For the birds: Mumpower, Jones hash it out in e-mails

Tuesday’s 6-1 vote in favor of The Ellington is done, but some Asheville City Council members are still scrapping over how the meeting went. In a Wednesday e-mail titled “Abusing your authority as Mayor,” Carl Mumpower chides Mayor Terry Bellamy and Vice Mayor Holly Jones for cutting him off during deliberations.

In a return e-mail, Jones calls out Mumpower, saying he was “going nowhere with your dead bird silliness,” and characterizes his habit of circulating e-mails to a long cc list as “very odd” and “cowardly.”

Those e-mails, and Mumpower’s last response are below.

Brian Postelle, staff writer


Date: October 17, 2007 7:32:18 AM EDT
Subject: Abusing your authority as Mayor-


Last evening, during the “Ellington” debate, it is my belief that you abused your authority as Mayor by allowing the Vice-Mayor to interrupt my line of questioning and subsequently utilizing the gavel to duplicate her effort.  Comments like, “I do not believe that Council members should be tagging this project with their personal preferences.” or “Are there a plethora of dead birds in downtown Asheville?” do not constitute profanity, direct personal attack, or other misbehaviors that might merit authoritative intervention. That you or the Vice-Mayor take personal offense at my comments in no way validates your efforts toward censorship or arbitrary filtering of the deliberation process.

Going forward, I would encourage you to use your gavel with greater restraint.  Your comment on “reining me in” was in remarkably poor taste and a broad step toward misapplication of your powers.  As an elected official, I am charged to uphold the law.  Should your or any other member of Council note my failure to uphold this charge, I encourage you to formally or informally bring it to my attention or otherwise take legally supported action.  Offenses to your sensibilities or preferences do not provide the same opportunities.

In conclusion, under most circumstances, the most important person to “rein it” is ourselves.  With your permission may I offer that you and the Vice-Mayor have historically and repeatedly violated proper procedure by “Calling the Question” as a means to curtailing deliberation to match your interests.  “Calling the Question” is a motion subject to a vote by the full Council – not a unilateral trump card to be indiscriminately tossed on the dais when it suits the needs of those comfortable with bullying or censoring the deliberation process.

Carl Mumpower
Asheville City Council

In a message dated 10/17/2007 8:31:48 AM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
> Carl,

In your heart you know you were going nowhere with your dead bird
silliness. We had reached a place of understanding. I know you are
disappointed your antics to get sound bites and have fodder for the
campaign trail did not yield as much as you would like.

Our council was ready to vote on the most significant project on our
lifetime downtown and you were doing your best to make a mockery of your
adversaries opinion. Not very statesmanlike and the public sees through it.

If abuse of power is occurring, may I suggest it is in your use of your
city council position to wage your congressional campaign. We all know
that is what we will be subjected to for the next year. So, I affirm the
mayor’s role in sticking to the city’s business at hand.

Your censoring line is getting kind of old. Anyone with that watches knows
that you get more than your two cents in. Bullying analogy is also
laughable. Good luck with all that.

Take care,


P.S. As always, if you choose to continue your very odd and I may add
cowardly method of forwarding my response to folks here and yon, I would
appreciate a heads up.


Date: October 17, 2007 8:44:07 AM EDT
Subject: Re: Abusing your authority as Mayor-


As you know, I did not bring the bird issue into the deliberations.  I did try to get the issue to a higher level.  You are incorrect in assuming I was mocking an individual council member – I was intentionally illuminating the Council majority’s comfort with “tagging” the project with personal preferences.

As for my claims of censorship and bullying being “old”, “laughable”, or otherwise uncomfortable, when those behaviors are no longer present, it will be my pleasure to ease your discomfort.

As regards emails, please assume that I share our correspondence freely and openly, as proscribed by the laws governing our communications.  Please limit your communication with me if you are uncomfortable with such.  As a minority member of the Council, it remains my responsibility to assert that minority position persistently, responsibly, and enthusiastically – per the way our system of government is designed.

Carl Mumpower


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41 thoughts on “For the birds: Mumpower, Jones hash it out in e-mails

  1. He is right, though. He got shouted down for pointing out a stupid point. Try not to let the partisan feelings get in the way of the real point.

