ELECTION 2020: City Commissioner candidate W. Paul Carter
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - 13 News full interview with Bowling Green City Commissioner candidate W. Paul Carter.
Q: If anything, what are you going to do to ensure more affordable housing in Bowling Green? What kind of policies are currently in place or planned (if any) for more affordable housing?
A: “What I would like-- to start from the bottom. So, what that means is we’ve had a homeless population that has doubled over the past two years. So we need to implement a rapid rehousing program to get homeless people into houses, into apartments. We need rent control and stabilization measures to ensure that landlords aren’t raising the rent and pricing people out as we make necessary improvements to communities, like sidewalks like parks, like getting grocery stores into food deserts. And, and we need more affordable housing stock so far as renting goes. So policies that would promote the building of new affordable apartments. And we need more affordable housing as far as home ownership goes. So, a preference for zoning, condominiums, and co-ops, which will allow lower-income people to actually own a home as opposed to renting it that that’s. That’s my housing policy in a nutshell.”
Q: With 19 cities in KY that have adopted the Fairness Ordinance, do you believe Bowling Green should or shouldn’t have one. Why or why not?
A: “We should have had one A long time ago. I’m a queer person. And what the what the fairness ordinance is? The bottom line of it is basic human dignity. For all the citizens of Bowling Green, regardless of gender identity, sexual preference, that’s what the Fairness Ordinance is. We’re looking at equal opportunity for housing, employment and public accommodations. It’s just cut and dry, a simple policy that needs to be passed. What we’re doing when a commissioner or a candidate for the city commission or a mayoral candidate says ‘no, I would vote against the Fairness Ordinance,’ what they’re telling you is-- ‘I don’t believe that all of the people of Bowling Green deserve the right to a dignified life.’ And that’s repugnant, and it’s something that I’ll stand against.”
Q: Do you have plans on expanding broadband internet within the city? If so, how?
A: “We need to expand the internet through the city. Not only do we need every house in Bowling Green, every apartment in Bowling Green and every public space in Bowling Green to be covered by high-quality broadband, that broadband access needs to be free. We can’t have a situation where we go in, to say God forbid, another pandemic like the one we’re in now, and students can’t log on to do their schoolwork. And people who are blessed enough to be able to work from home have no access to internet to be able to do their jobs. I believe that through grants, we can pay to expand our broadband capability to cover all of Bowling Green, and that is a a partisan issue. If you look at the candidates for city commissioners, there are candidates who want to have broadband blanketing the entire city and want to have that be something that’s free and accessible to to every citizen in Bowling Green, and those who would rather have that be within the corporate model.”
Q: What role do you think the city plays in keeping the community safe during COVID-19 -- even working with the county?
A: “The city needs to take a leadership role in protecting people from COVID-19. What you have to understand about Bowling Green is-- we don’t just serve the people who live in the city of Bowling Green. We don’t just serve Warren County. Bowling Green is a hub for all of southcentral Kentucky so when we’re looking at things like business closures and what is and is not considered an essential business, we have to look at the realities of box stores. So for example, when Governor Beshear closed nonessential businesses-- well, because Walmart and Target carry groceries, they were deemed essential business... So you could you could go into the box store and buy a new wardrobe, you could buy a big-screen TV, you could go get your swimwear for the summer. Meanwhile, our local businesses, places like I believe, My Best Friend’s Closet, locally owned and operated businesses were shut down, and losing income. What I believe that Bowling Green needs to do, is in a situation where we’re talking about what is and is not an essential business-- within box stores needs to shut down the nonessential sections of the box stores. And that’s something that was not done and I believe needed to be done.”
Q: What ideas do you have to help diversify city leadership and employment?
A: “I strongly believe that that is something that needs to be more diversified, unfortunately, appointing people to boards falls under the mayor. It’s entirely the mayor’s decision, who is or is not appointed to a board and all a commissioner would have the option to do would be to vote for or against the person when they’re nominated. I would dad strongly oppose nominees that for that were not connected to the communities that a given board was was trying to serve. I would like to see a queer person working with them, say the HRC I would like to see African Americans working to help traditionally African American neighborhoods within Bowling Green-- and because you’re coming with a specific set of experiences that can provide a board for doing better for marginalized communities. And we have a lot of marginalized communities in Bowling Green. We have a huge refugee and immigrant population from all over the world here in Bowling Green that we need to take care of and beyond taking care of Bowling Green’s populations, we need representation on boards. We need representation from the community. We need representation from Black and LatinX communities. We need representation from the queer community and we’re just not getting there.”
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