Buchi story more vendetta than journalism

I was rather surprised by your recent article "Bottled in Bond” [Dec. 22 Xpress]. This "reporter" is a joke and has written a completely biased, libelous and one-sided smear piece to further [his] friend’s obvious vendetta. The Mountain Xpress should be ashamed of publishing such tabloid yellow journalism.

I have it on good authority (my friend works at Buchi at $14 per hour) that [the Buchi employee] only worked for 23 days as a temp contractor — yet, as your piece states, she [attempted] to claim unemployment. LOL! Does the insanity of this escape you? The lack of the full story is quite telling, and even my attempts to make comments [online] about such have been censored.

So this [employee] couldn’t make it from temp contractor to hired employee — big deal. In my opinion, looking at this mess, it’s not hard to imagine why Buchi decided not to hire her on permanently.

Does your organization have some vendetta against Just Economics, Buchi and Herb Mountain Farms?

I would expect that any decent publication [would publish] some corrections in the next issue. At minimum, Xpress should have investigated the claims for validity and told more than one side of the story.

Shameful behavior from a publication I was actually quite fond of and have often been a part of advertising in. By attacking Just Economics, Xpress attacks over 200 local businesses that are in the program. I would wager many of them advertise in your publication. Is [the decision to publish the story] smart, given this issue is entirely fabricated for someone’s vendetta? Couldn't you have at minimum given Just Economics a voice in this debate?

— Josh Yazell
Asheville

Editor’s response: No personal vendetta (or connection between any of the parties involved and Xpress) exists. We investigated and documented all the claims presented to us, and both Buchi and Just Economics responded and were quoted in the article. Some alleged facts were omitted because they couldn’t be confirmed, and Buchi followed up with a letter to the editor. As for online comments, those that violate our policy — such as making ad hominem attacks or potentially libelous remarks — aren’t allowed.

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82 thoughts on “Buchi story more vendetta than journalism

  1. Charles

    This is a story of an ex-employee with a personal vendetta gone to the paper with intent to smear. Xpress should be hanging their head low to have fallen for it.

  2. HR

    Buchi appears to be breaking the law by paying people as contractors in order to avoid paying taxes. I think that is news. Also by crowing about paying a living wage while not actually doing it they exposed themselves to scrutiny. Not seeing how this is Mountain X’s fault.

  3. shadmarsh

    Does anyone have any actual facts that contradict anything that was in the original story?

  4. karinabird

    Calm down.

    So Donovan wasn’t clued into unemployment laws. At least she didn’t pretend to know them or tax laws as a professional business entity as did Buchi. Buchi, who blames anyone and anyone for the multiple missteps at just about every juncture of this saga and has tried to plug the holes recreating history while several people have backed up Donovan’s story. I believe, from listening to Kila’s RESPECTFUL (of Buchi and its owners) interview that the unemployment issue of the story was included only because the issue of contract payees having to pay extra payroll taxes put the reality of a living wage further and further from the truth. And THAT is the issue that started it al – having workers slap on bottles a statement they thought not to be true.

    Donovan has cooroboration from multiple people. The writer of the article had the facts correct. People may not like what’s happened, and it is all very unfortunate but “oh what a tangled web we weave”…

  5. karinabird

    @Frostllllcus Good point lots of trash talk going on. Waiting to hear from folks with facts rather than opinion and conjecture.

  6. “@Frostllllcus Good point lots of trash talk going on. Waiting to hear from folks with facts rather than opinion and conjecture.”

    If one attempts to do the right thing from the beginning, it will not be necessary to play CYA with a slew of back peddling spin, like is being done in this case.

  7. travelah

    Many businesses hire new employees on a temp or contract basis before moving them to full time permanent employee status. It is generally viewed as a good tool to determine whether the employee is somebody you want to keep or let go. The fact that the offended former worker is not employed by this company any longer really boils down to two or three possibilities. There was no business need to keep the person, the person was not up to the desired standards the business wanted or the person chose to do otherwise.
    I am curious to know why MX considers this an issue to pursue. Has MX used contract or temp employees to fill job needs?

  8. AshevilleAreaArtist

    I have it on good authority (my friend works at Buchi at $14 per hour) that [the Buchi employee] only worked for 23 days as a temp contractor

    Starbucks has medical, optical and dental insurance for people who work only 20 hours a week! but they also have a practice of giving their employees only 19 hrs a week… do their ‘part-time benefits’ make them commendable then?

    and if your friend makes $14/hr, then its just all the more a slap in the face, because Kila’s pay stubs confirmed that her pay (along with all the other Buchi employees i know of) was for $10/hr.

    if you wanna write about libel, then maybe you should look at what your opinion piece does to the MountainX. A claim of “bias” and “vendetta” doesnt go very far without some facts behind it. What you should realize is that one party is obviously in the wrong, and the reporter revealed that. If thats ‘bias’ then the ‘smear’ pieces against the Bush administration should be labeled as libelous too.

  9. joshua

    This whole thing is a waste of time at this point. Seems everyone is moving forward and Buchi sales are actually UP according to my friend at the awesome Greenlife downtown & other locations.

    Pick your fights well people because when you attack good people that are actually doing the right thing there will be plenty around to stand up for them.

  10. Margaret Williams

    And again we must caution as we have in other articles & letters on this controversial issue: Please avoid making personal attacks against any of the folks involved in the Buchi story. There have been quite a few borderline and/or problematic comments in the last few days.

  11. geri littlejohn

    I find it interesting that someone would write a letter seemingly in defense of Buchi while fabricating the fact that their friend was making $14 an hour working there. As an employee at Buchi since last January, I am wondering who this well paid employee might be. Either they don’t exist or one person was making $4 more than everyone else. If true, those extra $4 an hour could have brought 3 employees wages up to the certified living wage. I have to ask who is fabricating the story here?

    Also, Kila was not hired on as a contract employee on a trial basis. Our very sweet employers, and I say that with all sincerity, never had any kind of formal hiring process. Until Buchi moved from the Blue Ridge Food Ventures facility into their own warehouse, there was only one shift of work a week. Generally 5 or 6 hours. That’s it. We were all contract employees.

    After the Buchi owners posted the number of shifts that Kila worked, I asked myself how many bottling shifts there were in total during the period of time that Kila worked at Buchi. I’d be surprised to learn that there were very many more than those that Kila worked after joining the team more permanently in the Fall.

    Finally, I have to ask whether this isn’t some attempt at sleight of hand attempting to turn attention away from the questions being directed toward Just Economics. I have yet to see anything in print that states how many of the 200 Living Wage Certified businesses pay a straight $11.35/hour or $9.85 plus benefits. In the end, my employers voluntarily agreed to remove the Certification because they came to see that Buchi was not the equivalent of wages.

