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Former Black Mountain mayor, alderman Mike Sobol to drop out of alderman race

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
Mayor Michael Sobol talks about over-development in the town of Black Mountain during a candidate forum at the Lakeview Center on Sept. 18.

BLACK MOUNTAIN - Mike Sobol, former Black Mountain mayor and alderman, has decided to drop out of the upcoming alderman election.

Originally one of nine candidates filing to run for the Nov. 3 municipal election, Sobol’s departure, as well as Larry Harris’ appointment to mayor, leaves seven candidates remaining.

Harris’ appointment and Don Collins’ resignation as mayor were factors for Sobol’s decision. With Maggie Tuttle’s decision to not run, the board will have three new faces and “a fresh new look.”

The town will have the opportunity to be run by a much different board.

“I think it’s time, as I said, to pass that baton on to a younger group, to new people,” Sobol said.

Sobol served three terms as alderman from 2003-13 before being elected mayor 2013-17. He later lost his second mayoral bid to Collins in 2017.

Despite losing his reelection, Sobol remained a public figure, speaking out for the development of the town’s greenway system, stormwater infrastructure and a below-grade parking deck.

Sobol said he has been working to complete the greenway since 1994.

“I think 25 years is long enough to be working on a greenway,” he said.

In reference to recent discussions to amend the town charter, Sobol said he is "all in favor" of adjusting appointed official terms to the next election date. All appointed members to the board currently serve until the end of the seat's term.

Jennifer Willet and Archie Pertiller Jr., among the remaining candidates, are seeking reelection following their appointments to Carlos Showers' and Harris' open seats.

"I don't think anyone should serve (until the end of the term)," Sobol said. "Especially with so many people that are on the board now that were never elected by the public."

His initial decision to run for the alderman seat began last spring as an effort to “control mayor Don Collins.”

“He had three people on the board who would allow him to do whatever you want to do,” Sobol said. “That’s not the best way to run a town.”

Sobol said he is looking forward to three new board members to work alongside Ryan Stone, whom Sobol complimented as a favorable alderman for the town.

Stone said that Sobol has remained valuable to the town.

“He’s always been a very good resource for me or anybody that has questions about what’s going on in the town, and he certainly isn’t shy expressing his opinions and thoughts on projects that he’s passionate about,” Stone said.

Sobol looks forward to providing as much assistance to the town that he can provide, including the completion of those projects.

“That’s (all) up to the board, but I’m saying I’m more than happy to help in whatever way I can,” Sobol said.

The seven remaining candidates, following Sobol’s decision, are Justyn Whitson, Tonia Holderman, Willet, Pertiller, Doug Hay, Pam King and Matthew Turner.