We are experiencing development without a “soul.” It does not answer the questions: Is this development good for the people and the planet? Does it end poverty, protect the planet, ensure prosperity for all, and does it promote good governance?
The ultimate goal of public policy is to improve the lives of people. When public policy is made and implemented, like allowing hotels and other low-wage service sector employers to inundate Asheville, it is not our people who are considered, it is the needs of developers and the corporate needs of folks elected to take corporate contributions from them. “All money is not good money,” especially when it enslaves our people to a life of working two and three jobs and renders our kids unable to live here. It renders widows and other folks on fixed incomes unable to afford high property taxes, high water bills, and high fees to stay in Asheville.
We must allocate any and all resources to making Asheville affordable and livable for average folks and anyone who wants to stay here, whether it takes a living wage job, affordable housing, or a moratorium on policies which are classist and racist like gentrification and the destruction of public housing.
Let us use this Campaign to get organized and to “stop selling out our local community” so that we can regain control through local living wage jobs that are clean and green, community land trusts for affordable housing and small business incubators to start local good-paying jobs. How can we keep living in a distorted consciousness which does not line up with “lived realities”?
Dee Williams offers an agenda which addresses the economic, social, racial, gender, climate, indigenous, and immigrant justice. “If you will stand with me, we can implement a ‘Community-Centered Model of Development.’ All development must work for the people and the planet – 100 percent. Everything we do must pass this litmus test. Does it Elevate Our People? Does It Pay Them a Living Wage? Can Our People, Especially Working People, Young People, and Folks on Fixed Incomes Afford Rents and Homeownership? Does It Enhance Their Health and that of the Local Ecosystem and Environment?
If you stand with me, by volunteering or donating if you cannot volunteer, I promise you that we can bring our sons and daughters back home and Asheville can once again offer the promise and reality of opportunity for all people who will, indeed, match these Mountains.”
Local supply chains, vendors, and businesses will be created to fulfill Asheville’s needs and to keep our wealth in our local community. A Corporate Purchasing Council will promote the purchase of goods and services from local businesses who pay their employees a living wage. Community Development Agreements will be used to negotiate with new developments and to encourage buying from local suppliers and paying a living wage. Business incubators will be established to grow new local businesses. Learn More
Land trusts will set up permanent affordable housing. There will be more investment into rapid re-housing of the homeless and 10% of the hotel tax will be set aside for investment into affordable housing in the city and county. Learn More
The City of Asheville has recently increased fees, making it difficult for everyday Ashevillians to afford to live here. Fees that would be frozen due to their recent increase would include storm water impact fees, garbage collection fees, bus passes, vehicle fees, parking deck fees, and property re-evaluations. Learn More
Goals and timetables will be set for all Asheville City departments to phase out the production and release of synthetic chemicals and convert all production to materials that are bio-degradable, bio-inert, or confined to closed-loop industrial cycles. This will phase out most chlorinated/fluoridated and other synthetic petrochemicals and phase in natural, biodegradable substitutes. Green infrastructure techniques will be used to capture stormwater runoff. The City’s Loan Pool Fund will be invested in social enterprises/worker cooperatives which use green infrastructure and technology, such as solar and wind power, to create living-wage jobs and real wealth in the community. Learn More
What should we expect from Dee Williams as a member of City Council? Working with council members and citizen groups, she will continue to do what she has always done: Address serious problems, devise sound data-based solutions, and mount successful campaigns to persuade major institutions to adopt those solutions. Learn More
Interview: Asheville on Bikes
Written by Erik Parsels