Friday, October 27, 2006

Meet & Greet with Taylor

Meet & Greet the Candidates
Reynolds Fire Department
October, 27, 2006, 5:30 PM

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fall 2006

Scenic Vistas
Blue Ridge Parkway
Asheville, NC
October 23, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Heath Shuler Reception
Monte Vista Hotel
Black Mountain, NC
October 18, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Goforth v. Gorny

As it happens, Ken Bagwell forgot to record the on air debate between Goforth and Gorny.

This un-rehearsed debate clearly showed Goforth to be an out-of-touch, bumbling angry boob. Publicity on this debate could have been a great advantage to Gorny. In fact, I could write pages of refutation based on his comments. Now, with no record of the comments, no one can refer to them with any force or credibility.

After the debate, Goforth called AC-T to chastise a reporter for reporting on him. That shows that he is vulnerable in the points made in the report and referred to by Gorny on air. This is where the Gorny campaign can strike and make some gains.

One key point:

Goforth argued that the law he signed in committee does not explicitly state that male teachers can come to work dressed as women without consequence. He is correct. That scenario is not contained in the law.

But Mr. Goforth seems not to understand the difference between crafting legislation and applying the law. The laws against murder do not detail every possible method of carrying out that crime, nor should it. It does not specify poison, knife, gun, rock, paper or scissors. The law should be broad enough to cover those possible cases. And the law that Goforth promoted and signed disallowing discrimination in the school system based on "transgender orientation or expression" is broad enough to cover just the scenario Gorny suggested. The scenario that Goforth denied the law could possibly affect.

Point two:

For an elected representative, Goforth, to argue in a hostile manner with constituents in a public forum is unseemly, rude and defensive. It demonstrates that his position has weaknesses he'd rather not address. I recommend that Goforth's opponent go for the kill after clearly smelling blood.

Point three:

Goforth cannot decide if Jim Black is good or bad. He continually defers to the legal process as the determining factor. That is, if Black gets caught, then he's guilty. If Black does not get caught, then he is innocent.

In these cases, Goforth has telegraphed where he is vulnerable: Intellectual rigor, respect and civility, and common moral discrimination.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mountian Xpress

Excerpt from:

Right on target, Conservative activists decry big government, high taxes
by David Forbes
Mountain Xpress
Oct 11, 2006 / vol 13 iss 11

[...] Club member Tim Peck is a libertarian blogger who was an associate editor and webmaster for the Mountain Guardian. His long political life, he says, has led him to believe "that the proper function of government is the protection of individual rights – and little else."

Peck feels the difference between liberals and conservatives lies in their responses to "issues we all agree are problems ... such as affordable housing, education and homelessness. The left usually runs to government first to solve those problems. Conservatives first look towards liberty-oriented solutions."

Liberals, says Peck, favor "subsidized housing, demanding that the government take money and distribute it to people to whom it doesn't belong. Conservatives want to stimulate economic growth, bring in jobs and raise wages. Either way, you get more affordable housing. But one is liberty-oriented, and that's a key difference."

The club's billboards sparked a fierce outcry. Vandals spray-painted accusations of racism on several of them, and some residents condemned the billboard campaign at the Aug. 22 City Council meeting. Council member Bryan Freeborn charged that the Republican Party was "rolling this out to pit citizen against citizen in an election year" (see "A Heaping Helping," Aug. 30 Xpress).

But Peck maintains that "conservatives have been addressing this issue for more than a decade. If conservatives were swept out of power, this would still be the most pressing crisis facing this country."

Lack concurs. Freeborn, she says, "implied it was just because of the election. That's ridiculous; it just happened that the election's here." She favors "closing the border and enforcing our laws" to curtail illegal immigration. "We can also vote with our dollars and boycott businesses that are contributing to this."

Both Lack and Peck condemn the attacks on their billboards, which they say indicate a general lack of tolerance on the part of their political opponents.

"Before I got involved, I thought people who were more liberal were more open-minded. I'm finding quite the opposite," says Lack. "When you're in the minority and you express an opinion that is not popular, they'll do everything in their power to shut you down. ... There's very little interest in free and open expression."

Peck agrees. "Asheville is plainly intolerant of diversity," he says. "I also work with the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods, with Democracy for America; I mingle with all sorts to find solutions for difficult problems. I'm seeing those [solutions] coming from the conservatives and libertarians in town. But we're in the minority, and on top of that we've got a left-leaning media here. We do what we can."

Friday, October 06, 2006

More Guns, Less Crime

Whenever I hear about a shooting incident at a school or hospital or the workplace, I always ask, "Why didn't they shoot back?"

The answer is usually that the people are prohibited by law from carrying weapons in those places. Which, to me, means that the government is responsible for those deaths.


Don't you find it strange that when people who are anti-gun get in trouble they always call somebody who has one. Teachers and students under seige call the police. Hollywood stars claim to be against guns but they have three bodyguards who have them.

This is pure self-deception. The fact is, the world can be a dangerous place and to pretend that it isn't and that you can get through it unarmed is a denial of reality.


USA Today: Wisconsin lawmaker urges arming teachers

A state lawmaker, worried about a recent string of deadly school shootings, suggested arming teachers, principals and other school personnel as a safety measure and a deterrent...

The director of school safety for Milwaukee Public Schools, Pete Pochowski, opposed the idea. Pochowski said, "We have problems in our schools, but not to the point where we need to arm our teachers and principals."

-- "Arm" = "to defend the life and safety of children."

-- "To the point" = "matter of degree." He acknowledges that there IS a point where we might need to arm our teachers and principals, but we simply have not reached that point yet.

So, I guess he's waiting until we reach that point. I am wondering how many more children will have to die to placate this Director of School Safety's pacifism in the face of violence.

Now what could be more barbaric than someone who is willing to sacrifice the lives of children for the sake of their own moral preening.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

URTV Board Meeting

URTV Board Meeting
Asheville Office Park
September 28, 2006, 5:00 PM

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hispanic Impact

Exploring the Economic Impact of North Carolina's Hispanic Population
Renaissance Hotel, Asheville
September 27, 2006, 12:00 PM

Monday, September 25, 2006

Governmental Affairs

Asheville Chamber of Commerce
Governmental Affairs Task Force
September 25, 2006, 12:00 PM
Agenda: Immigration, Energy/Alternative Fuels, EPA

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Brewfest 2006

Brewgrass Festival
Eagle/Market Street (The Block), Asheville
Saturday, September 23, 2006
12:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Mark Crawford

Matt Mittan
Take a Stand
9/22/06 hr 3
Guest: Mark Crawford.

Audio File

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Lt. General Thomas McInerney, USAF (ret.)
The Blueprint for Victory in the Global War on Terrorism

John Locke Foundation Headliner Luncheon
Renaissance Hotel, Asheville
September 19,2006, 12:00 PM

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Candidate Forum

Candidate Forum
Triedstone Missionary Baptist Church
100 Carroll Avenue, Asheville
September 12, 2006, 7:00 PM

In attendance: Rep. Susan Fisher, Mike Harrison, Doug Jones, Charles Thomas, Rep. Bruce Goforth, Eric Gorny, Sen. Martin Nesbitt and RL Clark.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Town Hall

Charles Taylor's Immigration Town Hall
Blue Ridge Community College
Hendersonville, NC
September 9, 2006, 5:00 PM

Men's Club

Buncombe County Republican Men's Club
Cornerstone Restaurant
Tunnel Road, Asheville
September 9, 2006, 7:30 AM

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Public Comment: Illegal Immigration

Public Comment on Illegal Immigration Resolution
Asheville City Council
August 22, 2006

I support the resolution before city council asking our federal representatives to take action to enforce immigration laws currently in place and to supply the necessary resources that this enforcement might require.

