Your Name: Iindia Pearson

Why are you running for Asheville City Council?
I’m passionate about organizing Asheville citizens to bring light to the plight of those
disenfranchised living in Asheville and to push for social and economic justice for all citizens. I
believe we must invest, incentivize, engage and empower our local community for a more
thriving community and city.

I asked myself how and where can I contribute to the current Council and city as a whole.
Running for City Council is just another level of community advocacy and where I can have an
even greater positive impact in the communities I serve. I believe we can do this while balancing
the business side of the city.

If elected, what are your top three priorities for Asheville?

Community and Public Safety
Deeply Affordable Housing
Transportation

Fair market rate for rental housing increased 78% in five years in the Asheville area (according
to a recent article in the Citizen-Times). Most independent restaurant employees don’t meet the
eligibility requirements for affordable housing, what strategies and incentives will you use to
increase the stock of workforce housing?

Using city resources such as buildings and parcels of land to set high standards for
developmenting adequate, deeply affordable adequate fair housing units. Incentive those that
meet and or exceed the standard. Repeat the model and make adjustments as lessons are
learned.

The cost of and availability of housing, coupled with Asheville/Buncombe County’s high cost of
living in other areas, is making it difficult for food and beverage employees to live in the City of
Asheville and/or Buncombe County. Aside from increased workforce housing, how will you
assist workers with cost of living affordability? 

First, I’d like to hear more from the people directly impacted. This would include any and all
proposed ideas/solutions from them because this is their livelihood, and they are the ones doing
the day to do and know what works for them as a collective. From there, we then make a plan to
accommodate the needs within our capacity. I will support ideas and solutions that are fair,
equitable, and is supported by those affected first hand.

Safety for employees has been a top concern for businesses in recent years. What approach
would you take to ensure safety of employees and all citizens? What characteristics and
experience are you looking for in a new Chief for the Asheville Police Department?

Community and public safety is a priority. Reimagining public safety is taking a community
approach. Not only is it public safety, but it is community safety that takes effort from the
collective. It means building relationships, communicating, and taking action within and with
each community that make up Asheville. It means community policing while having APD, BC
Sherriff, AFD and all of the public servants available as necessary. The city should support
these efforts. The key is relationship building and ensuring when there is a safety issue or
concern, we send the right public servant, representive of an agency, entity or organization for a
resolution. I would like to see a Chief that is inclusive and fair who also believes in relationship
building and will support a community wide approach.

Do you support a Business Improvement District (BID) for the downtown Asheville area? Why or
why not?

My first thought/question is how many downtown business owners are in favor, and of the small
business owners downtown, can they afford afford the tax adjustment? Can the goal be
accomplished in another way? What about the power dynamics and influences from property
owners with larger business and revenue versus smaller businesses? Who is pushed out upon
the creation of BID? What did we learn 12 years ago when the subject of BID came about? I
believe that to improve our community and public safety, it takes effort from the collective. It’s
not always necessary to add a “gatekeeper” when we as a collective can and should work to
address these challenges. If it is felt that another entity, name, or label is needed to make it
official and does not create a divide within the city, then I would be open to supporting such,
pending input from the community, especially the smaller local businesses that would be
affected, and hearing of the lessons learned along with issues and concerns being addressed.

In what other ways can Asheville City Council support the local independent restaurant
community?
Listening to the community and taking action, while ensuring it is fair and equitable, are ways to
support.

Anything you’d like to share with our local restaurant workforce?
I support fair wages and being able to afford to live in the community you work and or play.