Anarchists supporting drug abuse in encampments for the homeless are trying to make trouble for the defunded Asheville Police Department. Citizens are trying to fight back with a referendum for a binding resolution to refund the department.
Criminologist John F. Pfaff says (without mass changes in personal choices) prison populations will not go down significantly until prosecutors change their minds about who goes to jail and citizens support more rehabilitating treatments for violent offenders.
The Manhattan Institute’s Steven Malanga’s horrible review of the two terms of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio showed Asheville-Buncombe is, in some ways, showing more wisdom, and in others, leaning toward going down the same path.
Large encampments, viewed as refuges for those dispossessed by COVID fears and policies, have become hotbeds for crime. Asheville’s gutted-out police force is now doing double-duty as social workers to connect campers to government services. Anarchists are willing to fight to keep people out of the system.
Statewide redistricting remains in litigation, causing concerns over whether it will be possible to hold fair elections in a timely manner.
Asheville City Council approved corridor plans for Hendersonville Road, Tunnel Road, and Biltmore Avenue/McDowell Street. Changes set to reduce automobile traffic lanes and accommodate more transit, cycling and walking.
Conversations from the Buncombe County Commissioners’ first budget worksession for the 2022-2023 fiscal year indicate the commissioners, awash with funding from ARPA, the opioid settlement, Hurricane Fred relief, HCA, etc., need help from the public deciding how to spend it all. Focus areas selected by the commissioners include broad categories like “affordable housing” and “climate and environmental solutions.”
Residents and property and business owners feel the shelter at the Ramada Inn, rather than helping persons suffering addiction, has burdened their neighborhood with filthy and criminal activities. Finding Asheville City Council, which intends to purchase the shelter, unresponsive to their demands for a safe neighborhood, they took their complaints to the county commissioners.
Winter is coming, the homeless population remains at record levels and the City of Asheville is sitting on hundreds of thousands of federal dollars disbursed to aid the disadvantaged and dispossessed with housing. The funds are being held up, for approximately a year, to give the city time to come up with a plan, with public listening sessions, to help decide who should receive funding.
To date, the City of Asheville appears to have done little, besides conveying a sense of withdrawn support, to appease the vocal minority clamoring for defunding the police. Strides in that direction were, however, swiftly taken to comply with new state legislation.