New PAC calls for Republican takeover of county board

BOILING OVER: An angry taxpayer displays a sign created by new political action committee prominently in a yard in North Asheville. Unedited, the sign reads “Stop Democrat Corruption.” Photo by Virginia Daffron

Angry Buncombe Taxpayers, a political action committee formed in August, wants to flip the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners from blue to red in November.

Federal prosecutors have charged four former Buncombe County officials, including former County Manager Wanda Greene, with fraud, a revelation that has fueled the ire of many Buncombe County residents.

These alleged misdeeds, the Angry Buncombe Taxpayers argue, occurred while Democrats controlled the Board of Commissioners. They believe voters should give Republicans the opportunity to patch things up.

“Although that looks very partisan, it’s the corruption that’s the real issue here,” says Mike Summey, the treasurer and one of the cofounders of the new PAC. “If it had been Republicans doing it, we would feel the same way about them.”

The organization, which has registered with the Buncombe County Board of Election Services as an independent expenditure PAC, may not donate directly to a candidate or other political committee, but it can receive unlimited contributions from individuals and businesses.

According to paperwork submitted to the county Board of Election Services, the PAC had raised $4,500 as of Aug. 20. The donor list, which in the PAC’s initial filing lists six contributors, includes prominent local Republicans Chris Peterson and Chad Nesbitt.

So far, Summey says, the organization has been spending its funds on signs, which recently made an appearance at the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting on Aug. 21. About a dozen activists attended the meeting and sat in the front few rows, holding the signs high enough for commissioners to see.

“Stop Democrat Corruption,” read one. “Drain the Swamp in Buncombe County.”

Although the organization explicitly calls for residents to vote for Republicans, the PAC has also attempted to temper its message by taking a collaborative tone with Democrats.

“There are many good Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are upset with the corruption that has been exposed by numerous federal indictments of county administrators,” the PAC says on its website. “What makes our anger seem so partisan is the fact that this has all occurred while Democrats controlled the county.”

Partisan politics

Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the board, and although three seats are on the ballot this fall, District 1 Commissioner Al Whitesides, a Democrat, is running unopposed. One of the contested seats is held by a Democrat and the other by a Republican. To upset the Democratic majority, Republicans must win both of those races.

Commissioner Robert Pressley, R-District 3, is defending his seat against Democratic challenger Donna Ensley.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Ellen Frost, D-District 2, will vacate her seat at the end of her term. Two newcomers, Democrat Amanda Edwards and Republican Glenda Weinert, will square off in November to replace her.

“If you want to sit there and point fingers at a party, it has been a Democrat majority for many, many years,” Pressley says. “Can it be better with the Republican Party? You know, you’d hope that no matter what it’s a better party, but we need to look back at what brought this on.” Pressley gives Commissioner Mike Fryar credit for calling attention to irregularities in county finances before the federal investigation began — irregularities that Pressley says went deeper than Fryar originally expected.

“I knew things was wrong four years ago,” Fryar said during a Board of Commissioners meeting on Aug. 21, “but I didn’t have a clue that they were stealing money from inside the county or doing what they were doing or going on trips. I knew that money was being moved around. I couldn’t figure out where it went.”

SHOW OF RAGE: Locals hold up signs provided by a new political action committee called Angry Taxpayers during a Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting on Aug. 21. Photo by David Floyd
SHOW OF RAGE: Locals hold up signs provided by a new political action committee called Angry Taxpayers during a Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting on Aug. 21. Photo by David Floyd

Fryar was re-elected to a four-year term by 307 votes against Democratic challenger Nancy Nehls Nelson in 2016.

Buncombe County Republican Party Chair Carl Mumpower believes “with certainty” that the alleged corruption in county government is a partisan issue.

“The party that’s been in total control blew their fiduciary responsibilities in a major way over a major period of time,” he says. “The long-standing Democratic dominance of our county formed a governance culture ripe for predatory action.”

Buncombe County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Rose sees it differently.

“I don’t think that it’s fair to say that it was on any one commissioner or any particular party,” Rose says. “I mean, this is something that was more of a structural issue with the way that oversight of the county manager position was conducted.”

