Day 5 of Early Voting

Preparing Plates at Haywood St. Congregation

My public day began with a meal at Haywood Street Congregation. This was one of the best experiences of my life in Asheville. I’m so grateful for the welcome from my friend Kathy (seen at work in the kitchen), server Patty, and my wonderful tablemates Clive, Keri, John, Glenn, Elie, and Frank. It was a true experience of community, and while this was my first visit I promise that it will certainly not be my last. Just writing about it now fills my heart up again. 

Guests for Lunch at Haywood St. Congregation

I spent the rest of my day at East AVL Library, Wesley Grant Center, the River Arts District Farmer’s Market, and the Fellowship Community Center. My thanks to everyone who stopped to speak to me, and everyone at other sites who was kind enough to speak *for* me. I’m truly grateful.

City Council Comments 10/25/22

Tuesday’s City Council Meeting addressed a wide variety of important City initiatives. My first comment was to support the designation of the Walton St. Pool & Park as a historical landmark. I see this as a first step toward acknowledging the history and celebrating the legacy of Asheville’s Black community.

Manufactured housing (also known as mobile homes or, pejoratively, as trailer park homes) represents an essential affordable segment of Asheville’s housing market. We need to ensure the habitability of this housing stock, and this adjustment to the zoning code will allow old units to be replaced by new ones, now built to a much higher standard.

Ultimately, manufactured housing needs to be destigmatized, and much more widely integrated into our city neighborhoods.

In which I make a modest proposal for the use of Housing Trust Funds to upgrade substandard rental properties to Section 8 code, with the proviso that landlords subsequently accept Housing Opportunity Vouchers to these renovated rentals. This is yet another way to increase the supply of affordable housing to those who need it the most.

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.

Black Wall St. AVL Candidate Forum

I was honored to participate in a Forum at Black Wall St. AVL, just for City Council candidates. Five of us in the City Council race were present, Councilmember Shaneika Smith did not attend.

This post includes videos of my responses to the questions posed to every candidate. You’ll notice we had some challenges with a balky microphone, so the audio less than optimal. (There was also a backlighting challenge that became more noticeable as the evening went on.)

At the beginning, each of us was asked to introduce ourselves and talk about our previous involvement in politics.

A technical snafu prevented the recording of one of my answers, the rest are available below.

Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods Candidate Forum

The Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods (CAN) held a forum at the East Asheville Public Library, in the evening. It included candidates for Mayor, City Council, County Commission, and Sheriff, and it ran from 7pm to after 10pm.

Four of us in the City Council race were present, the two incumbents did not attend.

I’ll update this post with a link to the full video, as recorded by CAN. In the meantime, here are videos of just my responses to the questions posed to Council candidates (or at-large to all).

At the beginning, each of us was asked to introduce ourselves and explain what we understood the concept of neighborhood resilience to be.

Honestly, I don’t remember off the top of my head what the order of these topics were, so I’ll just let you browse through the remaining five segments. They have the virtue of being short!