Archive for Local


That Ain’t Right

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How many of you work in a city you can’t afford to live in?

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(background on the video posted earlier)

When you start hearing “efficiency” used around the office, watch your back and update your resume. It’s like “shareholder value” that way. When Republicans in government start using “efficiency,” same difference.

On Election Day 2014 while Democrats across the country were getting clobbered, there were a couple of bright spots in North Carolina (believe it or not). Democrats picked up a net 3 seats in the state legislature, including sending home an ALEC board member. But in a sweep election where Republicans should have won it all, Democrats won 3 of 3 contested state Supreme Court seats and 2 of 3 contested Appeals Court races. Republicans couldn’t have that. The GOP-controlled legislature responded in 2015 by changing the way judges are elected.

It was just one of many tweaks they have made to change how elections run. Some of them are not so obvious. At the Daily Kos Connects Asheville Conference last weekend, DocDawg, aka Bill Busa, presented findings on how Boards of Elections across the state began “to reshuffle the polling places in the name of ‘efficiency’ and ‘cost-savings’.” Busa’s presentation last Saturday revealed how elimination of early voting places disproportionately increased the distance black voters have to travel to the polls.

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Brew Gate

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So Beavis and Butthead decide to open a coffee shop.

I imagine that when it came time to name the place, the conversation might have gone like this:

“Heh. Let’s call it “The Waking MILF”. Heh.”

“No, you’re so stupid. That’s lame. Let’s call it, “Spanking life with Coffee”. That’s cool.”

Eventually the two met somewhere in the middle, and a West Asheville institution was born.

But as those things will go, an intrepid, and thus far anonymous writer at Asheville Blog received some tips, along with a few choice links, from an anonymous source and outed the duo for being misogynistic, juvenile and generally unsavory.

(Anybody know where I can pick up a coffee shop real cheap? Hey, what are those picketers doing?)

While it can certainly be argued that having their personal lives exposed in such fashion is only fair considering the minor media empire Beavis and Butthead were attempting to create based on their exploits, I don’t think the local economy could take it if this kind of retributive public shaming were to become an Asheville area operating principle. Some of the comments I have seen would give Lillian Hellman a weary pause.

It makes me long for the old days, when Juan Valdez served it up with a purity of soul long since missing from this earth.

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Dance For Democracy

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Get your groove on at DANCE FOR DEMOCRACY – a fun night of dancing at The Orange Peel, from Motown to rock ‘n roll and swing to hip-hop. Tunes cued up by amazing DJ Marley Carroll… Proceeds support Democracy North Carolina’s work to promote access to voting in our state.
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Categories : Events, Local
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A Full Lord’s House

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IMG_20150619_124540_014We attended the community church service at St. James AME Church today. Standing room only in the church and in the overflow. Lots of fans, tissues, moist eyes. Lots of familiar faces. The preacher had the place jazzed to pull together and get organized. I hope it’s not just another flash in the pan as Jon Stewart suggested might happen last night. Maybe this will help. God knows we could use some.

Categories : Local, National, News, Race
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How About Rude Week?

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3q9chgWatching the chatter on Facebook about the Tourism Development Authority here and here.

And there’s this from the Citizen-Times:

ASHEVILLE – In Savannah, Georgia, a policeman has an extra incentive for being nice to tourists: They’re helping pay his salary.

A move to raise the Buncombe County hotel-motel room tax has members of Asheville City Council saying something similar should be happening here — with police or with other services that benefit city residents.

Naturally, the hoteliers are not fond of the idea, as this recent op-ed from a hotel marketer proves:

I have great respect for county and city leaders and understand some of them would like to have a portion of the hotel occupancy tax. However, a hotel occupancy tax used for promoting tourism and funding local projects that benefit both citizens and visitors is an occupancy tax properly used. In fact, going back to the WCU study previously cited, without the current level of tourism in Buncombe County, the typical resident would pay $646 more in taxes each year.

So take a flying leap at the moon, county and city leaders. You too, AC-T editorial staff.

You know, rather than the knee-jerk protests Ashevillians love so much, locals could have a go at acting like jerks to tourists instead. Promote a city-wide “Rude Week” directing local ire at hotel patrons (you know, like those rude restaurants with surly waiters). Get the buskers and Asheville’s bicycle and Segway police to join hotel maids and bellmen to really sell it. I hear the last weekend in July is open these days.

Think that would get anyone’s attention at the Tourism Development Authority, Convention and Visitors Bureau, or the Chamber of Commerce? They could even use their shiny, new room tax to promote it.

Striking find find in the time capsule recovered from Pack Square’s Vance Monument:

The Colored Enterprise, a newspaper representing about a third of Asheville’s population in its day, lay concealed in a box at the base of the Vance Monument for more than a century.

It was put there secretly by Masons in 1897, when the monument was dedicated, and recently discovered during restoration efforts.

The time capsule contained the only known copy of The Colored Enterprise. Although scholars such as Dr. Darin Waters, a professor of history at UNC Asheville, have found references to it during their research, they’ve never actually seen a copy.

Fascinating read.

Categories : History, Local
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Local Taxes: A Low Signal-to-Noise Ratio

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By Lcj (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Asheville property owners may soon pay more in property taxes. Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer began to explain to WCQS the other day that legislative changes passed in Raleigh are why:

Privilege license tax: “This last year the legislature got rid of the privilege license tax for all cities across North Carolina … for Asheville what that means is a loss of $1.5 million dollars in revenue.”

Sales Tax redistribution: “the proposed legislation was absolutely devastating for Buncombe County”

But then Manheimer got into the economic weeds and lost track of the broader message. “Absolutely devastating” NC cities is not a byproduct of the legislation. That is the goal.

How many times do I have to say this?

What we’re seeing is an extension of the GOP’s “defund the left” strategy of undermining the largest concentrations of manpower and funding that support Democrats. First they went after private-sector unions, then public-sector unions, and teachers, firefighters, trial lawyers, etc. Then with Voter ID they attacked seniors, college students and minorities. They’ve taken away control of Asheville’s airport. They tried to take away Charlotte’s. They’re still trying to take Asheville’s water system to blow a huge hole in the city budget. Collectively, Republicans in Raleigh are hoping to render cities irrelevant in future state and local elections. And with redistricting, they’ve isolated Asheville in House District 114 and won’t even bother running candidates there for now.

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NC-116 Town Hall

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From Rep. Brian Turner’s office:

On Saturday April 25th Rep. Brian Turner will host his second in a series of Town Hall meetings for the constituents of House District 116. The Town Hall will be held at the Leicester Community Center at 3:00 PM.

Who: Representative Brian Turner
What: Town Hall Meeting Regarding the Long Session When: Saturday, April 25th 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Leicester Community Center

Categories : Local, NC Legislature
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