Christine Stanley | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Christine Stanley

Political party: 
Nonpartisan
Incumbent: 
No
Question 1: 

What do you think are some of the most pressing issues facing Lexington in 2020? What is your vision for Lexington, and how will the lives of Lexingtonians be improved as a result of your time in office?

Some of the most pressing issues facing Lexington in 2020 include: Housing, Environmental Quality, Economic Development & Infrastructure.

My vision for Lexington is that together we will be creative and resilient in addressing social and economic challenges in an equitable and sustainable way.

The lives of Lexingtonians will be improved as a result of my time in office because I will collaborate with city council members, local officials and the community to deliver on our responsibility to shared well-being. I will stand resilient in the face of adversity, address the needs of our citizens by advocating for and shaping policies that support their success, and remain compassionate, open & honest every step of the way.

Question 2: 

In 2015, nearly eight hundred students in Fayette County Public Schools were homeless. There is also a severe shortage of affordable housing for people in our community that make minimum wage, even when they are working full time. What will you do to address the problems of homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in our community?

I believe that safe and stable housing is a human right. No one can be expected to be at their best when they’re worried about where they’re going to sleep that night. Broadly, I would say that the Council needs to take steps to evaluate the effects of gentrification, particularly as it primarily affected people of color.

Moving forward, an effective housing policy would require coordination between city planners, policymakers, and the communities themselves. More specifically, the city needs more affordable housing stock in conjunction with higher density development. High-density mixed-use area benefits everyone: owning a car becomes less necessary, important businesses are easily accessible to foot traffic, and when vehicle traffic is reduced bike safety increases and the city's carbon footprint shrinks.

Additionally, high-density development lends itself to investing in our public transportation system. Research shows that for every dollar invested in public transportation approximately $4 in economic return are generated through job creation, business sales, and increase in home values. Public transportation reduces air pollution, reduces traffic congestion, increases mobility and independence; especially to those individuals who had to relocate due to gentrification.

High-density development and public transit also facilitates an increased feeling of community by interacting with others on your transit route.

In addressing homelessness I am supportive of a number of strategies that are being discussed as a part of the city's current five-year strategic plan for increasing affordable housing and decreasing homelessness such as: reducing the number of evictions; enhancing discharge planning and reentry programs (e.g. from hospitals, foster care, prison, etc.); supporting homeless case managers to work with individuals from intake through housing stability; expanding access to primary care, mental and behavioral health services; and increasing in-patient and mobile rehabilitation services.

Question 3: 

What is the role of the Lexington Urban County Council in opposing white supremacy, addressing racial inequality and supporting racial justice for Black people, Indigenous people, Latinx people, immigrants, those who are undocumented, and all people of color in our city? Please identify at least two policy initiatives you would propose while in office to address racial and systemic inequalities.

The role of the Lexington Urban County Council in opposing white supremacy, addressing racial inequality and supporting racial justice for Black people, indigenous people, Latinx people, immigrants, those who are undocumented and all people of color in our city is to develop relationships to build trust between the government and the community; to engage individuals, community leaders and organizations in developing specific strategies, programs and policies that explicitly address institutional racism and to expand opportunity and access for individuals by strengthening outreach, public engagement, and access to City services.

First, I would propose the creation of a bank to be owned and operated by the Urban County Government. This institution would allow the LFUCG to streamline the service of its existing debt. Fees that are currently paid to private banks or Wall Street brokerages would be greatly reduced or eliminated, freeing up a substantial amount of money. The council could then use the Bank and its attendant savings to do things like prioritizing low-interest loans for minority-owned businesses or guaranteeing home loans to those who might not otherwise be able to borrow money due to redlining or other discriminatory practices. Secondly, even though the primary purpose of the Bank would be institutional, it could also engage in financial education efforts in vulnerable communities and offer retail banking services to areas that aren’t currently served by private banks.

Concurrent with the creation of a public bank, the Council should enact a law banning predatory lenders from doing business in Fayette County. Most people are probably familiar with payday lenders, but they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad actors preying on vulnerable people. The Council should take action to protect the people of Lexington from being taken advantage of. In an ideal world, this measure would be accompanied by a law requiring a rapid increase in the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour, but state government has seen fit to prevent municipalities from doing so for the foreseeable future.

