I attended the Citizen Police Advisory Committee meeting [May 3] and watched as Dee Williams spoke for accountability in our city government. Mayor [Esther] Manheimer was listed on the agenda as set to present details on next year’s budget, but she failed to show up. Police Chief [Tammy] Hooper has also been dodging meetings such as CPAC and the Public Safety Committee meeting, and she [did not attend] the May 9 City Council meeting either, adding yet another absence to this string of absences by city employees when it comes to talking about this 2017-18 budget and what it will do to Asheville’s poor, black, and/or communities of color.
Furthermore, the committee chose to keep Larry Holt as chairman despite … his unilateral decision-making [to not include Asheville police officers] in regard to the March CPAC meeting at the Edington Center. Committee members should not treat each other as friends they want to keep in their club, but as representatives of Asheville who have a duty to carry healthy skepticism into their decision-making.
In addition to pushing to lower APD’s racial disparity in police stops, Dee Williams on City Council will bring sanity to local politics and make racial and economic justice some of her top priorities.
— Matilda Bliss
Editor’s note: Xpress contacted the city and received the following response from Mayor Esther Manheimer: “I had a mediation in Henderson County related to my legal practice, which ran long, and I wasn’t able to get back to Asheville in time for the meeting. I plan to attend the next CPAC meeting.” And from the city’s Communication and Public Engagement office, communications specialist Polly McDaniel offered: “Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper was at the April 25 City Council meeting but out of town, on the road for the Police Unity Tour during the May 9 meeting. She attends City Council and Public Safety Committee meetings when her schedule permits it and/or there are items on the agenda that warrant her attendance. APD Deputy Chief James Baumstark has served as her representative on CPAC as warranted.”