It’s an issue Rose believes would have come up regardless of the party in control of the board.

“When you look at what systems were in place to act as a check on the county manager and on the county officials, I don’t see a different outcome based purely on partisanship,” he says.

The county’s response

Commissioners have been fielding a lot of questions about the federal investigation of Greene during public sessions held to gather input on the county’s search for a new manager.

“We changed and took away a tremendous authority away from the manager so that the manager, whoever they are, will never have that much power,” Frost said during an input session on Aug. 24.

Before Greene’s retirement, Frost said, she and Fryar had been asking hard questions about some county spending choices — questions that Frost said led to attempts by Greene to tarnish their reputations.

“People believed her, people thought she was great and … she was very clever at picking people to help with the cover-up,” Frost said. “She was a Svengali. She could get people to do things.”

Board Chair Brownie Newman said that, among other changes, the county has limited the ability of the manager to transfer money between different county funds, capped manager-initiated employee bonuses at $1,000, and insulated the internal auditor from retaliation by the manager. The county has also set up a whistleblower hotline operated by an outside agency.

Charges that Greene, former County Manager Mandy Stone, and former Planning Director and Assistant County Manager Jon Creighton awarded contracts to companies associated with Joseph Wiseman Jr. in exchange for lavish vacations have also raised questions about the county’s purchasing policies.

“You had a process in place where some of the people that were doing the negotiating of contracts … also had the authority to approve them,” said interim County Manager George Wood during the session on Aug. 24. “And that was not a good process.”

Wood said the county is reviewing all purchasing policies.

The initiative to shore up internal controls, however, doesn’t satisfy Angry Taxpayers supporters. Summey believes these changes should have been implemented far sooner. “Why wait until you’re already caught with your hand in the cookie jar before you figure out how to lock the lid on it?” he asks.

Working together

Mumpower believes Democratic control of the Board of Commissioners has contributed to the alleged corruption in county government.

“Monopolies are always vulnerable to rust and Brand-X — what we call the Democrats’ liberal-progressive-socialist movement — has been in control of county and city governance for decades,” he says.

“We’re naturally geared to restraint and realism in governance,” he says of the Republican Party. “The opposition is naturally geared to extravagance and opportunism.”

Weinert, the Republican candidate in District 2, says a Republican-controlled board would have done things differently.

“Republicans tend to view taxpayer dollars and budget responsibilities from the perspective of operating like a business,” she says. “As we move forward beyond the corruption, Republicans will manage differently, provide better [oversight] and will always work to protect taxpayer dollars.”

Pressley, meanwhile, points to the value of current commissioners’ knowledge of the investigation and their teamwork in addressing the scandal to this point.

“We all want to make sure that what happens to taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, not sitting here what’s best for one party or the other party,” he says. “We’re all very glad that this has been brought out, and it’s just going to make the county a better county once the investigation is over.”

Pressley, the only board incumbent to face a challenger in this year’s election, doesn’t favor starting over with a clean slate of commissioners. “There is so much information that the commissioners know right now that we have not been able to share that shows that we’re all working toward the same thing,” he says. “We might have different priorities that we look at, but at the end of the day, if new commissioners come in, it’s going to be a new learning experience for them.”

Although he frequently hears concerns about the Greene investigation, Rose doesn’t think it’s the top concern among voters this election cycle.

“Especially with kids going back to school right now, one of the bigger concerns we’ve been hearing about from voters is education funding,” Rose says, “and I think more of that ties to the state level.”

Rose says kitchen table issues, like pay and affordable housing, also top voters’ list of concerns.

That being said, Rose believes the alleged corruption in Buncombe County government does have a direct impact on voters, especially when one considers how the allegedly embezzled money could have been invested in Buncombe County.

“People aren’t just frustrated that it occurred,” he says, “they’re frustrated at what it actually meant in terms of impact to the community.”

Angry Taxpayers PAC by David Floyd on Scribd

SHARE
About David Floyd
David Floyd is the Buncombe County reporter for the Mountain Xpress. He previously worked as a general-assignment reporter for the Johnson City Press. Email him at dfloyd@mountainx.com.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

35 thoughts on “New PAC calls for Republican takeover of county board

  1. luther blissett

    “Brand-X — what we call the Democrats’ liberal-progressive-socialist movement — has been in control of county and city governance for decades.”