    Kila’s initial call to Just Economics was supported by three out of four of the people she was working with at the time. There was no vendetta. We had a strong bottling team and were all happy working for $10/hour plus Buchi, Kila included. We were simply uncomfortable with that being equated to a ‘Certified Living Wage.’ Our intention in asking questions of the certifying organization was to strengthen the program. What has happened since then seems to be the result of defensive responses and an unwillingness to accept responsibility where needed.

    The current employees of Buchi have requested that the owners of Buchi come to a positive resolution with Kila. We are hopeful that this will happen in the very near future.

  12. karinabird

    @travelah
    Stop changing the subject – three employees were slapping on a label they questioned. NONE of them felt the owners were approachable (at that time) so Donovan made an anonymous phone call to ask for some enlightenment. The consequences of the call, the chain of events which illuminated the fact that Buchi paid no payroll taxes on their line workers, that line workers paid extra contractor payroll taxes further undermined any concept of Buchi actually paying a living wage. This was absolutely pertinent as it bolstered the theory that the employees were NOT being paid the LW and therefore the label was false advertising. The rest is history and revised history.

    I like to know what I’m purchasing and consuming. I like to know that what’s on the label is truthful. I commened David Forbes for ferreting out the truth however painful it is for some. I think the article was well researched and I thank him.

  13. karinabird

    @joshua

    Does this mean you condone false advertising? Dodgy tax practices? Rewriting history?

    There’s a lot of garbage being slung but I have yet to read, from Buchi, any “refudiation” of the facts David Forbes reported.

  14. cwaster

    HR wrote:
    “Buchi appears to be breaking the law by paying people as contractors in order to avoid paying taxes.” (and social security).

    In my opinion,it sure looks that way. As many Asheville businesses ostensibly do.

    Travelah wrote: “Many businesses hire new employees on a temp or contract basis before moving them to full time permanent employee status.”

    Nothing wrong with that- as long as they are abiding by the IRS’s legal definition of Independent Contractors. Which it appears (in my opinion) they were not. However they seem to be rectifying that now, at least according to their claims.

  15. shadmarsh

    Isn’t this whole letter in a bit of a grey area as to the whole personal attacks thing?

  16. Margaret Williams

    @travelah Xpress, like many newspapers, routinely uses freelancers (they’re paid as contract labor and get 1099s at the end of the year if their compensation reached a certain level). We have a dizzying array of employee designations. I started as first a freelancer, then an hourly semi-temporary-quickly permanent employee (I volunteered to cover City Council meetings… and briefly ran our distribution efforts). But any way…

  17. travelah

    Margaret,
    That pretty much emphasizes the point I was trying to make. Temp and contract labor is not a bad thing. It allows a company to fill a uncertain void without committing resources long term. I’ve used office temps and direct contractors in the past and I’ve hired a couple of those temps into full time, well compensated positions. That allowed me to assess their work habits and value to the organization prior to making that long term hiring decision.

  18. Margaret Williams

    @Frostillicus: Isn’t this whole letter in a bit of a grey area as to the whole personal attacks thing?

    Yes. But mostly aimed at Xpress, and the accusation that we have some personal vendetta/involvement needed our response.

  19. Joshua

    @Margaret Williams I apologize if my vendetta point seemed like an accusation, it was actually a question. I wanted to hear your response and I think (unlike some) you’ve proven you have no vendettas throughout this ordeal. The initial article I responded to was unfortunate, but I think you have handled yourselves professionally and respectfully in its wake.

    I also want to thank you for keeping things relatively civil and yes even for censoring some of the more heated comments that ultimately dont help.

    One thing though (for the others) is I wont apologize for sticking up for people I know to be undeniably good. I know them personally and they are the real deal; decent people trying to make it in this crazy world. They are actually creating jobs and economy whilst a lot in this country is being sent over seas and just plain economically executed.

    We all need to support each other in our local community – we may be facing some tough times ahead and people will need to come together to make it through. We need more local biz and more community connection than ever!

    Cheers!

  20. NotBasheville

    Let me do dome quick math. All of which can be corroborated by the Mountain X writer, Kila’s Radio Show appearance, Firestorm Cafe’s Website or Living Wages website.

    Kila is one of the founders of Firestorm Cafe’

    Firestorm Cafe is Anti-Capitalist

    Kila is Anti-Capitalist

    Buchi is a Capitalist Company

    Living Wage is Pro-Responsible Capitalist, but still Pro-Capitalist

    Firestorm Cafe is not on Living Wage’s List

    Let me just add this all up.

    Is it possible that Firestorm Cafe does not meet the requirements for Living Wage and has a Vendetta against them because of it. Is it possible that Kila knew things were looking sour at her job and she and Firestorm Cafe are using this as a way to target our capitalist society and organizations that function to create “sustainable capitalism”. Joe from Firestorm just wrote a huge letter on Anti-Capitalism in this issue.

    Is it possible that this entire dispute is grounded in a vendetta on capitalism?

    Joe states in his letter:

    “So long as some people work while others benefit from their labor, and capital is dispensed to those who provide the highest profit rather than the highest return to the community, local business will continue to imitate global business, and we will not achieve the type of economy we need.”

    This is obviously Anti-Capitalist and could very well be the only reason this whole ball of wax was created.

    Is it possible that 90% of the comments on this entire story are perpetuating the agenda of Anti-Capitalists.

    I’d love to know if Frostillicus and Karinabird are also close to Firestorm, as are the majority of those that have commented on this story seem to be.

    Well, I for one will be using my power as a consumer and Pro-Capitalist by not purchasing anything from Firestorm Cafe’. Yes, a personal mission as a consumer to boycott Firestorm Cafe due to its’ very public Anti-Capitalist views.

  21. invisiblefriend

    It seems in this case all parties are right AND wrong.

    WRONG:
    Buchi- Mislabling bottles to say something they dont do, and having a misleading employee structure.
    Donovan- Complaining to an external source before taking a problem directly to the people who had faith enough in her to give her a job.
    Mtxpress- Not presenting a complete story with all the facts.

    RIGHT:
    Buchi- They acted in good faith, trying to support JE and their cause. They supplied employment to the community at levels people are evidently happy and willing to work for. Now they know their mistakes, and have taken steps toward correcting them.
    Donovan- She acted in good faith, trying to support workers rights, and speaking up for what she thought was currupt and misleading. Very admirable.
    Mtxpress- Presenting the story. Everyone has learned something from this and will be less likely to make these mistakes because of this story and this emotional thread.

    I think if another article is written about this, it should be titled “Grey Area”.

  22. I don’t see how in the world the managing news editor of Mountain Xpress finds the time to personally monitor each and every comment made on this forum.

  23. karinabird

    Get off Donovan’s back and thank her and David Forbes for addressing the labeling issue now, before this gets big. It is obvious there were problems with Buchi’s certification, problems with the meaning of the label, qualifications, does the label mean anything? Really? Or is it a marketing tool to help Asheville further its wonderful, quirky, AUTHENTIC brand? This will get worse if AP picks up the story and you all will be known as phonies – Asheville will be branded a phony place with phony people and a make believe economy. It could happen.

