Asheville on Bikes has recently drawn attention for its successful advocacy at City Hall, but it’s just one of many community organizations that seek to pull the levers of political power in Asheville. Xpress spoke to several of these groups to learn more about how they pursue their agendas.
The lanes are slated to be installed along sections of College Street and Patton Avenue, with both routes terminating at Pritchard Park. The city is prepared to accept bids for the project, which should be ready for installation later in the month.
Mayor Esther Manheimer and climate change consultant Maggie Ullman Berthiaume have raised the most campaign funds so far in this year’s race for Asheville city government positions, according to reports filed by candidates’ campaigns. Manheimer had raised $19,550 as of mid-July, while Berthiaume had taken $29,442 in donations.
The Buncombe County Board of Elections won’t officially certify the results until Friday, May 27, and the N.C. Board of Elections will issue its own certification Thursday, June 9. But even with those steps still to come, there’s plenty to learn from the unofficial results.
Candidates in the N.C. Senate District 49 Democratic 2022 primary share their positions with Xpress.
An exchange between protesters and Asheville City Council member Sandra Kilgore marked the start of Council’s March 17-18 retreat, where the elected officials heard feedback from top city staffers and plotted their approach to the coming year.
During a presentation, Capt. Mike Lamb of the Asheville Police Department cited data showing that 10% of overall crime in Asheville from Jan. 1, 2020 to Jan. 9, 2022 — including 14% of violent crime and 8.5% of property crime — occurred within 500 feet of an encampment.
“Perhaps with a creative compromise, the past and future can be forged together for healing.”
As the sometimes contentious discussions unfolded, members grappled with ambitious priorities for the upcoming year, and, perhaps more importantly, what their working relationships would look like for the next 18 months.
At its March 25 regular meeting, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority board unanimously approved a projection that occupancy tax revenue would exceed $27 million for fiscal year 2021-22 — 15% more than projected for the current fiscal year, which ends in June, and 9% more than the year before the pandemic.
“I’m looking forward to the day we can have a centerpiece in our city that reflects Asheville today,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer. “And I’m proud to be part of the Council that will make this change.”
“Hiding history only tempts us to repeat it.”
“The repurposing of the Vance Monument would present an opportunity, not only for learning, but also to add yet another layer to the history and growth of this community.”
“If repurposing the obelisk can further balance our demonstrated duality, let’s go for it! Unity Tower sounds good and right.”
Six months ago, as part of a reckoning on racial injustice, the city of Asheville and Buncombe County both passed resolutions to consider reparations to the Black community as a way to begin making amends for slavery and generations of systemic discrimination. Since then, local officials concede, little has been done.
“We cannot avoid the hidden phantom side effects of the desecration of the monument, held so dear by so many.”
Xpress contributor Mark Barrett unpacks the surprisingly static results to emerge from a politically tumultuous year in Western North Carolina.
On Dec. 8, Asheville City Council voted to move forward with the removal of the downtown obelisk, which memorializes Confederate Gov. Zebulon Vance. Sandra Kilgore was the only member in opposition.
Mayor Esther Manheimer emailed Xpress the evening of Dec. 7 to say that Council was moving the Vance item from reports to new business, allowing for both public comment and a vote. She did not immediately respond to a request for clarification regarding the rationale behind that change.
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.