Asheville Daily Planet
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Say it ain’t so, Asheville! Alarmingly, Asheville tourism declines 2.4% in July (its best mo.)
Saturday, 16 September 2023 14:07

From Staff Reports

Tourism numbers for July in Asheville tumbled 2.4 percent, according to a report unveiled at the Aug. 30 meeting of the Buncombe Tourism Development Authority.  

In its Sept. 1 report, Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) said of the latest bad news that “Asheville tourism leaders are reporting another disappointing month.... and board members expressed concerns over the consistent drop in tourism this summer.

“July is typically Asheville’s peak tourist season. October can also be a busy month with the leaves changing. But merchants are bracing for a flat season considering what they’ve seen over the summer.”

Also, News 13 quoted several Asheville-area merchants who have noticed a recent decline in their businesses — and expressed concerns about the possibility of the trend in declining tourism — locally — continuing.

TDA board members also discussed concerns about public safety and the homeless crisis in downtown Asheville, but News 13 noted that business operators and downtown merchants had told the station in recent months that they are seeing improvements downtown. 

Further, TV station noted, “One business-owner, who spoke on the condition that News 13 not use his name, said Pritchard Park appears to be cleaner, with fewer homeless sitting on the sidewalk or in the park.

“But it seems they’re now spread out,” the unnamed business-owner told the station. “They’re all over Tunnel Road, panhandling.”

During the TDA meeting, members also discussed merchants' requests to have an enhanced police presence downtown, as there was during the summer when Buncombe County deputies spent 60 days helping Asheville police patrol the area.

“They said merchants were worried problems could return during the fall tourism season without the extra law enforcement officers,” the TV station reported.

Meanwhile, following are some of the comments on News 13’s website, following its article on the 2.4 percent July tourism drop:

• reggin — “Guess our reputation is getting around.”

• robert36 — “Now if only the homeless/drug addict numbers would decrease, Asheville might almost be fun for locals again..... almost.”

• WAVLNATIVE — “Votes have consequences!”

• AvlNC — “Word’s out. No vacationers want to drag their family around this nasty downtown. Why come here to step over zombies with needles sticking out of their arms and panhandlers getting in their faces? Yuck. Go to Charleston or somewhere nice. Stay away from here.”


Asheville sued for (reverse) racial discrimination in picking Human Relations Commission members
Saturday, 16 September 2023 14:04

From Staff Reports

Five individuals living in and around Asheville, all of whom are white, have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Asheville after the city refused —based on their race — to appoint them to its all-volunteer Human Relations Commission, the group WNC Citizens for Equality contended in a Sept 6 press release. 

On its website, WNCCE bills itself as “a citizen watchdog organization that promotes racial equality and defends the civil rights of persons living in Western North Carolina. WNCCE believes that all persons should be entitled to equal protection under the law, regardless of race.”

In the lawsuit, “Asheville attorney Ruth Smith is representing John Miall, Robyn Hite, David Shaw, Danie Johnson and Willa Grant, who applied but were not chosen to fill any of the commission’s four open slots in 2023,” Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported on Sept. 7. 

“If the city is putting quotas, saying, ‘We’re going to advantage all of these people based on skin color,’ it’s important to note they’re disadvantaging over 80 percent” of the city population,” the TV station quoted Smith as saying.



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