Three candidates are in the contest to represent the fourth disrict on the Urban County Council: Julian Beard, the incumbent since 2007, Susan Lamb, who retired recently after working for city government for 27 years, including the last several as council clerk, and Barry Saturday, a social studies teacher who is a newcomer to city politics.
Beard and Lamb are our choices to contest the seat in the November general election.
The district's boundaries are Tates Creek and Nicholasville roads from south of Alumni Drive to Man o' War, with a small portion that extends south to the county line.
Lamb, although making her first run for city office, knows how local government works and has an impressive track record promoting efficiency and transparency at city hall as council clerk.
A self-proclaimed "techno-geek" she helped expand online access to city meetings and to a wealth of agendas, reports and documents that inform decision making.
In her interview with the editorial board Lamb displayed both an impressive grasp of many of the issues facing the community — including affordable housing, economic development and the need for infill development to protect greenspace — and an enthusiasm for taking them on.
Beard has been an admirably independent voice on the council, using his background as a banker and economic development executive to inform many of his comments and votes.
We have disagreed with Beard on several issues, including his lack of support for the Tates Creek sidewalk project in his district as well as for the Legacy Trail in North Lexington but appreciated his support for maintaining Lexington's public golf courses.
Although Beard is diligent in attending council and committee meetings and always seems prepared, he appears to have limited constituent outreach. We could find no indication, for example, of a regular newsletter to keep citizens in the district informed about city activities. Beard did not attend a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters for the three candidates although he had said he would participate.
Saturday is an engaging and intelligent candidate but did not display the knowledge of city government that both Lamb and Beard have demonstrated.
He would have a much steeper learning curve in dealing with the complexities of local government.
The unendorsed candidate may submit a 250-word response by noon Monday.