However, I would also like to see the city of Asheville take action too.

I believe that the federal government has proven itself derelict in its responsibility to secure the borders and enforce the immigrations laws it has enacted.

And yet, that failure does in no way absolve local government of its responsibility to uphold the law.

While the lack of strong federal support is a problem, it need not be an absolute barrier to taking action at the local level. WE can move forward even while Congress stalls.

I would like to see majority support for the initiatives proposed at the August 15th worksession by council member Mumpower:

1. I.C.E. training for Asheville police
2. Detention and transfer of illegals
3. Sanctions against knowing employers of illegals

In anticipation of further action to reverse the crisis of illegal migration, I support the resolution.

NOTE: Council member Robin Cape added an amendment to the resolution that so completely changed the character of it that Mumpower was forced to vote against his own resolution. The amended resolution voted on included fully endorsing the National League of Cities resolution which explicitly supports the abominable Senate Immigration Bill. Later, council member Freeborn went on an untempered tirade against Republicans.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Free Transit

Asheville Transit
90-Day Ride For Free Program
Coxe Avenue Station, Asheville
August 14, 2006, 11:30 AM

Monday, July 31, 2006


URTV Launch Party
Studio, Asheville Office Park
31 College Place, Ste 20 A
July 31, 2006, 4:30 PM

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bele Chere

One Leg Up
Bele Chere Festival
Downtown Asheville
July 30, 2006, 2:00 PM

Friday, July 28, 2006

Patty Larkin

Patty Larkin
Grey Eagle Tavern and Music Hall
Clingman Avenue, Asheville, NC
July 28, 2006, 8:30 PM

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Gorny Fundraiser

Eric Gorny Fundraiser
Lake Tomahawk Club House
Black Mountain, NC
July 25, 2006, 6:00 PM

Monday, July 24, 2006

WLOS Interview

WLOS Interview with The Action Club
Swannanoa River Road at Fairview Road
July 24, 2006, 3:30 PM
Kathie Lack, Kathy Rhodarmer
To air at 11:00 PM


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Action Club

Buncombe County Republican ACTION Club
Ryan's Steakhouse
1053 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC
July 20, 2006, 6:30 PM

Merrimon Avenue Study Hearing

Merrimon Avenue Study Hearing
Public Works Building
161 South Charlotte Street
July 20, 2006, 6:00 PM

Drum Circle Controversy

By Tim Peck
Mountain Guardian
September 8, 2006

All music is noise.

Music is a form of noise; it's a subset.

For example, if you are sitting quietly by yourself, that's quiet; or the absence of noise. If you start whistling, you're making noise. It might be musical noise but it's still noise. In other words, you're not being quiet anymore.

The permit that the drummers have is the same that Bele Chere has -- or Shindig on the Green or road crews with jackhammers. It's a permit that allows the permit holder to exceed the limitations of the noise ordinance for a specific purpose approved of by the city. In other words, the city of Asheville prohibits noise generally but can allow it on certain occasions with a permit.

There is no music ordinance. The permit does not state that you must limit your noise to notes and melodies. The drummers can sing, drum, play flutes or hum in unison.

If the city deems that the event is in violation of the purpose for which the permit was originally issued, the city can revoke that permit and the permit holder would no longer have permission to exceed the noise ordinance.

I would suggest to the permit holder that they find a way to minimize their negative impact on the quality of life downtown, just as any other law abiding person would, and thereby retain their permit to engage in peaceable merry-making in Prichard Park, which is the perfect setting for this particular brand of it.

Downtown drums irking condo owners
Police seek peace between drummers, condo dwellers

Friday, July 14, 2006

One Leg Up

One Leg Up
Grey Eagle Tavern & Music Hall
185 Clingman Ave, Asheville, NC
July 14, 2006


The Action Club billboards are up.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Letter to the Editor

‘Buncombe County Radicals’ just ordinary caring citizens

Tim Peck
Asheville Citizen-Times
July 13, 2006

A small group of folks from Asheville drove to Raleigh on July 6 to peaceably visit our legislators and seek an audience with our elected representatives. We also sat in on the legislative session on the state budget. For our troubles, we were referred to by Rep. Phil Haire as, “The Buncombe County Radicals.”

What did we do that was radical besides show up in the halls of power to see what was going on over there? This tells me that these people live in a bubble and that they are unused to being confronted by their constituents on a regular face-to-face basis.

When we stood at the door of the House of Representatives, there were many lobbyists crowding the entranceway — going in and out, shaking hands, and whispering to each other — and we had to step aside for fear of being trampled. I think those are the people these legislators are used to dealing with, not the people who elected them to their fine offices.

We need to let these powerful few know that we citizens deserve a place at the table too and that we deserve more respect than to be condescendingly referred to as, “The Buncombe County Radicals.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We The People Forum

"Why Won't They Answer?" Tour
A-B Tech, Laurel Building, Ferguson Auditorium
Wednesday July 12, 2006
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Sponsored by We The People Foundation

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Transit Briefing

City of Asheville Transit Briefing
Public Works Building
161 S. Charlotte Street
July 11, 2006, 8:00 AM



  1. Expanded Service
    • New Routes
    • Extended Hours
  2. Employer Passport Program
  3. 90 Day Ride-For-"Free" Program


  • Improve air quality
  • Transportation options for everyone
  • Efficient/effective transit system
  • Educating public on benefits of Transportation Demand Mgmt
  • Reduce congestion
  • Increast available parking options

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Medford Picnic

Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford Fundraising Picnic
741 Glenn Bridge Rd, Arden (Donoho Farm, Irish Acres)
July 8, 2006
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Raleigh Immigration Rally

Road Trip, General Assembly, Immigration Rally
Legislative Building & Capitol Building Grounds
Raleigh, NC
July 5, 2006

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Barnardsville 4th

Independence Day Parade
Downtown Barnardsville, NC
July 4, 2006, 1:00 PM

Thursday, June 29, 2006

P&Z Merrimon

Planning and Zoning Committee
City Hall, 2nd Floor
June 29, 2006, 4:00 PM

Merrimon Avenue Study was under review.

Public Comment: "I think that the Merrimon Avenue Study Group is doing a fine job. I think that CAN is doing a fine job. I just have concerns about the survey. I believe that the survey and the survey process were wildly out of control. I have spoken before city council. I have written about this in local newspapers. I've had my say on this matter and I'd just like to know what members feel about the validity of the Merrimon Ave Survey."

I also gave an on-camera interview with WLOS TV.

Downtown Association

Downtown Association Meeting
The Orange Peel Theater
101 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC

Graffiti: 48 hour removal or pay penalty; punish vandals by sending them to art mural projects.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

FCC Meeting

Town Meeting on the Future of Media
Asheville-Buncombe Technical College
Ferguson Auditorium, Laurel Building
June 28, 2006, 6:00 PM

Public Testimony
By Tim Peck

To FCC Commissioners:

Commissioners Copps and Adelstein,

I’m holding here a handout from the organization [This was handed out at a meeting in Asheville where local educated political activists were coaching “Latinos” on how to lobby the FCC here tonight with prepared talking points.] It says, “In exchange for their free use of the public airwaves, local TV and radio broadcasters are supposed to serve the public interest.”

Hmmm . . . “The public interest.” What is this concept of the Public Interest? Since this is the very basis of the justification for government interference in the media marketplace, I think we should be very clear about what this means.

