Ruled from Raleigh?

“The fight for home rule is on:” Buncombe County Democratic Party Chair Emmett Carney says that North Carolinians need greater independence for local government. photo by Chris Wood
“The fight for home rule is on:” Buncombe County Democratic Party Chair Emmett Carney says that North Carolinians need greater independence for local government. photo by Chris Wood

Relations between Raleigh and the city of Asheville are strained, to say the least.

“Our relationship, historically, with our local delegation has been very open,” notes Asheville City Council member Gordon Smith. “What's changed with this session is seeing bills that don't have consensus from the local delegation and seeing legislation move forward without any consultation with those it affects."

At the center of the storm stands freshman Republican Rep. Tim Moffitt, who has introduced or backed all of the most controversial bills. Moffitt, however, has shrugged off the controversy, maintaining, for example, that the bill seizing the city’s water system was merely intended to start a discussion after Council raised water rates, mostly for commercial and industrial customers.

“The process, which seems to be people’s main frustration with me, is really a two-way street," Moffitt said earlier. "The city didn’t consider contacting me before raising rates on businesses or residents. I didn’t complain about that.”

Moffitt says he didn't originally file it as a study bill simply because he was rushing to get it in before the filing deadline (see “An Asset of the People?” June 7 Xpress).

In response to the clamor over that bill, notes Smith, Moffitt has begun notifying Council members either the day he submits a bill or the night before. A May 26 email, for example, informed them that he was changing his water-system proposal to a study bill rather than an immediate mandate.

“I recognize that I placed many of you in a very uncomfortable situation regarding not being inclusive on this and other matters,” Moffitt wrote. “However, it is a two-way street. Although many of you have complained publicly about my actions, I have not drawn yours into question either publicly or privately. Regardless, I will continue to strive to work with you on legislation relative to Asheville and on other topics as well when appropriate.”

A “Mother May I?” state

Vice Mayor Brownie Newman, who has traveled to Raleigh to speak with state legislators, says he’s seen more interaction with Moffitt than before.

In a June 8 email about the latest version of his bill to hand off the Asheville Regional Airport to an independent authority, Moffitt told Council members: “It is my hope that the language contained therein accommodates most of the concerns vocalized, although not all. Your comments and/or thoughts would be appreciated, as always.”

But Newman, who serves on the current Airport Authority board, says the revised bill “doesn't really address our concerns,” pointing out that it would still reduce the city's representation on the Airport Authority and require Asheville to hand over the property within 90 days of the bill's passage.

The vice mayor says he understands the bills repealing involuntary annexations — prohibiting the practice has been a Republican goal for years — but considers the others beyond the pale.

“Even with the things that were done around the water system [in 2005, when Sullivan Acts II and III were passed], there was never a bill where the legislators said they would transfer ownership of the entire system,” Newman notes. “That's outrageous, on a level that none of the debates we've had in the community have been. I'm sure the county commissioners feel similarly about the state mandating a change to the way local elections have been held for more than 200 years.”

Meanwhile, Council members and city staff are taking a more proactive approach toward the General Assembly. City Manager Gary Jackson and Council members have gone to Raleigh to discuss upcoming bills and articulate Asheville’s concerns. Council member Esther Manheimer and Mayor Terry Bellamy have both spoken individually with Moffitt.

“I think there's an uptick in conversation between individual Council members and Rep. Moffitt,” says Smith. “Raleigh has a lot of control; they use it every day. We're a ‘Mother May I?’ state. Asheville has been in a particularly hard situation for some time: We have the Sullivan Acts [which restrict the way the city can run its water system]; the occupancy tax, well below the state average, doesn't go to the general fund, and it's different from how other municipalities are treated.”

The city's new approach may be bearing some fruit: Democratic Reps. Susan Fisher and Patsy Keever subsequently withdrew their co-sponsorship of the airport bill. But at the end of the day, the power remains in the hands of the state.

And if the city's lobbying efforts couldn’t derail the water and airport bills, a packed schedule at the end of the legislative session has at least temporarily brought them to a halt. Both bills remain in committee and may come back up during the General Assembly's short session next spring.

“The fight for home rule is on”

“Asheville's not the only district where repeals of annexations — even those upheld by the court — have been introduced,” notes Bluestein of the School of Government. “It's a pervasive aspect of the relationship. I can't give you any particular numbers, but it's safe to say most of the local bills are requests of the local delegation, but there's no legal limitation to the Legislature doing that. But it's unusual to do it without a local request.”

However, she continues, “Folks elected from that constituency may feel they have a mandate to do something different. That's obviously what's happening with annexation: Legislators feel they're giving voice to those folks.”

And while local bills are generally expected to have the backing of the entire local delegation before legislative action will be taken (something even the controversial Sullivan Acts had), Bluestein stresses that this isn’t a legal requirement.

“There's plenty of cases, including within the Democratic-controlled body, when the delegation didn't have consensus and one member pushed it forward anyway,” she says. “But it's unusual.”

In the early 20th century, notes Bluestein, the General Assembly went even further, sacking entire city councils, appointing new ones and selling off local-government property. “Here, there's no limitations on the state government's authority to really micromanage, if you will, at the local level.”

Should there be? Emmet Carney, chair of the Buncombe County Democratic Party, thinks the time has come to push for increased independence from state government.

“The fight for home rule is on,” he declares, adding, “I think North Carolinians would universally favor that.” And if the Democrats regained control of the General Assembly, he continues, “My position would not change. … But I'm not an elected official.”

Overreaching or protecting local interests?

Every day, says Carney, he hears near-universal condemnation of the local bills passed by the General Assembly.

“What we have been seeing lately is a concerted effort to centralize our power [in] Raleigh,” Carney maintains. “We have as much right to self-determination as anyone else in America does. We did not forfeit that right just by Mr. Moffitt being elected. He didn't campaign on these ideas, because you couldn't win with these ideas anywhere in America. These views are anathema to Buncombe County residents.”

