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Letters to the editor: August 2017
Wednesday, 02 August 2017 12:35

City termed unaffordable after wild spending spree 

What most people don’t know is that our (Asheville’s) budget problems didn’t start in 2009 with the Great Recession. We actually had balanced budgets with cautious spending for years. 

Our problem started four years ago, when Mayor (Esther) Manheimer and her current (city) council came to power.

The last four years this council, along with our city manager of 12 years, Gary Jackson, have been on a reckless spending spree, causing our budget to explode 70 percent.

Their out-of-control spending has caused them to raise fees and taxes six times in the last four years.

According to my figures, they will need to keep raising them for the next 10 years. This council will need millions of dollars on top of the bond money to keep the government afloat with their current budget obligations. What really bothers me most about this group of self-serving Jackson bureaucrats is the methodical way they mislead the voters.

In last year’s budget, they had to raise taxes so it would balance. What’s really scary is that it had a $150 million budget with zero money left for the savings account. This year’s $176 million budget is worse.

They had to raise taxes, pass a $74 million bond and re-evaluate everybody’s properties — and there’s still ZERO money in the savings account. How do you do that?

The Jackson bureaucrats hit us with these taxes in the two weeks and the reason they did it this way was to ensure they have money for their high salaries, which is up $10 million over the last year.

You don’t have to be a mathematician or a business expert to know that if you are spending $90 million in salaries and only taking in $87 million in property and sales tax, that is a huge red flag.

Other problems that have contributed greatly is that you have five city managers averaging $250,000 a year (in salaries), a mayor and council that have zero budet experience and only rubber stamp a budget that is spoonfed to them by Jackson.

Now you can see why the 1 percent Jacskon bureaucrats need to keep feeding the machine. The machine has to pay for high salaries, unneeded greenways, a broke transit system, a river that floods, Belgium Beer Co. promises, cheap tourist jobs ... with water bills and taxes.

The good news is that City Manager Gary Jackson will be retiring and moving away in 2018, which is the year when all of the tax bills come due.

Unfortunately, he won’t be here to pay the price, but we will.

Taxpayers have been lied to in the worst way for years, but you won’t read this in our paper, or hear it from the Chamber Zombies because they work hand in hand to keep this system going.
CHRIS PETERSON
Asheville

EDITOR’S NOTE: Peterson, a former Asheville vice mayor, filed a lawsuit in January 2016, along with retired attorney Sidney Bach, over the city’s $74 million bond referendum, suing over language used on ballots and other legal documents. They contend that the voter measures are invalid.





2 local U.S. senators urged to back ACA repeal/replace

In May, the House passed the American Health Care Act, their version of an Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) repeal and replace.

Though the AHCA was not a full repeal of Obamacare, it did move the debate to the Senate.

Now the Senate has an opportunity to make the AHCA more conservative. There’s three things that the Senate must push for to ensure the final bill addresses our major concerns here in Western North Carolina.

First, the Senate must make sure that Obamacare taxes are repealed once and for all. The AHCA did just that, and now the Senate must ensure this isn’t diluted in their version of the bill.

Secondly, any Obamacare repeal bill in the Senate should roll back Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, lock in new reforms, and make sure we do not bankrupt our nation.

And finally, the Senate’s bill must empower states. The House bill included language that allows states to opt out of some of Obamacare’s burdensome mandates, and it’s important the Senate version gives states the ability to control their insurance markets.

The American people have been waiting for Obamacare repeal for seven years. Now it’s up to the Senate to make it happen by repealing Obamacare’s taxes, rolling back Medicaid expansion and empowering states. 

Senators (Richard) Burr and (Thom) Tillis — it’s time to get it done!
JANE BLEVINS
Chair, Asheville Tea Party
Hendersonville




‘Concerned’ voices in Asheville called hypocrites

One of the persisting lamentations over Asheville district elections centers on the lack of local input.

May one invest matching enthusiasm in suggesting with today’s endless accessibility, input is never a problem. Having an audience as you seek to orchestrate your preferred outcome – actions more devoted to control than contribution – might be.

One of the best measures of political sincerity is a willingness to challenge your own team while they hold the reins of power.

Contrary to the pretense of virtue, most liberal media outlets and citizen groups busily beating up Republican officials have a long history of silence when it comes to their own. That trail of resistance marks a passion for supremacy, not justice.

As for the hand-wringing over the absence of a referendum, state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) is correct in noting it makes no sense to give those who’ve seized control opportunity to repeat their mission.

For proof-positive of the insincerity of so many “concerned” voices in Asheville, one need look no further than their input on Asheville’s longstanding 7-0 governance imbalance. This ultra-liberal power block has been met with one cohesive progressive response – a persisting barrage of silence.
CARL MUMPOWER
Chairman, Buncombe County
Republican Party
Asheville

 

Districts’ referendum vote termed ruse by city leaders

Municipal district elections are coming to Asheville. This voting method separates the city into six geographical areas for electing six city council members. 

Candidates must reside in their separate districts and be elected by voters from that district. 

The mayor is still be elected by all of the city. District elections are all about regional representation, increased democracy, and decentralization in city politics.

A law requiring this election method for Asheville was passed by the state legislature in June. Senate Bill 285 mandates that the city change its charter by November 1st to provide for election districts starting with the 2019 elections.

On Tuesday, July 25, Asheville City Council voted to place a referendum on the ballot that purports to allow the voters of Asheville to decide the matter. This is a ruse. You are being lied to.

This issue has already been decided by law and a vote against it would only be used to manufacture evidence for a court challenge in a desperate play to maintain the status quo by a few. Senate Bill 285 is clear and in no way allows the results of a local referendum to take precedent over legislation passed by the General Assembly.
TIM PECK
Asheville

 



Area business group CIBO voices its support for police

On behalf of the Council of Independent Business Owners, I would like to take this opportunity to voice our support for local law enforcement agencies. 

 We often forget how much we depend on these agencies. Whether it is a minor fender-bender or a tragic event, we all expect an immediate response from them. A perceived minor event can quickly turn into a serious one, and split-second decisions and quick reactions may make the difference between life and death.

As an organization that represents the business community in Asheville and Buncombe County, we would like to go on record as wholeheartedly supporting the law enforcement community. We appreciate the important job they do, along with their willingness to dedicate themselves to public service.
NATHANIEL E. CANNADY
President
Council of Independent Business Owners Inc.
Asheville

 



Harry Prime’s death marks loss of top big band singer

Sad news. One of the best big band singers, Harry Prime passed away from natural causes on Thursday, June 15, at age 97. 

Harry sang with the Randy Brooks, Jack Fina, Tommy Dorsey and Ralph Flanagan orchestras during the Big Band Era, recording most of his songs with the Flanagan band. 

His biggest hit was with the Dorsey band ... “Until” was a million-seller, but many recordings with Flanagan revealed a top-quality voice with impeccable phrasing. “Dear Hearts and Gentle People,” “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” “Nevertheless” and “Just One More Chance” (my personal favorite) are excellent examples of Harry’s vocal prowess. 

He belongs right up there with the likes of Bob Eberle, Billy Eckstine, Joe Williams, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como. 

I’ll remember Harry for his kindness to me — just a fan — and for letting me take a picture of him and Flanagan’s female vocalist Peggy King, when they worked with Ralph back in 1951. 

RIP, Harry Prime. Your congenial personality will also be remembered along with your unique singing style.
HERB STARK
Mooresville



 



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