Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Equality Resolution

Congratulations to Asheville City Council for adopting the resolution in support equal rights for all Asheville citizens; Mayor Bellamy dissenting, of course. And boo, double boo, to all of the other dangerous moralistic religionists who spoke in opposition during public comments in their ongoing effort to apply the coercive force of government to impose their peculiar religious views on all others. I expect the good mayor will be shown the door in the due course of time. Good riddance.

Marriage is a peaceable voluntary contract between free individuals often involving property, reputations, assets and even children. Just as in any contract, it is the proper role of the government to adjudicate contract disputes when they arise. Sadly, our gay citizens are prohibited by the government from entering into these contracts. This is a violation of individual rights.

Heterosexual couples can legally get married. This qualifies them for certain privileges and legal recognition. Homosexual couples are prevented by the government from getting married. This is a violation of their individual rights. To compensate for this injustice, the city will create a registry of gay couples, who are forced to remain single, that meet certain criteria for a civil union. Were gays able to exercise their right to marriage, none of this would be necessary.

The Asheville City Council act to affirm and protect the equal rights of all its citizens by:
  • Extending the city’s employment discrimination clause to include “sexual orientation”, “gender”, and “gender identity or expression”;
  • Enacting an anti-bullying ordinance for all city institutions and grounds;
  • Creating a Domestic Partner Registry to recognize same-sex relationships for the purposes of providing documentation and offering a mechanism through which hospitals, businesses, and other entities will have the opportunity to recognize these relationships; and
  • Endorsing and supporting the rights of same-sex couples to share fully and equally in the familial rights and responsibilities of civil marriage.
I’m not sure, though, that Asheville city attorney Bob Oast got it right during this council meeting. He said that Bill Russell’s absence would count as a non-vote and council would need a tie-breaker. I believe that if a member is unexcused in their absence for a vote, then the record will show a “Yah” vote for that member.
Chapter 160A. Cities and Towns. Article 5 - Form of Government. §160A‑75. Voting. "No member shall be excused from voting except upon matters involving the consideration of the member’s own financial interest or official conduct or on matters on which the member is prohibited from voting under G.S. 14‑234, 160A‑381(d), or 160A‑388(e1). In all other cases, a failure to vote by a member who is physically present in the council chamber, or who has withdrawn without being excused by a majority vote of the remaining members present, shall be recorded as an affirmative vote."


Council passes equality resolution, 5-1 ***UPDATED WITH VIDEO***
by Margaret Williams, David Forbes, Jake Frankel on 02/23/2011
Some civil, and not so civil discussion on the Equal Rights resolution in the Mountain Xpress. See comment thread below the main article

Impact of Asheville vote on same-sex rights unclear
Mark Barrett | Asheville Citizen-Times | Feb. 23, 2011
ASHEVILLE — The impact of City Council's passage of a resolution endorsing more rights for same-sex couples will be partly symbolic and partly concrete, people on both sides of the issue said.

If It Looks Like a Duck, Quacks Like a Duck . . .
Posted February 22nd, 2011 at 11:44 PM by Leslee Kulba
I see the bait hanging on the trap, but I feel I must take it. I must say I am somewhat uncomfortable with your post and have seriously considered deleting it. MY RESPONSE: My comments, expanded, appear in the Mountain Xpress and will appear in your newspaper, the Asheville Tribune. Good luck shutting me up. [NOTE: Leslee Kulba deleted my response from her weblog at the John Locke Foundation.]

LTE: Equality resolution approval praised, but mayor lambasted
Tim Peck | Asheville Tribune | March 3, 2011
Congratulations to Asheville City Council for adopting the resolution in support equal rights for all Asheville citizens.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Walmart Bad, Ingles Good

Five years ago, a request for a zoning change was made by Walmart for the property on Smoky Park Highway next to the existing Lowe's.
Wal-Mart wants West Asheville store
by Mark Barrett, Asheville Citizen-Times | November 10, 2005

ASHEVILLE — Discount giant Wal-Mart Stores wants to put what would be its second Asheville Supercenter store just west of the Lowe’s home improvement warehouse on Smoky Park Highway in West Asheville.

The proposal for a 184,000-square-foot store could be the subject of one of the first major development votes taken by a new City Council after a fall campaign in which growth issues were prominent.

