Why we need a black sheriff (Quentin Miller)

A very smart white friend of mine was ranting the other day about why the race of our new sheriff doesn’t make any difference to her.  “Black, white, yellow – they’re all the same to me.  I don’t see colors. I don’t care what color the sheriff is.”  Here’s why I think she – we – should care.

All these years after the Civil Rights Movement, black people don’t experience the same civil rights that white people do.  And one of the areas where their civil rights are most routinely violated is in their encounters with police.  They are arrested at higher rates, incarcerated at shockingly higher rates and for longer sentences for the same crimes.  And the Black Lives Matter movement did not come out of nowhere: unarmed black people (mostly but not all men) are shot and killed by police at a desperately higher rate than white men.  They are treated by police as if their lives don’t matter.

There was a very disturbing case in Asheville last summer, captured by police body cams and then leaked to the public, where an unarmed black man was arrested for j-walking. (J-walking!  I routinely cross the street illegally with a lot of confidence that I will not be arrested or even cited for it.  That confidence – with me being white – was not shaken by this case.) He was man-handled, choked (repeatedly gasping “I can’t breathe” – he could have died), and had his head several times bashed against the sidewalk.  That video went viral and confirmed black people’s most cynical – I would say traumatized – fears of how they are treated by police, not in Baltimore but here in Asheville.

A black mayor, Terry Bellamy, helped soften the feeling of being disenfranchised.  A very non-prejudiced white District Attorney Todd Williams, who has actively developed programs to get harmless black men out of the criminal justice system (flying in the face of the previous administration which consistently went for maximum prosecutions and maximum sentences) has helped.

Quentin+and+Karen+image (2)

But the police are the point of contact between citizens and the criminal justice system.  Quentin Miller has terrific credentials, including serving in the Asheville Police Department for 24 years.  He’s the perfect person for the job.  When you go to the polls (starting today) and vote for the Buncombe County Sheriff, don’t be color-blind, be color-conscious.


Electing two progressives to Congress from WNC

We have two great candidates running for Congress in our area.  Because of the way Districts 10 and 11 have been gerrymandered, I can’t tell you which of those districts you belong to, but you can look it up real easy.  Just go to the state Board of Elections look-up site and plug in a very little bit of information.  It will show you if you are registered at your current address, your Congressional district,  your precinct, and your polling place (for election day November 6 – for early voting you can go to any one of many locations, more on that tomorrow).

Phillip Price, Democrat for District 11, is really a very good guy with progressive politics.  He is running against Mark Meadows, a conservative among the conservatives and leader of the House Freedom caucus – the worst conservatives in the House.

David Wilson Brown, my man in the 10th District is an awesome guy in so many ways  – not just his love for dogs and how much my dog immediately loved him.  He’s running against Patrick McHenry, a very conservative Republican.

with Toni 7-15 White Horse2
David Wilson Brown – great guy, great politics.  The happiest photo I have of my little Toni.

Conventional wisdom has it that because of how gerrymandered these districts are a Democrat can’t win. This is totally untrue. Our candidates are so great and if enough people go out to vote absolutely they can win.

Voter information

  •  United Way voters guide
  • Are you registered?  Where?  Which Congressional district are you in? Where’s your polling place?
    • NC Board of Elections Voter Lookup
      • The NC Board of Elections Public Voter Search page offers you the opportunity to check your registration and get your sample ballot.
      • Enter your “full” first and last name and, if it comes up, check the “I am not a robot” box. For common names, you can also select your county to filter responses. Select the link with your name, hit the link, and it will take you to your Voter Information page.
      • At the bottom of your Voter Information page, there is a blue box titled Sample Ballots. Hit the blue link that has a letter and number to the right of 2018 General Election, and that is your sample ballot.
    • or call 828-250-400
  • Democracy North Carolina (“not affiliated with any party) hotline: 888-OUR-VOTE
  • early voting – starts October 17
  • League of Women Voters
  • 6 Proposed Constitutional Amendments – very important to know about