LISTEN: Asheville City Council Candidate Forum On Discrimination

Oct 27, 2017

Blue Ridge Public Radio and the Asheville Citizen-Times partnered on a forum with the six candidates for the November 7th general election for Asheville city council.  It was recorded in the BPR studios on October 23rd.  All six candidates participated - Dee Williams, Kim Roney, Rich Lee, Vijay Kapoor, Gwen Wisler, and Sheneika Smith.  The topic of the forum was discrimination, and questions for the candidates related to issues around that.  Voters will elect three of the candidates to city council.

1:48 - Opening statements from candidates which addressed this question - what is the most effective thing city government can do to fight discrimination in all its forms?

8:49 - Last year's city bond referendum set aside millions of dollars to improve the availability of affordable housing in the city.  What do you believe is the best way to address issues of affordability - not just in housing - in the city's marginalized communities?

17:25 - The North Carolina General Assembly wields extensive power over local governments.  In Asheville, that has put local officials in conflict with the state over several issues in recent years - including LGBT rights and the future of the Vance Monument in Pack Square.  How will you work with - or around if need be - state lawmakers who do not share your values?

24:59 - State law also prevents local governments like Asheville's from raising the minimum wage in their cities.  A report released last week by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce showed the average wage per job in the region is more than $17-thousand less than the national average.  What would you do, and what do you believe city government can do, to raise wages and address this disparity which shows itself in many forms of inequity in the city?

32:54 - How do you fund and build a public transit system in Asheville that does not leave out any neighborhoods or jobs?

40:15 -  As a city council member, how would you work with the police department on issues of profiling and discrimination?

48:25 - What do you think the future of the Confederate monuments in Pack Square should be, including the Vance Monument?

55:00 - Closing statements