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Archive for November, 2010

Seriously?

On the tabloid matter of Wikileaks people being declared domestic terrorists for illuminating machinations of the elite class, I don’t believe Mrs. Clinton wants to be a tyrant – just a parody of one.

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Smart Growth Is Ethnocentric

Tonight, the Asheville City Council hosted a neighborhood meeting at the Reid Center. The city is replacing an old but sturdy gymnasium and gathering place with a performing arts center some expect will have regional draw. A gymnasium and as yet unprogrammed space are to follow in Phases 2 and 3. A baseball diamond will be done away with for greenways and so forth, and the swimming pool will be replaced with an aquatic center. Somehow, I had expected the meeting to be another of those where everybody was drunk on synergy and happy to raise taxes 5% on anybody else to pay for a new energy.

Instead, there were moanings in the crowd. I sat in the heckling section. People didn’t want an aquatic center. They wanted the pool that has been a part of their cultural history. They didn’t like how kids couldn’t use the baseball diamond and basketball court. Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Director Roderick Simmons and Mayor Terry Bellamy explained the neighborhood had to share with league games and practice, if somebody wanted to reserve a space exclusively they would have to pay, and the swimming pool did require a membership card. Neighbors asked why the city let the Reid Center fall into such disrepair they couldn’t salvage it, but had to build a new, other-culturely building.

Citizens felt left out of the decision-making process. They were told that plans were not even yet in the conceptual stages for a lot of their worst fears. They felt council and staff were being dishonest, and the next time they saw anything, it would be a done deal. Urban renewal has a way of claiming Black neighborhoods. The city was catering to the artists on the riverfront. It appeared a little racist.

Hecklers didn’t like the process. They felt depersonalized having to submit questions on index cards for the mayor to pick and choose. Then, staff wasn’t answering the questions the mayor asked. The process made hecklers out of line for demanding answers and wanting give and take.

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Waynesville Prefers Stupid Growth

Waynesville has decided to lighten up on its development standards. In 2003, the town adopted Smart Growth (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc.) policies. Now, leadership supposes maybe not all villages should be pedestrian-friendly. For example, proposed changes to the standard would allow conditional uses, wherein the aldermen would be allowed to make exceptions to zoning standards to allow parking in front of a grocery store instead of behind it. The steep slope ordinance is now proposed to kick in for slopes 25% or greater, rather than 15% or greater. Creativity in landscaping parking lots, as well as grandfathering allowances, would be given more leeway. Town planners are also recommending that the Community Appearance Commission be disbanded. Citizens are invited to weigh in November 30 and December 2. (I can’t find details about how, when, or where.)

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Such an Apolitical Race

Nelda Holder wrote a nice commentary on some of the strange things occurring with IRV in North Carolina. Had no instant-runoff been employed, Cressie Thigpin would have won the 13-way race for NC Court of Appeals Justice. Now, however, the state board of elections is not expected to have the votes tallied until next week. That’s instant for you.

The instant runoff election for Buncombe County Superior Court was decided long ago. Marvin Pope won hands-down. He lost the three-way primary election to Kate Dreher and Alan Thornburg, but when another justice stepped down at the last minute, he was able to capture a seat when Dreher didn’t.

Professor of economics at Winston-Salem State, Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi, argued IRV is un-Constitutional. He argues if none of his three choices make the second round, he is disenfranchised.

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A Very Special Day Just for You

Big businesses left the state because Mexico and India were less regulated, and it was easier to turn a profit there. Small businesses don’t exactly have the same economic liberty, as costs of relocating to a foreign country would represent too large a percentage of their budget. They might try another state or quit altogether. It therefore makes diplomatic sense to offer them some form of appeasement. Remember, there is a $4 billion budget gap on the horizon, and the big dogs, now in greener pastures, aren’t around to help with it.

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Because the Private Sector Failed

The General Assembly is saving us again with its resplendent economic policies. A beneficent grant, no doubt a sacfrifice out of the legislators’ own hard-earned savings, will create jobs. Don’t ask right-wing questions about if these jobs are part-time or how long they’ll last. Just feel the energy. And, Western North Carolina got its fair share.

Graham County received $400,000 to “conduct an energy analysis and provide a covered storage facility to help a furniture company save and reuse its wood waste to generate energy. The project will retain 468 jobs at the county’s largest employer and create an additional eight to ten.” In the old days, they’d just say, “to build a wood shed.”

If that didn’t warm the cockles of your heart, the Town of Forest City received $48,000 “to renovate a vacant building for reuse as a boutique pet store. The project will create six jobs.”

Also, WNC Communities received $50,000 “to support community development, regional networking, and agricultural and economic development in 19 western counties.”

For a full listing, check out the Citizen-Times article.

The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop sound economic strategies that improve the quality of life in rural North Carolina, with a special focus on individuals with low to moderate incomes and communities with limited resources. The center operates a multifaceted program that includes conducting research into rural issues; testing promising rural development strategies; advocating for policy and program innovations; and building the productive capacity of rural leaders, entrepreneurs and community organizations.

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If You’re Running Your Business in the Black, Try Leaning on Government

http://www.thrivenc.com/incentives/financial?gclid=CN6PouS3vqUCFQu87Qodgn67ZA

While scouring the local news web sites in search of rumblings by politicians, I noted the Mountain XPress posted this ad. The classic liberal in me finds corporate welfare odious, but since government is spending advertising dollars to sell the private sector on their wonderful services, maybe I should change my mind. I searched the site for some kind of accountability. That is, wouldn’t we like to know how recipients of corporate welfare are thriving but for our donations?

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My Goat Didn’t Fit in a 200ml Bottle So TSA Has It

Here’s another reason why granny should be groped.

While on the subject of security-through-violation, is it treasonous to play along with forces usurping the law of the land?

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More of Government Doin’ Its Thang

About a week ago, the Buncombe County Commissioners decided to buy time for a request from Frontier Syndicate for some help building workforce housing for households earning between $44,300 and $77,560 annually. All the developers want is tax breaks worth $1.8 million from both the city and county.

Commissioner Holly Jones represented the position of mainline mathematicians.

“It’s not lining the pockets of developers, which I’ve heard, and that’s just outrageous,” she declared, pointing out that the incentive payments would come out of the additional property-tax revenues a project would generate. “We’re not out any money at the end of the day. … I think we can do ourselves a world of good, and people who need affordable housing a world of good too.”

Got that? Jones’ argument is a little better than the same line used by city council. After all, the development will be in the Asheville city limits. Any financial burdens from increased demand on public safety and infrastructure by 100 new households will be shifted to the backs of city taxpayers, and the county can come off smelling like a rose.

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New Airfares to Include Random Dismemberment, Asphyxiation, and Overdoses

I awoke with a start this morning. I can’t recall what I was dreaming, but on the tip of my tongue was, “What a great way to nationalize the airlines.”

I was probably obsessing over the naked body scans and groping in all the headlines. Think about it. Airlines have been saddled with regulations with costs of compliance to be made up in hundred-dollar fare jack-ups; and taxes that for a trip to Europe now equal the total cost of a ticket ten years ago. Well, that didn’t force the airlines into whining for a bailout, so the next step in turning paying customers away was to treat them like cattle on the market. If people still insist on seeing loved ones far away, I’m sure the authorities have more up their sleeves.

After all, the president of the United States is the only person capable of running the aviation industry, and the automobile industry, and the healthcare industry, and the banks, . . .

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