Author Archives: TJrunner

Food trucks are coming … but they are creeping toward downtown very, very slowly

I applaud the City Council for reluctantly allowing food trucks to operate in the downtown area this week, but I am still surprised that the process is taking so long. In our free martket society, are we not supposed to love competition and not to have to rely on the government to protect businesses against competition?

While I believe competition is good for everyone in the downtown area of selling goods and services, the main reason I have endorsed food trucks being permitted in the downtown area is that it’s what the people demand. We live in a democracy, so when the people speak we must listen. Our democracy is at a crossroads and now is the time to change the business as usual approach. I will not follow the opinions and fears of big business, but I will base all my decisions on what the people want. In the end, if you give the people what they want, then businesses will flourish and more and more jobs will be created. This is a win-win situation for everyone.

Since this week’s vote was a narrow 4-3 victory for food trucks, the issue is still alive as City Council will have to make final approval on a second reading in a couple weeks. The question now is will the opponents listen to the people and make the decision unanimous. Will Jan Davis side with the people? Will Mayor Bellamy and Cecil Bothwell switch their votes? We will have to wait and see.

Downtown is my favorite place of my beloved city, and I have volunteered with the Asheville Downtown Association over the past four years – mostly assisting with the monthly summer series, Downtown After Five – so I know that there were a multitude of opinions at play in the decision. It is after all what our democracy is all about.

So why should Asheville jump on board of the Food Truck craze that is sweeping the nation? The first reason is that the people of Asheville want it. So if the people want it, we must find a fair way to make it happen. I believe this first step is one in the right direction for everyone that works, plays and visits our downtown.

Food trucks are already in much larger cities like Austin, New York and Los Angeles and of course our nemesis, Portland. I would argue that the process has been way to slow in coming and it still must be approved by the City Council. I urge the current Council to get this in play sooner than later. If it hasn’t been decided by the time I am sworn in, I will make it a priority to push to get this matter resolved and to get food trucks roaming downtown.

Some of the guidelines that must be included in permitting food trucks in the downtown area is keeping them free of invasive corporate chains. We must do our part to make sure McDonald’s isn’t cruising into downtown with a food truck and that can be done by the permit process.

The competition will be good for downtown and give those that work there a cheaper option since many of those people can’t afford $10 for a meal at lunchtime.

Obviously one of the crucial questions is where will the food trucks be parked. We don’t have space to allow them to take up parking spaces in an already crowded downtown. But, we do have ample privately-owned lots that can be used for the food trucks – with the owners and food truck operators having rental space agreements.

Another point that I support is food trucks being allowed to operate after 10 p.m. From first-hand experience, the food choices late at night in downtown are very limited and the food trucks could fill that void for our citizens and visitors.

In today’s market, we must evolve and adapt to the changing times and changing demands of the people. Today, it’s the food trucks and they are coming to downtown.

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IN MEMORIAM

We pause to remember a true hero, Captain Jeffrey Scott Bowen, 37, of the Asheville Fire Department, who gave his life on July 28th fighting a four-alarm blaze in the city. A 13-year veteran of the AFD, Captain Bowen is survived by his wife, Stacy Cutshall
Bowen; his mother, Laurel Lynn Jeffries Bowen; daughters Robin Parker and Sarah Bowen; son Charlie Ray; granddaughter,
Emma Parker; and a brother-in-law, David Cutshall.

Instead of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Education Fund for Children, c/o Premier Federal Credit Union, 148 Charlotte Street, Asheville, NC 28801.

TJ’s Time

TJ finished the Bele Chere 5K with a time of 24:12 and, yes, he outpaced his fellow City Council candidate Bill Russell.  Could it be an omen?  Or was it the pink winged shoes and hat?

Julius Kiptoo of Durham won first place with 16:00. Meghan Gilmore of Asheville finished first in the overall female category  with 18:48.

Run, run, TJ

Bele Chere, Scottish Gaelic for ‘beautiful life,’ takes its toll.  After getting off work on Friday afternoon, TJ hurried over to the festival and volunteered at the booth for Youth OutRight until closing (10 pm).  And he’ll be up early in the morning on Saturday, taking part in the Bele Chere 5K, starting at 7:30 am.  For most folks, there is no 7:30 am on a Saturday morning: we’ll check for the results in the Sunday paper.  The rest of you can join TJ at McCormick Field.  He’s the one dressed like the FTD Florist guy.

After a short rest, TJ will go to his favorite stomping ground, Carrier Park in West Asheville, for the Campaign for Southern Equality’s Family Dinner, starting at 5:00 pm.  Bring an appetizer or dessert and a beverage (no alcoholic beverages in Carrier Park).  Come on out and network with the LGBT community and its allies while enjoying home-cooked food al fresco.

TJ will be back in Carrier Park, in his running shoes (will they still have wings on them?), on Sunday morning for an easier run or gentle walk with the Asheville Front Runners at the more civilized hour of 9:00 am.  Come run with TJ and tell him your story.

Get to know TJ a little better with a stroll/run at Carrier Park this Sunday

This Sunday  join the Asheville Front Runners and City Council Candidate TJ Thomasson for a gentle stroll or a full run in Carrier Park, beginning at 9:00 am.

