A group of local progressive community activists has created the Vance Policy Institute, whose initial goal is to bring greater openness and transparency to local government operations and decisions in Asheville and Buncombe County.
The newly formed “think tank” is the creation of local blogger Gordon Smith of Scrutiny Hooligans, former Xpress writer and editor Cecil Bothwell, and fellow community activists Jim Barton, B.J. Snow and Michael McDonough. The institute is named after the 19th-century N.C. senator and governor, Zebulon Vance of Asheville — namesake of downtown’s obelisk monument.
Here’s a quick synopsis of the group’s intent, though it appears to be just a precursor to a greater effort to help shape public policy on a wealth of local issues:
“Vance Policy Institute (VPI) is a newly formed think tank dedicated to identifying problems and providing effective policy solutions for issues in Asheville and Buncombe County. VPI is rolling out its first policy ‘white paper’ at Tuesday’s [Dec. 4] County Commission meeting during the public comment period. From the paper:
‘The Vance Policy Institute’s mission is to explore, propose and advocate sound public policies. We are committed to enlightened, systemic changes in both Asheville municipal and Buncombe county governments through a process that identifies significant problems, considers solutions from all stakeholders, then proposes only those policies that will result in the greatest good for the greatest number.’”
For a fuller report on the new think tank, check out the Dec. 12 issue of Xpress.
— Hal L. Millard, staff writer