Candidate: Bill Russell

Occupation: Business owner (State Farm Insurance & Financial Services agency)
Education: B.A. business and marketing, Marshall University
Political experience: None
Donors (top 3): Christopher Peterson $4,000; Carl Ricker $4,000; Joseph Kimmel, $3,000
Endorsements: “My support has come entirely from individuals on the grassroots level, not from organizations.”
If he were an animal, what would it be?: “A horse. Who wouldn’t want to be a horse? They’re strong, independent, peaceful and free. They are loyal and hardworking friends. And the fact that they aren’t meat eaters would appeal to my wife, Alison, who is a vegan. Yeah, I’d say a horse.”

1) What are the best and worst steps City Council has taken in the past two years, and why?
“To address vagrancy and homelessness issues in downtown, although no action or improvement has resulted.”
Worst: “The vote by four members to go back to partisan elections.”

2) What plan(s) do you support for the I-26 Connector project, and why?
“I like the Design Center plan and support any plan that will have balance and support between community and DOT requirements. We have to get moving immediately. Delays are causing traffic congestion, accidents, and idling cars are not environmentally friendly.”

3) What, if anything, should the city do to improve mass transit?
“Look to create a more vibrant central business district and encourage employment growth and job opportunities downtown. I feel mass transit works best when you have “masses” that need to get between home, work and other service entities. Not sprawl, but centralized growth will encourage and improve mass transit.”

4) What specific measures, if any, should the city take to address environmental concerns?
“Move forward with I-26; it’s been proposed for over a decade with no action. I feel idling cars are our No. 1 environmental polluter. Also, I like the idea of tax incentives or lower fees for green development within the city of Asheville to developers and individual property owners.”

5) What’s your position on partisan elections?
“Let Asheville Vote! I am for nonpartisan elections and feel the results of the referendum will also reflect that position. I was not impressed with the decision, timing or excuses used by those who supported the change.”

6) As a member of City Council, what would be your top three priorities?
“Fiscally responsible city government (lower taxes); smart growth and development (focusing on “growing up” where we can); creating a strong economic climate (to attract more good-paying, middle-income jobs and business opportunities to help out Middle America in Asheville).”

7) What living national political figure do you most admire, and why?
“Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They are hilarious and bring out the true nature of our current … politics. [Both parties’] double talk and two-sided positioning is ridiculous. We all have a lot more in common that can bring us together, compared to focusing on [what] divides us.”

8) Under what circumstances, if any, would you support forced annexation?
“I don’t support forced annexation without community support. It just doesn’t seem right, especially when the target areas are self-sufficient and won’t benefit from city services. I think working up front with voluntary annexation for new development on our borders makes more sense.”

9) What steps, if any, do you support to promote affordable housing in Asheville?
“I propose an entire corridor of affordable and work-force housing along with mixed-use development on South Charlotte Street on the city-owned property. Affordable housing in the heart of downtown is not cost-effective with the high price of land. Our city needs to get actively involved and do more.”

10) What most distinguishes you from your opponents?
“Let’s see … I’m not a professional politician, I’m a hard-working citizen. I don’t think I’m smarter than everyone else, I’ll listen to all sides. I have no personal agenda, I have an open mind. And, unlike some of my opponents, I don’t think I deserve to win, I’d be humbled to.”

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12 thoughts on “Candidate: Bill Russell

  1. Gordon Smith

    Bill,

    “And, unlike some of my opponents, I don’t think I deserve to win, I’d be humbled to.””

    Who do you see as thinking they “deserve to win”. If you’re going to insult your opponents at least have the decency to name them.

  2. John Warren

    Bill Russell is an insult to thinking people. Milk Toast with our breakfast, possibly with Tuesday night dinner as I watch City Council meetings.

  3. Dionysis

    Gordon Smith is correct. Reviewing the financial disclosure reports clearly shows realtors and real estate lawyers are ponying up to support Russell. Where are the ‘individuals on the grassroots level’ he cites?

  4. John Warren

    Dionysis,

    Russell also has a paid campaign manager. Russell has no grass roots support. He was recruited by Joe Dun and gets his political advice from Joe along with his understanding of the city budget. This is why he has no clue about what he is talking about.

  5. Dionysis

    Dionysis,

    “Russell also has a paid campaign manager. Russell has no grass roots support. He was recruited by Joe Dun and gets his political advice from Joe along with his understanding of the city budget. This is why he has no clue about what he is talking about.”

    Thank you for this information, John. It kind of puts it all in proper perspective; that is, a kind of ‘smoke and mirrors’ campaign. Hopefully, voters will see through this and respond accordingly, by denying him a seat. From the national level on down, more honesty and transparency is direly needed, and it seems that will not be forthcoming from Mr. Russell.

  6. Asheville Native

    I attended a meet and greet for Russell and Butner. Russell was so unprepared and lacking of any substance in his “presentation” I was embarrassed for him. Butner ran the whole thing and I would imagine the same scenario if they both happen to be elected. I wanted to get on board with him but I just can’t, he’ll be someone’s “boy” if he makes it.

  7. travelah

    I like the guy and since he is not beholden to the cracked pot special interest groups funding the leftists, he can better represent the middle majority of people in Asheville who have been disenfranchised by the now fascist left.

  8. Christy

    Bill Russell has NO paid campaign workers. Elaine Lite, however, HAS paid campaign workers (check out Sarah Nunez and Beth Trigg on her primary reports). Anything that is listed under purpose as “E” is paid campaign worker. He was also not recruited by Joe Dunn…that is nothing more than a ridiculous accusation.

  9. Dionysis

    “I like the guy and since he is not beholden to the cracked pot special interest groups funding the leftists, he can better represent the middle majority of people in Asheville who have been disenfranchised by the now fascist left.”

    And just how would you describe Russell’s primary supporters (realtors and real estate lawyers)? They’re not ‘special interests’?

    And ‘fascist left’? What an Orwellian spin. We have a proto-fascist White House, supported by fascist-loving, democracy-hating wingnut quislings. In spite of the neo con admonishment that “we create our own reality” (courtesy Karl Rove), true reality belies this kind of semantic twaddle. Fascist left…bwahahahahahahahaha.

  10. Clocky

    I saw Russell on WLOS news last night, with Pat Simon (I didn’t realize that Asheville needed a town dunce, but that’s a different story), and I was dismayed.

    I wasn’t only upset that Russell won a seat on Council, but after hearing him speak, gads. The man reminds me of Bush. He’s not exactly full of ideas.

    I think he’ll represent the people who did the most to send him to council: the realtors, the developers, the out-of-town donors, and the Republicans.

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