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Archive for December, 2010

The Moral of the Story Is . . .

There is a perception that Mountain Housing Opportunities and OnTrack Financial Education & Counseling are permanent fixtures on Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Commissioner agendas. That is only because the law is so complex, only a very few know how to navigate it to squeeze all kinds of perks out of it; or, have enough connections to get attorneys to do the work. The same was once said of Biltmore Farms, referred to by some as “The King” of Asheville.

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Because Middle-Income Housing Could Stigmatize Your Children

Tuesday, the Buncombe County Commmissioners will likely approve a workforce housing policy (1, 2, 3). They are authorized to provide housing assistance for persons with annual household incomes between $44,300 and $77,560:

Pursuant to G.S. ยง153A-378, counties are authorized to engage in and to appropriate and expend funds for residential housing construction for sale or rental to persons and families of low and moderate income.

So, you thought protecting liberties had nothing to do with collecting enough taxes to cover police and fire protection, infrastructure upgrades, planning, regulation, visioning, diversifying, identifying, vibrating, and all those other things government does, and then collecting more to cover those services for recipients of incentives. [The point of that last sentence is likely to be misconstrued into a call for lawless anarchy.] The county explains why it is good that most citizens should share the burden of breaks for the few:

The policy exists because affordable housing opportunities for all segments of the community are an important part of developing and maintaining a healthy economy and diverse workplace. The difficulties working families face in affording a safe and decent place to live in our area has given rise to the need to create additional incentives for the private and non-profit sector to develop affordable workforce housing.

I read into this an admission that some parts of the county have uncontrollably gone to seed, and so rather than fighting crime in those areas, government needs to subsidize houses in safe neighborhoods. The first sentence reminds me of the Irish who came to America, worked hard, and retired to multi-multi-tenant crawl spaces at night.

Zero-percent, fifteen-year loans will be available. Developers can get as much as $5000 per green unit. Incentives offered may be as much as 85% of tax revenues collected for the project over a five-year period. To be eligible, projects must be rent-controlled for fifteen years. Tenant incomes are to be verified annually. Those earning more than they are supposed to and reporting the same shall be booted.

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From the Halls of Higher Learning

News is slow. Politicians and journalists are on vacation. Media outlets are posting top-ten lists written before folks left town. And so I went to the UNCA Blue Banner web site and read a couple editorials.

One, I’ve read before. It straightfacedly tells how experts will start finding out what is in the healthcare bill now that it has passed. The author is hopeful that “free” contraceptives will be included in the definition of “preventive healthcare for women” because they are more humane than abortions. The issue is presented as a false dilemma. She then asks:

Should questions about ethics and morals have an effect on the country’s new healthcare system?

Another quotes local celebrity Virato explaining the Asheville Vortex:

Quartz vibrates at about 7.6 hertz, which is the same resonant frequency of the human heart. This low resonance goes out thousands of miles, and people who resonate in their heart feel it. Feminine, freethinking, homosexuals, Christians, Asheville has the highest percentage of witches per capita; new-agey people, artists: these are all heart-oriented people. I feel that’s how I was drawn here, because of this radiant energy.

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Why Don’t You De-Annex?

The Town of Tryon approved petitioning the state to de-annex two parcels. The owner of both initiated the action, claiming he did not receive the services promised.

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Hack! Wretch! Khlkhlkh!

A blurb is in several media outlets about lawsuits challenging the state’s smoking ban in restaurants. Again, I am in the minority because I don’t consider giving second-handers burning eyes, scratchy throats, laryngitis, etc. victimless. Smoking in public to me is about as much a right as getting one’s jollies by spraying dilute acid about. It’s fine to do it amongst consenting adults.

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21,780, 20,000, 17,500, 12,500

Sylva has finally realized a seventy-year-old law requiring residential lot size to be at least half an acre no longer makes much sense. In 2008, the town’s planner, Jim Aust, resigned over the issue. He argued it would be impossible to build affordable housing, and said the mayor only wanted to govern people living in $500,000 houses. New, apparently arbitrary, minimum lot sizes have been selected for different zonings. Besides, a study of best practices in comparable communities . . .

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Job Fair

There was a job fair in Asheville today. 86 employers sought to fill 1800 jobs paying an average of $12-14/hour.

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Voting Themselves Control

This is not news. Only the names have been changed. The aldermen of the Town of Franklin voted to expand their authority to 275 parcels owned primarily by people who cannot vote in Franklin elections. The action was based on the findings of a study by UNC-Charlotte. Saith the Franklin Press:

Adding more land into the ETJ will allow the town to more closely control new development.

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For Your Cabin Fever

Is Junior getting on your nerves as you’re all cooped up in the snow with the schools closed? Why don’t you see if he can earn some money for college by entering an Ayn Rand Institute essay contest. There will be many winners, and Junior might learn something.

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New Angle, New Angle

In a recent post, I missed an angle. The Haywood County commissioners were not being unreasonably irresponsible in electing to spend $440,583 of North Carolina Education Lottery funds on bleachers and concrete ramps. They were choosing between safety and education. Safety, we must conclude, is correlated with making the bleachers ADA compliant.

The funds could be used to “save” teachers’ jobs.

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December 2010
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