Smith sounds a similar note, pointing to the revisions to the water-system bill.

“I think Rep. Moffitt has been chastened by the electorate,” says Smith. “All points on the political spectrum reject this autocratic way of doing things. What remains to be seen is whether this is window dressing or if he intends to become a full partner. I think Republicans in Raleigh have overreached with this approach of forcing local bills. We've been seeing government forced on the people rather than of the people.”

Not all area residents agree with Carney and Smith, says Henry Mitchell, chair of the Buncombe County Republican Party.

“I'm sure [Moffitt is] doing what he thinks best, and I'm sure he's got a kitchen cabinet advising him on this,” Mitchell observes. “He's seen how the water system's run over the years, for example, and thinks it could be more efficient. I think he should get input at some point, maybe be a little more proactive in the community. But I know the party, and local Republicans support him. It's tricky; you can't please everyone. And sometimes, if you try to get input from everybody, you just end up tying the system up even more.”

“I'm sure it's going to irritate the Democrats, but in the GOP it's felt like he's doing the job we sent him to Raleigh to do,” Mitchell adds. “I think he's representing local interests on stuff that's been on the burner for a while and trying to make it better for the citizens.”

Still, Mitchell does say he believes more local control is needed, though he’s not sure what’s the best way to achieve it.

Moffitt, meanwhile, did not respond to requests for comment for this article, but he has dismissed the opposition to his legislation as "a handful of people in the city who are active about everything that comes out of Raleigh."

— David Forbes can be reached at 251-1333, ext. 137, or at dforbes@mountainx.com.

SHARE

59 thoughts on “Ruled from Raleigh?

  1. J

    Gordon’s comments can be translated as such:

    “The local delegation isn’t all democrats anymore”.

    We add a republican to a previously all democratic delegation, and there’s no longer consensus? What a shocker!

    So would Gordon be happier if we had an all republican state delegation and consensus? Is consensus really the problem?

  2. Agnes Cheek

    How is this any different than any other session for the past 15 years? The only thing that has changed is the letter next to the delegation’s names.

  3. Paul -V-

    –> Moffit is quoted: “The process, which seems to be people’s main frustration with me, is really a two-way street,” Moffitt said earlier. “The city didn’t consider contacting me before raising rates on businesses or residents. I didn’t complain about that.”

    Since when has the city had to alert the state representative to adjust water rates?

    I’m genuinely curious about this. Assuming rates remain in line with the Sullivan Act, is Asheville traditionally micro-managed by state-legislators?

    Besides: The rates were only raised after it was discovered residential taxpayers pay disproportionately more for water usage versus business customers?

    A semi-related thought:

    I’m thrilled, THRILLED, local dems finally care about home rule. It only took them 200 years and the loss of both legislative Houses.

    – pvh

  4. I am happy that Emmett Carney and Gordon Smith finally agree with me. Bravo, boys.
    …………………………

  5. Barry Summers

    How sad for you Tim(1), that three people got comments in before you that didn’t make the issue about you. You’ll have to start getting up earlier.

  6. Barry Summers

    I’ll repeat my suspicion that the intent behind both the water bill and the airport bill, is to move these assets into positions from which they can be privatized, either wholly or in part. This is one of the primary goals of the American Legislative Exchange Council, of which Mr. Moffitt is a member: remove government control from assets of commerce and infrastructure that could be turned into profit-making machines for private entities. They are fairly open about this. The disastrous consequences of other municipalities who have tried this don’t factor in – opportunity for private profiteering is the only goal. Regions of Sicily that have sold their water utilities to bottled-water companies have found their water cut off for hours at a time. Partly ass a consequence, Italian voters recently rejected Silvio Berlusconi’s law mandating that municipalities privatize their water sysytems.

    The City Council of Asheville would never allow this to happen, so I see a two-step maneuver here, not unlike other gambits by corporate-owned legislators. Take advantage of whatever local unrest exists over management of the asset, and propose a ‘solution’ – turn the asset over to an entity that would be more amenable to overtures of privatization, say the MSD for example.

    And again, as is his tendency, Mr. Moffitt is non-responsive.

    Moffitt, meanwhile, did not respond to requests for comment for this article

    …beyond his cryptic, ‘Clintonian’ statement that “There is no move to privatize”. Depends on what your definition of “is” is.

    Side note: Sen. Dick Durbin introduced legislation last week requiring states & municipalities that want to privatize their transportation infrastructure (highways, airports, etc.) have to first pay back all the Federal money that went into building them. Interesting that Moffitt’s airport bill ground to a halt at the same time?

  7. J

    @ Paul,

    this is pure speculation, but I’ve always taken Tim’s comments to mean that the city didn’t notify him, as an business person or individual who pays the city for water, about their rate hikes. The city council had a small hearing, and then just did it. I don’t think he means that the city has to notify the state about water rate increases.

  8. Barry Summers

    @ J

    And that makes it better? The fact that the City didn’t consult every ratepayer before raising rates (let’s ignore the fact that it was covered extensively in the press beforehand), that serves as cover for him not consulting the City before acting to take the water system away altogether? When the City Manager & two Council members drove all the way to Raleigh & were sitting in front of him talking about issues that affect the City, the day before he introduced his bill?

    Pretty thin lipstick for a pretty stinky pig.

  9. Dionysis

    Well, the correct word was used in the title…’ruled'; to have used ‘governed’ would not have been quite as accurate.

  10. J

    @ Barry,

    I’ll try, but I have to admit, I feel like nothing I say will ever satisfy you.

    Businesses plan long term, I assume you know something about this. Suppose you’re a business that uses a lot of water – wouldn’t you like to know decently well in advance, say around budget planning time, if your water rates are going up?

    The solid coverage in the press hardly gives on significant advanced notice – it was a pretty fast move all things considered. Again, speculation, the GA showed the city what it feels like when the shoe is on the other foot.

