple of weeks ago.”

Another topic candidates were asked about were ways to decrease the unattractiveness, such as car lots or general blight, of both the non-highway portion of New Circle Road and Winchester Road between downtown and New Circle.

“I wish we hadn’t had lights on New Circle in the first place but now that were there it’s going to take us a little while and we’ll probably need to build some more areas in our town,” Kloiber said.

He reiterated his support for expanding the urban services boundary, which prevents development from expanding into what is now agricultural land or horse farms.

“Our neighborhoods are greatly affected by that traffic on New Circle Road,” Kloiber said. “The more we can intentionally develop new neighborhoods, if we have an opportunity to expand, that gives us the chance to move traffic off of one area into another area.”

“Well unfortunately those are all private properties aren’t they and people have decided what they want to put on their own private property,” Gorton responded.

She said a neighborhood plan would be helpful. Gorton also said she currently opposes expanding the urban boundary because there is still a large quantity of undeveloped land inside it currently.

On improving infrastructure, Kloiber said it’s a problem that all Lextran routes go through downtown, indicating some should ring the city like roads do.

Gorton has been working with Lextran and has increased the number of trails, she said.

One thing both Kloiber and Gorton agreed on was the need for, and path toward, moving into a new city hall.