Candidate: Dee Williams

Political party: None
Occupation: Small-business owner (real estate; concessions)
Education: B.A. public administration, B.S. accounting, B.S. business administration, Winston-Salem State University
Political experience: Asheville/Buncombe County Minority and Women’s Business Commission; Asheville Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission
Donors (top 3): David Williams $300; Almeanor Hines $220; Dee Williams $100
Endorsements: None (“No special-interest groups control me.”)

1) What are the best and worst steps City Council has taken in the past two years, and why?
Best: “Waking up the sleeping electorate on June 12 [by voting] to institute partisan elections and exclude independent voters and candidates.”
Worst: “The inability to lead with vision and comity in resolving the water conflict with Buncombe County, and [circumventing] the open-meetings law by rotating members into meetings two at a time.”

2) What plan(s) do you support for the I-26 Connector project, and why?
“I don’t support any set of plans. … The DOT will do what it has designed; Council’s tactics [are] useless. I value the work of the Design Center, but … this must happen in Raleigh with top politicians … to get a redesign. Delays have tripled the project’s cost already.”

3) What, if anything, should the city do to improve mass transit?
“Extend operating hours and days for the denser routes. … Increase frequency to really offer an alternative to private-car travel. [Expand] the Transit Center [and resolve] connectivity issues … for car travelers. It needs to be a place where shuttles could come to pick workers up for larger employers.”

4) What specific measures, if any, should the city take to address environmental concerns?
“The city should conduct energy audits of all its buildings and institute conservation measures immediately. As a condition of doing business, the city needs to mandate that all of its contractors institute energy efficiency and conservation, i.e. better packaging, mandate construction/renovation of buildings [to meet LEED standards].”

5) What’s your position on partisan elections?
“Partisan elections [have] no place in a city the size of Asheville … especially since we don’t have district elections. This was an ill-timed tactic to get the so-called ‘black vote’ that people have historically taken for granted. … The future of this area … is independent voters.”

6) As a member of City Council, what would be your top three priorities?
“Resolution of the water dispute with regional water authority. Lower taxes and municipal utility bills. An elected, accountable city school board that assures every child a world-class education, irregardless of his/her socioeconomic status in Asheville.”

7) What living national political figure do you most admire, and why?
“I admire Rep. Maxine Waters. Ms. Waters is an African-American female like me. She works hard for the poor and disenfranchised. She is passionate yet compassionate. Asheville has never elected an African-American who has enhanced the lives of poor and working-class people. Like Rep. Waters, I will be the first.”

8) Under what circumstances, if any, would you support forced annexation?
“N.C. is one of only four states that allow involuntary annexation. I would only support it to provide essential services for the health, safety and welfare of the annexed individuals—services like water and sewer, fire protection, police services and garbage collection.”

9) What steps, if any, do you support to promote affordable housing in Asheville?
“The local Housing Authority, as a direct recipient of HUD [funds], could provide … hundreds, if not thousands of units of very attractive, safe, affordable housing for working families that was mixed-income, scattered-site, if the [Authority] was properly retooled and led by a Council that had the political will.”

10) Would you vote for or against The Ellington high-rise project, and why?
“In the past, [voters] have elected leaders who pursued no other industry … except tourism. … The revenue base is [property taxes and] water consumption. This leadership pattern has [left us] with few options. To [change] this … voters need to vote differently. I would vote for it, with modifications.”

 

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