47 hats in the ring

• To read the full applications of all 47 would-be City Council members, click here.
• To read summaries of each application, see alphabetical list below.

City Council asked — and Asheville delivered. By noon on Nov. 26 (the deadline for submitting an application), 47 city residents were vying for the right to serve out the remaining year of Council member Holly Jones’ term. Jones was just elected to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.

Packets containing a resumé, application and the answers to five essay questions selected by City Council (see below) came in from a wide variety of Asheville residents: teachers, activists, real-estate agents and business owners alike. A few former Council candidates and even two former Council members pitched hats into the ring.

“I’m pretty fired up when you look at some of these folks,” says Vice Mayor Jan Davis, who first proposed this approach to choosing Jones’ replacement. Openly advertising the position marked a switch from recent precedent, in which the unsuccessful candidate who drew the highest number of votes in the last City Council election got the nod. Interestingly, Bryan Freeborn — the last Council member so appointed, and the person who would have been chosen once again if Council had stuck with the former system — has also made a bid for the seat.

Judging by the flood of applications, most of these Council hopefuls appear to have at least one thing in common: They like to do things at the last minute. After the call went out, a mere two or three applications trickled in during the first several weeks. Within the last 36 hours or so before the deadline, however, more than 40 additional packets arrived. As City Clerk Maggie Burleson put it, they were “coming in like water.”

Davis, too, voiced surprise, saying, “I was worried when there was only two or three. I thought, ‘Wow: This may blow up in our faces.’ But I didn’t think it would be this many.”

The strong response, he theorizes, could reflect large numbers of people who’d like to serve on Council but don’t want to deal with the money and stress involved in running an actual campaign. Whoever gets the seat will rack up a year’s experience and public exposure before deciding whether to seek election in 2009.

On Dec. 2, Council members will whittle down the list, deciding which applicants to interview for the position. Then, on Dec. 9, Council (minus Jones) will conduct the interviews and choose their seventh member (for updates, go to www.mountainx.com).

In the meantime, however, Xpress has waded through the 47 application packets and distilled these (extremely) abbreviated snapshots of the candidates. To view the documents in their entirety, go here. The five essay questions are:
1) What motivates you to apply for this position?
2) Where do you fall on the conservative-liberal spectrum in terms of fiscal and social policy?
3) In your eyes, what should be the top two or three priorities our City Council should be focused on in the upcoming year and why?
4) What do you consider the most crucial problem, need or cause for the citizens of Asheville? How would you approach its resolution or champion the cause?
5) The 2008-09 and 2009-10 fiscal years will be financially tough for the city. What will be your top funding priorities, and what would you like to see reduced to balance the budget?

Catherine Alter

Occupation: Retired educator
Motivation: “I believe I can be useful and contribute to the continued success of Asheville as a great place to live.”
Political spectrum: “If I had to label myself, I would say I’m a ‘left-leaning moderate.’”
Priorities: Infrastructure; public safety; economic development and sustainability.
Most crucial: “Funding of human services should be tied to a requirement that all recipients … provide assessment data.”
Budget: “View hard times as an opportunity rather than a crisis. … Search for ways and methods of being smarter and moving faster.”

Charles W. Archerd

Occupation: Principal, Archerd-Bell Investment Group
Motivation: “The city will face serious [economic] challenges during the next couple of years. I have a strong educational background and significant work experience in the accounting-and-finance area.”
Political spectrum: “I … understand the value and the stability that conservative fiscal policies bring to individuals, businesses and government. … [The] central position on the … spectrum in terms of social policy.”
Priorities: A stable financial basis to operate city government; provide efficient core services; promote quality “infill” development.
Most crucial: “An appointed member … should be focused on the established strategic goals and objectives that have been developed by elected members of City Council.”
Budget: “All areas of city government should be examined to determine essential expenditures versus … ‘nice to have’ type items.”

