Letter: Supporting Lee, despite disagreeing on policy

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I plan to vote for Rich Lee for City Council despite disagreeing with him on most questions of public policy. Allow me to explain. 

Given my oddball political values (libertarian) and given that all of our candidates come from a fairly narrow slice of the political spectrum, I disagree with them all in roughly equal amounts.

For me, then, choosing a candidate has to be on some basis other than ideological compatibility.

I find three reasons to support Rich not based in political values:

1. Though Rich supports a substantially bigger role for government than I do, I believe that he will be a fierce watchdog for cost-effectiveness for the things the city decides to do. I think he has an aversion to spending more than is necessary to achieve an objective. Sadly, for many politicians, spending other people’s money means that they don’t care much about bang for the buck. I believe Rich to be an exception.

2. I have been impressed by the breadth and depth of his knowledge of and involvement with nearly every facet of our city’s civic life and governance for the entire four years that I have lived here. He is not a Johnny-come-lately to this stuff.

3. I believe that he is a person of reason and will listen to other reasonable people — including those like me with whom he disagrees — and will be open to modifying his views if facts and logic suggest a better alternative. This is, in my experience, a rare quality among politicians. Even if I can’t get my views to prevail, I believe that with Rich in office, they would at least get a fair, open-minded hearing. That matters a lot to me.

So why would I support a politician with whom I disagree so consistently? Frugality, passion and open-mindedness.

— Robert J. Woolley

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10 thoughts on “Letter: Supporting Lee, despite disagreeing on policy

  1. Deplorable Infidel

    Vijay Kapoor is the overall best choice of all of them. Great qualifications that NONE of the rest of them can even hope for…

    Rich Lee will not answer questions relative to all the crime emanating from public housing with NO accountability from the AVL Housing Authority. It seems that Lee does not care about all the other citizens who must endure the ongoing criminal blight caused by public housing all over the city.
    Like last time he ran, he dodges critical questions.
    We need LEADERS with a BACKBONE, not a bunch of silly pansies like we’ve had. Lee does not qualify.

    • Rich

      Fred sent me an email from a fake address claiming to be his own cousin, then made some highly disputable claims about a proposal to install private police in public housing. His support for Vijay is noted.

      • Deplorable Infidel

        It was an invitation for YOU to talk about the biggest problem in Asheville, but you and some of the others like Kim Roney , and Goldstein, REFUSE to bring public housing out into the mainstream of our most neglected problems! ‘Do YOU support stealing millions of taxpayer dollars to just give to the autonomous mismanaged housing authority of AVL ?’ ‘Do YOU support requiring the housing authority to FUND and PROVIDE their OWN 24/7 police force in order to better manage and curtail crime in Asheville ?’ That’s 2 viable questions these uncooperative candidates don’t want to answer…. Answers please: Rich, Jeremy, Kim, Andrew, Vijay, Cecil, Sheneka, Dee…all…? Where’s your answers ?

        And NO the email was NOT from a ‘fake’ email address… it’s very real. Remember when Rich Lee ‘attacked’ a veteran standing guard at the military recruiting office? He abhors veterans.

        • NFB

          ” Remember when Rich Lee ‘attacked’ a veteran standing guard at the military recruiting office? He abhors veterans.”

          You have made this absurd charge repeatedly over the past two years, yet you never give any evidence for it.

          Care to do so now?

          Put up or……

          • Rich

            In the weeks after the Chatanooga recruiting center shooting, a local man stood outside the army recruiting center next to my office armed with a rifle. I shared that information on a Facebook thread, later deleted because people were making disparaging comments about him. The man and I had civil conversations. I openly shared that I was more uncomfortable about armed people standing in my parking lot than about jihadist threats, and it got picked up and distorted by local conservative radio (over the volunteer “Patriot Guard’s” objections, I might add.) That’s what he’s referring to.

          • Deplorable Infidel

            We are still waiting on whether Rich Lee and the other candidates think it’s OK for the housing authority to continue to RAPE the city of Asheville taxpayers ? It’s TIME to bring this heinous cesspool into some kind of local accountability!

            Remember their collective avoidance of this problem is indicative of their total lack of knowledge and willingness to help the taxpayers!

          • NFB

            “We are still waiting on whether Rich Lee and the other candidates think it’s OK for the housing authority to continue to RAPE the city of Asheville taxpayers ?”

            We? As far as I can tell you are the only person obsessed with this issue.

          • NFB

            Mr. Lee,

            Thank you for your clarification. I suspected it was some sort of matter exaggerated by those with an agenda. I will admit that I did not circle the oval next to your name two years ago, but the vitriol this poster has been hurling against you here ever since is making me give you and your candidacy a serious second look this go around. Thank you for your willingness to serve our community and put up with all this nonsense.

          • Rich

            Thanks a lot, NFB. I’ve appreciated your comments on some of these letters lately.

  2. Matt Christie

    This seems apropos, from today’s Times:

    “….younger Americans seem to have no grasp of what our First Amendment says, much less of the kind of speech it protects. This is a testimony to the collapse of civics education in the United States, creating the conditions that make young people uniquely susceptible to demagogy of the left- or right-wing varieties.

    Then we get to college, where the dominant mode of politics is identity politics, and in which the primary test of an argument isn’t the quality of the thinking but the cultural, racial, or sexual standing of the person making it. As a woman of color I think X. As a gay man I think Y. As a person of privilege I apologize for Z. This is the baroque way Americans often speak these days. It is a way of replacing individual thought — with all the effort that actual thinking requires — with social identification — with all the attitude that attitudinizing requires.

    In recent years, identity politics have become the moated castles from which we safeguard our feelings from hurt and our opinions from challenge. It is our “safe space.” But it is a safe space of a uniquely pernicious kind — a safe space from thought, rather than a safe space for thought, to borrow a line I recently heard from Salman Rushdie.

    Another consequence of identity politics is that it has made the distance between making an argument and causing offense terrifyingly short. Any argument that can be cast as insensitive or offensive to a given group of people isn’t treated as being merely wrong. Instead it is seen as immoral, and therefore unworthy of discussion or rebuttal.

    The result is that the disagreements we need to have — and to have vigorously — are banished from the public square before they’re settled. People who might otherwise join a conversation to see where it might lead them choose instead to shrink from it, lest they say the “wrong” thing and be accused of some kind of political -ism or -phobia. For fear of causing offense, they forego the opportunity to be persuaded.”


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