Archive for Local


The Real Question

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Development, affordability and diversity were key issues in the city council elections yesterday. Cannot remember where I heard it, but someone commented recently, “We are now a 4-crane town.”

The real question, an activist heard outside one North Asheville polling place, is do you want to continue building hotels? The current council seems to be bent, the voter said, on building hotels and getting in outside money and then things will get fixed versus growing the town from the inside out.

The AC-T reports:

ASHEVILLE – City voters picked two candidates who voiced some of the biggest concerns about fast-paced development and a regional environmental leader to take seats on the City Council.

Keith Young, deputy clerk of Buncombe County Superior Court and an outspoken proponent of a new downtown park and the first African-American elected since 2009, led the voting. Following him were Habitat for Humanity assistant manager Brian Haynes and Mountain True Executive Director Julie Mayfield.

Good campaigns all around. Congratulations to the winners, the other candidates, and all their volunteers.

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Election Day 2015

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Because of a “delicate condition,” no city council endorsements or anything, but we can say this:


Just don’t love it to death, K?

For those of you outside city limits, here’s another cartoon.

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Make Your Voices Heard

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If you live inside Asheville city limits, it is Election Day. The 2015 City Council Primary is today. Get out there and participate!

Mountain Xpress has your election guide here.

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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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When they say “efficiency,” watch your back

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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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Bill Busa Speaks to DailyKos Connects Asheville

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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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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.

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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.