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This Is Exciting, Blah, Blah

The Town of Mills River wants to give some public money to secret crony Project Red Company. Pick your numbers for indirect and induced investment in the community and jobs created. I like the double entendre in the clever name, honoring both unprofitability and communism.

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It’s Like a Phone that Never Needs Recharging

Here is another story on Asheville City Council’s retreat. Below are just two illustrations of how the vision redistributes income from the working poor. The first proposes taking tax dollars from ditch diggers and toilet cleaners to help entrepreneurs get ahead:

Smith announced a new initiative, Buncombe Community Capital, which would leverage a portion of the city’s investment portfolio to invest in local small businesses through community development financial institutions including Self-Help Credit Union, Mountain BizWorks and The Support Center. Other Council members seemed to support the idea.

The next one shows the city is living beyond its means. That is what “partnership” means. By getting public utilities and the hospital to partner for strategic goals, we force rate hikes.

Council discussed the importance of engaging with a wide range of partners, from utility provider Duke Energy to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, from Buncombe County to the North Carolina General Assembly and from Mission Health to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority. Not overlooked were the importance of partnerships with private companies, community groups, nonprofits and individuals.

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The Mass Deficit (Absence of Evidence) Represents an Exothermic Reaction (Positive Energy)

My big, fat ego is a little hurt. In fact, I feel like I’m experiencing some kind of color therapy. That is, people who look at the great pie and bar charts for economic development incentives and go, “This is exciting!” are sane. The dufus who looks at them and cries foul at a 20,000 ROI gets his hyperlink directed to a revised page showing only (ONLY!) a 300% ROI. The funny thing is, the investment was changed from $21,906 to $1.62 million for no apparent reason. The output is still $4.5 million.

New Chart: powerpnthiwirerevised HiWire

Old Chart: HiWire

The moral of the story is, if I want to save my reputation and protect from dishonor the university that bestowed on me a B.S. in math, I’d better hush my mouth and feel the positive energy.

[CAVEAT: Call me crazy, but I cannot guarantee what is going to be at those links when you read this.]


Getting the Human Capital to Order and Obey

Saith the local daily:

In 20 years this city will generate all of its own electricity, residents won’t need cars and buildings will be surrounded by edible landscapes and urban orchards.
That’s the vision at least of the current City Council which met Friday in the first of a two-day retreat downtown to hash out where Asheville should be going and how it should get there. The retreat is being facilitated by Tyler St. Clair from the Cooper Center for Public Service with the University of Virginia.

Were I present, I might have suggested commissioning a study to see if we could get these hand baskets to go the other way. I was well into three pages of diatribe, but I realized all the whining would go nowhere. Suffice it to say, the folks I know in Asheville count it lucky to work only 100 hours a week and think it rich to earn $25,000 pre-tax. When they have fewer than six hours to sleep a night, how are they to be convinced it is healthy to be walking four of those hours on meandering greenways just to get to their semi-warm beds? The municipal gardens and edible landscapes sound lovely, but what is to prevent the ne’er-do-wells who work so long they can’t volunteer from taking more than their fair share? What is to overcome NIMBYism and stigma in creating mixed-income Nirvanas? And how are we to overcome bigotry when government and the mass media are yelling at us all the time about how we must use extraneous factors to cast judgment? And as for the calls for strengthening government through debt and “using our . . . revenue base . . . in order to maintain and improve . . . human capital . . .” . . .


Thrilling Short Story

Here‘s another short story of interest. It pertains to Project Honey, an economic development incentive project that appears to have been a fraud but is leaving Virginia taxpayers on the hook for $1.4 million.

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One of the crazy arguments libertarian think tankers lobbed against Obamacare was that the federal government was too huge and too bureaucratic to manage the nation’s healthcare. All the cool people laughed. Now, look at this. The full article is highly recommended, but the short story is that 25,000 is an unreasonably low estimate of the number of North Carolinians who have botched policies – the wrong policies, multiple policies, lost policies, invalid numbers, wrong numbers, and more.

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I Love Silt – I Do, I Do

My damaged brain requires assistance with a recurrent problem. Back when I was in school, we learned about sedimentary rocks being formed with sand and silt. Silt was a natural component of riverbeds – but now it is as demonized as a bitter clinger. Could somebody please help me know the true story about what silt did before all-knowing government ruled the waters?

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Profitable for Lawyers

Quoting from the Mountain Xpress:

At City Council’s annual retreat on Fri., Jan. 29, at noon Mayor Esther Manheimer announced that the N.C. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the city’s case opposing a state-mandated transfer of the Asheville water system’s ownership to the regional Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County.

Links to more information are here.

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Why You Don’t Build a Two-Story Jail

Polk County leadership is considering spending $7,971,058 on a facility to can 74 people at a time. It’s a shame. People are a terrible thing to waste. But since that’s the way we do things in this country, it is not recommended that the facility be two stories. Architect Jason Hopkins told the county commissioners:

They don’t typically recommend two-story jail facilities because what ends up happening is the offices are located on the main floor and the inmates are housed upstairs, and inmates figure out how to flood below and cause damage . . .

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The Giving Tree

Drawing from resources deep in the vast national debt, the USDA has the wherewithal to offer people up to $50,000 to pursue a career in agriculture. To date, the microloan program has provided over 16,800 loans totaling over $373 million. As an added bonus, the low interest rates offered by the government might even stimulate conventional lenders to implement more or higher fees to make up for business lost.

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