Gordon D. Smith

Occupation: child and family therapist
Party affiliation: Democrat
Political experience: Advocated for clean energy in the Woodfin power-plant controversy; led a coalition to return our public land on Pack Square last summer; lobbied in Raleigh as mental-health advocate; created voter guides in '06, '07 and '08; volunteer coordinator for Holly Jones.
Endorsements : Holly Jones, Patsy Keever, Leni Sitnick, Sierra Club

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

Total: Roughly $24,000
Top three: Shelley Pereda Camp, $1,510; Errington Thompson, Mack Persall and Greg Lucas, $1,000 each; Veronika Gunter, $770

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

To meet the needs of our city, the Connector must: 1) Connect west Asheville to downtown; 2) separate local and interstate traffic; 3) be 55 mph through town, reducing the flyover bridges threatening to shadow Montford; 4) preserve Burton Street Community. We need to get it done right.

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

As a member of the City/County Homelessness Advisory Board, I'm well aware of the depth of the problem and the importance of continuing the 10 Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. This program has had incredible successes by creating coalitions of providers, tracking key data and housing the homeless.

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

Yes. I'm a big proponent of density and infill in order to reach our sustainability aspirations, but we must also preserve the charm of downtown and our neighborhoods. Shadowing neighborhoods and downtown streets diminishes the quality of life for our residents. Setbacks and height limits can keep our downtown beautiful.

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

Boards and commissions should review downtown projects for their adherence to our new form-based ordinances, and Council ought to have final oversight based on the broad community interest. Public input into any development needs to take place early in the process, and there must be a citizens' appeal process.

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

Yes. As we saw last year with the Parkside debacle, we must be proactive to ensure our public land is protected. When the Downtown Master Plan is enacted, we can include a permanent buffer.

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

Yes. Asheville ought to have a room tax similar to other North Carolina cities, and the revenue raised ought to be directed to infrastructure like greenways, sidewalks and the Civic Center.

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. My professional life as a child and family therapist is entirely separate from my political life. I do not anticipate any circumstance requiring my recusal.

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

I've been attending forums with all of the candidates and have had my questions answered. I would like to use this space to wish Kelly Miller and his wife the best as they go through a difficult battle.

10) Which other candidates will you be voting for?

I will vote for those candidates who demonstrate a commitment to passing the Affordable Housing Plan of 2008, raising the bar on energy efficiency and implementing a comprehensive multimodal transportation network.


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