ACCESSIBLE AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Housing is a multifaceted problem in need of a multifaceted approach. Where we see the risk of gentrification, we need to protect. Where we see risk of loss of housing, we need to intervene. Where we see not enough, we need to create abundance. Where we see high rents, we need assist in bringing down costs.
Heavy Cost Burden
Heavy Cost Burden
Paying too much for housing spills over into all other areas of our lives and our families' lives.
Too many people must decide between rent and the water bill. Between health
insurance or gasoline.
Half of renters are cost burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on housing.
21% of homeowners are also cost burdened.
We need tangible outcomes. Now.
The Poverty Trap
We know that the quality and cost of your housing is central to your budget, health, and future wealth.
People can't move out of poverty so long as we fail to give them real opportunities to do so.
Half of housing assistance vouchers are unused because there aren't available rentals.
Let’s create 1,000 affordable units by
2025. Together we can do this. I will lead the way.
People are doubling up, sleeping in cars, in shelters, on streets, in bushes. People are starving, freezing. Families. Children. People who are alone. Veterans.
As a community we must recognize our privileges. We must retire the arguments against the changes we need to make in order to house our neighbors with dignity and opportunity.
We need to work with community partners to prevent evictions.
Continue to pay a living wage and work towards $15/hr minimum for all city employees and contract workers.
Educate businesses about the need for living wages and pooling resources when and where they can to reduce costs and help pay higher wages
Tie incentive programs to paying living wages
Support organizations fighting for $15
Continue to strategically implement the Transit Master Plan
Work to implement a downtown shuttle for employees to reduce costs of parking
Focus on partnerships and strategies to increase monies for transit
Focus on neccessity riders and work to increase all ridership, reducing personal automobile use.
1. Supply. The greatest risk to vulnerable neighborhoods occurs when demand is high, supply is short, and residents are experiencing rising costs.
2. Ownership. We will actively move more residents into home ownership. Currently, more than half of us do not own our homes.
3. Education. The mere lack of history and knowing our neighbors and their history fuels gentrification.
RESPONSIBLE, SMART GROWTH
Grow up, not out
There are two main ways to grow a city:
Up or out. When we build new roads, new sewer lines, new power infrastructure, etc., we trigger new costs and ongoing maintenance costs that eat up budgets year after year.
When we build up, we can reuse the same roads, sewers, power etc., reduce our long term maintenance costs, and preserve more open and green space.
When we live closer to our neighbors, we build stronger ties with our community.
Downtown is everyone's neighborhood.
Focusing density and commercial activity in downtown contributes significant tax revenues to our budgets while using less space and land.
Fiscally strong cities have a thriving downtown.
Creating housing downtown, near job centers, reduces the need for cars, and thereby congestion and air pollution.
Urban Centers and TOD
Urban centers are identified large areas of land along existing transit corridors. The aim is a mix of uses, including residential development and commercial activity.
These areas and corridors will support walkabilty, multiple transportation modalities, and reduce our overall need for automobiles.
TOD = Transit oriented development.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
50,000 trees by 2040
We have depleted 6.4% of our tree canopy in 10 years. We need tree protections and replanting strategies.
I support reversing our tree loss through hiring an Urban Forester and funding an Urban Forestry Master Plan.
I support coordinating with NCDOT to reduce speed limits on their streets to 30 mph. Currently, only light poles are allowed within 10 feet of roads above 35 mph.
For decades, economic mobility has excluded large groups of our community, particularly low income and African American residents.
My commitment is that any and all major economic opportunities, including a move to renewables and creating many good jobs along the way, must focus on those left out of previous wealth building activities.
Smart Growth Works
A cornerstone of my campaign is to demonstrate that how we build, what we build, and where we build are crucial to our success as a fiscal, environmental, and socially responsible city.
I will lead efforts to meet housing demand in central areas with existing infrastructure so that we are able to meet our housing needs while preserving precious open space and tree canopy.
Low income community members who face the loss of tree canopy spend a greater portion of their income on utilities to cool their homes.
I advocate for weatherization of homes in the greatest need to be the first priority of weatherization initiatives.
