Friday, December 24, 2010

Institute for Political Justice

We like to refer to our new initiative as Tea Party 2.0.

You may recall that the Tea Party Movement began as a kind of unformed populist tax and mortgage bailout revolt without any clear philosophical basis.

We tried to give the Asheville Tea Party some kind of ideological focus around the classical liberal principles of individual rights, limited government and free markets. Some other groups attempted the same thing and I think they have been the most successful. For the groups that adopted this strategy, this formulation has served them well.

We also altered the organizational to reflect a more project-oriented structure to refocus the group toward effective project management practices and distributed leadership.

However, I suspect that, for the movement overall, the tea party brand will not be sustainable for the long term and will fragment into an assortment of agenda-driven efforts. Some would be grassroots, some ideological, some exploited, some remaining philosophically unformed. And quite possibly all keeping the tea party name with no explicit criteria for involvement.

What we want to do is propose an organization that carries the tea party ideals forward with a clear ideological vision from the start as opposed to finding out a year later that your members don't agree with you on anything.

Our idea is to take one of the primary principles and make that principle the focus of an organization. Candidate principles might be: Liberty, Peace, Justice, Property, Self-Determination, and so on. Any principle chosen would be interpreted from a classical liberal point of view and any one would reflect the same libertarian perspective. Put differently, all roads lead to Rome.

We have decided to adopt the concept of Justice and place it in a political context. Our focus will be the promotion of Political Justice. Justice, simply put, means getting what you deserve. We believe that individuals have rights and deserve to have them protected in a variety of ways. In a political context, it means that governments are instituted for the sole purpose of acknowledging, respecting and protecting those rights. That is, a proper government in a free society is charged exclusively with the task of ensuring that individuals get what they deserve; which, in our view, is the protection of the rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

The mission of a new organization focused on political justice would be to champion, promote and educate the public on this principle in the abstract and as applied in concrete cases. We will need an organizational structure designed to support this mission, a staff that understands our mission and funding resources to fulfill our mission.

We imagine similar organizations around the country taking the approach of leveraging our contacts, experiences and successes as tea parties to build a network of affiliated political organizations that have a set of explicit and shared goals.

This is a possible vision for advancing the promise of the Tea Party Movement by other means. I believe that politics follows culture and that to change politics in a meaningful way for the long term, we must start with cultural change. We hope that the Institute for Political Justice can become a model for effecting that kind of change.

Justice in a Free Society

A free society requires a limited government that enacts and enforces objective laws for the sole purpose of protecting individual rights. Also essential to a free society is a proper concept of Justice.

Justice, in short, means getting what you deserve. If you were to get what you do not deserve or to not get what you do deserve, it would be unjust and either you or someone else would suffer an injustice.

The question becomes: What do you deserve? -- as an individual and as a human being.

A squirrel deserves to gather nuts. An eagle deserves to fly. And the lion deserves to hunt. What does Man deserve, in general? -- and, in particular, what do you deserve?

Man is distinguishable from the animal kingdom by virtue of his reasoning mind, free will, self-consciousness and individuation.

Man deserves to be Man. Free to eat and breathe --yes. But also free to think and free to act. But what does that mean in a social context? It means the freedom to peaceably act in the world on your own rational judgement without interference.

Justice is "a concept that designates the act of judging a man’s character or actions exclusively on the basis of all the factual evidence available, and of evaluating it by means of an objective moral criterion?" -AR

Justice is the confluence of ethics and politics. It is where you in fact do what you ought to do and are judged as you ought to be judged. Justice is the concrete application of abstract principles. It is the concrete realization of what ought to be.

You, as a human being, and in a community of fellows, ought to be free to peaceably act on your own judgment -- alone or in concert. To do what is in your own best interest -- whether privately or in cooperation with others. You ought to be able to exploit the resources around you for your own ends. You ought to be able to trade freely with others, enter into binding contracts, and speak your mind without censure. You ought to be free from coercion, predation, force and fraud. And you ought to make life, productiveness, prosperity and happiness your goals.