  2. lokel

    It is no wonder that this council gets nothing accomplished: with all the sniping and finger pointing!

    And this is what some would have us send to Washington, DC?

    I can just see ol’ Carl arguing in his monotone with Edward Kennedy or such…

    I guess the “do nothing” title will continue with him representing us…

  3. absolutely…and truth be told my dislike of the Mump has much more to do with the fact that he was very rude to my very pregnant wife, and little to do with his own brand mealy-mouthed conservatism.

  4. A) all politics is personal

    B) my orginal point remains intact; that Mumpower is looking out for Mumpower. If you disagree with that then say so, do not belittle my observation simply because you choose to make assumptions about its kernal.

    C)I have read your postings on here, so please don’t pull the “maturity” card on me.

    D) feel free to have your soap-box back

  5. A) My politics do not reflect personal grudges.

    B) All politicians, especially those on the local level, are looking out for their own interests. If you choose to look deep enough, you’ll find that there are no truly altruistic politicians, especially in Asheville.

    C) I never claimed to be more mature, I just pointed out how immature you were. Actually, I’m quite mature away from this site. I eat with utensils and everything.

    D) I’d rather not take the soap-box back. It smells like soap, which might get me lynched here in Asheville.

  6. Who said anything about altruism?

    Forgive me if I wasn’t clear enough before: My dislike for Mumpower the man, and Mumpower the politician are two distinct entities, and I certainly don’t hold a grudge. My dislike for Mumpower the man stems from an incident that I feel revealed his character; while my dislike for Mumpower the politician come from his voting record and public stance on various issues. If this makes me immature then I color me guilty.

  7. Nam Vet

    Carl Mumpower is protecting the rich from the unwashed masses? HUH? LOL, check out the Volvo crowd for their hypocrisy of representing the “unwashed”? They voted for the Ellington, a development that will benefit the rich to the detriment of the “unwashed masses” because of the tax increases, for one, and the “Manhattanization” of Asheville. To heck with the limosine-liberal progressives who vote for such projects, while claiming to represent the common citizen. At least Mumpower is forthcoming with his support. Newman and Freeborn waffled and wouldn’t say before the primary whether they would vote for the Ellington or not. Mumpower at least has guts. Newman and Freeborn are gutless cappucino liberals who are elistist in lifestyle and haughty in their destain for the real unwashed.

  8. chuck

    “A) My politics do not reflect personal grudges.”

    pardon me, but i just fell out of my chair laughing.

    Why don’t you just stick with the irreverent, snarky posts? Your quite talented at it. But please, PLEASE dont try to pull the moral superiority card. Your personal hatred of all that is hippy or homeless is obviously a personal vendetta. You promote tazing the homeless. Funny, yes, political, no. This shapes your ‘politics’, which is really just a fancy way for you to hate on people.

    keep up the good work, buddy.

  9. thechuck

    …With that said, Carl sounds like such a weenie when he sends out these emails. It is the kid in school who gets hall monitor privileges so he can get back at the kids who take his lunch money.
    But, if the vote was 6-1 in favor of the Ellington, then how do these so-called ‘progressives’ claim they support the “policies” of Elaine Lite and vice-versa? I thought she, and the ‘progressives’ on council, were representing the folks who are inti-development?

    NamVet: ‘Capacinno Liberals’ is pretty funny. But it seems to imply another kind of liberal. can you help me out here?

  10. Chuck- The only person I “hate on” is Clay Aiken. Read the thread.

    Also, I think that tazing the homeless works as one of those…what do you call them?


    If you are offended by that than I suggest taking a look around the world and trying not to laugh in spite of yourself.

  11. Jason,

    Wow, talk about a double standard! So, it is ok to make jokes about the homeless, yet it is not ok to joke about Mr. Mumpower? Or are just a contrarian who just wants to take shots at everyone who doesn’t share your apathy?

  12. I don’t really have apathy. I just have an endless barrage of one liners.

    Also, I would never vote for someone who would actually taze the homeless, but it makes you people mad.

