Letter writer: Grove Park/Sunset Mountain neighborhood opposes city election districts

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The Grove Park/Sunset Mountain Neighborhood has been a recognized conduit for neighborhood concerns and representation since the 1920s; we were listed on the National Registry of Historic Districts and formalized as a neighborhood association in the 1970s. We are honored by this history, and our residents benefit by the cohesion and encouragement of an active neighborhood.

It is out of concern over Sen. Tom Apodaca’s recent proposal for Asheville City Council districting that we write. As the board of the Grove Park/Sunset Mountain Neighborhood Association, we seek cohesion and connected neighbors.

The proposed districting plan, and proposed map, unfortunately bisects our neighborhood in several places. The proposed plan bifurcates our neighborhood along the half-mile stretch of Charlotte Street contained in our neighborhood districting plan. The connected boulevard of Edwin Street and Kimberly Avenue are also separated under the proposed plan. This is all the same neighborhood, and proposals that add elements of division and separation should be avoided.

Of equal concern, the proposed legislation alters neighborhoods with like interests and/or concerns who work collaboratively on common issues, creating competition for limited city services and resources. Further, city residents now have direct access to all members of City Council, but the proposed plan may encourage Council members to focus on specific district interests rather than on what’s best for the greater community.

The Grove Park/Sunset Mountain Neighborhood Association asks that deference toward established neighborhoods, especially those with boundaries set by the city of Asheville, be given consistent representation. While we acknowledge the goal to promote more representation in other areas of Asheville, seemingly arbitrary map designs that bisect and pose harm to our neighborhood’s cohesion that is not desired or needed.

Therefore, the board of the Grove Park/Sunset Mountain Neighborhood Association asks for reconsideration of the senator’s proposal, especially as it relates to the mapping of potential Asheville City Council districts within local neighborhoods and the potential unintended consequences and harm an impact like this creates.

— Alan Escovitz, President
and members of the Grove Park/Sunset Mountain Neighborhood Association Board

Editor’s note: Sen. Tom Apodaca filed State Bill 897 to establish district elections in the city of Asheville on June 22, the day after Escovitz’s letter was received by Xpress. Contacted by phone, Escovitz said his association’s objections to the districting plan remain unchanged in light of the bill’s filing.

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15 thoughts on “Letter writer: Grove Park/Sunset Mountain neighborhood opposes city election districts

  1. The House Elections Committee approved Senate Bill 897 to elect Asheville City Council by districts on a 17-9 vote Thursday, clearing the way for likely passage by the full House, the last step needed for the bill to become law.

    Asheville District Elections Map (showing current council members)
    http://timpeck.blogspot.com/2016/06/asheville-district-elections-map.html

    Asheville District Elections Timeline
    http://timpeck.blogspot.com/2016/06/district-elections-timeline.html

    Asheville District Elections in Committee
    http://timpeck.blogspot.com/2016/06/district-elections-in-committee.html

    Pete Kaliner on Asheville District Elections
    http://timpeck.blogspot.com/2016/06/pete-kaliner-on-district-elections.html

    • bsummers

      GOP Representative Michael Speciale
      “I’m really having a problem with this. I wouldn’t appreciate it if you all came through, marching through my> area and redistricting without my consent, or my efforts or anything else.”

      23 other GOP members joined him and the Democrats in rejecting this abuse of power.

      Put that into your timeline and smoke it.

  2. Yep

    the rest of AVL is NOT interested in the elitists in N. AVL who are the LEAST affected…STFU!

      • Lulz

        Wow LOL, meet the outsider involved in the goings on of the city WHO DOESN’T PAY HIS FAIR SHARE.

        • bsummers

          Until you state who you are and where you live, you can’t deride me because I don’t hide the fact that I don’t live inside Asheville.

          The NC House just threw out Apodaca’s bill. The loudest, most angry about it were conservative Republicans.

          • Lulz

            LOL, I already asked you to put your money where your mouth is at lulz. And just like how you view your role in city politics, you only push for the BS but aren’t the one who wants to help pay for it.

          • Fin

            You don’t live in the city but utilize the services it supplies. Typical hypocrite liberal. You option is not valid when it comes to local matters. Bsummers the internet has giving you a voice there are downsides to the WWW.

          • bsummers

            Typical hypocrite liberal.

            Wow, another anonymous sockpuppet heard from.

            You don’t live in the city but utilize the services it supplies.

            Careful, you’re approaching the arguments for involuntary annexation.

            You option is not valid when it comes to local matters.

            English isn’t your first language, is it? You’re sitting in a trailer in Abu Dhabi right now, aren’t you?

  3. J.M. Westall

    I believe that would be “Edwin Place” not “Edwin Street”. All of those Places (Edwin, Evelyn, Katherine, Gertrude, and Lawrence) were named after relatives of E. W. Grove.

  4. bsummers

    The loudest, most angry opposition to Apodaca’s bill were from conservative Republicans. “Clearly wrong,” one of them said.

    • Lulz

      Put it in a referendum I can almost guarantee the voters will vote for districts. But if course council is too comfy with the status quo.

      • bsummers

        If you start collecting signatures now, you could get the necessary 5000 in time.

        But then, it’s unlikely that there are that many Asheville voters wandering around near that trailer in Nevada you operate out of.

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