In the event your peaceable, rightful pursuits are met with force and ill intent, you ought to have recourse to justice. In the private realm, in the economic realm and in the political realm.

The idea of political justice is grounded in the concept of Man's rights. First, that Man possesses individual rights and that those rights are inseparable from his nature. Second, that those rights must be protected by standardized and narrowly constructed legal customs and institutions.

The Institute for Political Justice is a research, education and advocacy organization that supports and promotes the application of justice in the political realm. Specifically, with respect to the recognition and protection of individual rights in a free society.


Liberty issues advocacy organization, funded by grant money. Focus on any/all issues where the government is infringing upon individual rights. List of issues would include many items which bring together people from across the political spectrum. (Ideal for Asheville.) Main focus would be organizing and hosting educational forums in Asheville. Opportunity to invite and host guest and expert speakers from around the country to address specific topics. Some issues that spring to mind:

  • Parental rights
  • Decriminalization of marijuana
  • Rights when confronted by law enforcement
  • Property rights/Imminent Domain abuse
  • Forced annexation
  • Rights during a state of emergency
  • Contract rights (same-sex, civil marriage)
  • Health freedom
  • Free speech rights
  • Rights when demonstrating/protesting
  • Homeschoolers’ rights
  • the list in endless...

In addition to hosting events, we would maintain a website and newsletter. Possibly a print publication of some kind.

Two-to-four salaried positions:

  • Executive director
  • Communications director
  • Events coordinator
  • Treasurer/CFO

Leased office space.

People I would like to have involved:

  • Erika Franzi
  • Tim Peck
  • Nancy Grace
  • Dan Eichenbaum
  • John Maltry
  • Betty Jackson
  • Will Vine
  • Robert Malt
  • Aaron Watkins

Art Pope:

Project Management in the Asheville Tea Party

by Tim Peck and Erika Franzi



When our first tea party was held in Asheville, North Carolina, in February, 2009, we had about 20 people join us in the drizzling rain for a lackluster protest and pork sandwiches in a pocket park. There was no organization beyond a simple call to action and a prepared lunch with sweet tea.

Yes, we had signs and, yes, we had purpose. We spoke briefly to the small crowd and interviewed with the one local media reporter that bothered to show up. But our organizational vision for the future was nonexistent. We really had no idea what would happen next. What we did know was that the Asheville Tea Party had been born and we were determined to carry it forward in some form.


Happily, the aftermath of the failed Ron Paul for President campaign left the Asheville activist community with a remnant of libertarian enthusiasm and after several brainstorming sessions between a few ‘ad hoc’ groups we were able to plan and coordinate our next tea party rally. This time we would aim higher, select a high profile date and prepare a speaker’s roster. Momentum was gathering in the tea party movement nationally. A spark had been lit and we were encouraged that our small isolated contingent in Western North Carolina could become significant.

With two big tea party rallies under our belt -- one on Independence Day and one on Tax Day -- we were well on our way to becoming a recognized force in the community. With that success came the need for more formal organization. So, at this point we had gone from a single person putting out the call for a rainy-day gathering to a series of ‘ad hoc’ efforts to mobilize hundreds at City Hall for major protest events. And now, if we wanted to continue, we needed to formalize our organization to identify opportunities, propose initiatives, gain membership, plan events, focus our purpose and, most important, to ensure that we had the resources and structures in place to carry out our vision.

Traditional Organization Management


Our natural impulse was to identify a leader and form a group of committed activists around her. She would become the focal point for all tea party activities and her few followers would advise and consent and help out from time to time. Now we had the outlines of a chairperson and a board of directors who would all meet as time and circumstance allowed; which was seldom. This essentially created a traditional top-down hierarchical organizational pyramid that served us well for our immediate purposes, given the scope of our operation. For a time, we had only a few initiatives that we were engaged in and could juggle the various tasks by channeling all responsibilities through the leader who would then coordinate and control activities.


With growing success, growing membership and a growing presence in the community, we soon we had accumulated more business on our table than could be easily handled by one person in authority and a group of fickle or despondent assistants. Delegation itself became an onerous and time-consuming task. It became the chairman’s lot to field suggestions for action from every quarter, assess their value, solicit help for planning and execution and to then determine the priority and status of each activity.