First, there is no such entity as “the public” that has a right to make legal claims. Only individuals have rights. The idea that there is a “public” that has a prior ownership claim on a spectrum of radio frequencies is a fantasy. I’d like to see that entity: The Public. I’d like to look “the public” in the eye. I’d like shake its hand and to ask “the public” to take hold of a pen and sign a contract agreeing not to violate my rights -- including my right to own media properties.

Second, it follows then that the concept of “the public interest” creates conflict where it otherwise would not exist. As long as we continue to have faith in this phantom called “the public interest” we will continue to have individuals and private groups fighting each other to the death to be recognized as “the public interest.” Just as in the movie Spartacus where everyone in the crowd says, “I am Spartacus,” “No, I am Spartacus,” we have everyone competing for the title of “the public interest.” “I am the public interest.” “No, I am the public interest.” All of those individuals and groups are clamoring to have their own narrow interests protected and promoted over against the interests of other individuals and groups. We cannot possibly give favors to all interests, all at once, and all of the time. Therefore, every individual and group has to lobby the power-brokers for the privilege of being regarded as “the public.” Just look around the room.

This is a condition of conflict created by the government, not the free market. In a free market, individuals own property and cannot be interfered with in the legal use and disposal of that property.

The government seems to reflexively take every opportunity to alienate me from my rights; my rights to liberty, to my life and to the products of my labors, including media properties.

And your transparent attempts tonight are no different. That’s why I’m calling for the abolishment of the FCC.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

No Zoning Protest

No Zoning Protest
Buncombe County Courthouse
June 20, 2006, 3:00 PM

The Action Club, Citizens for Change and other concerned citizens marched in a legally-permitted protest at the County Courthouse at 3:00 PM just prior to the commissioner's meeting.

The commissioners voted for a zoning plan and the largest property tax increase in the county's history. The county's revenue-increasing property rate of 53 cents displaces the state's diluted reimbursement of sales taxes collected in Asheville from the city to the county in the amount of $1.52M and forces the city to raise its property tax rate above a 41 cent revenue-neutral to 42.38 cents to make up the loss in revenue.

Monday, June 19, 2006

City Manager Lunch

Attended lunch with the City Manager Gary Jackson with members of the Citizens Academy at 49 Haywood at 12:00 PM.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Activist Training

Attended the GOP Summer 2006 Activist Training Sessions at Western Carolina University, AB Tech-Enka Campus, 1459 Sand Hill Rd, Candler, NC 28715.
  • Press & Media Relations –Get the media’s attention.
  • Finance 101 – The cure for the empty checking account.
  • Victory GOTV – The keys to winning in November.
  • County & Precinct Organization – The basics every one should know.
  • Voter Vault - Learn about our on-line voter database.
  • How to draft a Political Plan – Plan your work and work your plan.
  • Election Law – There are no get out of jail free cards in this game.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wal-Mart Clarification

By Tim Peck
Mountain Guardian
June 16, 2006

Thomas N Rightmyer wrote:

>> The proposal is for a 204K building (larger if I remember
>> correctly that the West Asheville proposal) with 917 parking spaces.
>> Variances asked for included reducing parking space size from 10 to 9
>> 1/2 feet wide and from 20 to 18 ft long. Similar variances were granted
>> for an Ingles' on Long Shoals, reducing the number of spaces by about
>> 10%, reducing the number of loading docks to 6 from the 21 required by
>> county code.

I just want to clarify one point. The Buncombe County Board of Adjustment did not approve the Wal-Mart project. That was not their charge. Wal-Mart has the right to purchase property and build wherever they damn well please as long as they are in conformance with local regulations.

This project is in conformance. The property is already zoned EMP (employment). A favorable traffic impact analysis was performed. The additional conditions imposed were already in the plan. A petition favoring the development was signed by 2,130 people who shop at other Wal-Marts. 380 to 450 jobs will be created.

As Thomas has pointed out above, the only thing Wal-Mart needed was a zoning variance for the width and length of parking spaces (resulting in a smaller parking lot) and a reduction in government-mandated loading docks. This demonstrates the efficiency of the free market over against cookie-cutter government. Wal-Mart does not need more than 6 loading docks to conduct their operations.

Key Point Missed In The Coverage: The public comment and anti-Wal-Mart activism suggesting that the Board should not allow Wal-Mart to build this store was entirely misguided. Had the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment not approved these minor variances, Wal-Mart would have still gone forward with the project on schedule. The BOA was in no position to approve or disapprove of this development! It was only in the position of approving or disapproving the size of a parking space.

The first Wal-Mart in East Asheville was met with massive protests, a 9-hour public hearing, and thousands in vandalism damage. The Wal-Mart proposed for West Asheville was protested by organized groups as well. In those cases, the city held the trump card. Wal-Mart could not go forward with the projects without critical zoning variances. In the case of the Airport Road project Wal-mart held the trump card: private property rights.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Planning & Economic Development Committee

Attended the Asheville City Council Planning and Economic Development meeting at 29 Haywood.

Teleconference on mixed used development in Greenville; Eagle/Market Street Redevelopment: 49 day extension; CAN Recommendations: city responds; Prudential Sign: will meet with Pru; Civic Center Economic Impact Study; HUB Alliance; Economic Impact Study proposal by Dr. Ha. Closed Executive Session on possible litigation from UDO violations.

Board of Adjustment: Wal-Mart

Buncombe County Board of Adjustment
County Courthouse, Room 204
Asheville, NC
June 14, 2006, 12:00 PM

Agenda: Wal-Mart request for three zoning adjustments regarding parking spaces and loading docks.

Thomas N Rightmyer wrote:
The proposal is for a 204K building (larger than the West Asheville proposal) with 917 parking spaces. Variances asked for included reducing parking space size from 10 to 9 1/2 feet wide and from 20 to 18 ft long. Similar variances were granted for an Ingles' on Long Shoals, reducing the number of spaces by about 10%, reducing the number of loading docks to 6 from the 21 required by county code.
I just want to clarify one point. The Buncombe County Board of Adjustment did not approve the Wal-Mart project. That was not their charge. Wal-Mart has the right to purchase property and build wherever they damn well please as long as they are in conformance with local regulations.

This project is in conformance. The property is already zoned EMP (employment). A favorable traffic impact analysis was performed. The additional conditions imposed were already in the plan. A petition favoring the development was signed by 2,130 people who shop at other Wal-Marts. 380 to 450 jobs will be created.

As Thomas has pointed out above, the only thing Wal-Mart needed was a zoning variance for the width and length of parking spaces (resulting in a smaller parking lot) and a reduction in government-mandated loading docks. This demonstrates the efficiency of the free market over against cookie-cutter government. Wal-Mart does not need more than 6 loading docks to conduct their operations.

Key Point Missed In The Coverage: The public comment and anti-Wal-Mart activism suggesting that the Board should not allow Wal-Mart to build this store was entirely misguided. Had the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment not approved these minor variances, Wal-Mart would have still gone forward with the project on schedule. The BOA was in no position to approve or disapprove of this development! It was only in the position of approving or disapproving the size of a parking space.

The first Wal-Mart in East Asheville was met with massive protests, a 9-hour public hearing, and thousands in vandalism damage. The Wal-Mart proposed for West Asheville was protested by organized groups as well. In those cases, the city held the trump card. Wal-Mart could not go forward with the projects without critical zoning variances. In the case of the Airport Road project Wal-mart held the trump card: private property rights.

