Council votes to demolish Vance Monument

CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE: For decades, Asheville’s Vance Monument has been the site of community gatherings and protests, like the 2017 rally against white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, pictured above. Asheville City Council has approved the monument’s demolition, which will occur within 45 days. Photo by Carolyn Morrisroe

Asheville’s Vance Monument is coming down. 

At Asheville City Council’s meeting of March 23, members voted 6-1 to demolish the 75-foot obelisk named after Confederate Gov. Zebulon Vance. “I’ve come to realize that the Vance Monument no longer reflects, and probably never reflected, the values of our community,” Mayor Esther Manheimer said. “I’m looking forward to the day we can have a centerpiece in our city that reflects Asheville today. And I’m proud to be part of the Council that will make this change.” 

That change comes at a price: A $114,500 bid to remove the monument was awarded to Asheville contractor Chonzie. A separate $25,535 contract for temporary site restoration will go to Asheville-based MS Lean Landscaping. 

After the monument is gone, the city will begin crafting a “comprehensive Community Vision document” to inform the future direction of its downtown plaza, costing up to $70,000. A planning phase to solicit public engagement will run through the fall, said Jade Dundas, Asheville’s public works director. The final report is expected to go before Council this winter. 

In February, the joint city-county Vance Monument Task Force shared ideas for the future of Pack Square in its final recommendations to Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Task force members asked that a redesign include recognition of the Cherokee presence on the site before 1792, as well as “some measure of special recognition to the Asheville Student Committee on Racial Equality, including students, mentors and leaders and the desegregation they set in motion.” 

The task force also created a list of over 100 Black citizens and notable events to incorporate into future site planning following the monument’s removal.

Council member Sandra Kilgore, one of the body’s three Black members, was the sole vote against the removal of the obelisk — or, as she called it, a “piece of art.” (Kilgore had previously written a commentary for the Jan. 27 issue of Xpress advocating for the monument to be repurposed.) In a series of emotional pleas to her colleagues, she recounted personal stories of racism and urged members to think about potential retaliatory violence white supremacy groups may inflict on Black residents. 


“I hear comments from people saying this monument hurts Black people,” Kilgore said.

“And it hurts me every time they say that, because I’m not in pain. The people I know are not in pain. What pains me is seeing Black males out here who can’t get a job. It pains me when I see Black males having to go on the street and fight and kill each other over drugs and things like that to make a living to take care of their family. What hurts me is the health care system that does not apply to people that look like me. I truly believe what we’re looking at here will hurt Black people.”

In other news

James Carter, Jacquelyn Carr McHargue and Peyton O’Conner are the three newly appointed members of the Asheville City Board of Education. The decisions by Council mark an end to a contentious process that had netted significant criticism from the Asheville City Association of Educators and Asheville City Schools parents. 

McHargue was the only consensus choice from the seven candidates Council had interviewed earlier in the day; she was also the only new member to have been endorsed by the ACAE. Council members Antanette Mosley and Gwen Wisler did not support Carter in an initial round of voting; O’Conner, whom only Sage Turner and Sheneika Smith had backed in the first round, was chosen as the third board member after Manheimer and Kim Roney offered their support in a second round of votes.

“We had amazing candidates, and it was really a tough decision,” Wisler said after the last votes were cast. “It’s a grueling process, and I want to thank all the people who went through it. And for the people who have served on the school board, thank you for your amazing years of service.” 

McHargue is the dean of students at UNC Asheville. O’Conner works as the director of Buncombe County Recreation Services. Carter, the only incumbent to be reappointed, was first appointed to fill the term of outgoing member James Lee in 2019. Incumbents Joyce Brown and Patricia Griffin were not chosen for another term.

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About Molly Horak
Molly is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and writer for Mountain Xpress. Her work has appeared in the Citizen-Times, News and Observer and Charlotte Observer. Follow me @molly_horak

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56 thoughts on “Council votes to demolish Vance Monument

  1. Lan Sluder

    Yes, it is important to get rid of the legacies of racism, and the Vance Monument stood as a memorial to something that should not have been memorialized, but I wonder if there is not a better way to spend more than $200,000 in taxpayer money (and I suspect that’s only the tip of the iceberg) than on tearing down and destroying this old stone obelisk? Could the money be used instead to repurpose a part of the monument as a tribute to the contributions of Black people in Asheville and WNC and to promote civil and voting rights here?