In our case, as in so many, our chairman was a stay-at-home mom with mouths to feed, bills to pay, school teachers to consult and a vast domestic empire to maintain. Coupled with the responsibilities of a leader of a burgeoning political activist organization, it became increasingly impossible to fulfill the grand plans being funneled on to her plate. The stress and strain of these collected responsibilities was not sustainable under current conditions. We needed more manpower, more money, more delegation and much more time to get things done. Time and energy for a beleaguered house-wife and mother of four is at a premium and the outlook for our organization turned dim. Even with greater resources at our disposal, the top-down structure of our organization itself made demands on her time and energy that could never be met. How could one person do it all?

It was clear that the key members of our organization who were shouldering the lion’s share of the work would eventually become burned out and resign out of frustration and exhaustion. And such an eventuality would mean the end of the Asheville Tea Party.

We needed a change. Not necessarily in resources, which were not forthcoming, but in structure. We needed a management structure that would prevent the accumulation of responsibilities on to the shoulders of one person at the top of the narrow pyramid.

With the looming resignation of our chairman and the general dissolution of our group in sight, we had to look outside traditional management approaches to solve our problem and it appeared that more of a project management approach might be the structural solution to our problem. It might be that by simply changing the way we do things we could avoid certain process bottlenecks and even gain the advantages in efficiency and leadership development that were desperately needed at this point in our evolution.

In the pattern of other tea parties around the country, the Asheville Tea Party initially established itself as a protest group. We were reactive and made our name saying ‘No’ to disaster. We spent our social capital mobilizing the community to come together at large gatherings to demonstrate against overreaching public policy such as corporate and mortgage bailouts, high taxation, irresponsible spending and socialized health care. We later turned our efforts to communications, education and engagement in electoral politics. We had a website, a regular newsletter, a political action committee (PAC), a growing membership, a board of directors and a weekly social gathering to help fill the participation gaps between rallies and formal meetings. The focus of our activities had been shifting away from being an inchoate protest group to becoming a more action-oriented and results-oriented political organization. It was time to become pro-active and develop strategies for advancing our values in the political marketplace in more meaningful and lasting ways.

The shift from protesting to activism, combined with extreme functional limitations, required some new thinking.

The Project Management Model


It was clear that among the various models for management, the traditional, top-down, departmental style would not serve us well for the long term. Aligning a small, action-oriented organization according narrowly-defined functional categories, such as Executive, Finance, Operations, Personnel, and so on, would not relieve the chairman of the burden of the majority of initiative development, execution, oversight and control.

So we decided to take a look at a management approach that appeared to be working quite well in the business sphere when dealing with complex, results-oriented action: Project Management.

Managing activities according to projects is just what we needed. It’s an approach that takes a specific initiative and defines it as a set of actions that have a beginning, a middle and an end. It has its own clear objective to be achieved within a definite timeframe. It is controlled within its own domain. It must account for leadership, it must build its own team and it must develop its own tasks, its own schedule and its own budget. It must determine and report on its own status and take corrective action wherever necessary. All functional aspects are accounted for within a confined sphere of activity.

The project management approach differs from the traditional management approach in some important ways that would be valuable for us to leverage.

Chief among them is its ability to distribute leadership. Projects come and go and in order to maintain a portfolio of projects it is necessary to continually identify and develop leadership skills across the organization. Projects can be simple or complex and the various degrees of leadership skill available in the organization can be matched with project needs. Members with good leadership skills can take on bigger projects and members with little or no leadership skills can acquire them by working on smaller projects, either as team leads or team members. In this way we are able to reach down into deeper levels of leadership in the organization and bring out latent talent that can be exploited to the advantage of the organization and the individual activist.