Further Reading :

Arden Wal-Mart Approved, by Kelby Hartson, AC-T, June 15, 2006

Monday, June 12, 2006

Citizens Academy

Completed the 10-week course of the City of Asheville Citizens Academy, April 13 to June 12, 2006.

"The City of Asheville Citizens Academy is a part of Community Oriented Government, an initiative dedicated to making city services and information more accessible to those that live, work and play in Asheville."

Water Meeting

Water Meeting
City Council, County Commissioners, State legislative delegation
Karpen Hall, Laurel Forum
University of North Carolina
One Univerity Heights, Asheville
June 12, 2006, 10:00 AM

Saturday, June 10, 2006


A Community Celebration in West Asheville
Haywood Road, between Vermont and Oakwood
June 10, 2006
Noon – 7 p.m.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Car Show

Action Club Table
Car Show
Westridge Market Place
Friday, June 9, 2006
6:00 PM

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Police Advisory Meeting

Citizens/Police Advisory Meeting
East Asheville Community Center
904 Tunnel Road, Asheville
June 8, 2006
7:00 PM

Neighborhood Zoning

By Tim Peck
Mountain Guardian
June 8, 2006

Usually, when someone complains about something, I take it that they mean to do something about it. But there is often that person who is all bark and no bite. You know the type. As long as someone else is responsible, they feel confident in noting every fault and recommending remedies for others to carry out. But when asked for solutions and a commitment to achieving them, they go quiet and recede from the field of action, deferring instead to the competent.

Well over a year ago, the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods (CAN) took issue with a number of violations of the city’s Uniform Development Code (UDO). It seems that certain developers had built structures that were not in strict conformance with the code. Illegal loading docks drove heavy-duty traffic into quiet side streets; garish commercial signage rose to the status of eyesore; and mature trees began to mysteriously disappear under the cover of night as though sucked back into the earth.

Developers seemed to be insisting that if they could not break the rules outright, could they not at least bend them only enough to rankle the few and thereby avoid penalties and impositions from those with the power to impose them?

The strategy worked. It seemed so much better to ask forgiveness later than to ask for permission now. After all, permission requires declaring your intentions and submitting to a severe approval process, whereas forgiveness comes lightly and after the fact and those bells rarely gets unrung.

So, after a string of absolutions from the cloaked priesthood of city officials, what’s a poor neighborhood association to do?

One solution might be to elect like-minded representatives to city council who would form an effective phalanx against the unsavory encroachments of business and property owners. But then those council members found their zeal for control handcuffed by the law.

Another solution would be to use that law to gain satisfaction by appealing to the city’s Board of Adjustment. Surely if a zoning code had been violated this would be the political body to hear all about it. But the appellants found that they had no standing to appeal the violations. The appeals were not brought in a timely fashion, as they must be, and no proof could be provided that any one of them was a bone fide aggrieved party. To be aggrieved, the appellant must show some quantifiable material harm from the violations. None could and the several complaints were dismissed without a hearing.

Holding out for some opportunity to make their case in a spirit of cooperation, CAN members made several attempts to deliver their message to city council and key staff members using sophisticated slideshow presentations detailing the violations and written recommendations for proceeding with greater care in the future. Alas, the city only seemed interested in the future and countered CAN’s costly recommendations with one of their own: Hire a Neighborhood Coordinator, answerable to the city manager and salaried at taxpayer expense, to act as liaison between community groups and city officials.

With this judo move, the city has appeared conciliatory, has avoided taking responsibility for existing violations, and, by feigning engagement, has given CAN the impression that they are moving toward an amicable solution and has given them the sense that this will be an end to distressing development mishaps. And what is more important, the city has avoided, for now, the prospect of litigation in a year of multimillion-dollar budget deficits.

Add to this the Mayor’s laudable initiatives for community involvement. Twice now Mayor Bellamy has invited the public to city planning forums and encouraged input on the issues uppermost in their minds through a standard consensus-building process. Along with the usual calls for more parks and greater crowding along bus routes, the recurring theme of UDO violations and its enforceability emerged as a common concern that still seemed insoluble.

And there has also been great interest shown in significantly revising the UDO. It is too complicated, too technical and is too open to interpretation. Several measures have come before city council that promise to overhaul the UDO and make it a more meaningful document; including several specific neighborhood re-zoning recommendations.

Clearly the status quo will not do and there has been little enthusiasm that adding a layer of bureaucracy—by purchasing the services of an official Neighborhood Coordinator who is beholden to city government—would truly bring about the transformation in direction that community members clamor for in an idyllic city that is growing faster than its management capabilities.

Several options are open to the city of Asheville and its inhabitants. We can give up and let the city develop as it will as we stand by. We can argue for incremental changes and hope that they will give us what we want while remaining open to the same risks, abuses and frustrations. There is a mix of these two options evident in our current course.

Or we can take decisive action and ensure that the citizens of Asheville take the reigns and lead the city toward fulfilling a shared vision. Toward that end, there are two things that must be done.

First, the city must be taken to court to address all existing code violations. The specific and valid complaints exist in a contest among groups with conflicting interests. The citizens are interested in seeing concrete remedies applied to rectify unlawful action. The city is interested in having the issues quietly go away with little to no cost to bear. The only way to resolve the matter and fully ensure that future incidents do not occur is to adjudicate the matter in an adversarial setting; which is the function the civil court system is instituted to perform. Only when there is a real cost or an impending cost does a liable party make amends.

Second, a new political body must be conceived, established, empanelled and empowered: The Neighborhood Zoning Authority.

The concept of the neighborhood coordinator is not a bad one; the problem is that it’s not good enough. Consider that the coordinator works for the city, is paid for by taxpayers to the tune of $85,000, and does not become a stakeholder by fiat. Further, this solution keeps the planning and development focus city-wide rather than community-based. (Note: As of this writing, the coordinator position is not included in the city budget for FY 2006/2007.)

The Neighborhood Zoning Authority moves radically away from centralization toward localized, neighborhood empowerment by material stakeholders. It is an autonomous body that has authority to plan, establish and enforce its own set of development ordinances within the larger constraints of a limited municipal government in a federalist model.

While city council is busy playing SimCity to the satisfaction of no one, each community could be about the business of SimNeighborhood to the satisfaction of many. The Neighborhood Zoning Authority has the quality of maximizing freedom in an environment of conflicting interests.

We have several neighborhoods that could qualify for becoming a zoning authority: Merrimon, Montford, Broadway, Haw Creek, and Downtown. A Merrimon Neighborhood Zoning Authority, for example, could convene a group responsible for determining the physical boundaries of the neighborhood, the criteria for inclusion, a vision for development and growth, a code of ordinances, and a method of implementation and enforcement. This authority would not be concerned with basic city services but only planning and development issues. And the city could continue to perform the task of technical reviews, only now against a varying set of standards, as specified in a charter with a given NZA.

The benefits would be numerous. This would obviate the need for a city coordinator—and the expense. The direct stakeholders would be actively setting their own course without a city liaison recapitulating communications. Developers and property owners would be able to choose among competing standards. It would minimize bureaucracy. City officials would be able to limit their planning efforts to non-participating neighborhoods and relieve themselves of the burden of oversight over the most vital sectors of town. Transient students from far away colleges would feel less welcome to blithely register their discontent over development projects in neighborhoods they will never invest in.

Finally, community members and leaders would be able to demonstrate their sincerity and commitment to the ideals they espouse and which they struggle to promulgate on an incremental, case-by-case basis. Job descriptions for the volunteer positions implicit in a Neighborhood Zoning Authority would necessarily be simplified; as would any resulting set of codes developed by them as well as their ongoing governance.

The Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods has acted in good faith and has pursued its ideals and concerns with some vigor. But it has not been, and in my opinion will not be, enough. It has not been my experience that CAN shrinks from a sense of duty and mission, but they do run the risk of having their vision postponed and their grievances swept aside. If their leadership is serious about moving forward in a progressive direction then it will seriously consider the tandem options of litigation and of establishing The Neighborhood Zoning Authority as a practical and earnest approach to community planning and sustainability for the long term.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Public School Forum of NC

Education Briefing for Candidates for the General Assembly
Public School Forum's Institute for Education Policymakers
Crowne Plaza
Asheville, NC
June 2, 2006
1:00 PM

The Public School Forum of NC is a not for profit policy think tank which is a partnership of business leaders, education leaders, and government leaders in North Carolina.

Context of Education in NC
  • "Just the Facts" about North Carolina Schools
  • Accountability
  • Governance
School Finance
  • Introduction of the Policymakers Primer
  • How NC Schools are Funded
  • School Finance
  • School Finance Litigation
Teacher Quality
  • Profile of NC Teachers
  • Supply/Demand Issues
  • Teacher Quality
  • Recruitment/Retention

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Planning, Development & Growth Management

City Council Public Forum
Planning, Development & Growth Management
Asheville High School
May 30, 2006
6:00 PM

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Ceremony

City-County Plaza
Asheville, NC
May 29, 2006
12:00 PM

Monday, May 22, 2006

ClearChannel Ads

Met with Caroline Earley, ClearChannel Sales Manager, to discuss radio advertising options for the Campaign for Legal Immigration. She proposed a 4-week, 15 second rotating ad on two local stations, WPEK 880-AM and WWNC 570-AM, at a cost of $2,200.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Montford Festival

3rd Annual Montford Arts and Music Festival
Saturday, May 20th
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Action Club had a table at this event.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Nesbitt Racing

Took photos of racecar haulers at Nesbitt Racing off Tunnel Road for RL Clark. The haulers bear the logo of Blue Cross/Blue Shield as a key sponsor and represent the appearance of impropriety. Martin Nesbitt is a member of the General Assembly.

Senator Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr.
300-B Legislative Office Building
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

County Planning Forum

National Guard Armory
Brevard Road
Asheville, NC

Monday, May 15, 2006

Christopher Hitchens

"The War Observed"
Presented by the John Locke Foundation
Grove Park Inn
Asheville, NC

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Racial Profiling Forum

Highsmith Auditorium
5:30 PM


Visited the Buncombe County Board of Elections to register a PAC for the purpose of accepting donations for the Campaign for Legal Immigration.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Planning & Economic Development Committee

Coalition for Asheville Neighborhoods presented its complaints on UDO violations. CAN President Chris Pelly stopped me after the meeting to ask about my impressions. I told him that, given current conditions, the city's interest in establishing a Neighborhood Coordinator was a show of good faith; but what we need is to establish a Neighborhood Zoning Authority. This advice was well-recieved.

Monday, May 08, 2006

WZGM 1350 AM

Appeared on WZGM 1350-AM to promote the Action Club and its Campaign for Legal Immigration.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The High Cost of Low Motives

By Tim Peck
Mountain Guardian
April 28, 2006
"A social system is a code of laws which men observe in order to live together. Such a code must have a basic principle, a starting point, or it cannot be devised. The starting point is the question: Is the power of society limited or unlimited? Individualism answers: The power of society is limited by the inalienable, individual rights of man. Society may make only such laws as do not violate these rights. Collectivism answers: The power of society is unlimited. Society may make any laws it wishes, and force them upon anyone in any manner it wishes." -Ayn Rand, "Textbook of Americanism."

In a recent city council discussion on taking private property for public use, council member Holly Jones said, "I will say that probably calling something socialism is not really helpful in going forward with an open mind."

Is this true? Is it “not really helpful” to call a thing by its right name? Would it have been more helpful to call it by one of its more colorful euphemisms? Smart growth? Sustainable development? Progressive?

On April 11, 2006, Wal-Mart withdrew an application requesting rezoning for a small parcel of land just off of Smokey Park Highway which would have allowed adequate open space for the building of a Super Center. The existing zoning for a majority of the site would have allowed the development, but an additional few acres was needed to make the development economically worthwhile. To Wal-Mart’s delight, the owner of an adjacent trailer park had put his property up for sale. There were other buyers interested in the property but Wal-Mart made the best offer.

But, why was a trailer park there in the first place? Asheville does not allow trailer parks within city limits. What happened here is that this mobile home community was in place at the time new laws were passed banning such parks. This trailer park was “grandfathered” in; which means that it would be allowed to survive the new law until it ultimately depreciated and became obsolete. With the property up for sale, it would appear that the trailer park has reached its obsolescence and would now go the way of all trailer parks in Asheville and be swept onto the ash-heap of history.

With the ultimate future of the trailer park settled, the only thing left now was for the buyer to request that this sunsetting trailer park property be rezoned for commercial use and join its neighboring parcel for a total area of 184,000 square feet. This addition to the proposed development site would now be large enough to allow the Wal-Mart project to go forward.

The developers made their sketches and estimates and presented them to city planners. The requirements of a Traffic Impact Analysis were satisfied. The Technical Review Committee approved the project. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the project. City staff approved the project.

In the course of review, the planners took input from the public and added that input to their own recommendations and came up with a long list of conditions to place on the development project in exchange for approval. Wal-Mart agreed to most of them but objected to a few outlandish conditions, such as paving a side-walk a mile away from the site. The Asheville School took this as a cue to join the extortion bandwagon and demand additional favors from Wal-Mart, such as funding for campus security and the right to tell the retailer what it could and could not sell.

But what to do about the trailer park residents? Would their life-savings pay for relocation? Were they prepared for the inevitable move they would have to make whether or not Wal-Mart purchased the property on which their substandard housing rested?

Not to worry. As part of their proposal, Wal-Mart offered the impoverished residents $4,000 each to help defray moving expenses and lessen the trauma of complying with city laws that prohibit trailer park living.

Problem solved, right? Not so. A handful of local activists called The Cooper Boulevard Community Support Network organized the trailer park residents into a group to protest the rezoning request. They saw to it that the 60% non-English speaking residents were provided with translation services and were afforded the opportunity to be heard expressing their new-found opposition to big-box developments. One by one, they were trotted up to the podium at P&Z to recite statements prepared for them by their college-educated, Anglo handlers. Even some non-Hispanic trailer park residents were duped into joining the chorus of local anti-Wal-Mart political activist and out-of-town college students who all urged the commission to reject Wal-Mart’s plans to provide residents with jobs, convenient affordable shopping and a wad of ready cash.

One key condition that Wal-Mart accepted during their last hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission was to increase their relocation “offer” to trailer park residents from $4,000 each to $7,500 each; this in return for releasing Wal-Mart from the unreasonable condition of building a far away side-walk. With seven grand in pocket, the single-wide occupants could now afford to move their abundant possessions and even pay for tanks-full of gas along the way.

Now, with all this in place, it appeared that Wal-Mart would be in a good position for a favorable vote in city council. However, despite the long and costly chain of agreements, approvals and delays, the world’s most successful retailer had yet to face it greatest challenge: A majority of politically-motivated “progressive” council members who were elected to office by the same people making up the anti-Wal-Mart opposition and eager to throw their weight around and score points with local elites who really don’t like shopping around common, indigenous mountain poor people.

