The filing period for Asheville's municipal elections ended July 17, and there's no shortage of candidates. Ten candidates are running for City Council and four for mayor. The Oct. 6 primary will narrow the field to two mayoral aspirants and six Council hopefuls. The Nov. 3 general election will determine who ultimately occupies the three Council seats up for grabs and the mayor's chair.
Council members (including the mayor) serve four-year terms, staggered so that only three positions come open at the same time. That works out to an election every two years. This year, Carl Mumpower and Kelly Miller are aiming to hold onto their Council seats, and Mayor Terry Bellamy is seeking a second term. Council member Robin Cape has decided not to run again, meaning at least one of the eight new faces in the race will be serving on Council come January.
Xpress will provide our usual in-depth coverage before the elections, but for now, here's a quick roundup of the candidates, in alphabetical order:
Terry Bellamy (incumbent)
Occupation: Co-owner of Diamond Executive Car Transportation Services
Why running? "Continue working toward an economically prosperous and environmentally responsible city, which keeps taxes in check and provides high-quality services."
Robert Edwards Occupation: Night auditor at a hotel
Why running? "I couldn't sit and let [Mayor] Bellamy run unopposed. I wanted something to vote for rather than to vote against."
Shad Marsh Occupation: Various/stay-at-home dad
Why running? "To give voice to the underemployed: those that make your lattes, bus your tables and ring up your purchases."
Denise Pendleton Occupation: School-bus driver/custodian, North Buncombe High School
Why running? "What I'm looking for is to stop spending tax dollars irresponsibly. Stop taxation without representation — no annexation. Honesty with smaller government."
Asheville City Council:
Cecil Bothwell Occupation: Writer/builder
Why running? "City Council should be accountable to current residents and taxpayers, and it should move our community toward a low-carbon-footprint future."
Jenny Bowen Occupation: General Manager, Poetry Alive!
Why running? "Preserving natural resources, wisely implementing the Downtown Master Plan, securing smart growth to provide opportunities for our business and arts districts."
Larry D. Chastain Occupation: Supervisor, ABCCM
Why running? "I want some sound moral judgment and some fiscal responsibility with the taxpayers' money. I always want to keep veterans affairs and homelessness at the top of my agenda."
Ryan D. Croft Occupation: Graphic artist and green builder/designer
Why running? "To bring common sense to an out-of-control government by lowering taxes, balancing budgets, improving quality and increasing efficiency."
J. Neal Jackson Occupation: Owner, Eagle's Market convenience store
Why running? "Accountability, responsibility and efficiency. I just don't see any good examples in the politicians. I want to make good decisions with no hidden agenda."
Esther Manheimer Occupation: Attorney
Why running? "Enhance and preserve Asheville's community, a community for all ages; and strengthening Asheville's governance while bringing objectivity and transparency to the regulatory process."
Kelly Miller (incumbent)
Occupation: Executive Vice President, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce/Executive Director, Convention and Visitors Bureau
Why running? "To continue to provide fresh (Forward thinking, Resources, Economy, Sustainability and Healthy community) leadership for the citizenry of Asheville."
Carl Mumpower (incumbent)
Why running? "I have been an effective watchdog — firmly dedicated to the common good — without obligations to power, money or special interests."
Cesar Romero Occupation: Small-business owner
Why running? "My three major issues are: small business (there's too much tax for small business); equal rights for the elderly and disabled; safety for the city of Asheville."
Gordon Smith Occupation: Business owner, child and family therapist
Why running? "Economic recovery and transformation through affordability and sustainability initiatives, including: affordable housing, green-collar jobs, protecting neighborhoods, affordable alternative transportation."