Campaign Activity Summary: September

We’re hurtling toward the start of early voting, only 18 days away!

The hustle continues. Here’s a selection of activities—not shown here are the many meetings with community members and campaign supporters.

Building Carbon-Negative Housing for a Sustainable Future

According to the presenter of this TED talk—Vishaan Chakrabarti—we currently have the technology we need to build carbon-negative housing reasonably affordably and at scale.

The keys is building 3-story multi-family dwellings with their own renewable, sustainable systems as well as walkable neighborhoods with resources and amenities, linked by robust public transportation.

I believe Asheville can do this.

What the what???

Nina Tovish Speaking at City Council

I was baffled by item K in this week’s consent agenda at City Council. It read:

“Resolution approving in principle the issuance by the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville of up to $20,000,000 of multifamily housing revenue bonds for the acquisition and rehabilitation of Battery Park Apartments.”

How, I wondered, could $20M in bonds be passed with no fanfare, via a consent agenda, without extensive public discussion? The HACA was going to buy Battery Park? And renovations?

So, when the consent agenda came up for public comment, I asked.

The answer was reassuring, as far as I could understand it: some arcane process involving the actual owner (Nation Church Residences) raising funds for renovation through issuing bonds, under authority of HACA but imputing no liability to HACA or the City of Asheville.

I was surprised that I was the only person who actually sought clarification on this, especially since it was the only thing of its kind I’ve ever seen in a consent agenda. Anyway, the moral of the story is: ask. Always ask.

Public Comment at the TDA Board Meeting

This morning I attended the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) Board Meeting. I wanted the Board members to be aware that Asheville residents and service workers are paying attention to their response to the need for affordable parking and improved public transportation.

The meeting was temporarily disrupted when the TDA’s internet went down—hence my remarks about the importance of reliable infrastructure at the very beginning. (I refer to infrastructure throughout because the TDA will often say that by law it can only fund infrastructure. I believe it’s important to broaden our understanding of what counts as infrastructure.)

Showing Up to All The Things

Amazing campaign day today!

Started at 8AM with breakfast with the Democratic Men’s Club.

Then at 11AM I was at “Sparking the Good Fire” at the Burton St. Community Center, an artistic and inspiring gathering to empower community members to take on the challenges of climate change.

By 1PM I was at Pride—fantastic crowd, amazing vibe, great connections.

From 2:30 to about 5PM I was fortunate to be invited to a house party in North Asheville for substantive conversations about the most challenging issues facing Asheville. (Thank you so much to the generous hosts and guests!)

Then it was back to Pride for a couple more hours. I was so immersed in meeting and talking with people that I did a miserable job of documenting any of it. So here’s a crap picture of me at Pride at the end of a long, full, deeply rewarding day.

Half of Nina's Face at Pridea

Endorsed by the Asheville Home Builders Association!

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve received the endorsement of the Asheville Home Builders Association (also known as the Builders Association of the Blue Ridge Mountains).

Thank you for taking the time to fill out our candidate questionnaire and give us more information on your opinions on development, housing affordability, and your priorities in running for office. The Builders Association of the Blue Ridge Mountains aims to support candidates that are pro-housing. Thank you for attending our event and speaking with our membership. We look forward to working with you in the future.

We are excited to endorse you as a candidate for City Council.

 

A Brief Excerpt: Remarks at a House Party

One wonderful way to connect with neighbors and prospective voters is at a house party (this one was thrown by my friend and neighbor Lori). This kind of informal setting allows us to have conversations and get into subjects in more depth.

This video shows a segment from my introductory remarks, where I’m talking about the essential value of a commitment to transparency and communication from those in positions of public trust.

Shiloh Community Concerns, B&C Working Group Report

In the open discussion portion of yesterday’s City Council meeting, I reported on Shiloh Community concerns about pedestrian access to the proposed redeveloped Ingles at South Forest plaza. I also gave Council and the City Manager heads up about the community’s urgent request for a traffic light at Jeffress and Hendersonville Ave.

I also updated them on the progress being made by the Boards & Commissions ‘Realignment’ Working Group.

Hybrid Meetings Should Be The Norm

This comment to City Council was made because Council is imposing a policy of all in-person meetings for Boards & Commissions, unless a super-majority votes to meet remotely. There is no provision for hybrid meetings at all, yet. (The irony is that I’d just come from a very successful hybrid meeting of a B&C Realignment Working Group subcommittee, supported technologically by Patrick Conant of Code for Asheville. There really is no excuse for not doing this routinely.)

In contrast, Council is now allowing itself to meet all in-person, all virtual, or a hybrid mix of the two. “Rules for thee, but not for me.”

The Future is Hybrid. Hybrid meetings are more accessible and environmentally more sustainable.

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