What relevant experience makes you a good candidate for City Council?

I’ve been a politically engaged citizen since my youth, never as an ideologue, always as a pragmatic idealist. I pay attention to how government—national, state, or local—interacts with us, and whether it upholds the processes and values of democracy. In Asheville, I’ve been participating in City Council meetings for years, seeking to make our city government more responsive, inclusive, transparent, and accountable. My experience in real estate helps me understand the complexities of our city’s affordable housing crisis.

Name three achievable goals you would champion in the next two years.

  1. Improve the City residential property tax rebate piloted last year: make it permanent and automatic—using a formula including years of ownership, percentage valuation increase, and actual assessment.
  2. Ensure the City achieves its stated goals for reducing fossil-fuel use by accelerating the deployment of solar panels and upgrading existing facilities.
  3. Empower meaningful resident participation early in the formulation of City decisions, through easier access to public information and processes—including Council meetings, effective boards and commissions, and community groups.

What recent City Council decision do you most disagree with, and what would you have done differently?

City Council’s 2019 vote to permit the transformation of the Flatiron Building from an historic downtown anchor for local small businesses into yet another hotel for tourists was atrocious. It epitomizes a decision-making process that disregards residents’ voices, fails to promote a vibrant, diversified local economy, and prioritizes favorable outcomes for large developers over our urgent community needs and quality of life. This is our city; we deserve a City Council that listens to us and puts residents first. [See my public comment before City Council about the Flatiron Building in this post, and the full text of my remarks here.]


Yes or no questions

Please respond yes or no to the following questions. You may choose not to respond any question, but those omissions will be noted in the voter guide. [I will be updating my responses to these questions, which I feel were unhelpfully arbitrary and in some cases impossible to understand as yes/no questions.]

  1. Do you support the city funding a low-barrier shelter for the homeless population? Yes.
  2. Do you support the Asheville Police Department’s policy of clearing homeless encampments after 48 hours notice? No.
  3. Do you support reassigning certain APD duties, such as mental health service calls, domestic dispute and/or vagrancy complaints, to other agencies? Yes.
  4. Do you support changing zoning laws to require denser development, even if it infringes on existing property rights?
  5. Should the city promote housing development of all types to increase housing stock in pursuit of affordable housing? No.
  6. Would you support raising Asheville’s property tax to expand services beyond their current level?
  7. Do you support budgeting annual allocations to the reparations fund? Yes.
  8. Would you pressure county or state officials to abolish the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority?
  9. Do you agree with the city’s proposal to reduce the number of its boards and commissions? No.
  10. Do you support Council discussing items in advance of public meetings during private “check-in” sessions? No.
  11. Do you support a policy of allowing the public remote access to comment during live meetings? Yes.
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