Cecil Bothwell

Cecil Bothwell (I), Asheville City Council candidate.

Cecil Bothwell (I)
cecilbothwell.com

Occupation: Publisher/artist/musician

Previous candidacy: Incumbent, elected 2009, re-elected 2013

Affiliations: Member of the board of the People’s Park Foundation, Biblioworks.org, Projecto de las Escuelas Guatemaltecas, PARC. Treasurer PARC PAC. Member Democratic Party, Democracy for America, ACLU.

Short-answer questions

Why are you running for City Council?
My track record on Council is good. Big Blue recycling, efficient streetlights, reformed “use of force” policy for APD, reshaping development practices, advancing greenways and bike-friendly streets, significant increase in infrastructure improvements, etc.

What relevant experience makes you a good candidate for City Council?
Obviously experience on Council, but more broadly my years as a building contractor, as an editor and reporter.

What do you bring to City Council that other candidates don’t?
Most obviously my experience on Council. After years as a reporter on local government, I was astonished how little I knew about how local government works. So there was a learning curve. My decades as a green builder, my years as an environmental writer and editor, my net-zero solar home, all speak to a very future-looking approach to local government.

What three achievable goals would you champion in the next two years?
1) Continue to cut the city’s carbon footprint by 4 percent or more per year. 2) Extend transit lines beyond city limits. 3) Commit the city to creation of a park on the property opposite the Civic Center and Basilica.

What is one recent City Council decision you don’t agree with and how would you have handled it differently?
I voted against the proposed form-based code to be applied to the entire River District. I believe the land between the railroad and the river presents a different zoning puzzle than the RAD on Clingman, Roberts and Depot streets. I will continue to press for a different zoning regulation there.

What makes Asheville home to you?
I landed here in 1980 and never wanted to go anywhere else. Asheville is the diamond in the buckle of the Bible Belt, and the explosion of ideas and art here never fails to encourage my belief that this is a focal point of the next generation of human advance.

Yes-or-no questions

Is the city effectively managing its finances?
Yes.

Should the city do more to manage the pace of hotel development?
Yes.

Should the city ease its restrictions on short-term residential rentals?
Yes.

Is the Buncombe County TDA contributing its fair share to help the city manage the impact of tourism?
No.

Should the city budget more money to support nonprofit grassroots initiatives?
No.

Should more resources be allocated to the Asheville Police Department?
No.

Should the city implement election districts for seats on City Council?
No.

Has city staff been sufficiently transparent about the increase in costs for the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project?
Yes.

Should the Haywood Street property across from the Civic Center be green space only?
Yes.

Are the city’s current affordable housing strategies sufficient?
No.

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About Carolyn Morrisroe
Carolyn Morrisroe served as news editor and reporter at Mountain Xpress. Follow me @CarolynMorrisro

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