As a resident, property owner and voter in Asheville, I vehemently oppose [state Sen.] Tom Apodaca’s plan to force district elections on our city. If the mere fact that Tom Apodaca was behind it was not enough to know its intent, we’ve seen how the artful drawing of district lines can unfairly create nonrepresentative majorities in the state legislature. Especially in municipal districts, special interests can fund handpicked candidates with relatively small amounts of money and easily overwhelm popular candidates.
In my previous hometown of Miami/Dade County, I experienced firsthand what happened when county commission districts were implemented after a covert campaign by an alliance of real estate developers and zoning attorneys. It was a means of dividing and conquering.
District commissioners will become less interested in the good of the city as a whole and more subject to the will of special interests in their districts. It balkanizes the commission, marginalizes poorer districts and disserves residents and the general quality of life. And Smart Growth — forget it.
— Michael Carlebach