Meet TJ and share  your thoughts about what Asheville needs to do and what it needs to keep on doing. In addition TJ will be sharing his vision for the future while getting a little exercise along the banks of the French Broad River.

Come over to the picnic tables in Carrier Park, located on Amboy Road, in West Asheville. The fun begins at 9am.

If you can’t catch TJ at Carrier Park (okay, he runs a little fast), he will be at Downtown After Five on Friday evening and will be attending the Blue Ridge Rollergirls bout on Saturday evening at the Asheville Civic Center.

It’s official! I am in the race and running for Asheville City Council

ASHEVILLE — My name is TJ Thomasson, and I am here to recruit you to elect me to the next Asheville City Council. Thomasson, a North Ashevillian and community organizer, will make his candidacy official with the Buncombe County Board of Elections on Friday, July 15.

Thomasson, founder of the Asheville Front Runners, a LGBT running/walking and advocacy group based in Asheville, has been active in the community for the past six years. In addition to starting the Front Runners, he is active with the outspoken gay rights group, GetEqualNC.

Thomasson, 35, has two young daughters and wants them to grow up in a healthier atmosphere – both physically and socially. TJ works in Asheville’s thriving tourism industry and is on the Asheville Track Club Board of Directors. He has volunteered with the Asheville Downtown Association and Blue Ridge Pride.

However, TJ isn’t just a gay candidate for a city known for its progressive and LGBT-friendly atmosphere. He is a candidate for all of Asheville and supports a city that is healthier, greener and most of all, happier in this great paradise in the mountains.

Thomasson knows that we will be unable to call this a paradise if the current downward trend continues as more and more anti-enviromental policies are being shoved down our throats from Raleigh. First and foremost, we must protect the environment and protect our steep slopes from irresponsbile development.

Thomasson supports equal rights for women and minorities in addition to the LGBT community. He promotes a safe community for all of its citizens and will do whatever it takes to close loopholes in existing ordiances that do not protect the citizens of Asheville as they should. Thomasson will champion a bold and healthier Asheville. Our city is ready to lead the state in what is right when it comes to the environment, LGBT rights and a healthier lifestyle.

As an active runner, TJ has competed in nearly 100 races from 5Ks to marathons. So, Thomasson is ready for the run for City Council. He will not only be putting his name on the ballot for Asheville City Council, Thomasson plans to show each and every Ashevillian his dedication for his beloved city by running each and every mile of the city limits.

Yes, that is right. TJ will actually be running each and every street of Asheville, beginning today through Election Day. Every Ashevillian can follow TJ’s progress on his website, tjrunner.wordpress.com. Thomasson will lace up his shoes and meet all of Asheville’s fine citizens that choose to greet him as he pounds the pavement and runs every city mile between today and Election Day. In addition to his website, you can follow TJ on twitter @tjrunner.

Thomasson will make his candidacy official around 9am on the final day to file for the three open seats for Asheville City Council. He welcomes local media to the Buncombe County Board of Elections to photograph the filing and/or to interview him.

After the filing and after a day of work, TJ plans on return to the heart of the city he loves and enjoying one of our jewel parties, Downtown After Five. Thomasson will also be attending the Blue Ridge Rollergirls bout on Saturday at the Asheville Civic Center. He also has some planned activities to allow Asheville to get to know him better in the coming weeks.

Thomasson welcomes all Ashevillians to join him and his running/walking group this and every Sunday morning at Carrier Park at 9 a.m. for a gentle walk or run and to learn more about his ideas. In turn, he looks forward to learning more about what all citizens of Asheville want from its next Council.

My passion for running and politics and for Asheville are pushing me to run …..

I love fighting for LGBT rights, fighting to protect the precious environment that we live and love in Asheville, and fighting for the citizens of our fine town.

To be blunt, I’m a working man and I do not have the hefty bankroll to run for City Council.  But, as I have the ideas to make this a better place to call home, I have faith that my fellow citizens will support my run.  I intend  to run for City Council only through a grassroots campaign, so every dollar that is donated will go along way for our movement.

I will make no yard signs or engage in environmentally harmful and unsightly political advertising. I will mount a serious and involved campaign using today’s technology via the Internet, Twitter,  and Facebook. 

 In addition, I firmly support Marc Hunt and his campaign for City Council and would like to again thank him for donating to Blue Ridge Pride on behalf of the Asheville Front Runners, an LGBT running/walking group that I started this past January. Thanks again, Marc, and I look forward to joining you on City Council in ’11.

So, who wants to help me run this town? Donate today, every dollar counts.

Sincerely,

TJ Thomasson

Approved by the Movement to Elect TJ to Asheville City Council

You may donate via paypal by sending a donation to my account: tjthomasson@yahoo.com  or  send me an email to find out other ways to support my campaign.
In addition, checks may be mailed to 22 Normandy Road, Asheville, NC 28803.

TJ’s running

Those of you who know TJ Thomasson know that running is something he does on a regular basis.  Now he’s contemplating a run for Asheville City Council as an openly gay candidate.  Come on out–and, perhaps, come out–and support his vision for a City Council that reflects the diversity of our great city.