Statement from the Steering Committee: On the Asheville City Council’s Plan to Appoint Vijay Kapoor’s Replacement
We as the Steering Committee of the Asheville Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America formally denounce the recent actions of the Asheville City Council and their attempt to steal the city council seat from the will of the citizens of Asheville.
This recent move is another in a long list of flagrant efforts by the Council to side-line the demands of an increasingly vocal, diverse, working-class Asheville community. Council’s refusal to divest from APD, their attention-getting but toothless “Reparations Bill”, and years of underfunding critical infrastructure that working-class people — especially our BIPOC community — depend on, all while unleashing the APD to blast chemical weapons at citizens and destroy medical supplies, has left our community with zero trust in them.
We are demanding a new way forward, one that is increasingly at odds with the perspectives and interests of sitting City Council members. This is why they are attempting to shore up their power through undemocratic means, to make sure they get to appoint their own replacement for Councilmember Vijay Kapoor’s seat.
Since March 16th of this year, the City Council has been circulating a memorandum from the City Attorney, Brad Branham, plotting how to obtain their desired outcome. Only after the issue became a “hot topic” — Brad’s words, not ours — did he suddenly realize it was an open-and-shut case for appointment.
This memorandum makes it crystal-clear that the City Council and Kapoor have been working in tandem to make sure that the only available option is appointment, not election. They don’t want to risk losing their centrist majority on the Council. As Esther Manheimer said in her statements at a council meeting yesterday, she is “worried about community expectations.”
This is simply another way of stating that she is opposed to the demands of her constituency.
Working people in Asheville are tired of years of gentrification, pollution, sky-high rents, and the complete disregard of our BIPOC friends and neighbors. We demand that Vijay Kapoor step down immediately, Council approve a primary for the seat, and allow the people of Asheville to vote on this seat in the Fall. Furthermore the Council must take seriously their pledge for Reparations by materially investing in the Black community of Asheville.
We encourage our friends, neighbors, and comrades to select new leadership that represents our mountain town’s working class roots and interests.
The Steering Committee of the Asheville Chapter of the DSA