Malcolm F. Arthur

Occupation: Retired
Motivation: City has gotten away from “the basic needs and wants” of city residents. Asheville should consider all residents and not just special interests.
Political spectrum: Basically conservative, but “I can adjust my thinking to fit the needs at any given time or place.”
Priorities: The city needs a balanced approach between income and spending priorities, and Council should put on hold those items not directly needed for the city’s safety and welfare.
Most crucial: Addressing the city’s high cost of living.
Budget: Stop all unnecessary spending, and stop wasting time and money for things that are not crucial.

Randall Barnett

Occupation: Buyer’s representative, Buyer’s Agent of Asheville
Motivation: Service in Housing Authority “gave me great satisfaction, and I want to give back to further help our citizens.”
Political spectrum: Moderate
Priorities: Financial plan for the city, public safety, job creation.
Most crucial: Improving infrastructure, a bond program for affordable housing, one Council session per month held in various community centers.
Budget: “Basic human needs should come before lifestyle wants. … Privatizing services or merging departments could reduce [costs].”

Dana Bierce

Occupation: Sales, WNCA Cellular
Motivation: “I am concerned about helping improve the conditions of our workers and would like to make [it] easier for our workers to serve the community.”
Political spectrum: Fiscal moderate; on social policy, “I might not choose to live in a particular way but would not force my views on others.”
Priorities: Balanced budget, assisting small businesses, affordable housing and forging a water deal with the county.
Most crucial: Assure businesses that they’re still welcome, while insisting on jobs with good wages and safe working conditions.
Budget: Retaining the city’s quality work force while consolidating parks and community centers and exploring more private-sector assistance with festivals.

Keith Blankenship

Occupation: Warehouse manager, Comics NOW
Motivation: “I want to participate in making this city a better place for all future progeny.”
Political spectrum: Fiscal and social conservative.
Priorities: Improving infrastructure to handle growth. Job development and training.
Most crucial: “The citizens of Asheville are being torn apart by ideology differences. I feel we can pull ourselves together and raise Asheville’s overall standards just by working together.”
Budget: “I would like to see wasteful spending reduced while giving the citizenry much-needed tax relief.”

Cecil Bothwell

Occupation: Self-employed writer
Motivation: “We need to steer Asheville and Buncombe County toward zero growth in resource use and then reduction of that use.”
Political spectrum: Fiscal conservative; social liberal.
Priorities: Stop city participation in Biltmore parking deck; “Emphasize smaller, more efficient housing units” in development rules; “Negotiate a new approach to water use with Buncombe County”; four-day workweek for city employees.
Most crucial: “We need to prepare for a post-tourism economy” and build “a community that works for current residents.”
Budget: Cut drug-enforcement funding; quit advertising Asheville; reduce personnel costs through attrition; encourage telecommuting; reduce city-vehicle use, energy costs in city buildings; quit overspending on festivals; stop Biltmore parking deck.

Jenny G. Bowen

Occupation: Finance manager, Poetry Alive!
Motivation: “I would welcome the opportunity to serve the greater community with a sound and reasonable perspective rooted in the sustainability of a prosperous future and love for the community today.”
Political spectrum: “I am more concerned with local needs and opportunities rather than the national liberal or conservative biases.”
Priorities: Approve a downtown master plan; overhaul the Unified Development Ordinance; “establish an infrastructure of transportation.”
Most crucial: Local business and economic sustainability, green policies and industry, the arts and freedom of expression, diversity, interfaith spirituality and alternative/traditional health and human services.
Budget: Support: affordable housing, health and human services, local-business development, public transportation. “Property-tax increase on all nonprimary homes” not being rented. Cut official role in/support of Asheville Film Festival.

Brian Bradley

Occupation: Therapy consultant, Medtronic
Motivation: “As a resident of the city of Asheville and a young professional in this town, I have a vested interest in seeing the city progress and move forward in a way that would continue to make it a great place to live and work.”
Political spectrum: “I believe that government in general needs to use its powers and financial means to assist those that need help.”
Priorities: “Promote responsible economic growth while tackling the issue of crime throughout the city and downtown.”
Most crucial: Developing a comprehensive plan for the city covering economic growth, expansion of green space, bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly measures.
Budget: Fund necessary expenditures and don’t cut programs that provide essential help to the less fortunate. Favors “going through the budgets and programs with a scalpel, not a machete.”

