Immigration, budget hot topics at CIBO breakfast

Here’s a compilation of Xpress reporter David Forbes’ live tweets from the June 4 CIBO breakfast in the food court of the Biltmore Square mall:

At CIBO breakfast, City Manager Gary Jackson, County Commissioners’ Chair David Gantt to speak on budgets, Council member Cecil Bothwell on Sanctuary City proposal. 50+ people gathered for CIBO breakfast, relatively large turnout. Immigration, budgets popular issues.

County Commish Chair David Gantt: “Like any business, we had to cut back” but produced solid budget, no tax raise. County budget $327 mil, $500,000 less than last year. Sales tax, permit revenue down. Gantt: “Buncombe has fewer employees than 10 yrs ago. We get it… Have to become more efficient.”

County Manager Wanda Greene, answering question: $76 million spent on social services, food stamp demand up 76 percent. One CIBO member: “County’s done a hell of a job,” prepared for downturn better than Asheville. Gantt suggesting CIBO invite DSS head Mandy Stone to explain social services, “welfare’s not what you think.”

City Council member Cecil Bothwell speaking on civil liberties resolution, which includes APD not enforcing federal immigration law. Bothwell citing report endorsed by Cary, LA police chiefs that cities where local PD don’t enforce immigration laws have lower crime. Bothwell: Threat to jobs comes from NAFTA, jobs going overseas, not immigrant workers here, who pay taxes, spend money.

Bothwell citing report by Cato Institute that legalizing immigrant workers would boost economy. He notes native-born males 5 times more likely to commit crimes than immigrants. Border cities, counties tend to be low crime. Bothwell: “Guessing most of us here are immigrants or descendants of immigrants… People who immigrate are fearless… blame’s on the wrong people, should be on Congress” for laws that let corporations move overseas.

Audience member: “If can’t change the law, have to enforce it.” Resolution “a slap in the face” to laws of country.

Bothwell: “Agree 100%” on need for law enforcement, reform, but harms local police’s ability to get info, solve crimes to enforce immigration law “it’s a federal problem.”

Another audience member: “Don’t know whether you’re naive or delusional” says illegal immigrants have ruined Houston. Bothwell: All resolution would do is continue current APD policy, “that’s what the police chief has requested”

Local developer Jerry Sternberg: “which of you have employed illegal immigrants? Don’t raise your hands, we all have.” Speaking of immigration raid on business brought on by former Council member Carl Mumpower: “That’s legal, but what msg does it send?”

Bothwell: “Not against enforcing immigration laws, I’m against local police enforcing this,” needs to be dealt w federally, invites feedback from CIBO.

City Manager Gary Jackson speaking on budget: “One of the more boring topics, it’s a no-frills budget.” Jackson: Have avoided laying people off, cut back on community ctr hours, brush collection, temp positions, froze salaries. “We have a balanced budget. No tax increase, no layoffs, only minor reductions in service, nothing from fund balance.”

One man suggesting replacing some full-time employees with part-timers, as no benefits required.

Jackson: “Downtown is hopping, think we’ll have good forecast” but doesn’t want to rely on that. City using contract employees for audits, temp replacement for budget director, “open to being flexible.”

Jackson on greenways: “We’ve funded one greenway in last 5 years” generally partnered with county, private donors to get greenways. City is considering partnering with county to create “Park District” to manage, fund maintenance, expansion, Jackson says.

Jackson on funding issues w Pack Conservancy: “Until they raise that $2 mil, we’re holding an IOU and I’m not comfortable w that.” However, he adds, “it’s a beautiful park.”

Applause greeting Jackson, Gantt talking about SoCon basketball tournament coming 2012-14. “A far cry from 5 years ago,” in Jackson’s words.


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7 thoughts on “Immigration, budget hot topics at CIBO breakfast

  1. Roger

    Kudos to Bothwell for speaking out against local police enforcement of immigration laws. arizona’s laws are dangerous to liberties, costly to police. But worse… They are really about deporting milllions of good people we need in America. Local enforcement is really about deportation. It will split families and punish children, some citizens, for their parents actions.

    Bothwell is right.

  2. America doen’t need millions of people whatever their quality. We have hundreds of millions too many already, far more than local petroleum supplies can support. However it is very important that municipal elected officials exert sovereign control over which laws are enforced by municipal police.

  3. chops

    Yes, the entire planet is overpopulated: enforcement of immigration is just another form of NIMBY.

  4. Margaret

    I would like to know what happened to the people caught embezzling money from the City. Heard it, did not hear the outcome. I hope they were fired. The should be prosecuted.

  5. greg

    you people are amazing illegal immigrants are breaking the law do your jobs and stop making excuses

  6. bobdurivage

    As far as I know, Asheville,nc was never part of Mexico. Sanctuary will upgrade the lives of the illegals, but it will downgrade the lives of everyone else- except for the businesses who are hiring them at slave wages. We can’t afford to take care of legal residents. How does anyone expect us to provide the needs for more people coming into Asheville? There are already 82,000 legal residents here. And even that is unsustainable.
    As long as we let businesses hire them, They will keep coming and Asheville will no longer be a tourist destination. It will be another impoverished village. Snip snip.

  7. roger

    Lots of law get on the books due to “get tough” politics or even for symbolic purposes. Legislators (shocker) grandstand. It is then up to the values of communities, economics, the will of those who enforce to determine what laws are enforced strictly and what laws (like speeding) go unenforced. With all due respect, law enforcement doesn’t have the resources to enforce this law, people aren’t willing to pay taxes, we aren’t interested in an Arizona law that has the costs of civil liberties violations, and finally, most good people and most good christians do not favor the collateral costs of deporting millions of people who have been here many years, working, and raising their citizen (and sometimes) non-citizen children. There are costs to illegal immigration, yes, there are also costs to enforcing the law as border hawks would wish.

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