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    • Jason Williams

      The money could be better spent actually helping Asheville’s minority community

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      • James

        Here’s an idea… how about we do both? Where does it say this was an either or situation? Rather than spending money trashing medic stations and beating up volunteer medics we could use THAT money to help Asheville’s minority community,

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    Do the children of the mayor and city council know how evil their moms are ?
    It’s time they know.

    • bsummers

      If you’re counting on anonymity just now, think again, Fred “Fisher” Caudle.

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    • Roger

      You can always be counted on for the negative view you maintain. Sandra Kilgore is the only rational voice at city council, but the six members who think the way you do will fade into history while those like Ms. Kilgore will hopefully go on to become a future major of this city and will govern on behalf of those who are offended by outsiders who rule with sanctimonious righteousness about who is wrong and who is right. This is a bad thing and it is the result of idiots who think they can hide their own flaws behind a facade of righteousness. I hope that this action is stopped and those who think they are free of fault must face at some point in time the fact that they themselves have acted undemocratic and are a shame upon this city body.

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      • Peter Robbins

        Negative views? Sometimes the word “good” has positive connotations. As in the phrase “good riddance.”

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      • bsummers

        Kilgore’s argument is that Blacks will be punished by white supremacists if the monument is taken down. I’ve seen many other local POC who do not believe this should dissuade us from doing what we believe is right, and removing this symbol of racism.

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        • Voirdire

          I’m curious how the Vance Monument became to be seem as a symbol of racism. I mean, it was obviously erected to honor the wartime governor of North Carolina and his contributions to the state during that difficult time and thereafter. Did he own a few slaves? Well, I’m not sure, but I believe his family did, so I suppose that’s close enough in this brave new world we live in. But then again, what white prosperous -and sometimes not all that prosperous folks- didn’t in the old south? Not a whole lot I’m afraid. But well, let’s get to it. Samuel Ashe, whom Asheville was named after was a much larger slave owner than Governor Vance…. got to change the name of this town for sure. I suggest something historically relevant but politically correct as it can possibly be. Altamont? Nope, that racist hometown fellow -Thomas Wolfe- his moniker won’t do. Gosh, this is going to be a difficult task….. hummm, best of luck with it. Oh, and thank you Ms. Kilgore for so clearly pointing out what really has so long hurt the black community of Asheville. Your efforts in regard to all of this are applaudable and appreciated by many. Make no mistake about it. And as for souring the white community in regard to getting behind real, long overdue initiatives that will help the black community move forward….. well, I can only speak for myself of course…. but I think that will not come to pass. Pretty sure of it anyway. God bless you.

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          • Peter Robbins

            For Vance, white supremacy was not an incidental flaw in an otherwise exemplary life . It was the guiding passion of his entire public career — and remained so long after better citizens had abandoned the cause. That record, when judged against the standards of his time, does not deserve honor.

            As far was renaming Asheville, how about “Pepsi Town”? I don’t think anyone could object to that.

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          • Enlightened Enigma

            Yep, until the name of Asheville is changed all the rest is pure bullshite. The obelisk is NOT a ‘confederate’ statue.
            Ironic that Ms. Kilgore is smartly dissenting. She must be smarter than the others, right ?

            Zeb Vance was a major Jewish supporter yet Esther condemns.

          • James

            The statue is dedicated to “Confederate Soldier War Governor” so it is completely a Confederate monument. Says so right on the monument, Fred Caudle. And it is dedicated to someone who participated in the slaughter of 120,000 American troops. Something no real patriotic American would stand for. THAT is why we demolish Vance and not someone just for being a slave owner.

      • Mike R.

        I thought Councilwoman Kilgore’s views on keeping and repurposing the monument were the right thing to do as well and I sent her and Council and email supporting her on that.

        However, if the quote above is accurate, then I have to reassess my support of Ms. Kilgore:

        “What pains me is seeing Black males out here who can’t get a job. It pains me when I see Black males having to go on the street and fight and kill each other over drugs and things like that to make a living to take care of their family.”