Bill Branyon

Occupation: Hotel clerk; freelance writer
Motivation: “To absorb the political fallout from resisting growth pressures. I’ll do the neck-sticking-out and take the flack, while you quietly vote to establish reasonable growth approaches.”
Political spectrum: Economic leftist; social libertarian.
Priorities: A living wage and affordable housing.
Most crucial: Same as priorities.
Budget: “Top funding should be for affordable housing, living-wage initiatives and purchase and preservation of public lands.”

Claude Jeffery Chandler

Occupation: Applying for director/office manager positions
Motivation: “I have consistently served the public in order to improve the quality of life for citizens. … I am a team player and want to build on the accomplishments [of] the current City Council members.”
Political spectrum: “More conservative in relation to fiscal policy. … In regards to social policy, I support programs and policies that are implemented with mechanisms to determine efficiency and success.”
Priorities: “Sustainable development, affordable living and economic enhancement.”
Most crucial: Economic, environmental and community sustainability.
Budget: “Top funding priorities are public safety, energy efficiency and health. To balance the budget, I propose restricting travel and training to a minimum and eliminating duplicated programs and services.”

Anthony Coxie

Occupation: Attorney
Motivation: “I feel I can apply my life and work experiences and legal knowledge to the decisions and issues that confront the city of Asheville to the benefit of the citizens of Asheville.”
Political spectrum: Moderate
Priorities: Sustainable growth and development, improving infrastructure.
Most crucial: Maintaining a careful balance of economic growth and development while protecting “the inherent beauty of our city and surrounding mountains.”
Budget: Attempt to fund essential services and enhance the quality of life while pursuing a reduction in taxes, if possible.

Abigail Emison

Occupation: Director of business development, BUILDERadius
Motivation: Improving the quality of life in Asheville by using expertise in planning and economic development.
Political spectrum: “I am a political independent and have been so since I was first registered to vote. I believe that the conservative and liberal labels have lost any true meaning, and I do not feel that I can tie myself to either set of ideologies that come with those labels.”
Priorities: Prepare Asheville for recovery from current economic crisis by planning for future growth, development and infrastructure.
Most crucial: Increasing the number of higher-wage jobs that can attract and retain young professionals.
Budget: Ask each department for recommendations for 1 percent, 2 percent and 5 percent budget cuts.

Sylvia E. Farrington

Occupation: GED/ABE instructor, disaster-assistance employee.
Motivation: “I believe that it is the basic obligation for members of a community to bring their skills and abilities to support the growth and sustainability of the communities in which they reside.”
Political spectrum: “I do not capriciously or exclusively fall on any specific, pre-defined spectrum in terms of fiscal and social policy.”
Priorities: Work-force housing, city/county cooperation on infrastructure, emergency awareness and preparedness.
Most crucial: “Promoting cross-sector collaborations to create more flexible public, private, nonprofit and academic partnerships.”
Budget: “I don’t venture to arbitrarily identify budget cuts without a comprehensive understanding and due diligence of the scope and overall context of the city’s budget.”

Clifford O. Feingold

Occupation: Dentist
Motivation: “I would like to give back to the great city of Asheville. I was raised here, and I raised two great kids here.”
Political spectrum: Fiscally conservative; “I would classify myself socially as conservative but extremely tolerant.”
Priorities: “The No. 1, 2 and 3 priorities are jobs.” Also, the city should fix the Civic Center.
Most crucial: “Improvement of necessary city services without an increase in taxes and fees.”
Budget: Fund education, new industry and business tax incentives, city promotion and downtown improvements. Reduce wasteful projects such as traffic calming, and streamline and modernize the city’s inspections and permits process.

Linda S. Fowler

Occupation: President/owner, Project Delivery Associates
Motivation: “I wish to serve on City Council because I strongly believe in our personal responsibility as citizens to support our government and our neighbors.”
Political spectrum: “I consider myself a fiscal conservative. Socially, I consider myself moderate to progressive.”
Priorities: Development guidelines/affordable-housing policy. Diversify the economic base.
Most crucial: “Creating both a sustainable culture and budget are paramount. … We must focus on preserving the character of Asheville’s neighborhoods.”
Budget: A 3 to 5 percent across-the-board cut in all departments. Evaluate drug- and gang-related policing programs. Promote greater water conservation and energy efficiency.

