Letter: Greed, corruption and the decline of Asheville

Graphic by Lori Deaton

All the things that made Asheville desirable are rapidly disappearing as greedy real estate developers exploit the charm of Asheville and Western North Carolina. With their greed came the air pollution caused by the traffic from the tourists who believed the hype and came to stay in overly priced corporate hotels so that they can mill around downtown and eat high-priced mediocre food. Low wages, corporate landlords, lack of rent control, high prices, brutal traffic, the fake homeless, street crime and white collar crime have all combined to make Asheville an increasingly undesirable place in which to call home.

Let’s look at Asheville’s crime and public safety issues. According the website Neighborhood Scout, Asheville’s crime rate is [higher than] Chicago’s:  [avl.mx/67j].

Neighborhood Scout only reports street crime. … In terms of dollars and cents and lives lost, corporate crime does far more damage to society than street crime.

One role of government is to protect good people from bad people and improve quality of life. This is not happening here. … My wife, grandson and I have been accosted at least five times by dangerous mental patients and transient panhandlers. The only time we go downtown now is for the ballgames.

Asheville has lost most of its charm thanks to the hype, corporate infestations, wages lower than … the state average, crumbling streets, brutal traffic, price gouging, poor health care and the lust for tourist dollars. The influx of money has not trickled down to the residents in the form of better streets, public safety, amenities or lower taxes. I can only suspect that some of the money went into the pockets of members of our city and county governments.

— Chris Brady


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21 thoughts on “Letter: Greed, corruption and the decline of Asheville

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    With crime, comes diversity, equality and inclusion . Be happy about it.

  2. Lulz


    LOL why would it trickle down to us? These leftist think of us as garbage only to be fleeced with the power of the “law enforcement” to steal our property if we can’t pay.

  3. C-Law

    Asheville and Buncombe County voters have gotten EXACTLY the government they DESERVE!

    Loving watching the ride down from afar…I woke up and got my family out a few years back when real estate prices started to recover and it was apparent there would be no escape from the deranged virtue-signaling leftist city and county governments!

    • Jason L.

      And how! Glad you were able to escape. I plan to leave by the end of this year, but I’ve not yet settled on which city I’ll select.

  4. Barry

    Growing pains for sure. Strong leadership is so important at this critical time. When you get the chance VOTE!

  5. jason

    I love Asheville and what it’s become. Gentrification has made this place even better than before. If we can only get rid of the homeless and junkies, this place would be even better!! There are tons of great paying jobs here if you actually have a skill set that is needed. I’m not talking about baristas, waiters and hotel employees. If you can’t make it here, you probably won’t make it in any other city working those jobs either. Quit blaming Asheville for personal problems created by making bad decision after bad decision.

    • luther blissett

      “There are tons of great paying jobs here if you actually have a skill set that is needed. I’m not talking about baristas, waiters and hotel employees.”

      Are you talking about the kind of self-employed professionals who have to scrabble around to find private office space? No?

      Who are you talking about, then? Real estate speculators? Medical billing coders and administrators?

    • Jason L.

      “There are tons of great paying jobs here if you actually have a skill set that is needed.”

      I wish that were my experience. What sort of work do you do, generally speaking? When I moved here just over nine years ago, I came with a job and worked remotely for a large corporation. After leaving the company about six months ago, I’m finding it difficult to get another similar position (whether remote or not) with a comparable salary ($95k+/yr).


  6. NFB

    This letter could have been written during virtually any period in Asheville’s history.

    Asheville has been a tourist town pretty much from the day it was founded. As soon as the southern aristocracy from Charleston, Atlanta, etc. discovered it was cooler during the summer, Asheville started becoming a playground for the rich and that is largely how it markets itself today.

    Thus the local economy has always been dominated by tourism, tourism has always created low paying jobs while driving up the cost of living wherever it gets a foothold. The lack of much in the way of jobs that pay above tourism’s wage slave rates is the reason so many younger people move away from Asheville after high school and college and have done so for decades and decades.

    It is simply the rhythm of life here. Low wage jobs to cater to the wealthy tourists and locals who complain about it all. As the cliche goes, the more things change the more they stay the same. Asheville has changed a lot in the past 10-20, but very little in the past 200.

    • luther blissett

      “There must have been a time, in the beginning, when we could have said – no. But somehow we missed it.”

      I don’t think the past is doomed to repeat itself, but I do think that it can be easier to follow well-worn paths than new ones, especially for a city that’s heavily affected by external forces and external money. In hindsight, the capitulation over the Aloft opened a lot of floodgates for developers wearing hotel blinders; the shift of focus from the RAD to the South Slope mattered, as did the decision to bump the occupancy tax and turn the BCTDA into a quasi-city-government that spends $15m on advertising; the “college town without a big college” thing matters. (Johnson City is… not great, but ETSU is three times the size as UNCA and it shows.)

      All sizeable cities exert their price.

    • Terry D

      How “cool” do you think it will be when they chop every damn tree down? The motto used to be “Cool Green Asheville”. Sure diversity in art, music, culture is wonderful- let’s be more mindful of how we expand and what natural resources need to be protected.

    • Satchel

      A lot of the beggars are trust fund babies. Many are people who have chosen the vagabond lifestyle.

    • jason

      You’re joking right. People come here every summer just to beg and live the urban camper lifestyle. This has been going on for over 30 years. Do you not notice the influx of train kids in the spring/summer?

      • Richard Steven Edwards

        I loved in Asheville on the streets on and off for 20 years. I took from no one, I begged not, I work on and off as I was able, and Asheville’s just a beautiful place. I was picking grapes in the Biltmore Estate Vineyard the day of 911, I’ve been fired by a manage and then re-hired by the owners. They knew I’m a worker. I’ve worked for a dentist and his wife and stayed in his spare office space. I don’t steal or use drugs or alcohol. I’ve had numerous jobs, yes, and all while homeless. Who the hell are you to judge. Not everybody fits your lifestyle and not everybody’s a trust fund baby, and not everybody’s a beggar or a bum that’s houseless.

    • Uh_yeah

      Establish tourist visas and refuse new residents moving here. I’m not a trumper(hate trump) but build a f***in wall around asheville.(kidding)Transplants are the problem. Not a rational comment but it’s kinda true. Serious about all of it besides the wall lmao.

  7. MG Massey

    Corruption has been the province of the ruling class since before the Norman conquest..
    History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
    Medical Apartheid by Harriet A Williamson.

    That should blow a few stereotypes out of the water
    Having Norman ancestors on one side of family seen it first hand
    None of the people in Asheville can claim any politician..left or right..gives a damn about the people.
    If they did..they would be honest and ethical

  8. S Becker

    I arrived here 51 years ago and it’s still the Paradise I found in 1972. Having lived 38 years in my dream house on a small mtn near town….I’m far above the ‘stuff/junk that I hear & read about. Asheville is what you make it but you’ll need some money to make it work. I know this town as an Arts & Music mecca and of late, a national Foodie town as well. The locals are super-friendly & diverse. The uber-stars are above all other things….the mtn views, rivers, lakes, incredible weather, and yes, our turkeys & bears all over the place. Warm welcomes to All who make the journey to make WNC their home~

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