    I am a small business owner in another state who visits Asheville once a year. This whole saga is important and meaningful on many levels. When I mention the city’s name to people I instantly get a smile and a nod of the head – always a positive reaction. And almost everyone who’s never been too Asheville says they’d love to visit sometime. The sullying of Donovan’s name and reputation is shameful, I feel – she’s not dead – you can’t just say anything you want to about someone like this. Several people continue to back her story. It’s time for a mea culpa from Buchi instead of blaming everyone and anyone but themselves for their mistakes. The rest of you are bullies.

  24. Margaret Williams

    @Thad “I don’t see how in the world the managing news editor of Mountain Xpress finds the time to personally monitor each and every comment made on this forum.”

    I have a clone.

    But seriously: There are about a half-dozen MX staffers who moderate comments; I’m just the most visible, I suppose.

    This is a contentious, controversial issue. There are many sides to the story (and even more opinions about those sides). Emotions are still high. I, for example, took offense at this letter initially, in no small part because a great deal of research, editor-writer consultations, legal checks, good-faith efforts to corroborate “facts” and more took place before we went to print with “Bottled in Bond.”

    Nonetheless. Here we are. I encourage everyone to remain respectful in their comments.

  25. Thanks for the comment Margaret.

    I do think it would be most informative if Mountain Express would in fact give us a “primer” on what you do to vet an issue.
    For those of us who remain open minded, it would be at the least informative. For those who want to accuse y’all of vendettas, grudges, etc… it certainly won’t be of help, because nothing will stop them.

    But for us interested and invested in community issues folks, it would be very edifying.

  26. bill smith

    So the girl in question never went to her employers and expressed her concerns with the perceived dissonance between the ‘living wage’ sticker and her idea of a living wage?

    And was she somehow unaware of what her pay was going to be when she entered into employment with them? Or what the specific guidelines of the “Living Wage certification were that she had apparent issues with?

    It sure sounds to me like she got fired because they didn’t like her, and she decided to make it into some sort of political issue. Because that’s my perception as an outside observer.

  27. bill smith

    Also, comment’s like ‘karinabird’s’ only continue to solidify my outsider’s perception that this has become a vendetta for a small clique of folks focused on making the girl fired into some sort of political martyr.

  28. Josh

    @Margaret Williams
    People are always ready to support those they respect & care for; so it’s possible for decent people to go at each other in these situations. I apologize if I fed into that paradigm with my letter you (for some strange reason? lol) decided to post.

    I saw a great non-profit organization and hundreds of local businesses being falsely accused of fraud & usury – some of which are my friends and the outrageous nature of it really pissed me off! However, I was not trying to publicly ridicule you on your own pages, I wanted to hear a response back from you. I’m usually more diplomatic lol, but I was angered after reading Davids article & proceeded to send my letter in that energy.

    It is difficult when you see your friends and colleagues getting beat up, so I can empathize with most folks in this tiff. That said I think its fair to acknowledge the original article was missing some of that journalistic excellence you’ve outlined & David seems to normally employ – this unfortunately caused the article to misrepresent tons of hard working locals.

    Perhaps it was the busy holiday season or that David really believed what Kila was saying? Either way he decided to not thoroughly investigate, not to personally interview Buchi; or any of the other local businesses he accused by attacking Just Economics. Surely had he done so the article would have been more balanced, if not less contentious.

    The article & responses implied rules/laws were being broken or Just Economics policies were cruel, I obviously disagree. Buchi, Just Economics & its many member companies are not some evil to be squashed, they are decent real people fighting the good fight employing thousands of locals right now.

    @geri littlejohn I don’t agree with your assessment or accusation, if that is indeed you we can talk in person.

  29. wwwaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too funny

    @Margaret Williams – I find it absolutely hilarious that you took offense to this letter because I took offense to the original article.

    Here’s what you don’t seem to understand: this total smear piece is going to do a lot of damage to a small business. Think about the ramifications for just a sec.

    Since MX contacted the NC Dept of Labor, there is an excellent chance that they will be audited. When it is found out that they improperly classified their employees (which Buchi fully admitted), they will have to pay 2 years worth of back taxes (or however long they’ve been open).

    When they have to throw in the towel because of your ridiculous article, will Mr Forbes be writing a follow up piece on the families who are affected because their mothers/fathers are now out of work? Or perhaps Mr Forbes would prefer to seek another disgruntled employee to profile?

    I can’t help but think that this would have been handled much better privately. As a long time reader/frequent advertiser with your company, I’m also sincerely disappointed in my favorite local publication for stooping to the same level as our other newspaper with regards to bias journalism. Shame on you for sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong.

  30. Margaret Williams

    @Josh, thanks (I think? LOL back at you). I assure you a great deal of research went into the original article and that everything published was corroborated. Could some things have been done a little differently by all sides involved? Probably.

    @wwwaaaaaaaayyyyyy — we’ll have to disagree that the story was a “total smear piece.” Would the initial issue have been better handled privately? Probably, but you seem to forget the part where someone came to us with a possible misdeed to report. We sought to investigate and in this case turned up some problems that appeared worth reporting.

  31. shadmarsh

    Since MX contacted the NC Dept of Labor, there is an excellent chance that they will be audited. When it is found out that they improperly classified their employees (which Buchi fully admitted), they will have to pay 2 years worth of back taxes (or however long they’ve been open).

    So, you are blaming MX for a local business either not knowing labor laws, or ignoring them? Are the rules supposed to be different just because we want to feel good about the really nice people who have a fledging local business?

    I can’t help but think that this would have been handled much better privately. As a long time reader/frequent advertiser with your company, I’m also sincerely disappointed in my favorite local publication for stooping to the same level as our other newspaper with regards to bias journalism. Shame on you for sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong.

    Again, is there anything in Mr. Forbes story that is untrue? Can you point us to some verifiable facts that contradict the original story? Since when is reporting the facts of a story “stooping?”

  32. Nice smokescreen move Josh……but the issue here is not Forbes bias, or the misrepresentation by him of “tons of locals.”

    The issue is, there are consequences to the actions taken by both Buchi and JE…and consequences are a real bitch. JE and Buchi can see the error of their ways, or they can continue to send out spokespeople with smokescreen messages to confuse the issue…but the consequences will remain, till there is improvement on the part of the two entities involved here. It’s their choice.

  33. wwwaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too funny

    Probably, but you seem to forget the part where someone came to us with a possible misdeed to report. We sought to investigate and in this case turned up some problems that appeared worth reporting.

    Recently, I was awoken (and borderline harassed) by a Buncombe County Sheriff Deputy because I legally parked my truck on the street. If I had come to you with this misdeed, would you have investigated which one of my neighbors made the call and then publicly crucified them? If so, I need to be more active in reporting these things to you.

    So, you are blaming MX for a local business either not knowing labor laws, or ignoring them? Are the rules supposed to be different just because we want to feel good about the really nice people who have a fledging local business?