I believe these measures would be good first steps in addressing racial and systemic inequality, although they only represent first steps. Correcting these problems will require a sustained effort across all levels of government.

Question 4: 

In recent years, elected leaders in the Kentucky legislature have been pushing for more proactive cooperation with federal immigration agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. What is the role of local city councilors in this conversation about protecting undocumented immigrants in Kentucky?

This is an area where my profession and my faith informs my outlook.

The fundamental constitutional protections of due process and equal protection embodied in our Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to every “person” and are not limited to citizens.

Undoubtedly, our nation has unquestioned authority to control its borders and to regulate immigration. But we must exercise this power to exclude or deport immigrants consistent with the rule of law, the fundamental norms of humanity and the requirements of the Constitution.

When the government denies legal rights and due process to one group, everyone’s rights are at risk.

The book of Matthew also gives two clear instructions: first, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Second, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Given the current outlook on immigration enforcement, I believe the LFUCG should decline to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement insofar as that is possible. Besides the obvious harm of splitting up families and sending people to be held in unsanitary and unsafe "border stations", cooperation with I.C.E. has a number of other undesirable effects, such as discouraging people in these communities from reaching out to local law enforcement when they have witnessed or been the victim of crime.

Question 5: 

The science on climate change is more robust than ever, and many agree that we are in a critical moment for the future of our planet. What has you concerned about climate change? What will you do as a city councilor to minimize Lexington's carbon footprint?

My concerns about climate change are: that our farms and city will have new pests, heat waves, heavy downpours, and increased flooding which damage or destroy our agriculture; plant and animal species will become extinct; and allergies, asthma, and infectious disease outbreaks will become more common due to increased growth of pollen-producing ragweed, higher levels of air pollution, and the spread of conditions favorable to pathogens and mosquitoes.

I think local governments have a great deal to contribute to the fight against climate change.

As city councilor I will continue and support the work to PLANT MORE TREES!

Continue and support the work of the Hickman Creek Conservancy to improve and sustain water quality.

Advocate for an optimized and expanded public transportation system.

Continue and advocate for recycling and composting.

Advocate for reducing/eliminating the use of single use plastics.

Support and advocate for cyclist with bike protected intersections, i.e., corner refuge islands; protected curb extensions for bicycles; forward stop bars; setback bike crossing; a buffer zone between bikes and car traffic and bike-friendly signal phasing; special lights to indicate when bikes should cross; and raised bike lanes.

Promote, preserve and protect our farms.

Finally, work to find a way to incentivize and promote the use of cross-laminated timber in the construction in all new buildings in Fayette County.

The architect Michael Green recently designed a seven-story structure called the T3 Building in Minneapolis. That building is remarkable because it was constructed entirely from wood, using groundbreaking construction techniques. The T3 Building alone will sequester around 3,200 tons of carbon during the lifetime of the structure. In Stockholm, Sweden, 31 towers were recently built along the city’s waterfront using the same material and technique. In addition to being a sustainable way to build that provides a massive carbon sink, building with cross-laminated timber allows quick construction—the T3 Building was constructed in two and a half months. If harvesting is done properly, it allows forests to thrive while providing people with jobs, construction materials, clean air, and protection from erosion and flooding. Although it’s slightly outside the purview of the Council, successful implementation of this policy very well might foster the growth of the forestry industry, which would provide people in other parts of the Commonwealth with environmentally friendly, steady, and good-paying jobs.

Question 6: 

How would you include constituents in your district and across Lexington in the development of the annual budget? What area(s) of the budget would you prioritize funding? What revenue increases would you propose to meet our city’s future budget needs?

I support the implementation of participatory budgeting in Fayette County. I believe that ordinary citizens can and should contribute directly to formulating the spending priorities of the Urban County Government. We can look to cities in other countries, namely Brazil, for compelling evidence that participatory budgeting results in more equitable public spending, increased transparency and accountability, increased levels of civic engagement among all citizens—but especially by marginalized and poor communities, and a greater level of civic knowledge across the board. Implementing participatory budgeting across Fayette County would require some work on the part of the Council, but I believe its long-term impact would be extremely positive.

