Letter: Asheville’s illusion of leadership

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[Regarding Asheville Watchdog’s “Down Town” series, Feb. 27-June 1 (avl.mx/crk), with condensed versions republished in Xpress:]

Want to hear something funny? Asheville City Council members are operating under the illusion they are leaders. Ninety percent of leadership can be summarized in four main qualities, which are: being supportive; operating with a strong results orientation; seeking different perspectives; and solving problems effectively.

They are incapable of actual leadership, and worse, they lack the courage to actually be a leader. At best, they are policymakers, very often playing the role of people who work in human resources or accounting. Budgeting different departments and pay for city employees. This is part of their duties.

Aside from administrative tasks, they are incapable or lack the courage to tackle actual problems that affect those who live in or visit Asheville. They make few decisions, other than hire outside consulting firms for possible insight when looking for a solution. If the recommended solution doesn’t sit well with them, wait a while and hire another consulting firm with the hope its solution is more palatable.

Once a solution that fits their vision is found, at taxpayer expense, they may still have to hire yet another consulting firm for the “how-to” to actually implement the plan.

With Asheville’s form of government, a critical person in the leadership food chain is actually the city manager, hired, of course, by Council. The current city manager, who acknowledges she is an introvert, can’t lead. She may be an outstanding administrator but clearly is not a leader or implementer.

So, we have bike lanes that are seldom used but horrible traffic. You have to be very alert if you are downtown, either that you don’t step in human waste on the sidewalk or to be alert for the aggressive panhandler waiting to harass you for money, if not demanding or threatening.

Asheville is an awesome beer destination, and there are some great breweries downtown. I don’t recommend them to visitors, solely because downtown is a cesspool of homeless and drug addicts, and there are plenty of equally good breweries outside the downtown. And somewhere, the leadership decided that removing a significant number of on-street parking spots, forcing people into predatory private lots, was a good move?

If you are happy with the status quo, then reelect these failed leaders, but if you don’t want aggressive panhandlers in your face, human waste on your shoe or to be able to have pride in Asheville, vote them out and demand those elected replace the city manager with an actual leader.

— Miles Bosworth


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12 thoughts on “Letter: Asheville’s illusion of leadership

  1. gyp

    All of these letter writers give themselves away when they complain about bike lanes lol

    • Always something

      As do the respondents that mention said ‘bike lanes’.

    • indy499

      You mean they reveal they can do a little math and conclude worsening traffic for a handful of bikers who never obey the rules they expect car drivers to follow is absurd?

  2. Grant Millin

    A generic leadership template can be filled with any sort of Ethical Logic. Next year is another election; then 2026 may mean Mayor Manheimer gets a FOURTH term.

    I ran last year because I wanted to stop and assess the current state of affairs. The “cesspool of homeless and drug addicts” Miles assesses are mainly other American citizens. Some just needed to be there and made conscious decisions to fail and fail in some of the biggest ways possible.

    But my assessment overall about Miles is that he wants really unethical folks running things who have dramatically less ethical imagination than Debra Campbell. But people who want to screw over Asheville’s African-Americans, Citizens with Disabilities, and other vulnerable populations should be shut down as they clamor for power.

    I didn’t think it was smart for Asheville to not discuss why or why not Esther deserved a third term last year. I brought up that Debra doesn’t get more time. I have recently learned county manager Avril Pinder has no specific contract end date as that’s not the case with NC county managers apparently.

    A smarter, more ethical — and yes, effective and efficient— way to self-govern is needed. But people like Miles have always been looking for shortcuts and ways to externalize our greatest challenges. There’s near term and long range challenges, solutions, and outcomes.

    I can tell folks things are a cluster bleep as is.

    • Same ole same ole

      Seems kind of understandable why you didn’t win, huh? Keep on writing commentaries for no actual purpose. Kudos.

  3. Taxpayer

    I couldn’t agree any more. Asheville has no leadership in any form, just a bunch of people with a bunch of agendas, never mind what the residents want. We have plenty of money for outside consultants and ballparks while the city looks unkempt and trashy.

    • indy499

      Unkempt implies a level of cleanliness we can’t even see from where we are.

  4. Taxpayer

    At the very least hire a decent city manager that doesn’t have to hire someone to tell her what to do.

  5. El Gordito

    Yeah, I’m good with everything. Thank you. I will re-elect these leaders. If you hate it, perhaps you should move.

  6. susangaddis

    Time to clean house. Inept leadership has been dragging Asheville down for a number of years.
    Voters will not forget the water debacle.

  7. Cathryn

    Do you, sir, have solutions that you say our presently elected do not? Declare and act on them.

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