    Does that include the period when the CIBO slate had a majority on City Council and, um, Chris Peterson was deputy mayor? Anyway, you’d think that Grumpy Millionaires And Chad PAC could come up with better signs.

    • Lulz

      Peterson wasn’t in the County. And he served way back in the 90’s. What does he have to do with Wanda Greed?

      LOL you mistake conservative voters as being rich. But Democrats have lost the working class.

      • luther blissett

        You mistake a comment about two wealthy property developers as one about “conservative voters”. Again.

  2. Keith Thomson

    Voters who supported local funding for our public schools, community college, and job creation were let down by by the county staff who took advantage of the trust placed in them by ALL of the County Commissioners, including Republicans Nathan Ramsey, Mike Fryar, Joe Belcher, and Robert Pressley. Republicans who supported Sheriff Bobby Medford before his conviction for widespread corruption have selective memories.

    The AAA bond ratings, while funding the new and renovated public schools, libraries, and recreation facilities, teacher pay supplements, and other investments in our quality of life are at risk in the future by targeting just Democrats.

    Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!

      • Lulz

        Such as? You keep citing Trump as if he is taking the country down. Democrats are the scumbags though.

        • luther blissett

          That’s an interesting example of situational ethics towards fraud.

    • Enlightened Enigma

      buncombe co corruption pales in comparison to the numbers of elected democrackkks statewide that went to PRISON from 2000 -2010…
      you people forget the complete destruction of our once great state by evil democrackkks like Sleazely, Jim Black, Tony Rand, Meg Scott Phipps, JIM HUNT!

  3. Enlightened Enigma

    Democrackkks have been EVIL dominating power mongers here for decades…always… they are elected CRIMINALS who need to be run out of town! David Gantt and Brownie Newman should be ashamed to show their faces in Buncombe Co!

    Decades of NON leadership leaves AVL in dire straits, while the stupid people remain complacent.

    • Keith Thomson

      At least Republicans, like gambling colluding former Sheriff Bobby Medford, have the courage of their convictions.

      • Lulz

        LOL he took money from poker machines. She stole money from people that had no choice but to pay. Big difference joker.

        • Keith Thomson

          Former Republican Sheriff Bobby Medford convicted and serving fifteen years in federal prison. His supporters are guilty of selective memories. Now they want to run government like a business, trump casino?

  4. luther blissett

    “Fraudsters don’t play on moral weaknesses, greed or fear; they play on weaknesses in the system of checks and balances – the audit processes that are meant to supplement an overall environment of trust. One point that comes up again and again when looking at famous and large-scale frauds is that, in many cases, everything could have been brought to a halt at a very early stage if anyone had taken care to confirm all the facts. But nobody does confirm all the facts. There are just too bloody many of them. Even after the financial rubble has settled and the arrests been made, this is a huge problem.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jun/28/how-to-get-away-with-financial-fraud

    • Lulz

      When your only belief is spending, what moron is going to take the time to check anything? These cronies simply voted in more taxes at the behest of Greed. All she had to do is say more money was needed and she got it. Blind stupidity by people who have zero interests in saving the taxpayer money is why this really happened. Period

  5. Illuminatti_01

    All of those Commissioners between 2005 and 2017 neglected their feduciary duty to the citizens. Mike Fryar may have been somewhat of a watchdog, but he allowed Mandy Stone to totally snow him. His judgement is flawed.
    In this county commission video Fryar is Stones#1 cheerleader and give detractors of Stone a piece of his mind. This is from June 5 2018, and in three days Stone was locked out and her phone confiscated.
    https://youtu.be/Rj6AysLDyRI?t=1h19m

  6. Stan Hawkins

    In an effort to simplify the issue of, why do we have such a big problem with control & understanding where all the money goes? What are the root causes of our dilemma?

