Letters to the editor

Do your job, Xpress — Mumpower is doing his

Your article entitled “The education of Dr. Mumpower” [June 23] is of concern to me. I am a retired publisher of a national publication larger than Newsweek or Time Magazine. I understand the motive to provide vital information for readers. I understand the challenge for print media competing with visual media. It requires an extraordinary effort. However, the low level that you reached in this article crosses the line between information and sensationalism. It seriously puts your credibility at stake. “The easiest thing to do is to criticize.”

I envy your position and opportunity to assist in the resolution of the city’s most crucial problems. I truly believe that if you focused on helping solve the problems, instead of trying to instigate controversy and discord, your publication would be much more valuable and popular.

I was taught by an old-time publisher that if you offended 10 percent of your readers occasionally, in time you would offend all of them. Your article on Dr. Mumpower was not unbiased. The quote from Brownie Newman was clearly salacious. If you had some idiot that you could quote as saying that they thought that a certain person was “Satan incarnate,” would you print it? Where do you draw the line? Your balance of integrity and self-advancement is off the charts here, in my view.

In the big picture, you, and frantic opportunists like you, kill the opportunity for us to recruit the “Mumpower” quality of people for public office.

The likes of you may, one day, make it impossible for us to get any courageous and truly caring people to serve in public office. Please, get a grip! Reject the temptation of becoming a small-time “tabloid,” and become a peacemaking, mending, healing and problem-solving entity of our city.

— Ivor Thomas
Asheville

Second GPI plan is better

I opposed the original proposal of the Grove Park Inn to build in Pack Square. However, I am generally in favor of GPI’s plan B, which would build in the parking lot between the fire and police station and city hall, just behind the Hayes and Hopson building which sits on City/County Plaza.

While I am in favor of this site, as it does not diminish our potential green space, I might suggest a difference placement.

The Hayes and Hopson building currently houses county offices, including probation, land records, and the county’s computer folks. Meanwhile, across the plaza, the county courthouse sits partially vacant.

Before the new jail was built behind the courthouse, the upper floors of the courthouse were the jail. (You can see the bars on the windows.) The upper five floors of the courthouse are now unused. While it would be expensive to renovate this portion of the courthouse, that expense would be only a minor sum compared to the building costs of the GPI project.

I suggest that GPI be allowed and encouraged to build their building on the site of the Hayes and Hopson building, provided that GPI helps renovate the upper portion of the courthouse so that county offices could move there.

In this scenario, the county wins because it gets newly renovated offices for several departments, and operating costs will decrease with one less building to maintain. GPI wins because it gets a building that fronts the City/County Plaza, with retail space well-positioned for festivals, especially when the Pack Square Conservancy completes their improvements to the green space.

The public wins because I’m sure the GPI building will be more attractive and inviting than the Hayes and Hopson building. (The public wins even more if the project includes public restrooms that reduce or eliminate the need for port-a-johns at our numerous festivals.)

— Scott Jackson
Asheville

Corporate-friendly market ignores ordinary workers

Regarding the letter titled “Government help to corporations helps us all” [Letters, June 16], I won’t argue Mr. Flinn’s conclusions, but to me, it seems a shame that corporations end up paying less taxes while ordinary workers shoulder the burden of paying for government. According to Michael Moore [author of Stupid White Men], “Corporate taxes have dropped 26%, while taxes for average Americans have increased 13%. In the 1950s, taxes from corporations made up 27% of the revenues of the federal government; today that number has dropped to less than 10%.”

While what Mr. Flinn says is true (jobs create tax revenue), corporations also create taxable income. Shouldn’t paying their fair share of taxes just be the cost of doing business? If no municipality or state gave in to demands for concessions, would that corporation move out of the country? I doubt it, although it may try to outsource its jobs.

Just because cities today are paying (offering tax incentives is the same as paying) companies to move in doesn’t mean that’s the normal market. It’s a market developed by companies to take advantage of local government. Believe it or not, there were companies making money back in the days before government handouts.

Besides, in this kind of “corporate-friendly” market, what’s to stop that company from [moving] to another town for a better offer? Nothing, the way things are right now. So, at the very least, I suggest that if the city gives up something (tax dollars), then the corporation should also give up something (e.g., freedom to move for a specified duration). That’s just a starting point.

Corporate welfare is wrong, and it will take strong leadership to stop it. Do we have those leaders?

— Mark Bloom
Asheville

The good, the bad and the apologists

I just about spewed a mouthful of corn flakes at the TV the other morning when (on Meet the Press) Bush apologist Peggy Noonan uttered this howler: “Ronald Reagan was a great president, right up there with F.D.R.” Isn’t it a little soon to be making those kinds of historical pronouncements?

But, since you brought it up, Ms. Noonan —

The Good:

1. Reagan had immense personal warmth.

. Reagan really was a great communicator (often of morally and intellectually bankrupt ideas).

3. Reagan took personal responsibility for the failings of his administration. (Unlike the current buck-passing occupant of the White House.)

4. Reagan did preside over the end of the Cold War, although it’s a bit of a stretch to give him sole credit for the collapse of the “Soviet Empire,” which by the late ’80s was collapsing economically due mainly to internal corruption.

The Bad:

1. Reaganomics gave us massive cuts in social spending coupled with tax cuts for the wealthy. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)

2. Then came massive increases in defense spending at the same time the Soviet Union was collapsing. (How do Republicans get away with this stuff?)

3. The first two created massive budget deficits, which created the recession of the late ’80s, which ultimately cost his successor (George H.W. Bush) the White House.

4. Reagan initiated funding for the “Star Wars” missile-defense system, one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated on American taxpayers, in order to divert billions to Republican Party-contributing defense contractors like Boeing and Lockheed-Martin.

5. Reagan presided over the Iran-Contra affair, in which millions of American tax dollars were used to fund kipnapping, torture and murder (sometimes of American citizens), all in an effort to overthrow the democratically-elected socialist government of Nicaragua.

Verdict:

Wonderful human being? Sure.

Great president? Not by a long shot, Peggy.

— Jeff Callahan
Flat Rock

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