I call for a point of order on the events of this City Council campaign and the public image of my church as used as a bludgeon against Marc [Hunt], Lindsey [Simerly] and Julie [Mayfield] in a four-page, black-inked flier left at my doorstep.
Of course I am “for” the St. Lawrence Green; however, their campaign strategy has triggered revulsion among people of the faith and needless division and polarization within our community.
First came the glossy populist lawn cards in spring, then a petition drive over the summer. I get that.
With this week’s outrage, St. Lawrence Green has used the image of my church as a colorful, wistful backdrop to leverage political attacks, channeling what was a noble and worthy pursuit into the gutter of what on the surface is cutthroat politics.
Council must censure members who cross the line into the machinations of church, state and civil religion.
We here in the city may not yet have home rule, but we have city limits. Within this city, our government is nonpartisan, an innocent immersed in a cesspool of acutely partisan county, state and federal swamps. This legislature has many legislative enemies, and the covert and overt association of sitting nonpartisan councilman flies in the face of their fiduciary responsibility to me to function within the decorum of the office.
I appeal for each candidate who has been endorsed by St. Lawrence Green to renounce any association, as this movement has created tensions and anxieties among those of us who demand of our Council members more than manipulating my Catholic church and the public image of the basilica.
City Council works very hard with the city manager and staff to formulate proactive solutions from a professional, nonpartisan mission. The St. Lawrence Green as a proxy of Cecil Bothwell has duped every one of us this week and stripped the credibility from its original populist crusade. Now they are misinforming, maligning and attacking decent people who want to make Asheville better for everyone.
— Michael Blankenship