Residence: Montford Hills
Occupation: Executive director, YWCA of Asheville
Years in Asheville: 9
Education: B.A. in public-policy analysis (UNC-Chapel Hill), master’s in divinity (Duke University), master’s in public health (Chapel Hill)
Political party: Democrat
Political experience: Four years on City Council, community-based organizing for housing, children and health care
What most distinguishes you from your opponents in this election?
“What distinguishes me from the other progressive candidates is my financial-management experience. I manage a budget of $2 million and a workplace of 80 employees. The things that distinguish me from the Republican candidate, Carl Mumpower, are too numerous to mention in this limited space.”
Should the city build the Battle Square parking deck as planned?
“No. I voted against the parking-garage proposal. It is out of scale with this special part of our downtown (overshadowing the Basilica of St. Lawrence). It would be a waste of taxpayers’ dollars, costing over $30,000 per space. Parking in other locations would fit in better and cost far less.”
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?
“Not necessarily. I will appoint a person who will help to unite our City Council and our community — not divide us. I will appoint someone who will listen to the community — not lecture them.”
Should the city enact height restrictions on new downtown buildings? Why or why not?
“Currently, there are no mandatory design standards for high-rise buildings in downtown. I believe there should be. I am open to considering a height restriction on high-rise buildings.”
What changes (if any) would you make to expand public input in city meetings, plans and policies?
“Public comment is not allowed [during work sessions]. City Council should either eliminate [them] or hold them at a time of day when working people can attend and broadcast them on our cable channel. … I also would support a town meeting prior to Council’s retreat to get citizen input.”
Would you vote to increase the salaries for Council members (currently $11,927) and the mayor (currently $16,223)? Why or why not?
“Definitely for the mayor. … Asheville needs a mayor who can take the time to make sure all members of Council and the community are in the loop about critical issues. Currently, the pay is so low that many qualified candidates could not afford to hold that office.”
Would you vote to extend insurance benefits to unmarried domestic partners of city workers? Why or why not?
“Yes. I support adoption of an Equal Workplace Rights ordinance to ensure [that] insurance benefits are offered fairly to all employees.”
Should the city require developers to post performance bonds to ensure that permit conditions are met?
“In some situations where the potential liabilities for the community from a project not being completed or violating neighborhood and environmental laws are large, this probably makes sense. It probably does not make sense to require a performance bond for every small project in the city.”
What do you think the recent primary results tell us about current political trends in Asheville?
“I believe it says that people in Asheville are looking for effective, progressive leadership and are eager for a change in direction.”
Name an unsung local hero or heroes — someone or some group that is performing significant public service with little recognition.
“Willie Mae Brown, longtime Asheville native committed to making our entire community better!”