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NAME: Luke Brumfield
CANDIDATE FOR: Huntington City Council District 7 (Includes parts of Walnut Hills and Beverly Hills and a small portion of Fairfield East.)
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.lukebrumfield2020.com
HOME CITY: Green Bottom
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
EDUCATION: Marshall University
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Renaissance entrepreneur
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Software engineer, Et Tu Compute
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Bates Memorial Presbytarian Church, Gallahar Village Neighborhood Association
FAMILY: Alexis, Odin, Aurora
PERSONAL STATEMENT: Take a look at this city, all the give a D has up and left. There’s so many real estate agents, attorneys, accounts, and financial services but hardly any productive business is being done. The medicare, medicaid, social security, and student loan spigot is what props this town up and the clock is ticking for when that is going to dry up. The city government can do plenty to mitigate if it got out of the way of business and provided the services people expect out of a city.
1. What are your suggestions for the long-term financing of Huntington's government?
Complete audit of the city’s finances, then we start the budget from ZERO every year. No tax incentives(bribes) for new businesses that do not also apply to existing businesses. The user fee and other nickel and dime schemes are too little too late to prop up the city government if we drive every prospective business and resident away.
2. What are the most important problems in your district (or city for mayor and at-large council candidates)?
It only seems like the police only make rounds to harass for minimal infractions or code enforcement. The communication gap in this city is so large I can’t remember the last time my councilman even showed up to a neighborhood association meeting. Each neighborhood association needs a specific contact person in the police, fire, sanitation, and public works department.
3. Should the city bring back a curbside recycling program? If so, should it be funded with a levy vote or by expanding the county's program?
The trash pickup is the one city service I have heard no complaints about, and if we had that kind of service for recyclables I wouldn't have any issue with implementing a program. All efforts on this front should be made in conjunction with the county, state, Marshall University, local groups, whoever.
4. What more needs to be done to encourage new housing construction in the city?
We don’t necessarily need new houses to meet housing demand, there are plenty of homes that could be bought, renovated, and maintained before they are untenable. Many professionals commute from outside of the city, where our major problems are virtually nonexistent compared to Huntington. Housing trends follow the “wanting to live in Huntington” trends.
5. How would you continue to fight the opioid epidemic? Do you support the harm reduction program?
People’s perception is either “Shoot your local heroin dealer” or “That’s someone’s family” This is all a symptom of problems the government can’t solve. That program leads out of town MFs littering our streets with needles, people not detoxing before being released, EXACTLY what we have currently. We should get our act together and integrate cannabis into our medical system.
6. What more could be done to help tear down dilapidated houses?
We don’t want to trample the rights of the property owners, but we should pursue any legal remedy to demolish these abandoned, dilapidated properties and consider absentee owners later. If the methods to rapidly solve this problem are not legally available, I would personally lobby the State legislature to get the rules sorted out and any funding secured.
7. How will you address Huntington’s dwindling population?
Huntington has the same population loss problem the rest of the state has. Marshall University is an inaccessible resource to most of the city and its businesses. Imagine a Green and White cannon shooting the brains of our young people to Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Charlotte while work perfectly suited to them goes undone in the tri-state area.
8. How will you continue to encourage the decrease in crime throughout the city?
A properly managed police department, and a show of force against real crimes would “encourage” that decrease.The national guard was called in because of our crime wave FFS. We don’t need another Shootout at the Hookah Corral because current laws aren’t being enforced. No code enforcement for grass height while someone next door is slinging dope and stealing bikes.
9. Do you think staffing levels for the city’s police and fire departments are adequate, too low or too high? If you think changes are needed, how would you accomplish those?
There aren’t enough police on the streets, on staff, or in the budget. I wish it were as simple as adding more dollars, but we’ve seen how that works. The Mayor should take a steep cut since he’s too lazy to manage the city and has a virtue signal Liaison for people he can’t be bothered to talk with himself.
10. The state of WV government recently put all finances and purchases online for the public’s review. Do you support a similar thing happening in Huntington?
Yes. Everyone has an opinion, though it's hard to have an informed one when the best we get is a 50 page document written for accounting and legal compliance not for real public consumption. Take note of every current elected official who has not taken action to put such a system in place.
NEW QUESTIONS FOR THE GENERAL ELECTION
11. How would you address the problem of loose trash and litter in your district?
Many people around Gallaher have stepped up to clean up the trash in the roads and in abandoned lots. The neighborhood associations can do a lot to sort this one out. If there’s an ongoing litter issue, people should be getting assigned large amounts of community service to make up the difference.
12. Do you support rehabilitation housing in your district? Why or why not?
Many people involved in the process think of rehab houses like real estate investments rather than a step in a medical process. A moratorium should be placed on the number of houses and the inspections should be strict, as the goal should be for the number to start declining rather than finding new residents to prop up the industry.
13. What more could be done to encourage businesses to open in the city?
People want to open their businesses in the same places they actually want to live, work, or at least visit. Almost daily shootings and drug addled vagrants flopping around the streets doesn’t prompt anyone to say “Oh yea, that’s the stuff!” We don’t have the luxury of being attractive to new businesses, we are in damage control mode.
14. What more could be done to promote an inclusive environment as part of the city’s “Open to All” campaign?
Nothing. It’s a non-issue. I haven’t seen an “Irish need not apply” sign or anything in town to suggest there’s a need for the virtue signal liaison in the mayor’s office or that campaign. Places have to be open before they are “Open to All” and there’s been an excess of “For Sale” or “For Lease” signs on 4th Ave.