I believe priority should be given to vital government services, including education, housing (particularly the Lexington Affordable Housing Trust), and mitigating the harm done by market forces, such as gentrification.

To meet our city's future budget need I would propose to revise pricing models. For example, fines for speeding are broadly linked to the income of violators and how far over the speed limit they were traveling when caught. This approach has the potential to not only fairly penalize offenders and reduce instances of speeding but also to generate more revenue.

I would also propose we increase revenue by implementing higher fees for faster processing times or better service. This intervention is typically applicable to any paper-based transactions or services, such as business license fees, construction permit fees, or land registration fees.

Additionally I would propose we optimize collection and audit processes to increase collection rates allowing individuals to opt for payment plans or creating amnesty programs that waives penalties and additional fines as an incentive for individuals to pay.

Finally, I would propose smart kiosks throughout a city with interactive maps and local information for restaurants, attractions, events and shopping. The kiosks have the potential to generate several streams of income while collecting important information. Initially, installation of the kiosks can be paid for or subsidized by a semi-permanent advertiser that can display an ad on the outside of the kiosk. Thus, there is little or no cost to the city to install the kiosks. As for the ongoing revenue, the city can sell advertising space on the screen to different advertisers who can run ads or offer coupons to users. In addition to this, users can purchase tickets to attractions, events or public transportation from these kiosks. A small fee can be charged to the company selling the ticket. Next, the information collected from the kiosks, such as what attractions/restaurants/events are being searched for or how many people or cars are passing the kiosk can be sold to businesses in the area. These different revenue streams should not only pay for the upkeep of these machines, but also generate extra income for our city.

Question 7: 

Important meetings in the local government are often held during hours when many working folks are at work or unavailable. What specific initiatives would you enact to make local government more accessible to those who may not have the time or resources to participate?

I would support moving meetings to times that are less likely to conflict with work schedules, increasing the use of internet streaming and supporting the ability of citizens to submit written questions or comments online during meetings, perhaps via social media. The internet offers a myriad of ways to increase citizens’ access to their government and access to the internet on our public transportation system would also be beneficial to capture the time to and from work.

Question 8: 

Transgender students are more vulnerable to bullying than their cisgender peers (Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.) What protections or policies would you propose or support to protect trans youth in Lexington from bullying and discrimination?

I support strengthening and enforcing the current Fairness Ordinance. Currently, the Ordinance does not explicitly protect transgender individuals; I would support amending it in order to include transgender people.

To address the epidemic of transgender violence: I would propose LGBTQ liaisons in the police department to ensure that the police are more accountable to the LGBTQ community and more aware of the ways in which the LGBTQ community’s concerns about interactions with the police are unique (pronouns and & legal name use). A liaison can be called and provide context about the social conditions that make transgender people particularly subject to discrimination and violence.

Other policy recommendations address anti-transgender discrimination to alleviate the discriminatory pressures that can push transgender women, particularly of color, toward situations like survival sex work which put them at extreme risk of violence. These recommendations include passing non-discrimination laws, ensuring health care coverage includes gender-affirming care, focusing on transgender-specific employment placement and training programs, and working with school boards to educate them about the importance of LGBTQ inclusive anti-bullying policies.

Question 9: 

What is your plan for ensuring that long term residents are not displaced from neighborhoods that are undergoing redevelopment? What is your position on Tenants’ Rights ordinances that seek to protect renters from unjust evictions? Please explain.

I support the strengthening of the Lexington Affordable Housing Trust. A key part of housing policy in Lexington must include further measures to combat gentrification and to mitigate or eliminate its tendency to displace longtime residents. This will ultimately be accomplished by the construction of more affordable housing stock.

I strongly support the expansion of tenants’ rights and the energetic enforcement of existing laws designed to protect tenants.

Additionally I would edit the criteria upon which landlords can screen tenants when they are seeking a rental unit, and would place limits on the amount that can be charged for a security deposit at the beginning of a tenancy.

Both of these proposals will improve fair access to rental housing throughout our community. People of color and low-income renters are disproportionately impacted by aggressive screening criteria that restrict access to housing based on a wide range of arbitrary measures like criminal background, and credit scores. Expensive security deposits–sometimes triple a month’s worth of rent–contribute to our current affordable housing crisis, pricing low-income neighbors out of the city.