Camping ordinance Council meeting: the real elephant in the room

Last night I attended the Asheville City Council meeting where the highly charged "camping ordinance" was to be discussed. There were many arguments for and against the ordinance. City Council listened patiently while an impassioned audience expressed their views, which did not always fit the discussion at hand. The audience listened restlessly as an ordinance […]

Asheville City Council passes Civic Center renaming deal with U.S. Cellular

At their Nov. 22 meeting, Asheville City Council members voted 6-1 to approve a $1.3 million deal that gives U.S. Cellular naming rights to the Asheville Civic Center in an attempt to help renovate the aging facility. But other companies or organizations that want to counter-bid have a chance to do so — up till Dec. 31. During public comment on the matter, many speakers took issue with the deal, asserting it gives a corporate face to a unique piece of infrastructure with little return.

*UPDATE* With recount complete, Davis edges out Gray by 35 votes in City Council race

UPDATE: A recount of the votes completed and certified by the Buncombe County Board of Elections this afternoon, Nov. 18, didn’t significantly change the results of the election. Incumbent Jan Davis retained his third place finish – and his seat on Asheville City Council – by a total of 35 votes over challenger Lael Gray.

Letters to the editor: U.S. Cellular edition

Xpress received a large volume of letters about the proposed agreement between the city of Asheville and U.S. Cellular. Announced on Nov. 10, the deal would grant naming rights to the Chicago-based company in exchange for an investment of “up to $1.3 million over eight years.” The deal is subject to Council approval, scheduled for the Nov. 22 meeting. Dozens of readers responded with a similar argument — the negotiations were too covert; corporate sponsorship clashes with Asheville’s distinct character; the bidding process for such a deal should be open — but many of the perspectives are unique. Two readers applaud the potential deal. In the following special post, Xpress compiled the letters on the proposed agreement. (Image provided by U.S. Cellular.)

Election night comes to blows *updated*

Council member Gordon Smith was hit in the head by Lael Gray’s campaign manager, David Roat, at an election-night party, according to reports. Here, Smith describes the fracas. “I went to Lael’s party, I was giving her a hug and I got hit in the back of the head,” Smith says. “I went into a crouch, there were a few more blows, he was pulled off of me, and it was over.” (Photo by Bill Rhodes.)

Election Day: Hunt, Pelly win Council seats; Davis, Gray likely headed for recount; sales tax passes

With all city precincts reporting, Marc Hunt and Chris Pelly have won seats on Asheville City Council. Incumbent Jan Davis has come in a mere 40 votes ahead of Lael Gray, meaning the race is likely headed for a recount. With all precincts reporting, the A-B Tech sales tax referendum has passed. (Photos by Bill Rhodes)