Seven North Carolina counties now offer paid days off to care for a new child or an ailing family member.
Xpress contributor Mark Barrett unpacks the surprisingly static results to emerge from a politically tumultuous year in Western North Carolina.
Because the monument stands on city property, Asheville City Council will have the ultimate say; Council is expected to take that vote at its regular meeting on Dec. 8.
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.
Xpress has compiled election night summaries for each of the contests previously included in our general election voter guide. The Buncombe County Board of Elections will not officially certify results until Friday, Nov. 13, and the state board will not issue certification until Tuesday, Nov. 24.
“Honest, experienced and expert leaders can soon run the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners when we elect Robert Pressley — candidate for chair; Glenda Weinert — District 1; Anthony Penland — District 2; Joe Belcher — District 3!”
Candidates in the 2020 general election for four seats on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners give their answers for the Mountain Xpress voter guide.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Oct. 6 to award $15,000 toward the construction of an agricultural education facility at Enka High School. But as Chair Brownie Newman noted, recommendations to support such projects are normally made by Buncombe’s School Capital Fund Commission or Board of Education and funded through the regular budget cycle.
Many Republican candidates have continued to build voter support through traditional in-person campaign events such as rallies and fundraising concerts. In contrast, Democrats have largely relied on virtual efforts such as phone banking or Zoom calls, eschewing big events out of concern they might encourage spread of the coronavirus.
Al Whitesides, the sole Black member of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, and his three Democratic colleagues approved the resolution over the opposition of the board’s three Republicans. The county government is now aligned with Asheville City Council, which unanimously passed a similar measure on July 14.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners remained divided along partisan lines. Chair Brownie Newman and his three Democratic colleagues voted for the removal of Confederate monuments at Pack Square Park and the county courthouse, as well as establishing a task force on the Vance Monument, while Republicans Joe Belcher, Anthony Penland and Robert Pressley voted against those moves.
Restaurants, pools and personal care services — including salons and barber shops — will be allowed to open at 50% capacity, while child care facilities, day camps and overnight camps can open with “enhanced cleaning and screening requirements.”
As they also had argued during an April 16 special meeting, Republicans Joe Belcher, Anthony Penland and Robert Pressley said they continued to be left out of key decisions about how to restrict business and social activity in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The commission’s Democratic members passed direction for expanded community testing and contact tracing over the objections of its Republican contingent. Joe Belcher, Anthony Penland and Robert Pressley stressed their commitment to ensuring the county’s safety but expressed concern over the process by which the resolution was introduced and some of its terms.
During their Dec. 3 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners were told that while corrective measures to right years of financial mishandling are beginning to take hold, the county’s most recent audit still reflects the previous mismanagement.
Board chair Brownie Newman, Vice Chair Jasmine Beach-Ferarra and member Amanda Edwards have placed a resolution endorsing the Sheriff’s Office’s use of MAT on the commission’s agenda for Tuesday, Aug. 20. The treatment is currently offered to the jail’s pregnant female inmates, but Buncombe officials hope to expand its availability to all incarcerated individuals.
Republican members of the board argued that their Democratic colleagues were out of place in issuing official letters against pending state HB 370, which would require Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller and other sheriffs throughout North Carolina to comply with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests on penalty of removal from office.
Robert Pressley, incumbent Buncombe County commissioner for District 3, was the only Republican to win a county race in the hotly contested 2018 midterms. Buncombe County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Rose said the party’s unprecedented midterm voter outreach had helped propel Democratic candidates to wins in nearly all local contests.
Watch this space for the latest election results and commentary from the Mountain Xpress news team. The post will be updated regularly throughout the evening.