Lindsey Simerly and other independent Council candidates await final word on elections

It’s the morning of July 31, and the Buncombe County Board of Elections is still scrambling to process every last signature on the Let Asheville Vote petition, which would force a referendum on the issue of partisan elections. If the board finds by the end of the day today that petitioners collected enough valid signatures, Asheville City Council’s June decision to switch to partisan elections will be placed on hold, and this year’s elections will most likely revert back to nonpartisan.

If partisan elections do stay in place, however, independent candidates will have to gather 2,300 signatures by Sept. 21 to be counted in the race.

For Lindsey Simerly, an independent candidate, gaining the requisite number of signatures to earn her spot on the November ballot will be no easy feat, especially when she plans to spend next to nothing on her campaign. In her words, “Campaign spending is one of the most wasteful uses of money there is.” And to be true to her environmental ideals, she plans to make her campaign as paperless as possible: “It is a direct contradiction to print thousands of leaflets advertising how environmental you are,” she argues. “We are not doing this.”

Running under the campaign slogan, “Resistance Now! No Compromise in Defense of Our Communities and Our Land!” there is no mystery as to where Simerly stands on development. “Our mountains have been under attack by developers who do not respect the environment or their neighbors,” she says in a prepared statement. “We need a moratorium on development … so our city has time to come up with a holistic plan for growth in Asheville.” Other key issues for her campaign include affordable housing and social justice.

The Buncombe County Board of Elections says that under the present system, there is no official roster for independents. Until unaffiliated candidates have submitted their bundles of signatures, they’re on their own when it comes to getting the word out. But depending on what happens at the Board of Elections, that all could change very soon. The board is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. today. Stay tuned for an update.

— Rebecca Bowe, editorial assistant


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16 thoughts on “Lindsey Simerly and other independent Council candidates await final word on elections

  1. Still Learning

    I’m amazed at candidates who want to stop or severely restrict development, then say they are for affordable housing.
    Think of the economics. When demand is steady, if you begin to restrict supply more severely than before, cost and price will increase faster than before. This is true of everything from rice to raincoats and from jewels to jar lids.
    And it’s true for land and homes.
    I’m also amazed at the limited amount of reporting and commentary on the true environmental impacts of restricting development in WNC’s urban county. If this candidate’s position forces Asheville’s workers to seek affordable homes farther out (more and more are moving to surrounding counties), will that be judged as environmentally sound?
    How about auto emissions? Is that really sustainable?
    For a good ongoing discussion of this topic, check out .

  2. Lindsey Simerly

    If building more homes makes housing more affordable then New York City, Chicago and Atlanta would be the cheapest cities in the country. This is obviously not true… but i can’t argue with you on the jar lids.

  3. Still Learning

    There are parts of those cities that are not outrageously priced (except Manhattan of course, which is only one part of NYC).

    I wonder if all of those cities have prices escalating at Asheville’s 8% average annual increase since the Unified Development Ordinance severely restricted multifamily housing in Asheville (i.e. super-exclusivized many Asheville neighborhoods), or Asheville’s average 10-15% annual increases in 2003-2006.

    One thing is for certain, if those cities you name (NY, Chicago, Atlanta) and others had restricted supply more severely than they did, if they were as anti-renter and anti-multi-family as Asheville over the past many years, they would, today, be much more expensive than they are.

    Intentionally restricting our housing supply must be defended for what it is, if that is your intent. If not, then demonstrate how we can adopt your strict land use controls without restricting supply. That is, exactly where would you build, and how much, of what type.

    Either say you are anti-development and intentionally restricting housing supply (becha’ won’t, they never do) or be very specific about what development you will support (again, where, how much, how many per building, how many per site, etc.).

    Again, there is a more detailed discussion of these issues, including input from the current CAN president, at: .

  4. Lindsey Simerly

    I will come out and be honest. I am completely anti-high-priced development, whether it is downtown or on a mountain side.
    I am extremly pro-renter (I am one myself and probably will be for a while) and pro multifamily building. We do need more affordable rentals, but the rentals that we build need to respect the environment and the neighbors at the same time.
    That being said, projects like the Ellington which will only house the wealthy are not helpful to this city’s poor and middle class. We need to look at the socio-economic impacts of mountain top communities and million dollar condos and see what these projects do to the rest of us, and to our land.
    So yes, I am for intentionally restricting housing supply for the wealthy. There is plenty of it already in my opinion, and the more that we build, the more our rent goes up.
    Thanks for taking the time to respond to me. I think you are on the right track about a lot of things. I don’t have all of the answers, I am just a poor person who sees what high-priced developments are doing to my city, my neighbors, my friends, and our environment.

