“We must ask ourselves, ‘What are we sowing in our community and in our world for generations to come?’ Will we build our economy on poison?”
Sandra Kilgore, Sage Turner and Kim Roney will officially become Asheville City Council members on Tuesday, Dec. 1. And on Dec. 7, newcomers Terri Wells and Parker Sloan will be sworn in to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners alongside returning incumbents Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Brownie Newman.
Callers expressed their frustration after Mayor Esther Manheimer announced Asheville City Council would not discuss the creation of a $1 million reparations fund at its Nov. 10 meeting.
Two work sessions have brought Asheville City Council members a little closer to agreement on an approach to hotels. And with the city’s hotel development moratorium set to expire on Tuesday, Feb. 23, time is running out to craft a plan.
Members expressed unanimous support for extending the city’s hotel moratorium — previously set to expire later in September — an additional five months, giving Council and city staff more time to fully develop new standards for hotel development.
Environmental advocates urged Asheville City Council to adopt a series of proposals to strengthen protections for Asheville’s urban forests.
Asheville made national headlines the night of June 2, when Asheville Police Department officers destroyed medical supplies and forcibly handled volunteer medics during international protests for racial justice. Xpress spoke with several people present at the medic station; they say the reasons for their outrage go far beyond the damage to supplies.
After a contentious public hearing earlier in the week, Asheville City Council voted 5-2 to pass a 2020-21 fiscal year budget with three months of funding allocated for essential department spending at its July 30 meeting.
In a July 27 email, Asheville City Attorney Brad Branham said that the city’s charter, which directs all Council vacancies to be filled by appointment, took precedence over a state law that called for an election under certain circumstances.
Instead of voting on Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell’s proposed budget on Tuesday, June 23, as originally planned, City Council will now consider an interim budget on that date. The move, coming after a wave of public comment to “defund the Asheville Police Department,” is meant to bridge the gap before a new budget can be reworked with additional community engagement.
Debra Campbell, Asheville’s city manager, said she was recommending no new spending for projects that Council had previously explored, such as renewable energy on city buildings. All departments have also been asked to cut their budgets as much as possible, “with a focus on minimizing operational impacts.”
According to a staff report available before City Council’s meeting of Tuesday, May 12, 60 hotel rooms at the Red Roof Inn in West Asheville would replace the city’s emergency group shelter at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville, which has a capacity of 50 and currently houses 32.
Asheville City Council will urge Congress to pass the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which is aimed at reducing fossil fuel use by imposing a tax that would increase over time. Before the 6-1 vote approving the board’s resolution, with Council member Brian Haynes opposed, members of the public weighed in on whether imposing such a tax is the right step.
As world leaders met in Spain for a United Nations conference on climate change, Western North Carolina residents converged on Pack Square for their own environmental action on the morning of Dec. 6. Organized by Sunrise Movement Asheville in conjunction with six other area nonprofits, the Asheville Climate Strike for a Green New Deal called for government leaders “to take bold action and treat this like the climate emergency that it is.”
After months of haranguing City Council over the wording of a climate emergency resolution, over 40 protesters with Sunrise Movement Asheville occupied the government building on Dec. 6 to demand that Mayor Esther Manheimer and her colleagues pass the document as written by the climate justice group.
Roughly 75 people, including Asheville City Council member Brian Haynes and Council candidate Shane McCarthy, took part in demanding that local government take stronger action in response to climate change. Extinction Rebellion chose the date of the march to coincide with the time local elections would have been held before they were moved to 2020 through the passage of Senate Bill 813.
Asheville City Council voted to halt hotel approvals for one year and will use the time to examine the impact of hotels on the community and develop new guidelines for hotel approval.
At Asheville City Council’s June 25 meeting, Council member Julie Mayfield flipped on her previous opposition to the project, joining Mayor Esther Manheimer, Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler and Vijay Kapoor to complete a majority vote that allowed the rezoning of the historic building for hotel use.