Zoning for the “vast majority” of the 25-acre site allows big box retail stores, but part would require rezoning and the project requires council approval because of its large size anyway, Joe Heard, city director of development services, said Wednesday.
The application for a zoning change that would have allow the building of a Super Walmart was withdrawn because city council had the majority votes against the resolution. This was after a sustained protest by community anti-Walmart activists. Asheville lost millions in tax revenue, 400-plus jobs and a great place to shop on a prime co-location site.
“I really feel sorry for the trailer park residents who were going to be paid $7,500 apiece to defray their moving expenses,” said store proponent and city resident Tim Peck, referring to relocation assistance Wal-Mart offered. “Now they’re going to still have to move out when the next developer purchases that property, and they’re going to get nothing.” -Asheville Citizen-Times
Asheville City Council will vote February 22, 2011, on a conditional zoning application by Ingles Super Markets to build a new mega-Ingles on Smoky Park Highway. [City Council Documents]

New Ingles Store: 105,175 SF
Future Retail: 32,060 SF
Car Wash: 2,280 SF
Gas Canopy/Convenience Store: 8,745 SF
Total Shopping Center: 253,173 SF
[source: city council documents]

No two-year-long protests. No news coverage. No public discussion or notice. No Warren Wilson students coming out of the woodwork.

What changed?


Asheville City Council to decide Ingles supermarket proposal
Mark Barrett | Asheville Citizen-Times | Feb 18, 2011, 9:29 PM
ASHEVILLE — Critics and the city's planning staff said approval of a large new Ingles supermarket on Smoky Park Highway as currently proposed would undermine city development rules...

Council's call an opportunity for better plan for new store
Editor | Asheville Citizen-Times | Feb. 23, 2011
Asheville City Council's no-call regarding the construction of a new Ingles grocery store on Smoky Park Highway on Tuesday night was the correct call...

Bigger Ingles eyed in Asheville, but same issues cited
Mark Barrett | Asheville Citizen-Times | Feb 25, 2011
ASHEVILLE — Ingles Markets is considering nearly doubling the size of its supermarket on Brevard Road near Biltmore Square Mall, but a company official says the application is just a trial balloon for now...


Wal-Mart Forum
Tim Peck | December 20, 2005
Last night, the development team for the proposed west end Wal-Mart Super Center held a public forum at the West Asheville Community Center to share their plans for the project and field questions and concerns and take any other input on their large development initiative that the community might want to provide.

Wal-Mart Gets, Like, Totally Zoned
By Tim Peck | Mountain Guardian | March 8, 2006
The final Planning & Zoning Commission hearing on the rezoning of a few parcels in west Asheville for a new Wal-Mart Super Center was held on March 1st.

Meeting: No Wal-Mart
Tim Peck | March 22, 2006
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.

Public Comment [video]
Tim Peck | April 11, 2006
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.

Wal-Mart drops West Asheville store plans
By Mark Barrett | April 12, 2006 | Asheville Citizen-Times
Wal-Mart Stores dropped its proposal for a West Asheville Supercenter store Tuesday just hours before a scheduled City Council vote that may well have gone against it.

The High Cost of Low Motives
By Tim Peck | Mountain Guardian | April 28, 2006
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."

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."

Board of Adjustment: Wal-Mart
Buncombe County Board of Adjustment | June 14, 2006
Agenda: Wal-Mart request for three zoning adjustments regarding parking spaces and loading docks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Liberty on the Rocks

Our new logo:


Sunday, February 06, 2011

NC War on Affordable Housing

Letter to the Governor
By Bernard Carman and Tim Peck

Dear Gov. Perdue,

I was moved to write you upon reading your "Setting Government Straight" webpage, especially the page devoted to Regulation Reform on which you said:
"Today, I'm asking North Carolinians to tell me what you would do to set government straight. Tell me about rules that defy common sense — rules that hinder job creation — slow progress — or hurt local governments or schools. I can promise — North Carolina will listen to you."
I wish to share with you that various current state and local laws are working together to prohibit homeowners from offering affordable housing in Asheville, and in NC at large. As a result, less affordable housing is available and also many homeowners now face foreclosure and bankruptcy.

Simple legislative reforms can offer solutions which would prevent unnecessary hardships levied upon thousands of North Carolinians. [continue...]


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

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Gay Iowa

Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old University of Iowa student, spoke about the strength of his family during a public forum on House Joint Resolution 6 in the Iowa House of Representatives. Wahls has two mothers, and came to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 which would end civil unions in Iowa.