The project management approach also brings with it the delegation of responsibility as a systemic attribute. A project must be defined and proposed with a full accounting of its functional aspects. This requires that a project manager take on the responsibility of defining those aspects on his own outside of executive oversight. Once defined, a project is proposed to the program management board and approved or not. Neither the board nor the chairman need spend time and energy developing these proposals. Once approved, management of the project falls entirely on the shoulders of the team lead and team members. The board and chairman only come into play to periodically discuss a project’s status and reassess its priority within a “family of projects” -- or Program. All typical departmental functions are replicated within each project. And a select Program Management Board determines which projects are on track, which projects deserve attention and which projects best serve the goals of the organization.

The project management approach also allows for an effective separation between the discrete management of project activity and the general management of important functional processes such as finance, recruitment, communications, liaison activities and overall program development. Projects happen periodically, while processes happen all the time. Projects come and go as they are initiated and completed. Processes are ongoing and must be controlled by a persistent body; in our case, the Program Management Board.

Besides general process management, the Program Management Board is also responsible for developing and maintaining a portfolio of projects designed to advance the mission of the organization. The board must introduce and consider proposals for projects to be performed, assess priorities among adopted projects, optimize the portfolio by adding, modifying, re-ording or canceling projects, and lend financial or other support to priority projects as needed.

The primary method for performing a portfolio review is the project status report conducted at regular Program Management Board meetings. The Board would hear a brief presentation from each Project Manager in turn that would update the Board on whether a given project is on track or not, what key accomplishments have been made, what action items are completed or outstanding, what issues or concerns should be discussed and resolved, and what corrective action should be taken to optimize the project.

Once the Board has been updated on all active projects, it can determine the overall health of the portfolio, form a clearer picture of organizational effectiveness and proceed with executive decisions regarding the worth and viability of its current operational focus. It is the Board’s responsibility to champion and celebrate strong projects and to identify weak projects that should either be fortified or abandoned.

Weak projects are those that are unpopular, have no team or that marginally support the mission. They tend to receive little moral or financial support and may simply be untimely. Things can change fast in the world of political activism and even projects that start out well can be eclipsed by events and the mood of the times. The Board must ruthlessly measure its portfolio against the capabilities and the enthusiasm of its members.

As a part of setting expectations for organizational activities, the Board must clearly define and communicate the role of the Project Manager in its present context. The key responsibilities of the Project Manager are to define and propose projects, develop project plans and budgets, assemble teams for action, execute a set of tasks that drive toward a goal, control activities for effectiveness and periodically assess and report on project status. Finally, the Project Manager must retire projects as they meet their objectives and come to a close by resolving all outstanding issues, documenting their success and reporting to the Board the degree to which projects have fulfilled their promise to add value.

All projects and processes must support the organizational mission as established by the Chairman and the Program Management Board and that mission should be well-articulated, documented and presented at each formal meeting as a foundation element that resets the purpose and focus of the meeting.


The switch from traditional management to project management in the Asheville Tea Party changed the way we did things, who would be doing them and how they would get done. It was important for us to communicate to our membership and the community that we would be undergoing a shakeup. We needed the community to understand that those changes were necessary and a positive development rather than a consequence of dysfunction. And we needed our membership to know that we would be setting new expectations for participation in furthering our goals. For this purpose, a formal announcement and press release was distributed summarizing our decision and its consequences.

It is with great enthusiasm that we announce some exciting changes which will enhance our efficiency, effectiveness, agility, and capabilities as we move into the future.

Structural Change

It is impossible to deal with all of the legislation, conflicts, and crises that befall us each day under an organizational structure with one person at the top identifying, prioritizing and coordinating activities. In order to meet the daily onslaught of issues that face us at the local, state and federal level, we are restructuring the organization.

We are adopting a program and project management approach. We are also broadening the base of our management team to include members from counties other than Buncombe. There are many talented individuals outside of Buncombe County who share our vision and want to further the cause. We heartily welcome their contributions and support.

We will be encouraging individuals to become project team leaders. Is there an issue, a piece of legislation, or an event that piques your interest? Are there others who share that interest in your circle of friends and contacts? You will have the opportunity to have autonomy over the project. Some of those projects are listed at the bottom of this email. We encourage you to get involved. For further and more detailed information, please check out our website ( You can also reach us by email.

