In the meantime, we have some developments.
The principles of the Asheville Tea Party are:
"ATP/PAC has and will continue to support our local and state representatives to pass legislation that advances our core values, specifically, the promotion and preservation of individual rights, Constitutionally-limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets."
Here is the question I put to the chairman of the Asheville Tea Party, Jane Bilello:
What is the Asheville Tea Party's position on Asheville City Council's Equality Resolution?
Cecil Bothwell wrote:
On Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 7:31 AM — Thanks for the query, Tim. I'm eager to hear a responseGary M. Shoemaker, Buncombe County Republican Party Membership Chairman, tea party member and leader of Buncombe Forward wrote:
Mar 4, 2011, at 8:35 AM — Speaking for myself... Yawn. What position?Erika Franzi, former Asheville Tea Party Chair wrote:
Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 9:39 AM — Not to be a troublemaker, but it seems to me that an organization dedicated to the rights of the individual should have a position on this issue and it ought to be fairly easy to produce when asked.Here is an exchange with city council member Cecil Bothwell and George Danz, recently resigned (Mar 4) from the Asheville Tea Party Board of Directors over his disagreement with Chair Jane Bilello about his right to respond to my original question. Here George comments as a former board member and Bothwell replies:
George E. Danz: Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 10:58 AM — Why does the Asheville City Council continue to outdo our own Federal Government’s reckless spending programs and efforts to produce equality of outcome instead of equality of “opportunity” when all of us here know that the city is flat broke?Stay tuned... This could take a while...
Cecil Bothwell: Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 2:00 PM — I'm not at all clear what "reckless spending programs" you are referring to. None of the four items in this resolution involve expenditures. None of them are aimed at producing "equality of outcome."
George E. Danz: Why does Council continue to pay its itself far more for the work they do than similar councils all over the state?
Cecil Bothwell: To the best of my knowledge our compensation is fairly comparable to NC cities with 100,000+ population. Given that we have a daytime population of about 120,000, I don't see that as much out of line. I do know that I put in well over 20 hours per week on the job, and it is terribly disruptive of other work because committee meetings and meetings with constituents, welcoming addresses to visiting convention and business groups, etc. are scattered through the week. The question of compensation becomes one of whether we only want rich people or people with a profitable angle on pubic policy to run our government. I'd be willing to hear arguments either way on the matter.
George E. Danz: What do the 4 resolutions below have to do with the State or Federal Constitutional powers? For example, our US Constitution in Article I, Section 8 lists only 16 powers of the Federal Government. Nowhere in those 16 are there provisions for ANY of the council’s 4 resolutions. Most state constitutions are modeled after the Federal, except insofar as the 10th Amendment provides the states powers to act not included in Article I, Section 8, I would be highly surprised if the state or city charters allowed council to act in favor of the council’s 4 resolutions below.
Cecil Bothwell: A resolution is a "sense of the legislature" statement. It is not an ordinance.
George E. Danz: Has council carefully and fully calculated the cost to Asheville taxpayers for implementation of these 4 resolutions?
- Adding gender orientation to the list of those protected under our employment rules should be unnecessary, given that we are all guaranteed equal treatment under the law. Sadly, we have had to specify that discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, color are not permissible, in order to remind people that "everybody" means "everybody." This simply reinforces what should already have been regular practice.
- Bullying should be covered under assault laws. But again, emphasizing such specific acts has proved helpful in other municipalities. The resolution commits us to attempting to fashion a meaningful ordinance to protect people, particularly children, on City property. Such an ordinance will be debated in the future.
- The domestic partner registry we endorsed is completely legal and will pay for itself through fees. While it carries no legal strength, it has been found in other municipalities that registration in such a public record is helpful when partners are in the hospital, for example. Hospitals tend to grant partners the visitation rights usually accorded marital partners, for example. And many employers now provide access to health insurance plans for domestic partners. Registration can be part of the proof offered that the person in question is indeed a long-term partner.
- It is entirely legal for the City Council to have a legislative agenda. We routinely ask our local delegation to support this or that bill. Asking them to endorse same-sex marriage is no different than asking them to approve a food and beverage tax or secure funding for the Civic Center.
Cecil Bothwell: There is no cost whatsoever to the resolutions themselves, because they are simply resolutions. There will presumably be some legal staff time involved in contacting the School of Government for model bullying legislation, but since we ask Staff to investigate multiple ideas each month, breaking out which hour is spent on this or that is fairly intangible. I can pull up model legislation in about 15 minutes online, so I can't imagine this is a really difficult task. And, as I said above, the Registry will be priced to pay for whatever time and record keeping it entails.
George E. Danz: My guess is they have NOT! And finally, doesn’t council owe it to its citizens an opportunity to vet resolutions that surely cost taxpayers and over-reach their understanding of the just powers of the city council BEFORE they go off half-cocked on resolutions such as the 4 council has made?
Cecil Bothwell: We do. This resolution has been examined by Staff and Council for at least a month, while elements of the resolution have been under consideration for well over a year.
Erika Franzi, Tim Peck Resign From Asheville Tea Party
ThunderPig | November 15, 2010
It is with great reluctance to announce that Founder, Erika Franzi, and Board member, Tim Peck have resigned from Asheville Tea Party and Asheville Tea PAC. It has been Erika's vision, leadership and unwavering belief in our mission that propelled the Asheville Tea Party and the Asheville Tea PAC to its successes, presence and influence.
Tim Peck | Feb 23, 2011
Congratulations to Asheville City Council for adopting the resolution in support equal rights for all Asheville citizens.
Tea For Two
Verve Magazine | October 2010
On the national political scene, everyone’s talking about the Tea Party. What is the “party” up to locally? We asked its leaders.