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The Price of Security Is Deafness

The Swain County Sheriff’s Office has responded to 1019 security alarms so far this calendar year. Most of the calls were due to system malfunctions. As we write, I am getting another hole in my hearing thanks to something of the sort.

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Why Not Appoint?

I recently commented about the election of a new tax collector for Haywood County. In most counties, the position is not filled via a popularity contest.

In Haywood, the long-standing incumbent was defeated by somebody who the Smoky Mountain News reports entered the contest on a whim, had his political party pay his filing fee, wasn’t really serious about campaigning, and was a little surprised he won.

In the former report, I mentioned the new guy’s duties would be cut back due to his lack of experience. In addition, attention is being called to his failure to pay property taxes on-time in the county at least four times. In the former report, I erroneously thought the county was going to garnish his new, county-paid wages, but the garnishing is old news. The debt has been paid, and the new tax collector now owns no taxable property besides his vehicles.

Since the dude’s resume does nothing to increase public confidence, the county commissioners have now asked the outgoing collector to please stay on and help the new guy. This, amazingly, is agreeable to the two tax collectors; but some in the county are now alleging the arrangement is some kind of dirty deal that ignores voters’ wishes and is designed to perpetuate whatever unspecified hypotheticals the voters may have been trying to curtail.

I won’t mention what hypotheticals that last sentence may conjure about the allegators.

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Ain’t Redistribution Grand

The Mountain Xpress captured some of the discussion from last night’s Buncombe County Commissioners’ meeting in detail:

“There’s always some opposition to county commission[ers] doing economic incentives,” said  Commissioner David King. “But we live in the real world … where you have South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and other states throughout the Southeast that are competing for these jobs and these planned expansions. …

“We compete in the market just like everyone else,” King continued. “Above and beyond all these so-called political ideologies and principles are the people of Buncombe County who need jobs. I’m proud of the work this commission has done in putting forth economic incentives to keep Buncombe County a viable place to live.”

I happen to live in the land of make-believe. Here, the “free market” is used to describe trade in the absence of government intervention. This runs counter to recent political trends wherein the term, “free market,” is invoked to describe anything the speaker wishes to sell to fake conservatives. Whereas any self-respecting, money-grubbing capitalist would leap at the chance to sell goods to an eager market; both they and the wee consumers would surely prefer pricing that doesn’t cover the cost of government interjecting itself. It matters not, because in the “real world,” words are like concrete objects – they assume whatever form the speaker wishes to claim.

What’s more, at least one semi-human life form out here is resisting government employment as long as possible. That includes “partnerships,” “returns on investments,” “how we like to do business in North Carolina,” &c, &c.

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Greedy Little Fingers in Everybody’s Pie

The US Small Business Administration will continue its efforts to taint private business with the spooge of government money. ScaleUp WNC will now avail more funding to two groups: (1) those who prefer padding their bottom lines with government grants to all the hassle of fighting regulators in order to research, develop, and market something that can really sell; and (2) those unable to procure a conventional loan because government, in cooperation with predatory lending regulations, is crowding out traditional sources of startup capital.*

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*For clarification, I modified the phrase “lending regulations” with “predatory;” intending to insinuate the prey was the lending institutions themselves.

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And the Cronies Said, “Let There Be Jobs!”

Roll over, Spot, and wait for the government to drop a job on your doorstep. Adding value to natural resources for trade at a profit is such a laughable excuse for an economy. We create jobs when leaders sit around a table and speak of expanding their kingly realms.

The key to economic and community development in Western North Carolina is for leaders of the public, private and nonprofit sectors to reach beyond town limits and county lines to embrace a more regional approach, steeped in a spirit of cooperation and partnership.

That was the message heard again and again Wednesday, Nov. 12, from speakers and participants at LEAD:WNC, a one-day summit convened by WCU to discuss solutions leading to sustainable economic and community development.

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A Word That Rhymes with Tired

The local daily has some interesting updates in the Asheville Police Department scandals. Examples include, “The city approached [Chief William] Anderson with the retirement agreement,” and Anderson “accepted a payment of $35,000 in exchange for his retirement.” In addition, the chief, “promised he would not sue the city,” and, “Anderson is prohibited from making negative remarks about the city as part of the deal.”

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Interesting Use of the Phrase

Tonight, David Gantt, chair of the Buncombe County Commissioners, spoke about returns on investment as the sum donated to the county from the state or federal government. The local match would be the investment.

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Believe or Be Scolded

The commissioners also approved economic development incentives, in the form of straight cash, for Linamar and PolyLinks. Members of the peanut gallery received the usual lecture about the need to forsake ideologies and do what is pragmatic for job creation. Of course the multicolored bar and pie charts were invoked to show all the multipliers. John Hood, of the JLF, however, recently told StarNews Online:

A company that comes for cash can leave for cash. A company that comes for infrastructure improvements can leave, too. But they can’t take that infrastructure with them.

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If Patient Bleeds, Stitch Suture & Leave Cancer Inside

Saith the local daily:

If Republicans reverse course, an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians stand to gain coverage under Medicaid, which pays health care costs for poor children, low-income elderly people and the disabled.

How will we pay for it? Oh, I know! We can raise taxes on people who can still pay but are too poor to hire lawyers to find loopholes. Not only would the resultant migration from the middle to the lower class (speaking in terms of income and not couth) conform to other plans for a perfect society, it would give us more people in need of more government to pay their medical bills.

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“We’re Fine. We’re All Fine Here Now, Thank You. How Are You?”

Asheville media outlets feel compelled tell the public something about the police chief’s retirement. Unfortunately, the only information the city is sharing is happy, public information officer kinds of things like the chief’s race, the date of the announcement and the date of retirement, and vague reassurances that everything is under control. A nice, big photo of the chief and comments from uninformed members of the public can help fill space. On the subject of filling space, look who’s talking!

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