I’ll start by thanking Asheville and Buncombe voters who have supported me in as many as seven elections since 2008. You have given me the opportunity to work with a great team, sometimes a team of rivals, that has done a lot of good for this city. I also thank Xpress readers for tapping me as Best Local Pol for seven of the past eight years (and congrats to Mayor Esther Manheimer, who bumped me to No. 2 in 2017).
I did my best to live up to expectations and am pleased with the team’s successes: single-stream recycling, cutting city carbon emissions by more than 30 percent, LEED building standards, reforms at the Asheville Police Department, more miles of greenway, expanded transit, experiments with new zoning rules and a AAA bond rating that will make infrastructure improvements more affordable for many years to come. (Just to name a few.)
Projects I’m leaving on the table include greater protection for Asheville’s tree canopy, rationalization of short-term-rental regulation and, dearest to my heart, a decadelong effort to create a park opposite the civic center (favored by a majority of our citizens). Primary voters opted for new leadership, and so be it.
If you want to continue the progress this city has made in recent years, to strive to make this a better place for the people who live and work here, to preserve the great things we’ve inherited and navigate the challenges ahead, I hope you’ll join me in voting for Sheneika Smith on Nov. 7. I’ve had an opportunity to get to know Sheneika during this year’s campaign, and she is the real deal.
— Cecil Bothwell
Asheville City Council