This letter is in support of Cecil Bothwell for City Council. I’ve long backed Cecil’s stand to expand homestay regulations to include accessory dwelling unit rentals. In three years of watching Asheville politics — and Cecil — I’ve come to appreciate him as a smart, creative and sometimes cantankerous asset, deeply committed to our city. Always willing to speak up, to champion the new and unexpected. That he also writes novels and songs, sings loudly (and occasionally in tune) and wields a mean hammer should only endear him to us — he’s a man-in-full in the unique Asheville mold.
This letter addresses just one facet of Bothwell’s qualifications: his vision. So many candidates put forth platforms of mumbled terms like “income inequality” and “affordable housing,” then speed on to the next cliché. In contrast, Cecil has crafted a compelling, coherent vision of “Asheville-tomorrow.”
He champions a vibrant future of public transit and an uncrowded, pedestrian-friendly downtown. He would create park-and-ride lots along major corridors into the city. Driverless public conveyances — fare-free public transit — will speed citizens and visitors from less expensive neighborhoods to a congestion-free city center. This is a realistic solution that balances economic realities, affordable and workforce housing, and the quality of life for residents and tourists. Cecil’s philosophy also aims to transform Asheville’s center by “putting parks downtown instead of more hotels or businesses.”
Compare Bothwell’s nuanced vision with the vague statement on Jeremy Goldstein’s website: “Jeremy supports growing Asheville in and up, not out.” This is a prescription for disaster. Buildings that go “up” will be hotels or pricey condos. Imagine the consequences: Increasing downtown density will gridlock our streets and further pollute our air; high-rise units will be unaffordable to all but the affluent; parking will be impossible. It’s no wonder Goldstein has received big-dollar contributions from developers and hoteliers. This can only add to Asheville’s growing reputation as a playground of the wealthy.
Embrace Cecil’s vision for our future: Vote Bothwell on Oct. 10.
— John Farquhar
Editor’s note: Farquhar reports that he is volunteering with Bothwell’s campaign.