    You’re not going to like any answer that purports to defend Tim. Not only that, the point is moot since the bill is just a study bill; but it seems like we’d rather be angry.

    We should discuss whether it’s a good idea to merge the system (I think so, because it’s quite a show to watch everyone rip their hair out over this; I’ve got a good view and some popcorn).

  11. “What we have been seeing lately is a concerted effort to centralize our power [in] Raleigh,” Carney maintains.

    — — —

    oh, so the Democratic control over NC for the past, how many decades?, hasn’t exemplified centralized power in Raleigh???

    and wait, isn’t it Tim Moffitt the guy who is AGAINST NC State permitted FORCED* Annexation of people’s property by municipalities? (* annexation without allowing people to VOTE on it.)

    further, isn’t the Democratic/”Progressive” control in our local AVL gov’t responsible for DISALLOWING home rule in our own HOMES, through tyrannical legislation like the freakin’ UDO?

    after all, the City of Asheville never notified me when it decided to do a taking of my property rights without compensation (a 5th Amendment violation), in disallowing 8 people to live in an 8 bedroom house in Montford, after we had been doing so for a decade.

    when will people allow issues to be ISSUES in and of themselves, rather than being idiotic points of partisan gameplay?

    as usual, the issues raised are really not matters regarding Republican vs. Democrat, but rather of Tyranny/Collectivists vs. Liberty/Individuals.

    Raleigh has NO business micromanaging AVL, and AVL has NO business micromanaging the lives of individuals — PERIOD!

    perhaps if ALL the bureaucrats in local, state, AND federal gov’t would remove their heads from their behinds and actually think beyond playing within their own political sandboxes, the People would begin to reap the benefits of a somewhat FREE society.

    … but that would require them to represent the People, rather than their blasted political parties.

    then again, so long as the masses continue to REMAIN partisans, they will continue to ELECT partisans, and therefore, the rest of us non-partisans must endure through the suffering of living in a tyranny which claims to be the “home of the free”.

  12. Yes. I agree with Infinity. Let’s get started on some real freedom like they have in Somalia!

    After all, they don’t have any zoning regulations or taxes. No pesky public programs of any sort whatsoever!

  13. (source, Wiki) Somalia … formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under communist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country’s territory… Somalia has been characterized as a failed state and is one of the poorest and most violent states in the world.

    ———

    the failed state of Somalia is the result of a communist/socialist gov’t — pretty much where Neo-Amerika has been headed for quite sometime.

    so no, Mat, continue promoting your anti-liberty philosophies, including your advocacy for gov’t over-regulation, intolerance to home rule or voluntary annexation, and keep electing your partisan bureaucrats, and you will soon be living in the failed state of Neo-Amerika.

    but i expect no less from the masses who have graduated from the dismal public education system which apparently knows NOTHING about liberty.

    educate yourself… for a change:

    The Philosophy of Liberty
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muHg86Mys7I&feature=player_embedded

  14. Barry Summers

    Again, speculation, the GA showed the city what it feels like when the shoe is on the other foot.

    Again, as is so often the case lately, the arguments about policy dissolve away into one justifying punitive retribution for past wrongs, real or imagined. This isn’t governing, it’s peeing in the neighbor kids’ sandbox. This round of vitriol from the Teapublicans will lead to another generation of tit-for-tat childishness from both parties.

    And I notice you avoided responding to the fact that Moffitt gave the visiting City delegation the finger on his water bill. Imagine sitting there talking to them about annexation, or the commissioner district elections bill, or whatever else they talked about, all the while knowing that you had a bill in the hamper that would be like stirring a hornets nest – taking away their water supply. And it’s going to drop the day after they leave your office. And you choose to withhold that from them. This alone shows the level of contempt and scorn Moffitt has for the City and it’s elected leaders. This is the act of a small, mean, dishonest little cuss, and everything he tries to do from now on will be seen through that lens.

  15. [MODERATOR NOTE]

    This is where the thread became uncivil, insulting and ‘ad hominem':

    “How sad for you Tim(1), that three people got comments in before you that didn’t make the issue about you. You’ll have to start getting up earlier.”

  16. interesting how when partisans/collectivists/pro-tyrants, be they Neo-Cons or Neo-Libs, become cornered by truth and logic that they have nothing to resort to but personal insults.

    thank you for showing your true colors! 8-)

  17. Actually, you didn’t really address what I said so there’s not much point in going on about “truth and logic”. You’re entitled to your own concept of each. Doesn’t bother me too much.

    What Libertarians fail to understand, and what proper anti-authoritarians do, is that there is a clear line between rational and irrational authority. I’d also say that there’s a clear understanding of a concept of something greater than “self”.

    In fact, the Founders that some of you so happily love to flaunt when you speak of liberty also fail to remember that while “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” was an important part of the Declaration of Independence, the actual founding document of the nation, The Constitution of the United States of America, aims to “promote the general Welfare”.

    There is no mention of the individual there. It is a clear statement of preserving the collective rights of the People over any Person. It’s why there’s a legislature, a judiciary, and an executive in separate branches of government. The collected individual rights as expressed later, in The Bill of Rights, serve to augment the Constitution. They don’t define it.

    But when it is convenient for you to ignore this, you do and you start spouting off about “liberty” and “partisanship” and claiming that the other side has no arguments. Which is a clever way of getting around the fact that you simply want to believe that there is some way you can justify your own selfish and ignorant worldview in some incredibly enlightened, pro-Liberty manner.

    Now, if you would like me to address something you have to add the conversation, we can do that. If you would like to lay the blame for Somalia’s current problem on a communist government, that’s fine. If you want to believe that is the road we’re headed down, despite pretty much all evidence to the contrary, that’s fine.

    But, is it really logical for you to claim that your Federal rights have been violated when you don’t even want state or city laws to have any standing? You either believe in a framework of legal protections against intrusion, or you don’t.

