Saul Chase

Name: Saul Chase
Occupation: Retired teacher; SAT test-preparation coach
Party affiliation, if any: Democrat
Political experience: Boone Town Council, 1985-89, 1991-95; president pro tempore, 1993-95.
Endorsements: Mayor Loretta Clawson of Boone, N.C.

1) How much money have you raised for your campaign?

$8,135

Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?

I have contributed $7,000. Ray Mishler, my aunt from New York City, contributed $250. Mark Frankel, a friend from Madison, Wis., contributed $125.

2) What most distinguishes you from your opponents?

My eight years of experience on the Boone Town Council. I fostered initiatives that increased sidewalk construction, helped develop the Boone Greenway and improved Boone's water system, including implementation of impact fees that apply only to new customers, generating millions of dollars for capital projects without raising monthly water rates.

3) What other two Council candidates will you vote for? Why?

I will not vote for other candidates. I look forward to the opportunity to work with any of the candidates and Mayor Bellamy, Ms. Manheimer, Mr. Smith and Mr. Bothwell to help make our great city of Asheville an even better place to live.

4) What specific steps will you take to address Asheville's lack of affordable housing?

The city's Housing Trust Fund should offer strong financial incentives to purchasers of derelict houses, with the agreement that the structures and yards are brought up to city standards. The refurbished homes would be rented to low-income tenants, with limits on the rent that can be charged.

5) Do you favor the use of tax exemptions and incentives to promote job growth (e.g., the recent Linamar deal)?

Generally, I don't. Local governments frequently get burned in these deals. The Linamar incentive funds would have been better spent if they had instead been used to pay local companies employing local people to install sidewalks and repair roads in Asheville.

6) Do you support the changes implemented by the Downtown Master Plan, such as raising the threshold for direct Council review of proposed developments?

I support raising the threshold, but committee members must be carefully selected. I'll look to appoint neighborhood leaders who'll protect the integrity of Asheville's residential areas and other nominees with technical expertise in planning, design or engineering. I will not support nominees who have strong ties to development interests.

7) What’s your position on proposed legislation in Raleigh to study the possible seizure of Asheville's water system?

Let's hope that such a blatantly outrageous and unjustifiable seizure of Asheville's property never happens. If it does, the city should fight hard at the state and federal level to get our water system back.

8) Does Asheville require more infrastructure? If so, what are your priorities and how do you propose to fund them?

Fix our deteriorating streets. Seek $750,000 annually from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to support the Asheville Civic Center, freeing up the approximately $750,000 Asheville taxpayers pay annually for its operations and upkeep. Then use this money every year to hire local contractors to make badly needed street repairs.

9) A recent study named the Asheville metro area the seventh worst in the nation in terms of food hardship. How do you propose to tackle poverty in the city of Asheville?

A stronger A-B Tech will offer local young people the job training they need to pull themselves out of poverty. I support the quarter-percent sales tax for expansion of A-B Tech facilities. If elected, I'll be an advocate for a harmonious working relationship between A-B Tech and city government.

10) In light of the controversies surrounding the APD and the Human Resources Department, do you believe city government operations require closer scrutiny? If so, what steps do you favor?

Spending Asheville's tax dollars should always be done with great care. For that reason, the job performance of city employees should be evaluated regularly to ensure they are working diligently, safely and efficiently. Evaluations should identify areas where an employee's job performance is exemplary and where it can be improved.

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