    Consider that true conservatism aspires to have smaller government, fewer employees, fewer committees, fewer departments, and more competition for where the dollars go. Thus when implemented there are fewer dollars flowing through the hands of officials and employees that acquire a certain air of unaccountability. This complacency of unaccountability occurs naturally because there is typically no competitive entities competing to supply the multitude of services that the county seeks to supply. So how does one know when they are getting good service when there is nowhere else to go to get that reality check?

    This does not mean to say that most county employees are bad people. It is simply a natural occurrence when there is no ongoing competition for services. When there is little competition, complacency, and a large bureaucracy; the priority of watching every penny spent becomes like sand at the beach. There is just too much to count. A review of the county website will reveal the multitude of departments, affiliations with non-profits, for-profits, land purchases, committees, groups, foundation affiliations, and so on. This writer does not mean to infer that any of these entities are not worthy of competing for viability. The question is should the government (we the people) be this big and have purview of so much? True conservatives believe that the question should first be; “does this service or expenditure belong in the purview of government?’

    Just to get it out of the way; it is true there are some conservatives that are only conservative when it is politically expedient. For these and others you have to pay more attention to what they do, as opposed to what they say. Liberals typically believe that it is more fair and feasible to grow government, employee more government people, and provide as many services as possible in the belief that these services can only be efficiently and safely provided when in control of the government. To their credit, the safety net that many seek to provide for those that are reluctant or unable to seek out services from competing providers does seem needed at times. But, how do we know when we are getting good service is a legitimate question? How do we know when an employee has become naturally complacent in their role? When the mandate just becomes CYA, then we have failed everyone.

    So, what is my point? When the financial crisis of 2008-2009 hit, we heard many phrases and words being thrown around as we looked for who was responsible for our mess. Such phrases as “too big to fail” and “the absence of or removal of an entry on the balance sheet does not mean the absence of risk” were tossed around. That last one by the CEO of “Big Bank.” Near the root of this mess was typically found a disconnect between the definition of good service to the consumer, and providing oversight to the safety of the consumer transactions. When the mandate just becomes CYA instead of defining how you measure good customer service then the end is near.

    We will never know the full impact of the improprieties of Buncombe Government officials. The lost opportunities to do good work and wring the efficiency out of every taxpayer dollar cannot be retrieved. The lost opportunities for good customer service by not keeping our eye on the ball are gone. If we don’t consider the possibility that Buncombe County Government is simply too big, and as my Gran-Daddy used to say when I ordered too much food at the hamburger joint; “you have bitten off more than you can chew,” then we are missing an opportunity.

    • luther blissett

      “Big” or “small” are distracting terms. As you rightly say, it’s a question of arguing out the proper scope of government and what’s appropriate for that scope. Operating under a presumption of distrust — or even “trust but verify” — has its own costs.

      The Greene and co. fraud divides into two loose categories. The embezzlement side is an organizational fraud, done by exploiting the trust gained within an organization that ran on (too much) trust. The kickback side is a contractual fraud, which exists because (for obvious reasons) local government does not include a full-time workforce for larger capital and maintenance projects but instead does so through private parties. The problem with bidding out projects is that contractors can exploit weaknesses in the bidding system (as with RADTIP) or cultivate the people with the power to grant contracts.

  7. SpareChange

    For those genuinely concerned about corruption, rather than attempting to score phony political points (regardless of whether the corruption is public or private), I would suggest that the first step would be to drop the nonsensical assumption that such behavior is in any way significantly linked to political party or political ideology. Corruption happens in every political-economic system. It seems that the only way to limit it (it never has been eliminated) is to increase the chances that it will be uncovered, reported, and prosecuted. It involves fairly constant oversight, checks & balances, and enforcement to limit it. These are largely structural and bureaucratic and institutional cultural mechanisms (much more than political or ideological ones).

    • Lulz

      In this case it happened because you have a body of politicians that aren’t concerned with saving money. They have a piggy bank of taxpayers to raid whenever they want. And in this bottomless pit, they aren’t going to be concerned with the details of where the money is going. She had free reign to steal because the money would never stop flowing. And the people voting for more tax increases went along because they’re idiots who’s only purpose in life is to increase the size of government.

      Tax and spend does not and never has worked.

