13 vie for 3 Council seats

Next Tuesday, Asheville voters will cast their ballots in a primary election designed to winnow the field of candidates for three City Council seats. The six survivors among the 13 contenders will slug it out on Nov. 7. In the primary, each eligible voter may choose three candidates.

In order to help our readers cut through the possible confusion of this multiple-choice test, Xpress asked each of the candidates a broad range of questions concerning both local and national issues. We included those bigger-picture queries to reveal a bit more about what makes these people tick — since most of them are relatively unknown to a wide audience.

We present the candidates in the order they’ll appear on the ballot, with some basic information plus answers to these questions: Why are you running for this office? What organizational membership is most important to you? What are the top two challenges facing Asheville?

We also present a series of short answers to 18 questions. We asked candidates to answer concisely, and where possible we have shortened their answers to “Yes” or “No.” Where we have indicated “N.A.,” the candidate either declined to respond or answered in terms that couldn’t be deciphered as either pro or con. If these answers leave you with questions, attend a candidate forum and ask them yourself.

Craig Young

Age: 60
Resides: Richmond Hill, West Asheville
Occupation: Retired
Why run? Frustrated by bureaucracy of Council meetings. “We need a more open council that responds to its citizens and neighbors.”
Organization? Citizens for Change
Top two challenges: Low-cost housing, average wage scale

Rod A. Whiteside

Age: 30
Resides: South Asheville
Occupation: Nationwide Insurance
Why run? “To be part of the process — you can’t complain unless you are. And to serve as a voice for those who don’t have one.”
Organization? My church
Top two challenges: “Affordable housing and the need for everyone in Asheville to feel like he or she is a part of Asheville.”

Bill Stamey

Age: 55
Resides: North Asheville
Occupation: Construction contractor
Why run? “As a lifelong resident, I see the need for someone who has been here a long time to serve on Council.”
Organization? Merrimon Avenue Baptist Church
Top two challenges: “High property taxes and poor air quality.”

Ryan Pickens

Age: 31
Resides: South Charlotte area
Occupation: Professor of business, Mars Hill College
Why run? “I feel called to make more of a difference and serve Asheville in a greater capacity.”
Organization? Mars Hill College
Top two challenges: “Create more effective ways to educate public to issues and better collect public intelligence to make better decisions.” Also: air pollution.

Chris Pelly

Age: 46
Resides: Haw Creek
Occupation: Realtor
Why run? “I have something to contribute to the process.”Neighborhood advocate. Organization? Haw Creek Community Association
Top two challenges: Affordable housing, zoning and ordinances that balance growth with environmental protection

Brownie Newman

Age: 31
Resides: Montford
Occupation: Served as executive director of the WNC Alliance, has new position with the Conservation Council of North Carolina.
Why run? “I want Asheville to be a great place to live, work and raise a family — and not just a place for tourists to visit.”
Organization? The WNC Alliance.
Top two challenges: “Living-wage jobs and improving air quality.”

Adam Leslie McBroom

Age: 24
Resides: Montford
Occupation: Licensed teacher, employed by Pack Memorial Library.
Why run? “I want to be one more voice opposing the coalition of business owners who currently control the City Council.”
Organization? The Asheville Community Resource Center
Top two challenges: “Greater public access to local government; planning for the massive amount of growth that is coming.”

Jan Howard

Age: 53
Resides: Kenilworth
Occupation: retired school teacher/journalist
Why run? “I want to keep it the beautiful place it is. I expect to live here for the remainder of my life.”
Organization? Kenilworth Residents’ Association
Top two challenges: Infrastructure, air quality

Dave Goree

Age: 38
Occupation: Owner of Energy Liberty
Resides: East Asheville
Why run? “Increase the efficiency of government and the freedom of our people.”
Organization? The Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina
Top two challenges: “Good jobs and the lack of them. An overcontrolling, micromanaging, overtaxing government.”

Bryan Freeborn

Age: 27
Occupation: Grocer with Harris Teeter
Resides: West Asheville
Why run? “There is a lack of youth on Council — a growing part of our population. We need to have a Council that reflects the city.”
Organization? None
Top two challenges: “Jobs and clear leadership.”

Jim Ellis

Age: 68
Resides: North Asheville
Occupation: Retired
Why run? “Experience. Council has made great progress in last two years, and I would like to help continue those efforts.”
Organization? City Council
Top two challenges: Cleaning up air in Western North Carolina, good jobs.

Jan Davis

Age: 55
Resides: North Asheville
Occupation: Owner, Jan Davis Tire Store
Why run? Serves on county and city task forces and wants to bring a business perspective to Council. “It’s the next step.”
Organization? Abernathy United Methodist Church
Top two challenges: Better-paying jobs, restore credibility of Asheville as a leader in Western North Carolina and strengthen relationships with neighbors.

Terry Bellamy

Age: 31
Resides: West Asheville
Occupation: Marketing-and-development manager
Why run? “There are a lot of issues facing this community, and I have work that I’ve started on Council that I want to finish.”
Organization? “I’m on several boards and committees, and they’re all significant to me.”
Top two challenges: “Air quality and how to pay for the growing needs of our community.”


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About Cecil Bothwell
A writer for Mountain Xpress since three years before there WAS an MX--back in the days of GreenLine. Former managing editor of the paper, founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal, Heartstone, member of the national editorial board of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, publisher of Brave Ulysses Books, radio host of "Blows Against the Empire" on WPVM-LP 103.5 FM, co-author of the best selling guide Finding your way in Asheville. Lives with three cats, macs and cacti. His other car is a canoe. Paints, plays music and for the past five years has been researching and soon to publish a critical biography--Billy Graham: Prince of War:

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