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The Power of Words

Unions are not legal in North Carolina, so:

[A couple folks working in the restaurant business] convened a group of restaurant workers to form the Asheville Sustainable Restaurant Workforce. The aim of the group is to start a conversation with employers about issues restaurant workers face.

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Externalities

Waynesville was considering a ban on smoking in public places, but things got complicated. Smoke, like politicians, has problems distinguishing between public and private sectors. The ban would apply to tobacco products and tobacco substitutes, which I am assuming include girlfriends.

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Scream, Throw in Towel

Transylvania County is revamping its economic development incentives program to clarify what community benefits it will require. Two persons provided public input on the policy. One wanted to demand businesses pay a living wage of $10.35/hour rather than $7.25. Another wanted to require buildings to be green.

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Abner! Uncle Arthur is in the Bottle!

Asheville City Council hosted a special meeting yesterday on short-term rentals. The problem is there are hundreds of online listings for the accommodations, but they are illegal, unless a home happens to be in a commercial district. Also, if a homeowner wants rent money, he may declare himself a homestay. The odious and obnoxious practice becomes sanitized if the homeowner lets “one to three rooms for less than thirty days if he or she provides a morning meal in a home that is at least 2500 square feet.”

I’m at work all the time, so I don’t really know what it is like to enjoy a neighborhood ambience, but one common tater put it this way:

“The reality is that renters are here for vacation, and they do what vacationers do. They stay up late during the workweek, drinking and smoking and making noise outside often until early in the morning. There is increased traffic, and they are constantly coming and going and sightseeing,” said Amy Alfred, who said she lives next door to a short-term rental property.

I once lived on Kimberly Avenue. Imagine my surprise when, about a year or so later, my landlady told me she was leasing to me illegally, as were many fixed-income retirees in the hood, who had resorted to renting rooms to help them pay taxes.

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The Same May Apply to Immigration Status

The Hendersonville Times-News reports a “contest to decide which NC restaurants use local ingredients.” The winners will get recognition and cash from the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. I might suggest looking at the addresses of suppliers on bills of sale, but I’m old fashioned. Instead,

Menus will be judged on several criteria, including clearly identifying NC agricultural products, farms and manufacturers, and offering wine, beer, and spirit selections on the menu.

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What’s Green, Full of THC, and Springs Legs?

The Todd Stimson case is now in court. Stimson ran afoul of the law when 75 pot plants were confiscated from his home business, Blue Ridge Medicinal Cannabis Research Corp. Concerns are now raised because evidence bags are torn and rearranged, but a detective with the Fletcher Police Department claims he had need to shuffle the goods.

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Sounds Fractured

Two memories linger in my hangover from Asheville City Council last night. One was council’s decision not to change the UDO to accommodate existing signage. A construction company downtown put up screening advertising the firms involved and the coming project. That ran afoul of the sign ordinance. It was proposed the city make a new law to allow the screening, since it looked a lot better than what the ordinance would allow. However, those who drafted the ordinance thought there should be twenty feet between ads rather than eight to ten feet as exists. Mayor Esther Manheimer thought the city had matters much more weighty than spacings between ads needing attention. Councilman Gordon Smith was OK with the screening, but he didn’t like the advertising. Only Jan Davis and Gwen Wisler voted to approve the amendment. Therefore, the developer will soon begin accruing penalties until he can replace his tasteful screening with some scruffy, compliant signage.

The second item was another appearance by Todd Stimson during public comment. Stimson is about to go to trial for letting his daughter smoke medicinal marijuana. He is just back from a visit to Raleigh. Stimson had asked council to support House Bill 78 legalizing pot, but then he had second thoughts. That is, state legislators have a reputation for using their power to despitefully abuse Asheville. He reported that Lt. Governor Dan Forest told him, “I think everybody in Raleigh already knows Asheville backs that legislation.”

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I Call It a Bargain

Watauga County and the Town of Boone have just spent a combined total of $1700 cleaning up all their graffiti. If memory serves, a few properties in Asheville had over $5000 in graffiti damage.

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Waiting for Godot

It might just be a slow news day when a headline announceth:

Sidelined Rewrite of Steep Slope Rules Not Going Anywhere Fast.

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Omaha?

Senate Bill 369, the “Sales Tax Fairness Act,” should live up to its name, considering anytime the word “Fair” is capitalized, it takes on the Weird Sisters’ mantra. The bill is supposed to kindly shift redistribution of sales tax revenues from a volume of trade basis to a per capita one. If you are a righty, you will try to convince lefties it is sweet and fluffy because it takes money away from all the rich folks living in urban ghettoes. If you are a lefty, you will call it a transfer of wealth and power to gun-toting, Bible-thumping conservative hillbillies in the backwoods. Whatever the case, eight counties stand to lose revenue by the maneuver, one of which is that urban metropolis putting New York and Paris to shame: Watauga County.

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