asheville city council districts

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Defying a bill passed by the General Assembly last year, Asheville City Council Tuesday evening voted to change the city's charter to ensure future city council elections continue to use an at-large system.  This stops election districts from being used for next year's election.  But the General Assembly could act again to impose districts.  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Asheville city council will decide Tuesday whether to defy a state bill that forces the city to use districts for future city council elections. 

Asheville city council is getting closer to taking action to sidestep the North Carolina General Assembly regarding the use of districts for future city council elections.  A final decision won't come until next month, but a public hearing to be held next week could be a sign of which way a majority of council members are leaning.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Asheville city attorney Brad Branham told council members Tuesday evening a potential lawsuit over a state law that imposes electoral districts for future council elections could cost the city up to $2-million.  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Asheville city council will hold a work session Tuesday evening on potential legal options for the city to stop the imposition of electoral districts for future city council elections.  Suing the state or changing the city charter to ensure all council seats remain elected at-large are two of the main options that will be discussed at the meeting.  But city councilman Vijay Kapoor will offer a third.  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Asheville city council will hold a work session Tuesday evening on whether to take legal action stop the imposition of electoral districts for future city council elections.  Council members appear split on whether to sue the state in an attempt to stop districts, which were created after the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved a measure creating districts last year.  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer says the city’s response has been delayed to a 2018 General Assembly measure forcing election districts to be created for future city council elections because Asheville did not have a city attorney for several months.  Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Manheimer says that all should change now that Brad Branham will take over as city attorney April 8th.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Controversial legislation forcing the city of Asheville to have districts for city council members could pick up the support of Buncombe County Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn if the bill is amended on the Senate floor.  An elections committee advanced SB813 this morning.  Van Duyn says the bill will be on the Senate floor on Monday.

Asheville Districts Bill Filed

Jun 14, 2018
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Anticipated legislation forcing the city of Asheville to have districts for city council members has been officially filed.  Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville filed the bill mandating 5 city council districts.  One council member would be elected at large.  The mayor would still be elected at large.  The move towards districts was opposed by all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County, as well as the Asheville city council and a large majority of Asheville voters in a Nov

ncleg.net

Local sentiment is overwhelmingly against the legislature creating districts for Asheville city council.  Comments solicited by the legislature and obtained by BPR were negative on the prospects of districts, often scathingly so. 

You can read the comments here.  BPR removed names and addresses from the document.  

Kapoor: Voters Showed AVL Districts Not Necessary

Apr 26, 2018
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Asheville City Council member Vijay Kapoor was critical of the North Carolina legislature for moving towards forcing districts on the city of Asheville.  Speaking with BPR's Jeremy Loeb, the councilman of south Asheville said his election shows that voters from anywhere in the city are fully capable of being represented on council under the current system.  And he added that voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea of districts in a voter referendum.

(Photo: North Carolina General Assembly, Information Systems Division) via Asheville Citizen-Times

The General Assembly is seeking input on drawing districts for Asheville City Council members.  There’s now a form on the legislative website that lets residents weigh in on criteria for the maps.  The idea is controversial.  It was put forward by Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville over the objections of all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County.  Asheville voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea in a local referendum after the legislature passed Edward’s bill.

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Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer got a resounding vote of confidence earlier this month, winning re-election with more than 80% of the vote.  She stopped by BPR to speak with Jeremy Loeb about the election results and to look forward to her second four-year term.  She also discussed possible actions the city might take in response to a legislative effort to force districts for council members, something Asheville voters overwhelmingly rejected.

