Louisville Magazine

OCT 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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48 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 10.18 Mayor's Office and think that you should be doing more. What would you say to those residents? "Well, I think that's one narrative. We can point you to other people to talk to who will give you a different perspective on that. What you find in the Mayor's Office is, most every part of the city feels like they don't get enough whatever it might be. In the case of west Louisville, west Louisville's population has been declining since the flood of 1937. And then to think about all the things that have taken place in west Louisville that preceded me — redlining, urban renewal, specific government-sanctioned practices that led to the decline of west Louisville. When you have a new mayor that comes into office, the question is: What's this new mayor gonna do about this — in the middle of a great recession? So then you have to step back and say: OK, now, was there a plan? Yes, we can give you all of our west Louisville plans, and I'd like for you to read those based on how it looks like you're coming at this, so you can see everything that's taken place. e key is: How do you build human capacity in any part of the city so that they create a market for themselves so that the market conditions take over. at's when you shift and look at what are we doing with our education practices, our Compassionate Schools Project, our Cradle to Career, which is developing the whole child, so that you can see that we have human development going on at the same time we have economic development momentum going on. "I think people's perception of west Louisville is developed a lot by the media — there's no question about that — but one of the things we try to do is get people moving in and out of west Louisville so they can see these are great people here just doing their normal life, just like in south Louisville or east Louisville. When we had a choice on where we wanted to put a gigabit experience in our city so people could understand how fast Internet would work, we put it in west Louisville. We put it in Louisville Central Community Center, because, one, I wanted to promote digital inclusion. But second, I wanted people to just go to it to see: is is nice! And it's nice like any parts of town. When we're successful with the new indoor track-and-field facility that we're partnering with the Urban League on, people are going to be coming from all over the country to go to west Louisville to what will be one of the great indoor track-and-field facilities, here in our city, so we're placing these organizations specifically in west Louisville so there's traffic in and out. at will lead to economic growth but also demystify west Louisville in the minds of many Louisvillians." You have stood by LMPD Chief Steve Conrad even as there have been critics within LMPD, within Metro Council, who have called for his resignation or voted no confidence. What do those people not understand? "What I look for in people is: Do they have integrity? Are they honest? Do they have a good plan? Do they have good values and do they have a good team? And then do they execute and improve? All of those are in place with Chief Conrad." And you feel he's been effective? "Well, you can look at the results and see that. You know, look, there's clearly some people that have a political agenda of some type against Chief Conrad, and they're noisy and the media goes to them, but the last thing I'm gonna do is throw a good, honest man that's working the plan and getting results, under the bus because there's a very, very, very, very small percentage of our community that has some type of agenda against him. When you take a look at police chiefs around the country, almost every police chief has a vote of no confidence, so that is not anything unusual. And people don't work with the chief every day, and they're certainly not paying attention to the results of crime statistics to see that homicides, for instance, are down 30 percent (at print time this number was 24 percent), overall crime is down 5 percent, violent crime is down 9 percent. So the things that people are upset about and want him to leave for are producing good results for our city." You mentioned the opioid epidemic. Have you ever been personally affected by that? "Absolutely, and when I talk to people about opioids, that's something I ask: 'Has anyone in here not been affected by any type of addiction or substance abuse?' Nobody raises their hand. It's something that has touched every family or friends, so we haven't quite seen anything like this before in the United States, you know, kind of the depth of difficulty of someone who is in the throes of addiction and then how to get folks back into a good place. Number one is, if you're affected, will you go and try to get treatment? And then treatment, just one out of six people actually finish treatment, so the difficulty of pulling people back into a life of sobriety and productivity is really tough. Our jail is the largest detox center in the state. Within the jail, I'm really proud of how our personnel have used the Healing Place protocol, called Enough is Enough. From a street perspective, our most frequent users of the jail are what we call dual-diagnosis folks — people who have mental illness and some type of alcohol and/or drug addiction. When I came in, I said, 'Tell me about our top users of the jail,' and these were these dual-diagnosis patients, so we develop new protocols for them. Most recently, we've invested in the Living Room. If somebody is having an issue on the street, the police officer has a couple different options: one, do nothing; two, arrest them; or three, the third option now — could be the first option — is to take them to the Living Room, which is staffed by Centerstone 24 hours a day. It's a place where somebody struggling with some type of drug abuse can be dropped off, surrounded by case workers, so that they can understand what that person's challenges are — could be housing, could be treatment or whatever. ey have a chance to kind of stabilize and get help, as opposed to just throwing them in jail and repeating the cycle over and over."

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