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Muslim official rips Daily Planet for publicizing an ‘Islamaphobe’
Tuesday, 02 April 2019 23:22

From Staff Reports

The chief spokesman for a major national Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, headquartered on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., emailed the Asheville Daily Planet on March 6, slamming the newspaper’s decision to cover and run a story about Chris Gaubatz, who wrote the 2009 book “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America.”

The email included the title line (without a question mark), “Did you do ANY research on Gaubatz’s Islamophobia.” It was sent by Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director and spokesman for the Council of American Islamic Relations (better known as CAIR), to John North, editor and publisher of the Daily Planet.

The Daily Planet contacted Hooper at the CAIR headquarters on March 26 for a 15-minute telephone interview during which Hooper explained — in detail — his email jab at the newspaper as follows:

“It always depends on how these things are covered... If it’s on one of the (world’s) leading Islamaphobes,” a category in which he feels Gaubatz clearly belongs, then the newspaper, in his view, was irresponsible in publicizing the views of someone who despises an entire religious faith, such as Islam.

“If a KKK (Ku Klux Klan) speaker came (to Asheville), how would you deal with it?” Hooper asked. “If a neo-Nazi came in, how would you deal with it? I don’t think you would cover it.”

North, who interviewed Hooper, responded that he would expect any good newspaper, when in doubt, to always err on the side of freedom of speech and of the press and, without fear of favor, to cover “hot” speakers, rather than censoring those deemed too politically incorrect, presuming the Daily Planet’s readers are independent critical-thinkers who can make their own assessments.

Addressing the Asheville Tea Party, Gaubatz had shared his concerns about what he sees as the national security threat posed by Muslim extremists in the United States. A story on his Feb. 12 speech at the Skyland Fire Department appeared in March’s Daily Planet.

‘Good to be here for my periodic drubbing,’ Mayfield tells CIBO
Tuesday, 02 April 2019 23:20
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A report on the progress (or lack thereof) on the I-26 Connector project that is to cross West Asheville and cost an estimated $950 million was presented by Julie Mayfield, a member of Asheville City Council and an environmental activist, to the Council of Independent Business Owners on March 1.

 About 50 people attended the group’s breakfast meeting at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center.

On a separate and unrelated matter, Buncombe County Commissioner Mike Fryaer gave a status report on the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College tax issue.

The third and final presentation was made by city Planning Director Todd Okolichany on the 2019 work plan for Asheville’s Planing Department.

Speaking last, Mayfield, a political liberal who noted that she moved from Atlanta in 2008 to become executive director of the local environmental protection group MountainTrue, began her presentation by quippng that “it’s good to be here for my periodic drubbing from this group” — a reference to the conservative-leaning CIBO.

Turning more serious, Mayfeld asserted, “There’s been this thing (with CIBO saying) that my organization has been the problem, or I’ve been the problem” that has caused a decades-long delay in the I-26 widening and I-26 Connector projects.

‘I’d just like to point out.... The narrative that I see of this project is very tight community collaboration” in making the I-26 Connector the best-possible project it can be. “That has happened here again,” she said, referring to the latest changes that the NCDOT has agreed to make to the project.

$45M redevelopment plan for AVL Mall? City says take it back to drawing board
Tuesday, 02 April 2019 22:54

From Staff Reports


Asheville City Council voted unanimously on March 12 to continue the public hearing on a proposed $45 million redevelopment of closed Sears properties at the  Asheville Mall.

Council never made a motion to vote on the proposal, voting instead to continue the public hearing to April 23, so that council members could further discuss the plan more — and to give the developer more time to revise it.

“People who live near the project area expressed concern about the multi-use development. They’re concerned about the traffic it would bring to the area and how it would impact property values,” Asheville’s WLOS News 13 reported.

“Residents also think the complex needs to have more units that affordable for the people who want to live there. As it’s proposed, only 10 percent, or 21 units, would be affordable,” WLOS noted.

“While most council members are not opposed to having some type of development where the old Sears building near the mall is , they said the plan from Seritage Growth Properties just isn’t good enough for them to approve right now. City staff agrees.”

WLOS quoted City Planner Shannon Tuch as saying, “Staff continues to have concern and does not support the project primarily because it doesn’t support what we believe to be the most defining characteristic of a town center project.”

While the planning and zoning, and the technical review committees approved the plan, city staff  recommended denying the request to rezone the area.

Meanwhile, according to WLOS, Lou Bissette, who represents the developer, Seritage Growth Properties, urged council, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. This is a great project for our city, a great project for the developer and a great project for the people of Asheville.”

While proponents of the redevelopment project say the plan “would transform empty former retail space into a vibrant residential and commercial center,” the Asheville Citizen Times noted, it caught flak from critics, citing potential impacts to a neighborhood, the project’s failure to meet city urban-style design guidelines and a link to nationwide job losses, resulting on the vote for a continuance and a request for the developer to take the plan back to the drawing board.

