Dr. Carl Mumpower, recently re-elected to his second term on the Asheville City Council, faces a tough road ahead. Incoming council members, all liberal, progressives with high hopes of reform, will surely square off against the council's only republican in Mumpower.
Mumpower has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Saint Leo College, a master's in couseling from Western Carolina University, Master's degree in clinical social work from the University of Georgia, and a Ph.D in clinical psychology from Union Institute.
CLI: Director, Center for Local Innovation, Chad Adams
Mumpower: Dr. Carl Mumpower, Asheville City Council
. . .
CLI: Buncombe County and the City of Asheville are a case study in contrasts. The county is consistently conservative while the city has a strong liberal tilt. As the only elected Republican on the city council how do you see Asheville changing in the next four years?
Mumpower: I believe we are in for some adventure for the next two years. It is my sense that the liberal progressive supermajority will wish to take full advantage of their window of opportunity. The reality of their initiatives will likely differ dramatically from the hopes and imaginings of many of their supporters.
CLI: One of the developing issues in the Asheville area is the Convention Center. Cities across the state are spending millions of taxpayer dollars on new convention centers even though attendance is still at 1993 levels or diminishing. What would you like to see happen in Asheville on this front?
Mumpower: We need a realistic plan that is doable, affordable, and supportable. This is a tall order in view of financial constraints, political realities and uncertain utilization patterns. I am concerned that our Civic Center visions are going to be unrealistic for a city our size. The option that makes most sense at this point is to do a measured upgrade of the existing facility. We would like a Mercedes, but a nice family Ford may make more sense.
CLI: Asheville has a thriving downtown that is the envy of many cities throughout NC. Luckily, the private sector is supporting much of what happens. With new high-rise condos and projects like the Grove Arcade how would you advise other towns to create an atmosphere that brings people to downtown?
Mumpower: Asheville has achieved it's unique downtown with a combination of hard work, mother nature's blessings, the graceful touch of developers past, and good luck. A vibrant downtown requires safety first, unique and varied attractions second, and a commitment to growth and freshness third. Asheville presently has all three -- sustaining this balance will be like riding a bicycle -- we will need to keep peddling.
CLI: Asheville is one of the few remaining city school systems left in NC. Do you foresee any changes to that system? If not, what do you think makes it work?
Mumpower: It works well in some areas (quality of education) -- very poorly (drop out rate of black males students) in others. There are a large number of good people committed to our highly subsidized City education system. To the credit of our Administrator, the School Board, and many folks in the community, there is an ongoing commitment to finding ways to do it all better.
CLI: Looking ahead, what are some of the challenges you see for city government in the Asheville area and what would you like to see changed?
Mumpower: We have a progressive liberal City Council with a strong mandate. It will be curious to see what level of authentic leadership these folks assume, and the degree to which their initiatives are coached in facts, fairness, and the tenets of a free society. As I shared earlier -- we are in for an adventure.