The lead artists of the giant downtown mural discuss planning and implementing the inspirational work.
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.
Asheville City Council unanimously adopted a resolution supporting reparations for Asheville’s Black community at its July 14 meeting. Members also moved to table a $83,000 contract with risk-management firm Hillard Heintze to investigate Asheville Police Department’s response to recent protests after listening to community concerns.
Asheville City Council unanimously adopted a joint resolution with Buncombe County to remove two Confederate monuments at the Buncombe County Courthouse and in Pack Square Park. The resolution also convenes a task force to further explore the removal or repurposing of the Vance Monument in downtown Asheville.
Sixth time’s a charm? Asheville City Council approved new affordability conditions for the RAD Lofts mixed-used development slated for the city’s River Arts District, the latest in a string of conditional zoning amendments approved by Council since 2013.
Political scientists and women who have run for office in Buncombe County suggest that obstacles for women to get elected to local office here are much lower now than they once were — even though the proportion of female elected officials is still a good bit less than their share of the county’s population.
Activists often feel called to organize, teach, speak and share; movements seeking social change don’t run on business hours and generally come with little to no pay or benefits. How do locals on the front lines of movement work find time and resources to do the self-care that keeps them going?
Downtown traffic is about to get a lot worse, according to Asheville City Council member Sheneika Smith. “Because this project is so massive and we’ve already accommodated for almost 1,000 parking spaces — which is equivalent to, we’ll say, 500 vehicles flowing up and down this major area where our bus terminal is — I […]
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.
Sen. Chuck Edwards, who represents Henderson, Transylvania and eastern Buncombe counties in N.C. Senate District 48, said he remained firm in his desire to see the city of Asheville take a different approach to electing its council members. “I get constant feedback from constituents in Asheville that they can’t get City Council folks to pick up the phone, let alone to listen to a specific concern that they might have in their neighborhood,” he said.
Asheville City Council members clashed over whether a state-imposed district election system would negatively impact black voters during Sept. 24 meeting.
Community activists Sheneika Smith and Nicole Townsend are the recipients of the pilot Tzedek Brilliance Awards, individual grants of $200,000 paid over two years. The Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis Fund created the awards to reflect a shift toward community-directed, no-strings-attached philanthropy that aims to harness the insights and creativity within oppressed groups.
As of June 23, the Asheville Police Department has responded to 360 gun calls, said Deputy Chief James Baumstark. He noted that the top three locations from which police have received calls are in and around the public housing communities of Pisgah View, Deaverview and Hillcrest apartments.
“I don’t know how to stretch $230,000 into three-quarters of a million. I just don’t know how to do it. Maybe if I had Jesus here with the fish, and he was feeding everybody, maybe we could do that,” said committee member Keith Young to laughter from the audience. “That’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek response, but it is tough.”
Incumbent Asheville City Board of Education members Shaunda Sandford and Martha Geitner faced tough questions from Asheville City Council at an interview session on March 26. But at Council’s regular meeting that same evening, the two were unanimously reappointed to four-year terms on the board. James Carter was selected to fill a two-year vacancy created by the resignation of board member James Lee.
Mayor Esther Manheimer pointed to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s recent commitment to long-term planning around hotel occupancy taxes as a key factor in her support for the project. “That is the kind of change that I needed to see personally before I would move forward with considering another hotel,” she said, joining Council members Vijay Kapoor, Julie Mayfield and Sheneika Smith in the approval vote.
“Don’t just think that this is going to be somebody calling on the phone about a bar down the street or their neighbor next door,” said Council member Keith Young. “This opens up a larger door. I am totally not comfortable opening up a new pathway into our criminal justice system.”
Asheville has gotten whiter over the past two decades. The proportion of African-American residents in the city dropped from 17.6 percent in 2000 to 12.3 percent in 2016, a change city officials attribute to a combination of white influx and black exodus. For the people of color who remained in Asheville, 2018 proved a mixed bag.
A quarter-cent sales tax on all purchases in Buncombe County would be earmarked for transit improvements, as required by state law, while a 1 percent tax on prepared foods and beverages bought in the city could be used as general funds. Both taxes would require approval by voter referendum, projected to take place in 2020.
After Mayor Esther Manheimer and Council members Keith Young and Brian Haynes shared their intent to reject the project, attorney Wyatt Stevens pulled the building from consideration on behalf of his clients, local hoteliers Pratik Bhakta and Monark Patel.