Opposition continued with organized letter-writing campaigns to council members and the local media. Aggrieved activists organized rallies, action meetings, and public forums. And propaganda cinema was shown repeatedly to audiences eager to catalog a potpourri of formula arguments – mostly built on sand.

The final showdown occurred on the morning of the public hearing at city council when Wal-Mart withdrew its application for rezoning after a neighborhood petition was validated. The introduction of this petition would now require a supermajority vote of 6 to 1 which would be far from likely. In fact, a simple majority of 4 to 3 was considered out of reach.

Thus would the city be able to use zoning to knock down sound and legal development projects that they felt were unpopular with their constituency.

But let’s return for moment to question of the displacement of the trailer park residents. In the beginning, they were in solidarity with the opposition to Wal-Mart. They were asked by activists to, “Please help us prevent Wal-Mart from opening yet another store in West Asheville. They plan to evict 60 families from a trailer park on Smokey Park Highway (Patton Avenue) and build a supercenter (sic).”

It looks like this may be another case of “be careful what you wish for.” They opposed Wal-Mart and won. By their own actions they prevented Wal-Mart from distributing to them a total of $375,000 to soften their fall. Who would help them now? Another buyer was in the cue and would likely offer them no more than a hearty handshake and a salutary “don’t let the door hit you.”

Re-enter the Cooper Boulevard Community Support Network. Now here’s a group that knows how to keep its eyes on the prize. With the Wal-Mart project defeated (with their help) and the trailer park residents still facing eviction by the next evil developer, this support network sprang into action once again to champion social justice. The threesome decided to appear before city council during public comment and recommend that the city pass legislation that would make any buyer of trailer park property displacing 10 or more residents liable for their relocation.

Where did the magic number 10 come from? By their logic, any conflict of a lesser quantity would simply be “a matter between tenant and landlord.” Reaching the threshold of 10 or more would “make this a community problem.” Council member Robin Cape concurred claiming that such a solution recognizes a certain “social value” present in this conflict.

Another solution proposed by the Network, which also recognizes that elusive “social value,” was their recommendation that the city enter into a land trust to protect the trailer park. But what does this mean? The rightful owner of the property has provided affordable housing for the city’s poorest for decades and has chosen to dispose of his property as he sees fit. Will the government now step in to take it and deprive the property owner the use and disposal of his property? Why? For the greater common good? Does this not place society’s producers in the position of involuntary servitude?

What is all this talk about “the greater good,” “10 or more,” and “social value”? Do groups compete with individuals for a claim to rights? Who wins that competition?

The simple truth is that there is no such thing as social value; only individual value. There is no such thing as group rights; only individual rights. The concept of “the common good” is a phantom cooked up by the left to which no one can lay their finger.

What we are talking about here is, in reality, the brutish democracy of collectivism. Any time a majority of thugs can assemble and vote against the legitimate rights of an individual, we have established a regime that cannot respect the rule of law or recognize the moral supremacy of the individual liberty. Collectivism must necessarily deny individual rights. As Ayn Rand puts it: "The violation of an individual's rights means the abrogation of all rights." Collectivism demands sacrificing the achievers and producers to the whims of mobs and parasites. The result may be socialism writ small, but writ nonetheless. And on whose back? Mine today, yours tomorrow.

So, in the end, which is more helpful? Calling it what it is: Socialist -- or calling it what it can never be: Progressive?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Citizens/Police Advisory Council

West Asheville
With Police Chief Hogan

One item that made it to the flip chart was the issue of "reaching out to the growing Hispanic community." Kathie Lack asked, "Are we talking about reaching out to illegal aliens or legal citizens?" The moderator stated that we don't want to make that kind of discrimination. I responded, "Excuse me, it's law enforcement job to discriminate between criminals and non-criminals."

We were then told by the moderator, Ms. Lamantia, that "we were not going to talk about that."

Kathie and I promptly left the meeting.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

County Commissioners: Zoning

Buncombe County Courthouse
Issue: Zoning

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Friday, April 21, 2006

Landslides Presentation

North Carolina Geological Survey Group
170 Lyman Street
Asheville, NC

Senator Burr

Chamber of Commerce
36 Montford Ave
Asheville, NC

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Telecom Hearings

General Assembly
Raliegh, NC

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Meeting: Kathy Lack

Met with Kathy Lack at the Grove Park Inn to discuss developing a documents declaring a campaign for legal immigration that could be published and handed out to political candidates, elected officials, employers and administrators.

We also discussed libertarian and Objectivist political philosophy.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Fundraiser: Charles Thomas

Attended a political fundraiser at 21 East Forest Rd, Asheville, for Charles Thomas who is running for North Carolina House of Representatives from District 116.

Class: Citizen's Academy

Attended introductory class of the City of Asheville Citizen's Academy at 100 Court Plaze, Asheville, led by Lauren Bradley. We all introduced ourlselves and told a story about our names.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Weaverville City Council

Attended a special Weaverville city council meeting with their planning committee. The planning committee presented a number of maps related to land use planning. The council asked the planning committee to develope a land use plan that they could present by May 16, 2006. A vote is expected by December.

I asked council member Al Root if he thought the town of Weaverville would welcome overtures from Wal-Mart now that they have withdrawn their application for rezoning in Asheville.

He said that they might not welcome Wal-Mart but they would probably not be opposed to it. He thought Wal-Mart might look at some property just to the north of the Weaverville corporate limits, but if they did they'd need to buy their water from Weaverville.

In this case, Wal-Mart would have greater say in the development plans but would have to negotiate with Weaverville for this service.

If Wal-Mart locates inside the corporate limits, the council would have more say in the development plans but would be required to provide water.

One interesting note: Weaverville has no power to set conditions on the development that would require that Wal-Mart pay for relocation expenses of displaced trailer park residents.

Planning & Economic Development Committee

Attended the Asheville Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting at City Hall.

Gene Ellison presented his plans for Eagle/Market Street development.

Scott Shuford presented a prioritized list of annexation prospects with maps. The planning department will prepare a Resolution of Intent to Annex for the neighborhoods Biltmore Lake, Sand Hill and Biltmore Commons. Next on the list will be Reynolds and Emma.

Staff elaborated on the Board of Adjustments process for the edification of the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhood (CAN).

CAN made its own presentation on Staples and Prudential sign. Chairman Jan Davis cut their presentation short stating that review of these details was not the purpose of this meeting. CAN held an informal meeting in the hallway with council member Holly Jones.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

City Council

Attended the city council meeting for April 11, 2006. This was to be the Wal-Mart meeting but Wal-Mart withdrew its application for a zoning variance at the last minute.

I spoke about this during the public comment portion of the meeting. Here is the text of my comments:
I'm sorry that Wal-Mart felt compelled to withdraw their application. I feel sorry for the under-employed poor people of Asheville who desparately need jobs. I am one of them. And I feel especially sorry for the poor trailer park residents who were offered $7,500 to defray their moving expenses. Now, when that property is sold to the next buyer, they will likely get nothing from that buyer. When the time comes for them to move, and it will, they can look back to today and remember who is responsible for their hardship: The anti-Wal-Mart activists from Asheville -- and students from Warren Wilson College. One of whom, I know, is graduating next month and is moving to San Francisco.

Boards & Commissions Committee

Attended the Boards and Commissions Committee meeting at City Hall. Council members Holly Jones, Carl Mumpower and Jan Davis were in attendance. I was the only member of the press in attendance.

