Friends & Neighbors,
So many of us in Asheville are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living rises while unchecked tourism and for-profit development strain our natural resources, burden our infrastructure, and displace our most vulnerable neighbors. It’s a matter of priorities we ensure this is a great place to live and work, it will be a great place to visit too.
I’m committed to advancing: Affordability, Public Safety, and Open Meetings Policy, which means:
- Affordability: Investing in creative and cooperative solutions for deeply-affordable housing and keeping neighbors from becoming unhoused; advocating with fellow transit riders and advocates for a more reliable and effective Buncombe-Asheville Transit System at the intersection of equitable access, economic mobility, and environmental sustainability; securing our food and water systems; and ensuring we lead not lag on living wages as the City of Asheville. This is what Neighborhood Resiliency means and why I brought it forward as a strategic priority of Council in 2022.
- Public Safety: Ensuring a public safety response that works to keep everyone safe; deploying responders with the right tools and training to calls for service around the opioid/overdose crisis, homelessness response, intimate partner violence, and mental health through partnerships including the Buncombe Community Paramedicine program; budgeting for wages to recruit and retain first responders; acting on recommendations in the National Alliance to End Homelessness report for neighbors experiencing unsheltered homelessness to get us moving from the crisis we’re in towards solutions designed for housing as a human right; following through with our commitments to Reparations; and responding appropriately to our stated Climate Emergency.
- Open Meetings Policy: The difficult conversations we need to have as a community should happen in the sunshine, not behind closed doors. This means increasing accessibility of public documents and engagement opportunities; removing barriers to civic participation as outlined in the openmeetingspolicy.com petition; supporting advisory boards; and amplifying community calls for an organizational equity audit.
My work with and for Asheville so far:
- Demanding action on climate emergency: leading on Neighborhood Resiliency including hiring the City’s first Urban Forester and budgeting for an Urban Forest Master Plan; adding Climate Justice to COVID-relief funding; and voting against the Open Space Amendment.
- Accountability for the tourism industry: Saving the Grey Eagle and part of the Southside from the Hotel Overlay Map; bringing the motion to Governance Committee to increase the occupancy tax percentage for local use instead of advertising and leveraging for accountability; and advocating alongside service industry workers, especially for affordable housing.
- Prioritizing people & planet over profits: Setting and holding the standing for renewable energy in all new residential development; pressing to lead not lag on living wages; voting against steep discounts for bulk water users while residents and small businesses pick up the tab; advancing Complete Streets Policy so everyone gets to their destination safely; and identifying funding for Talbert lot for expanded transit, deeply-affordable housing, and $1.2-million in Reparations funding.
- Boldly advocating for human rights: As Asheville’s first-known openly queer member of City Council, I shared the work locally and statewide to advance LGBTQ+ inclusive Non-Discrimination Ordinances; as liaison to the Human Relations Commission, I support their recommendation to protect against Source of Income/Funds discrimination that creates barriers to housing access; and I drafted the proclamation to protect access to reproductive healthcare.
- Leading courageously to diversify our public safety response which means deploying first responders with the right tools and training for the task at hand; demanding living wage policy to recruit and retain staff; convening with community members on the National Alliance to End Homelessness plan a for a humane response to the homelessness crisis; and asking hard questions about our budget, plans, and policy so we can ensure quality, equitable service outcomes that improve quality of life for all of us.
- Advancing an Open Meetings Policy at the Governance Committee that helped end the private check-in meetings; demanding accountability; and voting against the identified violation of open meetings law.
Our greatest resource is each other, let’s work together to #BeBoutitBeingBetter.
Kim Roney walks, bikes, and rides the bus, and she currently serves on City Council in Asheville, the ancestral land of the Cherokee/Anigiduwagi. A queer, abolitionist, community organizer, small business owner, music educator, and community radio producer, she was a founding member of Friends of Community Radio where she served as Station Manager/ED of 103.3 AshevilleFM from 2012-2015. On Council, Kim serves on the Equity & Engagement, Boards & Commissions, and Policy, Finance, & Human Resources Committees, and liaisons advisory boards including the French Broad River MPO, Alcohol Beverage Control Board; Urban Forestry Commission, Transit Committee, Homelessness Initiative Advisory Committee, Neighborhood Advisory Committee, and Human Relations Commission. She enjoys music, a good story, and the process of growing, cooking, and sharing food with friends & neighbors.