Asheville City Council

Voters in the city of Asheville could have the final say as early as this fall on whether city council seats will remain elected at-large.  A bill in the General Assembly filed by Republican senator Chuck Edwards would make the city draw up election districts for the six council seats.  Separate of that legislation, the current Asheville city council commissioned a poll to see what voters thought of a potential switch.  The conflicting results came back

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

Asheville Mayor on HB2 Repeal, New Districts Bill

Mar 2, 2017
Max Cooper/Mountain XPress

In an interview with WCQS's Jeremy Loeb, Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer discusses legislative efforts to repeal House Bill 2, as well as a bill that could soon be filed that would split Asheville into districts for the purpose of electing city council members.

Parks Hospitality Group

Tuesday night the Asheville city council rejected a major hotel project in downtown along Haywood Street.  An 8-story Embassy Suites hotel would have occupied the former spot of the Buncombe County Sheriff's office.  By a unanimous vote the council voted down the plan, one of the few times a hotel project has been stopped in Asheville during the boom of the area's tourism industry.

Asheville Will Look At Council Redistricting

Jan 10, 2017

The Asheville city council will look at whether to redraw council districts in the city.  The decision to study potential redistricting does not mean new lines will be drawn.  Mayor Esther Manheimer says it’s just a chance to see whether voters think it should happen.

“We have just put in place an opportunity for people to weigh in on this", according the mayor.  "And it will be robust as usual with community meetings and online format to participate.”

The Asheville city council meets Tuesday evening, and two major items are on the agenda for lawmakers.

VIDEO: Roy Cooper Talks Education, HB2 in WNC

Sep 17, 2016
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

NC Gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper paid a visit to Fairview on Saturday.  The Democratic Attorney General addressed dozens of Democrats at the home of state Rep. John Ager in what was billed as a "candidates meet and greet."  He was scheduled to attend a fundraiser later in the day.  

Cooper started his remarks talking about public education.  "People are hungry for leaders who truly believe in public education and will do something about it instead of just talking about it."

ashevilleblade.com

After the surprise defeat of Senate Bill 897, a bill that would have divided Asheville into districts for city council elections, many were left wondering just what had happened.  I've analyzed the bill in several articles linked to below.  Several days before the bill failed, David Forbes, editor of the Asheville Blade, published an article examining the history of the effort.  We discussed that article after the bill's failure.  The interview was conducted Tuesday morning, July 5th, and before this latest

Asheville Citizen-Times

Political observers and the public alike were scratching their heads after a bill that would impose districts on the city of Asheville for city council elections failed.  The bill was being pushed by a powerful state lawmaker and had sailed through two committees and the full Senate with little but Democratic resistance.  And then, on its last stop in the full House, all of that changed.  Debate seemed to persuade lawmakers at the last minute, and that is something rarely seen in politics today.  But in truth, there were probably multiple factors at play, and they had occurred not just over

In a stunning defeat, the North Carolina House voted down a bill that would have made changes to the Asheville city council.  

Senate Bill 897 was introduced by Republican Senator Tom Apodaca of Henderson County over the strong objection of the entire city council and all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County.   It would split Asheville into six districts drawn by the General Assembly for the purpose of electing council members.  But the bill failed by a vote of 48-58. 

Part 1: House Votes Down AVL Districts Bill

Jul 1, 2016

This is part 1 of the hour and twenty minute long debate over SB897, which would have divided Asheville into six districts for the purpose of electing city council members.  In a stunning defeat, the bill fell by a vote of 48-58, after debate appeared to lead some lawmakers to change their mind.

Part 2: House Votes Down AVL Districts Bill

Jul 1, 2016

This is part 2 of the hour and twenty minute long debate over SB897, which would have divided Asheville into six districts for the purpose of electing city council members.  In a stunning defeat, the bill fell by a vote of 48-58, after debate appeared to lead some lawmakers to change their mind.

SOGGY6 / FLICKR

In a stunning defeat, the North Carolina House voted down a bill that would have made changes to the Asheville city council.  Senate Bill 897 was introduced by Republican Senator Tom Apodaca of Henderson County, over the strong objection of the entire city council and all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County.  Apodaca is considered one of the most powerful lawmakers in the General Assembly.  But this bill went down by a vote of 48-58. 

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

This is WCQS News, I’m Jeremy Loeb.  A bill making changes to Asheville’s City Council has cleared another committee, this time in the House.  The House elections committee passed the measure over the strong objection of the only committee member from Asheville.  WCQS’s Jeremy Loeb reports.

At the start of the committee meeting, it was clear that this bill was not coming from Asheville.

“The chair was asked to announce to the committee that the City of Asheville through its representation to the General Assembly wanted to go on record as being opposed to this bill.”

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

 

By a vote of 33-16, the North Carolina Senate gave final approval Monday to Senate Bill 897.  The bill changes the way Asheville elects its city council, moving it from an at-large system to one in which candidates would be elected in one of six districts.  Bill sponsor Republican Senator Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville explained the bill after introducing it.  

Young, Haynes, Mayfield Elected to Asheville City Council

Nov 3, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

The only incumbent in the race for Asheville city council lost as three new faces will join the council.  Unofficial results from Tuesday's election (as of midnight) show Keith Young finishing first with 18.22% of the vote.  Brian Haynes finished a close second with 18.08%.  And in third was Julie Mayfield with 17.65%, despite finishing first in the primary.  The race was for three seats on the city council, so those three are the winners.

Q and A with the Candidates for Asheville City Council

Oct 29, 2015
Angeli Wright/Asheville Citizen-Times

Early voting is underway in the election for Asheville's city council.  The primary election whittled the race down to six candidates.  They're now vying for three open seats on the council in the November 3rd general election.  WCQS reporters David Hurand and Jeremy Loeb interviewed all six.  Their full comments are posted below in the order in which they aired.

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Asheville city council candidate Brian Haynes defended his son and campaign manager, who is facing felony drug charges.  Austin Haynes was reported to have been arrested and charged with possession of around six pounds of marijuana.  The candidate told WCQS he knew that his son's arrest could become public during the campaign.  He declined to comment on the specific charges, but said he loves his son and is proud of him.  Haynes said he wouldn't have wanted anyone else to be his campaign manager, calling his son one of the most socially conscious people he knew.  He says he hopes voters wo

Asheville Mayor No Fan of Senate Sales Tax Plan

Jun 23, 2015
Max Cooper/Mountain XPress

State lawmakers in the House and Senate are trying to reconcile two competing budget plans.  The Senate plan includes a change to the way sales taxes are distributed to favor rural counties over more urban ones like Wake, Mecklenburg, and Buncombe.  WCQS’s Jeremy Loeb spoke with Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer about what the plan would mean for Buncombe County and the city of Asheville.   They also touched on the city budget and county room tax. 

Picture of a white police car in an empty parking lot, trees in background.
policecararchives.org

The Asheville City Council is scheduled to vote on buying body cameras for the police department.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the City Council is set to vote on the purchase of 60 cameras that could be worn on various parts of the body, including the head or shoulder. The vote is scheduled during a regular Tuesday council meeting.

Lucy Nicholson/ Reuters/ Landov via stateimpact.npr.org

The Asheville City Council is saying “NO” to hydraulic fracturing.  Council members passed a resolution Tuesday night rejecting the drilling method and asking the state legislature to reverse course.  The Republican-dominated legislature has pushed to open the state to fracking.  Councilman Jan Davis joined the unanimous vote to pass the resolution.

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