How far must one live from Gaffney, S.C., in order to avoid culpability for spelling and grammatical errors committed by Bic pens? 500 yards? A mile? Or is anybody within the city limits able to be ridiculed for the ink that flows from an errant ballpoint? Gaffney is, as you know, a manufacturing site for the ubiquitous Bic pen brand.
This seems silly because the whole notion of proximate geographical liability is absurd. Having a Raytheon plant in Asheville will not bring culpability to our area for the actions of our politicians and military.
The cost of the podium from which the morally indignant denounce industry suitors is tremendous. The proposed factory is a $650 million investment in Buncombe County, which will provide approximately 800 new jobs. The average annual salary is slated to be roughly $68,000, significantly higher than the area’s current salary of $45,000. This is a critical municipal tax revenue diversification for a city comically dependent on tourism, overpriced meals and cutesy shops.
There is also no environmental argument that holds water. The plant is going to be built somewhere. Whether it is here or in the Outer Banks, the same state and federal manufacturing and pollutant regulations would apply. The same amount of environmental damage will be wrought. Only a selfish, small-thinking interest would make such a fuss about the thought of local contamination, other areas be damned. If plant pollution is truly the issue at hand, then go and fix that.
Nobody is going to think we are a warmongering city. Step down from the lectern of moral indignation. It is costing Asheville dearly. Accept the change that is coming and the colossal windfall it bestows upon Buncombe County.
— Derek Husar