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Archive for February, 2012

Planning Restricts

Almost 200 people, whose businesses along US Highway 441 are affected by corridor land use regulations that restrict the size of signage, building access, architectural stylings, and choice of landscaping; signed a petition for relief. Only one person affected declined to sign, and many scoff at the claim that their input had anything to do with the “flatlander” Smart Growth ordinances. Citizen David Brooks made it sound as if collecting signatures for the petition was as easy as cutting warm butter.

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The Smoky Mountain News reports people are being creeped by having too many police cars on the streets.

“Here is the feedback we hear: we don’t want to come to Maggie Valley because all the law does is sit around and wait on us,” said Nathan Hughes, [a local business] owner.

“They’ll be texting each other, “Don’t go to Maggie. Don’t go to Maggie,’” [Alderman Mike] Matthews said.

Mayor Ron DeSimone suggested using some unmarked cars.

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Zoning Is for the Poor

Economic development incentives were given to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company for locating in Mills River. Now, the town wishes to change its zoning ordinances to accommodate the business and its trickle-down effects.

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Gambling Is Good for What Ails Ya

Lottery officials keep getting more compassionate. Not only do they help raise money for children’s education, they are considering adding keno games to promote local businesses and strengthen community ties.

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“By the Numbers” Is Out

The Latest “By the Numbers” policy report has been published by the John Locke Foundation. Buncombe, Macon, and Transylvania counties ranked high, whereas several WNC counties had low tax burdens. Asheville’s tax burden was the fourth highest; with four other Buncombe County municipalities ranked in the top 20. Asheville is “up there” in property and sales taxes. In years past, Asheville has complained about the report, claiming the city had a huge daytime population, making a huge drain on services. Proposed remedies, like repeal of the Sullivan acts, or the levying of a prepared food and beverage or room tax, would only make Asheville look worse in ratios of revenues collected to average personal income or population.

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Story Problem

As in Rome, one must have the law written on his heart to be a real citizen. And so, I ask residents of Boone, whither is better: the third violation for 65 db at 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, or the second violation for 75 db at 10:30 p.m. on a Thursday night? If this is not intuitively obvious, you may cheat here.

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How about Private-Sector Job Creation?

Why is it always the demand side that wishes to rally support by “putting a face” on the problem? (I know, but I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, including my own, by calling them a whiner.) The Mountaineer today tells the story of a cop who could lose his job if a proposed decrease in federal funding for local police officers is slashed. To date, North Carolina has received $256 million in federal dollars through the COPS program. Congress is considering slicing this year’s disbursements 66%. Is the police officer the only person affected by restraining the flow of money from the president’s private stash? What would we read in a human interest story about Chinese investors, future taxpayers, overextending local governments, etc.?

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Bues Nues

Now, Transylvania . . .

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Tax Me More

Groups are advocating a new 7-cent property tax on downtown business plus $400,000 annually from the City of Asheville and Buncombe County. It is expected the 7-cent tax alone would raise $500,000 annually, and economic multipliers would, well, you can probably guess the results to the penny. The tax is for a business improvement district, a zone in which a special tax is collected to perform basic city services when the city is too poor on account of chasing synergies and other very exciting things.

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Commentary on Blogging

Last night, I dreamt I was holding a plastic pipe that channeled manure from a house to a big pile. His Excellency Himself, the President of the United States, came to contribute. It did not occur to me until I woke up and was reading the staff reports for the next meeting of Asheville City Council, that I did not know what purpose the huge pile served. Worse, I did not question why people needed me to hold the hose when they could just make their deposits directly.

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February 2012
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