Letter writer: Future of downtown begs question: What would Julian do?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

There are a number of difficult issues facing our community as we look to the future of our downtown. A friend sent me a post recently in which a local activist asked, “Think of Julian Price; what would he do?”

I met Julian soon after he came to Asheville. We worked on a project together in 1991, and he and Pat Whalen hired me to work for their newly created company, Public Interest Projects, at the beginning of 1992. I worked with Julian for many years, and this is what I think Julian would do. Julian would listen.

Julian never believed he had all the answers, and he listened and learned and questioned and considered information from all sides. Julian was honest. The world is complicated, and we each have a unique perspective. Julian would not tell half-truths or create his own facts or twist information to push his agenda. Julian was respectful. Julian did not believe it was necessary to demonize those who didn’t agree with him. He simply worked harder to make his case. Julian didn’t need to die on every hill. Julian realized that the perspectives and needs of others should be honored as well, and that compromise was often the best solution.

Asheville has to do better. The “end justifies the means” approach is unacceptable. We have to stop misrepresenting opposition views and vilifying those who don’t march in lockstep with us. We have to start listening — openly and respectfully. And then we have to step up and personally contribute — our money, our time, our energy. To paraphrase JFK, “Ask not what your community can do for you, ask what you can do for your community.”

Julian is no longer here; it is up to us. Think of Julian Price; what will you do?

— Karen Ramshaw

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5 thoughts on “Letter writer: Future of downtown begs question: What would Julian do?

  1. Scotty_Mack

    Julian was a fascinating man. My family all knew him well.

    He would be disgusted by Asheville’s focus on becoming a playground for the rich. Don’t know what dialogue stops greedy developers and their puppets on city council. I think the only way to get downtown back to his vision of a community would be a credit crash which halts all the hotels in mid-construction and turns rent into something locals can afford again.

    • The Real World

      Scotty – your wish will eventually come true. The mother of all credit crashes is in our future, that is clear. The timing and ultimate catalyst of the meltdown is anyone’s guess.

      But, it seems you aren’t factoring the whole picture. This town will be hurt badly in a steep recession as personal travel, dining out, art purchasing, ETC. will dry up. They are non-essentials for most people. So sure, the rents will become more affordable because demand won’t be there as the supply of jobs will have shriveled. Many, many will move away.

      However, if all that happens it probably will be good for the area, on the long haul. A great big pause (however painful for awhile) for a rethink and a reset.

      • Lulz

        LOL, if the area is becoming a haven for the rich, you don’t suppose that in itself can fend off any financial bumps lulz? Those buying up the housing and dumping another 100 grand in upgrades aren’t starving for money nor are they out there looking for loans.

    • Solutionist

      Julian Price was also one of the RICH who claimed AVL as HIS ‘playground’ … nothing new there…different generations will do different things with cities. always.

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