Candidate: Steve Bledsoe

Political party: None
Occupation: Retired from manufacturing; engineering and management
Education: B.S. engineering, Auburn University; M.B.A., University of South Carolina
Political experience: None
Donors (top 3): None (declined offers)
Endorsements: None

1) What are the best and worst steps City Council has taken in the past two years, and why?
Best: “It is hard for me to find a single best action … when I see so much inaction.”
Worst: “Listing a racetrack as one of Asheville’s top-10 needs. … If there is enough demand … then private business should step forward and make this happen … not … the City Council.”

2) What plan(s) do you support for the I-26 Connector project, and why?
“I support the plan that has the earliest completion date. This project needs to move forward with less talk and more action.”

3) What, if anything, should the city do to improve mass transit?
“While we need to continue to make sure that the bus system is supported and managed to maximize its use, the city needs to do more to support safe bike use.”

4) What specific measures, if any, should the city take to address environmental concerns?
“To support environmental needs, the city needs to do a better job of enforcement of existing regulations. Developers are going to do the minimum if they can get away with it. We also need to encourage building upward as much as we can.”

5) What’s your position on partisan elections?
“Elections should not be based upon a two-party system.”

6) As a member of City Council, what would be your top three priorities?
“1) Balance … growth and development with [maintaining] quality of life; 2) Affordable housing; 3) Better working environment [with] the county and other cities in the area. … Solve the water wars without wasting any more tax money on lawyers. … [Consolidate] duplicated services.”

7) What living national political figure do you most admire, and why?
“Former Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee. Sen. Baker has always made sure that partisan politics did not take the top priority, and he was not afraid of working to reach a required compromise so that actions could move forward.”

8) Under what circumstances, if any, would you support forced annexation?
“I can never support forced annexation, but if a developer or area wants city services (including water), then they should agree to be annexed to get the services.”

9) What steps, if any, do you support to promote affordable housing in Asheville?
“Affordable housing can be supported in a number of ways. … [Require] development to contribute to housing funds. I would also be open to a tax on hotels and food and beverages to go to housing funds. There is also room to discuss a minimum-wage requirement for the city.”

10) Would you vote for or against The Ellington high-rise project, and why?
“I would vote to support the Ellington. This project has a lot of positive attributes including an environmental design, funding for affordable housing, vertical development and a positive architectural design. While this project is large in size and height, it will not have the box effect of the BB&T Building.”

 

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