I’m tired of fighting the paradigm that we need to create jobs, a concept disdained a few decades ago as derogatory and a failure to create meaningful employment. Now it is an excuse for government excess and diversion of talent from constructive efforts.
So, today we shall embrace and celebrate the Haywood County Commissioners’ concern that the courthouse lawn is subpar. This is good for the economy because the county can hire landscapers who will buy products from John Deere and Lowe’s. Scotts will have to hire more people to make fertilizer, who will be able to afford to go out to dinner and tip well. After the lawn is green and healthy, more tourists will come to look at it, and the hotels will get room-nights.
We will also embrace and celebrate bids to renovate the Henderson County Courthouse coming in at 25-30% over estimates. The commissioners may now decide if they want to create more jobs by contracting with architects for a smaller project or if they want to spend more money on labor and supplies to build the whole shebang. The higher prices, again, will allow the bidding companies to hire more people and pay them enough to put food on the table.
Henderson County has been trying to renovate the courthouse for over 20 years. Fortunately, more and more criminals are looking for trouble. Keeping demand for criminal justice offices on a steady incline creates jobs in the government monument building sector. If crime continues on the rise, the county will surely find a way to make sure they can make these strategic investments in the economy.
Twenty years later, people in West Asheville remain at bay wondering when the new highway will scuttle whose plans with eminent domain. An announcement today does little to resolve anything, but it’s news for a slow news day.
It appears the DOT was mistaken and misunderstood in its ambition to build a bypass around the booming metropolis of Sylva, maybe. The Jackson County Commissioners supported residents in opposing it. They had decided to hold a public hearing this month to try to kill the project, but they learned recently the plans were just, as us Southerners say, a “figment,” or maybe not. Plans for what is referred to on the DOT’s web site as the Southern Loop are not considered a priority by the department; the DOT only wants to improve NC 107, maybe.
Last night, the Buncombe County Commissioners approved upzoning one parcel from R-3 (Residential) to Commercial, but denied a request to upzone another from R-1 to R-3.
Brownie Newman was the only commissioner to vote against the more intensive upzone. Belcher, Mike Fryar, and David King voted against a motion to deny the trailer park dude his right to, as Fryar explained, “put three things on his property [with] his money.”
Something has morphed at the local daily. If I had to guess, I would say they want to sell more subscriptions. Why else would the headlines day after day speak of little more than how many grams of which controlled substance man or woman was carrying?
Driving past a huge pile of dirt today, I wondered if concerns about soil contamination were akin to those old buildings that used to spontaneously combust when demolition permits got too expensive. Surely the need for immediate soil remediation to save the children from absorbing contaminated groundwater can get the EPA to go lightly on a clearcut.
Back in the day, Adam and Eve used to just pluck delicious fruit from the trees. Then, came government, disguised as a serpent. It offered an alternative of gentrification through crony capitalism, urban renewal to uproot and dispossess communities without political connection, enticements to breed children like crazy out of wedlock so mom would have to choose between breadwinning while they ran feral or nurturing them on the government dole, commercials to seduce choice-moochers into relying on it for food and sustenance, regulations out the yin-yang to trap people in its treacherous web of red tape . . .
. . . Fast-forward to today, where poor people can’t get fruit and vegetables because the community is too new. Thass wo it say.
Jackson County has a big piece of land. County leadership doesn’t know what to do with it. I suppose it is too expensive to sell and too zoned to subdivide. Anyhoo, the county will host a couple meetings to get ideas. The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation already gave the county $15,000 for a planning grant to help. It is suggested the tobacco users in the state could shoulder the burden of capital improvementss for whatever through the Golden LEAF fund.
Bubble-era purchases of second homes in Macon, Swain, Jackson, and Haywood counties still can’t afford the taxes. Some haven’t paid in five years. Some abandon the properties, others try to defer paying until they sell the property. Either way, the local governments are hurting for revenues. Macon County can garnish wages or withdraw needed funds from the owners’ bank accounts without their permission. But that only works if the owners live in North Carolina. County leadership therefore contracted with Ridenhour & Goss to foreclose on properties and bill the owners $200/hour for attorney fees to boot.
Saith Lisa Baldwin:
Six Buncombe school board members voted against merging the Communications (PR) Director and Asst. (PR) Director positions in the wake of Jan Blunt’s resignation. My motion to merge the two positions into one and use the excess funds for teachers/teacher assistants failed. You can listen to the discussion at the Feb. 6 Work Session Track 6.