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Not Funny

Bicameral Legislature: Power wielded alternately by the House of Bush and the House of Clinton after the mighty pen transfers law-making authority to the executive branch.

Can I say that?

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An Unsocialized Horse

The Buncombe County Commissioners are expected to eat some of the words on the recently-passed animal control ordinance. Pets are still required to receive adequate exercise and social interaction, but livestock is now exempt from the latter. The requirement that horses be given manmade shelter has been scrapped in its entirety. I speak as if it is a done-deal because – HAY! when do the commissioners ever question anything on the consent agenda?

All those in favor say, “NEIGH!”

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An Uneconomic Remnant

The Asheville Tribune has a story about a meeting of the Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission. Beer flowed compliments of New Belgium, and SoCon tickets were offered.

Chris Peterson came to complain about plans to condemn his property as part of the riverfront renewal project. 12 Bones is such a cool restaurant, even the king-of-cool POTUS visited it twice. The city, however, has deemed it an “uneconomic remnant.” Peterson challenged two board members, Pattiy Torno and Brownie Newman, for not recusing themselves from decisions because they are getting to keep the businesses they own in the district.

“I could have just let nature take its course, let the government cut me a check and not say a word. But I don’t need the money. I’ve got money, and I’d rather use it to pay an attorney to sue y’all than see you get away with doing something that is ultimately going to disrupt people’s lives and cost the taxpayers money.” . . .

Peterson then left the chamber, closing the door firmly behind him. His departure was followed by several seconds of absolute stillness. Finally, commission member and commercial realtor George Morosani said, “He does this sort of thing all the time. There is a process for him to register his complaint.”

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$92,000 for What’s His Name? Easy — $15,000 for Schools? What!?

The Town of Canton has changed plans for its Labor Day festival.

While the board was considering increasing the Labor Day budget from $20,000 to $135,000 to bring in a popular musical artist, members quickly changed their minds when they saw the price tag.

In a staff report from Town Manager Seth Hendler-Voss, it stated that staff was prepared to make offers to Chris Young, Chase Rice or Easton Corbin — all chart-topping country artists. All artists would cost between $50,000 to $60,000 for a Sunday night concert plus another $32,000 to pay the booking agent, production crew and other associated costs.

That price was expected, but the $15,000 fee to use the Pisgah High School stadium as the venue was not expected. Hendler-Voss said the school system was willing to work with the town but had concerns about potential damage to the football field turf. The school system would not allow a portable stage to be placed on the field.

Other reasons included concerns from churches about a big concert competing with Sunday night services and aldermen unsure the big names, which they had never heard before, would sell enough tickets to cover costs.

In case you’re going, this the approved schedule:

Friday night would kick off with Pickin in the Park; Saturday would include entertainment of some sort at Sorrells Street Park and the annual car show; Sunday would include gospel singing Sunday after church at the Colonial Theatre; Balsam Range could perform at Sorrells Park Sunday night and Monday would include the annual Labor Day parade followed by a kids zone at Sorrells Street Park with concessions, food trucks and the traditional fair and local musical entertainment would stay at the rec park.

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Cats Are Better Than Teapots

Somebody thinks a cat museum could be the answer to Dillsboro’s economic woes. This person is a cat lover, so let’s hope they’re not talking taxidermy. Anyhoo, Governor Pat would probably run after this. It will create jo-obs (sung to the tune of C-C-C-C-Bb-G).

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Greenie Weenie

Listening to Asheville leadership spend what seemed like an hour trying to get a developer to commit to providing for a greenway, with at least a 20’ easement, defined origins and insertions, a schedule for construction, etc. before the developer even knew how neighboring lots would cooperate, what terrain impediments may emerge, exactly what ADA requirements will be, etc., I flashed back to a lovelier place and time when I used to frolic the Southwest Coastal Path in Cornwall. There was a particular spot where patrons would have to climb rocks straight up, and somebody was kind enough to anchor some plastic fisherman’s rope with a knot to help. There was also a fork in the path that led those on the wrong path down a very narrow cliff. I took that fork twice. Another time, I lost the path and belly-flopped into a patch of brambles to get to the other side of an estuary. Oh, and there was the time bulls had me sitting frightened on a narrow triangle between their fence and a vertical drop to the sea. Due to tin mining, there were lots of sink holes. In one place, a warning sign was placed, American-style, in front of a sunken castle. And yes, there was that refreshing freak wave that caught me up against a cliff. Those were the days.

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Tear Jerker, Like the ‘Grapes of Wrath’

Haywood County has tried foreclosing on properties that owed back taxes, but sometimes nobody would even show up. Those who did would sometimes offer only a pittance. The county therefore tried directly auctioning properties, and that didn’t work, either. Unlike eBay, the county cannot set minimum bids; but leadership has recently learned the state does allow it to decline any bid if it considers it too low. Reporteth the Smoky Mountain News:

“We didn’t want to give property away,” [Commissioner Mark] Swanger said. “If you aren’t going to get anything out of it, you may as well put it on the recreation inventory and let people garden it.” . . .

The most common case is trailers lived in by people who are so poor and destitute they would become homeless if the county foreclosed on the tin box they live in.

“These people are in poor or in dire conditions,” [Tax Administrator David] Francis said.

Their trailers are in such bad shape, foreclosing would do little good in recouping the back taxes anyway. No one would emerge to buy the trailer at foreclosure, so the county would be stuck owning it.

Unfit to live in, there’s little chance the county could ever auction it off. So the county would eventually have to dismantle it and haul it off, on its own dime. Since the attempt to gain back taxes would only further saddle the county with the burden of getting rid of it, the county just lets them slide.

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Disordered Thought

I take notes at local government meetings because my memory is near-nonexistent, and I’ve ruined in short order every handheld electronic device I’ve ever owned. I zone out when people are rehashing what was in the staff reports or when somebody is pontificating, stringing words and phrases from the synergy lexicon together with connecting words for proper syntax. Even so, the notes are so copious, I mark the really good and bad stuff to help me find it. This is what got marked last night:

  • Budget Manager Tony McDowell said the city expects revenues from property taxes will start growing soon.
  • A project for infill development was actually approved.
  • Opposing the project was one neighbor who could not believe the developers would offer a trail without also providing a management plan therefor.
  • Another expressed disbelief that the developer, with all the money he would be saving by increasing green space, couldn’t at least give the neighbors some cash or sidewalks.
  • Councilman Gordon Smith acknowledged council’s strategic goals were at odds.
  • Smith, who at recent meetings has been adamant about rent-controlling subsidized affordable housing in perpetuity, acknowledged that any housing would help the city’s deficit.
  • Councilman Cecil Bothwell suggested the developers were creating their environmentally-sensitive housing clusters for money instead of out of respect for the natural habitat. He said if the developers wanted to help the planet, they would propose something more off-the-grid with a lower impact. And the crowd went wild.
  • County Manager Jon Creighton said the county was looking into privatizing its garages, “to let somebody try to make some money.” Mayor Esther Manheimer asked him to let the city know what he learns. This would be lovely, except all sorts of meanings are assigned to “privatization” anymore. I have a friend who works for the city’s parking division and swears that because it is an enterprise fund it is privatized.
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Because There Is Such a Thing As a Stupid Question

I keep forgetting to ask, how will Walmart fund its pay increases? If it raises prices on food, what impact will that have on food stamp needs across the country?


Division in the Ranks

Progressives are now divided between environmentalists and New Urbanists. One common tater wrote to the Mountain Xpress charging mixed-use, high-density, infill near transit lines:

pits moneyed economic interests against the ordinary people.

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