Fayette County

Lexington Urban County Council District 11: Peggy Hensen vs. Logan Weiller III

Although Peggy Henson is the District 11 Urban County Council incumbent, she's never been elected to the seat. Henson could be voted into office Tuesday when she squares off with Logan Weiler III.

Henson, 53, was appointed to her council seat in January by Mayor Jim Newberry to serve out the rest of Richard Moloney's unexpired seat.

She is running because "there are so many good people in the 11th District and they deserve the best representation that they can get."

Weiler, 36, is running because he is "truly a public servant in the most sincere sense," he said.

"Many people have said they just don't feel like anybody is listening to them," Weiler said. "They just don't feel adequately represented. I certainly hope to be that representative to them."

District 11 is inside New Circle Road and includes neighborhoods along Versailles, Lane Allen and Harrodsburg roads. Cardinal Valley, home to many Hispanics, is in the district.

Each area of District 11 has a different concern, but speeding and public safety are general issues throughout the entire district, Henson said.

Every time there is a report of speeding problems, Lexington police set up a special enforcement effort, Henson said.

Overall, crime and gang activity in Cardinal Valley has decreased because of the police patrols that were added after incidents in the spring, Henson said. "Cardinal Valley as a whole now is better that it was six months ago."

In April, shots were fired in Valley Park. The next day there was a drive-by shooting near Devonport Drive.

Over the summer, there were activities at the park nearly every day, Henson said. "We had the activities at the park without any incidents all summer."

She has formed an apartment managers association with about 12 apartment complexes in the Cardinal Valley area.

The intent of the group is to share information and discuss issues related to tenants such as how best to curb the loud music, people drinking in parking lots and other general nuisance issues, Henson said.

The group has met twice. At the second meeting, a tenant attorney spoke about the rights of the tenants, Henson said. A representative of the health department will discuss bedbugs at the next meeting.

Henson hopes to expand the group to include the apartments on Alexandria Drive and Cross Keys Road.

A growing issue in the district is student housing, she said. "They've probably been there for a long, long time, but it seems to be growing and spreading into the 11th district.

Neighbors are having issues with partying going on at the student houses and motorcycles being parked on sidewalks and grassy medians, she said.

Henson had raised $16,566 and spent $8,451 as of Oct. 20, the most recent campaign finance reports available.

Residents of the 11th District have a lot of "back-yard issues, issues that are small to everybody else, but it means the world to them," Weiler said.

Those issues range from someone who wants to turn off the lights on the basketball court in the public park behind her house, someone who wants a four-way stop at an intersection, and someone who wants to save a tree that the city is telling him to cut down because it's a hazard, Weiler said.

"I've always said your issues become my issues," he said. "Whatever it is you are most concerned about, I'm ready to go and help you."

Overall, the general concerns in the district are about traffic and public safety, Weiler said.

Beautification of the Versailles Road corridor is a priority for him.

Versailles is the "VIP gateway to the city," Weiler said. "When a VIP comes to Lexington, that means they fly in, and when they come to Lexington they come down the Versailles Road corridor. It's in the city's best interest to make sure it looks its best."

It would be nice if Versailles Road could have the look of the tree-lined stretch of Richmond Road between downtown and New Circle, he said.

Weiler would like to start a community garden program on the 11th District's many parcels of flood mitigation land, which is made up of lots the city has bought and demolished, he said.

The land can't be used for much, but park boards or garden groups could plant produce that anyone can harvest, Weiler said. "Come Halloween time, you can come get your pumpkin there. Whatever is in season, people can go get."

"As the economy continues to sink, being able to go and get food from your neighborhood garden would be more and more valuable," he said.

Weiler hasn't filed any campaign finance reports.

The Herald-Leader asked the candidates four questions and gave them each a 40-word limit to respond.

1. Why are you the best candidate?

Peggy Henson: I am the best candidate because I have the proven track record for getting things done. I have worked hard as a community volunteer and would be honored to represent the 11th District for the next two years.

Logan Weiler III: Results and service — a proven record of reducing crime, traffic, and gang graffiti. I return every call, attend every meeting, and spearhead initiatives for my neighbors. I owe nothing to special-interest groups or public officials.

2. What is Lexington's most pressing problem? How would you fix it?

Henson: Lexington must have responsible growth. The PDR program preserves our heritage. Infill and redevelopment allows development to occur while meeting our economic needs. As a community we have to be willing to compromise in order to sustain growth.

Weiler: Ten years ago it was sewers; the city didn't address it and we are paying for it now. Today the issue is illegal immigration, and once again the city is trying to ignore it. I won't let that happen.

3. The city is in the midst of two large capital projects, construction of a Public Safety Operations Center and planning for a new Urban County Government Center. Does the city need these facilities? Please explain.

Henson: I support the relocation of our Government Center, as opposed to renovating the current center. I do not support the current plan for the Public Safety Operations Center due to the recent increase in the cost of construction.

Weiler: I've worked in emergency operations centers all over the nation. We don't need new construction. There are many vacant buildings in Lexington that meet requirements for housing an EOC or a government center.

4. The city recently increased the sanitary sewer user fee to pay for projects mandated by the EPA consent decree. Do you support the proposed storm water fee? If not, how do you propose funding the consent decree projects?

Henson: It is critical that our sewer and storm water systems are repaired; however, the storm water fees will be more difficult to implement. Plans need to be thoroughly thought out before adding additional fees to residential and commercial property owners.

Weiler: Not in its current form. They are open-ended increases. If a fee increase is necessary to fix a problem, then a fee reduction should be planned upon successful resolution of that problem. For more information, visit: www.LoganWeilerIII.com.