Letter: We need a new plan, Asheville

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Asheville Police Chief David Zack is retiring.

The real story is that he resigned after giving oversight to the local response to the COVID pandemic, the George Floyd protests with highway blockages and resistance, and the Asheville police force being budgeted down to 60% occupancy. All from February 2020 to now.

The negative effect all of this has had on Asheville and the surrounding area can be mostly heard and felt through the exacting words of Asheville local businesspeople, several of whom are friends or acquaintances. The crime rate is up over the past two years in the city of Asheville. Business owners complain about the general condition of safety for them and for locals and tourists.

The overall tourist numbers are down in Asheville because some news outlets are writing articles on how Asheville used to be the mountain destination east of the Mississippi and now is traversing downhill in overall safety. Tourists are changing their plans.

At times, what sounds good in concept becomes a disaster in reality. This is what we have here.

Reducing the Asheville police force to direct funds elsewhere for social progress has not worked out well for Asheville.

Asheville deteriorates while city and civic leaders cannot come to agreement on a reparations program, the initial primary goal for local social progress.

Our new interim police chief, Michael Lamb, City Manager Debra Campbell and the Council need to listen to a new plan so that Asheville can regain the national reputation it once had as the Eastern mountain destination.

Let’s operate in the reality of real numbers and not simply unproven goals and suppositions.

— Joel Brickner


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15 thoughts on “Letter: We need a new plan, Asheville

  1. Keith

    Political spinners from towns in Henderson County setting priorities for Asheville? They should at least provide sources for their rapid fire claims against Asheville. Citing anonymous people’s preferences doesn’t help their case.

    Bringing more tourists here to balloon out to Henderson County is one strategy. Unemployment and crime have gone way down in Buncombe since the Pandemic and listening for actual plans is worthwhile.

    But, IF, as it’s often said: “nobody wants to go to downtown Asheville,” it’s clearly because it’s too crowded.

  2. avlsouth

    I do think there needs to be additional funding from the TDA for policing downtown instead of city tax payers footing the bill. And yes I live in Asheville city limits. I would like for Asheville to acknowledge south Asheville as well. The city council thinks it ends at I40.

  3. Andrew Celwyn

    This letter is pure fiction. The APD has not seen a decrease in budget, let alone being “budgeted down to 60% occupancy (sic)”. If you want to “operate in the reality of real numbers” perhaps you should start with some real numbers. The letter writer should take a look at a budget before writing such a bunch of baloney. Not one dime has been taken away from APD to fund social programs. Here is a link to the City of Asheville’s website, where people can look at the budgets for themselves: https://www.ashevillenc.gov/department/finance/city-budget/

    • Grant Millin

      I’m not enthralled by Joel’s LTTE; but relying sole source on COA insight — qualitatively or quantitatively — isn’t good enough now.

      The discussion about the ‘new’ COA ‘opioid crisis’ during the October 24 Environment and Public Safety meeting was disturbing. I’m not going to say more about that at this time; but I did manage to ask for an APD strategic plan during public comment that day. At first I sort of start with an aghast way of speaking because it is very difficult to see the ‘politicization of public safety prioritizations’ these days.

      But a credible APD strategic plan with some external subject matter input would be a change in the right direction.


  4. Bright

    It’s tricky business in Asheville, as usual. What about the promised repairs of antiquated water/sewer systems? Be careful poor, misused taxpayers, evil is afoot.

  5. Enlightened Enigma

    With what THIS current and last City Council and Mayor have brought to this city since 2020, the people have every right to hold each of them with great contempt ! Woke women are too evil to run a city !!!

    • gapple

      I had to go look at the city council members and dang if they aren’t the wokest group of feminazi’s I’ve ever seen. I bet they all bowed down to the BLM overseers, supported the metoo movement and wore vagina hats until those causes became out of fashion within the ranks of wokism. Wonder which ones are leading the anti Jewish marches being held across the country/world by palestinian terrorists.

  6. Nostupid people

    Clean the slate, Vote out the criminals that have felled us at their jobs! Start with the entire city council the unseen sheriff! Pitiful

      • luther blissett

        $75 gets you on the ballot. You certainly have many ideas and there’s only one way to put them to the test.

  7. Lyn

    It’s not up to the TDA, you can speak responsibility of Asheville city leaders to provide services (water, trash, fire, police) and maintain city’s assets and infrastructure. City leaders lack of support for APD has resulted in more officers retiring and fewer officers willing to join the force. It is a toxic political climate at APD. APD‘s refusal to respond and/or charge for petty theft has resulted in a burgeoning trend of shoplifting at local businesses. I see it at almost every visit to the Ingles on Tunnel Road, people walking in and getting merchandise and leaving without paying. These costs get passed on to the paying customers.

  8. WNC

    Every person who is intellectually honest is aware that
    kneeling to rioting was the end of hope for a well staffed police force. At least in the foreseeable future.
    Interestingly BLM leaders took the large amount of money raised and bought houses in predominately white neighborhood’s. Then moved to their new houses where the police forces actually protect people and property..

  9. gapple

    Doesn’t everyone feel better and safer since you tore the Vance Memorial down?


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