Jan Howard

Jan Howard

Age: 55
Residence: Kenilworth
Occupation: Guardian ad Litem (volunteer); former teacher, photojournalist
Years in Asheville: 15+
Education: B.A. in English (Indiana University) master’s in education (University of New Orleans)
Political party: Democrat
Political experience: Kenilworth Residents Association, Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods, Preservation Society, regular fixture at City Council meetings

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

“City needs to own its water system.”

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

“I believe there is purpose in closed session for discussions of personnel, litigation and some other [cases in which] open discussion could seriously hurt the city.”

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

“I’d have to research it. I’m sure it should be handled with a lot of case-specificity.”

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

“Never. … My personal driveway was taken by inverse condemnation in the 1970s; it has caused me grievous personal suffering. … The one time it would be acceptable would be where it could save human life.”

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?

“My mantra is strong land-use planning that is consistently upheld and given some teeth with enforcement.”

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

“I’d keep the current Civic Center and clean it. I like it. Place is built to withstand the next ice age — which could be upon us.”

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

“I was never more proud of an elected body than when I watched our usually divided Council members stand together to protect our water system. I disliked the obvious dissent of [the Sept. 13] meeting including vinyl siding and a request to look at high-speed Internet access.”

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?

“I believe … gas prices [will be] higher for a long time. … It’s reasonable to expect our nation to finally accept some public-transportation options. I don’t think we’ll even want six lanes; I think the national DOT will lose its stranglehold on American culture.”

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

“Positive — the beautifully restored buildings and vibrant community. Negative — our homeless problems.”

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

“Asheville is well-positioned. … Many of us have helped force the city to continue working on … pedestrian and bicycle accessibility. The city has been buying into alternative-fuel vehicles and working on downsizing their fleet. There will be continued change if gas continues to go up in price.”

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

“Yes, for lots of reasons. Most obviously, our tourists can plunk down a little more for their visit, and it would help greatly with our increasing costs for the wonderful quality destination we provide.”

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

“Leah Chiles — the first woman mayor in the state was the mayor of Kenilworth, where I have lived and served in neighborhood government for some 15 years. I frequently use her vision of what we should be and refer to her documents of the past.”

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