Renewables by 2
Renewables by 2030
The City has adopted a climate emergency resolution. As your City Councilor I will work to fund our move to renewable energy on municipal buildings and schools by 2030 and citywide by 2042.
This will mean the City matching the County's renewable energy goals.
In the meantime, individuals can utilize existing community solar programs like Arcadia Power.
Reducing car use
77% of residents drive alone in our cars on a daily basis.
To reduce our carbon footprint we have to move more people out of cars and onto foot, onto bikes, and into mass transit. This will also reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and noise pollution.
I advocate for increasing bus ridership through offering consistent and more frequent transit options.
TOURISM AND HOTELS
The NC General Assembly, who governs tourism/lodging tax dollars, will not reconvene on the tax proposal until 2021. As is, the proposal is to update the split from 75% Advertising / 25% capital projects to 66/33%.
I believe the split should be 50/50%. There is precedence for this in Wilmington, NC, where additional funds are used to enhance and protect their waterway/ocean/coast. The 3rd oldest river in the world flows through Asheville-- and it is highly polluted. Let’s follow in Wilmington’s footsteps.
We learned during COVID that Asheville has indeed tipped a marketing dollars impact scale.
The TDA did zero advertising for months, then ran ads for 5 days before shutting them down, and still we achieved 73% occupancy on weekends.
We do not need to spend 66% of lodging taxes on advertising.
Asheville and Buncombe County deserve to put additional tax dollars to work helping improve our infrastructure.
Renewables by 2
City Council must get all the necessary controls for future hotel development in place asap. The recently extended hotel moratorium ends in February 2020.
Council must act to collect substantial input from the community on where potential hotels should and shouldn’t go, clarity and support for what other community benefits hotels must deliver to the community, and achieve necessary changes to the tourism/lodging tax allocation.
Additionally, the proposal to create a new review body for hotels, downtown, and riverfront projects should not be considered until after all design guidelines are updated and complete.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
Black Lives Matter
Rooting Out Racism
Identify, Equify, & Fund
2020 may go down in history as the year that a majority of Americans began to recognize that our laws, policies, and practices are and have been systematically oppressing and killing Black Americans.
Black Lives Matter is a rallying cry for everyone who believes in human dignity and freedom.
I am committed to listening to Black voices and changing our laws, policies, and practices so that we promote equity and prevent oppression on local, state, and national levels.
What has become most apparent to some people is that officers who are sworn to serve and protect are instead killing and over policing Black community members across the nation.
What each of us does to confront racism, including within ourselves and our organizations, matters.
We must continually educate and check ourselves to better serve our Black community members.
We must strengthen the Equity & Inclusion Department and use a literal lens; have the E&I Dept evaluate and report back on municipal initiatives, policies, and land use.
We need to reimagine public safety and ensure we are providing more aid than harm and invest in programs that reform lives.
Rename streets and remove or repurpose monuments that represent our racist past.
End our school to prison pipeline and give our youth a chance at life.
Focus efforts on restoring housing ownership and creating generational wealth.
The city of Asheville can increase funding and assistance for Black entrepreneurship, including land use planning and preparedness.
RE-IMAGINING PUBLIC SAFETY
I support analyzing and changing the way we provide public safety.
The community should feel safe as we explore these new initiatives.
We need to help people. We need to invest in services that solve or mitigate our problems, not perpetuate them.
For too long we have put the majority of public safety responsibility and funding into our police department.
We need police and we need community assistance.
Mental health crises need mental health services.Addiction needs assistance programs.Homeless community members need transition and housing specialists.
Right now, police officers are tasked with these services.
We need to demilitarize. Donning riot gear and using tear gas on people is not what we want from our police. Training for, storage of, replenishing inventory of, etc. costs us money, time, and energy.
Redirecting & Time
Instead, we can redirect resources and focus on the intensive, cost effective training needed to enable the day-to-day performance we expect from law enforcement: effective de-escalation, anti bias, cultural sensitivity, early recognition of PTSD in officers.
Time is needed. We cannot make these changes overnight and we will need to evaluate each step, learning along the way and adjusting to new knowledge and experiences.