Archive for Board of Commissioners


How About Rude Week?

Posted by: | Comments (1)

3q9chgWatching the chatter on Facebook about the Tourism Development Authority here and here.

And there’s this from the Citizen-Times:

ASHEVILLE – In Savannah, Georgia, a policeman has an extra incentive for being nice to tourists: They’re helping pay his salary.

A move to raise the Buncombe County hotel-motel room tax has members of Asheville City Council saying something similar should be happening here — with police or with other services that benefit city residents.

Naturally, the hoteliers are not fond of the idea, as this recent op-ed from a hotel marketer proves:

I have great respect for county and city leaders and understand some of them would like to have a portion of the hotel occupancy tax. However, a hotel occupancy tax used for promoting tourism and funding local projects that benefit both citizens and visitors is an occupancy tax properly used. In fact, going back to the WCU study previously cited, without the current level of tourism in Buncombe County, the typical resident would pay $646 more in taxes each year.

So take a flying leap at the moon, county and city leaders. You too, AC-T editorial staff.

You know, rather than the knee-jerk protests Ashevillians love so much, locals could have a go at acting like jerks to tourists instead. Promote a city-wide “Rude Week” directing local ire at hotel patrons (you know, like those rude restaurants with surly waiters). Get the buskers and Asheville’s bicycle and Segway police to join hotel maids and bellmen to really sell it. I hear the last weekend in July is open these days.

Think that would get anyone’s attention at the Tourism Development Authority, Convention and Visitors Bureau, or the Chamber of Commerce? They could even use their shiny, new room tax to promote it.


Election day Open Thread

Posted by: | Comments (15)

Does Ron Moore finally get the heave-ho?

Here’s some thinking music:



Organizing for 2014

Posted by: | Comments (8)

Your Buncombe County Democratic Party needs you. We’re getting organized to make some change in 2014 elections, and every registered Democrat is invited to be a part of it. After the jump please find the time and location of your precinct meeting. Not sure which precinct you’re in? Use this handy tool.

Read More→


District One Community Meeting

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off on District One Community Meeting

From the email inbox:

On Monday July 15th, 6-7 at Pack Library, your Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is coming to District One to hear directly from constituents.

This meeting will be an opportunity for citizens to share ideas, concerns and questions with their county elected officials. Commissioners will be there to listen and respond.

We hope you will find some time in your summer schedule to be a part.

Many thanks,

Vice Chair Holly Jones
District One

Commissioner Brownie Newman
District One

Comments Comments Off on District One Community Meeting

America = EqualityTomorrow, your Buncombe County Commission will deliberate regarding equality in their health benefits and non-discrimination policy. On the agenda: Same-sex domestic partner benefits. Also likely to be discussed is whether to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the County’s employment non-discrimination policy. The latter is not on the printed agenda, and in order to consider it according to their rules, all seven Commissioners must agree to do so.

You’re encouraged to attend the meeting on Tuesday, March 19 at 4:30pm in the Commissioners’ Chambers at 200 College Street, Suite 326 in downtown Asheville. If you’d like to email the Commissioners to let them know your position, you can use this handy list:,,,,,,

After the jump you can read the email I sent earlier today. I’m excited to see our Commissioners have this opportunity to join the march of history toward full equality for all of our citizens.

They will not know your position unless you show up at the meeting or take a moment to write your representatives.

Read More→


SBoE Rejects Merrill Protest

Posted by: | Comments (2)

The bipartisan NC Board of Elections voted unanimously against the protest of Christina Kelley G. Merrill. Ms. Merrill, having lost her protest at the local level as well, plans to take her protest to court. The SBoE decision would clear the way for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners to seat Mike Fryar and Ellen Frost, making the new board whole and ensuring representation for newly formed District 2, but Ms. Merrill wants a court to look at whether to dismiss the votes of 44 Warren Wilson College students. AC-T:

Read More→


Commissioner Ellen Frost by 18

Posted by: | Comments (12)

From Ellen’s FB page (and via Jake Quinn): “It is official we won the hand/eye count!!” By 18 votes.

Republican candidate Christina Merrill will appeal her election challenge in Raleigh next week. To win now, she will have to get Warren Wilson students’ votes thrown out. Barring a successful appeal, Ellen Frost takes second place in District 2 and Democrats retain control of the County Commission.

UPDATE: And now via the AC-T and Mountain Xpress.


BoE Does Not Find Probable Cause

Posted by: | Comments (5)

I’m glad I attended last night’s special meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Elections. It was a very thorough, deliberate process during which the Board reviewed each of the four bases of Christina Kelley G. Merrill’s protest and heard from attorneys and the general public. If you were looking for facts, they were plenty, and the Board ended up determining that there was not probable cause for further investigation. The crux of Ms. Merrill’s protest rested on whether there was sufficient uncertainty about the actual residence of 44 Warren Wilson College voters to consider striking those votes from the total. However, as attendees learned from the records, the Director of Student Life at WWC, and the Elections Services staff, the determination of student residence was done in harmony with the law.

Mountain X has coverage here.

In case you missed it, Warren Wilson College was split down the middle in recent GOP redistricting. This created a great deal of confusion when it came time to cast ballots. Some students’ dormitories were in County Commission District 1 and others in District 2, but all of the students had a mailing address on the south side of the dividing line. Once the issue was discovered, elections officials asked students to declare whether they lived north or south of Warren Wilson College Road, which divides the campus and upon which the district line is drawn. The Director of Student Life reported each student’s actual dormitory of residence to elections officials, so they could validate that each student received the correct ballot. It was clear that there was no wrongdoing and that the right to vote was protected.

AC-T has coverage here.

I’m glad Ms. Merrill had the opportunity to pursue her concerns through a public, transparent process. It was very impressive to see the thoughtfulness that BoE members put into their deliberations. The process worked. Ms. Merrill plans to appeal the decision to the NC BoE in the hope that they will find probable cause where the Buncombe County BoE did not.

WLOS has coverage here.


Recount Commission

Posted by: | Comments (4)

The results from District Two’s Buncombe County Commission race look to be up in the air pending a recount. AC-T:

A recount is all but certain in a Buncombe County Board of Commissioners’ race, and a handful of Warren Wilson College residents potentially hold sway over the balance of power on the board.

The issue means it could be at least two weeks before the result of Tuesday’s vote, which gave Republicans a 4-3 majority on the next board, is either confirmed or overturned.
The Warren Wilson votes are important because of a voter registration mistake that forced elections officials to issue 145 campus residents provisional ballots between Nov. 1 and the end of early voting on Saturday and call for another 54 “revotes” for those who had voted before the mistake was discovered.
The 199 uncounted ballots could have the biggest impact in the District 2 commissioners contest between second-place finisher Republican Christina Merrill and third-place Democrat Ellen Frost, where the spread is just 87 votes.

Republican Mike Fryar was the leading vote-getter, but his unofficial total of 19,904 votes Tuesday was only 203 votes greater than fourth-place finisher Carol Peterson, a Democratic incumbent.


The Day After

Posted by: | Comments (23)

What a night. Congratulations to all of the winners. I’m looking forward to working with you. It takes a lot to stand for election, so great respect to those who ran whether they won or not.

Congratulations to President Barack Obama on his re-election. He won Buncombe County by over 25,000 votes though we weren’t enough to hold North Carolina for him. That huge Buncombe County Democratic advantage didn’t show up in our local races due, in no small part, to recent redistricting that boxed Buncombe’s Democrats.

Read More→