Like I said, we’re going to need ordinances to prevent developers from taking projects to other towns. Maybe that’s why the prescient legislature worked to outlaw municipal licensing.

Defeated Asheville City Council candidate Dee Williams dominated tonight’s city council meeting. During initial comment on the consent agenda, she advocated for Ban the Box, saying her next step, now that council approved the policy for city hires, “is to train people who have been convicted to take the lead.”

Then, council had a fast public hearing on minor modifications to a hotel approved in 2013. Councilman Gordon Smith asked presenter Shannon Tuch to remind him what responsibility builders had for community benefits, and how that could be advanced during a public hearing. He apologized to the developer’s representative for not contacting the developer a priori, but told of the new McKibbon Standard, of promising fulltime employees a living wage, renting to retailers that source locally, contributing to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and lobbying for “equitable” redistribution of the city’s hotel tax. Smith was outnumbered 6-1 on the vote, everybody else deeming the plans pretty much already a “done deal.”
Then, during public comment, Williams made Smith look like the JV team. She told of getting Mission Health to adopt Ban the Box, referring to the hospital as a “good partner and good corporate citizen.” She then said she wouldn’t use the word “exact” to describe council’s ramping up on redistributing the wealth of developers; instead, she would refer to the practice as having a “community conversation.” She followed a request for improvements to a community pool by saying C-corporations in North Carolina enter into a contract with citizens, “So when they’re in a position to benefit the community, they should be called upon to do so.” That is, the city should find ways to persuade corporate citizens to pay for things like the pool. Doing so would relieve citizens of being always put in a position of sounding ascorbic. She closed saying, “There’s more than one way to skin that cat.”