Letters to the editor

Save Memorial Stadium for soccer

May I add my hope that Memorial Stadium may be saved for “multi-cultural youth recreation.” Mr. Briggs Sherwood’s letter in your March 25 issue reminded me of my soccer-playing family in Los Angeles, and the coaching my son did in Dallas at one time. Also, [it made me think of] the recent thrill of the U.S. beating Brazil, and the growing interest in this grand game in America.

— Georgia Dill

Spare Long Shoals Road

We read that there are plans to widen Long Shoals Road. It goes past Valley Springs Middle School field and some lovely homes on the other side. There’s a very small amount of tree cover shielding motorists and residents from the view of the power plant (in most places), while letting us see the prettier parts remaining of Lake Julian.

The greater amount of traffic that will be dumped on Hendersonville Road will then tend to flood up Miller Road. To widen that road would necessitate demolishing both the old and the new firehouses. Some madmen can then sculpt another elevated conduit straight from Sweeten Creek to I-26!

Hasn’t anyone ever seen Newark, N.J., or Bethlehem, Pa.? Those places were accomplished, such as they are, in less than 50 years. They do possess lots of roads. They are almost completely roads! (And smokestacks!)

Not only will the people in the lovely little homes [along Long Shoals] lose their houses, or at least their front lawns — while Valley Springs might have to give up a piece (or all) of their field — but the power plant will be an unavoidable eyesore; and the people who live in the brand new garden-apartment complex, ironically named “The Forest, Phase II,” will have trucks in their faces all day.

— Tom Coppola

Fight litter, one scrap at a time

It is encouraging to see, on your pages, evidence of an enhanced awareness of the littering problem in and around Asheville. Even more encouraging is news that various groups are organizing to try to do something about it.

Studies of littering show that something like 90 percent of littering is done by 10 percent of the population. I wonder if the vast majority of people who do not litter could be persuaded to pick up one — just one — piece of litter per day. That’s a manageable task for anyone, and, if practiced by a significant number of people, it could make a real difference — especially in urban areas.

Maybe it’s worth a try.

— David W. Stewart

Asheville: Outsiders need not apply

Mayor Leni Sitnick and the rest of Asheville are going to have to do a whole lot more than set up elaborate plans to bribe outside businesses with taxpayers’ money to bring progress to Asheville.

I’m a small-business owner who moved my company headquarters to this area about two years ago, for the same reason that larger companies have for several years: The Southeast and the Carolinas are in a business-expansion mode. Asheville is a beautiful area that appears to be a little more diverse in its population and cultural interests. I thought it would live up to all the propaganda as a community that welcomes new business, new jobs and new talent.

Wrong! Beginning with my very first business experience (a small activity like getting business cards printed) and carrying on through my dealings with retailers, landlords, local officials, civic organizations, professional services of many kinds, etc., I have found a community that makes no bones about the fact that “outsiders” (anyone from anyplace outside of Buncombe County) are not really wanted. But oh! how our presumed wealth is, and a hand is always in our pocket looking for more money. Newcomers are only welcome as tourists. If that is how this community feels, for heaven’s sake, Say So.

There is a gross exaggeration of the quality of life here. Housing is homely and badly built. The choice of potable water is either filthy well-water or a city water system that is old and in desperate need of repair. The air is polluted with burning trees and wood-burning stoves. Many retail-service businesses, such as laundries and dry cleaners, are open on a part-time basis, or not at all on weekends. The quality of the retail shops is generally second-rate, and [they are] stuck in half-empty malls. Workers in restaurants routinely handle food with their bare hands (something not allowed in communities that are concerned with public health). It makes one question what standards are applied in the closed kitchens. Walk down Lexington Avenue on a Tuesday afternoon and see the rats feasting on open garbage bags behind the restaurants. Roadwork construction is scheduled for years, not weeks or months. No accommodation to move traffic is ever considered.

I’m not going to bore you with more of the details of the incredible arrogance and greed that I have noticed in this community, at the expense of those who have been lured into the net of living here. The civic clubs, and many of the churches, are just not welcoming to newcomers. We seem to have nothing to offer but money.

Whatever poison we bring with us from Chicago, Florida, Atlanta, New Jersey or “New Yuk” (as I’ve heard it expressed) is something that really needs to be addressed. Perhaps Asheville will find that we’ve lived interesting lives in very successful cities, and that we know how to help this community become a nationally regarded community, as well. They better start living up to the “All America City” designation they are so proud of.

About this point, Asheville people will repeat the expected: “If you don’t like it, why don’t you leave?” Well, we are! I’m moving my whole operation to Charlotte, ASAP.

— Eileen Duignan-Woods

Duignan-Woods is president of E.D.W. Associates.

North Asheville’s sinister anti-sports plot

Briggs Sherwood’s letter [March 25 Mountain Xpress], in which he describes the potential sale of Memorial Stadium as a “harebrained scheme … to build baseball fields for a few rich folks’ kids in north Asheville,” caught my interest.

It made me stop and think. Why is it that everyone in north Asheville is so amazingly rich? After looking into it, I’ve uncovered the answer: a clever, elitist plot which ensures that north Asheville residents become richer and richer, while the rest of the city plays ball.

For starters, the rich of north Asheville have made sure that there are no unnecessary distractions, like a pesky community center. Unlike other neighborhoods — such as Reid, Shiloh or even Montford, where families suffer lost profit in such impoverishing activities as full-court indoor basketball — north Asheville has nothing more than a bare, low-ceiling room, barely suitable for pingpong. Obviously, this is a nefarious plot which ensures there’s no chance of being distracted from the business of wealth accumulation!

When the rich kids of north Asheville want to play soccer, the moms and dads have ingeniously made sure that they must drive halfway across town to practice fields. (All the time, their share prices dropping!) It’s easy to understand how the rich are able to encourage future capitalists to stay home and study economics. Tennis is an all-too-easy distraction, as well, but the north Asheville conspiracy has made certain that there are only two public courts — facilities in such demand that most rich folks and their kids don’t bother. Needless to say, the time saved is used to accumulate more wealth than anyone could possibly need.

The amazing rich of north Asheville also have an unfair economic advantage during baseball season. These clever schemers have worked it so there aren’t enough fields for kids to play on! Their season is only eight games long, while in every other part of the city, baseball fields abound and the kids are duped into playing 12 games! This, of course, leaves north Asheville the rest of the season for piling up more and more dollars.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see that, while the rest of Asheville plays, north Asheville becomes rich. It’s not fair, I tell ya, and I say it’s up to concerned citizens and the city government to act — and provide a level playing field.

— Bob Zimmerman

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