        Do people really believe that the numerous arrested black males involved with hard drugs and guns are doing this to “support their families”? Really?

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        • Roger

          Ms. Kilgore, in fact, reflected the majority of views so expressed in previous comments to Xpress, on several occasions, whenever the paper published articles about this matter. The most insightful comments which supported repurposing the monument also reflected a quality of reasoning that is lacking from those like Robbins and “summers,” two of the more radical and emotional responders of “hate” who apparently think that ridding the city of old monuments will alter a corresponding “racism” that is just a prevalent in the North as it is in the South. I suspect that Robbins and Summers hide from their own subtle form of racism, their own lack of understanding about the nation’s past, and that the public expression of their radical views is meant to conceal their own fragility of character. I think it would be wise of the citizens to call for an injunction against what the Mayor has supported, and that the future of the monument be put to a referendum so that all the residents of Buncombe County will have an equal say in what happens at the heart of their county seat. Outsiders who insist upon “cleansing” anyone who thinks differently than they do are the real problem against progress; not the solution to the sins of the past.

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          • Peter Robbins

            Uh, Roger, old pal, I wrote a commentary three-and-a-half years ago about what I thought should be done with the monument. If you’ll notice, the changes I suggested back then are considerably more modest than the history-erasing ones you now embrace to save the obelisk. https://mountainx.com/opinion/a-modest-proposal-for-the-vance-monument/. I don’t begrudge your more radical turn, though. Attitudes change and we must adapt to the times.

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          • Peter Robbins

            Perhaps, Roger, you should explain why the Vance name should be removed entirely from the “repurposed” obelisk, as Council Member Kilgore proposed (and I did not). Make a rational and unemotional pitch — one mercifully devoid of personal invective and imaginary phantoms — and you might bring me around to your point of view. I’m actually undecided on whether or not the pile of stones needs to go.

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          • James

            If we took the name off the Statue of Liberty or the Washington Monument but left it as is otherwise would that really change people calling it by those names and still believing in the original purpose? A monument to treason and racism by any other name would smell just as foul.

          • Peter Robbins

            James: We changed Mt. McKinley back to Denali with positive effects. It’s not impossible.

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  3. JustJoe

    Just curious if anyone expects lawsuits/injunctions to be filed against the COA?

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    • Roger

      Taking action against doing something inappropriate and expensive would be the right path forward. We are witness to a brief epoch in time when hate and emotion are the rule of the day, and made to be aggressive against any voice that does not agree with these inane politicians who give over their minds to what has been determined for them to be the “politically correct” action to implement. these emotional city council members are out to remove whatever threat to their agenda they happen to perceive is there to be attacked and removed: just the opposite of the democracy credo. This decision at city council is wrong and there is no way to spin this that will ever make this action a victory for the pages of local history.

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      • bsummers

        there is no way to spin this that will ever make this action a victory for the pages of local history

        Except that quite a few people agree with this action. And it’s too bad you only see this as a “victory” for somebody. Nobody has “won” here. This is about preventing future generations of all colors from losing.

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        • Roger

          Your reasoning is pure BS and against the democratic credo that must now be returned so that all voices have an equal chance to be heard, and listened to for the right reasons. Ms. Kilgore is the voice of reason that is sorely needed in the city, a local voice that returns integrity and democracy to our government. Hopefully, your backward voice will spur the proper action to remove “politically correct” radicals from ever gaining ground against the majority of citizens fed up with the extreme actions from “outsiders.”

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          • Roger

            You’re entitled to your views, but that does not make either you or your radical left mob members right about a backward focus upon inanimate objects. I think you’re consumed by the righteous notion you maintain about being right while anyone who thinks differently is wrong. You’re part of the problem with those who want to keep the country divided at a time when working together for a healthy future and a just and equitable community for all is what’s needed. Your destructive, sanctimonious activism is toxic and quite intolerant of anyone else not inclined to share your view. In fact, I think you’re a bully and an obnoxious political animal.

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          • Peter Robbins

            At whom are you hurling these thunderbolts, Roger? You appear to be talking to yourself.