Organizational Change

In combination with the above changes, ATP's founder and chairman, Erika Franzi, will be taking a position on the newly formed Program Management Board. Our new chairman will be Jane Bilello, resident of Henderson County, member of the ATP Board of Directors, long-time Tea Party activist, and retired educator.

"I am humbled to have been passed the responsibility of carrying the torch for Asheville Tea Party," said new chairman Jane Bilello. "Erika Franzi has some very big shoes and casts a very tall shadow. Erika is not going away. She will continue to serve on the Board and be an ever-present guide and mentor to all of us and to me especially. Asheville Tea Party is what it is because of Erika's vision, leadership and unwavering belief in Asheville Tea's mission."

The mission of the Asheville Tea Party is to provide an organizational foundation for the execution of projects that advance our core values; those being specifically: the promotion and preservation of individual rights, Constitutionally-limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets.

"It has been my great pleasure to work as chairman of the Asheville Tea Party for this past year and a half," said former chairman Erika Franzi. "I have had the honor of meeting many, many people who understand and believe deeply in our core values. Jane Bilello is one of the most dedicated defenders of these values among us. I have no doubt that she will guide the Asheville Tea Party well with the help of the board, the membership, and her own Constitutionally-informed internal compass."

The restructuring of the Asheville Tea Party will be achieved by modifying the bylaws in order to: flatten the organization; implement 'ad hoc' project teams; facilitate distributed leadership; assign liaisons with grassroots coalitions; and integrate regional memberships. The purpose of implementing this structural change is to make the organization more agile, efficient and capable; to make the organization more action-oriented; and to enhance its long-term viability.

What Is A Project Leader?

This description, contained in our constitution and bylaws, explains the role of a Project Leader:
  • Determine individual project meeting time, place and members
  • Meet as often as project members see fit
  • Select, define and control project
  • Ensure that all resources and activities are on target throughout duration of the project (staying on plan)
  • Determine resources needed and report to Program Management Board
  • Determine scope of operations
  • Report progress to Program Management Board
  • Disband project at completion with optional video documentation
With the announcement of our structural changes in place, we were now ready to roll out our plans and hope for the best. This required first installing our new Chairman and selecting a Program Management Board from our membership. Then we would need to substantially revise our current activities as projects under a new operational regime. The key questions for us now would be: Can we find leaders in our second tier to adopt and manage projects? -- and will everyone involved adapt comfortably to the structural changes we were implementing?

[NOTE: This portion of the article is unfinished. The leaders of the Asheville Tea party resigned in November of 2010 and the organization is under new leadership. The project management model has been abandoned along with the core principles established in the beginning.]

Tea Party 2.0
  • Case Study
  • Long-Term Vision
Rules of Engagement
  • Projects are what take place between status meetings.
  • Every project must have a project manager.
  • Every criticism must come with a proposed solution.
  • Mission and groundrules must be reiterated at every meeting.
  • Meetings must be facilitated.
  • Action items must be documented and assigned to a person to perform.
  • Decisions are made by consensus rather than majority vote.
  • Projects must be proposed to the board and approved
  • Proposal should take this basic form: Description, Objective, Leader, Team, Budget, Tasks, Measures

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

LTE: Montford House

Reclaim legislative authority at the local level
by Tim Peck | Mountain Xpress | 12/07/2010

Dear Editor,

In your article about a Montford homeowner under attack by the city for having “too many people” (Sustainable For Whom, 11/16/2010), Assistant Planning Director Shannon Tuch says, “This is all based on life-safety requirements. When you have eight related people living in a house, there's a head of household...who would the family's best interest to get everybody out. When you have eight unrelated people, it's pretty much every man for himself."

Ms. Tuch's assertion that a head-of-household is more likely to act in his self interest than eight unrelated occupants is simply unfounded. I'm sure Ms. Tuch excels at her government job, but she's a dull sociologist.

Recently, a small fire broke out at Bernard Carman's home—for the first time since taking ownership 22 years ago—inside someone's locked and vacated room. The smell of smoke was detected in minutes by several housemates. Acting quickly and in a coordinated effort, a resident climbed a ladder, entered the window and doused a burning blanket moments from flaming. The house was saved and without fire damage. Four unrelated people acting together effectively mitigated a serious life-safety incident.

