The field of 15 Asheville City Council candidates has raised many important issues. One of them is the public’s clear desire to provide a green space across from the Basilica of St. Lawrence in downtown. It’s been called a “bellwether” voting issue by many supporters and progressives.
My opinion is that a green space is the best outcome for many reasons. Julie Mayfield, one of the candidates, is not in the camp that says that site must be green space and nothing else. She says that a significant public space must be part of the solution. However, single-issue voting is not the best approach in the long run, as we have seen happen in Raleigh and many other cases.
Julie Mayfield has a long record of supporting the environment, forestry, clean air and water, rational development and regional progressive issues. She has the ability to work with many people of differing viewpoints and was instrumental in the development of MountainTrue, the new regional organization formed from the former WNC Alliance, Environmental and Conservation Organization and Jackson-Macon County Alliance.
To not consider voting for her, based on only this one downtown green-space issue, strikes me as shortsighted. For those opposed to environmental conservation for a higher quality of life, opposed to healthy forests and their economic benefits, opposed to clean energy, she is clearly not your candidate. But if you care about those issues and how they impact Asheville, she is one top candidate to seriously consider voting for in the larger picture.
I’ve known and worked with Julie Mayfield for many years on many issues. Our work has involved many complex problems, and I respect her ability to look at things holistically. Taken as a whole, she is one of the top candidates running for a seat on City Council. There are minor points with other top candidates I also diverge on, but no single point that would suggest they would not bring value to the progressive efforts in Asheville.
As a longtime advocate for progressive efforts in Asheville and the Western North Carolina region, I would ask that all voters reflect objectively on each candidate’s full values and positions. And especially on Julie Mayfield’s efforts, experience and record of achievements. Vote for whomever you feel is best for Asheville on all the issues; please don’t vote over just one single issue. Thank you.
— Ned Ryan Doyle