Matthew Hebb

Matthew Hebb

Age: 24
Residence: Central Asheville
Occupation: Food service
Years in Asheville: A year-and-a-half (plus more than five years when younger)
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science (University of Central Florida)
Political party: Republican (leaning Libertarian)
Political experience: Republican Executive Committee; president, Young Republicans; has worked on municipal campaigns in other areas

1. Should the city or a regional authority own the water system?

“The MSD regional authority is a proven success. The water system should not be monopolized by one municipality but rather an asset for the entire region.”

2. Do you agree with the decision to hold closed meetings concerning the Water Agreement, such as last April’s city/county mediation session?

“Absolutely not! One of my primary statements from the beginning of my campaign has been REAL open communication. Closed-door decisions are no way to govern.”

3. Is the Asheville Police Department’s current citizen-complaint process adequate?

“As with all systems, there is room for improvement, but for the most part I believe our complaints will be heard and due process will occur, hopefully accompanied by justice and fairness of response.”

4. Would you ever support using eminent domain other than for public-works projects? Under what circumstances?

“I would never support the usage of eminent domain for anything other than critical public-works projects.”

5. City staff have documented several recent cases of developers violating the Unified Development Ordinance or conditions of their permits, but no fines have been issued. Should these rules be more strictly enforced?

“Statutes are written for a purpose and hopefully for the greatest good for our citizens. They should be enforced commensurate with the violations.”

6. What, specifically, would you recommend doing with the Asheville Civic Center?

“I envision a regional center which should be supported by and accruing benefits for all of Western North Carolina. I would also be open to investigating privatization of the Civic Center.”

7. Name one thing the current City Council should be proud of, and one thing it should be ashamed of.

“The current City Council should be proud of its respect for public comment during its regular sessions. The current City Council should be ashamed of its selfish and totally closed-minded handling of the Water Agreement.”

8. An N.C. DOT study indicates that six lanes can accommodate the projected traffic on the I-26 connector. What, if anything, would you do to prevent the DOT from building an eight-lane connector?

“We should proceed with six lanes as soon as possible in order to accommodate future traffic needs. From there we must meet needs as they develop and plan today for the possibilities of tomorrow. This action may encourage the DOT to respond to our real needs.”

9. Name one positive trend downtown, and one negative trend.

“A positive trend in downtown is the continuous renewal of an area that was blighted a mere 20 years ago. A negative trend is toward homogenization, which contradicts the spirit of the very renewal that made downtown economically viable.”

10. What can Asheville do to cope with high energy prices and projected energy shortages in the coming years?

“Continue to proceed with ongoing city efforts to transition its vehicles to cleaner energy sources and hybrids.”

11. Would you support increasing the local hotel/motel room tax? Why or why not?

“Only if the purpose was clear and the revenues properly earmarked and allocated, and then only if reasonable. Theoretically, this falls only on our visitors, but we must be careful to not adversely affect the tourism sector. … My platform calls for REAL road improvements; this may apply here.”

12. What political figure from the past or present do you most wish to emulate?

“I would hope to emulate Theodore Roosevelt. I admire him for, among many other things, his respect for environmental conservation and his pioneering efforts to break up trusts and monopolies. He was also the first candidate to run under the Progressive or Bull Moose Party.”

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