Letter writer: Doubts grow about City Council candidates (except for one)

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I’m having growing doubts about [City Council candidates Lindsey] Simerly and [Keith] Young. Simerly gave an inspiring affordable housing speech in Xpress a while back, but she was appointed by the same incumbents who have been fiddling while Rome gentrifies, so she can’t be different enough from them to reverse the crisis or she could never have won an appointment. Also, Simerly has too much environmental baggage to make the environmental sacrifices necessary to make Asheville affordable, as she opposed homebuilders in 2007 and loggers earlier, both required for affordable housing.

Dee Williams and others are similarly tainted by incumbent board appointments or endorsements; [Grant] Millin opposed walkable housing in the BB&T building, and Young spent too much of his [“The Jeff Messer Show”] interview talking about football, which is troubling in a city that spends far too much on stadiums.

So of the candidates I tentatively mentioned last spring, only LaVonda Payne seems to lack the kind of baggage that can stand up to further scrutiny.

On the bright side, I did notice in Xpress that Young and [Joe] Grady both seemed to acknowledge that Asheville’s affordable housing crisis is a total supply problem caused by the Unified Development Ordinance, as Simerly has in the past but has failed to do recently.

— Alan Ditmore

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13 thoughts on “Letter writer: Doubts grow about City Council candidates (except for one)

  1. Grant Milin

    “[Grant] Millin opposed walkable housing in the BB&T building”??? I like Alan basically but I can’t visualize what he is saying I did… and I did not do that.

    I think there are notions about a ‘post hotel glut’ Asheville where all the unused hotel envelope gets used for affordable housing. This centrally located housing would be ‘walkable’. But otherwise I’m guessing at what Alan is saying I did.

    I oppose this property tax increasing development strategy that is about searching for the next hotel development corporation project. And property taxes are just one outcome of seeking to raise property values all day and all night. Being overly dependent on local property taxes, sales taxes, fees and fines and not seeing the larger national economic pie in context to our challenges is another ‘big picture’ thought this city would do well to crack open and at least discuss freely.

    I worked for Glenn Wilcox and was really disappointed the BB&T building is going hotel/condo. Maybe some affordable housing could have gone in there, but also great businesses that pay living wages or better should have gone into 1 North Pack Square.

    What I do call for is an Asheville Sustainable Tourism Strategy, an Asheville-Buncombe Anti-Poverty Strategy, and an overall merger of sustainability and economic development strategy.

    Teamwork and an open source approach to our challenges can replace AdvantageWest

    By Grant Millin


    • “I worked for Glenn Wilcox and was really disappointed the BB&T building is going hotel/condo.” That dissapointment makes you antihousing, more so with the condos than the hotels but antihousing still. I am very glad to see more highrise condos downtown. If the rental crisis is to be reversed, downtown will need tens of thousands more highrise condo units downtown. Brand new housing is never affordable because nothing brand new is affordable. Only used things are affordable.

      • I’m especially glad to see housing replacing office jobsites in the BBT building, so that office jobs will be pushed closer to the suburbs where most of the office workers live. This will shorten commutes and save gas. Dissappointment with such a positive change is a big problem.

  2. NFB

    So someone from Leicester is telling Ashveille people how we should vote?

  3. bsummers

    I like Alan basically but I can’t visualize what he is saying I did

    Just let it wash over you.

  4. the Asheville UDO effects rents in Leicester too, as well as jobs. Should I go find my Millin reference? or is his confirmation above good enough? condos and even hotel rooms constitute walkable housing so “dissapointment” with such a conversion, from offices mostly staffed by automotive commuters, constitutes opposition to a change that we should be celebrating. Office jobs should be here in outer Leicester so that I can walk to work too, while housing belongs in downtown skyscrapers.

    • bsummers

      Office jobs should be here in outer Leicester

      OK, that was where you lost me.

      • NFB

        “OK, that was where you lost me.”

        You lasted longer than I did.

  5. People commute for 50 miles or more to jobs in Asheville, wasting gas, the jobs need to move to where the housing is, that is spread out over a 50 mile radius, to make room for housing in Asheville. Part of the Asheville housing crisis is caused by too many jobs taking up housing space and being filled by commuting suburbanites. those jobs belong in the suburbs with the suburbanites who already hold them.

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