Joe Dunn

Joe Dunn

Age: 61
Residence: South Asheville
Occupation: Retired dentist
Years in Asheville: 44
Education: B.A. (UNC), D.M.D. (University of Louisville)
Political party: Republican
Political experience: Four years on City Council

1. Should the city or a regional authority own the water system?

“All monies [should] go back into the system ([not] … the general fund). No differential rates (controlling water infrastructure, the city [can] grow its tax base with time). … [Don’t] use water as an annexation tool. With these three points, [what’s] the difference in an independent authority vs. city-run?”

2. Do you agree with the decision to hold closed meetings concerning the Water Agreement, such as last April’s city/county mediation session?

“No. I feel early on that some private meetings might have helped. I supported open meetings when it became apparent that the mayor’s plan was failing to get us to a good place.”

3. Is the Asheville Police Department’s current citizen-complaint process adequate?


4. Would you ever support using eminent domain other than for public-works projects? Under what circumstances?


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?

“Most of our developments go well. … When [there are problems] … the staff, City Council and the neighborhoods [should] get together and see what can be worked out. If these kinds of problems happened with frequency, then I would strongly look at measures to curb infractions.”

6. What, specifically, would you recommend doing with the Asheville Civic Center?

“Get a workable [affordable] plan … and [bring all parties together to] work out funding. [We don’t] need a state-of-the-art sports arena. We do need a state-of-the-art performing center … downtown. [We need] a funding package, but … not [solely] at the expense of the hotel industry.”

7. Name one thing the current City Council should be proud of, and one thing it should be ashamed of.

“Our greatest accomplishment would be the taking back of our water system. Our biggest failure is that we do not work well together and have not had good leadership at the top.”

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?

“There is nothing we can do to stop this project. … DOT has the money and the power. … Lawsuits will only slow it down. I would prefer six lanes, but … we need to get this thing built. … Any more delays will only exacerbate an already bad situation.”

9. Name one positive trend downtown, and one negative trend.

“The negative things are the drug dealing, defacing of private property and panhandling. The positives are the energy and excitement of downtown, diversity and the arts.”

10. What can Asheville do to cope with high energy prices and projected energy shortages in the coming years?

“Asheville cannot do a great deal by itself. … Mass transit must be user-friendly and cost-effective. … We [lack] the density to ever expect wholesale use of mass transit. The city cannot afford to [convert] all its vehicles. … It will take an entire national and regional approach.”

11. Would you support increasing the local hotel/motel room tax? Why or why not?

“A room tax will be an important part of this solution. The hotel industry should not be singled out however. The city, county, TDA and downtown businesses should be part of the funding as well.”

12. What political figure from the past or present do you most wish to emulate?

“Teddy Roosevelt … understood the need for our country to remain strong and understand its role in the world. He [supported] development of national parks and preservation of natural beauty. He also … helped break the hold of the big industrialists who took advantage of the working poor.”


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