Joseph U. Meyer

Political party: 
Question 1: 

Over the past several years many residents have found it difficult to find meaningful employment that is accessible to them. What steps will you take to ensure that residents in our more urban neighborhoods will be able to have the same opportunities as other communities, and to ensure that every part of the city benefits from economic development? 

The career center on Madison Avenue has core functions of training and job placement and is conveniently located to serve Covington's population. I will continue to support that service. I will encourage Gateway CTC to expand the middle skill training programs at the urban campus so that more of our neighbors can get quality training leading to a family sustaining wage. I will work with Covington's school systems to familiarize students with the economic opportunities available in the region.

Question 2: 

Covington has provided more affordable housing options than many other communities in northern Kentucky, and yet many of those who are being helped by these programs are concentrated in a handful of neighborhoods and often feel isolated from the larger Covington community. How can the city better integrate all residents into our community, provide greater opportunities to low income residents, and affirmatively further fair housing?

The concentration of poverty in just a few neighborhoods (census tracts) is a significant problem and reflects the public policy decisions made by the city government over the past 35 years. The concentration hurts the very people it is intended to help.  Under my administration the city will review its housing policy, the concentration of subsidized housing and the lack of access to jobs and education opportunities for the purpose of developing a comprehensive approach to housing opportunities in the city. I envision widespread citizen participation in the process

Question 3: 

Citizens returning home from incarceration, and even those who have finished their probation and parole, often have trouble returning to their communities. Several cities and states have fostered initiatives aimed at helping these members of our community get back on their feet. Louisville and Cincinnati, for example, have removed questions about previous convictions from hiring applications. What steps do you feel Covington can and should take to help folks re-enter our community?

I’m very sympathetic and understand this issue. There are many barriers that have the effect of extending punishment long after the time has been served, and as a matter of fairness these should be reduced, if not eliminated. To address the issue effectively one must understand that Covington is a small piece of Northern Kentucky with shockingly few jobs compared to the region as a whole. We are a diverse and welcoming community and will proudly continue this example for the region. Covington is not is a position to carry the load for all of the Northern Kentucky community. Leadership for these sorts of initiatives must come from outside Covington to be truly effective. Covington should certainly encourage and support opportunities for effective re-entry into the workplace. We will support changes to legislation that unnecessarily restrict access of convicted felons to jobs and careers.

Question 4: 

Covington is known for being Pedestrian friendly, and having mass transit options. Yet, there are few places in the city that accommodate cyclists with bike lanes or share lanes. What policies do you support to make cycling easier and safer in our city?

I was astounded and shocked when a major project - the widening of then 12th Street, now MLK Jr Blvd - did not include bicycle lanes. The issue doesn't seem to be on the city government's radar. I will call for a review and development of policies intended to make Covington  more bicycle friendly.

Question 5: 

Could you detail some of the things you most want to accomplish in the upcoming term, if elected?

1. Improve transparency in the operation of city government and its programs.

2. Get control of the city's finances, debt  and budgeting process.

3. Institute measures to help the city commission work together more effectively.

4. Restore respect and a positive relationship between management and the city’s employees and employee organizations.

5. Make it much easier to do business with and in the city of Covington.

6. Ensure the city government serves all of Covington.

7. Re-establish the office of ombudsman and create an office of small business advocacy.

8. Develop a comprehensive housing policy for the city

9. Begin to address issues associated with the concentration of poverty and social services in the city.

10. Improve the support for Covington's public schools and students.

11. Fix the city's trash collection contract.

12. Improve economic development and housing programs for Latonia.

More information  will be made available on the website later this summer.

Question 6: 

In Covington, we pride ourselves on being a diverse, welcoming community. But many residents are concerned about the increase in activities in northern Kentucky that make many residents feel less than welcomed in our community. What will you do to create a community that is welcoming of all, and that values the lives of all members in our community?

Covington is a diverse, welcoming community. Covington is but a small part of the Northern Kentucky community, less than 10% of the region's population. Covington's ability to exercise leadership outside the boundaries of the city is limited due to a number of factors: historic, economic, philosophical, political and so on. Covington cannot and should not tell the other parts of the Northern Kentucky community what its values should be. Instead we will lead by example by promoting and enhancing values and programs that respect, welcome, value and encourage all of our residents to be full participants in our civil society.