Government Accountability Project Asheville

The Buncombe County Commission meets today, Tuesday, January 2, 2023 at 5:00 pm, at 200 College Street, Room 326, in downtown Asheville. You can watch the meeting live (or a recording of it later) online via Buncombe County’s Facebook page. The full agenda is here.

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EMAIL TEMPLATE

RJC’s prepared email template is available via this link.

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Things that seem problematic

Community Reparations Commission’s request for an eight-month extension of their timeline

The Community Reparations Commission (CRC) voted in November to formally ask the City and County for an eight-month extension of their timeline. To complete their work successfully and with full integrity, they have requested that the deadline for their final recommendations be extended from April to December 2024. City and County staff have suggested that a shorter two-month extension should be adopted instead. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Community Reparations Commission, Dr. Dwight Mullen and Ms. Dewana Little, addressed this matter in a presentation before City Council on Tuesday, December 12. The Buncombe County Commission does not have a similar presentation scheduled for their January 2, 2024 meeting.

There is a long list of reasons why the Reparations Commission needs more time than was originally allotted to them – we encourage you to review the summary on the Racial Justice Coalition (RJC) website. We don’t know why City and County staff are pushing a shorter extension – they claim to have a “workable plan” to wrap up the Commission’s work this summer, but have so far offered no details on that plan. We think the Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commission should trust the judgment of the Reparations Commissioners they appointed, and approve the extension they are asking for.

Things to do

Write to the Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commission and ask them to approve the extended timeline request from the Community Reparations Commission.

The RJC has a template you can use to contact both the Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commission. The text of the template is below.

REPARATIONS EXTENSION EMAIL TEMPLATE TEXT

You can open this email in your own email program by filling out the form on the RJC site here. To proceed manually, you can copy and paste the text below into an email and then address it to the addresses listed. Please consider making edits that reflect your personal interests and concerns on this issue.

Send to: AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov, dcampbell@ashevillenc.gov, brownie.newman@buncombecounty.org, jasmine.beach-ferrara@buncombecounty.org, alfred.whitesides@buncombecounty.org, amanda.edwards@buncombecounty.org, terri.wells@buncombecounty.org, martin.moore@buncombecounty.org, parker.sloan@buncombecounty.org, Avril.Pinder@buncombecounty.org

Subject: Approve the CRC Extension

I understand that City and County staff are recommending that you reject the request for an eight-month extension from the Community Reparations Commission (CRC). I am writing to ask you to approve it, and to do so expeditiously. There are many reasons why this extension is warranted: the delays in response to the CRC’s data requests, the many comings and goings of Project Managers and senior staff support, the forthcoming opportunity to incorporate the Stop the Harm audit findings, and the need for much deeper engagement with the Black community to truly center them in the process.

Perhaps the simplest reason to say yes, and to say so now, is to demonstrate that you respect the collective wisdom of the CRC and their ability to accurately assess how much time they need to complete their work successfully. I am asking you to grant them what they are requesting. Leaving their request unanswered does a disservice to the process and runs the risk of seriously damaging the community’s trust — and my trust — that you will take the CRC’s completed recommendations seriously when they are delivered to you.

Thanks for your leadership,