    Also, I wouldn’t describe myself as a contrarian, I’m more of a thick fingered vulgarian.

  13. Nam Vet

    Chuck, “cappucino liberal” is a common label for liberal hypocrites who talk one way and live another. I’m surprised you’ve not heard the term…or are you pulling my leg? :) I respect people of all points of view who strive to walk the talk of their mouthed positions. As rotten as rightwingers can be, the world class hypocrites tend to be liberals. Like Al Gore taking a private jet home from the Nobel Peace Prize awards. You know, you can’t leave a bigger carbon footprint than that. But of course he appears to be a template for some of our local “progressives”. :)

  14. Gordon Smith


    There aren’t any “anti-development” people that I’ve met in the political circles in Asheville. Some are for sane development that meets the public interests and some are for a go-along-to-get-along attitude whereby private interests can have their way with things.

    The Ellington was a very difficult question, and getting them to force the developers to meet LEED standards will be a huge precedent we ought to be setting for every commercial construction in the county.

    I think we’re going to have to wait and see on the Ellington – whether it’s a net negative or net positive. I’m supporting Brownie who voted for it, and Elaine who opposed it. I’m not a single issue guy.

    Nam Vet and his ilk like to debate the personal habits of people rather than debate what makes good city policy. Making fun of Al Gore for traveling on a jet (without mentioning his purchases of carbon offsets and his promotion of conservation worldwide) doesn’t lead us to talk about how best to solve the problems of Global Warming.

    Talk about Gore all you want, but at least pretend you give a damn about the issue at hand.

  15. Nam Vet

    Gordon, I do very much care about the issues at hand here locally. I went into detail for Chuck because he questioned the term “cappucino liberal”. This discussion may not be to your liking (perhaps you fit the stereotype), but is certainly relavent to our local issues. Because we have so-called “progressives” on Council who talk one way but live another. Like Al Gore. And if you think pointing out Gore’s world-class hypocrisy is “making fun” then so be it. The fact of the matter is that Al Gore lives a lifestyle that is over-the-top carbon intensive. He lives in a mansion and has $3000 a month electric bills. He travels by private jet. Private jets burn enormous amounts of fossil fuel and leave the largest carbon footprint vs passenger that there is. But the bigger issue here is this: if a primary proponent of green lifestyle cannot find a way to live that way himself, how is it possible for the rest of us? We complain about coal burning electric plants, yet we love our modern technologies that depend on electricity. Nuclear is clean, but we won’t have that. So what is Duke to do to meet demand? People need to reduce their own demand in order to keep the new power plants from being built. Same same gas/oil consumption and the use of timber products.

    Morale: if you espouse a position, strive very hard to LIVE IT. No one likes hypocrisy.

  16. Gordon Smith


    But I’m left with a “so what?” feeling.

    You’re saying that it’s worth turning the conversation away from conservation to talk about how Al Gore, despite being the single person who has done more than any other to communicate the urgency of global warming. flies on a private jet. You don’t talk about his purchase of carbon offsets, you just use a readymade right-wing talking point to dilute the message by impugning the character of the messenger.

    Glad you’re on the lookout for hypocrisy, Nam Vet. I’m on the lookout for solutions. I can’t afford to live my ideals yet. I use too much gasoline and eat too much non-local food. Eventually I’ll get there, a little at a time. Here’s hoping I’m not too much of a hypocrite for you.

  17. Nam Vet

    Gordon perhaps you get that “so what” feeling because he is one of yours and it is so easy to overlook the faults of a fellow leftwinger. And by the way, I am no rightwinger. I am libertarian. An original liberal. And of course we are all a bit hypocritical. But Al Gore is a world-class hypocrite because he lives such a carbon intensive lifestyle while telling the rest of us to live green. “Buying” carbon credit DOES NOTHING to reverse all the pollution caused by his extravagant private jet lifestyle. Riding a commercial airliner would’ve been the better choice.

