Pam King on reestablishing transparency with Board of Aldermen, 'greenest little town in NC'

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
Pam King is one of nine candidates running for the three Board of Aldermen seats in November's municipal election.

Black Mountain News will be doing profiles of all candidates for the three open Board of Aldermen seats.

BLACK MOUNTAIN - Pam King, one of nine candidates for three open Board of Aldermen seats in November’s municipal election, sees her home of seven years as the “greenest little town in North Carolina.” Through her three pledges, she says the town could live up to that moniker.

Her first priority is reestablishing transparency and accessibility with the board.

“I feel like until we address that, it’s really hard to move forward on other big initiatives, whatever the people want,” King said.

Mentioning recent decisions made by the board, including recent appointments of Larry Harris as mayor and Archie Pertiller Jr. as alderman, King said “it’s just really clear that citizen input has been circumvented and is not being included … and people hear about things after the fact.”

King is currently a development coordinator for Helpmate, an Asheville-based nonprofit organization supporting victims and survivors of domestic violence. She was previously the president of Friends of the Black Mountain Library for three years.

In implementing transparency with the board, King said she’d be planning quarterly “listening sessions” to both inform the community and discuss any concerns.

“Social media, too. … Why can’t governing bodies provide social media posts about ‘Next Wednesday, we’re going to vote for this and here are the facts around that issue,’ King said. "Or (posts) after the fact, saying ‘We voted to do this, this and this, and here’s why I voted for or against it.’”

She added that the town’s website is “due for an update.”

Complemented with added transparency, including audio and visual improvements to the board’s virtual meetings, King pledges to have the town make an official statement toward a pandemic response.

“I feel like the town should have a response and take a stance on how we’re dealing with the pandemic,” King said. “And craft a message … so we’re all on the same page about that.”

On rebranding Black Mountain as the “greenest little town in North Carolina,” King’s final pledge is a focus on the area’s green space.

“It’s good economic sense,” she said. “I feel like we’re running out of time, and we all kind of pretend like there’s all the time in the world on this topic, and we do not.”

One plan for environmental protection is to partner with Buncombe County’s $10 million project to implement solar panels on county-owned buildings, King said. Another is expanding the John Wilson community garden.

An estimated $27 million would be saved in utility costs over 30 years, the county announced with its April decision.

“I feel like the savings to the town would be what makes a lot of sense in the long run, even if you’re not into saving the environment,” King said.

She believes that the town’s environment is a large factor for those looking to move to Black Mountain.

“That’s one thing that makes Black Mountain really special and makes it the kind of place people want to live and raise families,” King said.