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        • Roger

          Your reasoning is pure BS and against the democratic credo that must now be returned so that all voices have an equal chance to be heard, and listened to for the right reasons. Ms. Kilgore is the voice of reason that is sorely needed in the city, a local voice that returns integrity and democracy to our government. Hopefully, your backward voice will spur the proper action to remove “politically correct” radicals from ever gaining ground against the majority of citizens fed up with the extreme actions from “outsiders.” And, so what if I already said it one; it needs to be said again and again until We The People stand against undemocratic rule.

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          • Peter Robbins

            Undemocratic? The change was approved by a representative body; it was recommended by a blue-ribbon citizen panel; and it was influenced, to an extent, by direct mob action. That meets several definitions of democratic rule.

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          • James

            Will you insist on monuments to the 1/6 Capitol attackers as well? You know… to “own the libs?”

          • bsummers

            “Will you insist on monuments to the 1/6 Capitol attackers as well?”

            Well, some of them were carrying the Confederate flag into the Capitol, so that makes it Heritage Not Hate.

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        • Roger

          “Quite a few people” does not equate to “democracy,” nor does it have anything whatsoever to do with future generations. It has everything to do with “politically correct” idiots who have at a given moment in time used “hate” and “emotion” to confuse less-informed members of the electorate into thinking idiots like you know what is best for the future, and then seeing you do whatever is politically expedient to control what happens when a radical body of activists do whatever they can do to divide the community and overturn the process for their own gain. Activists like you and Robbins (and wrong-headed members of city council) cannot be thought of as representing a majority, nor doing what is best for the future. You and others like you are anything but “progressive.” You’re more like those, that from any other moment in time when power and control are briefly gained, out to tell everybody else how wrong they are because they do not and cannot agree with a destructive agenda (which in this case insists that a public monument from the past be destroyed). Look at the number of “thumbs down” at your posts and at others like yours that demonstrate a lack of support for your view, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll understand what those like myself are attempting to get across to you and members of City Council who are wrong to not listen to Ms. Kilgore and other voices from local native sons and daughters who object to this wrong-headed course of destruction. These city council members and the Mayor are wrong-headed to do what might be expedient for their political party now; but not what is good for the future of our community or the nation. You’re absolutely wrong to pursue such a negative political agenda. I hope that State leaders will sue for an injunction against this hateful act. You’re not uniting the community; you’re dividing it for pure partisan purposes. Shame on you and others like you, and on those members of city council, including the Mayor, who refuse to listen to a newly-elected Black member of council whose voice has been stifled by radical council members who lack vision or a democratic spirit. Shame own you all.

          • James

            The only shame is on those who demand we continue to honor people who killed over 120,000 American troops in the pursuit of enslaving, torturing and killing people based on their race. Should we be “uniting our community” with Al Qaeda as well by putting up statues of the 9/11 hijackers? Traitors are the ones tearing this country apart. Like your buddies did on 1/6 at our nation’s Capitol.

          • Peter Robbins

            Roger, my man: If you want to criticize my position, at least try to state it with a minimal respect for the facts. As I said before, I don’t insist that the obelisk necessarily be destroyed. I want to ashcan (or at least significantly diminish) the Vance name. That’s all. I see some merit in Council Member Kilgore’s desire to preserve the old pile of stones as an abstract piece of sculpture (although I find the artistic value of the thing dubious and the rededication to Lady Unity downright naive). I also see merit in the idea of tearing down the obelisk completely to dramatize a clean break with the racism of the past. Both are positive approaches to the issue in my opinion, and I’m not sure which I like better. I hardly think the former viewpoint was unjustly stifled merely because it did not convince the majority of the City Council. And, like Barry, I do see something wrong with Ms. Kilgore’s apparent willingness to let fear of a white backlash dictate public policy. Start down that road and our democracy will end up having to change the results of a legitimate election to keep armed yahoos from storming the Capitol to . . . oh wait, we’re almost there anyway, aren’t we?

            ps. Let me know how many “thumbs up” I get this time. I suspect there’s a glitch in the system.

