Travel industry controls North Carolina’s room tax laws

A bill that would have changed the distribution of Buncombe County’s controversial hotel tax to better benefit local government is likely dead until at least next year. The change would have reduced the share of room tax money to market and advertise Asheville as a tourist destination and increase the amount that could be used… READ MORE >

Entwined With Slavery: A Brief Local History

By 1860, about 15 percent of the population of Western North Carolina was enslaved. Only a small percentage of the White settlers, who had pushed out Indigenous Native Americans,  owned slaves — about 2 percent of households, according to Katherine Calhoun Cutshall, collections manager, North Carolina Room, Pack Memorial Library — and of those, most… READ MORE >

What’s In a Name? For Asheville, Signs Point to History of Racism

Vance, Patton, Woodfin,  Henderson, Weaver, Chunn, Baird — their names are familiar  to anyone living in Asheville and Buncombe County today. All were wealthy and influential civic leaders honored by having their names bestowed on statues, monuments, streets, schools, parks, neighborhoods, and local communities. They were also major slaveholders or slave traders and white supremacists… READ MORE >

How Tech Can Help Asheville’s Economy

In 2019, if you were to ask anyone what drove Asheville’s economy, they’d tell you beer, arts and crafts, outdoor recreation, hotels and restaurants. In short, tourism.  Today, with those businesses only just beginning to ramp back up and tourists staying home, talk of diversifying Asheville’s economy is picking up. Local technology businesses and the… READ MORE >

The Race For The GOP Nomination In The 11th Congressional District Could Embarrass Trump

Editor’s Note:  On June 23rd, Madison Cawthorn defeated Lynda Bennett to become the Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 11th congressional district race.  Cawthorn will face Democrat Morris (Moe) Davis in the general election Nov. 3. When then-Congressman Mark Meadows stunned his constituents last winter with plans to abandon his seat to become White House chief… READ MORE >

Asheville Arrest Data Suggest Discrimination Against Black People

African-Americans in Asheville are three times more likely than white people to be searched by police in traffic stops and are disproportionately charged with common crimes such as marijuana possession in disparities that experts in police bias called shocking, an AVL Watchdog analysis of police data found. Among lower-level crimes such as disorderly conduct, trespassing… READ MORE >

The police chief who gave meaning to Serve and Protect

The legendary Miami Beach police chief Rocky Pomerance was asked in an interview with People magazine why he so passionately believed in the importance of police work.  “Because,” he said, “we are the only social-service agency you can call on for help after 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.” Characterizing the police as a social-service… READ MORE >

‘Stand With Protesters’

One by one, they arrived at their downtown businesses this week to find shattered storefronts and graffiti-stained walls. The damage could not have come at a worse time, following a two-month closure from a pandemic and a sluggish reopening. But these Asheville business owners chose not to cast blame or demand justice from the vandals…. READ MORE >