Good Old Asheville

I am shaking my head more and more often when it comes to the City of Asheville and their City Council. I’m really glad I live outside of the city limits so the lunacy is kept at a slight distance.

The most recent example comes from the Council meeting on Tuesday, December 8th. On the agenda was a budget amendment allowing the Asheville Police Department to apply to the US Department of Justice for a dollar for dollar matching grant to buy new bulletproof vests. Vests degrade over time and must be replaced. This grant would subsidize half the cost of 96 new vests.

The amendment, along with a resolution to accept a $20,000 private donation for police de-escalation training, passed on a 6-1 vote. Voting nay was newly elected Councilwoman Kim Roney.

Another amendment was to replace some older rifles with new rifles from Windham Armory. These would be paid 100% with a DOJ grant. That passed on a 5-2 vote. Again voting nay was Roney along with Councilwoman Sage Turner. Roney says having police armed with “assault rifles” (sic) sets “a violent example for our city’s youth mourning ‘gun violence'” and it doesn’t fund “community feeling for justice to be realized.”

Needless to say, APD Chief David Zack was none too pleased by Roney’s nay votes and comments. In an interview with a local radio station, he said it sent a stark signal to officers and their families. While he said he might understand the vote against the rifles, there was no justification for the vote against the bulletproof vests. It is no wonder that the APD has had 57 resignations or early retirements this year.

Roney was just elected to City Council in November. She was the third leading vote getter and received 22,952 votes. Roney was thus elected to the final spot up for grabs.

I had never heard of Roney before so I had to look up her campaign website. She describes herself as “a piano teacher, service-industry worker, and community advocate who walks, bikes, and rides the bus here in Asheville.” By service-industry worker she means she is a bartender.

I’m not sure how old she is but her positions on “climate justice”, reparations, “deeply affordable housing”, free public transit, etc. make her Asheville’s own AOC.

From her website

In her position on “Reimagining Public Safety”, she calls for cutting the APD budget by 50% among other things. In introducing this, she flagellates herself for her “white privilege”.

I’m speaking for myself, from my position of privilege as a white person dwelling on the stolen land of displaced Cherokee people in the United States, a nation built with stolen labor of enslaved people from Africa.

Regarding policing, she writes:

We need to identify and stop the harm being done. Policing in the United States and in Asheville is budgeted and permitted through complicit behavior to perpetuate white supremacy, classism, and racism under the guise of public safety.

About the only thing I agree with her on is doing away with qualified immunity.

That said, I think she is bat-shit crazy and I’m wondering about just how sane those 22,952 people who voted for her are as well.