Tom "the Mailman" Schultz

District/Office: 
Political party: 
Nonpartisan
Question 1: 

What are the major issues facing the City of Berea?

The issue which most concerns me is the lack of progress in our industrial park. We should be attracting clean, non-polluting industry which is not linked to the automotive industry. We should be making Berea very attractive to new business and mid-level employers. I have not seen any progress in this area in quite some time.

I am also concerned by the perceived lack of transparency in city government, and an apparent break in communications between the administrative and the legislative branches – the council and the mayor’s office. Poor communication only leads to perceptions of misconduct, stalling all progress. All elected officials should be working together to make Berea First and move Berea Forward.

Question 2: 

What is your position on future growth and development issues as they affect Berea; including further development of historical districts, tourism, and sustainable “buy local” initiatives?

Berea must grow, or Berea will die. It’s a very simple concept.

Tourism is a great industry, relatively non-polluting, and we already have a foothold in this area. It bears further development. The danger in the tourism industry is its link to the US economy, which is notorious for ups and downs. When the economy flags, when gas prices go up, tourism tanks and local artisans fail. Not something we want to see happen.

Buying local is almost always an intelligent thing to do. Less transportation cost, more dollars staying in the community.

Question 3: 

Are you in favor of the development of pedestrian and bicycle pathways as safe and practical options to motorized transportation in Berea? If so, what projects of this kind would be your priority?

As recently as the late 1990s, development of pathways all over the city was a priority of the Planning and Zoning Commission. That effort has lessened. In areas where infrastructure is already in place, cost would prohibit the addition of bikeways and walkways. It is a lot more expensive to retrofit than it is to install new. Focus must be upon new development, or in places where roads are being renovated. This is the province of the Planning and Zoning Commission, not necessarily the City Council.

Question 4: 

State and federal laws do not exist that ban discrimination against people in areas of housing, employment and public accommodation based on perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. Knowing that, would you be in favor of passing a fairness ordinance in Berea that would address this type of discrimination? Please explain.

I feel that is not morally or ethically right to discriminate against any person depending upon the perception of male, female, or in between. However, I am not sure that a specific law on this issue is necessary. I would like to hear more arguments pro and con. I do feel that, if Americans would simply follow the U.S. Constitution, this would be a moot point. All are created equal under the law.

Question 5: 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the years of 2010-2014, 19.7% of the residents of Madison County lived below the poverty line. What policies will you support to improve the availability of safe affordable housing and increased economic opportunities for all citizens?

We need jobs! We need new industry, an economic shot in the arm. I would approve a strong emphasis on economic development in Berea. These poverty-level statistics can’t be changed in a day, but careful planning and attracting new industry and businesses will bring economic health back to our city.

Question 6: 

What actions or initiatives can the city take to provide help and alternatives to families and people in Berea living with addiction?

This seems to me to belong more under the authority of the judicial system, the Madison County Health Department, the Kentucky River Foothills Development Council, and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. It is true that drug addiction has reached near-epidemic proportions in every area of Kentucky, and Berea is no exception. Most families have been touched by this problem, in one way or another. Our city practices community policing, in cooperation with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and the Kentucky State Police. Our police department is well aware of the issue, and is working toward reducing the incidence of drug abuse in our community. If any of these groups requested the assistance or cooperation of Berea City Government in creating an initiative, I would certainly listen and consider it carefully.

Question 7: 

What measures do you support to foster good relations between law enforcement officers and our local community?

Once again, the issues of transparency and good communication arise. When people know their law enforcement personnel, trust follows.

Question 8: 

Last year there was a great deal of controversy around the selling of confederate flag merchandise at the Spoonbread Festival, and Berea students reported being harassed on the basis of race while in town. Given that, what measures do you support to address racial harassment in Berea?

This is two separate issues. 

The Spoonbread Festival controversy had to do with incredibly poor communication between city administration and the Chamber of Commerce. City council had little to no influence on this issue because it was a problem centered in the administrative branch, which is under the purview of the mayor, not the council. As such, I do not feel it is necessary for me to comment.

As far as harassment of Berea students based on their race is concerned, this is a legal issue.  No one should be harassed or discriminated against based on race. As far as I know, city government has not fostered an atmosphere of harassment against anyone because of their race. I really don’t know what city government can do to stop a bunch of knotheads from acting like idiots, except arrest them for terroristic threatening or some similar charge after an incident has already occurred. Perhaps the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights could be consulted as to what more could be done in Berea.

Question 9: 

Berea is in the midst of making long-term decisions about where and how it gets and manages its wholesale electric power. Beyond safety, reliability and affordability, what considerations should be made with respect to Berea's electric power choices?

That decision has already been made and so I feel no need to list my considerations. The council chose a supplier nearly two months ago. There is currently another controversy between the council and the city administration as, at this time, the administration has not reached final contract negotiation despite the council vote.