Homeless, advocates rally against Mumpower’s call for photos

This afternoon about a dozen homeless persons and their advocates staged a brief but impassioned rally in Asheville’s Pritchard Park.

The gathering was a protest of City Council member Carl Mumpower‘s recent e-mail solicitation for digital photos he hoped would convey “the authentic reality of our problems with vagrant/addict misbehavior downtown.” Mumpower said he would use the photos in an upcoming presentation to City Council (see the full text of that e-mail below).

The Rev. Amy Cantrell, who helped lead the rally, said: “This is a deep invasion of privacy. Unfortunately it’s not illegal, but it should be. … We see the erosion of rights in our country all the time, and I think those at the bottom have their rights eroded first.”

Signs held by participants carried messages including:

“Don’t know me? Don’t snap my picture!”

“Send your photos of your bad moments to City Council!!!”

“Love is the solution, not shame, ridicule and condemnation.”

— Jon Elliston, news editor, with reporting by David Forbes


From:   DrMumpower@aol.com
Subject: Vagrant misbehavior
Date: June 12, 2007 8:33:36 AM EDT
To: [multiple recipients]

From: Carl Mumpower

To: Asheville residents

Subject: Confronting panhandling, public misbehavior, etc. downtown

Good morning – I am in the process of developing a presentation for Council on confronting the authentic reality of our problems with vagrant/addict misbehavior downtown. I would appreciate any digital photos that illustrate the reality.

Please feel free to share this email with any person or email list that might illicit interest, pro or con.

Many thanks,

Carl Mumpower
Asheville City Council

About Jon Elliston
Former Mountain Xpress managing editor Jon Elliston is the senior editor at WNC magazine.

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11 thoughts on “Homeless, advocates rally against Mumpower’s call for photos

  1. Orbit DVD

    While waiting for a table at Tupelo Honey last night, a guy yelling for five minutes across the street gave my daughter a colorful vocabulary lesson.

    They should try to help the ones with legitimate problems and put the rest on a bus.


  2. I’d help but I don’t have the time to sit around downtown waiting for some vagrant to exhibit anti-social behavior.

  3. Thunder Pig

    To the Sign-holder warning me not to snap her pic:
    It is legal to take anyone’s photo as long as the photo-taker is on public property and the subject of the photo is visible. If you don’t want your photo snapped, stay off public property.
    There’s the rub about public property, everybody owns it.

    General Comment:
    I’ll be in Asheville next week, so I will make a point to shoot some photos and videos should I see anything amiss. Personally, I have never had a bad experience with the Asheville Homeless, from my perspective, they have been mostly harmless.

  4. dankster

    Earth is home – nobody is homeless – the earth provides us all of our human needs – money in your pocket, and a roof over your head,makes you no better of a person – natural disasters happen all the time.this so called homeless problem is never going to end.The gap between haves and have-nots is getting larger everyday. – and as far as put them all on a bus,isn’t that what Atlanta did – put THEM (those people) on a bus and sent them here,back when Atlanta had the Olympics.The solution is LOVE and only LOVE – not Greed.

  5. to “orbit”

    ‘they’ do put ‘them’ on a bus. it’s how they got here in the first place.

    is shipping them from town to town a real solution?

    at least you can afford to take your daughter to a fairly pricey restruant for dinner.

  6. orbit dvd

    To Silverman,

    I am well aware of other cities shipping their homeless to us.

    If you read my post correctly I said to “help those with legitimate problems,” meaning those with mental or substance abuse issues. I think we all can agree that our mental health system is in crisis. I personally have had several friends that have ended up on the streets due to mental illness, ignored by a government that doesn’t look out for them. However, there are many young people on the street that choose to do so. They are perfectly capable of working.

    And as far as being able to afford a “fairly pricey” restaurant, many of Tupelo Honey’s employees have supported me throughout the years, as well as many other downtown workers. I choose to eat there in turn to support them… it’s called community.


  7. Thunder Pig

    Don’t forget the prison systems of both North Carolina and the federal Bureau of Prisons have released people to Asheville…not sure whether they still are, though.

    The Salvation Army on Haywood Street has a program to accept recently released Federal inmates for a short time, and some of them transfer over to the homeless side of the shelter.

  8. FredZepplin

    I have a solution to this whole thing: Send the craziest homeless bastards to Chapel Hill. It’s about 30 bucks for a one way bus ticket and the truly compassionate folks like the ones holding the signs should be willing to spring for that much as least if they really care. In Chapel Hill the slobbering, drolling loonies won’t be noticed by anyone if they hang out on Franklin Street, and they can be fed by the 24/7 food kitchen a block away, and reside at the high tech homeless center in Carrboro. Here’s a map you can print out for those homeless who can read:


  9. silverman

    does anyone remember ‘johnny”? he was a downtown fixture for years. did the micheal jackson thing. EEhEE!!
    anyway, last i saw the city had shipped him down there. i saw him hanging out in front of the carborough food co-op with a bunch of hippies. he seemed happy.

  10. Orbit DVD

    Was Johnny the black guy who played Van Halen and yelled at women? I haven’t seen that dude in years.

    I’m afraid that my favorite new guy is gone too, Jingle Jangle. He was a dirty dready with spoons and pots attached to his clothing. After awhile we saw him walking around holding a kitten in his mouth, and I fear that PETA absconded him in an unmarked van.


  11. mattcwood72

    This man is really barking up the wrong tree. He truly does not know what addict behavior is. Just because a hand full of homeless use drugs or drink he lumps them all into one group. He really needs education on addiction if he is going to bring the true problem and solutions to the council. Basically he does not know what he is talking about. point blank.

    matthew wood

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