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On the final day of filing for local offices [July 19] I decided to register to run for the mayoral seat of Asheville. As the window was closing, it became clear that we were to have only two candidates for the office and no primary. Given the circumstances surrounding our city in dealing with a hostile General Assembly, the rewriting of our local election system, corporate welfare, police misconduct, expensive housing, and an over investment in an ecologically and economically unsustainable tourist economy, I could not allow this race to proceed without a meaningful debate on these issues. I was not and am not confident that my opponents would speak to these issues with any depth and Asheville deserves more than another exercise in wishful thinking.
My opponents are undoubtedly competent administrators, judging by their records as public servants and as an attorney and a consultant for pharmaceutical and health care corporations. I, for one, have had quite enough of functionaries, lawyers, and corporate technocrats dictating policy and debate at every level of our government. If the only purpose my campaign serves is to create a community dialogue surrounding the above issues and where our fine city goes from this point, then we will have succeeded. It is not enough to criticize though, and my campaign in the coming weeks will release achievable steps and initiatives to move Asheville in an egalitarian and sustainable direction that is more in line with the values of our citizens. I do not believe that we wish to live in affluence beside one another's misery, that we wish to silence the voices of the poor, and pauperize our working class. One promise I will make: we will have this debate and we will see how my opponents respond to the frustrations, questions, and aspirations of those in our city marginalized by the poverty of our horizons.