Political party: Democrat
Occupation: Publisher and Editor, Critter Magazine
Education: A.A. paralegal studies, Cecil’s College; attended University of South Florida
Political experience: None
Donors (top 3): Charlie Thomas $3,000; David Lynch $600; Cecil Bothwell $500
Endorsements: Sierra Club, Buncombe County Green Party, Mountain Green Party, Asheville Democracy for America
1) What are the best and worst steps City Council has taken in the past two years, and why?
Best: “Plan to reduce the city’s energy use and carbon emissions by 80 percent and purchasing 30 acres for Overlook Park. Both preserve and protect the environment.”
Worst: “Richmond Hill Park and the ensuing environmental violations; rezoning property adjacent to Crowfields to increase density was unfair; Staples and Greenlife debacle. Enough said.”
2) What plan(s) do you support for the I-26 Connector project, and why?
“The Design Center plan appears to be the most thoughtful and appropriate for our community at this time. It seems to have a smaller footprint and would preserve significantly more land than the DOT plans.”
3) What, if anything, should the city do to improve mass transit?
“Use smaller buses/vans (preferably hybrid) and run more frequently; explore a shuttle system; create safe bicycle/walking routes.”
4) What specific measures, if any, should the city take to address environmental concerns?
“Require all new development to be LEED-certified; energy audits on all city-owned properties; implement strict tree ordinances requiring developers who remove trees to replace more than they cut; replace all diesel buses or convert them to run on cleaner fuels; strict storm-water and erosion-control ordinances and unwavering enforcement.”
5) What’s your position on partisan elections?
“I oppose partisan elections and feel it’s appropriate for citizens to decide the issue. Many citizens have chosen not to align with either of the two major parties, and this reflects the diversity of our community. People who choose to run for office should not be penalized for their independence.”
6) As a member of City Council, what would be your top three priorities?
“1) Work toward establishing a plan to prevent uncontrolled growth and overdevelopment in the city while working on a comprehensive and sustainable land-use plan with the county; 2) Support the creation of work-force affordable housing; 3) Where necessary, strengthen environmental-protection ordinances and demand uncompromising enforcement.”
7) What living national political figure do you most admire, and why?
“Dennis Kucinich for his intelligence, vision, integrity and honesty. He is the antithesis of what business-as-usual politics has become.”
8) Under what circumstances, if any, would you support forced annexation?
“This is a complex issue. In principle, I am against forced annexation. I believe a community should have the right to decide what is in its own best interest. I also believe annexation contributes to sprawl. Forced annexation might be justified under specific conditions, which would require further research.”
9) What steps, if any, do you support to promote affordable housing in Asheville?
“Create a city-funded land trust to hold land and housing in trust to keep housing affordable in perpetuity while preserving open space; require housing built with affordable-housing funds to be kept affordable; prioritize affordable-housing developments; implement inclusionary zoning for all new developments.”
10) Would you vote for or against The Ellington high-rise project, and why?
“Against. It’s incompatible with the surrounding area in scale, density and character; will increase traffic congestion; potential negative economic impact on small area businesses during extended construction phase; sets a precedent for Atlanta-style skyscrapers downtown; will increase property taxes; will reduce available affordable-housing space downtown and contributes to gentrification.”