Bryan Freeborn

Occupation: Chief operating officer, Top Floor Studio
Motivation: “To my knowledge, no other candidates who have currently applied have served before in this capacity. Because of both my love for our city and an innate call to public service, I feel obliged to apply for this position.”
Political spectrum: “I have come to reject the strict liberal/conservative dichotomy; it becomes a barrier to achieving our goals.”
Priorities: Balance the budget, provide greater transparency, working with state and federal governments to improve transit system.
Most crucial: Won’t support new programs or initiatives, but would focus on reforming the way Council creates policy to make it more transparent and efficient.
Budget: “We need to work with our staff and our community to better identify areas of inefficiency, reduce costs and maintain (and where possible improve) our quality of service.”

Phillip H. Gray

Occupation: Private consultant/retired military
Motivation: “I am applying for this position … because I believe it to be my civic duty and responsibility to offer my expertise to the community.”
Political spectrum: “I consider myself to be in the political center while holding to some conservative values.”
Priorities: First, economic and civic growth: “Our focus must be on maintaining industry in our area and keeping the jobs here in the mountains.” Secondly, infrastructure.
Most crucial: Economic sustainability and sensible budgeting policies.
Budget: Cut fuel and overhead costs, make small cuts to culture, recreation, environment and transportation spending. “Also have to consider human-resource cuts.”

Lisa-Gaye Hall

Occupation: Self-employed marketing consultant
Motivation: “To ensure a better future for our community’s children.”
Political spectrum: “I would align myself most closely with the priorities of progressives such as Barack Obama.”
Priorities: Supports the four priorities outlined in City Council’s Strategic Operating Plan, especially the goals of making Asheville affordable and safe.
Most crucial: Economic sustainability, focusing on job creation, work-force housing, addressing homelessness and the cost of living.
Budget: Hiring freeze, possibly layoffs, as well as “tightening our belt” on vehicles and public-land maintenance. Maintaining housing and social-services budgets, as well as initiatives for work-force housing and ending homelessness.

Spencer Ellis Hardaway

Occupation: Pastor
Motivation: “I am motivated more from a sense of civic responsibility and duty.”
Political spectrum: “I would say I am a fiscal conservative with a liberal social perspective.”
Priorities: Managing growth, attracting jobs, finding solutions for housing.
Most crucial: “I believe there is not one crucial problem but several problems tied together. … A lack of education limits your job opportunities, [which] limits affordable housing.”
Budget: “How we can maintain our current level of operations without any form of reduction. … In too many situations, when tough times are on the horizon, we reduce funding to people programs.”

Phillip Hardin

Occupation: Director, McDowell County Department of Social Services
Motivation: “I am vested in this city. … I want this to be the best city to live in and the best-run government there is.”
Political spectrum: “I think I fit somewhere in the middle. … [I] would always put what’s best for the city above any political spectrum.”
Priorities: “Make sure that all of the core services are funded. I believe … that the growth of the city and how it grows is important.” Also keeping Asheville a recreational destination.
Most crucial: “Make sure we are funding the core services and take on those tough decisions about all other moneys.”
Budget: Core services. “Some attention needs to be given to the infrastructure of Asheville, as much of it is old and failing.”

Ed Hay

Occupation: Managing attorney, Pitts, Hay & Hugenschmidt
Motivation: “City Council needs someone who not only understands complex financial situations but … who can contribute right away.”
Political spectrum: “Extreme positions, whether conservative or liberal, have no place in city government. Therefore, I would serve as a moderate.”
Priorities: Fiscal issues, downtown master plan, sustainable environmental projects, affordable housing, city/county relations.
Most crucial: “Maintaining services in the face of declining revenues” while finding ways “to keep businesses open and people at work.”
Budget: “Council’s primary job will be to take a leadership role in involving the community in the difficult decisions and in making sure that everyone understands and accepts that sacrifices will have to be made.”

