Letter: Budget time tests Asheville ‘liberalism’

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Like last year, city budget time promises to be a major test of Asheville “liberalism.” Leaders who claim to be liberal often justify their inaction by claiming to be reducing wealth disparity incrementally, when both [Asheville Mayor Esther] Manheimer and Obama actually increased disparity.

I can accept liberal incrementalism unless it is fake, but it does demand that we decide on the first increment, and for me, increment No. 1 is stopping active abuse of the poor by municipal government. Ending federal neglect can come later, since that requires bigger government, which is widely criticized, with some validity, since in my lifetime, government and disparity have both grown together, not inversely, as too many liberals assume.

In addition to much neglect, I can easily see two major city budget categories that actively abuse the poor, those being the police budget as opposed by Black Lives Matter and the Planning Department budget, which attacked 12 Baskets, housing and my own food supply, with money with which both could have enhanced.

Progressive cities, especially in North Carolina, need to accept that the police oath to enforce all laws, most of which hurt the poor, is a deal-breaker; and that the few exceptions, like protecting domestic violence survivors, can best be done by civilians like those at Helpmate, who can be paid for that task exclusively, without certification pressures from the regressive state or feds, and without tax-funded, military-style assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, armored cars and grenade launchers capable of massacring 50 New Zealanders; purchased instead of housing and food.

— Alan Ditmore


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