Buncombe County Sheriff Miller announced yesterday that the Sheriff's Office will no longer honor ICE detainers. “It is vital that our immigrant community can call the Sheriff’s Office without fear when they are in need of assistance from law enforcement,” said Sheriff Miller, flanked by BCSO leadership, leaders from CIMA, and local clergy at a press conference announcing the new policy.
Sheriff Miller's statement is available here: https://www.buncombecounty.org/countycenter/news-detail.aspx?id=17850
As a County Commissioner I support this new policy. And I continue to stand with our immigrant brothers & sisters as we strive to create communities where love, not fear, guides us.
So excited about this! Please help spread the word to folks who'd be interested in serving on the Buncombe County Early Childhood Committee, which will help advise policy and funding related to our strategic priority to ensure that every child in Buncombe County has an equal opportunity to thrive.
I'm honored to serve with Commissioners Whitesides and Pressley on this committee. Applications for community members are due by March 15, with full information here:
This Committee will help advise the launch of the county's new Early Childhood Education and Development Fund, which will provide $3.6 million annually to support local initiatives to increase access to high quality early childhood education, by creating new classrooms and centers, supporting the workforce development pipeline to recruit and retain teachers in the field, supporting vital wraparound services for children and families, and supporting innovative strategies to help the local system scale up.
On October 30, Buncombe County Commission voted 6-1 to create an Early Childhood Education and Development Fund and commit $3.6 annually to this fund to support creating new classrooms and centers, supporting workforce development, supporting our local system in scaling up, and providing support services to kids and families.
This is about making a permanent commitment to kids in Buncombe County and about creating a community where every kiddo has an equal opportunity to thrive.
Thank you to everyone who showed up to advocate, sent messages and called to show support, including the amazing Kids Justice League from BeLoved Community, pictured above.
And thank you to fellow Commissioners, county staff and community partners for the collaboration, hard work and passion that went into developing and passing this resolution. It's a true honor to work on these issues and it will continue to be a focus of my work on County Commission.
Read more here.
At our October 30th Board of Commission meeting, we'll be voting on a resolution to create an Early Childhood Education and Development Fund and to allocate $3.6 million annually to this fund. The full resolution is available here.
In the past 18 months, Buncombe County Commission has significantly increased support for early childhood education and development programs in our community. We've passed a strategic priority to help ensure that every child in our community has an equal opportunity to thrive in their first 2,000 days, supported new Pre-K classrooms, and funded new approaches to workforce development issues.
It's been an honor to work with every member of Commission, county staff, and community partners, like the Asheville Buncombe Preschool Planning Collaborative, on these efforts. The presentation below, shared at our October 2nd Commission meeting, tells the story of the work we've done together and the needs that persist in our community.
We know there's a tremendous need for more quality early childhood education in our community. Only about 1/3 of kids ages 0-4 are currently enrolled in licensed childcare programs. Currently, 46% of children in Buncombe County live in poor and low-income homes and 21% experience food insecurity.
Behind every statistic is a local child and family who could benefit from access to quality early childhood education. Decades of research confirm that these programs provide short- and long-term benefits in children's lives, from education outcomes, to job and earning prospects, to lifelong health. These programs also benefit the peers, families and communities of kids who are served. Recent research shows a 13% return on investment for every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education.
Creating an Early Childhood Education and Development Fund is about creating a community where every child can thrive. Funding would prioritize creating new preschool and Pre-K classrooms, supporting the workforce development pipeline for teachers and staff, supporting strategies that allow the current system to scale up, and providing support services for children and families served by these programs.
We'll be talking about all this and more at our October 30th meeting and there will be time for public comment before we vote on the resolution - hope to see you there!
August 8, 2018
Jasmine Beach-Ferrara: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday, a new indictment was filed relating to allegations of fraud, bribes, and kickbacks against former county manager Wanda Greene and now two additional former Buncombe County officials, Mandy Stone and Jon Creighton. What has been alleged in a series of federal indictments shocks the conscience and amounts to a gross abuse of power and public trust. These individuals deserve due process, and we must treat these as allegations, not proven fact. But we must also address the substance of allegations against them and understand the broader narrative they reveal: what happened was not the work of a single corrupt official; it was a culture of corruption and we do not yet know how far it extended. The federal investigation continues and as the latest indictment makes clear, it is possible that there will be more indictments against other individuals.
Today, I’m writing this statement as an individual County Commissioner because I feel an obligation and a responsibility to communicate directly with our community and the district I represent. You are owed answers and accountability. In sharing my analysis, I do not propose to have all the answers. I believe that collectively, we as a community working together will find solutions that no one of us will find on our own through this crisis.
Your County Commission has a responsibility to serve you through this crisis. Buncombe County Commission brings together seven individuals who love our community, have different perspectives on some issues, and have found alignment on other issues like expanding access to Pre-K and responding to the opioid crisis. I have respect and appreciation for fellow Commissioners and believe that the differences in approach and leadership style that distinguish us individually combine to create a stronger governing body.
Some steps have been taken the course of the year, but there is more that we can do at the level of County Commission to protect Buncombe County’s integrity. As we face this ongoing crisis, we must respond with action measures and it is past time for comprehensive reforms. This is a crisis and we must continue working to repair public trust and to put proactive reforms into place to ensure that every tax dollar is spent appropriately and that the county focuses on its singular mission to serve our community.
These are specific actions I advocate for and status reports on areas where steps have been taken in the past year:
I believe we must move through this crisis with accountability and humility. I am accountable to every decision I’ve made as a Commissioner. The investigation is not over, and until we have a full knowledge of the facts, we must understand that there are things we do not know.
This conversation needs to happen at the community level. From 9 - 10:30 AM tomorrow, I’ll be at Penny Cup Coffee downtown at 39 S. Market Street. If you can make it, I’d love to see you there to hear your ideas, listen, and answer any questions I can.
Together, I believe we can find solutions to this crisis and work together to create a system of local government that reflects the integrity and character of the people of Buncombe County. I am committed to moving forward through this crisis with the same values that led me to serve as Commissioner. I am here to work for you.