Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chairman Brownie Newman and Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer have failed miserably with their response to the virus among us.
Initially, they tried to carve their own response to the virus. With the help of Fletcher Tove, [the county’s emergency preparedness coordinator], this Unholy Trinity quickly learned they were not competent enough to deal with the virus. So they ducked behind the state guidelines, with the caveat that they were going to be more restrictive when it comes to tourism, our life’s blood.
Hiding behind the state ignores the fact that Buncombe County is vastly different than many of the other counties. We have minuscule cases of the virus, and our hospitalizations are low and deaths have been flat. These deaths were of people who were elderly and with underlying medical conditions, some severe.
So, we have a very low rate of virus and an economy based on tourism. What does the Unholy Trinity do?
Well, they put their boot on the neck of the businesses that this area exists on, and that further strangles the already suffering people of the county and city.
It is interesting that they cherry-pick negative statistics while ignoring positive ones. I wonder if they noticed that Georgia has better numbers since opening up?
Millions of dollars are going from our area residents into Tennessee and Georgia, and many millions more from noncounty residents who would rather have spent their money here. The opened states are helping their citizens. They are doing it smartly. The Unholy Trinity is not that smart.
We could open tomorrow. If they are not smart enough to come up with new well-thought-out ways to keep the virus at bay and save our future, at least they could copy other states. Masks for employees, strict disinfecting criteria, slightly diminished capacity of spaces, checking temperatures and health of employees, even checking temperatures of diners before they enter a restaurant, are a few of the ways to protect health and livelihoods.
I am sure that when this is all over, they will crow that they saved us all from catastrophic disease spread and continue to ignore the human misery and ruined businesses they perpetuated. All while they raise our taxes to pay for their ineptitude.
— Lex Burkett
Editor’s note: This letter was received while the state was still in Phase 1 of reopening. Xpress contacted Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chairman Brownie Newman and Fletcher Tove, the county’s emergency preparedness coordinator, with a summary of the letter writer’s points, and we received the following response from Manheimer and Newman: “The city and county have been working in collaboration through our combined emergency response team to build and implement a strategy that keeps our community as safe and healthy as possible. This crisis, unprecedented in our lifetime, has challenged our community as well as all levels of government. I am proud of the local, coordinated response here in Asheville and Buncombe County and the leadership shown by Gov. Cooper.”