    Buchi fully admitted and took responsibility for their wrongdoing. What else do you want? The public backlash at them is fully unwarranted.

    Again, is there anything in Mr. Forbes story that is untrue? Can you point us to some verifiable facts that contradict the original story? Since when is reporting the facts of a story “stooping?”

    I’m not aware of anything that is untrue in the original article. What’s pathetic though is the lack of a full story. Mr. Forbes intentionally left out Buchi altogether and presented JE in an amazingly negative light.

    I’m no journalist but isn’t it responsible reporting to present all sides of a story and let the reader draw conclusions? How could anyone argue that Mr. Forbes accomplished that here?

  34. I find the following to be interesting facts: Perhaps the censor will allow them for a change. 1.) Zane Adams of Weaverville certified Buchi as a Living Wage business back when they were originally certified.
    2.) Zane Adams acted in an official capacity for the Living Wage campaign when he did this.
    3.) Zane Adams acts in an official capacity for Buchi, handling their community outreach.
    3.) Zane Adams often goes by Zane Yazell Adams.
    4.) The author of this letter is Josh Yazell.

    I will refrain from drawing any conclusions.

  35. AshevilleAreaArtist

    @Invisiblefriend

    WRONG
    Donovan- Complaining to an external source before taking a problem directly to the people who had faith enough in her to give her a job.
    Mtxpress- Not presenting a complete story with all the facts.

    1) Kila did not go ‘complaining to an external source.’ She asked a question for clarification, and it was clarification which her bosses couldn’t give, as it was about the LW certification, not their business.
    2) What facts did MountainX omit? I’ve heard complaints, but haven’t actually heard any grounded facts to back it up.

    RIGHT
    Buchi- “They acted in good faith, trying to support JE and their cause. They supplied employment to the community at levels people are evidently happy and willing to work for. Now they know their mistakes, and have taken steps toward correcting them.”

    3) I dont think you can label what they did as being in ‘good faith.’ They’ve been caught misrepresenting themselves in several situations.
    3.1) Labeling employees as contractors, perhaps to avoid paying taxes
    3.2) Claiming $10.50/hr on their LivingWage Certification when they were actually paying $10/hr, or to allow some possible leeway for them, not changing their application when they reduced their contractors pay rate.
    3.3) Firing an employee after promising her that her job was safe, without any clear communication to her [or the rest of the employees] about why, prior to or following the firing.
    3.4) They used a label which lied to the community which supports them. People who want to be ‘ethical consumers’ bought their product, business who wanted to source locally and ethically bought from them based on a lie that they were paying a living wage. They duped the community they say they want to support.

    so… I appreciate your desire to see everyone in a good light, but how is it that all parties did both right and wrong?

  36. Libertie

    “Is it possible that Firestorm Cafe does not meet the requirements for Living Wage and has a Vendetta against them because of it.”

    @NotBasheville, With apologies to Frostillicus (who I do *not* know)… LOL! We were contacted by Just Economics in mid-July (Mark: “The application is simple, takes 10 minutes and will get Firestorm some great positive publicity!”) but chose not to pursue certification because it clearly didn’t fit with our business model.

    Also, this “anti-capitalist vendetta” thing is weirdly conspiratorial. Maybe you missed the memo, but red-baiting went out of style in 1950s. Can we assume that as a “pro-capitalist” you are pursuing a “pro-capitalist vendetta” or does this smear only work in one direction?

    @Margaret Williams, Personally I’d be fine with open posting, but I’m a little unclear why NotBasheville’s repeated reliance on speculative, ad hominems are acceptable under the stated rule set.

  37. EliH.Scott

    Is it possible that Firestorm Cafe does not meet the requirements for Living Wage and has a Vendetta against them because of it. Is it possible that Kila knew things were looking sour at her job and she and Firestorm Cafe are using this as a way to target our capitalist society and organizations that function to create “sustainable capitalism”

    Is it possible that you have a vendetta or an axe to grind and thus keep posting ad homenim attacks? Is it possible that a woman was fired for no reason other than asking a question? Is it possible that you keep skirting the core issues presented by the original piece because JE and Buchi are simply in the wrong? Is it possible that the LW certification does nothing other than advertise for businesses which aren’t necessarily any more ethical than national chains (and sometymes less so [I've got friends who've said that conditions at GreenLife greatly improved when they changed over to Whole Foods])?

    I’d love to know if Frostillicus and Karinabird are also close to Firestorm, as are the majority of those that have commented on this story seem to be.

    how many people Firestorm are posting here?
    – Libertie
    – AshevilleJoe
    – Thad (who hasnt been involved for nearly a year and a half)
    – and Myself (who hasnt been involved for over 8 months)

    if there are any others you’d like to bring up, feel free, but i’m not aware of any others.

    I believe that we actually make up a very small portion of the comments here. maybe closer to 10% rather than the 90% you purport.

    Frostillicious has no connection to Firestorm, I dont recollect ever seeing him in the cafe (but he’s got my vote for Mayor when the next cycle comes around!), and i have no idea who Karinabird is, but i’d love to befriend them both.

  38. Libertie

    “The article & responses implied rules/laws were being broken or Just Economics policies were cruel, I obviously disagree.”

    @Josh, Really? Because a letter from Buchi on this website confirms both that they weren’t actually meeting the living wage standard while sporting the sticker and that they were classifying their employees as contractors the whole time. As for “cruel” (dishonest?), Buchi employees have verified that their employer promised Kila her job was safe just days before getting the ax. For their part, Just Economics states that they contacted Buchi after Kila warned them that doing so would endanger her job. We can set aside questions over JE’s (lack of) response to the situation for now.

    It would be nice to see you engage Geri’s response above since it calls into question significant elements of your narrative. If you were operating on bad information, I think you owe Kila, who you mis-characterized as a vindictive “temp,” an apology.

  39. Margaret Williams

    @Thad That alleged information about ZAdams & Yazell is different from what we have and hasn’t been verified.

  40. Margaret Williams

    @waaayyyy (etc): Mr. Forbes intentionally left out Buchi altogether and presented JE in an amazingly negative light.

    I think we’re reading different stories. Buchi’s response as of the time we finalized the story is included in “Bottled in Bond.”

    responsible reporting … presents all sides of a story and let the reader draw conclusions? How could anyone argue that Mr. Forbes accomplished that here?

    Looks like we’ll have to disagree. You’re drawing your conclusions.

  41. Margaret Williams

    And once again, we must ask that commenters make a good-faith attempt to be respectful.

  42. wwwaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too funny

    Looks like we’ll have to disagree. You’re drawing your conclusions.

    Of course I’m drawing conclusions based on Mr. Forbes’ article. That’s why it was written!

    How can you possibly think that his story was fair & balanced (yes, yes that’s intentional)?

    Did you give Buchi a deadline to respond? What about Just Economics? What’s Mr. Forbes’ relationship to Donavon?

    Ok, now I’m poking my nose where it doesn’t belong. Why I’m standing up for a company who broke the law and has some of the worst PR I’ve ever witnessed, I don’t know.