The meeting was short and mostly administrative in nature; board openings and candidates were discussed. Jones proposed creating a Floodwater Task Force. This should be a joint task force with the county but the county was not moving forward. The city would still pursue cooperation.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Convention: Buncombe County Libertarian Party

Attended part two of the Buncombe County Libertarian Party Convention. We selected three delegates to the state convention.

Fred Barnes Luncheon

Crowne Plaza
Asheville, NC
Presented by the John Locke Foundation and
Sponsored by WWNC 750-AM

Friday, April 07, 2006

Conference: Christian Apologetics

Attended a two-day conference on Christian apologetics at Woodland Hills Baptist Church. The conference included lectures and breakout sessions by ID proponent William Dembski and Christian scholar Gary Habermas.

Local radio talk show host Ken Bagwell invited me to the conference and paid my way. I joined him briefly during the general presentations and we broke up to attend other sessions.

Overall, the conference was quite excellent and I had the opportunity to hear Dembski's complete presentation on the essentials of ID and pose several questions for him.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Lecture: Christian Apologetics and ID

Attended Christian apologetics lecture at UNCA given by Mike Lacona. He gave an excellent presentation on intellegent design and its application to the resurrection.

I asked a couple of questions:

1) Is there anything in the teaching of Jesus that proscribes or discourages intellectual investigations into the scientific evidence for God? He agreed that it is not prohibited by the words of Jesus. In fact, Jesus performed miracles to make divinity evident to the senses.

2) Which is the stronger argument -- the positive argument for God and creation or the negative argument against accident and evolution? Lacona felt that intelligent design was a strong positive argument for God and creation. I disagree. I thing ID is the better argument against accident.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Consultation: Bill Porter

Joined Bill Porter, candidate for NC House of Representatives from District 116, at his home to help him work on a computer problem. Afterwards, Porter asked me why his presentation at last Monday's Citizens for Change meeting was a disaster. He had been grilled on the illegal immigration question.

I told him that it was not as bad as he thought it was. I told him that his position on illegal immigration was not a bad one but it was not presented in the way people wanted to hear it. He had explained that the issue was very complicated and he offered a nuanced response to the question. I told him that what people want to know first is that the candidate takes an uncompromising, hard line on illegal immigration and complexities can perhaps be mentioned later. Porter left the impression that he was soft on the issue.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

NoWalmart Forum

Attended a public forum at the Pack Library on the West Asheville Wal-Mart proposal given by the local Wal-Mart Watch political activist group. Attendance was very poor and no compelling information was gained by attending.

After the meeting, Dale Moburg and I walked out with the group's ringleader (a scowling student from Warren Wilson) and Dale asked him, "Are you a student?" He said, "Yes, I'm a student at Warren Wilson College and I'll be graduating in a couple on months." I took that opportunity to ask him pointedly: "Where will you be going?" He said, "San Francisco." I said, "That's odd." He said, "What do you mean?" I said, "You're trying to affect development in this town but you won't be here. I will." He said, "Well, I can work against hunger in Africa but I don't have to live there." Dale thought this was a good rejoinder but I had a problem with it. I told this young, transient activist that Asheville is a community-based city and I turned and walked away. My problem is this: There is no one advocating hunger in Africa.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Meeting: Citizens for Change

Attended a meeting of Citizens for Change at Shoney's Restaurant on Smokey Park Hwy. Nathan Ramsey gave a presentation on issues impacting Buncombe County with emphasis on an imminent vote in favor of county-wide zoning.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Meeting: Anti-Illegal Immigration Rally Planning

Attended a planning meeting for a proposed anti-illegal immigration rally. The meeting was held at Buncombe GOP HQ at 53 Shiloh Rd, Asheville.

After some discussion of the issue of illegal immigration, we decided that we would first recommend that the Buncombe County Commission adopt a set of proposals placing sanctions on employers that hire illegals. After that time we would reconsider holding a rally.

The draft proposal was read and reviewed and handed off to Walter Plaue to refine and deliver to the commission.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Meeting: Board of Adjustments

Attended the Board of Adjustments meeting where they would hear the appeals from Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods on the Staples building, the Prudential sign, and the Walgreen's development.

The appellants could not prove that they had standing to have their cases heard and all three were dismissed without a hearing.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Meeting: No Wal-Mart

Attended a meeting of the local Wal-Mart Watch group.

David Roat, who worked on Robin Cape's campaign, arrived late but when asked how things seemed to be going he appeared very confident that the Wal-Mart project would not survive city council.

After a round of introductions, Roat announced that he "knew who I was" and cautioned other members not to reveal any "sensitive information" that they didn't want to get out to the "other side." At that point I volunteered to leave saying that I "didn't want to disrupt the meeting."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Radio: Intelligent Design

Called in to WZGM 1350 AM to make comments in response to a letter to the editor in the Asheville Citizen-Times.

This is the letter:
Regarding the various “scientific” explanations for “intelligent design,” I have only one thing to say: Reason is for people who do not believe. --Tom Sherry, Candler

Talk show host Ken Bagwell read the letter on air and asked if anyone understood what the writer was trying to say. Here are my comments made on the radio:
Essentially, what the writer is saying is that the rational mind is inferior to mysticism.

He is saying that the theory of intelligent design is constructed in order to appeal to the rational mind--the same way other scientific theories are meant to be grasped and understood by the rational mind.

Reason is that faculty of the mind that identifies and integrates sensory perception of the real world. Mysticism means believing in something in spite of the absence of any evidence of its existence.

Mr. Sherry is claiming that he has no use for the rational mind and does not need arguments that appeal to it. He feels secure that his religious faith is sufficient for understanding the the whole of reality.

Usually, the flaw in this kind of argument is that, in order to convice someone to dismiss reason and logic, you have to appeal to the faculties of reason and logic. However, Mr. Sherry avoids this flaw. He is actually being consistent in his letter by providing no rational arguments to back up his claim: "Reason is for people who do not believe."

Anyone who believes that Mr. Sherry knows what he's talking about would HAVE to rely entirely on faith and would certainly have no need for the rational mind.

LTE: Lift the Sunday Hunting Ban

Sent in the below letter to the Asheville Citizen-Times on the controversy over the NRA proposal to lift the ban on hunting on Sundays. This is a modified version of my earlier comments on the radio on this subject.
I believe in limited government. That means that the government is given a very small range of action and I get to decide the rest. Why would anyone need to impose their religion on me in order to preserve their traditions? Is hunting a legal activity? If that's true, then by what right does the government restrict my exercise of a legal activity on Sundays? Is this a public safety issue? Is this a cost or budgetary issue? Is national security at stake? No, it is purely religious. If any person's religious tradition is popular then surely that person does not need to use the government to impose their religion on me in order to maintain their tradition. There are some good traditions and some bad traditions. Some traditions should be preserved and some traditions deserve to be chipped away at. I believe that using the police power of the government to impose religion on a free people in a pluralistic society is a bad tradition.

I received a reply from the editor indicating that this letter would run.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Meeting: John Armor at Buncombe LP

Attended the Buncombe County Libertarian Party social at El Chapala Restaurant on Merrimon Avenue which hosted a visit by Republican congressional candidate John Armor.

We had an excellent conversation and many good questions were asked. Mr. Armor promised to inform us about the availability of campaign materials and whether or not unafilliated voters can vote in the upcoming primary elections. My understanding from talking with Alice Keller is that they can.