Rebecca Hecht

Occupation: Owner/stylist, Adorn Salon
Motivation: “Working with the [downtown master plan] advisory committee and city staff has inspired me to become even more involved.”
Political spectrum: “I am a Democrat who is centrally located and leaning to the left. I fall closer to the center on fiscal matters.”
Priorities: “Keep an eye on the economy. … Ensure that the availability of affordable housing is increased. … Ensure that new development provides benefit to the community.”
Most crucial: The development-approval process. “It is currently unclear and misunderstood by both developers and the community.” Adopt a downtown master plan.
Budget: “Make existing staff salaries and health benefits a priority. … Place a hold on hiring new nonessential personnel.” Look for grant or foundation funding.

Jan Howard

Occupation: Court-appointed advocate for abused or neglected children.
Motivation: “A desire to continue serving my community.”
Political spectrum: “Socially very liberal, fiscally conservative. I tend to stay fairly in the middle on most other issues.”
Priorities: A sound budget, infrastructure maintenance, water-system negotiations and drug/crime issues.
Most crucial: “Improve educational [opportunities for] our children of poverty — those children already dwelling in an overwhelmed social-services network.”
Budget: “Infrastructure maintenance and the reduction of ‘feel good’ fluff agendas.”

Charlie Hume

Occupation: Engineer, Eaton Corp.
Motivation: “I feel there is a need for a moderate, balanced voice on City Council, and this is what motivates me to seek this position.”
Political spectrum: Fiscal discipline while keeping an open mind.
Priorities: “Economic development and resolving the water dispute should be top priorities for City Council in the coming year.”
Most crucial: “Our biggest hurdle will be finding solutions to our long-term needs while wrestling with the current reality of a shrinking budget.”
Budget: Re-examine the process by which the city provides services; restructure the city’s bond debt.

George E. Keller

Occupation: Retired
Motivation: “Because of the state of the economy … I cannot just turn my back and say, ‘Let someone else deal with it.’”
Political spectrum: “I am fundamentally a fiscal conservative. … I am a social conservative.”
Priorities: “Keep the [central business district] cleaner. We must have a water agreement.”
Most crucial: “Easier for entrepreneurs to establish small businesses. The ‘just one more permit’ slowdowns could be reduced.”
Budget: “Top priority is public safety. [A] zero-based budget as soon as possible; determine which departments are growing at the fastest rate and why.”

Michael Kerr

Occupation: Middle-school math-and-science teacher, Asheville Catholic School
Motivation: “I have been motivated to serve my country since high school. I spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. … I would like to continue serving.”
Political spectrum: On fiscal policy a moderate conservative, on social issues a moderate.
Priorities: Representing the people, encouraging businesses to come to Asheville, ensuring good education.
Most crucial: Asheville doesn’t really fit the mold of a tourist town. The city needs studies to determine what types of industries are best suited to the area and then plan accordingly.
Budget: “Frivolous-type spending should be eliminated and money used to run the city for all people, not just a privileged few or only the people with their own very vocal agenda.”

Kathryn Liss

Occupation: Educator and mediator
Motivation: “Help the Council be less caught in a tug of war between opposing positions.”
Political spectrum: “I am a conservative in terms of fiscal policy and a liberal in terms of social policy.”
Priorities: Development downtown, a water agreement and local response to the national economic downturn.
Most crucial: “I wish to champion the cause of community collaboration. … Together we can co-create answers that will suit most of us.”
Budget: “The question of balancing the budget is a tough [one] for an outsider who has not heard all the arguments. A $3 million to $5 million shortfall [will] require some serious belt-tightening.”

Esther Elizabeth Manheimer

Occupation: Attorney
Motivation: “I care deeply about the people of Asheville and [about] seeing this city continue to experience controlled, smart growth.”
Political spectrum: “I consider myself a moderate Democrat.”
Priorities: “Initiatives or policy changes … to blunt the impact of the [economic] downturn.”
Most crucial: “The Asheville water system and the need for a workable agreement with Buncombe County.”
Budget: “Prioritize basic needs such as capital improvements to the water system and promoting affordable housing. … Continue to fund infrastructure improvements to downtown that facilitate growth for local businesses.”