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          • Roger

            James and his radical left mob members remind us of the Taliban and other extremists who use the past to prosecute anyone who stands against their insane “cancel culture” agenda. We know now that the World is turning against this domestic-born political movement and its agenda to tear down anything and everything for their “politically correct” theatrics. France, Australia, and other nations are now speaking out about this insane, brutal movement that garners support from extremists elsewhere out to terrorize our communities and push their Marxist/Communist agenda. The World and the American People are waking up to this destructive movement, even Blacks in communities from around the country whose leaders are speaking out against a movement that uses them to raise monies that go abroad for extreme leftist causes. BLM used to be a respected movement, but its core leaders are now recognized for their dishonest actions not meant to bring about positive change. In my view, the radical members at city council (including the Mayor) are now seen as partisans who cannot even support a newly-elected, native-born Black member [meaning Ms. Kilgore] of the council who is against the destruction of the monument in question. You are seen as a radical mob of White politicians who could care less about democracy or those who oppose the removal of the Richard Sharp Smith designed monument. Shame on you, and shame of those idiots whose insane comments here reflect upon their immature character and wrong-headed political agenda. These activists are backward, in that their focus is upon the past; backward because they believe in a destructive agenda that they are convinced will outlast its backward purpose.

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  4. Holly Simms

    What an awful lot of money to repurpose that space. I’ll bet there are dozens of local Master Gardeners, Sculptors, and other resourceful people right here in Asheville who could have done that precious plot of land proud for this fine city. How can seemingly civic-minded “champions of the city of Asheville” continually miss the obvious?

    • James

      What’s obvious is that you miss the idea and purpose behind the Vance monument. Who he was. What he and the Confederates did. What the Jim Crow folks lead by him did afterwards. And the legacy of what it does to a community to this day. How can seemingly civic minded Holly Simms miss the obvious?

  5. Xiden lost, we all know it.

    Asheville, continuing to be the sphincter of western North Carolina.

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  6. North Asheville

    Destroy a work by the distinguished architect Richard Sharpe Smith, that in itself, without any “memorial” attached, is a non-representational work of art? Don’t want it at the center of the city? Move it, dedicate it to Richard Sharpe Smith. Destroying works of art because they have ideological implications we disagree with is what the Taliban did. It’s an obelisk, it’s not a general on a horse.
    And why does Charleston tolerate the Old Slave Mart Museum? https://www.charleston-sc.gov/160/Old-Slave-Mart-Museum. Why didn’t they demolish it?

    • James

      The Slave Museum is about the victims of the atrocity. it is not about glorifying the scum who perpetrated it like the Vance Monument to racism and Treason does.

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  7. Pedro

    Worst education gap in the state. Remember that when all these limousine liberals celebrate this monument coming down. Just like voting for the reparations and then realizing they won’t be able to pay for it. Weak leadership and stupid citizens who voted for them. Except Sandra Kilgore, her common sense approach to things is so freaking refreshing.

  8. Curious

    I’m curious as to why Jewish people didn’t insist that Auscbwjtz and other concentration camps be torn down?

  9. Stan Hawkins

    I can only wonder what unintended consequences we will witness of this process of demolition. Setting re-fighting the civil award aside for a moment, (the North won – the South surrendered) what is the most efficient use of these public dollars should be the top consideration.

    How many tens of thousand of dollars are we adding another $100,000 – $200,000 to for demolition? I am sure volunteers could have been obtained, skilled in the areas needed, to re-purpose the stone structure to many good causes. Will we wish we had these $200,000 or so dollars to help Manna Food Bank for example stay viable, if we face uncertainties we cannot now see? What will politicians say to us then? What will we say to each other? Will we still be divided?