Radio: John Armor

Called in to WZGM 1350 AM to announce the speaking engagement of John Armor at the Buncombe County Libertarian social at El Chapala Restaurant on Merrimon Avenue tonight at 8:00 PM.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Meeting: BCGOP Action Club

Prepared and submitted a graphic to club president Kathie Lack showing how the action club should organize its projects:

Buncombe County Republican Action Club Project Management

Friday, March 17, 2006

Radio: Hunting on Sundays

Called into the Ken Bagwell radio show on WZGM 1350 AM regarding the issue of eliminating the ban on hunting on Sundays.

These were my comments:
"I believe in limited government. That means that the government is given a very small range of action and I get to decide the rest. Why would anyone need to impose their religion on me in order to preserve their traditions? Is hunting a legal activity? If that's true then: by what right does the government restrict my exercise of a legal activity? Is this a public safety issue? Is this a cost or budgetary issue? Is national security at stake? No, it is purely religious. If your tradition is popular then surely you don't need to use the government to impose your religion on me in order to maintain your tradition. There are some good traditions and some bad traditions. Some traditions should be preserved and some traditions deserve to be chipped away at. I believe that using the police power of the government to impose religion on a free people in a pluralistic society is a bad tradition."

I sent this email to Kathy Rhodarmer:
Kathy, I appreciate your comments on the radio today and I agree with what you said. But you left your argument incomplete. What you stated was a proposition, not an argument. You stated, essentially, that "the Christian religion is a very important part of the fabric of America." That is true, but it is not a complete argument. It is only one part of an argument: a proposition. For an argument to be valid it must have true propositions and a true conclusion. Without stating the conclusion that this proposition leads to, you are leaving it up to the listener to determine your argument. If a listener were to complete the argument in his mind it might sound like this: PROPOSITION 1: The Christian religion is a very important part of the fabric of America (TRUE). CONCLUSION: Therefore, one person has the right to use the government to impose the Christian religion on another person who is not a Christian (FALSE). So you see, the proposition, while true in itself, does not reasonably lead to the conclusion that is implied.

The exchange continues: wrote:

> By your logic then, we need to take all laws off the books
> that happen to coincide with what the Christian religion
> espouses as wrong. Stealing, lying giving just a couple.

Laws against stealing and lying (fraud, perjury, libel) are good laws because they protect my individual rights. Laws banning legal activities on Sunday are bad laws because the violate my individual rights.

America has a government established on the basis of secular law. In some cases these laws are in agreement ("coincide") with other codes of law in history; and in other cases they are not. For example, sanctions against certain criminal offenses are fairly common across cultures and across time. Both ancient and modern Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews--and even atheists--are in agreement that murder and theft should be prohibited by law. But there are some disagreements when it comes to adultery, coveting your neighbor's wife or keeping the Sabbath holy. In fact, there is even disagreement among Christians (Protestants, Catholics, Lutherans) regarding the authentic text of the Decalogue.

If American law was based on Christian religious scripture then worshiping graven images would be illegal and a punishable offense. And I can tell you that if someone where to slap me on the cheek, there would be hell to pay--and my response to unprovoked physical assault would be supported in a court of law; that is, secular law.

> By your standards, one might think stealing is wrong while
> another person does not. Who tells you that these things
> are wrong?

The standard of natural rights secured by secular American law enshrined in a Constitution which is designed to protect the individual liberty of the religious and non-religious alike in a pluralistic society.

> And to reference Ayn Rand's ideas of where she
> thinks right and wrong come from is not enough for me.

How about the words and signature of John Adams:

"The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion."

And this is my response to questions from radio talk show host Ken Bagwell:

Ken Bagwell wrote:

> Not so, my friend. Do you think you would have the right to
> life, liberty, and property under Sharia Law?

Those rights might not be protected to my satisfaction under Sharia Law but I would still possess them.

> Speaking of the Founders...where do you think they got their
> ideas concerning life, liberty, and property?

...and the pursuit of happiness...?

John Locke and Aristotle.

Ken Bagwell wrote:

> Locke, Montesque, Blackstone and the Scriptures.
> I don't doubt you, but I would like to see documentation
> indicating that they referred to Aristotle.

I don't think you'll find the founders very often explicitly quoting or tracing their influences; but they are evident in the subtext, their words and deeds, and the history of ideas.

You have cited some influential sources which have certainly helped inform the founders in the construction of a rational and just social system. My point in citing only Locke and Aristotle is that I believe them to be the most central and least derivative.

See Aristotle's "metaphysics," "politics" and "ethics" as the source for notions regarding the law of identity, epistemology, the supremacy of reason, and the ethics of rational self-interest and seeking the "good life." (In fact, it is useful also to note the enormous influence Aristotle had on Christian thought in the person of Thomas Aquinas.)

I think you will find in a survey of political history that the most influential thinkers have stood on the shoulders of giants and in the realm of modern American political philosophy I identify these as Locke and Aristotle.

Certainly a number of other philosophers are considered among the greats--Plato, Marx, Kant--but are flawed and their themes run counter to that strain that resulted in the great American experiment (most notably in their assertions of the primacy of consciousness over existence.) So, excluding the misguided and the derivative and reducing the list to its essentials I am left with these two. Since the founding, I would add the names of Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand to the pantheon of great thinkers who fully justify, explicate and expand on the political basis of America.

You may find some interesting source material on this in the classic work by Leo Strauss entitled "History of Political Philosophy."

Strauss has also produced a study of individual rights in his book "Natural Right and History" which you might find interesting.

For a specific review of John Locke's influence, I recommend "John Locke's Political Philosophy" by Harry Binswanger:

"More than anyone since Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, John Locke was responsible for the existence of the United States. He virtually created the theory of individual rights, and all the Founding Fathers were thoroughly schooled in his Second Treatise of Government."

Meeting: BCGOP Action Club

Attended the Buncombe County GOP Action Club meeting at Ryan's restaurant on Patton Avenue. The meeting went fairly well. We added a Candidate Development project and removed the Fundraising project. I announced that John Armor will be speaking before the Buncombe County Libertarian Party and invited other candidates to see me about doing the same.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Radio: On City Council

Called into the Ken Bagwell radio show on WZGM 1350 AM regarding city council.

This was the basis of my comments:

Holly Jones: Minority Business Plan, symbolic legislation

Public Comment by Zev: Bicycle is his only means of transportation, he want us to appreciate the benefits he offers us: 1) not adding to traffic, 2) not contributing to pollution, 3) physically fit. Separated bike paths, paved, vegetative buffer, separating fence. Who will pay? He doesn't pay highway tax. Bryan Freeborn: carries a city-owned cellphone w/camera in his shirt so he can take pictures of car drivers who yell at him.

Brownie Newman: Putting the breaks on conservation easement, 27 acres, RiverLink to use $87k to clean up, permanent. Can't RiverLink clean up the Swannanoa River without an easement. Something stinks about this deal.

Jan Davis: traffic calming, Freeborn: which ones? The ones in the middle of the road? Yeah!

Civic Center

Attended the Civic Center Task Force meeting at the Civic Center banquet hall.

The Asheville Citizen-Times has all of the Civic Center Task Force documents from the last meeting posted online. They include the list of potential funding sources which shows that six out of the seven potential sources are not under the control of the city. Five of those six must gain approval from the state legislature and one, the alcohol tax, is collected by the state and redistributed back to the city based on population--another reason for annexation.

This was meant to be the last meeting before sending a recommendation to city council; however, many questions were raised and the task force called for another meeting.

Meeting: "House for Sale"

Attended a gathering at the Buncombe County GOP headquarters at 53 Shiloh Road, Asheville, to publicize a new anti-corruption campaign. Yards signs were handed out that read "House For Sale" and displayed a picture of Jim Black, a phone number to call for a recorded messages, and a website