Candidate: Bryan Freeborn

Occupation: TopFloorStudio, media and press relations
Education: B.A. history, Evergreen State College; master’s candidate in public administration, Western Carolina University
Political experience: Asheville Regional Airport Authority, Young Democrats of Buncombe County, French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization Donors (top 3): Scott Riviere $1,000; Charlie Thomas, $1,000; Alice Brown, $750
Endorsements: Asheville Fire Fighters Association, Asheville Democracy for America, The Progressive Project, Sierra Club, Council member Robin Cape
If he were an animal, what would it be?: “A kangaroo: I am cute, bouncy, I carry my kids around with me everywhere, and I kick ass.”

1) What are the best and worst steps City Council has taken in the past two years, and why?
Best: “The positive focus on our transit system has helped to provide healthier options for transportation, resulting in positive impacts toward environmental and economic sustainability. Helping our families eliminate one car from their driveway will save them $9,000 per year.”
Worst: “Not adopting 50-foot buffer for jurisdictional streams.”

2) What plan(s) do you support for the I-26 Connector project, and why?
“I support the effort and plans of the Asheville Design Center. We have the opportunity to reduce the footprint of the new connector project, put more property back on the tax rolls, and create a landmark bridge that the community can be proud of while fixing our traffic congestion.”

3) What, if anything, should the city do to improve mass transit?
“We need to build on the successes made since I have been on Council. We have increased ridership by 30 percent through increased hours of operation, better fares and marketing opportunities. We need to reorganize our routes to provide better neighborhood coverage and higher frequency on our major corridors.”

4) What specific measures, if any, should the city take to address environmental concerns?
“We need to provide better transportation options to reduce the number of single-occupant vehicles on the road. We need to reward better building practices such as LEED standards and HealthyBuilt Homes. We need to provide support for community efforts for land preservation.”

5) What’s your position on partisan elections?
“I voted for partisan elections based on conversations with thousands of people during the course of two years. I respected the referendum effort and signed the petition for a referendum on the issue. This issue … has merits on both sides; I will support the will of the voters.”

6) As a member of City Council, what would be your top three priorities?
“Empowering neighborhoods; real support for small businesses; and transportation options for a healthier Asheville.”

7) What living national political figure do you most admire, and why?
“There is no single figure I look to. Characteristics that I admire include leadership, humility and respect, service of the common good, and hard work on behalf of those that are underrepresented. Leaders grow out of their communities. I truly appreciate the drive, compassion and creativity I find in Asheville.”

8) Under what circumstances, if any, would you support forced annexation?
“I do not support forced annexation. I support win/win opportunities for land-use planning and better services to our citizens. Forced annexation creates adversarial conflict between the city and its new residents. This is a flawed system of growth. We need to provide better tools for regional land-use planning.”

9) What steps, if any, do you support to promote affordable housing in Asheville?
“I support the redevelopment of city-owned property to provide mixed-income housing that our working families can afford. This will put more property on the tax rolls and meet our goals of affordable housing. We also need to support long-term homeownership with lower taxes and better city services.”

10) What most distinguishes you from your opponents?
“I am accessible, responsive and effective. I listen to people and make their voices the foundation of my work on Council. I seek out innovative solutions to community needs with best practices from cities that have demonstrated success. Examples are biodiesel in the city and airport fleets, and transit improvements.”

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8 thoughts on “Candidate: Bryan Freeborn

  1. Nam Vet

    While I do not agree with Bryan on all issues, I do like his style. And I like his guts for being a REAL PROGRESSIVE and voting NO on the Ellington “Boutique” hotel. That hotel will cause the property taxes to go up for small businesses downtown. It will cause the further “Manhattanization” of Asheville crowding out non-affluent citizens. It will create horrendous traffic problems downtown. It will spoil Asheville’s skyline. So, where were you Brownie Newman, Holly Jones and Robin Cape? None of you 3 are “progressives” in my book. More like elitist limosine liberals who talk one way and live another. Greedy for more tax money at the expense of the average citizen.

  2. Rob Close

    I think he had to vote No there – in order to keep Lite from siphoning off too many votes from him. If anti-developers, who will vote for Lite in droves, are always voting for Bryan equally, then there’s no way she can beat him. And 3rd place is secure.

  3. Clocky

    I plan to vote for Freeborn despite his vote on the Ellington.

    Anyone should be able to see that he was voting defensively so that voters wouldn’t choose Lite over him. He didn’t even make persuasive arguments against it. It’s somewhat embarrassing that he voted that way, but every officholder makes those votes from time to time.

    He’s on the right side of almost every issue.

    He still gets my vote.

  4. Nam Vet

    Clocky, WHAT is progressive about voting FOR the Ellington? Explain yourself, and while you are at it, explain your definition of “progressive”. Also, are you local or a transplant? And if so, from where? If you area transplanted Northeasterner interested in turning Asheville into the place you came from, say so. That will be the one answer that will trump the others.

    My definition of “progressive”? Being in favor of what is good for all citizens,particularly those of lower income and less political influence. In my opinion,those so-called progressives that voted for the Ellington are PINOs. Progressive In Name Only. And ironically, republican-country club in actions.

  5. Clocky

    Nam Vet, there are many problems with your last post, but I will only address one at this time.

    Pay attention. I did not write that a vote for the Ellington WAS progressive.

    You’re engaging in a straw man argument.

  6. Nam Vet

    “I plan to vote for Freeborn despite his vote on the Ellington.” — clocky

    Pay attention to your own words Clocky. To me this quote of yours infers that you are in favor of the Ellington abomination. And if you will vote for Freeborn “in spite of” his vote AGAINST the Ellngton (AGAINST THE ELLINGTON THE RIGHT VOTE FOR A TRUE PROGRESSIVE), just why? I am still waiting for your definition of “progressive”, and I’d like your take on why Newman, Cape, and Jones voted with the greedy developers on the Ellington. It is obvious to me that those 3 Fab Four are PINOs. Progressive In Name Only. Perhaps I hit a nerve and that is why you do not answer directly. Prove me wrong with a detailed explanation/rebuttal.

  7. Clocky

    Why am I voting for Freeborn? Take a look at the ten questions at the top of this page. I like his answers to ALL TEN questions. I like the stand he’s taken for alternative transportation solutions in Asheville, such as bike lanes and bus routes. I like his stand against forced annexation.

    My above comments are about Freeborn, not the term “progressive”. I’m not going to debate the meaning of that term with you. I’m not sure whether I would term Freeborn a progressive or not, but I like his stands on the issues, so I voted for him.

    This is an important point, and it relates to development AND Freeborn: there have been lots of big projects built downtown and along Merrimon Ave. during the past two years; Asheville has seen more large construction projects in the last few years than at any other time (except possibly during the 1920s), and Freeborn has been on council during that time. Freeborn says that he has helped to lower the taxes on small businesses. I, for one, believe him.

    Do you believe him?

    Do you believe that taxes have been lowered on small businesses in Asheville during Freeborn’s tenure on council?

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