Holocaust survivor discusses ‘camps,’ Nazis, anti-Semitism
Tuesday, 02 April 2019 22:50

Second in a series of two stories


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EDITOR’S NOTE: Weaverville resident and Holocaust survivor Walter Ziffer, a local scholar now in his 90s, addressed “Anti-Semitism” on Jan. 31 at the UNC Asheville Highsmith Center’s Grotto — and drew a standing-room-only crowd of around 165 people.

Ziffer spoke about 45 minutes each on the topics of anti-Semitism and his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. 

He then fielded questions from the audience for about 15 minutes.

His talk came on the heels of a Jan. 24 speech at UNCA by Tamika D. Mallory, who brushed off accusations of being anti-Semitic for her friendship with the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, an outspoken anti-Semite. She has called him “the GOAT” — greatest of all time.  Her talk sparked concern, particularly in the Asheville Jewish community. 

The previous article spotlighted Ziffer’s retelling of his early life and experiences in what is now the Czech Republic, prior to enduring and surviving imprisonment for more than  three years — from ages 15 to 18 — in seven Nazi slave-labor concentration camps.

Ziffer shared his recollections of his family’s experiences after being ordered to leave its comfortable home — and of meeting the first girl with which he was smitten.

 He told the UNCA audience, “We had two more evictions. We eventually ended up in a ghetto… an abandoned entertainment complex,” where “nothing was working... 

“All of this for about 1,000 Jewish men, women and children. It was atrocious living. But I fell in love with a girl (Livia) with golden hair. We played ping-pong with improvised boards. Our family lived in the (complex’s) dance hall on the stage.

“My father was lucky enough to find a factory about an hour’s train travel from our town, where he was willing to work in a defense factory,” Ziffer said.

“Livia told me that she and her family had decided to leave clandestinely to walk east toward Russia, which was still a haven for Jews... We cried and embraced….”

Somberly, he added, “About 10 days later, someone told my father that Livia and her family had been found and shot dead.”

As he absorbed the shock of Livia’s death, Ziffer said, “We (his family) were “ordered to pack for our resettlement to the east. 

“Then the (approximately) 1,000 Jews (in their settlement) were marched down to a nearby junkyard. We were ordered to hand over all valuables. There were German soldiers with guns and whips.

“The men and women were separated, each into three groups — old, middle-aged and young... My mother raced after me and yelled, “Waltie, Waltie… don’t leave me!” 

Ziffer recalled grimly, “She was brutally stopped by a German soldier....

“I’m going to stop here and say this... I still can’t give over our (U.S.) recent policy of separating parents and children (of illegal immigrants) at our Southern border. If there is any sin, that is a sin.”

Continuing, Ziffer said, “We were brutally pushed into the train cars. And then the trains started moving and the destination was unknown. I’m so glad we didn’t know the destination — because that destination was death” in concentration camps — for most Jews.” 

“The purpose of a concentration camp was exactly the same as an extermination camp. It was just a longer period before death....  Joseph Goebells was right when he said what he said” about “the big lie,” Ziffer said.

(“Goebbels was a German Nazi politician and Reich minister of propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was one of Adolf Hitler’s close associates and most devoted followers, and was known for his skills in public speaking and his deep, virulent anti-Semitism, which was evident in his publicly voiced views. He advocated progressively harsher discrimination, including the extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust,” according to Wikipedia.

(Goebbels also was considered the originator of “the big lie,”  which, according to Wikipedia, “was a narrative of an innocent, besieged Germany striking back at an ‘international Jewry,’  which, it said, started World War I. The propaganda repeated over and over the claim that a conspiracy of Jews was the real power in Britain, Russia and the United States. It went on to state that the Jews had begun a ‘war of extermination’ against Germany, and so Germany had a duty and a right to ‘exterminate’ and ‘annihilate’ the Jews in self-defense.”)

Ziffer noted that, upon entry into the concentration camps, “out of 16 kids (that he traveled with on the train), two of us survived” the years in the camps. “One was Peter Berger, who, after separation, went to Israel... and me.

“I lived in seven different camps in Nazi-controlled Poland. They’ve now reverted to the Polish names,” he said.

“I was liberated on May 8, 1945” at age 18.

THE ADVICE GODDESS: Woman wonders about her eye anxiety
Tuesday, 02 April 2019 22:16
Syndicated Columnist

Q: I’ve been with my boyfriend for four years. I thought I was super happy, but I recently got a crush on a co-worker. Now I’m worried that maybe I’m not totally satisfied in my relationship. If I were truly in love with my boyfriend, why would I be crushing on somebody else? Does this make me more vulnerable to cheating? Should we go into therapy?
— So Confused

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