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Archive for January 22nd, 2013

Dear Diary

I just got out of the Asheville City Council meeting, and I thought I’d send you a short note. I won’t have time to read the headlines today.

As you know, council had scheduled a couple big public hearings. Yes, one after another, people got up to complain about traffic. I have to compliment Joe Manicozzi for his work on the Planning and Zoning Commission. He didn’t just whine with a bad case of the I-wants. He kept asking staff why not this and why not that. Some at tonight’s meetings hadn’t even read the staff reports.

By contrast, one dude spoke well with more clarity than I’ve heard perhaps in ten years of these meetings. He seemed to have a photographic memory, and he wasn’t afraid to do research. He hit council with one zinger after another and actually woke me up. In the previous public hearing, one girl had asked the developer to sacrifice, and another asked him to add housing to plans for a supermarket, which were already overkilled with treescapes and other New Urbanist amenities. I used to get mad when I heard the word “greedy” used to describe those who don’t give the caller everything he demands. Now, the practice is so old, I scarcely notice.

A big no-no of the first development in question was consideration of a fast-food drive-thru. This obsturbed neighbors who couldn’t stand the smell of frying grease anywhere but from their car’s emission system. Fast food made people fat. Fast food drive-thru’s increase carbon footprints because it takes the girls and boys sixteen minutes to finish their text messages before they can pull your order together. Bank drive-thru’s don’t have this problem. If anybody cares, I say fast food is middle class food. If we get rid of the drive thrus, those who don’t get more than half an hour for lunch will have to brown bag it. Members of city council can meet with the wealthy and influential over drinks at a sit-down. When the meeting ended at 11:30, I rushed to Late Night Wendy’s, and then made it home in time for a semblance of a blog.

Toward the end of the meeting, council considered adding Food Policy to the city’s Sustainability Management Plan. A proponent described for council the Utopia of waking up and enjoying fresh, locally-grown berries with locally-grown mint tea. It was a breakfast fit for rich snobs. But then, we were to look out and see our neighbor cultivating organic herbs on a city-owned garden. On our bicycle ride to work, we snatched a few apples off the trees fronting the permaculture garden. Why, it sounded as if somebody had killed the angel with the flaming sword at the gateway corridor to the Garden of Eden.

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