Jay Marino

Occupation: General manager, Pinnacle Landscapes
Motivation: “My love for the city of Asheville, and my strong desire to have some input on how the downtown area grows and develops.”
Political spectrum: “I fall squarely in the middle. … On fiscal issues I tend to be right of center, and on social issues I tend to be left of center.”
Priorities: “The budget shortfall”; “Getting the downtown master plan done”; “Work out the water agreement with the county.”
Most crucial: “Careful development”; “Streamline the Unified Development Ordinance”; “Encourage the greening of our city [by means] of tax incentives and the like.”
Budget: “My funding priority would be to take care of our own citizens. … All essential city services must be funded.”

Catherine Martin

Occupation: Sales associate, Coldwater Creek
Motivation: “I considered that these citizens would be well served by someone with experience in city government and a level head.”
Political spectrum: Progressive — more conservative on fiscal policies than on social policies.
Priorities: Riding out the economic crisis, resolving the water dispute with Buncombe County, deciding how the city wants to grow.
Most crucial: Preparing for economic problems with tax credits for businesses that are part of “the Green Revolution.”
Budget: Priority given to core services, cuts in arts funding. “A hiring freeze is likely.”

Barber H. Melton

Occupation: Retired administrative assistant, AT&T
Motivation: “I would like to participate with the present members of Council to work on the many challenges facing the area.”
Political spectrum: “In the middle. I believe in listening to all sides of a question. How else can you make an informed decision?”
Priorities: Land-use planning, creating jobs and the water agreement. However, “the economy will set the stage for what the priorities will end up being.”
Most crucial: A reliable revenue stream other than property taxes; a regional approach to needs, bus-and-rail service and infrastructure.
Budget: “Look at combining departments with the county so services are not duplicated. Must not raise property taxes.”

William C. Meredith

Occupation: Self-employed
Motivation: “As someone who chooses to live and work in Asheville for cultural and aesthetic reasons rather than for the compensation, I understand the … challenges faced by … its citizens.”
Political spectrum: “As a libertarian, I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative.”
Priorities: “Infrastructure should be a top focus. A healthy city is a prosperous one.” Also: Competitive wages to retain police, fire and rescue personnel.
Most crucial: “The risk of overtaxation and its effect on small businesses is crucial to our current job situation. From transparency in government and policing to sound budgetary planning, I champion the cause of being an objective voice for nonpartisan cooperation.”
Budget: “Top priority should be given to infrastructure, water, power and transportation.” Privatize the golf course for $1.1 million annually and reduce spending across the board.

Kelly Miller

Occupation: Executive vice president, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
Motivation: “I want to bring my perspective and experience to the public dialogue on issues that matter most to our citizenry and taxpayers.”
Political spectrum: “As a registered independent (unaffiliated), it is my firm belief that in today’s unprecedented times, the traditional labels of conservative or liberal are no longer relevant.”
Priorities: Budget, economic development and job creation, adoption and implementation of the downtown master plan, and improving relationships between the city and other governmental bodies.
Most crucial: “A clean, safe and vibrant downtown is crucial to successfully expand or recruit businesses to the city of Asheville that create jobs, increase our tax base and improve our quality of life.”
Budget: “Without extensive background … it’s difficult to provide suggestions on specific line-item cuts. What I do bring to the table is extensive budgeting experience during financially tough times.”

Suzanne Molloy

Occupation: Real-estate broker, Keller Williams Professionals
Motivation: “My love for all of our city; a core belief that local government can effectively provide services, programs, planning and projects; … a deep-rooted desire to serve.”
Political spectrum: “Through organizational and fiscal stewardship on our ‘nonpartisan’ form of Council, I believe that we can prevent stagnation, often caused by labeling issues and individuals as ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal.’”
Priorities: Maintain levels of service in the public-safety, environmental and transportation areas. Complete projects already under way, and focus on reaffirming and building partnerships.
Most crucial: “The economy and our divided approach to economic development and sustainability.”
Budget: “I would recommend that we … look at capacity building and cost containment mechanisms that go beyond just the next few years.”