  43. Margaret Williams

    @wwwaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

    We wouldn’t have printed the story if we had thought it wasn’t as fair and balanced as it could be.

    See the response above to your question about the non-existent Forbes-Donovan “relationship.” Ain’t none.

    Yes, Buchi was given time to respond, as was JEconomics. In addition, Buchi was afforded the opportunity to write a letter to the editor (and make online comments). Ditto for Ms. Donovan.

  44. karinabird

    @wwwaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too funny. None of this would have been newsworthy had the label been truthful. As far as damage to the families, they should go after their tax adviser, the PR consultant that told them they qualified for LW and urged them to use the label, scold themselves for their mistake in the certification process, the JE people for not better regulating the parameters of the LW certification and program. Why blame the paper? Good grief! Buchi was not involved in a thesis or dissertation. This is real life, and there are real consequences. There’s got to be truth in advertising and labeling especially in the manufacturing of consumables.

    Advertiser/Shmadvertiser! I’m a reader & consumer and I like to know that what I purchase is the real thing. I think this was award winning reporting on the part of David, his research, and his character in taking on a subject many people had wondered about. Thanks to him and the MountainXpress we all know the LW program needs to shore up its rules and qualifications.

    Oh, and some of the posts say Buchi sales are rising so I doubt those folks will be out of work.

  45. Libertie

    @Margaret Williams, Which part of Thad’s post cannot be verified? This was already reported on by C-T: “Donovan also says a Buchi employee was a member of the Just Economics committee that certified Buchi as paying a living wage. Zane Adams, who handles community outreach for Buchi, confirmed in a telephone interview that he serves on the Just Economics committee.” And a quick Google search shows that Zane’s full name is “Zane Yazell-Adams.”

    I, too, will refrain from drawing any conclusions. :)

  46. LLJK

    The “independent contractor wage” label is more appropriate for Buchi. Maybe more people will buy their product if they know this.

  47. Margaret Williams

    @Libertie: The quote from the C-Times article (“Donovan also says a Buchi employee was a member of the Just Economics committee that certified Buchi as paying a living wage. Zane Adams, who handles community outreach for Buchi, confirmed in a telephone interview that he serves on the Just Economics committee.”) doesn’t verify much, actually, but tries to link by inference without documenting it (If Zane had said he did indeed certify or help certify Buchi, the reporter would have stated this clearly — but didn,t and that’s telling).

    At the time our story went to press, we weren’t going to print any of that as fact if we couldn’t document it further.

  48. Yes, weasel words are often telling, and it is unfortunate that a local non-profit has to weasel around giving out specific facts about their (I assume) top-secret organization.

  49. Betty Cloer Wallace

    So, with the dust settled a bit, is Just Economics “certification” important, or not, for business owners and/or workers and consumers in WNC?

    Just Economics has seemed rather benign in the past, and largely understated if not actually obscure, until it emerged and gained attention as a catalyst in the Kila-Buchi-JE-Firestorm-MtnX fracas; so now, a closer look at the JE website and related sources surprisingly reveals little more than platitudes, clichés, and idealistic rhetoric—and an inconsequential JE application process for “living wage” certification, vague as it is regarding criteria variants.

    The JE organization appears to be long on sustaining itself but short on evidence that it actually contributes anything significant to the local economy, or to the businesses it has certified, or to the “economic justice” it espouses.

    JE should at least improve its website to explain its purpose and mission in our region—and some significant testimonials from satisfied members (so far not forthcoming) might be enlightening.

  50. Ashevillejoe

    Just to clear up any doubt I easily verified that Zane (Yazell) Adams and Josh Yazell are in fact romantically connected through a business connection of Josh Yazell’s. I can provide the source for that information to the MX if they are interested. It is unfortunate the while some of us are clear about our connections in this dialog other seek to obscure them. Once again, I would like to know if the “friend who works at Buchi for $14 an hour” is Zane Yazell Adams, and if he is the “marketing consultant” who originally urged Buchi to seek the living wage certification and who is also employed by the living wage campaign.

  51. invisiblefriend

    @AshevilleAreaArtist

    (my response to your numbers)

    WRONG
    1) She should have at least made casual conversation to her bosses before going to the external source. Common courtesy.

    2) Evidently lots of facts were left out, and for a better word, details. Just read some of the things that you, me, and everyone else has said here. Why bother with this thread if this isn’t true?

    RIGHT
    3)With your statement, you are implying that they meant to do everything, therefore are devious and perhaps criminal. This contradicts Donovans respect and admiration toward her bosses as she has stated.

    3.1)They didn’t “label” their employees as independent contractors. The workers accepted their positions as independent contractors, not employees. They were independent contractors.

    3.2)Could have been a mistake, overlooked, or you may be right. But it could have been a mistake or overlooked. Humble yourself and just admit it is a possibility.

    3.3)According to everything that has been said about this, there are about 65 versions to this story. What really happened was probably not your version, but the 66th side that hasn’t even been told.

    3.4)Your use of the word “duped” is accusatory and speculative. Maybe they were flat out lying, but from what everyone says about them, including present employees and Donovan herself, I highly doubt that they would do something that stupid and underhanded just to make a buck.

    Sooo…..how can someone be right and wrong at the same time? Tell you what, just read my original comment again. Its pretty simple and basic.

    Closemindedness, and the belief in absolutes, is a major reason why the world is so screwed up. This is the case in religion, politics, economics, or something as basic as this Buchi scenario.
    I mean no disrespect.

  52. Ashevillejoe

    This does bring up really good questions about the “marketing consultant” Zane Adams, Buchi, Just Economics and “lots of other Living Wage Certified Businesses” that he works for. How many other buisnesses has Zane finessed through the process, how badly corrupted is the entire certification process? Why does Just Economics continue to conceal Buchi’s certification documents? How can such a simple form contain “confidential” buisness information? After a month and a half does JE have anything to report on their re-certification process? Where is JE in this entire discussion?

  53. Libertie

    @Margaret Williams, I see your point. I guess the only way to know for sure is to demand that Just Economics come clean and release Buchi’s certification application. There is no reason why these documents should be hidden from the community. If, as claimed, they contain “proprietary information,” I’ve got a sharpie I’d be happy to lend Vickie for a few minutes.

  54. joshua

    FACTS for the naysayers:
    #1. The Buchi warehouse only opened last summer (mere months ago!) just having successfully launched from building up in Asheville’s amazing local business incubator, Blue Ridge Food Ventures.
    #2. Kila worked very few sporadic hours at Buchi and obviously was upset she didn’t get hired on as staff.
    #3. Kila launched a campaign against Buchi even though she says she “likes” them.
    #4. MountainX did not interview Buchi before print, which resulted in the one-sided story.
    #5. Tons of letters and calls of support have poured in at Buchi and their sales are way up! The issue is spent and the people don’t agree with what you’ve put forward.
    #6. From what Geri says even Kila has expressed her apologies already.
    #7. Just Economics rules have been publicly available since they were agreed upon at the fully open policy meetings & board meetings.