I suspect Ms. Tuch is not so interested in the life-safety issues of eight unrelated people living in a spacious and secure home. What she does though is provide a pretext for enforcing North Carolina housing code which precisely defines who can live where in Asheville. A simple inspection of the historic home would satisfy any observer that this residence is adequate, safe and well-maintained.

We need to reclaim legislative authority at the local level. We can determine for ourselves a whole range of civil issues without blanket interference from a distant legislature. The only thing standing in the way of justice in this and many other cases is the lack of home rule.



Bernard Carman is a long-time homeowner in the city of Asheville and has been an active participant in local community affairs for over a decade.

Since 1988, he has owned and lived in a beautiful 3-story, 8-bedroom house in Asheville's Montford Historic District. During those 22 years He has improved the property and rented out rooms to tenants at below market rates, and so far He has not encountered a shortage of poor people to rent rooms to. This affordable housing is now under attack by a city that vigorously promotes affordable housing and even subsidizes it with tax breaks and other incentives.

The reason his home is under attack is that housing regulation mandates that single-family homes cannot be occupied by more than 5 unrelated people. And he is prohibited by zoning code from operating either a boardinghouse or a bed-and-breakfast homestay. The choices he's been given are to either summarily evict 3 people or upgrade the home with expensive safety equipment.

Evicting 3 renters would cost him the lost revenue of about $18,000 a year. He would have to make up the difference himself or significantly raising the rent on the remaining tenants. Absorbing the cost himself would bankrupt him and risk foreclosure on his 22-year investment. Raising rent would mean that 5 renters would be paying for 3 empty rooms and this would certainly put the property outside the definition of affordable housing.

If he decides to continue renting to more than 5 unrelated people, then instead of being subject to residential housing code his home would be subject to commercial code. This would require that an elaborate sprinkler systems be installed, which he estimates would cost around $30,000.

In any case, as long as his property is in violation of housing regulations he is subject to fines of $100 per day until he can prove that it is fully in compliance one way or another. Neither evicting tenants nor installing safety equipment can be done quickly and he has have spent three months so far communicating with city staff on the specifics of my case and seeking remedies as well as exploring and weighing my options for compliance and he could be facing $9,000 worth of fines as of today.

For 22 years he has paid his taxes, improved the neighborhood, increased property values and offered affordable housing to the community. He has harmed no one else and has not risked the safety or well-being of his friends.

Meanwhile, the City of Asheville is combating homelessness and poverty and is offering developers taxpayer-funded subsidies, tax breaks and economic incentives in exchange for building affordable housing in our city.

This is how the City of Asheville is both promoting and destroying affordable housing at the same time.

Home Rule

Any one visiting Bernard's home would find that it is spacious, accommodating, well kept and safe, with modern fixtures, appointments and appliances. There are fire escapes to the top story and fire extinguishers on every floor. The people that live there are friendly and mature and they get along well and look out for each other.

If city staff or a fire marshal were to inspect the property for themselves, this is what they would find. But they would not be able to consult their own judgment and declare the home to be safe, quiet, orderly and no threat to the neighborhood or its occupants.

But North Carolina is not a home rule state and the city must defer to state law in these matters. Legislators in Raleigh determine who can live where in Asheville. The city is only allowed to make housing regulation more restrictive but not less. If we had home rule, lawmakers in Asheville could resolve these problems on a case-by-case basis and, if that were so, I believe Bernard would be allowed to continue offering affordable housing to poor people in Asheville.


1. In Montford, you have two homes next to each other that are very similar in design and structure. The neighbor's property is worth a lot more than Bernard's. Why should Bernard's property be worth substantially less than his neighbor's? The neighbor's property is a Bed and Breakfast. A Bed and Breakfast is going to be worth more than a single-family home because it's been renovated and developed to be commercial income-producing property. Running a Bed and Breakfast is something Bernard has considered in the past. But Bernard cannot convert his single-family home into a Bed and Breakfast because of a zoning ordinance that prohibits two Bed and Breakfast Homestays from being next to each other. According to the Unified Development Ordinance, no two B&B's can be closer than 500 feet from each other. So, while the neighbor can operate a B&B, Bernard cannot. That constitutes a government taking without compensation.

