Gordon D. Smith

Occupation: child and family therapist
Party affiliation: Democrat
Political experience: Advocated for clean energy in the Woodfin diesel-power-plant controversy; led a coalition to return our public land on Pack Square last summer; lobbied in Raleigh as mental-health advocate; created voter guides in '06, '07, and '08; volunteer coordinator for Holly Jones.
Endorsements: Holly Jones, Leni Sitnick, Sierra Club

Gordon D. Smith

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

Total raised as of last filing: $16,359
Top three: Shelley Pereda Camp, $1,010; Errington Thompson, $1,000; Veronika Gunter, $520

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

No. At-large voting keeps our community unified and keeps all of our Council members focused on the bigger picture.

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

Vigilance, quick cleanup and zero tolerance are the best answers. Graffiti vandalism is like other forms of vandalism in that property owners and business owners suffer the burden. Graffiti art, as exemplified in the Asheville Mural Project, ought to be celebrated.

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

Yes. Gay and lesbian citizens of Asheville deserve equal recognition and equal benefits. We all know that Asheville is a gay-friendly city, and our city government ought to reflect our commitment to the civil rights of all our citizens.

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

Asheville will soon retire its debt service on several bonds. This will free up additional funds in the budget. In order to fund infrastructure improvements that will benefit residents and tourists (Civic Center, greenways), I support raising the hotel occupancy tax to the same level as other North Carolina cities.

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

Three elements of the plan stand out as most important: 1) Mixed-Income, mixed-use density incentives on Charlotte St. and the South Slope; 2) Providing incentives and design standards to spur green development and energy-efficient retrofitting; 3) Establishing connected multimodal transportation for downtown.

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

I support implementing a comprehensive multimodal transportation system by creating a dedicated funding stream for sidewalks, bike lanes, greenways and the Wilma Dykeman Riverway. There are several options to make this a reality. The community, health and economic benefits are inarguable.

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

Our city festivals keep our community strong and ought to, like Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival, focus on local food, beer, art, crafts and entertainment. If we are sending our city dollars out of town, then we're doing our taxpayers a disservice.

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

I differ the most with Carl Mumpower and I am most like Brownie Newman and Robin Cape. Cape and Newman have maintained a commitment to a sustainable future, and I will carry this banner if elected.

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

When areas adjacent to the city consume city services to the point that city residents are effectively subsidizing them, then it's important for Asheville to utilize this tool.

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