  5. I wish there was a candidate who would at least say “Hey, I’m going to run for office and get nothing done”, that way, when they fulfill their campaign promise, I will be happy.

    I also wish we could have a none of the above box on our ballot.

    Everyone’s talking, but noone is actually saying anything.

  6. anon

    well then jason, they are going to reopen filing for council, why don’t you run?

  7. Why don’t I run? Because I know that the things I care about and would like to see happen would never be done. Good people shouldn’t go into politics on any level, in my opinion. What do I care about? I care about the Civic Center. If it were up to me I’d build an arena somewhere near the Biltmore Square Mall. I’d build a proper performing arts center somewhere in town, probably where the Civic Center used to be. I’d seek the money for this through bonds, and I’d try to lure private investors into this. For selfish reasons I’d like to see hockey return to Asheville.

    I’d also set up a 5 person review board for the Police Department, with three appointed positions and two elected ones.

    I’d make it mandatory that I get to point and laugh at Robin Cape during every City Council meeting.

    I’d try to work with the county to resolve the water agreement, and work with the parks and recration department to implement something for teenagers to do that doesn’t suck so they don’t cruise Patton in West Asheville on weekends.

    I’d move the city towards using biodiesel on all of it’s vehicles.

    I’d also like to see the sheriff become a non partisan and non elected office, although I think that’s a county issue.

    I’d do what I could help limit development, but without telling people how and where they can spend there money. Although I think that’s impossible. When in doubt, I’d defer to people who are buying the homes, because quite frankly I find it arrogant to impose my beliefs on others.

    I’d also taser bums in Pritchard Park. This wouldn’t be an official government action, but just something for fun. Hey, I’m city council and I’m above the law, right?

  8. anon

    from your comments, i am assuming that you are a white male? without knowing anything about you, i’d say that is pretty much a given

  9. You go, Jason! I’ll vote for ya. A far better platform than that of the majority currently in city council.

  10. Hey, anon… so what if Jason’s a white male. We’re an oppressed majority and we demand our rights.

    Thank you.

  11. silverman

    durnit jason,

    dont go and have a platform that i agree with. i mean, i think i’d vote for you, and that leaves me angered and confused.

    you for city council and doug stanhope for pres.

    and i wanna heckle robin cape, also. can i can i, huhuhuh?

  12. Naydeehn

    I’m from a town that was much like Asheville in population and income in the early 90s. There was a considerable amount of wealth but there was also a strong working class and middle class. We had things like orange trees and camping in your neighborhood and swimming in the canal across the street.

    When they started to build more homes no one really thought much of it. When the homes started to become high rise condos with penthouse suites, people thought how pretty it was. When the homes and high rises gave way to mansions and no lawns and an over developed beach that has lost much of it’s appeal since it became people’s back years, people started to get nervous.

    A couple of years ago the county hired 11 new school teachers for the year. Before the school year had begun, 8 of those newly hired teachers had left. Why? They couldn’t afford to live in the area on their salaries.

    Hello, Asheville, welcome to 2017.

    Go Lindsey.

  13. ashevilleman

    Lindsay… you show your extreme ignorance on how the real world works. Who do you think pays the property taxes that run this city? It’s the people that own houses and pay property taxes. Rich people own more expensive houses and pay more in property taxes. These rich people also go out to eat and shop at our stores. This puts more money in our local economy which leads to more jobs, higher wages, and more opportunity. Anytime you restrict development, you are going to lower supply which will increase the price of houses. As far as rent goes, a portion of the rent you pay is to cover the property taxes of the building. If the property taxes go up, the rent goes up. If you restrict development, then the buildings value goes up. And, then, the buildings property taxes go up even more. Cutting the city’s budget and lowering property taxes or finding other revenue streams for the city is the only way you are going to lower rents.

    You have a lot to learn before you should be trusted to run a city.

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