Dan Way has an article in the Carolina Journal announcing the General Assembly, with no shortage of prodding from Governor Pat, will consider beefing up its stash for buying votes from huge, corporate campaign contributors. I’d call it cronyism, but that’s such a harsh word. In return, the corporate leaders, either too incompetent to stay relevant in the market or too dazzled by the smell of government money, promise delusionary ROB’s (returns on bribes) high enough to pave the streets with gold five times over. Explaining the transactions, politicians tell their constituents, presumed brain-dead upon graduating from public schools, the sweetheart deals will, through the trickle-down economics they scoff, make the little people rich. The worst insult, as I mentioned yesterday, is the politicians are acting as if their job is to orchestrate an economy so as to make people richer, rather than to defend justice, as in discouraging confiscations of hard-earned income for nepotistic inner circles.
Asheville City Council has consideration of three economic development incentives on its agenda for Tuesday. Mayor Esther Manheimer will no doubt repeat the routine of belittling me and my small-minded ilk for thinking government is “writing a [dramatic pause] check.” My fantasy is not that these big, fat promises of wealth are actually coming to fruition, only to be negated by the depth of President Bush’s recession. My fantasy is that somebody on council would stand up and say we want to be a community where government seeks justice for all our people. We welcome innovative entrepreneurs who are willing to take risks. We want our economy to be fueled by effort and intent, as each person does his own thing to make the world a better place, thus having a reason to feel good about himself. We therefore tell any corporate moguls who say they can’t stay in town without a special deal on taxes that they’re a bad fit with the Asheville way. Scat! Shoo! Be gone! The flipside, of course, would be that entrepreneurs who want to come here will not be paying taxes to help competitors undermine their honest efforts.
Unfortunately, even if that were to happen, a future city council could pull the rug out from under our heroes. So, the moral of the story might be that we need to resume our eternal vigilance.
Language has a purpose. It is intended to transfer facts and ideas from one brain to another. It’s called communication. In certain circles, there is the added condition that those who use the gift strive to be as truthful as possible. And so, I ask naively, what is this, taken from the upcoming Asheville City Council Agenda?
The consideration of a resolution authorizing the City Manager to sign agreements with the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation and Social Profit Strategies (formerly Dynamic Governance Institute/Sims and Steele Inc.) to facilitate the development of training materials and process to enhance partnerships to build neighborhood capacity; and the associated budget amendment in the amount of $30,000 from the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation.
This isn’t news. It is a recurring source of agitation. A wealthy corporation too incompetent to manage its bottom line wants a little sugar from the taxpayers. Its representatives are wined and dined as they whine about a but-for. Elected leaders know they’re being taken for a ride, but for some reason they value money more than justice. They even value lies about money more than justice. If some big company wants to come to town, they will beg a discount on taxes,and take credit for exponential increases to the local economy as they claim no footprint on local infrastructure or service provision. If they make themselves look important enough, they can get a code name from government so The Wee Peeps can be kept out of the loop about which industry they’re subsidizing until negotiations are finalized. And yet the economy sags.
Haywood County Schools are now classifying electronic cigarettes as drug paraphernalia. Saith Superintendent Anne Garrett:
We decided to consider it paraphernalia because we really don’t know what it is.
Sometimes, I wish our leaders would divert some attention from self-protection to public safety.
The Buncombe County Commissioners were asked Tuesday to support the purchase of new voting machines. The ones used in recent elections were described as temperamental and high-maintenance because they’re at the end of their useful life. In America, we are too courteous to distrust government, so nobody demanded any kind of demonstration of how the new machines would be tamper-proof. It doesn’t help that there is only one vendor. When Commissioner Ellen Frost asked why, she got a predictable non-answer. When options for trading in the old machines were discussed, Holly Jones suggested Nicaragua as a buyer.
I just found out the presidential preference primaries will be moved up to February or March. I am searching for what pernicious subversion underlies the decision, which is driving the local Election Services peeps a little batty. Board of Elections Director Trena Parker referred to the increased workload for six elections in fourteen months as a “ridiculous, unprecedented schedule.” My best guess is conservative legislators were expecting all the wind- and solar-powered vans trucking the uninformed electorate to early voting sites would run out of power before the big election. County employees indicate they are still halfway hoping GS 163-213.2 will be altered or abolished before preparation for that election must start.
“Aside from providing a higher bar for use of governments’ power to condemn property, the proposed constitutional amendment corrects two other omissions in the NC Constitution,” he added. “Among state constitutions, only North Carolina does not expressly state that a government must pay for the private property it takes. North Carolina also does not have a constitutional provision which guarantees for jury trials in condemnation cases. These omissions will be corrected if the bill passes and the amendment is ultimately approved by the state’s voters.”
I’ve been watching the Buncombe County Commissioners’ last meeting on YouTube. They have to build a health complex because state and federal requirements for certified personnel to handle their excessive paperwork, as well as mandated logistics, have made the existing facility fall short of compliance. In discussing ways to recover costs of expansion, Chair David Gantt asked if the county might allow an upscale restaurant on top to take advantage of the amazing views. Then, remembering the generous subsidy the county would receive from rich Uncle Sam, he added, “The Fed would certainly frown on private enterprise up there.”