2. Bernard's home was built 100 yeas ago to be an 8-bedroom house. Since Bernard bought the home 22 years ago, it has been housing 8 people in those 8 bedrooms. Along comes a law that prohibits Bernard from housing 8 people. The law says that Bernard can only have 5 people residing in his home. Now he cannot use 3 bedrooms as they were intended and must essentially keep them empty and unused. The house came first, then a law was established that denied Bernard the full use of his property as he saw fit and in a way that harmed no one else. That constitutes a government taking without compensation.


Do North Carolina Local Governments Need Home Rule?
Frayda Bluestein |UNC School of Government | Fall 2006
North Carolina local governments are created by the state and derive all their powers by delegation from it.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Resident Fined For Providing Affordable Housing

The City of Asheville promotes and destroys affordable housing at the same time.

Sustainable for whom?
Amid push for denser development, Montford residents face eviction
by David Forbes | Mountain Xpress | 11/16/2010
“Sustainability” has cropped up frequently in city policy statements in recent years, often accompanied by pleas for denser, more affordable housing to promote a style of living that proponents maintain is more energy-efficient and compatible with mass transit. But Montford resident Bernard Carman says he’s not impressed. He's owned a historic home on Cumberland Avenue, just north of downtown, for 22 years, undertaking extensive renovations (the house didn't have a working bathroom when he purchased it) while watching neighboring derelict buildings morph into swank bed-and-breakfasts. Carman shares the massive, eight-bedroom residence with seven roommates, providing affordable housing (currently $400 a month) without requiring potentially intrusive new construction or economic incentives from the city...
“This is all based on life-safety requirements,” she explains. “When you have eight related people living in a house, there's a head of household or parental figures who would act altruistically or in the family's best interest to get everybody out. When you have eight unrelated people, it's pretty much every man for himself..."
To be in compliance, barring major renovations, Mr. Carman would have to evict three of his eight tenants from his eight-room three-story home and leave those three bedrooms empty; that is, unoccupied and generating no income for the homeowner, contrary to his judgment. This constitutes a government taking. The home existed before the law. The new law deprives Mr. Carman of the right to use and dispose of his property as he sees fit. When the government takes property for a public purpose, it must compensate the property owner. Mr. Carman should receive a check for $1,500 per month from the City of Asheville to compensate him for the loss of income producing property forcibly imposed on him by law.


Bernard Carman: Asheville Affordable Housing Threatened
Posted by Michael Muller | Mountain Xpress | October 13, 2010
Dear Asheville City Council members, past and present, and activists of our Asheville community: My name is Bernard B. Carman. I am a long time resident of Asheville and a ~22 year home owner in Montford. I have lately become aware of a general problem with our zoning ordinances as they stand today and I would like to share with you some of my concerns and recommendations for improvements.

Asheville ordinance may force Montford landlord to kick out renters
John Boyle | Asheville Citizen-Times | October 17, 2010
For 22 years, Bernard Carman has provided a nice little slice of affordable housing. But it looks like the city, which ironically enough promotes the daylights out of affordable housing and even finances some of it, might just shut him down. At the very least, Carman faces the unpleasant option of having to kick three of his eight renters out, which he finds untenable for philosophical and financial reasons.

What the fudge
by Brent Brown | Mountain Xpress | 11/23/2010

National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week was a great success in Asheville and Buncombe County this year. During the week of November 14-20 2010, the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative raised awareness about homelessness, dispelled myths, and talked with the community about existing efforts to end homelessness.

To comply with zoning rules, three residents will leave Montford home
by David Forbes | Mountain Xpress | 12/03/2010
To avoid fines, Bernard Carman, a Montford landowner involved in a dispute over city zoning rules that prohibit more than five unrelated tenants from living in his eight-bedroom house, says three tenants are leaving in order to comply with the rules.