Unaffiliated voters in WNC

Unaffiliat­ed candidates face challengin­g path to ballot

Although unaffiliated voters are the second most-populous political group in North Carolina, no members of the state’s Congressional delegation are unaffiliated, nor are any officeholders at the state level. According to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, just seven of 587 total county commission seats were won by independent or third-party candidates in 2018.

Asheville Climate Strike at Pack Square Park

In photos: Asheville Climate Strike turns out hundreds for Green New Deal

As world leaders met in Spain for a United Nations conference on climate change, Western North Carolina residents converged on Pack Square for their own environmental action on the morning of Dec. 6. Organized by Sunrise Movement Asheville in conjunction with six other area nonprofits, the Asheville Climate Strike for a Green New Deal called for government leaders “to take bold action and treat this like the climate emergency that it is.”

Student in Montreat College cybersecurity lab

Montreat expands cybersecur­ity plans despite Cooper funding veto

The North Carolina General Assembly voted to award Montreat College $20 million towards the establishment of an independent cybersecurity training center in October, but Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the money. The private, Christian liberal arts college’s boosters, however, say they won’t be discouraged in filling what they see as an urgent need for ethically responsible cyber operatives.

Andrew Murray

Miller, feds spar over ICE detainer compliance

“As law enforcement, our mission is to protect the public and to seek to provide justice to victims of crime. Sheriff Miller’s current policy serves neither [purpose],” said Andrew Murray, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, after Miller refused to honor an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer request. “It also breeds mistrust among law enforcement agencies and puts in danger the very communities it purports to protect.”

Flat Rock Village Hall

Buncombe quiet, Henderson contested in 2019 elections

Xpress reached out to candidates across the two counties to understand their motivations for participating in the municipal elections. Many of the topics the hopeful elected officials raised — diversity, transportation planning and preservation of small-town character — may give WNC politicos a sneak peak at what will be important to area voters in 2020.

Paul Ridgeway, Alma Hinton and Joseph Crosswhite

From CPP: Judges block NC congressio­nal elections with current maps

A three-judge panel issued an injunction late Monday blocking use of the current North Carolina congressional district map in the 2020 election. Although not yet compelling the “coequal branch of government” to draw new maps, judges noted that legislators could proceed to do that on their own and thus avoid any disruption to the election schedule.

Futurist charts course for Asheville and Buncombe County

As she wrapped up her work on the AVL Greater and AVL 5×5 2025 plans in late September, we chatted with futurist Rebecca Ryan about her upcoming encore keynote address at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s WomanUP gala on Thursday, Nov. 18, what makes Asheville and Buncombe County different and how we’ll know if the area is on track to make good on the new strategies.

Chuck Edwards at Oct. 4 Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast

Edwards won’t rule out reversing Asheville charter change

Sen. Chuck Edwards, who represents Henderson, Transylvania and eastern Buncombe counties in N.C. Senate District 48, said he remained firm in his desire to see the city of Asheville take a different approach to electing its council members. “I get constant feedback from constituents in Asheville that they can’t get City Council folks to pick up the phone, let alone to listen to a specific concern that they might have in their neighborhood,” he said.

Proposed Buncombe County N.C. House district map

News Briefs: New N.C. House maps for Buncombe, Eastern Band re-elects Sneed

As currently drawn, the proposed districts would shift representation for large areas of Buncombe County. A 2011 state law also required that districts for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners match those of the county’s House representatives. As currently drawn, the maps would move Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara from District 1 to District 2, shift Al Whitesides from District 1 to District 3 and reassign Amanda Edwards from District 2 to District 1.

Flatiron Building exterior

Asheville City Council plans affordable housing, hotel moratorium discussion­s

On Friday, Sept. 6, said Council member Julie Mayfield, the city will hold an affordable housing work session to explore options such as tiny homes and housing voucher acceptance for long-term rentals. Mayfield also announced that Council plans to discuss whether the city should temporarily ban new hotels in the city during its Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting on Thursday, Aug. 29.

Quentin Miller discussing ICE

Buncombe board debates ICE detainer bill

Republican members of the board argued that their Democratic colleagues were out of place in issuing official letters against pending state HB 370, which would require Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller and other sheriffs throughout North Carolina to comply with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests on penalty of removal from office.