    And if you believe in that legal framework, you are left then with admitting that you simply have a problem with those laws that negatively affect you. At that point, you’d have legal recourse to pursue action against the institution that attempted to infringe upon you.

    Or, in Libertarian Fantasy Land, you’d pretty much wind up in some kind of Hatfield-McCoy feud. Or something.

    At any rate, it is hard for me to understand your “truth and logic” when you jump from “Raleigh shouldn’t micromanage Asheville and Asheville shouldn’t micromanage individuals but when they do, I’ll claim that my Federal Rights were infringed, even though I don’t actually believe in the supremacy of US Law because that would mean I am a Federalist instead of a States-Righter or Libertarian or….”

    See? You cannot make those arguments convincingly. You can link that annoying youtube video for the rest of eternity but you probably won’t be able to sort out the internal inconsistencies that plague your concept of “truth and logic”.

    Thanks for playing.

  18. Mat, in one post you have successfully exemplified a myriad of errors in your chosen philosophy of collectivism/statism. where do i even begin?

    there is no such thing as “federal/collective/Constitutional” rights. individual rights are only derived from our Creator, whatever one believes that to be or mean. “Creator” implies something above and beyond a mere mortal, whether one understands that to be divine or of the earth itself. groups of people, ie: governments, can not grant rights, for they have no power over individuals unless they usurp that power and make those individuals slaves through force.

    you don’t have to agree with this, but if groups of people with anti-liberty values didn’t force their opinions on others, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    you see, those of us who desire liberty are only prevented in our pursuit of liberty when others usurp our individual rights through force, most often, the force of government.

    the construct of the American system of government was created ONLY to protect individual rights, when those rights are violated by other individuals or groups of individuals, governments, or gov’t created corporations.

    the mere suggestion of “collective rights” is as absurd as recent Supreme Court rulings, which treat corporations as individuals and having the same rights as individuals. but then again, absurdity abounds.

    and please try and understand what you read and cite: “promote general welfare” means exactly that… NOT PROVIDE general welfare.

    to PROMOTE the general welfare of America is NOT to PROVIDE health care, or food, or shelter, or clothing, etc., to anyone. why can’t collectivists/statists understand such simple English?

    CORRECT — there IS NO mention of individual there because the founders weren’t ignorant of its true and very direct meaning. “promote the general welfare” means:

    — — —
    http://www.usconstitution.net/glossary.html#WELFARE

    welfare n. 1. health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being. [ Welfare in today’s context also means organized efforts on the part of public or private organizations to benefit the poor, or simply public assistance. This is not the meaning of the word as used in the Constitution.
    — — —

    further, the US Constitution outlines the limitations of government — not the People. People are NOT a collective — People are individuals and are independent. whatever social interactions individuals make are to be voluntary, else are not in line with the pursuit of happiness.

    the Declaration of Independence outlines the philosophy of liberty, which you clearly continue to disregard and/or not understand, even after watching the video i often cite which you mock and which clearly outlines the fundamentals of self-ownership — it means you or any other statist has NO RIGHT over anyone else’s LIFE — PERIOD.

    if YOU wish to give away YOUR ownership of YOUR body, then that’s YOUR prerogative. just don’t expect others to voluntarily become slaves to the state the way you may prefer to, or the way you think they ought to.

    the collectivist (ie: statist/socialist/fascist) philosophy you spew is the same which has created the various illegal wars — on terrorism, on drugs, on poverty… you name it. collectivists/statists desire nothing more than to have their own will become imposed over the would-be free individuals.

    it is your apparent chosen philosophy which is at odds with the philosophy of liberty, and if not successfully resisted intellectually by numerous individuals in our current and/or near-future generations, will result in some new kind of civil war between those who merely desire freedom, and those who would usurp it.

    i never stated that i don’t want federal, state, or city laws to have standing. it is impossible to have a free society without the rule of law — which BTW, has been on the outs for quite some time now. gov’t continues to violate various provisions of the Constitution, without being held accountable whatsoever for its transgressions.

    on the contrary to your presumption, i remain an advocate for individual liberty and expose both collectivist philosophy and legislation that infringes upon, not only my individual rights, but the individual rights of EVERYONE.

    what, do you believe that it is perfectly alright for gov’t to pass any law it wishes, and then expect everyone to just go along with it, regardless of how it may violate their individual rights? really? so then for one example, i guess you are perfectly OK with the prohibition laws imposed upon ALL Americans in the 20’s because some tyrannical rulers believed it would be “for the greater good” (or the general welfare) if no one ever was allowed to consume alcohol?

    whenever a federal, state, or city law violates the right of an individual, it is at odds with liberty, and it is acting illegally, for the very same people who violate said rights also violate their oaths of office to uphold the principles of the Constitution and protect the individual rights of the People. these collectivists/statists are nothing more than pure hypocrites, and their actions continually reveal themselves as being so.

    yes, we do have the legal right to pursue action against the gov’t when it infringes upon said rights. but unfortunately, the Judiciary is pretty much as entirely corrupted as the other two branches of gov’t and is therefore often impossible, or at least impractical, to spend the kind of time, energy, and money on fighting this corruption.

    the State has an unlimited amount of money to fight the individual because there is next to no accountability of these tyrants whatsoever to waste public money as it continues to drown this nation in unlimited debt… or do you agree with the positions of the fools ruining the American economy for decades who have been perpetually and exponentially increasing debt, while feeding a complete line of BS to the American people that it will somehow miraculously work itself out?

    Somalia exists as a failed state because it opposed liberty and embraced the collectivist model, just as Neo-Amerika has been doing for a very long time. it’s just taking a lot longer for this country to wind up in the same place because it actually began on a foundation based upon the philosophy of liberty.

