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Archive for February, 2013

How to Appoint “Them”

Buncombe County Commissioner Mike Fryar is crying foul. Assistant County Manager Mandy Stone resigned from AB Tech’s board of trustees so Fryar could have a seat at the table. Fryar is on record for strongly opposing the quarter-cent tax increase for the community college, and he suspects that may have something to do with what preceded. The Buncome County Commissioners unanimously approved his appointment; but the day before, the Madison County Commissioners had called a crash meeting in which they appointed one of their own, Wayne Brigman, to the board. Two hours before the Buncombe meeting, Brigman was seated. Since the bylawss only allow one person serving as a county commissioner to be seated on the college’s board, Fryar was out.

Personally, I was disappointed with the lot “conservative” Buncombe County Commissioners received in the boards and commissions appointment process. They will be serving on boards overseeing mixtures of government with things I believe are better left to markets. It appeared to be one of those cult/gang buy-in maneuvers, if I may say so.

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This Must Stop

If the Searcy’s, whoever they are, are to be believed, Columbus has a big problem. The town recently made news for getting lots of points for participating in state traffic stops and such. The Searcy’s, however, describe the police force in a manner that conjures images of hundreds of Barny Fifes milling around the town like ants on a sugar cube. Police department spokesmen have a different view, but the Searcy’s say the cops are scaring away busines, issuing citations without warnings, and not giving people fair trials because the town is intent on collecting fee revenue.

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In These Days of Multitasking

Macon County is running a few old-fashioned K-12 schools, and the state isn’t providing enough money to have teachers for all grades, some of which only have 5-7 students. An effort to procure special legislation for exceptional funding is therefore afoot.

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On Economic Indicators

Local retail outlets are now hiring. Is it a sign of an economic turnaround? A friend informed me today that where she works, corporate headquarters will fire anybody who doesn’t meet their quotas for two consecutive weeks. That is irrespective, as she said, of whether or not anybody is even in the mall.

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Free Market Dreaming, on Such a Winter Day

Progress Energy has reportedly agreed to lower their rate hikes from the initially-proposed 11 and 14.5 percentages. Funny. I thought the major utility knew nothing about bargaining basics.

A couple friends were recently complaining about the utility hike, and I suggested they come up with a better scheme instead of pretending they were helpless. Of course our crony capitalist system fosters monopolies with horrific barriers to market entry, but I tried to start a brainstorm by, borrowing from the PC lexicon, visioning a business that created jobs for people to run on hamster wheels to put energy on a competitive grid. Employees could, in fact, enjoy prison-quality luxuries like being able to read all day and becoming fit. The idea actually was anticipated by Glenn Beck in Agenda 21. Unfortunately, the brainstorm was quickly sidetracked by the question of what powered the first Ferris wheel.

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Need a School? Check Your Party Affiliation

The Buncombe County Commissioners are weighing the merits of building two twenty-first century schools. The county’s newest schools were built in 1986, and the architecture for learning environments has changed considerably since then. Students and teachers are rallying for the new construction, but some commissioners consider the new schools a “luxury,” ill-afforded in the current economy.

The proposed city projects would need an additional funding source, and even proponents say they don’t know where the estimated $61 million more would come from.

Of course, the schools are supposed to be green as [expletive deleted]. It is expected private investors could a take advantage of tax credits to grow the national debt and displace more teachers from the state budget (except we have all been told government money is not fungible). Demonstrating the definition of insanity misattributed to Einstein, advocates want a repeat performance of what school board member Lisa Baldwin called a “fiasco.” Attempting to green the [expletive deleted] out of Enka High School, the county contracted with a solar company that failed to get the necessary financing, and now blames Big Utility.

For more information, see the nice and informative article by Jake Frankel in the Mountain Xpress.

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A partnership of local governments and clean energy businesses set a broad but ambitious goal to have every mountain community in WNC using clean energy of some kind by 2050.

Representatives committed themselves to the goal by signing a letter, but some feel the exercise was rather worthless.

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Or, Welcome to the Club of Insufficient Demand

The Haywood County fairgrounds have been flying by the seat of their pants since the commissioners defumded all outside agencies in 2009. Until that time, the fairgrounds had been entirely dependent on public funding. Since then, they have been operating with the likes of volunteers, sponsorships, and a paid director. Now, interested parties say there is need for taxpayer contributions for capital improvements and marketing.

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Humans Are Said to Burn through Credit Cards

In an otherwise linguistically fine report, dealing more with nuts and bolts than the standard tales found in government reports of creating energy for multiplying synergy, one instance of contorted euphemism stood out:

The City is maximizing its ability to issue new debt . . .

We humans know what that means, but perhaps it is designed to evade master computer search criteria used for compiling “By the Numbers” reports.

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An Tother Gripe

We’ve known for some time the judicial branch was expensive, to the extent of being elitist. Of late, the legislative branch is playing keep-up. It is disappointing to see all the emails from elected officials promulgating a just cause, and then requesting money. Why, pray tell, does it take money to pass an honorable bill?

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February 2013
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