One of the candidate images submitted by hopefuls for the Buncombe County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors was not like the others. “I want my campaign to be exclusively about my opinions, and my face does not qualify as an opinion, as I neither support my face, nor do I oppose it,” wrote Alan Ditmore, explaining his choice to use an illustration of a vasectomy. (Xpress is not running the image, as it did not match the paper’s request for a high-resolution photo of the candidate.)
Ditmore believes that contraception and abortion, by suppressing human population numbers, are the most effective approaches for conserving the region’s land and water quality. The other candidates in the race, Anthony Cole and Sara Nichols, support measures such as conservation easements and vegetated buffers along area waterways.
Tyler Ross will appear on the ballot but has suspended his campaign. He tells Xpress that he has been chosen to replace Louise Scruggs when her term as one of two appointed members on the five-person board expires. Ross endorses Cole and Nichols for the two seats that will be elected this cycle.
Occupation: Full-time farmer; retired from N.C. State research and extension, department of soil science
Previous candidacy or offices held: None
Key endorsements: Sierra Club, Progressive Caucus N.C. Democrats
Amount of money raised: $0
Top three donors: None
Why are you seeking to be a Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor? The continued existence of any society has historically depended on productive soils and high-quality water. Without prudent and forward-thinking management, both are always at risk. As a farm producer of food and fiber with an academic and applied background in soils, nutrient management and riparian buffers, it would be my goal to support programs that will enhance and improve the quality of our soils and water — not only for the farm community, but for all of Buncombe County.
What strategies would you emphasize to improve water quality for recreational users, such as tubers and paddlers, on the French Broad and other local waterways? We have to understand that the actual stream is a product of watershed management. Riparian buffers are key to maintaining streambank stability and reduce erosion. But rainfall beyond the saturation holding capacity of our soils enters the streams as storm runoff. Every paved parking lot or driveway and every roof adds to impervious surface area and creates runoff that affects our recreational waters. How can we increase retention and slow stormwater, thereby reducing sediment load?
How can the Soil and Water Conservation District best support the county’s goal of conserving 20% of county land by 2030? The district has an awesome program for the preservation of working lands with easements. They support the goal by interacting with landowners and the preservation board for those programs. In our current time, that extends beyond what was once the farm community. We probably have less than 1,100 farm units left, and once gone, they are gone forever. If we can preserve our fertile soils and forested slopes, they will be available for future generations, even if not used today.
Previous candidacy or offices held: I stood for every office in the galaxy as a write-in in 2020 and have been on the ballot for either SWCD or the Buncombe County Board of Education every even year since 2004.
Key endorsements: I oppose endorsements.
Amount of money raised: I oppose money.
Top three donors: I oppose donations and qualifications.
Why are you seeking to be a Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor? To displace leaders and politicians from this and every office in the galaxy.
What strategies would you emphasize to improve water quality for recreational users, such as tubers and paddlers, on the French Broad and other local waterways? I oppose recreational users, but contraception and abortion funding is the only viable strategy to improve water quality for human needs, including drinking in Knoxville.
How can the Soil and Water Conservation District best support the county’s goal of conserving 20% of county land by 2030? Buncombe is urban and needs all land for housing or abortion clinics. Any food that cannot be grown on septic tanks should be trucked in from McDowell. All public land should be sold to fund abortions, which help soil and water quality far more than conservation land, which only raises the rent.
Website: Did not respond.
Occupation: Regional planner
Previous candidacy or offices held: Did not respond.
Key endorsements: Sierra Club
Amount of money raised: Did not respond.
Top three donors: Did not respond.
Why are you seeking to be a Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor? Being a Soil and Water District supervisor combines my passion for our region’s natural resources and public service. I spent over nine years working for a SWCD and started using its environmental education programs during high school. It’s helped raise me into the professional I am today, and I seek to support its critical services for our community. The work this department does to conserve natural resources is imperative for our region’s economy, food security, water quality and land use.
What strategies would you emphasize to improve water quality for recreational users, such as tubers and paddlers, on the French Broad and other local waterways? People are inherently drawn to water, and our area is inherently blessed with access to water. If this natural asset can give us work, play and livability, we should make it a planning priority. Since the French Broad has varying water quality, I would emphasize knowing how to find out if there are safe days or sections that are better to enjoy the water and focusing resources on improving water quality. Public education about water protection is also critical.
How can the Soil and Water Conservation District best support the county’s goal of conserving 20% of county land by 2030? We must work together with other county departments and partners to look comprehensively at places in the community for conservation or growth. Soil and Water works closely with many of the county’s largest landowners to help them continue their work in agriculture and facilitate conversation easements that can help the county reach this exciting goal. By bridging the differences we have among ourselves and embracing our challenges together, we drastically increase our ability to do beautiful things together.