Asheville Council to consider purchase of covert surveillance equipment

The roof of Asheville City Hall.

On the Feb. 24 Asheville City Council agenda, there’s a $20,600 budget amendment to fund the purchase of covert surveillance equipment with state drug seizure funds.

It’s the kind of agenda item that grabs attention, but the Carolina Public Press reports that the money is going toward replacing worn out body microphones already in use by police for undercover drug buys. The document can be read here.

Elsewhere on the agenda, there will be a report on the fiscal year 2014 carbon footprint, and a mid-year financial report.

There will also be a number of public hearings considering zoning applications.

A public hearing that was delayed from the Feb. 10 meeting will be heard to consider a major subdivision with conditional zoning on property located at 95 Craggy Ave., 180 Louisiana Ave. and 178 Louisiana Ave., from RS-8 residential single-family high density district to RS-8/CZ residential single-family high density district. The board will also consider on the property conditional zoning that will allow for the creation of 45 lots in two phases and associated infrastructure, with a changed condition request for lot sizes and setbacks, sidewalk standards and pavement and right of way widths.

The board will consider the issuance of a conditional use permit for property located at 40 Coxe Ave. for Buncombe County’s Health and Human Services Building addition and parking structure.

There will also be a hearing to consider rezoning of property near 230 Hilliard St. at 99999 S. French Broad Ave. and at 99999 S. Grove St. from RS-8 residential single family high density district to central business district.



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About Pat Barcas
Pat is a photojournalist and writer who moved to Asheville in 2014. He previously worked for a labor and social rights advocacy newspaper in Chicago. Email him at Follow me @pbarcas

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2 thoughts on “Asheville Council to consider purchase of covert surveillance equipment

  1. Alan Ditmore

    The DEA can handle that kind of stuff for free. Progressive cities should wash our hands of police and devote ALL our funds to housing which also reduces desperation related crime.
    I wrote on Buncombe Politics that friction between police and housing residents was inevitable and could never be resolved because they were in direct competition for the exact same funding dollars. Funding is absolutely a zero sum game and I am for housing and must therefore be against police (and childcare and every other budget item.) Armed citizens, deputies, state troopers and FBI combine to provide plenty of law enforcement while housing funds effectively reduce desperation related crime. Also, by defunding, bad cops can be layed off subjectively without provable cause, thus bypassing the police unions and civil service board.

    I’m thinking that maybe progressive cities like Baltimore and Asheville should simply abandon policing and transfer all police funds to affordable housing etc. Then the county, state and feds will be left to police Baltimore, which will not solve the use of force problem, but it will allow the mayor to wash her hands of it while reducing desperation, and the crime it causes. State troopers would not dare abandon city policing for fear of crime spillover beyond city limits. Besides, the most commonly enforced laws are state anyway, which means the same people who made the laws are then funding their enforcement, rather than having cities mostly paying to enforce someone else’s (state) laws. Why pay to enforce someone else’s laws?
    This would also reduce budgetary tension, which is really most of it, between city police and public housing residents. There would be no tension with a force that no longer exists.

  2. Darin White

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