    • Stan Hawkins

      If any ideology promotes the growth of government, thereby removing money flowing from the private sector to the public sector; those using the utility of common sense, as opposed to nonsensical beliefs, would typically agree that the task of managing big government is more of a challenge than the task of managing a smaller government. Once the competitive forces of private enterprise (a natural check & balance) is removed from the equation, the task becomes even greater.

      If conservatives believe in smaller government and liberals believe in bigger government; to then say ideologies do not have an effect on the inherent difficulties and risks associated with managing the size of government, seems like a disconnect with reality. When you have too many eggs being placed in one basket, the size and scale of the errors of oversight or improprieties become, well we have seen what they can become.

      • SpareChange

        I follow your logic, but it requires that one accept the premise that the public sector has more corruption than the private sector, and that is a premise I do not accept. In fact I would argue that the amount and variety of private sector corruption dwarfs that typically found in the public sector. People with a contrary point of view often seem to want to compare how markets work in theory, vs. how government works in reality. Also, there are certain routine behaviors and practices which are accepted in the private sector, which would be found by both definition and law to be illegal and outrageous if/when they might occur in the public sector. Beyond that, once you corporatize the market (as the vast majority of the economy has been), most of the rules and norms of smaller scale competitive capitalism fly out the window.

        • Stan Hawkins

          I don’t disagree that there are inherent risks in the private sector with the potential for wrong doing. Since private enterprise is fortunately 3-6 times that of public enterprise, quite naturally the number of scandals or unsavory events will be greater. As to where we can we find the most corruption on scale, well that is a good question. On the one hand we are asked to place our dollars in the public trust in the form of taxes. On the other, we are asked to be customers or invest in stock or a 401k with corporations. We are told simply trust us with government. We are told buyer please trust us but beware with businesses or corporations.

          The benefits of utilizing capital to create productivity in jobs and expansion of capital expenditures is lost once my tax dollars leave my pocket as opposed to going into the private sector. This has a negative impact on economic productivity and leaves government open to criticism. To counter that negative productivity, government becomes more interested in partnering with all kinds of business in the form of alliances, partnerships, foundations, and non-profit entities. This makes the task of managing government even more difficult and one could argue outside of their area of expertise exposing government workers to unnecessary risk. When governments grows vertically and horizontally it seems reasonable to say that it becomes something harder to manage.

          Your argument, if I understood it, was that ideology has no impact on the degree of risk with the size of government and we are talking about Buncombe County. I can see your point, but only to the extent that we limit government work to government work. Buncombe County is in all kinds of business affiliations some for profit, some non-profit, and some just out sourcing contractual agreements. When your organizational chart becomes something you have to re-invent every so often, while redefining what transparency means; that may be a clue that downsizing should be considered. And thus, that consideration was my point.

  8. Carl M.

    Impressive thoroughness – lots of hard work in crafting this story. Thank you.

  9. luther blissett

    “Republicans tend to view taxpayer dollars and budget responsibilities from the perspective of operating like a business,”

    Are we still trying that line when Chief Republican is a corrupt businessman? Businesses choose their customers. Governments don’t.

  10. Justin Reid

    Brand X, liberal socialist? This, yet again, shows that conservative propaganda has no clue what Socialism truly is. As a Democratic Socialist let me emphatically say that Asheville’s city government is *nowhere* near close to actually being socialist. Third Way liberal sure, but do we have things like citizen participation in city budgets, or procurement for worker cooperatives so that spent government money stays in Asheville? I didn’t think so. If a true group of Democratic Socialists like the UK Labour Party were to take over they would support more direct citizen control of city finances, not let city officials give extravagant raises for themselves, and would crack down on white collar crime so that bureaucrats won’t raid the hen house. So yes, Democratic Socialism can in fact work, and doesn’t mean the Soviet Union or China unlike what Carl Mumpower likes to blather on about every now and again. And I would be as bold to claim that Asheville actually needs a Democratic Socialist program since it would provide better pay, better worker rights, way better housing, and makes sure public taxpayer money is spent in a way that won’t be wasteful and be hoarded by greedy corporations. But oh no, to the conservative ideology the s-word means “Venezuela!”. Don’t believe it as conservative ideologues only have their self-interest at heart and no one else’s.