    Attacking a well respected locally owned business, a well respected local non-profit and the 200+ well respected local businesses in Just Economics is so misguided its shocking to witness. Thad I think you see Just Economics as “top-secret” because you’ve excluded yourself from the conversation, or at least any constructive aspect of it. If you have issues with a Just Economics policy why not go to the policy meetings with your input? Why not even become a board member? It’s open to all that can be constructive and work together.

    These facts and points are why I assert Kila’s vendetta against Buchi was the real reason behind this odd public shuffle, and of course her friends sticking up for her is to be expected. I honestly dont want to see anyone be enemies, I know everyone makes mistakes, we’re human! We are lucky enough to be in one of the most beautiful places on Earth and I would rather see protecting that and helping those around us then being divided.

    Just Economics represents people coming together and positively changing things for the better. More people involved no matter their differences leads to broader consensus and is a lot more effective then railing against each other.

    Enjoy the beautiful snowy mountains Asheville! Peace!

  55. AshevilleAreaArtist

    @ invisiblefriend

    (my response to your response in my numbers)

    WRONG
    1) Her question had little to do with their business, it was to do with the LW certification. I can see no reason why ‘common courtesy’ should extend to this. Also, it has been stated by her, and by other Buchi employees that they didn’t feel comfortable taking it to Sara and Jennine directly for fear of their jobs. In addition, no action was requested on their parts, it was a simple question for clarification.

    2) I’m still hearing complaints and listening for facts. What is being posted is spin and opinion, not fact.

    RIGHT
    3.0) If an oil spill in the Gulf wasn’t BPs intent, would you still say that they acted in ‘good faith?’
    3.0.1) Also, Donovan’s positive statements toward Sara and Jennine have been directed toward ‘personal’ relationships, not their ‘business’ relationship.

    3.1) Like Margaret Williams has said: We’re going to have to agree to disagree. However, according to Neal O’Briant of the N.C. Department of Labor, it seems unlikely that the arrangement was legal, and certainly benefited Buchi to the disadvantage of their workers.

    3.2) If they signed off on the certification then I see that as making them culpable for the discrepancy. It could have been a mistake, but as business owners, they should have been more thorough, or less willing to let things slide. Coming around to bite them now. But sure, it is a possibility that they were fast and loose with the details.

    3.3) I got no argument there. There are lots of versions of the story. However, my original point in 3.3 is not in dispute; That she was promised her job was safe and then fired with no further communication or explanation.

    3.4) Use of the term “Duped” was kind of meant in an accusatory manner. It was not, however, meant to imply that they did it solely to ‘make a buck’ so much as to make themselves appear better in the eyes of their community… and if bucks were made, then mores the better. And whether or not you doubt it, it certainly appears to be what happened.

    I appreciate your response, and feel like conversation is a great way to work out differences of opinion. And I, certainly, do not believe that my side of things is the have-all-end-all version, but I do believe that it is grounded in fact, and is closer to what actually happened.
    I also do not believe that Sara and Jennine are evil people. I believe that they are people who got bad advice and made bad decisions and then acted defensively when this was pointed out. I also believe that the solution is an admission of guilt (or Karianabird’s ‘Mea Culpa’), and an apology, not trying to dig their way out from under a pile of mistruths and mistakes. All they are doing is digging themselves a deeper hole to climb out of.

    And I, too, intend no disrespect, to you or any parties involved. I am still sure that with a little more truth a positive resolution can be found.

  56. invisiblefriend

    @AshevilleAreaArtist

    (my new response to your new response by your numbers)

    WRONG
    1) I can see your point if they made an initial anonymous call for their clarification, and did not mention a business name at all, but that evidently did not happen.
    2) When you say “What is being posted is spin and opinion, not fact”, is that post a fact or opinion? It seems like an opinion, because i hear lots of facts that were not in the original story. Also, by saying this, are you stating tht everything you personally say is an opinion, not a fact? thats a step inthe right direction and a good example for us all to follow.

    RIGHT
    3.0) It seems obvious that BP did not purposfully kill people to cause a natural disaster. So yes, they acted in good faith trying to pump oil and make money, however sickning that is. Are you still saying that Buchi, and now BP, meant to do these things?
    3.0.1) So you are saying there was an underlying problem with their business relationship? Yes, probably both sides felt that way. But if you like someone personally, generally you dont thonk that they would PURPOSFULLY take advantage of you in the business world.
    3.1) It definitly benifits Buchi, and i feel like they knew what was going on. However,when you hire someone as an employee or independent contractor, it is not the employers responsibility to have a seminar explaining the difference.The workers chose to work this way as independent contractors.
    3.2) Cool. Lets clink glasses to that.
    3.3) It actually is in dispute. The owners of Buchi dispute this. I dont know who is telling the truth,but it is in dispute.
    3.4) I really respect your statement “it certainly appears to be what happened”. That implys that it might not have happened. I think that is very fair of you to say that.

    we may be right, we may be wrong, but we are probably a little bit of both, dont you think?

  57. AshevilleAreaArtist

    @InvisibleFriend

    (my new response to your response to my response to your response by my [ever increasingly bulleted] numbers)

    1) Again, I appreciate your point, but I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. I maintain that she wasn’t beholden to her employers here. She wasn’t running around behind their backs, she was asking an honest question and then requested that no action be taken.

    2) Sure, some of what I’ve been posting is opinion… but til some good facts are presented to support Buchi’s side of the story, I’m going to hold firm on Kila (and the MX) being in the right.

    3.0.0) Interesting. I don’t know that I would refer to what BP did as being ‘in good faith’ so much as morally reprehensible, selfish, shortsighted and destructive.
    3.0.0.1) So, maybe another angle to take: If someone is driving drunk and kills someone, it is, likely not their ‘intent’ to do so, but are they acting ‘in good faith’ with their driving?
    3.0.0.2) I am not trying to link Buchi to the environmental devastation of the Gulf Coast, so much as say that intentions are one element of an event, but you can’t detach them from careless actions and their consequences and still be acting responsibly.

    3.0.1) I would hope not, but this story seems to be an example of where that did happen.

    3.1) It is, however, the responsibility of the employer to act within the law. That seems like that hasn’t been totally figured out, but based on their changing from ‘contractor’ to ‘employee’ after this all hit the fan, and based on what Neal O’Briant has said, it seems like they weren’t.

    3.2) Sweet, name the pub.

    3.3) Is this in dispute? I have read pretty much all of the articles and responses, and don’t recollect where it’s been disputed, but know several places where it has been affirmed. Jerry Littlejohn and Jeff Forbes to name two.
    3.3.1) If the refutation you are talking about is Buchis citing ‘personality issues,’ this isn’t really a refutation of the fact that she was promised that her job was safe.

