Party affiliation: Republican
Political experience: eight years on Asheville City Council, two years as vice mayor
Endorsements: "Occasionally, I have someone come up and whisper something like, 'Don't tell anybody, but I am a liberal and I appreciate what you are trying to do.' Does that count?"
1) How much money have you raised for your campaign, and who are your top three donors and how much did each give?
I am resistant to the "Buy America Plan" that elects most public officials. That is why I refused PAC and party money during my last run and any contributions during this election. Besides, after eight years of persistent Mountain X ridicule, people know my name and what I stand for.
2) What resolution would you like to see for the I-26 connector?
None — every resolution to date, despite denials, has resulted in delays and further confusion. DOT in Raleigh and Washington are going to make this decision and in a bankrupt America, costs are likely to guide the outcome more than our personal preferences. I remain interested in signature bridge potentials.
3) What is the best route for addressing the city's homelessness problem?
Not with unsustainable social-engineering models like the "Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness" that duplicate the failures of the sixties "War on Poverty." Our homeless population consists of authentic victims, the mentally ill, the unemployed, criminals, vagrants, drug addicts and social predators. Each group calls for different action strategies.
4) Should height limits be implemented for new construction in the city? Why or why not?
No — we can build up or out and up makes more sense. Current ordinances work. The Ellington on the side of the hill was approved because it was reasonably compatible and scaled to existing downtown structures. The Fraga project and the twin towers failed because they were not.
5) What oversight should Council delegate to other boards/commissions with the adoption of the Downtown Master Plan?
I like keeping power in the hands of people — like me — who can be hired and fired through voter action. Authorities have power without accountability. The heavy hand of the DMP will be a stifling influence on creative downtown development — the antithesis of what Asheville is about.
6) Should Council reconsider a development buffer around Pack Square Park? Why or why not?
No — we have too many rules as is and new ordinances should be a reaction to patterns not isolated instances. There is no pattern here, and the system worked in stopping what I believe was a misguided misappropriation of public park lands. It's time to celebrate — not legislate.
7) Should Asheville be allowed to increase or dedicate part of its room tax to make infrastructure improvements? Why or why not?
Yes — if for no other reason than fairness. Just as our local representatives in Raleigh have stolen control of the city water system, they persist in approving room-tax revenue for every other city in North Carolina but Asheville. I have a persisting interest in seeing Asheville treated fairly.
8) What associations or business dealings would cause you to ask to be recused for conflict of interest if they came up in Council deliberation?
None — but I do request recusal from bad/illegal process, such as the recent vote by the Council to change election procedures in the middle of the election cycle. I have no obligations to special interests, party power brokers, moneyed influences, or anything else that would create conflicts of interest.
9) What question would you like to ask to any other candidate and to whom would you ask it?
Addressed to the candidates who practice such: Does it bother you to seduce voters by pretending to be all things to all people? For those voters repeatedly disappointed in the difference between candidates before and after they are elected, look to this common practice for revealing character insights.
10) Which other candidates will you be voting for?
Sorry Mountain X, but there is a reason that voting booths are private. Besides, what makes you so sure I will vote for myself? I am not even sure my wife is going to vote for me.