As a member of the Sierra Club’s executive committee, I am disappointed with recent public comments made by [City Council member] Cecil Bothwell.
Relative to the “pit of despair” downtown park discussion, he said [that] because the Sierra Club’s endorsed candidates favor a public plaza/mixed-use project rather than a small park, the organization is “more attuned to bolstering the status quo than to environmental protection.” Really? Locally, we’ve led a successful, three-year-long battle and won the closure of the coal plant in your backyard, Cecil. Perhaps you weren’t paying attention.
Cecil was also quoted as saying the Sierra Club-endorsed City Council candidates are “… not for the changes we need to make here and now to address global climate change and livability downtown.” Does he really think a grassy site of less than 1 acre is going to combat climate change? If you want to have a serious impact on that issue, Cecil, dream bigger. Think at the level of coal plant closures.
Good people can disagree on the park versus mixed-use/public plaza discussion. But no one is saying “high-rise hotel,” even though Cecil keeps propping up that straw man.
Perhaps part of the answer to Cecil’s comments rests with the person who is funding his PARC organization and the non-Sierra Club candidates. It’s someone who lives in a downtown building whose mountain view would be lost if a high-rise project was in fact put on the site. Whose interests is Cecil serving?
One last note: Cecil sought and won the endorsement of the Sierra Club when he ran for [the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners] and City Council. We’ve supported him. He’s good on green issues. His illogical position on a park and criticism of the Sierra Club mystifies me.
— Mark Threlkeld
Executive committee member
Western North Carolina Sierra Club