    3.4) Well thank you, I, at least, see myself as an upstanding and honest person. I think that the possibility that it didn’t happen that way is 100%. I do, however, think that the probability that it didn’t occurred is significantly smaller than that.
    3.4.1) Similarly, I understand quantum physics to tell me that I could walk through walls given enough time and effort… though the likelihood of that makes it moot.

    I am enjoying our back-and-forth. I hope you are, and others too.

  58. Joshua:
    I do not have issues with Just Economics. It appears to be a good and necessary organization. In fact, I don’t think I have ever stated anything negative about Just Economics.
    I have major problems with the Living Wage certification program. There is absolutely no public record Online that I can find to show who sits on the board, which seems odd, and there is no reference that I can find Online to the way in which the Living Wage organizers make decisions.

    Thank you for the invitation. I invite you to be more critical of your organization.

  59. LLJK

    Are people only buying Buchi because it’s local? Are people really willing to pay .33/oz vs .23/oz for the California stuff (Synergy, which is super yummy!)? $24 for a 6 pack of Buchi @ Greenlife, I saw the price tag today – yikes! You can pickup some pretty good beer for half that price… just sayin’ or nearly 50% more Synergy branded Kombucha.

    You would think they could afford to have actual employees and pay the state mandated worker’s comp insurance with these hoodwinked prices. No wonder they were able to expand so quickly.

    The unfaithful hiring practice of ‘independent contractors’ is possibly illegal and definitely unethical – all for the sake of saving the company cash. You really can’t argue against my point unless you claim ignorance as to labor practices as your rebuttal. But the real answer, as we all know, comes down to the sweet sweet smell of money.

  60. invisiblefriend

    @AshevilleAreaArtist

    (my response to your blah, blah, blah…by your (ever increasing bullets that im painstakingly trying to be cool about) numbers)

    1)I agree it was an honest question, but look at the can of worms it opened. Im sure she knew her employers more on a respectful personal basis, as you stated, than a bunch of strangers that may or may not, and did not, for that matter, do the right thing.
    2)You are admitting that “some” of what you have stated is opinion, which leads me to believe that the rest of what you say are considered “facts”. But you say “What is being posted is spin and opinion, not fact”. So are you the only one that is adding facts to this thread?
    3.0.0) Of course you can use the adjectives you put forth to describe the end result of what happened with BP. “in good faith” means that any negative result was not premeditated.
    3.0.0.1) Damage resulted from them driving when they shouldn’t have been. But that is a trick question because if I say the damage was not premeditated, it is “in good faith”, which makes me look like a bad guy. So my official answer to that is that you cannot slap the “in good faith” motto on anyone who is buzzed or drunk. Noone from Buchi, or Donovan, was drunk during this as far as I know. But im beginning to wonder…
    3.0.0.2) Mistakes and miscommunications have negative consequences too sometimes. I bet you’ve made some mistakes and hated the results at some point. Buchi could have made a non premeditated mistake with obvious negative results. They might not be villains, believe it or not. Or they might be……
    3.0.1) Good. I think we can cross this one off the list as well with your use of the word “seems”. This means that there is possibility to go both ways with this. I think we are making a lot of progress. You are more openminded than I initially thought.
    3.1) I agree with you that they should be within the law. But lets just remember, there are plenty of advantages to being an independent contractor, and why is all the blame going to the employer here? I like being an independent contractor. I can control my taxes with well thought out write offs, I get more money up front on payday, etc. So whos to blame here? Its just a business agreement between two people when it comes down to it. Its the workers responsibility to know the rules too.
    3.2) How about Jack of the Woods?
    3.3) So you are saying that the Buchi owners willingly admit that “ she was promised her job was safe and then fired with no further communication or explanation.”, as you state. Read their letter to the editor last week. They say they cant talk about the reasons because of a risk of libel, etc. And they realize that its not cool to go public with that, like MOST people would not do, for example, on a radio show.
    3.3.1) Im not. I don’t know where you got that.
    3.4) That math does not add up. How can something be 100% probability, and than have any % point over 0% that the opposite would happen?
    3.4.1) moot is a strong word for something that has ANY “likelihood”. But, I think we can cross this one off the list because of your use of the word “could”. It shows that the alternative to what you say might be the case. Not saying it is, but your openmindedness again shines here.

    Wow. we can cross a lot off the list. we are making progress with thia whole right/wrong/right and wrong theory. Thanks for beginning to understand what I originally meant.
    PS, I beg of you…..PLEEEEEAAAASE don’t add any more bullet points. I don’t know if I can take it.

  61. shadmarsh

    Joshua,

    Can you point to anything specific and verifiable that was in the original MX article that is inaccurate?

  62. karinabird

    Joshua,

    Can you point to anything specific and verifiable that was in the original MX article that is inaccurate?

  63. Margaret: Thank you, but I was talking specifically about the board for the Living Wage program, particularly those who handle the certification process and the way in which they make decisions about Living Wage certification. I don’t have any problem with Just Economics, and I have no question about JE’s board.

  64. Josh

    @Thad
    Im not on the board & dont have a company in its membership or any company for that matter. I am looking to start up a business soon though.

    I do have a lot of respect for Just Economics and was around when the living wage certification was started; its simple and helps to promote the organization & its ideals. Im sure you understand its a non-profit so maybe they could use some web-help in keeping the site current and all that… but surely they are not hiding anything.

    For the record I’m actually a fan of fire storm and Buchi folks go there often too. So im not on some anti fire storm campaign.

    I hope everyone will calm down and get along, I know it sounds silly and simple; but seriously things are so much worse in other places. Look at the insane junk going down in Arizona, we are lucky to be in Asheville where the love & gratitude is flowing a lot stronger!

  65. AshevilleAreaArtist

    @InvisibleFriend

    1) If we can agree that she wasn’t beholden to her bosses, then we can clink glasses on JE screwing up the situation.

    2) The original point was, however, that those additional, omitted, facts have not been brought to light. And I’m still listening for some to be presented.

    3.0.0) In Good Faith: Honesty; a sincere intention to deal fairly with others
    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/good+faith
    So… if their intent was to deal fairly with others, then why would they promise Donovan her job and then renege on their word (see point 3.3)?

    3.0.0.1) It is kind of a hard-to-wriggle-around question… that’s why it was formulated that way, but that is because the unintended results of ones actions are important.

    3.0.0.2) Agreed. And, of course, I’ve made mistakes. But the ones that I’m the most ashamed of are the ones which I refused to own up to. The solution is to own up to it, apologize and then figure out how to move on, not to blame the person who you’ve wronged.

    3.0.1) Sure, as long as we also agree that just because someone is your friend doesn’t mean that they will do right by you.

    3.1) But part of it is paying your taxes without assistance from your employer (as any employee would have), which reduced their wages to significantly below a living wage, which is what (one of) the original issue. So, while there may be advantages, those advantages do not figure into being paid a living wage.

    3.2) Great pub which I love to frequent. How about for a trivia night?

