In fact, I honestly didn’t see it when I read the agenda a day or two before the meeting. Then again, $325,000 from the public treasury is practically invisible. It is no wonder the Buncombe County Commissioners breezed through the presentation before saying yes. The City of Asheville will give the project another $159,000. It is important to note that, as with seemingly all expenditures agenda-ed for the Buncombe County Commissioners, the $325,000 came from “existing” funds.
The donation was for a mixed-use development. Based on housing strategies that have worked in other communities, the idea is to provide a nurturing environment for Asheville’s hardest-to-house, the dually-diagnosed whose middle name is recidivism. They will have a building with wraparound services, but also in the complex will be persons with housing vouchers and “teachers, law enforcement, and social workers.” I think it a pity that landlords cannot discriminate on many grounds, but they can on the basis of profession. It allows a racist to say the black auto mechanic who applied was turned down because he wasn’t a teacher. But anyway.
The project made me think of two people. One was a nice guy, an intelligent young liberal named Jonathan. I knew him before as a nice, thoughtful person; but I elevated him to the level of prince after one city council meeting when somebody was trying to build halfway homes in his neighborhood. All the NIMBY’s love mixed-use development, and they, as usual, were out in force to complain about traffic, safety, and property values. Jonathan, speaking as an aside on another matter, said he lived in the neighborhood in question, and he would welcome the halfway houses. The people had to live somewhere. He was a citizen who cared about his brothers, and he was happy to pitch in and shoulder the burden. In almost fifteen years of attending these meetings, I don’t believe I’ve heard that spirit before or since.
The other person is me. I get off work at all hours of the dark, I remain rattled from having one schizophrenic stalker, and I live alone. I tip my hat to Jonathan, but I couldn’t do this even if I went back to teaching and could afford “affordable” rent.
The computers were down at work, so I enjoyed a few hours of improving my mind. One thing I did was finish Greg Gutfeld’s Not Cool. The first 90-some pages were strongly relevant. Then, the book went into the doldrums for about 60 pages. Then, things returned to being highly-valuable until a couple chapters toward the end. The most edifying concept, today anyway, was his disdain for media scripters’ and artists’ obsession with root causes of evil. Ayn Rand put it succinctly: Evil is irrational. There is therefore no understanding it. Name it, protect the innocents, and move on. Once again, I feel better for seeing somebody expose that which is cool as unthinking mistaking of right for wrong and vice versa.
In Watauga County, community organizer Pam Williamson is questioning the appropriates of persons holding political appointments continuing to participate in partisan politics. Stacy “Four” Eggers had been serving on the local board of elections when he was appointed county attorney. Before he resigned from the elections post, he ran some upcoming issues past a fellow partisan serving on the State Board of Elections. Frankly, I’m not getting excited about this, but I do not recall ever reading about somebody who belonged to a political party, or a faction thereof, hefting allegations of wrongdoing against one of their own.
I somewhat enjoyed the Buncombe County Commissioners’ meeting last night. I think it was probably because there were a few occasions when people voted as I would have. They were small minorities, but it felt good to hear people trying to embrace the big picture, and not the small pictures that are referred to as big pictures in political discourse, which would never refer to itself as political discourse.
On one issue, the county was going to rezone an area from Weaverville’s ETJ. Commissioner Ellen Frost, as she often does, stressed that the county was in a difficult position because of the strong-arming of the General Assembly. County Planner Josh O’Conner explained county staff tried to give plots zonings from the county’s assortment that were as close as possible to those they received from Weaverville’s.
There was a little problem. A big problem was zoning, and if the new maps weren’t adopted within ninety days, there would be no zoning in that area, and I could go for that. The little problem was a scrivener’s error that transformed a piece of commercial property into a residential area. Furthermore, the landowner was in the middle of transacting a transfer of that parcel, and he feared the miszoning could kill the deal.
County Attorney Mike Frue and O’Conner explained they couldn’t just correct the booboo, because all the neighbors would have to be noticed and given statutory time to respond. Attorney Craig Justus suggested if the commissioners couldn’t outright change the zoning, they might just leave the parcel unzoned until all the rigmarole could be completed. In all seriousness, the zoning only applied to the property owner(s), but now that we have transformed from a nation of property rights to one of community rights, the zoning is at the mercy of the pot smoker down the road.
Commissioner Holly Jones explained, surely for lame minds as mine, that the single party was inconvenienced for the good of the whole. Precedents could be set. I say that laws are a means to happy and healthy people, and not the other way around. Causing somebody to lose a big real estate deal because of a typo was no more than pomp and circumstance.
Now, maybe Justus, who tends to be on the right side of issues he argues before local government, was trying to undermine the whole zoning initiative. You know, derail the program until deadlines pass, set broad precedents, etc. If that were the case, in my current, puny frame of mind, I’d say, “Have at it.”
Joe Belcher and Mike Fryar voted against the zoning amendments.
In a second matter, Joe Belcher voted against giving $74,625 plus reduced rent and purchase price for the county-owned spec building to Wicked Weed. He said he could not use tax dollars to support the brew industry, and I agree. I agree even when “the brew” is omitted from that sentence.
Greg Gutfeld said one definition of cool is the inability to say no. Belcher was not cool, and I applaud.
Here is a nice article about exit interviews of teachers leaving the Haywood County school system.
At least a few homeless and clueless people were bused from Winston-Salem to a demonstration in Cullowhee to be counted as supporting fracking. Of course I am going to suppose it was a charade masterminded by the opposition.
Polk County residents continue to be upset about changes to public comment rules for the county board of commissioners. Well they should, but I still don’t know how to make everybody happy. I am reminded of a comment I heard second-hand. A trustworthy friend said a computer geek he knew said, “Programming would be easy if it weren’t for people.”
Webster Enterprises wants $165,000 from Jackson County’s magic stash on top of its annual gift of $30,000. Webster is a nonprofit that creates manufacturing jobs so for-profits won’t have, or be able, to.
Normally over summer vacation, when local governments take lots of breaks, I buy about a dozen books of interest for review in lieu of meeting coverage for a local paper. The Cato Institute has proven a good source for many. This year, however, I was cheap. I went to the local library instead and bombed. Book after book spewed incredible inanity. I ended up buying some from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but I only made it cover-to-cover with six of many, many.
Last night, I finally got around to reading Not Cool by Greg Gutfeld. The third excellent and by far the best book I have read by him, it is somewhat obscene, but very worthwhile. I don’t excuse Gutfeld for breaking the Third Commandment, but when he uses expletives deleted, they are anatomically correct and the optimal word choice. It is a blessing to read the thoughts of somebody who has not caved to pressures to tolerate, embrace, then celebrate evil. Last week, when Asheville City Council proclaimed September 21 International Peace Day, I wrote in my notes, “You have made peace with Satan.” Gutfeld, for one, has not made peace with ideologies and behaviors associated with the boy in red spandex, like bad logic, negligent thought processes, and intentional destruction. Gutfeld’s burst of sanity is a pleasure to read as he honestly nails things as they are.
I halfway regret my urge to highly recommend reading the truth about our culture when it is so dirty awful.
I know true-blue, classic-liberal free marketers are turned off by the lite treatment the Atlas Shrugged movies have given Ayn Rand’s novel. That said, I know of at least five Ashevillians who wanted to or already did go to Greenville to catch Part III – and that’s just about as many people as I’ve spoken to since opening night. You may think the movies are lame, but I heard a candidate for county commission remark upon leaving Part II, “I really learned a lot.”