This week's election in Asheville will produce the most ethnically diverse city council in its history.  Vijay Kapoor, Sheneika Smith, and incumbent vice mayor Gwen Wisler were all elected to city council.  Kapoor is the first Asian-American ever elected to the body (he and Pratik Bhakta, who lost in this year's primary election, were the first Asian-American candidates ever for Asheville city council).  Smith's election means for the first time in 26 years, there will be two African-Americans on city council.  Citizen-Times reporter

Wikicommons

The sponsor of the bill that mandated Asheville draw districts for future city council elections says ‘it isn’t optional’ for the city to follow the law – even though Asheville residents rejected districts by a 3 to 1 margin in this week’s election.  Henderson County Republican Chuck Edwards district includes parts of South Asheville – a supposedly more politically moderate and conservative part of Asheville that rarely has been represented on city council, whose six members are currently elected at-large.  The bill Edwards sponsored which his colleagues in the General Assembly OK’d earlie

Wikicommons

Asheville voters will decide this fall whether they want city council districts or the current system of electing members at-large.  That’s even though the North Carolina General Assembly already passed a measure forcing the city to draw districts for the 2019 election.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Speaking to BPR a day after the legislature passed a bill forcing districts for Asheville city council members, mayor Esther Manheimer said there is a legal strategy in place to deal with them.  Manheimer said the issue would need to be discussed at the next council meeting on July 25th.

SOGGY6 / FLICKR

The long-debated Asheville districts bill is now law.  The North Carolina House passed the bill forcing districts for Asheville city council members, and the Senate quickly concurred.  It passed despite the lone Asheville Democrat in favor withdrawing his support after it was amended.

Down to the Wire for Asheville Districts Bill

Jun 27, 2017
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

A bill forcing districts on the city of Asheville needs several more votes before becoming law.  It's on the House schedule for Thursday, possibly the last day of session.  The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

A bill requiring the city of Asheville to adopt districts for the purpose of electing council members is one step closer to passage after picking up the key support of Rep. Brian Turner (D-Buncombe).  The bill put forward by Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville got support not only from Turner but from at least one Republican who opposed a similar bill from his predecessor, Senator Tom Apodoca, also of Hendersonville.  But Turner told BPR he would be unlikely to support the bill if an amendment he plans to introduce is not adopted.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

The city of Asheville is one step closer to having districts for city council members.  A House committee passed a bill Wednesday to require just that.  And it appears to have picked up key support for eventual passage.

Soggy6/Flickr

The North Carolina Senate passed a controversial bill Wednesday night that splits Asheville into six districts for the purpose of electing city council members.   Senate Bill 285 is similar to one put forward by Hendersonville Republican Senator Tom Apodaca.  It would change the way voters choose city council members by creating six districts with voters allowed to choose only in their districts.  The mayor would still be elected at-large.  Apodaca’s bill died when a number of Republicans joined Democrats in voting no.  Now Apodaca’s successor, Republican Chuck Edwards, is trying again.

On Tuesday, the Asheville city council will discuss the results of a poll it commissioned regarding the creation of districts for future elections.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

A bill introduced in the General Assembly would split Asheville into districts for the purpose of electing city council members.  It’s sponsored by Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville, who represents a small portion of south Asheville, an area that hasn’t been represented on city council in some time.  BPR has made repeated attempts to speak with Edwards, but he declined in an email response, saying he’d talk “perhaps after the bill is passed.”  Vijay Kapoor is a resident of south Asheville and an announced candidate for city council.  He wrote an op-ed in Sunday’s Citizen-Times critical of the bill.  He spoke with BPR about it.

Fate of Edwards' Asheville Districts Bill Uncertain

Mar 27, 2017
ncleg.net

The last bill former Hendersonville Republican Tom Apodaca put forth before he retired would have split Asheville into districts for the purpose of electing city council members.  It was opposed by every other lawmaker representing the city, as well as the mayor and entire city council.  In a stinging defeat for the longtime senator, it failed in its final vote in the House.  Now his successor, Republican Senator Chuck Edwards, is trying again.  Edwards declined requests from BPR to talk about the bill, saying in an e-mailed response he’d talk “perhaps after the bill is passed.”  But WUNC capitol reporter Jeff Tiberii caught up with Edwards on the Senate floor.

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A busy week in Asheville city politics is wrapping up.  First, Republican state senator Chuck Edwards introduced a bill that would create city council districts in Asheville.  Currently all city council seats in Asheville are elected at-large, meaning anyone living anywhere in the city can run for any one of them.