Residence: West Asheville
Occupation: Marketing and development manager, Mountain Housing Opportunities
Years in Asheville: 33
Education: B.A. in English (UNC-Charlotte); enrolled in Duke University Nonprofit Certification Program; working on M.A. in English (WCU)
Political party: Democrat
Political experience: Six years on City Council
1. Should the city or a regional authority own the water system?
“The city of Asheville should continue to own the water system, just as Weaverville, Black Mountain and Biltmore Forest own their water systems. Asheville should continue to sell water to cities (for example, Black Mountain and Biltmore Forest) and allow them to set the rates that they feel are befitting.”
2. Do you agree with the decision to hold closed meetings concerning the Water Agreement, such as last April’s city/county mediation session?
“Yes. The original intent of the mediated sessions was to get to an agreement on the future of the water system. Officials had a model of how publicly mediated/negotiated sessions were ineffective. We should have spoken to the county commissioners prior to formally deciding to end the Water Agreement.”
3. Is the Asheville Police Department’s current citizen-complaint process adequate?
“There have been changes … to better meet community needs. … We should … [have] a place on the city’s Web site to report complaints for the police … and other departments … and receive follow-up by staff. … Elected officials … can report [concerns] to the city manager.”
4. Would you ever support using eminent domain other than for public-works projects? Under what circumstances?
“State statute allows municipalities provisions for using eminent domain for items which are essential for basic services — like the implementation of water lines, sewer lines, sidewalks, streets etc., and I am supportive of using the tool if all other avenues have been exhausted.”
5. City staff have documented several recent cases of developers violating the Unified Development Ordinance or conditions of their permits, but no fines have been issued. Should these rules be more strictly enforced?
“We need to enforce conditions on developers who violate the UDO. … I support developing an online tool where people can report issues and then see the status of their report.”
6. What, specifically, would you recommend doing with the Asheville Civic Center?
“The Asheville Civic Center has been an issue that comes up during each election. I support significantly renovating what we have downtown, while working with community partners and our delegation members on developing the funding needed for this.”
7. Name one thing the current City Council should be proud of, and one thing it should be ashamed of.
“City Council has three employees who we ‘supervise,’ one of them being the city manager. Our proudest moment was hiring a new city manager. We should be ashamed of the inability to work together effectively.”
8. An N.C. DOT study indicates that six lanes can accommodate the projected traffic on the I-26 connector. What, if anything, would you do to prevent the DOT from building an eight-lane connector?
“The best tool we have [for] working with DOT is advocacy for the six lanes. We can also work with them on aesthetics. I don’t believe that there is anything we can do “prevent” them building eight lanes.”
9. Name one positive trend downtown, and one negative trend.
“Asheville is seeing an increase in the number of people working, visiting and spending money downtown. While at the same time we are seeing a disportionate amount of high-end condos being developed downtown.”
10. What can Asheville do to cope with high energy prices and projected energy shortages in the coming years?
“Offer better bus service to residents of the community. Purchase more low-emission vehicles — including additional electric, hybrids and compressed-natural-gas vehicles — in the future to be used for city business. Develop a multimodal transportation plan that includes the implementation of the current Pedestrian Plan and Greenways Plan.”
11. Would you support increasing the local hotel/motel room tax? Why or why not?
“Yes, I support using a menu of options to address the city’s aging infrastructure, Civic Center and housing needs.”
12. What political figure from the past or present do you most wish to emulate?
“I feel it is best if I be the best Terry Bellamy that I can be.”