Four years ago, as I spent hours canvassing West Asheville for [Council member] Brownie Newman, I thought I was increasing the total Buncombe housing supply—and resulting affordability—because of his (still-unfulfilled) promises to increase walkable, high-density housing in the city. I had some idea that he wasn’t big on similar housing near my farm, even though it could still displace a nuclear waste dump, but I didn’t think that mattered. And I certainly had no idea that he would, or even could, hand me the kind of devastating personal betrayal that he did late last June when he blocked Leicester incorporation—all for a totally self-defeating annexation strategy that sabotages urban values by giving Asheville votes to his own suburban opponents.
So now, thanks to Newman, I [just spent] my fourth Christmas living in land poverty—cold, stuck thousands of miles from anyone who shares my values, paralyzed here by the lack of capital required to comply with elitist county regulations on subdividing my farm into affordable lots of any less than 10 acres each. And blocked personally by Newman from even hoping for the local sovereignty with which my neighbors might free me to restart my life and pursue municipal contraception in Reno or Hong Kong, where it might have a chance.
So Merry Christmas to you too, Brownie—and a more sincere one for Brother Christopher and [Council member Carl] Mumpower, who both spoke that June day on behalf of Leicester.
— Alan Ditmore