My attendance at Asheville City Council’s formal Tuesday meetings has been far from stellar. I skipped out before the meeting was over the first time I went. That was about twelve years ago. I ducked out because the meeting was running into the wee hours, and I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast.
Then, I skipped another meeting a few years ago. The Moody Blues were going to play Knoxville Tuesday and then come to Asheville a few days later. I begged the boss to let me go to Knoxville to do a preview arts and entertainment piece in lieu of city council coverage. Paper sales probably spiked that week.
Other than that, I have dutifully sat through every meeting until tonight. Perhaps it was because I was feeling so good. For two days, I was not dizzy, nauseous, or fatigued. I could see. I could bend. I had no allergy problems. I read several hundred pages including half a book on vector calculus. It was just like being in college again.
Still on a roll, I went to city council. Oh, how I wanted to contribute to society while I could. Then, council called a lo-o-o-o-o-ong closed session. Before that, pot supporters had slowly trickled into the room. I know we’re not supposed to profile, but pot smokers have a reputation for gabbing. A few already reinforced the stereotype by weighing in during public comment.
There I sat with a universe of things to do back at the office, but nothing there for me except my fears about taking notes about our community’s need for hemp paper, hemp rope, and medicinal MJ. I had hoped that Police Chief William Anderson had parked a paddy wagon outside to intercept everybody when they rolled out and rolled up. I told another city council correspondent I was not going to survive the meeting without rolling myself a big one. So when the pot crowd slowly began trickling back, and I realized my paddy wagon fantasy was only that, I kept my word and split.
Before daydreaming about the paddy wagon, I was fantasizing about speaking during public comment myself. I would have asked how many there earned more than $25,000 from mental or physical labor, and not from “informal” markets. I would have asked how many paid more than $500/month for rent. Then, I would have left it at that and let the mayor and council think about how they could legalize pot and raise taxes on the workforce so they could subsidize the influx of pot-smoking stereotypes. That was before one of them got up to tell council that instead of spending money on graffiti removal, they needed to get people jobs and provide housing for them.
OK. Now, I’ll go find out what really happened.
This one deserves a poem, but my mind is on other things. Feel free to beat me to it.
In one of my Cato books that has been chilling on the shelf, in the car, on the floor, etc. so long it is now appropriately classified as history of technology, Bill Frezza insightfully articulated an old idea brilliantly:
The fact that the value of money rests not on the power to compel but on the ability to produce remains a mystery not only to the public but to many economists. History also tells us that sovereignty in economic affairs has never been based on a web of consensual agreements. Instead, it invariably rests on the power to confiscate, imprison, and coerce. If there is any doubt on this point, even as applied to the world’s most civilized democracies, imagine how long the IRS would stay in business if it lost this power.
Elsewhere from the news and consent agenda, I remain a little conflicted that we still want the police officers to play paper dolls with little girls in public housing, while accepting all kinds of Homeland Security wizmo-gizmos through the back door. What self-respecting little boy learning to put dresses on his dolls is going to trust his friend in blue with a tank in tow? OK, Asheville, unlike other places, has neither tank nor helicopter from military surplus, but it does have a Homeland Security bus that keeps making me flashback to scenes from the Holocaust I’m trying to forget.
Back on subject, we see that the city will accept two grants from the federal deficit to, how do we say in PC, um, color-heighten the War on Drugs in Asheville (1, 2). Increased revenue from drug seizures can then be used to purchase cool stuff like urinalysis for bad drivers. Now, please do not construe this as an ad for recreational drug use, but I do wonder who is crazier, the guy who self-medicates or the goon who consents to play in his urine. I digress.
We were talking about drunk drivers, and wondering how they could be a problem when all the city cares about is beer, beer, beer. We find the answer in one of the celebrations begging the sale of beer in that last hyperlink. Brother Wolf wants to sell firewater at its New Year’s Resolution Run. That’s lovely, but if government wants us to drink and run, why is it putting all the pedways in floodplains? Don’t they know the rising tide of Climate Change will raise all boats? The peds will be the first to go, and the only people left will be the greedy capitalists in their McMansions?
Old school, I still think people communicate better when they use language properly. When I see bad English, which actually occurs less frequently in Asheville than other places and I think it has something to do with the city clerk, I question the care that has been devoted to other things, like philosophical premises, cost analysis, etc.
This week, we find that, “pursuant to N.C.S.G. 160A-17.1,” the US Department of Justice (DOJ), has granted the City of Asheville to submit a grant application . . . .”
The City of Asheville wants you to be safe. Therefore, it wants to contract with a software company to “collect, organize, and store all code-required third party inspection and testing records” for all commercial buildings in the city. Then, the abstraction known as government will make the third parties pay $10 per fire system for the privilege of complying. The exciting thing is, this comes at no cost to the city.
In case you want to get upset, remember, I said “safe.”
Today, I’m going to gripe about thingies on Asheville City Council’s consent agenda. I should like to start with the Obamacare rally that will be held at the US Cellular Center in November. With excitement and pizazz, the city will waive advertising fees on city buses. I mean, we’ve gotta haul all that unprogrammed protoplasm (a.k.a. citizens) to our molding machines.
The City of Hendersonville wants some North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund dollars for to ment visions of the master plan for Berkeley Mills Park. Chances of receiving a grant are enhanced with public support. Therefore, the city has gotten Hendersonville’s local daily to beg The Wee People to show up at a public hearing and act like they really want what I am guessing are watercolor renderings from said master plan.
I am reminded of my first trip to Paris. My roommate was from Paraguay so I hung out with her friends, one of whom, in English once asked me amongst the Metro platforms, “Is this where everybody goes to practice?”
Back to Asheville, I don’t get to go downtown much anymore, but apparently the talent the streets are attracting is of the same caliber. The city’s Public Safety Committee, as I write, is trying to determine how to sort out the buskers who don’t contribute to the vibrancy.
City Councilman Jan Davis indicates the city is not going to invest in a huge gong. Instead, he says the problem concerns behavior, as in aggressive panhandling.