    Al Gore has made us all aware that pollution is a bad thing. But when he himself cannot live anywhere close to the green lifestyle he says we all have to live in order to stem global warming, can any of us? People talk about “social justice”, then pull into Earthfare in a new $50,000 Volvo with all the PC bumperstickers. Like this one: “live simply so others can simply live”. LOL, that’s a favorite. Bottom line, people talk one way and cannot see their own hypocrisy.

    Conservation and green living is a *DOING* thing. Talking about it does nothing.

  18. curmudgeon

    “Extravagent private jet lifestyle.”

    Jeez, you want the guy to fly Pan Am from Nashville to Stokholm and back? Have you taken an overseas flight lately? Can you picture Al snoozing in the waiting lounge cause his flight is delayed 2 hours or 12, surrounded by Secret Service? I don’t think anyone, including Pan Am or Homeland Security or the Secret Service wants that!

  19. Chuck

    Nam vet,

    Way to take a very good point and turn it into partisan drivel. While i do agree that Gore’s ‘choices’ are ironic, Gordon Smith has a good point about how that shifts the focus of the debate somewhere far less important.
    Hypocrisy or not, there are plenty of positive, helpful issues that could be discussed regarding an apparently changing climate. It is not difficult to find examples of hypocrisy in this world. Try stretching yourself a bit and look at some of the harder-to-deal-with topics like ‘what can we DO to deal with the knowledge that our current lifestyle may not be enjoyed by ANY of us in a few decades?’

  20. Nam Vet

    Chuck, like it or not, my point that “if the main guy cannot live green” IS VERY CENTER STAGE TO THE DEBATE on green living. What is so difficult about seeing the obvious? Like I pointed out earlier, people are blind to their own hypocrisy. Yes Al Gore has pointed things out. BUT if he lives like a worse offender and completely contrary to his stated position, that is quite newsworthy, and disappointing I may add. YES I would have liked Gore to have taken a commercial airliner to and from the Nobel Peace Prize awards. And if he has to wait like us commoners, so be it. Who the hell elected him royalty anyway? BE WHAT YOU PREACH or shut the heck up!

  21. Clocky

    Nam Vet, you said that “Because we have so-called “progressives” on Council who talk one way but live another. Like Al Gore.”

    Do you care to elaborate?

    Who on council talks one way but lives another?

  22. Nam Vet

    Hypocrisy is rampant in the “progressive” camp. The republicans suck, but are at least more consistent. You know what to expect from them most of the time. But with progressives, you do hope thy can try to deliver on their positions. The reason I brought up Al Gore is that he is a shining example of a person who talks one way but lives another. Gore is an extreme carbon-footprint whore. Extreme. Yet he points a finger at the rest of us and tells us to live green, while he remains a worse-offender.

    Three of the so-called progressives on our Council also are world-class hypocrites in this vain, in particular. They are useful idiots for the real estate rape-developers in this town. Backing the Ellington is such a betrayal of progressive values. Why? The Ellington is for the rich. The Ellington will cause sky-rocketing tax rates for the small businesses in town who cannot afford them. The Ellington will help drive the “common” people out of Asheville and leave a void to be filled with Manhattan/Floridian elitists who will turn this town into a rich person’s playground. Watch and see. Newman-Jones-Cape are traitors to the progressive cause,which is supposed to be in favor of protecting and helping the common person of low income and low influence. These three are PINOs. Progressive In Name Only. And their vote disgusts me.

    The only true progressives running for election are Elaine Lite and Bryan Freeborn. Let’s elect them and let Brownie Newman find the funding for his Volvo liberal lifestyle somewhere else. Not from Asheville taxpayers.

  23. Clocky

    Everything you just wrote is based on your assertion that The Ellington will cause taxes to rise for small businesses and help drive the common people out of Asheville.

    What’s the proof that The Ellington will cause tax rates will rise for small businesses?

  24. Nam Vet

    Because it will cause a rise in adjacent property values. Same with the yankee yuppie condos going in next to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. $1 million dollar condos equal high rent district. The mom and pop small businesses downtown will soon be taxed at a much higher rate. And predatory government will act as useful idiots to grease the skids for higher taxes so they can get higher paying tenants in those buildings. In 10 years or less we will have a downtown Asheville that more closely resembles the decadent “cool” Manhattan than the traditional small Southern City. And if you don’t see this you are either blind or are not doing your research. Socialism is expensive. And it often hurts the very people most of us would like to see helped.

