Who am I?
Incumbent Cecil Bothwell is running for re-election for another four-year term on the Asheville City Council. Bothwell is an investigative reporter, builder, organic gardener and public servant. In addition, he is the author of eight books, two song collections and a poetry chap book, and is currently writing a novel set in post-earthquake Haiti. In the past he has won DFA scholarships to Rebuild the Dream and Netroots Nation.
Why am I running?
I want to continue the successful efforts I've made in the past four years to green our city, to advance social justice issues, and to make local government more transparent and accountable. I have been the principal advocate on Council for single stream recycling, for replacement of all street lights with LEDs (saving $365,000 per year in electric costs and reducing the carbon footprint), shifting to alternative fuel vehicles, and retrofitting city buildings for efficiency. I have advanced a Civil Liberties resolution to make clear our commitment to ensuring human and legal rights, have supported our employee domestic partner benefits, creation of a domestic partner registry, and our living wage policy.
In the first year of my second term I will work to expand our greening policies from city operations to the community at large. Since last July I have convened a group of stakeholders to create a net-zero energy district. (This is a defined area within which participants aim to generate as much energy as is used in a year.) The project is moving from planning to community involvement this spring. I'll also be pressing forward with our multi-modal transit plans, extending sidewalks, bike lanes and greenways, to encourage non-auto commuting, and advance the form-based design concept we have begun in the past year - to ensure that neighborhoods are mixed-use and walkable, instead of zoned by use with residential, business, retail and industry sprawled across the land.
My DFA Values
I was a Meetup leader for Howard Dean here in Asheville and have been a DFA supporter ever since. I am keenly attuned to my constituents, respond personally to hundreds of e-mails each week, and use opinion surveys and polling to find out what the people here want for the city. (Too many elected officials think they become experts after they are elected, and "know better" than the citizens.) Security is best achieved by building a strong community, if there is widespread social breakdown due to natural catastrophe, grid interruption, etc., knowing and sharing with neighbors will do you more good than owning a gun. And we should quit attempting to impose our will on other nations. We are the most war-prone nation on earth. Liberty is best preserved by adherence to the Bill of Rights, careful overseeing of police practices and powers, an independent judiciary, and civic involvement. All of these things depend on open access to the poll booth, and rejection of attempts to restrict voting rights.
My Campaign is People Powered!
My 2009 City Council campaign had over 500 donors, longest list ever turned in to our Board of Elections. Over 700 people said they would volunteer (but we couldn't come close to organizing that many). My 2011-2012 congressional primary race enlisted hundreds more donors, and as many would-be volunteers. We are using the "Obama model" for grassroots solicitation, encouraging $5 donations. This year our campaign manager is a veteran of the 2008 Obama campaign (a regional organizer) and of Patsy Keever's 2012 congressional race. We're already having monthly volunteer pot-lucks. We intend to personally touch at least 10,000 voters by fall, through e-mail, door-to-door, and phone banks.