Oct 032012

Editor’s note: As we did last election, NoC offered 500 words of space to each of the candidates for the District One seat: incumbent Chris Ford and challenger Marty Clifford. Our preference was that the candidates submit a constituent letter of support. Our goal was to allow two voters to frame thoughtful public arguments for their candidates, which is something that we feel is often left out of elections. NoC received no response from Marty Clifford’s campaign. Below is a letter of support for Chris Ford written by First District resident Thomas Tolliver.

When I moved into my house on East Third Street in 1994, the East End neighborhood was in decline. A functionally obsolete public housing complex gave the neighborhood a bad image. The decrepit and long-closed Lyric Theatre at the neighborhood’s gateway intersection didn’t help. But the East End, like the rest of downtown Lexington, has come a long way since I bought my house 18 years ago. The obsolete housing development is gone, the resurrected Lyric has transformed that gateway intersection and a neighborhood association is in place working to usher in even more improvements. 

Lots of people share credit for the turnaround the East End has experienced, and I won’t begin to name names. But I will say that the East End has benefited greatly by having strong representatives on the Urban County Council beginning with Andrea James and continuing with Chris Ford. Because there is work yet to be done, I think it is imperative that we continue to have a strong and outspoken representative on the council and for that reason, I am supporting Chris Ford in his re-election bid.

While I fully recognize that the First District extends well beyond the East End, it is Chris Ford’s track record for getting things done in the East End that earns my support. Most notably, Chris has led the effort to get the Charles Young Center, a popular city-owned community center closed since 2008, reopened and functioning. In large part because of Chris Ford’s diligent efforts, the center has been updated and will soon be ready for new tenants, each of whom will contribute to the East End transformation.

Chris also is on the frontlines of other projects critical to the East End and regularly attends our neighborhood association meetings, as I’m sure he does in other neighborhoods in his district.  In fact, I’ve seen Chris at so many meetings and functions that I’ve remarked to him “When do you sleep?”

In the name of full disclosure, let me say that I have not agreed with every vote Chris has cast in his almost two years on the council. The council’s recent decision to ban certain types of fireworks is one such example. In that case, I think the council, Chris included, caved in to a very vocal minority, much to the detriment of the rest of us. Therefore, I don’t hold up Chris Ford as being perfect. I do, however, believe he is best suited to keep alive the turnaround we’ve been experiencing in the East End.

In no way do I mean to disparage Chris’ opponent, Marty Clifford. I consider Marty a friend and, like myself, he’s a strong advocate for his North Limestone neighborhood. However, I believe that Chris Ford is the better candidate to send to City Hall to represent the East End and indeed, the entire First District.

Thomas Tolliver

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