    • Stan Hawkins

      Democratic Socialism; hmmm – I wonder what effect that system would have on the willingness of business entrepreneurs to risk their capital for investment in the Asheville – Buncombe area? You may want to take a poll amongst those in the real estate development and real estate sales profession and ask them; “What impact, if any do you think a Democratic Socialism form of government in Asheville would have on property values in the Asheville – Buncombe area?

      If you create an environment where you have declining values in property, hence fewer jobs, resulting in less tax revenue, what will you do when you run out of everyone else’s money and you have no way to print any? And yes, Margaret Thatcher (of the UK) said it best; “the only problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of everyone else’s money.”

      • Justin Reid

        Well capitalism already tanked home values and destroyed thousands of real estate jobs when the housing market caused the worst recession in 80 years in 2008, but I digress. So you think that by making affordable housing available to people it would cause tax revenue to decline and somehow cause a budget crisis? Then what, might I ask, have tax cuts and financial deregulation have done? Look at any government budget and whenever you give extreme tax subsidies and lax rules to big business you always see an explosion in both the yearly deficit and the national debt. Letting the free market run rampant always causes cyclical booms and busts, and over time moves most money to the top via stock buybacks or other financial mechanisms. If free market absolutism is so great then why did the big banks need a bailout not just from taxes created by our W2s, but by charging the national credit card? Why oh why, if these industrialists and businessmen were the John Galt/Howard Roark figures that they claim to be, need a 10 year cash advance from the government to the tune of $1.5 trillion? See that’s the problem with neoliberalism as an ideology. Tax breaks and propping up of the market isn’t “small government”, it’s just massive government spending for a sector that certain powerful people choose to win. So ironically capitalism has already run out of people’s money, it’s just that we keep taking out loans every year at each level of government to keep the system churning. That’s why if there’s a financial crash, austerity happens and harsh budget cuts are levied against common citizens. But of course the special rich businesspeople and the well-to-do are shielded from the consequences. The whole neoliberal free market, and this includes the housing market, is an unsustainable system where at some point it’s internal contradictions and problems will reach a breaking point. The last time that happened was in 2008 but the other time was in the 1920s during the Great Depression. Democratic Socialists want to break free of that system where people don’t have to worry about poverty, losing their job, or about having to lose their homes due to the profit-minded decisions of some far-flung institution. Very few of my generation have the luxury of worrying about the equity of their homes because most don’t even have decent enough pay to even afford a down payment. People are getting sick of worrying about what businesses and entrepreneurs want because their benefits haven’t translated to good jobs for the majority of the working class. People are looking for alternatives and I believe that Democratic Socialism is that alternative.

        • Stan Hawkins

          You certainly have every right to be frustrated with the obstacles getting in the way of your success and opportunities. Essentially, the form of government we have operated under for some fifty years or so is a form of socialism. Yet, the result of which is that we have socialized the risk of failure in private and public endeavors to our citizens in a number of ways. These factors certainly contribute to your frustration as in “why do I have to pay for the losses or have pain, but not have a shot at the gains?” That is a reasonable position to take, I agree.

          Should you care to research carefully, the facts leading to the financial downfalls in 2008-2009 that you mention has, partly at its’ roots, social engineering by government in the promotion of homeownership for everyone. The Big Banks you mention knew they were taking on more risk in this social experiment, and thus looked for ways to remove the risks from their balance sheet. This lead to what we call asset backed securities in the form of mortgage debt. Check it out, looking at votes, bills, and regulations placed on these same big banks to experiment with “socialized gains.” I am not sure if we call that Democratic Socialism, yet the failures were in part due to government essentially forcing Big Banks to take on more risks. Naturally, as you point out, greed is certainly a factor and always will be in any form of government, meaning none is perfect. Full disclosure, I am former executive with Big Bank subsidiary, job being eliminated in Big Bank merger at the early stages of this social experiment.