  25. travelah

    Dr. Carl is a sane voice on an otherwise idiotic board of nincombpoops …. He has my vote for Congress :)

  26. Nam Vet

    Proof? Follow the logic here clocky. The $1 million condos at Thomas Wolfe and the Ellington, an elite “boutique” hotel, will cater to the wealthy…from out of town. Mainly NE yankees and other rich outsiders. To the detriment of locals who cannot match the money these people bring in. Think about it. The reason 3 of the Fab Four voted FOR the Ellington is that they are lusting after the taxes received. Expensive buildings run up property rates. Do you understand this principle? I do not think having more tax money for Fab Four pet projects justifies defiling our dear Asheville with this abomination called the Ellington. We have enough parks already and I don’t want a bunch of social engineers taking our tax revenues to make “affordable” housing for poor yankee transplants.

  27. travelah

    Nam, why do you have such a distaste for “yankees”? I’ve known some real bubah’s who are “yankees” :)

  28. It’s called scapegoating. The “Yankees” are the cause of all my problems boo hoo. And this is from the same guy who is always yapping on and on about how patriotic he is, I guess in his version of America the northern border is at the Mason Dixon line.

  29. chuck

    any solutions, ‘Nam Veterinarian”:, or just whining about the vast left-wing conspiracy directed against you?

  30. Nam Vet

    LOL, I am not a whiner, I assure you. This site is for expressing opinions, and I am doing just that. And I don’t blame yankee transplants for all the problems in Asheville. BUT, the Manhattanization of Asheville IS yankee transplant driven, for the most part, and that is why I single them out. For goodness sakes, if you move here, move here because you like WNC pretty much as is. Don’t move here and try to change us into what you came from. And take the time to learn our traditions and culture here. The NE has a very different culture. And a culture with a lot of problems, hence the exodus out of NJ, NY and Boston to the fair South.

  31. travelah

    Having been born and raised in Maine I can understand your concern. When I was young, Maine was infiltrated with the “back to nature” movement people from NY, MASS, RI, NJ etc. A lot of NYC people tried to escape and recreate their own little nirvana in much the same way that the Fauxprogs are doing here. I can remember several little Volvo and Saab homemade pickup trucks flying down our little country road on the way back to their shanties in the woods. Most of them lasted about half way through the winter before they packed up their frozen goods and headed home. Those that stayed nurtured their foreign culture and were dismayed that the locals were not at all impressed.

    I guess my point is that you really shouldn’t judge everybody to the north by the same measuring stick. Besides, a lot of the problem you mention is coming not from the NE but from California, Florida and the upper Midwest. Let’s face it. The whole country is undergoing a demographics shift and Asheville will never again be the place you once knew (or what I once knew as well having been here several years with family ties here)

  32. Allow me to translate:

    California= Gays/Liberals/Gay liberals/Mexicans (sometime the word Hollywood is used in place of California, but this is usually only on Fox News)

    New York/Manhattan= Jews/Liberals

    Florida= retired Jews/Old Liberals

    Boston= Liberal gay Irish

  33. travelah

    pants, … bad translation …. it should have read … California – New Jersey – Florida …. big equity money and little else.

  34. travelah

    pants, what meetings and what memos could you possibly be talking about??

  35. Nam Vet

    Nice insights travelah. I remember when the “back to nature” folks came here in the early 1970s. For some reason, most of them blended in because all they wanted to do was buy a small farm in Madison County and bake bread, grow organic veggies, and the such. It is this latest wave of transplants, the yankee & Floridian yuppies, that are causing the problems. And sorry I included ALL of the Northest. I’m sure Maine, Vermont, New Hamphire are more like us here than their neighbors in NYC, Boston, and New Joisey. By the way, we don’t have that many Californian transplants here. And the people from Michigan don’t seem to be the problem. It is that old cartel of NJ, NY, Mass that gums up the works…as a rule. Exceptions do occur of course. The most common license plates on the road? NY and FL. That says it all.

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