A bit more of what’s going around, including: a former Asheville mayor apologizes, etc.:
-Former Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy made a striking speech Monday night as local Buncombe County Democratic Party officials gathered to choose a new Buncombe County commissioner. Rather than speak to her qualifications for the job at hand, Bellamy apologized for voting against benefits for city employees in same-sex domestic relationships back in 2010. It was a remarkable admission of failure from one of the city’s top former public servants.
Bellamy almost didn’t have the chance to speak. She was one of four candidates nominated to fill the slot left empty by Commissioner Brownie Newman, who was elected to the board chairman’s seat in November. (Former Asheville Board of Education chairwoman Jacquelyn Hallum, Asheville City Councilman Keith Young and retired banker Al Whitesides were also nominated, with Whitesides winning after three rounds of voting.) Each had to be nominated at the meeting, and the nomination had to be seconded.
Sherry Henline, a West Asheville Democratic precinct official, rose to nominate Bellamy, citing her long public service. There was a long pause, and it appeared that Bellamy’s nomination wouldn’t be seconded. But party activist Jake Quinn stood and spoke as a second, and told me later his second was totally unplanned.
Bellamy launched into her apology, noting that she struggled with her closely held beliefs inspired by her Christian faith and how they clashed with the question of extending spousal benefits to gay partners of city employees. She recalled her “many sleepless nights” and told the crowd that her faith blinded her to other people’s needs. She said she didn’t understand how many people she hurt with her vote against extending benefits (which passed), but the issue helped her to grow and hear others.
Keith Young’s speech after being nominated Monday night was also worth noting. He, too, declined to talk about his own accomplishments and used his time to honor his father, William Young, a local Democratic Party activist for 40 years. (Young’s father nominated him, while Young seconded his own nomination, which is allowed under the rules.) With tears in his eyes, Young noted his father’s many sacrifices on his behalf, and honored him as a stellar role model. The crowd gave both father and son a standing ovation afterward.
-Fun video that one can describe as “That’s so Asheville.”
-Five Guys Burgers and Fries is set to open in a new shopping center on Merrimon Avenue near the Harris Teeter grocery store, reports the Asheville Citizen-Times.
-Olive or Twist restaurant and bar at the corner of Broadway and Woodfin, is closing after eight years, reports the Citizen-Times.
–Cesspool of Sin Asheville After Dark is interesting, though I don’t know what it’s all about.
–AshevilleStay.com is interesting, too, for all you AirBnb peeps.
–Word on the Street is a cool online magazine produced by a group of African-American and Hispanic teens. Their mission: “Communities and cultures empowered by a diverse team of youth using their voice, talents and imagination to make a difference within the community.”