    • Roger

      Thank you, Mr. Hawkins, for your voice of reason. You have communicated exactly what these silly politicians at city council need to hear )and have had ample chance to hear well before now) even if they are so hard-headed with their “righteous” action to put their toxic stamp of illogical reasoning to bear upon our city and its future. These radical partisans don’t seem to understand that there is more at stake here than being vindictive against an extremist right-wing agenda and a sinful past. What this mob of activists seem to ignore is that the majority of citizens are no longer members of either the right or the left; and, as such, this political body has overreacted to punish any citizen who does not agree with their agenda. Punishing the citizens of the past, and those of the present who are fed up with this partisan nonsense is insane and absurd, even on the face of it! The one native-born member of the civic body is a recently-elected Black female whose voice of reason is completely stifled by these idiots. I think what will be said about them is what already is being heard from around the World about this domestic-born radical mob of activists: “Keep your cancel culture in the States. We don’t want it here in our country!” Even the Black Lives Matter movement is crashing around its early leaders whose agenda for “change” has run afoul of local Black community leaders who have seen very little to nothing of the $90 million raised, which monies apparently are being shared with foreign chapters of the movement. I think what will be said about these wrong-headed members of city council will not be positive. In fact, I am confident that the Mayor has ruined her legacy by being among the first to support the mob in Durham four years ago that destroyed a monument to the dead. Why she, the Mayor, cannot understand that a huge majority of White Southerners were never any more racists than their counterparts in the North, is indicative of ignorance on her part. Why she cannot campaign against the racism of the North, if she must be sanctimonious about it, is not understood to be rational or reasonable, other than that she is so far-left partisan from her view as to become a failure in representing the whole community. She’s an outsider who apparently believes herself to be correct in her misjudgment, and better in American spirit than the rest of us. Her political mistakes will be clearly seen and put in proper context by those with good sense and good reason, both now and in the near future.

      • bsummers

        And yet Esther’s received an overwhelming majority every time her name has appeared on a ballot. I disagree with a number of her positions, but you can’t deny she has a mandate.

        Do you agree with the concept of a representative democracy or don’t you?

        • Enlightened Enigma

          did she have any opposition? status quo queen… totally a NON leader controlled by evil .

        • Roger

          You need to be reminded, Mr. Summers (that is, if you haven’t heard by now), that the Mayor was reelected with an embarrassing 12% turnout. Apparently that represents a mandate to you and your brand of politics, when in fact it is a disgrace that the “politically correct” members of city council are so uninspiring that only twelve percent of the electorate turned out to cast a vote in 2020. Apparently, a vast majority of the electorate in the City of Asheville are no longer interested in local politics because it has become too “politically correct” to even bother. I am one of those citizens who cast my vote in the State and National elections, but have been so uninspired by city politics that for this cycle I decided not to bother with city council elections. This all-woman council has one member whom I can respect and will now bother voting for: Ms. Kilgore is an inspiration and I hope she becomes our Mayor. If the current mayor were so overwhelmingly popular, then why do the citizens of the city not turn out to vote for her? The mayor’s problem is that she is so sanctimonious in her views that she would cultivate a measly fraction of the electorate who even care about her brand of politics. She has failed the citizens of Asheville; her stoking for the fires of disunity is a horrible disgrace.

          • Peter Robbins

            Ah, the oldest political trick in the book: Be so obnoxious and make yourself so unpopular that nobody will bother to vote against you. But it’s not just progressives. Wasn’t that Trump’s re-election strategy?

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  10. Peter Robbins

    This is a reply to Stan Hawkins, but since there are so many intervening comments, I’m posting it separately to avoid confusion.

    You’re kinda deracinating the issue, aren’t you, Stan? I agree with you that dollars and cents would be a central pragmatic concern if the structure we were talking about were The Obelisk, a pile of stones constructed more than a century ago strictly for aesthetic reasons but whose worth now was called into question by changes in artistic or spiritual fashions. But it’s not. It’s the Vance Monument, a pile of stones constructed more than a century ago to honor a man whose entire public life was animated by a core value – white supremacy – that people now agree is abhorrent and totally incompatible with the community ethos. (Well, to be fair, he was also energized by personal ambition, but I don’t hold that against him.) The question before the City Council – which I find hard to decide – was whether it is enough to effectively tear down the Vance Monument (by removing his name) but leave the stones intact to receive a more reputable symbolic assignment. In other words, can we teach this old dog new tricks or is she such an incorrigible cur that she must be put to sleep at whatever expense? I honestly don’t see how anyone can claim to know an objective answer to that – a least not with a certainty that would justify tub-thumping (not by you but by one person on this thread). It’s simply a value judgment that requires a balancing of competing interests. I’m not sure I agree with the City Council’s solution, but I don’t think it’s anything to hold a grudge over.