          To now say we should socialize the potential for gains (success or common denominator of all) since we have socialized the risk of losses or disappointments in life is a big gamble for Asheville – Buncombe to take. Yet, we can look to such places in our own country to see how government experimenting with socialism has worked out. Its not a pretty picture. But, don’t take my word for it, just check it out at Detroit, Baltimore, and Chicago.

          Malcom Gladwell, in his books, Blink, Tipping Point, and others writes of a common denominator that exists in successful people and enterprises. If we look for what is consistent in his research with most who are successful, you will find a passion for something, hard work meaning 55-60 hours a week at something at least early on, some breaks or mentors along the way, and ten years worth of practical experience before success is realized. If “busting your butt” like that is the definition of Government by Democratic Socialism, then let’s give it a shot.

          • luther blissett

            “social engineering by government in the promotion of homeownership for everyone.”

            As opposed to social engineering by government in the promotion of home ownership for white people, which was good and proper. Or something.

            I can understand why white Boomers think of their childhoods as normative, but they grew up the beneficiaries of a redistribution of wealth unprecedented since the Homestead Acts, a redistribution that was not channelled into things like universal healthcare or paid maternity leave, but instead into individual wealth through subsidized real estated and the freeways to connect the new suburbs (typically demolishing black neighborhoods to do so). The perverse genius of this approach is that it helps the direct beneficiaries of such redistribution and their heirs and successors think they earned it entirely by themselves.

            The idea that “a form of socialism” has been in place in the US since the 1960s is just not credible. Wages are flat since the 70s and that has created a massive divergence between those who benefit from increased property values — for instance, property speculators like Summey and Peterson — and those who bust their butts in fields where labor matters more than capital.

            “But, don’t take my word for it, just check it out at Detroit, Baltimore, and Chicago.”

            Weird how some people always head off in that direction.

        • Lulz

          That’s called crony capitalism. Whereby large corporations promote their own gain by influencing politicians, You know, like the hotels are locally with Airbnbs.

          The 2008 busts was due to politicians passing laws that allowed banks to give out loans to people that couldn’t pay them back. It was a form of social engineering as it was mainly passed to help minorities and women.

          • luther blissett

            Obviously the government should stick to social engineering on behalf of white men by making it easier for them to be property owners and property speculators.

          • Stan Hawkins

            Buncombe citizens may be interested in reviewing some recent history when considering which form of government it wants. The consequences of government involvement in private enterprises can be devastating.

            Research will show, among a number of statistics, two stats that stand out from foreclosure activity during the recession beginning in 2007 through approximately 2010. While my preference is not to make race an issue, the attached publication sheds some light on statistics that may be of interest .

            See attached: https://www.responsiblelending.org/mortgage-lending/research-analysis/foreclosures-by-race-and-ethnicity.pdf

            1. White and non- Hispanics experienced the largest percentage of foreclosures slightly over 55% during the the initial period of the economic downturn.
            2. African American & Latinos experienced the greatest percentage of foreclosure activity of the most recent mortgage originations during the period leading up to the downturn.

            What can we say are the take aways from government having sway over the risk taking of mortgage lenders? It seems that everyone is effected regardless of race, and that near the end of the bubble, minorities were beginning to be effected at a greater ratio.

            When government throws common sense out the window, and tries to be experts at everything, “we best be hangin on to our hats.”

            * Footnote for those not around during that period: At the height of the recession in WNC with unemployment over 10%, history will show Buncombe County officials along with Airport Authority officials were in Hawaii at a swanky Airport Authority Conference. This news was breaking just as Buncombe citizens were struggling to pay their property taxes. Now, does that sound like a government that is in touch with its’ citizens?

  11. don

    Ain’t no one more corrupt than republicans…. everyone knows that. Ain’t no one better at lying about it too. ( ….and, ain’t no one better at getting all the delusional dummies to vote for them…. sigh ;)

    • B.E. Vickroy

      Not ALL the delusional dummies vote republican. Chicago’s DELUSIONAL DUMMIES vote for Democrats corrupt year after deadly year. Democrats controlled FLINT MI’ s deadly water crisis. Baltimore, Oakland, Newark have been dominated by Democrats for decades. Seems like there are more than enough DELUSIONAL DUMMIES to go around.

Leave a Reply

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