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