Joe Dunn

Joe Dunn

Age: 61
Residence: South Asheville
Occupation: Retired dentist
Years in Asheville: 44
Education: B.A. (UNC), D.M.D. (University of Louisville)
Political party: Republican
Political experience: Four years on City Council

What most distinguishes you from your opponent in this election?

“[I am not] afraid to take a position. I tried hard to find a solution to the water debate. I [spotlighted] abuses at the ABC board. I won the debate over merging … city/county emergency service. … [Opposed] the 2-cent tax increase and supported money for basic services.”

Should the city build the Battle Square parking deck as planned?

“The city should build a parking deck. I am not a fan of parking decks, but people will not stop driving into town. … I would be interested in any new designs that make common sense. I will not support a protracted slowing down of this project.”

If City Council must fill a vacated seat after the election, will you vote to appoint the next highest vote-getter? Why or why not?

“I will only support a candidate that I feel is a person I can work with. This is the system we have agreed to work under, and I will exercise my right to vote for the man or woman I feel has the best interests of the city.”

Should the city enact height restrictions on new downtown buildings? Why or why not?

“I do not see a great reason to restrict heights. I believe the developer must have room to make any structure be cost-effective. I see no developer being able to build some huge skyscraper that will not pay for itself. Economic realities will be the equalizer.”

What changes (if any) would you make to expand public input in city meetings, plans and policies?

“I think our policies are fair. I do not see much room for changing them. I would be open to any suggestions.”

Would you vote to increase the salaries for Council members (currently $11,927) and the mayor (currently $16,223)? Why or why not?

“Raising all the salaries would help recruit better-qualified and interested candidates. … Salaries are [not] the motivating factors, but … a slightly higher salary can … offset personal losses. All candidates have families and spending time is one thing, but losing money that the family may need is something else.”

Would you vote to extend insurance benefits to unmarried domestic partners of city workers? Why or why not?

“No, if the policy had a rider on it that did not cost taxpayers anything more, then I would have no problem with that. I would not pay any additional money to attach this kind of benefit.”

Should the city require developers to post performance bonds to ensure that permit conditions are met?

“No, after all the excessive permitting, inspections and high costs of development, I see no reason for this. Our regulations need to be enforced. With all the development going on, we have not had a huge amount of problems. If we were, I would be looking … to solve them.”

What do you think the recent primary results tell us about current political trends in Asheville?

“Voter turnout was so low that no hard conclusions can be drawn. I feel the progressive candidates far outnumber the more conservative ones. Does that mean conservative values don’t matter, or was there not a lot of choices to begin with? The election may show something far different.”

Name an unsung local hero or heroes — someone or some group that is performing significant public service with little recognition.

“The Pack Square Conservancy, for all their hard work in bringing such an interesting new venue to the city.”

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