Esther E. Manheimer

Occupation: land-use and real-estate litigation attorney
Party affiliation: Democrat
Political experience: none
Endorsements: Council members Jan Davis and Brownie Newman, Sierra Club, Asheville Firefighters Association


1) How much money have you raised for your campaign, and who are your top three donors and how much did each give?

Total: Approximately $21,300 (including in-kind donations)
Top three: Carolyn Coward, $850; Roy Davis, Larry McDevitt and Ron Manheimer, $800 each

2) What resolution would you like to see for the I-26 connector?

I support the Asheville Design Center's plan for the I-26 connector because it enhances rather than hinders our unique "community." "Community" is hard to quantify but easy to destroy. The ADC's plan fosters community by connecting disconnected areas of town with walkable, bikeable, liveable corridors enhanced with bike lanes, greenways and trees.

3) What is the best route for addressing the city's homelessness problem?

Asheville's plan to end homelessness seeks to end homelessness in Asheville by the year 2015. The plan calls for increased affordable housing and other services. However, a vital component should be increased health care services.

4) Should height limits be implemented for new construction in the city? Why or why not?

With the input of our citizens, the City must codify all the development standards needed to preserve Asheville. These standards could include requirements regarding height restrictions, green building standards, affordable housing, fees to support sidewalks and greenways, and other standards necessary to preserve Asheville's community and our quality of life.

5) What oversight should Council delegate to other boards/commissions with the adoption of the Downtown Master Plan?

After overwhelming community input, months of study, numerous committee meetings and public hearings, the Downtown Master Plan, which I support, was adopted. For projects over 175,000 square feet (and some smaller), the DMP recommends oversight from the Technical Review Committee, the Downtown Commission, Planning and Zoning and City Council.

6) Should Council reconsider a development buffer around Pack Square Park? Why or why not?

The buffer around Pack Square Park was presented as a stop gap measure while the ordinances enacting the Downtown Master Plan are being drafted. At this point it would be duplicative to adopt both the buffer and the DMP as both equally protect the park, but the DMP includes all of downtown.

7) Should Asheville be allowed to increase or dedicate part of its room tax to make infrastructure improvements? Why or why not?

The issue of increasing or decreasing taxes should not be addressed by looking narrowly at one type of tax. Rather, I favor a policy of consistently avoiding regressive taxes, while continuing to move toward a fee-based revenue structure. Regressive taxes unfairly impact lower income families by creating unnecessary hardship.

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?

I would recuse myself from any matter before Council involving my firm, Van Winkle. I would and must also recuse myself from Council's closed sessions with the city's attorney concerning litigation involving my firm and the city. In addition, I cannot profit from any matter from which I recuse myself.

9) What question would you like to ask to any other candidate and to whom would you ask it?

None. I have had ample opportunity, as we blaze the collective campaign trail, to ask each candidate all the questions I have.

10) Which other candidates will you be voting for?

Cecil Bothwell and Gordon Smith.

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