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Extreme gerrymandering found in Asheville, Buncombe; redraw ordered by state judicial panel
Wednesday, 02 October 2019 22:39

From Staff Reports

State legislative districts in Buncombe County “are extreme partisan gerrymanders that must be quickly redrawn along with most General Assembly districts, a judicial panel has said as part of landmark ruling on how North Carolina political maps are created,” according to a Sept. 6 story in the Asheville Citizen Times. 

“For voters and candidates of Buncombe’s three House and two Senate districts, the shifting lines definitely would mean some voters will find themselves in new districts in the 2020 elections,” the ACT noted.

“The result could be Republican candidates finding themselves less competitive in districts now drawn in ways that the judges said improperly enhanced the chances of GOP wins.

“It will also mean some Democratic districts will become more moderate, according to Chris Cooper, a Western Carolina University political science professor.

“Will it change the partisan distribution? I don’t know. But I think the lines will better represent the voters,” Cooper tod the ACT following the decision. “And we know politicians behave differently when they are in more competitive districts.”

Asheville council OKs almost $1M to narrow Charlotte St. to 3 lanes
Wednesday, 02 October 2019 22:39

From Staff Reports 


Asheville City Council voted 7-0 on Sept 10 to pay $973,556 to Harrison Construction-Candler Division for a Charlotte Street “road diet” project — between Edwin and Chestnut streets — that includes reducing lanes from four to three. 

In its Sept. 11 report on council’s go-ahead vote on a project “finally moving toward construction,” the Asheville Citizen Times described it as “a lane-reducing project that supporters say will make an important street safer — but that others argue will impede emergency vehicles.”

In a press release after the vote, a city spokeswoman said that bike lanes and “spot sidewalk safety improvements” will also be added

Harrison was the “lowest, responsive, responsible bidder” for the project budgeted at $1.25 million, Jade Dundas, the city’s director of capital projects, stated in a report to council.

After the winter, the contractor is planning to start construction on the street, which runs north-south, in 2020.

“The project follows the city’s 2012 Complete Streets policy intended to make roads safer for people on foot and on bicycles,” the ACT reported. “An existing example is the portion of College Street near City Hall, which includes roundabouts, bicycle lanes and median islands. 

“Charlotte Street, with its mix of businesses, homes and cars using it as a cut-through, was picked as an early candidate. But pushback from some residents and a critical 2013 consultant’s report put a damper on the plans. 

“The recent go-ahead vote was part of the council’s Sept. 10 consent agenda, a list of noncontroversial items typically passed with little discussion,” the ACT noted.



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