News briefs: Mayor Esther Manheimer to hold gerrymandering press conference

North Carolina congressional districts
LET'S GO TO THE MAP: North Carolina's current congressional districts, shown here, were ruled unconstitutional last year by a panel of federal judges due to partisan gerrymandering. Graphic courtesy of the N.C. General Assembly

Manheimer to hold gerrymandering press conference

As a legal case involving North Carolina’s congressional districts heads to the U.S. Supreme Court, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer will hold a press conference at Pack Square Park on Tuesday, March 26, at noon. In conjunction with Buncombe County voters and members of Raleigh-based lobbying group Common Cause North Carolina, the mayor will discuss how gerrymandering splits Asheville voters and advocate for nonpartisan districting reform.

The press conference occurs on the same day that the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Rucho v. Common Cause, which pits the lobbying group against state Sen. Robert Rucho, R-Mecklenburg. In a press release, Common Cause claimed that “extreme partisan gerrymandering punishes supporters of the minority party based on their political beliefs and in violation of the First Amendment.”

Buncombe County maintains place in state health rankings

Buncombe County remains the 14th-healthiest county in North Carolina, according to the latest County Health Rankings report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The analysis combines self-reported poor physical and mental health days, premature deaths and low-weight births to arrive at a composite health outcomes ranking for each of the state’s 100 counties.

Other Western North Carolina counties changed places from their 2018 rankings. Madison County, for example, jumped from 34th to 24th in the state, while Jackson County fell from 37th to 53rd place. Henderson County, ranked 15th in last year’s report, overtook Buncombe as it climbed to the 13th position. The full state report is available at

African American Heritage Resource Survey seeks input

The city of Asheville is hosting two community meetings to gather personal stories about the architecture of the city’s historically black neighborhoods. This oral history project is part of the larger African American Heritage Resource Survey, which will help the city designate local historic landmarks and refine long-range community plans.

The first meeting takes place on Wednesday, March 27, at the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center from 6-7:30 p.m.; the second occurs on Thursday, March 28, at the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center from 4-5:30 p.m. Alex Cole, city historic resources planner, is also conducting oral interviews with residents who are unable to attend either meeting. For more information, email, call 828-259-5836 or visit

Community kudos

  • Al Platt of Brevard, John Connet of Hendersonville and Beau Menetre and Kirk Gollwitzer of Tryon were named Main Street Champions by the N.C. Department of Commerce. The award recognizes individuals with outstanding dedication to downtown revitalization efforts.
  • UNC Asheville students with The Blue Banner, the college’s student newspaper, won seven awards at the N.C. College Media Association’s annual conference on Feb. 23. The paper took home Best of Show for its online news, while individual honorees included Lawson Rudisill for digital coverage of the Women’s March on Asheville and Samuel Robinson for a sports feature about baseball superstitions.
  • Three Buncombe County high schools placed at the N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association’s ProStart Invitational competition. T.C. Roberson High School won third place in the culinary division, while North Buncombe and Erwin high schools won second and third place, respectively, in the management division.
  • The Kiwanis Club of Asheville donated $85,000 to the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry in support of the charity’s Transformation Village building project. According to a Kiwanis Club press release, the gift is the largest single contribution by a civic organization in the city’s history.

Edited 3-22 at 10 a.m. to reflect new time for the Common Cause North Carolina press conference.


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About Daniel Walton
Daniel Walton is the Green Scene editor and a reporter for Mountain Xpress. His work has previously appeared in Capital at Play, Edible Asheville, and the Citizen-Times, among other area publications. Follow me @DanielWWalton

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9 thoughts on “News briefs: Mayor Esther Manheimer to hold gerrymandering press conference

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    I know, right? lol…the fact that a democrackkk is questioning gerrymandering is hilarious!

  2. John

    Isn’t any effort to alter or arrange a voting district itself a form of gerrymandering? So in order to “fix” what is believed to be gerrymandered districts, they are essentially re-gerrymandering to design districts to fit their views for voting districts.

    • Enlightened Enigma

      yes, and NC democrackkks did it for decades when they so dominated and controlled us without any question from citizens…

      • luther blissett

        It’s 2019. Since you want to live in the past, maybe spend more time working on that time machine instead of blaming people who weren’t even born for whatever happened in however-long-ago.

    • bsummers

      Isn’t any effort to alter or arrange a voting district itself a form of gerrymandering?

      Yes, and surgery to repair a stab wound should really just be called “more stabbing”. Arrest that guy with the mask and gown and surgical gloves!!!

      The last election, 50% of congressional votes went to Republicans, 48% went to Democrats. But Republicans wound up with 9 seats, Dems with 3. Millions of North Carolinians have had their rights to fair representation in Washington stolen from them.

      • Enlightened Enigma

        roflmao! I luv how peeps use stats … has that been reported? lol>>> prolly gonna be way more slanted in 2020!

      • C-Law

        what do you say then about the Electoral College vs. a national popular vote?

        or like Luther, does your rank hypocrisy only go so far??

        Check and mate I believe, thanks for joining this thread though…your participation trophy and self-esteem certificate are in the mail.

        Better yet why don’t you go ahead and reply with your tired meme that you weren’t even clever enough to think up having to do with your working for a living wage as the drive-thru cashier at Arby’s…that one never gets old! ha ha!

    • luther blissett

      “Isn’t any effort to alter or arrange a voting district itself a form of gerrymandering?”

      Not if the effort is to place districting beyond partisan control and subject to non-partisan criteria. I mean, if you want to argue that it’s just “a view” to believe that districts should be compact, contiguous, and preserve the integrity of existing political subdivisions such as counties and municipalities, then go right ahead. The partisan divide here is between a group of elected officials who want to pick their own voters and a group of elected officials who don’t want elected officials to pick their own voters. To act like that’s a gerrymander is sophistry.

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