Duane “Ziggy” Nix

Occupation: Adjunct instructor, A-B Tech
Motivation: “As a native of Western North Carolina, I feel invested in my surrounding community and a need to give back to [it].”
Political spectrum: “If I were to plot out my political leanings, I would come up as fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”
Priorities: “There needs to be a consensus on the downtown master plan, the [UDO] needs to have … loopholes closed, and the city needs to promote a smart … growth pattern outside of downtown.”
Most crucial: “The largest problem is that the Asheville economy is unfortunately linked to tourism. … City Council needs to attempt to diversify Asheville’s economy.”
Budget: “Suspend all capital projects unless they are deemed urgent or have progressed too far (i.e. already in construction).”

John M. Noce

Occupation: Consultant, self-employed
Motivation: “I want to make Asheville a great place to live and work.”
Political spectrum: “I strongly believe that government is there to do what the people cannot do for themselves. Fiscally, I’m very conservative; socially, I’m more liberal.”
Priorities: “Growth plan … the city cannot just grow without a clear vision.” Also: “Economy.”
Most crucial: Asheville’s natural resources, especially water issues. “We need to fix/update old lines that are leaking. We need to have conservation measures in place.”
Budget: “Water and transportation would be my highest priorities. … I believe parks and golf courses would be lowest on my budget list.”

James W. (Bill) Oglesby

Occupation: Self-employed, Bill Oglesby Insurance and Financial Services
Motivation: “I enjoy working for my community so that others benefit from my hard work, dedication, commitment and passion.”
Political spectrum: “I have been, and always will be, a fiscally moderate conservative. My social policy embraces diversity and inclusion of all individuals.”
Priorities: Improve infrastructure, utilities and the Civic Center and make the UDO more “citizen-friendly.”
Most crucial: “The biggest issue facing us is taxation. … We should not raise taxes and cause further burdensome problems for our citizens and businesses.”
Budget: “City Council should request from the city manager that all departments bring to the Council … a 10 percent reduction of all department budgets.”

John “Jake” Quinn

Occupation: Retired federal employee, FDIC
Motivation: “I’d like to have the job description, the office, the colleagues, the pay and the perks of a Council member. And I think I would be good at the job.”
Political spectrum: “In fiscal matters I tend toward the conservative. In social matters, I tend toward the progressive.”
Priorities: “Safeguard the city’s balance sheet … pursue improved relations with Buncombe County government … consolidating [separate city plans] into one master plan.”
Most crucial: Sustainability in promoting job creation, public transit, green development, housing in all price ranges, and ensuring that property taxes don’t run small businesses and longtime residents out of town.
Budget: “I see public safety and community development as top funding priorities. I would look for reductions in environment and transportation and in parks and recreation.”

Jason Rector

Occupation: Director of sales, AquaPro Solutions
Motivation: “The recent surge in political awareness, the current credit and financial issues … and the huge ability we have to control where we will go from here have all been motivating factors.”
Political spectrum: Fiscal conservative. “My social-policy core stems from a healthy combination of conservative and liberal.”
Priorities: Protect the economy of Asheville, strengthen infrastructure, establish an identity that represents the whole community.
Most crucial: Reconnecting government and residents with each other.
Budget: “I would look for places where spending is excessive, wasteful or showing little return in either community equity or financial gain.”

Richard Sandoval

Occupation: Self-employed
Motivation: “I want to continue to be an active participant in our community.”
Political spectrum: “Fiscally and socially conservative.”
Priorities: The budget, a growth plan and the homeless.
Most crucial: “City and county governments that work together for the good of all citizens. … It is time that our [officials] work together to develop a working growth plan for the area.”
Budget: “We must review our budget line by line and make sure that we are prudent and efficient in the operation of our city.”

