Vote for four. The candidates are Mark Crawford, Republican; David Gantt, Democrat; Mike Harrison, Republican; Mike Morgan, Republican; Carol Weir Peterson, Democrat; Bill Reynolds, Republican; Bill Stanley, Democrat; and David Young, Democrat.
Address: 105A Orchard St., Black Mountain
Occupation: Real-estate agent
Years in Buncombe County: Most of life, excluding military service
Education: Master’s degree, political science, University of Florida
Political party: Republican
Political experience: One term in state Legislature
1. What sets you apart from your opponent?
“I am the only candidate to have the full package of having served in the military as a First Gulf War vet, having served in the Legislature, working as a small-business man, and still teaching and coaching in our public-school system even as this election takes place.”
2. What’s the biggest problem facing the county? What would you do about it?
“There is no single biggest problem in the county. There are several which can be equally claimed as having a tremendous detrimental impact on the county and its citizens: closed government, too much good-ole-boy politics to the advantage of a select few, poor management of our water systems, insufficient forward-looking planning for the future. The cure? Throw out all incumbents with more than six years of service and all recipients of patronage jobs, and hire based upon qualifications.”
3. What, if anything, needs to change about construction in floodplains?
“The first step that must be taken is to reassess and re-evaluate where the floodplains are truly located. Each time a portion of the floodplain is built up and then built upon, it reduces the size of the available floodplain, [requiring] lesser amounts of water volume … to overflow river banks and thereby resulting in greater potential flooding with each new construction.”
4. Are you in favor of countywide zoning?
5. How would you manage sprawl?
“Sprawl should be managed by provision of commonsense guidelines, economic incentives and allowing private citizens to be led by their own consciences.”
6. What’s your position on the city of Asheville’s intention to dissolve the Regional Water Agreement?
“The Water Agreement is bound by legislation from the 1930s — the Sullivan Act – and more recent municipal/county agreements. The city of Asheville is dead wrong to walk out and break its current agreements.”
7. I-26 Connector: Six lanes or eight? Why?
“What I want is for us to think outside the box. While I was still serving in the Legislature, I shared with the executive director of the Western North Carolina Alliance an option to provide more lanes using the same road footprint. That solution, if determined feasible, would rectify virtually all traffic threats and reduce the threat of overwhelming pollution resulting from stalled traffic.”
8. Is the county’s economic-development policy working? If so, what’s the proof? If not, what’s wrong with it?
“The current incumbent county-commissioner board recently voted against an economic-development program adamantly supported by virtually every major local industry (excluding, at least, Chairman Ramsey, who voted in favor). The shortsightedness of the incumbent county commissioners who voted in this manner will cost our county severely in the future. Their votes are a failure!”
9. Should the county’s electronic voting machines be required to provide a paper trail?
10. Do you think county government is open enough? If not, what would you change?
“No, the current county government is not open enough. I would like to see that every word uttered publicly in every public meeting is aired, and I would like to open all books and records to the public that are legal to be opened. We, as elected officials, should be the servants to the public, not the other way around.”
11. What responsibilities should be approached regionally? How would you build regional cooperation?
“The only responsibilities that should be approached regionally are those established by our state constitution and enacted by our Legislature. To build regional cooperation, the needs and goals of all involved entities and agencies must be identical; otherwise, fiascoes like the current Water Authority are the result. Don’t build, form or accept any regional organization unless it meets that litmus test.”
12. What does the county spend too much money on? What does it spend too little on?
“The county wastes money on many efforts which could be more efficiently handled and streamlined by performing these jointly instead of the current duplication of efforts — as seen by duplicate county-versus-city services. I want to see more money in the classroom instead of on the educational bureaucracy.”
13. How much money do you plan to spend in the general election?
“Whatever I am honored to receive in contributions and what I have already allocated from my personal funds.”