I am writing to endorse Bill Branyon for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners District 1 seat. I’ve known Bill for more than 30 years, and his interest in the well-being of Asheville and Buncombe County has been evident throughout this time period.
The concern for truly unmanaged overgrowth in our area is a pressing issue for a majority of the folks in our area, and Mr. Branyon is someone willing to help us take a clear look at what is happening to the gorgeous area we all call home. Bill plans to do something about this. He will call for a countywide referendum seeking countywide support on what is the desire of our citizens. With true citizen input, Buncombe County will have a framework for our development future.
Similarly, almost everyone in Asheville worries about violent crime and whether police intervention is too little or too much. Mr. Branyon proposes the decriminalization of marijuana so that the police will not be involved in the activity that causes much of the violent crime — as well as much of the police intervention. Bill’s goal is to enact a harm-reduction policy toward illegal drug abuse, not a mass incarceration one, and thus massively reduce the violence that occurs from the current policy. How much longer are we going to call folks criminal for smoking marijuana? This needs to change.
I, like many, am extremely concerned about the rising cost of housing in our community. In 1978, I rented a two-bedroom house on 26 acres 5 miles out of town for $130 a month. In 1980, I was earning around $7 an hour and able to buy a 2,000-square-foot house for $28,000. What has happened? Now, in this same neighborhood, not two blocks away, a 3,300-square-foot house just sold for $1.4 million. How crazy is that!? My taxes are going up, and everyone else in this community is having the same issue. Bill wants to promote a tax system that does not hurt the person who grew up here. He wants to protect middle- and low-income families from losing their homes to high taxes! It is the right thing to do.
Homelessness is a serious issue. Bill does not admit to have an answer to this. In all honesty, who does? But Bill does want to work within our county to look at and hopefully help find pragmatic avenues to address these concerns. It is not an easy issue to solve!
Finally, and foremost, Bill is a driven peace activist! He will work to ensure that any new industry coming to our area will promote peace and not war. The atrocities we are seeing on YouTube and the internet bring to the forefront all that is wrong with our world. While Pratt & Whitney will provide locals with good-paying jobs, there are other industries that can model low-impact, high-income job opportunities that don’t link our county to weapons and war. Bill will work to bring such opportunities to our mountains! Good for him, right? For me, it is good for Buncombe County. I hope you look at him as a new voice for all of us. Thanks for considering him as your candidate for District 1 in the county I love. He’s got my vote!
— Paul Godfrey