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Can Honors Be Honorable?

Membership in a “new honor society” will be offered to students of Rutherford and Polk county schools through Isothermal Community College.

The mission of NTHS is to honor student achievement and leadership in career and technical education, promote educational excellence, award scholarships, and enhance career opportunities for members.

This is so much better than my experience in the Junior Honor Society, which seemed to exist for the sole purpose of planning its next induction ceremony. Well, there was Jennifer Buss, who tried to reform things and do a fundraiser for diabetes. Then, in high school, after the Spanish teacher didn’t honor any requests for references, and only students studying French and German got in, I boycotted the organization. But, owing to the genius of Mr. King who got stuck running the NHS, I walked away with its Light of Knowledge award though not even a member. That was a huge honor, but the real honor was learning physics from a master. If it weren’t for him and Mr. Teachman, who was just as excellent in math, I might be out there believing teachers are making less because they’re making more, and more money must be legislated out of the vacuum to throw at the education system.

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We Should Probably Rethink This

Among those who are participating in public comment, there seems to be no majority agreement on which or how much land needs to be preserved and for what. (1, 2) Echoing in my wee little brain is an old adage about when there is no overwhelming agreement, the law should be silent.

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Helpless Tourists, Blindly Ambling

The Henderson County TDA wants to collect tax money from tourists so it can buy tickets for the Flat Rock Playhouse for innkeepers to give away to guests. A normal person might think if $50,000 in tickets needs to be given away free to tourists, maybe visitors aren’t interested in going to plays and would prefer to spend their room tax money on something they value. The TDA, no doubt, has economic multipliers to show the tickets will cause the streets to be paved with gold in short order.

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You, Too, Can Be Heard

Patrick McHenry (R-NC) will be sending a representative to the Womack Building, 40 Courthouse St., in Columbus, Friday, December 19, to collect comments from Polk County constituents on federal policy, pending legislation, and issues with federal agencies.

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Calling Sephora

There is governance and leadership for goodwill and order, and then there’s just plain nonsense. A meeting of members of the faith and police communities (Is that how we say it, now?) took place yesterday in Asheville. It was driven by hype and served to show that people can let mass media yank their chain. The pretzel logic goes like this: A white cop shot a black boy. Therefore, all white police officers are racists.

In Asheville, we have our own Ferguson, consisting of two incidents: (1) A black police chief was forced out of office. Though his skin was closer to 3Y12 on the Pantone SkinTone chart than black, none of the reasons cited for his dismissal had anything to do with the amount of skin pigment he had, nor do I believe the exact quantification thereof ever played into any argument. Allegations, true or false, had to do with him being in over his head and picking and choosing rules. Also, (2) A police officer allegedly spat on a black boy.

To solve these problems, the media informs us the masses are crying for us to call racist all who think skin color has nothing to do with upholding the law and respecting the officers charged with enforcing it. The true, un-racists want us to count color and heed only people of our own color. In case you don’t know who you are supposed to obey, here‘s a link to a chart to help you identify your beauty shade. Carry it with you in your car, and resist arrest from anybody without your same color. I can say that because anybody as sickly green as me is too vegetarian for a street beat.

I’m not callous. I happen to believe, and I am right, that the people of color starving under tyrannical regimes in Sub-Saharan Africa have less opportunity than whiny Americans. The greater spiritual need, however, may be with the whiny Americans who don’t see this. My request would be that we obey the law, hold police officers accountable, and put the race card away.

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This Could Be the Start of Something Good

This afternoon, Asheville City Council held a joint meeting with the P&Z board. It could have been over in twenty minutes if people had listened to P&Z guy Joe Minicozzi. But such is not the way of meetings. Usually, somebody has a great idea they say early on, and then it gets repeated two or three times before somebody in charge has an epiphany of said repeated idea. It’s not about business, it’s about relationship-building.

Anyway, the problem was that building is booming in Asheville, even though stats showed it boomed more last year, and the city can’t keep up with regulating it. Council, city staff, and the planning board have desires to master-plan and micromanage suggested projects. Presenter Cathy Ball argued there wasn’t enough staff. The Planning Department has been without leadership and is in involved in an executive search. In the meantime, P&Z folks are frustrated because certain portions of the municipal code are unworkable, and they have to keep meeting to waive requirements. It was suggested that the routine of waiving become standardized, as opposed to just obliterating the impossible commandments.

Minicozzi suggested having the P&Z board meet twice a month. The first meeting could be for zoning issues, and the second could be for planning. The board is not paid, and they’d be doubling up on their time. The conversation went round and round, and Councilman Jan Davis remarked the words that had been multiplied were very nebulous. He didn’t see the point in making a big plan when developers were bottlenecked and chomping at the bit. Eventually, everybody came around to Minicozzi’s proposal, and further agreed that UDO amendments would be handled on a complaint-driven basis, rather than being brainstormed.

The good news is, the city is working to facilitate business. May they take the approach of eliminating unnecessary hoops for all instead of setting up cozy hurdles for those who would rankle special interests.

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Flash! News Medium Recognizes Other News Medium

This must be big. The Hendersonville Times-News is reporting on the Asheville Citizen-Times’ lawsuit against the Asheville Police Department. This could be the first time I’ve ever seen a newspaper consider something another newspaper was doing news. In a little while, we shall surely go through that routine where each newspaper prints as news only the awards it gets, a routine that gives me a funny ha-ha every year.

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How It Looks from Here

“Everybody” says the economy is improving, and has been for years. Jake Frankel at the Mountain Xpress tells us something more plausible:

A pair of recent interactive info-graphics published by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal highlight troublesome economic statistics for Buncombe County.

About 22 percent of Buncombe men in their prime working years (considered to be between the ages of 25 and 54) don’t have jobs, according to the New York Times. That compares to 16 percent of men nationally, which is about triple what it was in 1968.

Most counties in Western North Carolina have a higher percentage of men out of the work force than the national average. Swain County tops the list, with 34 percent of male residents between 25 and 54 years old out of work, according to the Times.

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Truth out

While I continue to struggle with the unsettling feeling that I am missing the big picture behind local rumblings about the Asheville Police Department, the local daily is suing the APD. This is a clever move.

A bunch of hubbub leading to the resignation of Chief William Anderson seemed to start with public complaints about the police videotaping rallies and occupations downtown. At least, that’s the first complaint Jonathan Robert lodged during the public comment portion of city council meetings. He said he had questioned one Lt. Byrd about the filming. Lt. Byrd then went ultra-vocal about complaints with the APD. Robert researched Anderson’s past and dredged up what he could and called for him to resign. Then, Ferguson went down. At the last meeting, Robert urged the city to hire another police chief of African descent lest his forcing of the chief’s resignation be viewed as racist.

When the public attended a city council meeting en masse to protest the police department’s filming of events, things were a little strange. A plastic pot plant sat in the audience and took the podium a couple times. City staff forced the folks out of the chambers so they could adjust their cameras. Anderson motioned with his smartphone from the back of the room. It was almost as if something illegal was about to be recorded.

What I’m saying is, the radicals were calling for the destruction of the tapes. The local daily is asking to see what’s recorded.

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Molding Crime

Am I Reading This Right?

If you want to drink and drive, the Hendersonville Times-News wants you to wait until January 5. Until then, your chances of getting away with other crimes are enhanced;

Agencies will crack down on impaired drivers through checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout North Carolina.

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