    “evidence to the contrary”??? i’m sorry, which plank of the Communist Manifesto has not been implemented to some degree in Neo-Amerika?

    no, America — or any other country for that matter — has never been perfect, but it certainly was on a better course than most. if the people had just managed to end slavery without a Civil War, America just might have managed to escape from making economic slaves out of everyone, through the creation of an all powerful centralized authoritarian/tyrannical government.

    yes, it’s obviously difficult for you — and apparently so many others like you — to understand truth and logic with regard to the fundamental philosophy of liberty. i can only presume that this is largely the result of a combination of the dismal American public education system which breeds collectivists, and the mass media which feeds total BS and deceptive “left vs. right” mantra into the minds of the masses who continue to listen to it.

    “Ruled from Raleigh”? that’s just one very narrow glimpse of the larger problem which continues to plague this country, and i thank you again for exhibiting this for others to witness.

    if you cannot — or WILL NOT — grasp the philosophy of liberty, based upon the concept of self-ownership, and how it is a violation of someone’s individual rights to have their would-be private lives controlled by the State, then i presume there is little to no hope for you and everyone who thinks like you, aka: collectivists/statists/authoritarians/socialists/communists/fascists, of ever embracing such basic simple concepts of liberty.

    and really, that’s extremely sad, for as long as the collectivists have control over the masses, future generations will continue to suffer. i believe liberty wins in the end, but i continue to grieve for all those who will suffer at the hands of tyrants in the meantime. i can only hope that more young people will open their eyes and recognize the pure evil of collectivist/statist philosophy for what it is, and strive to continue the fight against tyranny by lighting the fires of liberty in the hearts and minds of those around us.

    you’re welcome! i’ll play this game which i cannot lose any day, because i am on the side of truth, justice, and liberty. i truly hope that some day you will also return from the dark side and join the rest of us who remain in light.

    8-)

  19. This is what you say now.

    there is no such thing as “federal/collective/Constitutional” rights.

    This is what you said earlier.

    a taking of my property rights without compensation (a 5th Amendment violation),

    Why should I even read the rest of your post?


    if groups of people with anti-liberty values didn’t force their opinions on others, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    Oh, this is why. Because it’s full of wonderfully circular logic like this, isn’t it?


    you see, those of us who desire liberty are only prevented in our pursuit of liberty when others usurp our individual rights through force, most often, the force of government.

    So, you’re an anarchist?


    the construct of the American system of government was created ONLY to protect individual rights, when those rights are violated by other individuals or groups of individuals, governments, or gov’t created corporations.

    So you support the Civil Rights Acts that instruct business owners not to discriminate against African-Americans?

    Hey, wait a minute. So, the “Creator” gives you rights that should not be given over to government, lest ye become a slave…but you depend on that same government structure to protect your rights?

    Is there no sense of cognitive dissonance in those two statements?


    and please try and understand what you read and cite: “promote general welfare” means exactly that… NOT PROVIDE general welfare.

    I never said that it did.


    to PROMOTE the general welfare of America is NOT to PROVIDE health care, or food, or shelter, or clothing, etc., to anyone. why can’t collectivists/statists understand such simple English?

    For the same reason you can’t, I suppose. After all, if there was no room for interpretation of the Constitution, we wouldn’t be having this argument. Would we?


    CORRECT — there IS NO mention of individual there because the founders weren’t ignorant of its true and very direct meaning. “promote the general welfare” means:

    welfare n. 1. health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being.

    So, the Constitution simultaneously that we should “promote” health and well-being but not that we should “provide” them. Where’s the line? How do you define those two terms in mutually exclusive terms?


    People are NOT a collective — People are individuals and are independent

    So, there is no such thing as the collective American citizenry? No national pride? No reason to stick together against our common enemy? Who were the “We the People” of the Constitution if they were not a collective?


    the Declaration of Independence outlines the philosophy of liberty

    And was not used as the founding legal document for the nation. So, now you are saying the Constitution is flawed? I’m losing track. Do you support our Constitutional government or not?

    The Declaration also says: That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

    That’s the second paragraph. You know what the first one says? That a collective “people” have the right to separate from an unjust government. If it were a statement of individuality, wouldn’t it say “a group of Persons of Individual Status and Intent”? I’m just asking.

    it means you or any other statist has NO RIGHT over anyone else’s LIFE — PERIOD.

    Period? Not even when someone kills another person? Burns down a house? Defrauds a group of people? Breaks a window downtown on May Day?


    it is your apparent chosen philosophy which is at odds with the philosophy of liberty

    No, it is at odds with your somewhat strange philosophy of liberty.


    i never stated that i don’t want federal, state, or city laws to have standing.

    No, you just want the ones that interfere with you to go away. Which is what every Individualist wants, isn’t it? At some point, would any laws be left?


    what, do you believe that it is perfectly alright for gov’t to pass any law it wishes, and then expect everyone to just go along with it, regardless of how it may violate their individual rights?

    I am interested in knowing where you get these ideas from what I’ve written. Do you just not have anything interesting to say in counterpoint to what I have said, so you just make up strawmen to burn down?


    whenever a federal, state, or city law violates the right of an individual, it is at odds with liberty

    Again with the circular logic. But this one’s flawed anyway. So, what is a law that does not violate the right of an individual? You stop at the stop lights, right? You don’t kill people, do you? Do you or do you not have the right to do whatever you want? If not, on what basis do you make those decisions about what you do or do not have the right to do? And who are you to impose those on other individuals, if you had the system that you profess to believe in?


    yes, we do have the legal right to pursue action against the gov’t when it infringes upon said rights. but unfortunately, the Judiciary is pretty much as entirely corrupted

    How many lawyers told you that you did not have a case before you decided the Judiciary was corrupt? Does the judiciary never make a good decision for individual rights? Was the Miranda ruling a fluke? Roe?


    or do you agree with the positions of the fools ruining the American economy for decades who have been perpetually and exponentially increasing debt

    How you got here, I have no idea. But, in short, no. I don’t agree with that. I will say that the fools are doing pretty well for themselves, though. Maybe they are Individualists, too, and are merely securing their own liberty.

