In Depth: Four Vying For Sixth District Council Seat

by Gabe Bullard on September 14, 2010

When Louisville Metro Councilman George Unseld died in June, a special election was ordered to elect someone to fill the remaining two years of his term.

Four candidates are actively campaigning for the seat, and they all face a tough fight for what may be the busiest job on the Metro Council.

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The first sign that the 6th District seat be would hotly contested came in June, when the Metro Council took several contentious hours to appoint independent Deonte Hollowell to serve until the special election. Hollowell, like Unseld, is African-American. At that meeting, NAACP President Raoul Cunningham and others implored the council to preserve its racial makeup.

“It was very important to us, because, if you’ll recall, the proponents of merger assured the African-American community there would be six districts of the 26,” he says.

While Cunningham did not want the council to change its racial balance, he says voters could do just that. After all, the person they elect will represent one of the most racially and economically diverse districts in the city.

“You have diversity in neighborhoods there, going through probably one of the high-end districts in Old Louisville to California to Park Hill,” says Cunningham.

There are four candidates vying to represent that collection of neighborhoods. The first to declare his candidacy was Unseld’s council-appointed successor Deonte Hollowell. Because he’s an independent, Holowell will face two major party candidates.

The Democratic Party has nominated another African-American, former Fraternal Order of Police president David James. Advertising professional Candace Jaworksi is the Republican nominee. But Democrat Ken Herndon is running a write-in campaign. He narrowly lost to Unseld in the 2008 primary, which was marred by an anti-gay flier that took aim at Herndon, who’s openly gay. Herndon also narrowly lost the council’s appointment and was overlooked for his party’s nomination weeks later.

Herdon’s yard signs are already lining streets in Old Louisville. That’s where I met real estate agent Deborah Stewart.

“George lived down here,” says Stewart. “He lived right over on Park Avenue, just across from the tennis courts.”

As we sit in St. James Court, Stewart outlines the issues that resonate most with her and her neighbors. She says preservation, cracking down on absentee landlords and bringing in the right businesses are all key. And the next councilmember will need to be ready to listen to those concerns from Old Louisville residents.

“They don’t want someone who is passive. They want someone who they can call and say, ‘This is going on in my neck of the woods, it concerns me, what can you do about it?'” says Stewart. “They want their concerns addressed.”

Stuart says she thinks the race will come down to Hollowell and Herndon. Hollowell has a brief voting record to run on, but he doesn’t have a major party machine behind him. Neither does Herndon, who has won endorsements from four council members, but must remind voters to write his name onto the ballot.

Haven Harrington writes a blog about the Russell neighborhood, part of which is in the district. Harrington lives north of the district himself, but has been involved in local politics. He says Democratic nominee David James shouldn’t be underestimated, given the high number of registered Democrats in the district, and James’s law enforcement experience.

Harrington agrees with Deborah Stewart’s comments that the new council member will have unique issues to address. But the issues in the western half of the district are different than those in Old Louisville.

“How are you going to address predatory lending and these other factors that tend to affect poorer neighborhoods versus your wealthy neighborhoods,” says Harrington.

Harrington says solutions to the issues are nuanced, and the diversity will have to be addressed through footwork. That means listening to the outspoken residents and neighborhood groups, and reaching out to everyone else.

“More work. [Laughs]. It’s just going to be more work,” says Harrington. “They’re going to have to have several different meetings.”

Comments Closed


Mr. Andy Priest Lee September 14, 2010 at 11:50 pm

With the death of Councilman Unseld, candidates Deonte Hollowell and David James have discovered what LMPD’s 4th Division Major Steve Green would call a “sudden interest” in serving the metro 6th district. And what of Ms. Jaworski? None of these three candidates has the substantial, long-lived and productive record of volunteer service, really ANY record, to the 6th metro district, of volunteer citizen service as does Ken Herndon, without a question.

gracie September 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Major Green did not say that about David James so please do not try to lead people in thinking he did. The Major told me how great David is and and what he has done for the community and how everyone is looking forward to working with him. Maybe you should talk to him. What is funny is that Ken Herndon was going to help pass out light bulbs to neighbors in Old Louisville with the crime commission and police officers in the 4th….Ken took some light bulbs and took off!! So yes Ken is really police friendly..hahaha!!! As far as David James…I know neighbors that have Ken signs in their yard and not voting for him. They feel sorry for him and can not wait for him to lose. We are all tired of his nasty emails, letters degrading people and telling us we want him!! Ken is ALWAYS begging for money. He is either begging for money for another failed campaign or another lawsuit!!

Steve Magruder September 18, 2010 at 11:51 am

It seems to me that your complaint is that Herndon is fighting hard for the job. How on Earth is that a negative? Yet, you have found a way to spin a hard-fought campaign into “how dare he campaign so hard!”. Wow.

gracie September 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I am not against campaigning, however I think it is awful that Ken dares calls George Unseld his friend after everything Ken did and said about him.
I dont believe in sending out letters lying about other candidates. You call it campaigning hard? I call it lacking integrity.

