Candidate: Matthew Hebb

Political party: Republican
Occupation: Business owner (Caffiend coffee shop)
Education: B.A. political science/pre-law, University of Central Florida
Political experience: Ran unsuccessfully for Council in 2005
Donors (top 3): Bill Lack $200; Mark Delk $100; Don Yelton $100
Endorsements: Carolina Stompers, Rep. Charles Thomas

1) What are the best and worst steps City Council has taken in the past two years, and why?
Best: “City Council did reduce taxes (the reduction was minimal), because I believe that tax money belongs to taxpayers, not the government, and should be returned whenever possible.”
Worst: “The worst step, insofar as a single action, was the partisan-elections decision, as it was in conflict with the democratic process itself.”

2) What plan(s) do you support for the I-26 Connector project, and why?
“I support plans that involve separating Patton Avenue traffic and provide for adequate volume to pass though the area. Alternative 4 seems to do this, as does the ADC proposal. What is essential is that the project moves forward and is completed rather than facing further delays.”

3) What, if anything, should the city do to improve mass transit?
“I believe that the system needs to be scaled back in radius and increased in frequency (and also made 24-hours) and efficiency to increase riders, use and effectiveness. If this cannot be accomplished, then perhaps it is time to investigate privatization.”

4) What specific measures, if any, should the city take to address environmental concerns?
“The city should enforce its environmental regulations evenly and fairly. The city should also protect sensitive areas and ‘viewsheds’ so long as those property owners affected are compensated.”

5) What’s your position on partisan elections?
“I helped in the petition drive for Let Asheville Vote. I don’t support partisan elections for City Council races. In particular regard to the recent action by City Council, I also thought it was unfair to third parties and unaffiliated candidates. Everyone should be on the same playing field.”

6) As a member of City Council, what would be your top three priorities?
“Making Asheville a more business-friendly environment; streamlining and reducing the size of our city government; improving our infrastructure/utilities.”

7) What living national political figure do you most admire, and why?
“Tough question, considering how many great ones have passed (Reagan, T. Roosevelt, Goldwater). I would say Alan Keyes, because he is not afraid to think outside the mainstream, stick to his principles and can run mental circles around political hacks and agenda-driven media.”

8) Under what circumstances, if any, would you support forced annexation?
“I don’t support any annexation that is forced. Under our current laws, this is the type of annexation that is permitted, but I believe there are ways to have public input. As it stands, until our city and its services are properly managed, we shouldn’t annex anyone at all.”

9) What steps, if any, do you support to promote affordable housing in Asheville?
“It’s relative. If we were to solve some of the underemployment problem in Asheville, we’d begin to have a greater balance between wages and cost of living. I’d support reducing regulations that needlessly increase the cost of construction (and thereby housing). There is only so much a city can do.”

10) Would you vote for or against The Ellington high-rise project, and why?
“In general, based on the knowledge that I have about the project, I would be inclined to support it. I would be interested in the concept of a public observation deck at the top of the building. I especially appreciate the effort made toward architectural design by the developer.”



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