After Hearing The News

My remarks on May 17, just after the unofficial Primary returns were announced, at the Buncombe Democratic Party’s watch party at Rabbit, Rabbit in downtown Asheville.

Not my most fluent delivery ever, but I was stunned, elated, and exhausted. It was a good end to a long day.

Stephens-Lee Voter & Nina

Onward to November!

Primary Results

Finishing fifth gets us through the Primary and on to the General Election on November 8th!

None of this would have been possible without the generous support of time and money by people who believe that Asheville deserves a government that is responsive, inclusive, transparent, and accountable! Poll-greeting and canvassing and just plain showing up is what it’s all about.

We’ll all be taking a little pause to catch our breaths, regroup, and get refreshed for the next six months of this campaign. But don’t go away… there’s plenty more to come, and I’ll need all the help I can get!

Here’s a sample of voters on Primary Day who told me they’d voted for me… thank you so much to you all for making your voices heard!

Crunch Time! Will you help?

Wow, less than a week until May 17th, Primary Election Day! Yikes! It’s a flurry of activity and a to-do list the length of my arm.

People are starting to really pay attention to this election, and I expect both the last five days of early voting and Primary Day to be quite busy.

Here are some ways to help boost my campaign in this final week:

  • Sign up to be a poll-greeter on May 17th. I’ve created a form on Sign-Up Genius. You can find a precinct convenient to you and pick a 2-hour (or more!) time slot(s). I’m especially hoping we can greet voters before they go to work, during lunchtime, and after work. I’ll make sure that you have literature to give out and some handy talking points. Please sign up here:!
  • Canvass your neighbors on your own schedule. I’ll make sure you have literature to give out and an outline you can use to tell people about my platform. Use the Join Us! form  and we’ll get you ready to go!
  • Phone banking from the comfort of your home. If you’re willing to make phone calls, why not start with your friends who haven’t voted yet?! But if you’re also willing to talk with likely voters, I’ll supply you with a calling list and a script you can use if you like. Use the Join Us! form, and we’ll make that happen!
  • Get yard signs to precincts the night of May 16th. The challenge is collecting them from their spots all around the city and placing them in appropriate spots at the 30+ precinct polling places. Consider it an opportunity to get to know Asheville’s neighborhoods even better! Please Use the Join Us! form so we can coordinate this logistical challenge!
  • Donate. Yes, we can still put your gift to work—a last buy of sponsored posts on social media.

I’m so grateful for your interest in and support of my candidacy—and for whatever assistance you’re willing to give in this last push! 

Re: Boards & Commissions — City Council is not getting the message.

At the Restructuring Boards & Commissions meeting last Thursday, city staff told us that City Council wouldn’t be addressing the full restructuring during their work session, just the Council Committees. That turned out not to be the case.

I rose at tonight’s City Council meeting to express my dismay at the dismissive remarks made by Councilmembers about the citizen’s response to the restructuring proposal, and to point out that the fault was with Council in not starting with a thorough assessment of the functioning of Boards & Commissions and a 360º interview/survey of current participants’ views.

Standing Up for Starbucks Unionization

Starbucks Unionization Supporters

I take my commitment to organized labor seriously. I was surprised not to see any of the other NC AFL-CIO/WNC Labor Council endorsed candidates for City Council at this event to support the unionization effort of local Starbucks employees.

It was a great gathering, with a fantastic demographic mix. The future looks bright with these engaged workers and citizens. I was proud to be with them

“Restructuring” Boards & Commissions Revisited

This afternoon I participated in a City-convened video meeting about the restructuring of Boards & Commissions. Once again, almost everyone who spoke up was very unhappy with the proposed redesign, and they were all people who’ve devoted countless volunteer hours to serving our city. Once again, the process resulted in… what?

Will the city heed the input and put a halt to this half-baked and ill-conceived proposal? Will it do its due diligence, as it should have from the start, by surveying everyone who’s ever served on a board or commission to get their views about what works and what doesn’t? Will they let go of the ridiculous notion that four or five overarching categories will meaningfully capture the work that needs to be done for our city, and adequately invite and facilitate the participation of a meaningful spectrum of our residents?

This restructuring needs to be put on pause. Council needs to direct staff to *start over* with this process. We need to know:

  • what works and what doesn’t
  • where the bottlenecks are
  • why some recommendations never get to Council
  • who isn’t being included and heard from, and why.

Some people actually tried to change the purpose of this “working group” meeting while it was in progress—tried to make it a working group about working groups. NO. This was about the whole question of restructuring, how it should be done, why, and for whom. Friends, this is OUR CITY, and it should be listening to and serving US. It should be enabling and encouraging our participation on boards and commissions, and then acting on the recommendations of the people who are engaging in that process.

Can the organization and function of Asheville’s Boards & Commissions be improved? No doubt. But not the way this has been approached so far. And I’m not persuaded that city staff or the facilitator truly heard the resounding “do better!” from participants.

Please note that this video ends prematurely, conveniently omitting the feedback from those of us who said this process needs to be put on hold and reconceived from the ground up. I actually had the last word on the subject, but you wouldn’t know it from this video. 

Oh look! Sunshine Request AVL streamed the whole meeting live on Facebook, so now you can see the entire thing. My final remarks begin at 1:37:57.

London Road Clean-Up!

London Rd. Clean-Up FlyerJoin us at the intersection of London Rd. and West Chapel Rd. at 10:40am, this coming Saturday, May 7th! We’ll be using supplies provided by Asheville GreenWorks, working our way downhill toward Biltmore Village. If time permits, we may branch off to other streets as well.

Be part of a team serving our neighbors and our city, and get your weekend off to a great start! (If you’re on Facebook, you can join the event here.)

Attention Asheville: Your Infrastructure is Crumbling

Over the last three days, I have been vividly reminded that Asheville’s infrastructure is urgently in need of attention. Two days ago, a water main burst a few doors up the street from, flooding the street, and part of my backyard and my neighbor’s down the hill. City water workers responded quite promptly and my water was only off for a few hours.





The next morning, yesterday, I awoke to my house shaking and loud grinding sounds. This photo from my bedroom window shows the crew working on another leak that had sprung up over night. The crew told me that there were at least five breaks in the neighborhood.

My water was off again for most of the day.


I was driving through Oakley this morning on the way to a meeting, when I saw a City worker trying to bring yet another leak under control right on Fairview Rd.

It’s as if a bunch of Asheville’s water pipes all reached their expiration date simultaneously.

I hope that our city will have access to some of those federal bipartisan infrastructure bill funds to repair our aging systems. Because there’s only so much patching you can do.

We need to make sure that this most fundamental of city services—clean, safe water—gets delivered reliably to all our residents.



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