Hold on to the golden egg

It is time for our City Council and citizens to make a clear choice. What is our highest vision of Asheville? Please reflect on this image: A downtown with three or four or more Ellington-size high-rises blocking out the views and the sunlight.

Why are we handing over the future of our city to out-of-state investors and developers whose primary loyalty is to maximizing profits and their wealth?

These out-of-towners want what we have: our amazing mountains and natural wonders. Our unique town. They want us to play by their rules, or they will go somewhere else. Trust me: Other, more conscious, developers will come and beg us for a place at our WNC table. The key is a detailed plan for the future of downtown, created by the citizens of Buncombe County.

The developers tell us to trust them—they know what is best for us poor mountain folk and our pitiful economy. Sorry—I don’t trust them. I have been to Northern Virginia and South Florida and Atlanta. I have seen the soul-deadening results of overdevelopment. I have sat in traffic jams there and had lots of time to view the ugly-beyond-words, man-made landscapes created in the name of progress.

The vision of greed is: More is best! Never be satisfied with time-tested visions of beauty like nature and in-scale historical buildings. Do you honestly think they will be satisfied with [The] Ellington I? (“Honey—our penthouse in The Ellington is OK, but those penthouses in [The] Ellington II and III are spectacular!”)

It is so important that our creative young people (so full of visions of what is possible) and, yes, our friends from all around the world (who come back here to vacation year after year) can trust and celebrate that Asheville and this beautiful, unique area is here to stay—an inspiring alternative to self-centered greed and out-of-control developers.

We all have to have faith in our unique ways to make things better. And we all need to really get involved! Please share my letter with your family and friends, [including] those who enjoy coming here on vacation.

As for me, I am supporting Elaine Lite for Asheville City Council. Check out Elaine’s site (www.electelaine.org) and see if her vision for Asheville’s future feels right for you, too.

And whatever your decision—please mark your calendar and take an hour to vote in the upcoming primary election. Democracy can work. Do not take it for granted!

— Kim Czajkowski

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