    3.3) I did go back and re-read it, and I can’t find anywhere where they refute the fact that they told her that her job was safe just before firing her. So… If I missed it, would you be willing to copy and past that text?

    3.3.1) I was speculating that that might be what you were referring to since I couldn’t recollect anywhere that their promise of security was refuted.

    3.4) Possibility is the chance that something ‘could’ happen. Probability is the chance that something ‘will’ happen. So, it is possible that my old, fat, cat could catch the mouse in my pantry, it, however, is not very probable.

    3.4.1) If its not a moot point, then I would suggest that you, me, everyone you know, are related to, have passes on the street, seen in a movie, or who’ve ever been, or will be, born, could try to walk through a wall, and by the time the heat death of the universe rolls around it’ll still be unlikely that any of us will have succeeded. I’d like to refer to that as moot, if theoretically possible.

    Look at all the places where we’ve come to agreements! Things are good when we can converse amicably instead of referring to each other as “jokes” and our opposing opinions being “completely biased, libelous and one-sided smear piece[s]” in an attempt to “to further [our] friend’s obvious vendetta[s]”

    And are you opposed to all bullet points? or can i start using lower-case a’s and b’s and such (eg: 3.0.0.1a; 3.0.0.1b; 3.0.0.1c; etc…)? tehehe

    PS: we can start omitting some of the more obscure points to simplify if you like… I’m not sure how much further this conversation needs to go, but in the interest of shortening everything…

  66. Josh

    @Thad
    I am not on the JE board, have never been on the board, nor have I ever had a company in JE. I have no company yet, but I am planing on it this year.

    @Frostillicus
    Its pretty easy to tell I was against the gist of the story and found it to be lacking. I apologized for my over reaction already and I meant it.

    Anyway folks – enjoy the snow day!

  67. shadmarsh

    Its pretty easy to tell I was against the gist of the story and found it to be lacking.

    Yes, that is fairly obvious, I was asking for you to offer evidence to support your claim.

  68. karinabird

    I wouldn’t admit to an affiliation with Buchi, JE, LW either.

  69. LLJK

    I’m not going to rehash all the points here, but the main point is Buchi screwed up and didn’t apologize or come clean on any of this drama. They’re still in denial! I don’t think anyone was out to get revenge on them, on the contrary, but simply wanted a clear explanation of their unethical actions. With that not coming through, they are making themselves look like a foolish “local” business that tarnishes the whole local movement scene.

    You guys really brought this upon yourselves. For real… We want your company to succeed, we really do, but don’t be jerks about it. Otherwise you’re not going to get any sympathy or business from your minuscule demographic audience and customer base.

  70. invisiblefriend

    @AshevilleAreaArtist

    I just have two questions for you.

    1) Do you now understand that complicated situations exist where both parties may be right and wrong?

    2) Do you really want to meet up?

  71. AshevilleAreaArtist

    1) Yes, invisiblefriend, i do understand the complexity of situations… i just dont think that this is really one of them.
    1a) It hasn’t been demonstrated how Ms. Donovan is a perpetrator in any of these situations, or for that matter, how the MountainX is either.
    1b) I also see how I may, personally, like Sara, Jennine, Zane and the LivingWage Campaign while holding them accountable for their bad decisions (which are numerous).

    2) You do seem like someone who I’d enjoy meeting and talking with directly, reasonable and open, but sadly, I am in the process of leaving for a few months, and will not be around for another trivia night :( Maybe sometime during the summer.

    PS: sorry about the continued bullet points… its just so fun… maybe especially when they are less convoluted.

  72. invisiblefriend

    Fair enough. I have major respect for your opinions after all this.
    I have one more question just out of curiosity.

    Do you personally know or have any connections to anyone involved in this situation? If so, who?
    And just to save you from asking, i dont.

    Shame we cant meet up. I think you and i would have fun. Id be all about buying you a drink before you leave. But i understand. I think ill be gone this summer though. Lets definitly get up this fall. Have a nice trip.

  73. AshevilleAreaArtist

    @InvisibleFriend,

    I actually have connections with all parties (except for JE). I know Kila, and have lots of positive interactions with Jerri Littlejohn, Sara, Jennine and Zane (and I’ve met Nathan [BuchiPapa] once or twice, but don’t know him), I’m a fan of Buchi as a drink, but am also poor, so when drinking kombucha it is generally of my own concoction.

    Despite friendly relations all around, I also have been abused by every small business I’ve ever worked for in Asheville… thus my alliances are generally with workers and not on the side of owners.

    “Oh workers can you stand it?
    Oh tell me how you can
    Will you be a lousy scab
    Or will you be a man?

    Which side are you on boys?
    Which side are you on?

    Don’t scab for the bosses
    Don’t listen to their lies
    Poor folks ain’t got a chance
    Unless they organize

    Which side are you on boys?
    Which side are you on?”

    and I’ll look you up in the fall.

  74. John anderson

    Now that these firestorm people are admitting they’re the people who can’t let this story die, I’m seriously wondering why I should support them.

    I completely agree with their support of local business, but their emotional attachment to their previous coworker is clearly skewing their bias. Further, their insistence to keep trying to frame this as the big bad corporation taking advantage of the poor exploited worker is not only tired and inaccurate, but completely played out.

    Will they ever admit that buchi made a mistake, admitted it, addressed it, and moved on?

    Or will it constantly be turned into the David and Goliath corporate greed myth?

    Have they begun to sell the buchi products again?

  75. invisiblefriend

    @AshevilleAreaArtist

    Just for the record, i wasnt taking anyones side.
    I appreciate your transparency and will take your poem to heart.
    But, if you could take my little poem i just made up to heart too, that would mean we have really grown from this and learned a lot.

    Here is my poem:

    Owners are workers too,
    And some of them are not out to @&!: you.

    Just think about it if you will and look me up in the fall.

    over and out – invisiblefriend

  76. Libertie

    “Now that these firestorm people are admitting they’re the people who can’t let this story die, I’m seriously wondering why I should support them.”

    @John Anderson, Eh? Only Joe and myself work at Firestorm. What exactly are you referring to? Our posts are in the minority around here.

    “Will they ever admit that buchi made a mistake, admitted it, addressed it, and moved on?”

    If Buchi has admitted to their mistakes, please post a link and I’ll be the first to buy a bottle! I’m thrilled that our letter caused them to drop the certification claim but until they acknowledge their error in taking retaliatory action, it’s hard swallowing promises to play nice in the future.

    If you find this controversy “tired,” feel free to move on. I remain optimistic :)

  77. Margaret Williams

    Thank you, everyone, for contributing comments here and on other threads related to this issue. As I’ve said before, we may, at this point, simply have to agree to disagree on what are “proven” facts and not, what was diligent journalism and not.

    In the interest of moving forward, please carefully consider future comments: Avoid rehashing what you see as the “facts,” refrain from attacks that may strike folks on its receiving end as libelous or ad hominem, keep your comments civil, and if you have a pending post — it may be under review due to these concerns (and our general policy).

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