The candidates: Mayor Jim Newberry and Vice Mayor Jim Gray
Week 5 topic: Traffic
Gray's question for Newberry: The South Limestone renovation created a traffic mess for drivers and turmoil for business owners. You included almost $2 million in that project for "traffic management." Where did that money go?
Newberry's answer: South Lime traffic management cost less than $1 million. It provided signage, temporary striping, detour maintenance. Doing the project your way in phases would have cost more and been a multi-year construction zone, really hurting business and creating long-term traffic nightmares. You complain about cost, yet you were the only council member to vote against a change order lowering the project cost. Look around at road projects completed. We're getting results. There's more to come.
Gray's rebuttal: Don't you read your own bids? "Maintenance of Traffic" totals $1,769,812.38. The millions that could've been saved by properly bidding South Limestone could've gone to projects like Clays Mill, Leestown Road or sequencing traffic lights.
Newberry's question for Gray: You've missed 75 percent of Metropolitan Planning Organization meetings. This regional transportation committee allocates millions, solves traffic problems. How can you propose expanding transportation planning when you haven't attended meetings as a voting member with responsibilities?
Gray's answer: More distortions! You lack understanding of the need to plan. My long-term traffic plan remains the right thing to do because Lexington's traffic problem will continue to be a challenge. This is the 50th anniversary of my family's business. I've managed to be successful in construction, a highly competitive industry, by planning properly for the future. As mayor, I'll do the same for Lexington.
Newberry's rebuttal: Facts aren't distortions. Here's proof: www.mayornewberry2010.com/graysmissedlist.html. While you've been missing meetings, I've been implementing my plan with success — Newtown Pike, South Limestone, Todds Road, Clays Mill widening starting this year. Real projects, getting real results.
6th District debate
The candidates: U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, and Republican Andy Barr, a Lexington lawyer.
Week 5 topic: The federal government's role in K-12 education
Chandler's question for Barr: Just a few weeks ago, you took a position against saving the jobs of thousands of Kentucky's teachers. Can we trust you to vote to protect Kentucky teachers and education in Congress?
Barr's answer: Just like the negative attacks in your TV ads, the premise of your question is false. I have never taken a position "against Kentucky's teachers." As a part-time instructor at UK, I am an educator myself, and eight members of my family have taught in Kentucky public schools. Unlike you, however, I believe education is primarily the responsibility of state and local government, and not the responsibility of a distant, remote and unaccountable federal bureaucracy.
Chandler's rebuttal: Your short-sighted, impractical ideology fails to meet the real-world needs of Kentucky's young people. I hope you don't also disagree with assistance to repair our schools, fund public universities (like UK), and aid disadvantaged students.
Barr's question for Chandler: President Obama admitted that under the cap-and-trade bill you supported, energy prices would "necessarily skyrocket." How will local school districts deal with their increased electricity bills if cap-and-trade does become law?
Chandler's answer: I wish you'd show the same concern for teachers as you do for the company profits of campaign donors. I introduced legislation to help schools become more energy efficient, saving significant amounts of money on energy costs. I've also strongly supported an unprecedented $60 billion investment in clean coal technology, helping coal continue to be an important and affordable part of our energy future in our schools, homes, and businesses.
Barr's rebuttal: This is typical Washington thinking. You increase regulation and are surprised when it kills jobs. You increase spending and are surprised when it doesn't create jobs. Overregulation and wasteful spending will deprive students of opportunities.
Welcome to the Bluegrass Politics Debate. Each week through the end of September, the candidates for mayor of Lexington and the 6th Congressional District will debate a topic chosen by the Lexington Herald-Leader. The candidates for U.S. Senate declined to participate in the debate.
The rules: The candidates ask and answer the questions. Questions are limited to 35 words. Answers are limited to 75 words. Rebuttals are limited to 35 words.