    Wait, do you want laws to restrict their ability to do what they want with money?


    Somalia exists as a failed state because it opposed liberty and embraced the collectivist model, just as Neo-Amerika has been doing for a very long time.

    But they’ve been free from the horrible influence of collectivists for, what? Twenty years now? Shouldn’t they be a shining example of Libertarian Utopia by now?

    “evidence to the contrary”??? i’m sorry, which plank of the Communist Manifesto has not been implemented to some degree in Neo-Amerika?

    Hmm. Let’s see…

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. Nope.
    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. Nope.
    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance. Nope.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.Nope, but we’re close!.
    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. Nope. Well, OK, there’s only one money but not just One Bank.
    6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. Nope.
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. Nope.
    8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. Nope.
    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country. Nope.
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.
    Wait! Looks like three for three! Well, not really, because children get a list from schools now with about two-hundred dollars of stuff they need to go to school. Not really free, is it?

    So, by my count, you’ve got a good two, maybe two-and-a-half of ten. Pretty solid Communist America, there.


    if the people
    had just managed to end slavery without a Civil War

    That’s in one of those “alternate history” books, isn’t it? Didn’t Rand write for one of those collections?


    yes, it’s obviously difficult for you — and apparently so many others like you — to understand truth and logic with regard to the fundamental philosophy of liberty

    Oh, yes. I’m horribly challenged. By the way, do you get paid for each time you use the phrases “truth and logic” and “philosophy of liberty”?


    i’ll play this game which i cannot lose any day, because i
    am on the side of truth, justice, and liberty.

    Seriously? You really believe that?

  20. Gordon Smith

    I hope this thread can return to topic because the issues at hand are very important, and I’m curious to understand others’ perspectives on them.

    Libertarians and those love sparring with them, what do you say we get this train back on the topical rails?

  21. Margaret Williams

    What an interesting discussion! But please, stay on topic. Keep your hands in the car at all times.

  22. Barry Summers

    Yeah it’s been at least 24 hours since anyone said anything about Tim(1) and how this topic is about him.

    Just kidding. one last rimshot, everybody calm down!!

    Nelda’s commentary about partisanship and home rule is a much needed dose of sanity:

    http://www.mountainx.com/opinion/2011/062211you-say-po-tay-to-and-i-say-po-tah-to#.TgNa-1tEMr4

    However, I will repeat my observation that much of the dialog about all of these issues, at least coming from the right, is how they were screwed by the Democrats for all those years, and that this change (fill in the blank) is just some sort of long overdue come-uppance. Not even a ‘long overdue swing of the pendulum back to policies that we think are more appropriate’, but all about retribution. How can sensible policy happen when there’s that layer of poison in the discourse and in the motivation of the party in power?

    (waiting for the response to be ‘oh yeah, but the libs are responsible for that too’) 3… 2… 1…

  23. Gordon, it IS on topic. the topic of the LACK of home rule is rooted in the twisted philosophy that individuals do not own themselves, and that a collective/state has rights which supersede the rights of the individual.

    Mat has exemplified this perfectly, and continues to drown in anti-liberty dogma… and i thank him for revealing his hand. i wish more collectivists/statists would do likewise everywhere, rather than hiding behind the guise of “caring for one’s fellow neighbor”.

    and now i understand that some other local collectivist/statist has written an article to the AC-T suggesting that the GA in Raleigh should write a bill allowing us to recall our elected representatives.

    what a crock! how about just stop all the nonsense and ALLOW HOME RULE???

    why cannot municipalities make decisions on their own, without creating a nanny state, such as been created by the Democratic rule over the last 100 years? (and don’t misunderstand me, i would expect the same statist result from a Republican dominion — tyranny is tyranny, regardless of the partisanship that drives it.)

    further, take the same principle and apply it across the board. why cannot individuals and families who own their homes have HOME RULE in them as well? why do We the People allow freakin’ bureaucrats to tell us what we can or cannot do in one’s own home?

    i’ll tell you why — it is exemplified perfectly in Mat’s diatribe:

    collectivists/statist desire nothing else but to CONTROL the lives of individuals. and even when you call them on it, as i did with Mat, they either don’t understand the simple plain truth that for liberty to thrive, one must act in accordance with the philosophy that individuals own themselves, or they just flat out don’t want liberty and are perfectly happy being slaves in a tyranny of collectivist/statist philosophy… like Marx, Stalin, Hitler, Bush & Obama.

    yeah, can you tell i’m not all that calm about this crap? it’s because i had local bureaucrats come to my own freakin’ home last year to tell me i’m violating some freakin’ collectivist/statist legislation that the AVL City Council passed back in 1997 which prohibits me from peacefully allowing local individuals to live in the bedrooms i have had filled since 1988.

    it was an affordable housing and in fact “green” environment for 22 years, and this City of AVL forced me to put an end to that by kicking out people (one of which is YOUR friend) who were perfectly happy and peaceful living here.

    then when i ask to be grandfathered, the City said no, we won’t do that because you were listed as a single family home all that time — in other words, “our statist legislation does not allow you to live as you have been living and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.”

    you told me if there is anything you could do… i told you… i told you all on City Council that all you have to do is allow me, and anyone else in my situation in AVL, be grandfathered and the problem would have been solved. but NO — NOTHING! i even wrote to Gov. Perdue, and laid out the entire matter in a very respectful letter… NOTHING!

    my rights have been violated by the City of AVL, and the State of NC, and i have little to no recourse because fighting the powers that be in a tyrannical state/city is next to impossible. i don’t have an unlimited source of funding for such a lawsuit, as the state & city does by wasting the taxpayer’s money.