    • Stan Hawkins

      Ah yes, call me a pragmatist – a forward focused citizen to be sure. The cows are out of the barn and over the next hill. No need to debate where the cows are. But, let’s gather our “team”, and embark on various studies to be sure no one is held accountable in case the plan to get them dang cows back goes wrong. Thats democracy in our fair land – at a quarter million here / a hundred thou there. Money is no object until it is. Which is my point.

      Most likely no one will remember this great debacle in the not to distant future, except for the unintended consequences that will likely occur, as is often the case with inefficient government. The over reach is getting interesting though, especially the “crickets” I hear on formerly very hot issues in this here media source.

      Hope your comfy on the fence post, don’t cut your foot when you get down.

      • Roger

        Whew! Mr. Hawkins, I should say, you could become [maybe you already are!] a popular political analyst, or at lest a successful political satirist. You’ve made the case quite brilliantly clear, I must say. I must also thank you for exposing [I mean deracinating] what is central to the matter at hand: politically correct politicians and their smug supporters seem self-glorified in their ignorance of avoiding real-world issues which you and I and every other citizen unconnected to their system or the “woke” bunch of city council folk must face, while they remain oblivious, so it seems, to the future, hunker down at closed meetings to chart their next moves in the “cancel culture” revolution. Apparently, they must be thinking that since only 12% of the electorate even bother to participate in the electoral process at the local level, they can do whatever they choose to do without suffering consequences. These so-called “leaders” apparently have convinced themselves that their delusional fantasy about doing whatever they want without suffering consequences is “the real thing.” And there’s the sobering chance that since their brand of politics has so succeeded at disenchanting 88% of the electorate such that they don’t even bother to participate in the local electoral process, that they just might be right, so smug in their view that the same supporters will be the only ones who will bother to vote in the next cycle. Thank you, Mr. Hawkins, for the political satire, and for being a forward-focused citizen.

        • Stan Hawkins

          Your too kind to a simple man. Oh, I do try to pay attention though – especially to the hedging of political bets. Makes good theater. I do appreciate the venue to contemplate reason, and try not to make it personal.

          Principally though, it seems the times dictate the more right left / up down / forward reverse ideas clash, the less real progress is made. We occasionally just have to stand back and watch the over reaching pie in the sky ideals (right or left) sail into the abyss to have a teachable moment. We only have to look a thousand or so miles towards the southwest US to see the next educational event coming in to focus. Another opportunity for a study to study a study to gain proper perspective of what needs to be studied.

          Just a few short years ago, this publication along with numerous hand ringing contributing citizens were word smithing 24/7 to describe just how appalling the US was handling affairs with minors at our southern border. You see, what goes around – comes around. It always does.

          Should we expect some “come around” in the center of Asheville- I reckon so.?! I am fond of the Traveling Wilbury’s (I miss those guys) tune, “End of the Line” and a key lyric – “it’s alright”.

          • Roger

            It seems to me that politicians from both national parties are out to annihilate one or the other, while the World turns and We The People are held in contempt by one side and the other. I appreciate your sobering view and detachment you express about matters that impact us all. It would be a relief should the Mayor and her colleagues engaged in some soul-searching and concluded they had made a mistake in the decision to destroy a Richard Sharpe Smith structure that has stood at the heart of the city of 120 or so years. Should the Mayor take such redeeming action, I think she’d receive a good amount or praise for the courage to admit the error. I want to hope for such courage from her and the other council members, but it’s not easy to get one’s hope up for something surprising to take place. Thanks for your input. In my humble opinion, I believe that the thoughts of a simple man outweigh the opinions of public figures who become lost in the game that’s played by radical politicians.

  11. Peter Robbins

    “How much is it worth to have a clear conscience?” — The Preacher in “Pale Rider”

  12. Robert McGee

    What hypocrisy and what a waste of money! Wouldn’t it have been more efficient and healing to rename the obelisk and use those funds to do some good for actual residents living here now? Why does City Council spend so much time and effort salving hurt feelings for what went on in the past while in the present they allow our trees to be chopped down and our river to be polluted for the sake of making a quick buck? Shame on City Council for not standing with the residents of Richmond Hill against the Bluffs proposal. By refusing to protect our health and safety, they might as well be enslaving us. And if the project goes through without a bridge, we know exactly where to go to demand reparations.

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