It has been an honor serving with Cecil Bothwell on Asheville City Council. I know that he will always fight for fairness and equality for our citizens.
One prominent example of this is how the city deals with short-term rentals. Our city has increasingly moved in the direction toward where hoteliers and developers make money off the backs of locals. One of the few ways locals can benefit from our tourist economy is by renting out parts of their homes to those visiting Asheville. Hoteliers hate this, of course, which is why they pushed for these rentals to be shut down. In 2015, the city imposed exorbitant fines on those operating short-term rentals out of their homes ($500 a night!).
Of course, the cost of this has fallen on locals — and not just those who operate rentals. Because the short-term rental market has gone underground, the city now spends $240,000 a year of taxpayer money on enforcement. Asheville taxpayers essentially subsidize tourism through paying for the upkeep of the infrastructure tourists use — it’s unfair and unjust that the city seems to favor hoteliers over those same taxpayers.
Cecil Bothwell was the only vote on Council against these fines, and I endorse his re-election bid because I know he will always fight for locals over those with big pockets and disproportionate influence in our city. Make your vote for him on the Oct. 10 primary and the Nov. 7 general election – I know I will.
— Brian Haynes
Editor’s note: Xpress received the following update from Haynes on Oct. 10: “I am writing a follow-up, hoping to clarify any misstatements I may have made in my previous letter. After the publishing of my letter of support for Cecil Bothwell, some folks felt that my remarks implied that my colleague’s positions on STRs were based on protecting the interest of hoteliers. That wasn’t my intent, and I apologize. What I should have said is that a prohibition of STRs benefits hoteliers. This issue is both complex and evolving, and I look forward to working with all of my colleagues in seeking solutions.”