    ALL OF THIS IS ON TOPIC — the lack of HOME RULE in NC is now upsetting the partisans who created this mess to begin with. the lack of HOME RULE in one’s OWN HOME is not only violating the rights of many individuals across the entire nation, but also damaging them.

    and it all boils down to the battle between tyranny & liberty, which has been waged via the opposing philosophies of collectivism vs. individualism. i’m mere trying to educate other locals to this fact, in hopes that we might all be willing and able to come to the table and correct SOME of the wrongs committed by those statists who have sought to rule over the rest of us who desire to defend our individual liberties.

    what say you? are you NOW going to be a proponent of Home Rule, in spite of whatever collectivist philosophies you might hold? is anyone in positions of power even willing to admit that they could have been wrong?

    i continue to wonder…

  24. Gordon, last month I asked Frayda Bluestein, UNC School of Government, to participate in a local community forum on the subject of home rule in North Carolina and she is willing to participate via Skype. Matt Mittan is also interested in participating. No response yet from Lindsey Simerly.

    I would love to work with you and Emment Carney on putting together a forum on this subject. My concept would be to have Frayda as the subject-matter-expert with a possible agenda like this:

    -What is Home Rule?
    -What are the pros and cons?
    -Question-and-Answer Period

    We can use the facilities at UNCA Ferguson Auditorium which has the internet and presentation capabilities.

    Some folks seem to have fun bickering online. How about we have an intelligent discussion on an important topic in a civil atmosphere with real people, real names and real faces?
    …………………………………..

  25. Gordon Smith

    Tim,

    I think your forum idea would produce a productive and substantive conversation. My bandwidth is maxed right now, so I could not commit to helping to plan such an event, but I would certainly be willing to attend and learn.

  26. Barry Summers

    Correct me if I’m wrong – has anyone touched on this? Wouldn’t it take a Constitutional Convention to make NC a Home Rule state, not simply passing a law?

    And I disagree with the Tick up there, that endless diatribes about liberty are relevant to the discussion about these changes currently happening in Raleigh. This strikes me as obfiousness: obfuscate a discussion about mid-level legislative changes with ten pages of grand, off-topic ranting, to the point where the discussion won’t happen at all, which coincidentally would suit the ‘rightists’ just fine.

    How ’bout it Mod? Does continued ranting about tyranny vs. liberty count as ‘off-topic’?

  27. Margaret Williams

    @InfinityBBC, while most of your discussion is on topic, please stick to criticizing the ideas and not the people (including those who are commenting on this thread). Your emotions are showing.

  28. yes, i am somewhat emotional over this issue, because i have been victimized by both the NC state, and especially the local gov’t., and i’m still being damaged, and i now am facing home foreclosure.

    i think anyone in their right mind would likewise be somewhat emotional over all of this. wouldn’t you?

    but i’m sorry, i didn’t realize i made any personal attacks against anyone. i truly strive to attack anti-liberty ideals and philosophies, and not individuals. please forgive me wherever anyone feels i have crossed that line.

    regardless, it seems that others have made personal attacks upon some within the first several posts. and then there was the comment about “my driving from the backseat”, which was ironic in and of itself due to the fact that i’ve been the one challenging those who strive to control others against their will.

    but perhaps it’s OK for some to engage in personal attacks, and not others? i’m at a loss there, but still, i do realize that i should not stoop to such levels.

    thanks again for the reminder! 8-)

  29. Gordon,

    Great. Let me know if there is anyone you know who would be interested in working on this with me. There would be a small cost of using the venue but this could be offset by on-site donations.

    Thanks.
    ………………

  30. Margaret Williams

    @InfinityBBC, thank you for the response.

    We ask that everyone keep in mind that what you may think is a spicy/savvy/wisecracking/smart remark… someone else may take personally. And there is really no reason to refer to anyone as “Tick” (unless that really was their unfortunate choice of a screen name)… or load your responses with so many “you” this and “you” thats — well, of course that’s going to be perceived as making the argument personal.

    Also, on a more technical note, please observe that extremely long posts seem to overload our display system.

  31. Zigopolis

    As a native North Carolinian I feel a little ashamed of myself since I didn’t know this existed in the NC system. Thanks for this article because I think not having more control over our local issues worries me.

    This does mean that a legislator from Southeast NC could try and control what is happening in a local issue in WNC, correct?

    And yes Tim, I would be interested in a forum about ‘home rule’ because it’s something I would like to understand and change.

    I am a registered Democrat, and now that I know this system exists I would like it changed (and I would have had an issue with this if the Democrats still had control of the Legislature because local issues should be decided on a local level).

  32. LOL! oh no, i never took being called “Tick” as a personal attack at all! ;-) the Tick just happens to be my favorite comic super-hero of all time, fighting evil wherever it exists… SPOON! 8-)

    to add to my apology, i will also strive to refrain from extremely long posts.

    — — —

    i truly feel it would be helpful for many if there was a Home Rule forum held locally. it does seem that there are an awful lot of people who do not know how much power gov’t legislatures have over them, at local, state and federal.

    i don’t know whom might be able to organize such a forum, but i’d certainly like to attend it if it should happen.

  33. in case anyone is interested in a different perspective of the implementation of the Communist Manifesto in Neo-Amerika than the one which was presented earlier in this thread, which helps better explain how the right to self-ownership on which the philosophy of liberty is based has been under attack for decades, i have uploaded a file called “Communist Manifesto in Neo-Amerika.rtf” at our recently created LibertyAshevilleNetwork Google Site:

    https://sites.google.com/site/libertyashevillenetwork/files

    regardless of those who disagree, i sincerely hope that some folks reading this thread will now better understand how the issue of the lack of Home Rule is directly related to these matters.

    rather than the federal gov’t lording/micromanaging over state gov’t, lording/micromanaging over city/county municipalities, lording/micromanaging over the individual in one’s own home…

    liberty advocates desire that government only be granted certain powers (which do not violate unalienable individual rights) by the consent of the governed, starting at home with the individual.

    to perhaps put it in simpler terms, liberty advocates desire a bottom-up source of power and control, rather than a top-down.

    we hope more local, state, and federal officials will work towards such a paradigm of Home Rule, rather than continuing along this path we have been heading for a very long time.

    peace…

  34. bill smith

    reading mat eviscerate the more sophomoric of these posts is a delight and a pleasure, wrapped in a self-satisfied chuckle.

