Esther E. Manheimer

Occupation: land-use and real-estate litigation attorney
Party affiliation: Democrat
Political experience: none
Endorsements: Asheville Fire Fighters Association, Sierra Club, Asheville City Council members Jan Davis and Brownie Newman

Esther E. Manheimer

1) How much money have you raised for your campaign? Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?

Total: $18,599 "plus in-kind donations"
Top three: Roy Davis, Ron Manheimer and Larry McDevitt — $800 dollars each

2) Do you favor district elections for Council members? Why or why not?

No, district elections create unnecessary divisions among segments of a city. Asheville is organically unified, and Ashevillians share a desire to preserve our quality of life and enhance our strong community. I believe our non-district method of electing Council members continues to help further our collective goals.

3) What steps, if any, should the city take to deal with graffiti?

Graffiti should be removed quickly, and steps should be taken to prevent graffiti in the first place. When graffiti riddles our downtown and ruins our beautiful cityscape, it negatively affects our vibrant downtown economy, our thriving arts and cultural community, and the living spaces of our downtown citizens.

4) Do you support the implementation of domestic-partner benefits for city employees? Why or why not?

Yes, I believe that people should be treated fairly and equally regardless of their sexual orientation or their particular domestic circumstances. Domestic-partner benefits should not be withheld from those that cannot legally marry their partner or from those that simply choose not to marry their partner.

5) Given the city's current and likely upcoming budget shortfalls, how would you make ends meet?

My time as a legislative attorney and my experience interacting with our city government has taught me the central importance of fiscal stewardship. Redundant costs ought to be aggressively eradicated. Regressive taxes should not be favored; rather, the city should continue to move toward a fee-based revenue structure.

6) Which key elements of the Downtown Master Plan, if any, do you want to see implemented in the next year?

I want a balanced approach that preserves our quality of life and our unique community. Asheville's development standards must be rewritten to include green building standards, affordable housing, public parking and public spaces, and height restrictions. These new standards should include objectivity rather than the current subjective criteria inconsistently applied.

7) What measures, if any, do you support to promote bicycle and mass transit?

Although it has adopted them, the city has yet to implement the bicycle master plan, the greenways master plan, the pedestrian master plan and the transit master plan. These plans are essential in moving Asheville forward as a multimodal community, and we need to work creatively to bring them to fruition.

8) How much of a role, compared to its current one, should the city play in putting on festivals?

We need to emphasize what makes us unique: locally owned businesses, downtown festivals and music events, our strong arts community and beautiful, unique and historic architecture. This is our community; we need to preserve it, and, in that regard, the city should continue to put on and support festivals.

9) Which sitting member of City Council are you most like politically, and which do you differ the most with?

I am not like any sitting member of City Council. I am a mother of three, wife of a public-school teacher, and a lawyer with a masters in public administration. I am a blend of liberal/Democratic political leanings, with an understanding of the unique, local business community.

10) What should Asheville's policy be regarding forced annexation of surrounding areas?

North Carolina is one of the few states that allows involuntary annexation, and I believe this helps maintain strong cities in North Carolina. However, only when the city can provide the same services to those annexed as those living in the city should the city consider annexation.


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6 thoughts on “Esther E. Manheimer

  1. Piffy!

    do the graffiti writers even know what a riddle is?

    Quite the conundrum indeed.

  2. Paul -V-

    I fully agree with Ester’s answer to question #7, but I’d like to clarify for Xpress readers: The Transit Master Plan (TMP) has _not_ passed yet. It is still in the public comment phase until Monday – September 28th.

    I urge readers to check out the plan, and send comments to

    City Council will be voting on the TMP on Tuesday – October 27th. It’s critical that citizens show up at that meeting, and urge a strong version of the plan be approved.

  3. “I am a blend of liberal/Democratic political leanings, with an understanding of the unique, local business community.”

    This apparently includes calling opponents of development a mob.

    You know, with pitchforks and stuff.

    Just sayin’ – I think they should just pave the whole planet and be done with it. After all, don’t you think Coruscant was a much cooler looking planet than Endor?


  4. OSusanna

    What’s all this about opponents of development a mob carrying pitchforks? When and where did she say that? I mean, some developments were BORN to be opposed!

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