Steve Magruder September 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Just because you say that somebody did something doesn’t mean it’s true. You have presented no evidence of what you’re claiming.

Ed Springston September 15, 2010 at 12:26 am

You can put David James in that “sudden interest” category if you want and believe me I would agree.

James has not even lived in the district long. He was put up by the Jim King Dems in return for supporting King in the primary for Mayor and that should be an instant red flag. A purely political move for political payback. That does not instill me with any sense that James would do a good job. Especially supporting someone like King who has enough legal problems as it is.

I would take issue with the Deonte Hollowell part of your statement.

While I have sided with Herndon and agree 100% he should have been the nominee for the party the fact is Hollowell has done an excellent job in a short amount of time representing District 6.

He is and has been working within the community with residents and business alike. I know I have seen him in action myself.

Hollowell or Herndon would be a great addition for the District and the Council in my opinion.

barb September 17, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Dear Mr. Springston,
I wanted to find out who you were before i commented. It seems you are a reporter that will report on rumor and not facts. I do not appreciate your statements. Obviously you have never met Mr. James and you are going on Ken Herndons sour grapes. It is absurd that you feel this is a conspiracy. Have you ever thought that the majority of Old Louisville does not want Ken? That Old Louisville residents contacted the ld’s, that Ken requested, but we asked for them not to pick Ken and gave our reasons why? Because that Mr. Springston is a fact. Why does Ken “Deserve” this seat? Because he ran and lost? Or is it because Ken tried to smear George Unselds good name? Ken received votes last time because of that mailer. Alot of people in Old Louisville think Ken was responsible for that mailer to get attention and the sympathy he craves so much. Most of the people I know would have never voted for him.In fact when Ken was talking about the “write in” we all told him..NO! Ken might have a few supporters, but not much more than that. The majority of Old Louisville is supporting David. I will tell you this….I think its awful that Ken sends letters out that put down both David and Candace and in the first sentence says…”our friend George Unseld”. Ken has made many negative statements about David being an African American. I am glad David is and I feel David is diverse and will be able to serve the whole 6th District, which includes alot of African American families.
The most politically connected person that participated in the process was Dan Borsch. We all love and respect Dan and now he is working on David’s campaign. So please if you are going to report on this race have facts and not rumor.

Steve Magruder September 18, 2010 at 11:46 am

While your criticism of Springston may have kernels of truth in them, when you say “Alot of people in Old Louisville think Ken was responsible for that mailer to get attention and the sympathy he craves so much.” — you put yourself in the same league with which you criticize.

So what if people “think” something? Where’s the evidence?

Curtis Morrison September 18, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I love how the insane comments, like suggesting Ken sent out a negative campaign piece about himself (????) are ALWAYS ANONYMOUS. It doesn’t take a lot of mental calories to figure out why “Barb” and “Gracie” are anonymous. I’ve made this plea before but I’ll make it again. Please, Gabe, enforce the “Comment Guidelines” for your blog.
This one specifically: “Be yourself – and not someone else.”
Thanks for your consideration.

Dan Borsch September 15, 2010 at 9:56 am

I am David James campaign treasurer. I have run for the 6th district Metro Council seat in the past. I own a small business in the 6th district. David James will make an excellent Councilman and is going to win the seat this fall. His experience as a police officer is the deciding factor in this race as crime and safety is an extremely important issue in the neighborhoods of the sixth district.
David is a very positive person who you can’t help but connect with and as the voters in the district learn about him and his experience they have been extremely excited to have him as the Democrat nominee for the vacant seat.

libdem September 16, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Thank you for standing behind Mr. James…everyone in the neighborhood is really happy you are on his campaign. Although we love you, we are extremely happy about David and the experience he brings. David will be able to work with the whole 6th District. Its a shame that Ken Herndon does not have your common sense and good judge of character. Thanks again Dan for being honest about the democrat process and our new councilman David James and wanting only the best for your neighbors!!

Candace Jaworski September 15, 2010 at 6:55 pm

After careful consideration, I wanted to post my own comment today. By no means am I really “unknown” as a review board of esteemed leaders in our community just named me as one of Business First’s Forty Under 40 this year as a result of my commitment and service to our city.

I’m not “suddenly interested” either as I’ll be celebrating our sixth anniversary of living in Old Louisville at this year’s upcoming St. James Art Fair. I’ve actively supported that event along with many of our local businesses and have personally experienced many of the issues facing us. Unlike other candidates in this race, my roots in the 6th district are very deep. They date back to my days of high school at duPont Manual High School (Go Rams!).

With the mood around the country and in my district that things aren’t getting done, I felt it was time I got more personally involved. In my professional career I’ve been representing a diverse range of clients for 12 years and I know how to listen to people’s needs and get things done for them. I know how to listen, I’m getting to know more about this district and its diverse issues, and I know how to win in November. Many people ask me if someone like me can win in a competitive race like this and I always tell them, “Candace Can!”

Curtis Morrison September 18, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Candace, I don’t believe we’ve ever met, and I already support Ken, BUT I wanted to commend you for posting your own comment. It was great that you set the record straight.

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