  35. [MODERATOR ALERT]

    I would hazard another caution to refrain from personal insults is warranted.
    ………………………..

  36. bill smith

    [IRONIC MODERATOR ALERT]

    I would hazard that petitioning the moderators to moderate might be backseat moderation, in need of moderation. zOMG!

  37. Margaret Williams

    To quote ol’ Gordon:

    Libertarians and those [who] love sparring with them, what do you say we get this train back on the topical rails?

  38. Gordon,

    Great. Let me know if there is anyone you know who would be interested in working on this with me. There would be a small cost of using the venue but this could be offset by on-site donations.

    Thanks.
    ..

  39. bill smith

    @Dave- It’s not as much sycophancy as platonic admiration. /

  40. bill smith

    sycophantic, not sycophancy. I just learned the difference just now.

  41. Puzzled

    I’ve always wondered why, when two or three folks take hold of the comments to go back and forth with each other, why Margaret Williams doesn’t just switch them to their own private chat line, so she doesn’t have to take her valuable time to “moderate” them?

  42. The value to a Mountain Express is the back and forth community dialog…shutting it away in a private chat would defeat the purpose of MtnExps roll of stimulating community dialog.

  43. I’ve always wondered why people use fake names and photos when commenting on a local comment board.
    …………………………………

  44. i second Davyne’s recent comment. without holding intelligent dialog, how can individuals ever grow if they don’t ever take opportunity to break out of their own understanding and consider other viewpoints.

    further, it seems that most Americans have just resigned there to be only two perspectives, the so called “left” and “right”. although, when pressed a bit, many folks i’ve spoken with about this do admit that there are other viewpoints to be considered, but most don’t seem to understand why there are only two choices… but that’s a discussion for a different thread topic.

    regarding Tim’s Q, i merely use “infinitybbc” as a “handle” on just about every online system of networking/commenting/etc. i also often use the “Tick” because i dig his simplistic approach to fighting the brute force of evil, but responding with brute force of justice.

    but in case anyone ever suspects that i’m hiding behind my preference of screen name and avatar, i’ve now included my full name in my Xpress bio, which i presume others can access.

    — — —

    … so, i wonder how many people in the AVL City/County gov’t would be interested in putting together and attending some kind of local forum about Home Rule?

    Gordon, have you persevered through the various road bumps in this thread? 8-) you still there? perhaps you can circulate this idea among the AVL City/County leadership?

  45. … so, i wonder how many people in the AVL City/County gov’t would be interested in putting together and attending some kind of local forum about Home Rule?

    Gordon, have you persevered through the various road bumps in this thread? 8-) you still there? perhaps you can circulate this idea among the AVL City/County leadership?

    (in hindsight, i thought i’d post this separately, hoping it might better catch the attention of Gordon — please forgive me for posting this section in duplicate.)

  46. Betty Cloer Wallace

    @ Infinitybbc: but in case anyone ever suspects that i’m hiding behind my preference of screen name and avatar, i’ve now included my full name in my Xpress bio, which i presume others can access.

    Thanks for your personal identity info, “Infinitybbc” aka Bernard Baruch Carman. Good to know you’re a real person, Bernard, which does make for more meaningful, practical, expeditious, real-life interaction.

    Same thing for some of the other posters here such as “travelah” aka A. M. Mallett aka Aubrey M. Mallett of Charleston. It’s good to know where people are coming from, for better or worse.

    But who exactly is “mat catastrophe,” also of South Carolina? Love the handsome photo, but what’s the real name, and when did you move away from Asheville? Come back. AVL needs you.

    And “Piffy” aka “Bill Smith” et. al.–possibly the pithiest and most profuse and elusive poster to ever pixilate on MtnX–and always full of good research. BUT WHO IS “PIFFY” REALLY? Not just his real name–who is he really?

    And whatever happened to “JimmyTwoTimes” who gave us a killer Guinness Beef Stew recipe?

    And “entopticon” who knows more about how the food chain works than anyone I know.

    And “Davyne with the red rose and music” and red-hot zappers always on target? She’s gotta be a steel magnolia.

    And “OrbitDVD” and “boatrocker” and “Mr. Yuck” and “tatuaje” and “sharpleycladd” and “contentpersephone” and “JRM”? Always interesting and full of good insight, albeit sometimes a half-bubble-off-plumb like the rest of us, but never (gasp) dull!

    The world is full of wonders. And Asheville, too, if these are real people? We could have a party, maybe over at Bernard’s place?

    And so who is Jeff Fobes? I mean really now? Let’s talk.

  47. bill smith

    I heard “Jeff” Fobes is actually not his ‘real’ name. WHAT IS HE HIDING?!?

  48. Why is the attachment of a “real name” necessary to validate someone?

    In the days of yore, when the internet was just beginning to encroach upon popular culture, pseudonyms were incredibly common. You simply didn’t go about posting your real name everywhere. In fact, I am still amazed at the amount of personal information that people willingly share out into the ether.

    So, I’m not trying to hide behind anything. I think you actually can learn my “real name” if you are an astute enough googler. But I still fail to see why it matters in the least.

  49. bill smith

    The people who obsess over ‘real’ identities are people who perhaps can’t focus upon substance.
    Want to know who I am? Send me a message via this system. In the meantime, until the topic of discussion is our identity, I think that perhaps the TOPIC at hand might be of more substance. t that’s just me. Or is it?

    Duhn duh duhnnn!

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.