David Schulman

Occupation: Self-employed writer/investor, semiretired
Motivation: “I believe the current Council is imbalanced and needs more of a businessperson’s viewpoints.”
Political spectrum: “Conservative on fiscal; moderate on social.”
Priorities: “Homelessness disruptions downtown are dangerous and violate law-abiding citizens’ property and personal rights.” Decrease money for social changes and get the government out of the natural economic process.
Most crucial: Rotate items in and out of high and low priority from year to year. “This would allow for long-term problems to actually get fixed instead of piecemeal funding.”
Budget: “We do not need to raise taxes to support our wishes. … I believe government is for basic services: streets, police-and-fire protection, education [and] infrastructure.”

Gordon D. Smith

Occupation: Child and family therapist
Motivation: “Good government makes lives better. I’d like to … steer our city toward greater sustainability, defuse the emotionally charged debate over development, and help Asheville’s citizens understand how government affects [them].”
Political spectrum: “Fiscal and social policies are inherently intertwined. Conventional wisdom would likely gauge my political views as fiscally moderate and socially liberal.”
Priorities: Balance the budget, encourage increased sustainability, draft a downtown master plan and reform the UDO. Also, affordable housing and mass transit.
Most crucial: “The most crucial problem is balancing the budget.”
Budget: Pull out of Biltmore Avenue parking garage, return $400,000 from the Civic Center capital fund, postpone new vehicle purchases, make golf course revenue-neutral and suspend contribution toward public art/the Urban Trail.

Glenda P. Weinert

Occupation: President, GCW Enterprises
Motivation: “Contributory leadership! I want to be a truly active participant in the leadership of our community.”
Political spectrum: “I am socially responsible and fiscally conservative. Our obligation and commitment to taxpayers is to be good stewards of their money.”
Priorities: “Our top priority should be the budget. … Parking should be the next priority.”
Most crucial: “Our ability to manage current revenue without increasing the tax burden on citizens.”
Budget: “Before I can answer that question, I would have to do an in-depth review of the budget and learn more about operations.”

Linda Carol Williams

Occupation: Teacher assistant, Asheville City Schools Preschool
Motivation: “My sole motivation for applying for this role is a desire to serve the public as an advocate for Asheville, who will faithfully perform the serious responsibilities entrusted to me.”
Political spectrum: “My views emphasize the rights of citizens to enjoy equality of opportunity for both individuals and business interests.”
Priorities: “Expanding our economy beyond the tourism sector and service jobs, especially by encouraging a green economy.”
Most crucial: “The financial situation of the working class is a crucial problem that challenges our community.”
Budget: “I would like to encourage funding for economic development projects with emphasis on redeveloping Asheville … [to save staff time] I would like to see land development processes consolidated and streamlined.”

Brian P. Woods

Occupation: Marketing consultant
Motivation: “Importance of public service; providing a voice for the young people in our city.”
Political spectrum: “I favor the guarantee of equal rights and entitlements to all people. I favor an economic policy of prudence in government spending and debt.”
Priorities: “Affordable housing for all residents … creating a better economic climate with green initiatives.”
Most crucial: “Creating new jobs and helping the average worker cope with the rising cost of living. … [Fostering] a program to attract green businesses.”
Budget: “Make reductions in nonessential areas like culture and recreation. … Lowering costs through energy-reduction methods.” Adjust fee schedule at the Civic Center to bring in revenue.

John Yarnall

Occupation: President, Woodsong Carpentry Services
Motivation: “Asheville has been very good to me and my wife, providing us with the type of community and professional opportunities we have always sought. It is my hope I can provide the same for every citizen of the city.”
Political spectrum: Fiscally conservative, socially liberal.
Priorities: Economic development, affordable housing and education.
Most crucial: Attracting lucrative, green, high-tech jobs to the area.
Budget: Basic city services will get top priority; delay capital improvements in the park system, slow projects in the capital-improvements program.

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3 thoughts on “47 hats in the ring

  1. jen

    After seeing this long list I would have to say that experience is most important. I see a little bit of everyone here, but only a few that really stand out. I just hope the interview process will be quite thorough because the answers to the few questions above shed very little light for me into who these people are or where they have been in life.

  2. dave

    Claude Jeffery Chandler’s “Occupation” is “Applying for director/office manager positions”?

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