Brian Postelle's excellent article about Asheville City Council's search for more revenue ["Splitting the Check," Jan. 27] left me with a nagging sensation about the city government's priorities and my quality of life as a resident — not a tourist.
Mayor Terry Bellamy is quoted as saying, "If we woke up tomorrow and said we're not going to sweep our streets, you can't tell me that won't affect tourism." Well, excuse me, but I didn't know the city had actually been sweeping the streets in the first place, and that affects me, a resident and taxpayer. In my neighborhood and in neighborhoods all over the city, the gutters (where they exist) are clogged with leaves, trash and debris. I work at home and, in two years, have seen a street sweeper come by exactly once. Our far-flung city streets are a mess, kudzu and other weeds grow rampant, and untended vacant lots are marked by broken walls and sidewalks and littered with rusting scrap. That's unsightly, demoralizing and, ultimately, unsafe.
Yes, everyone should be responsible for his or her own property, but in a city this size there's a lot of common space that no one individual is going to clean up. That takes city muscle. I get tired of the emphasis on tourism when I see so little evidence that the city is giving residents the same level of attention our visitors get.
The mayor also said at that meeting, "We are the product people sell." Sort of. We're also a municipality where the government's primary job is the safety and welfare of its citizens.
— Nan Chase