Asheville Citizen-Times: Our city, our choice: Asheville voters deserve to choose their leaders | OPINION (9 August 2020)

In a democracy, the electorate chooses its representatives. When circumstances arise that delay the timely participation of the electorate, we should seek a solution that is fair and respects the voice of voters.

Such is the case with the current vacancy in the seat previously held by Councilman Vijay Kapoor. Our City Charter requires that City Council appoint someone to complete the remainder of his term through December 2022. 

Yet we are nearing the end of an election cycle—six candidates have already passed through the primary process and face the selection of three of them for seats on Council. This presents our city with an outstanding opportunity to ensure that the two-year appointment to the vacant seat truly represents a choice of the people.

Council has laid out a schedule to appoint a replacement on September 22nd, because they need to move forward with City business. We propose, however, that the September appointee pledge to resign after the November 3rd election so that Council can select the fourth-place finisher to serve the balance of the term.

We, The People of the City of Asheville deserve to choose those who govern us. When a mechanism exists that allows us to do so, it should be implemented. Which course most closely resembles democracy: six people interviewing and selecting from among self-nominated candidates, or an entire electorate choosing from among six candidates who have already survived one round of voting?

This approach requires the transparent cooperation and commitment of three groups of people: the candidates, the applicants, and you, the voting public when you make your choices on November 3.

Therefore, the following applicants for the vacant Council seat hereby pledge:

If appointed, we will serve honorably as caretaker of the duties of a Councilmember until the November election, and then step down in favor of the election’s fourth-place finisher to be appointed by City Council.

We also appeal to all the current candidates for City Council to join us in ensuring that the voters’ will is heard by making the following pledge:

We commit to each other and to the people of Asheville that we will appoint the runner-up, fourth place finisher, to the vacant Council seat, if the outgoing Council has not already done so when we take office.

Visit to see an updated list of signatories and learn more.

Signed, Andrew Fletcher  Nina Tovish.