Leslee Kulba

Buncombe’s Asheville: Reparations Still Idling

On July 30, 2020, Devin Dwyer at ABC News asked if Asheville was a national model for reparations. Two and a half years later, with a $4.1 million budget, the reparations leadership continues to move forward—with planning.

Human Trafficking Awareness Remains Weak

President Joe Biden proclaimed January Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and Buncombe County followed suit. The gist of the presentation of the local proclamation was that Buncombe County, being a tourist town, may be somewhat of a hotbed for human trafficking, but nobody gave any clues about the extent of the problem.

Continuing Water Outage & the Latest

In the latest public information presentation about Asheville's Christmas water outage, city staff spoke more about the mechanics of the failure, and council stressed the importance of staying in touch with customers, even when there is nothing new to announce.

Manheimer Addresses Lingering Water Concerns

Speaking before the Buncombe County Commissioners, Asheville's Mayor Esther Manheimer answered almost every question posed in an article in last week's Tribune. Those that remain unanswered will be addressed by a committee that is soon to be formed.

Newman Seeking Recycling Efficiencies

When Waste Pro came before the commissioners as part of the execution of a discretionary clause for an off-cycle rate increase, Buncombe County Commission Chair Brownie Newman was intent on finding greater efficiencies. So intent was he that he invited citizen Don Yelton to the podium to discuss alternatives.

Water’s Restored, Confidence? Not So Much

A water outage over Christmas break affecting 38,500 users was annoying, but not as annoying as the City of Asheville's shortage of communication about the problem. Following four days without a press conference, when the city did speak, citizens felt leaders were not being upfront about the source of the problem, and they resented being strung along, day after day, with promises that services would be restored within 24-48 hours.

Pundits Taking Aim at ARPA’s Waste

This month, prior to an anticipated Congressional investigation into widespread inappropriate expenditures of ARPA funds, articles have begun appearing to prepare the public and convince leaders to avoid repeating uneconomic strategies.

Asheville City & Citizens Debate Funding Police for Safety

After publicly committing to defund the Asheville Police Department, city council attempted to refund the police force somewhat. This motivated members of the Defund movement to organize and voice opposition during public comment.

Well-Reasoned, Soul-Satisfying Economics

The Economics of the Parables, by Father Robert Sirico and published this year, turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The small book is full of well-developed economic arguments and advice for life, none of which is trite or partisan rhetoric.

Tourists to Subsidize Affordable Housing?

Citizens petitioned the Buncombe County Commissioners to lobby the General Assembly to modify how the room tax is allocated and divert funds into the creation of affordable housing.