Letters to the editor

McCartney’s spirit will overcome diatribe

We at Enduring Ties will finally respond to Terri and Stewart David’s intimidation and harassment of our supporters and collaborators. They have waged a dogged campaign against the Oct. 29 charitable event at Diana Wortham Theatre (to support early detection of breast cancer and programs that enrich lives). They have disrespectfully pursued people all the way up to Sir Paul McCartney’s gentle, generous family. The Davids’ rhetoric is shrill, their tactics coercive, and they choose diatribe over dialogue.

1) The gracious people in charge of Linda McCartney’s image and memory fully support this event. Her foundation’s director, an inspirational speaker profoundly committed to helping women, will be here from New York.

2) We believe the earth and her inhabitants cannot be nurtured in a war zone, and therefore do not endorse destructive, combative methods to achieve our ends. Our collaboration represents unity, not division. We create physical and spiritual well-being, artistic beauty, and a healing sense of connectedness with the natural world. We are inclusive, bringing people together to develop and sustain programs that give hope to families who have been stunned by an aggressive, nasty, rampant disease.

3) We are a joyous, welcoming group, and will have a rollicking good time at our big party!

— Ann Dunn
The Asheville Ballet Guild
— Starr Nolan
Casting for Recovery
— Linda McLean and Debra Roberts
Little Pearls

Amendment One means positive change

Our state needs to replace over 180,000 manufacturing jobs, and the same old way of doing business is no longer good enough. Amendment One will allow local communities the use of a proven economic development tool — self-financing bonds, already used in 48 other states but not available in North Carolina. We need the positive change Amendment One offers to fight back for those jobs and to have more local control of our future.

Amendment One refers to a measure on the November ballot that would change the state constitution to allow local governments the option to use self-financing bonds.

These are revenue bonds, where the security for the debt comes from an associated, tax-paying development that generates an increase in property value over what was being generated before the development occurred. The net increase in property value results in a net increase in property tax revenue. That additional net increase in revenue, from that project, is dedicated to pay off the bonds — thus the name “self-financing bonds.”

Local governments may issue bonds for public infrastructure (water and sewer, streets, parking facilities, etc.) to leverage the development. Most importantly, there must be that specific, associated tax- and job-generating development before these bonds can be issued.

Some warn that the current constitutional requirement for voter approval of bonds is being bypassed. Amendment One does not change that requirement. State law requires voter approval whenever local governments pledge their taxing authority as security for a debt. Amendment One bonds do not require that pledge, because the security for the debt is the net revenue increase from the associated private project. Since the general taxpayer is not the security for the debt, voter approval is not required.

If, however, the local government still wanted to make that pledge as additional security for the bonds, the requirement to gain voter approval through a general referendum would still apply.

Yes, Amendment One will change things. Amendment One will change how we compete for good jobs. Amendment One will provide local communities a new tool for revitalizing blighted areas. Amendment One is a new way to fight back. Amendment One is a positive change.

— Mac Williams, Co-Chair
North Carolinians for Jobs & Progress
— Richard J. Lutovsky, President & CEO
Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

You came, we saw, who’ll conquer?

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 17, a young man wearing glasses and a tie and driving a light-colored car stole the Kerry yard sign from our yard on Springwood Drive. To this young man, we say:

We saw you.

We’ve replaced the sign.

You obviously have the same nonrespect for freedom of speech as your candidate.

— Miriam Atchley and Patrick Boland

Before you vote, see Fahrenheit 9/11

Whatever you think of Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 9/11 makes a powerful statement.

Many who haven’t seen the film claim that it’s simply anti-Bush. It slams the president, all right, but Congress and the media get slammed, too. Yet the underlying message of the film cuts deeper than mere personal attacks….

It’s not a simple documentary. It’s a cinematic op-ed piece. Moore’s message is that the rich are running the country, and the poor are paying for it. [He] thinks that 9/11 provided the means of selling a war to Congress and the American people so that the present administration can remain in power and American businessmen can get richer. He juxtaposes administration threats of terrorist attacks with Bush’s telling people not to worry, and to go to Disney World. He intersperses shots of orange and red alerts with a scene of the unprotected Oregon coast….

Some of it is over-the-top … [but] what clearly resonated with me was Moore’s contention that Iraq was a rich man’s war fought by poor people. The two marine recruiters who roamed the run-down mall in Flint, Mich., promising the moon to young men and women if only they would join up, were contrasted to the derisive attitude of congressmen when Moore asked them if they could persuade their sons and daughters to enlist to fight in Iraq….

There were other poor people in the film — living in Iraq. Some of the most horrific killing and wounding of children was not shown, but plenty of it was … as were the charred and mangled bodies [of Blackwater security workers] hoisted on poles by angry Iraqis. Scenes of soldiers tormenting Iraqi prisoners follow those of an Iraqi woman pleading with soldiers not to harm her student son. This part wasn’t pretty, but then war isn’t pretty, either.

Whether you agree with Moore’s thesis or not, you should see the film, now available on video. Those who supported the decision to wage war need to reflect on its terrible costs and the false statements made by our leaders to gain that support. Those who were against it need to vote on Nov. 2 to repudiate those who made the decision in our name.

— Leonard S. Carrier

To Asheville, with love

It’s a cold and dark day here in Montana, but I have a soft light on and some warm music. A bamboo plant stands next to my window. After just over 15 days in Missoula, I’m finally settling a bit. It is nice to fill my apartment with items from secondhand stores and artifacts from garages that once were part of the farmhouses and homesteads nearby.

This place is much like Asheville, with a base in logging and a population of farmers. Rings of wilderness and tribal areas around the Missoula valley protect these communities. Recently, I drove deep into one of these places and hiked up the 10,000-foot mountain known as Trappers Peak. Cookie-cutter blocks of logging concessions ring the outskirts of these mountains — sales that the Bush administration is supporting — as obvious as hateful graffiti on a church front.

Where I have lived in the tropics, signs on the landscape such as this are met by protest, resistance and even paramilitary patrols that guard the forest. Natives of Southeast Asia often understand the relationships between the quality of forests and their lives. An old hunter I know in the Philippines once shook his spear in the forest. His message was simple: Short-term mining or logging contracts don’t make for long-term profits. I can’t speak for any hunters or mountain men living outside of Asheville, but I think they would say the same thing. I don’t think they would vote for George Bush, either.

So, there on that mountain, thinking about that — the contracts that don’t secure long-term jobs, the absence of riled-up tropical protesters, the lack of dialogue about this issue here, my love of the mountains and how close they are to my heart — I wept.

This is such a strong letter to a land I was once familiar with. But, on this dark day, I’m thinking of fall passing. Elections. More times that scare me. I try to look out past the bamboo stalk which rattles in the wind. I look outward, expectantly. Hesitatingly. The storms are not over, in Asheville or Montana.

— Noah Jackson
Missoula, Mont.

[Editor’s Note: Noah Jackson is a graduate student at the University of Montana and former Peace Corps Volunteer.]

Taylor, Keever define “fair” differently

I urge everyone to support Patsy Keever in the upcoming election against Charles Taylor. Patsy is an honest, caring person who will protect the interests of the people of North Carolina in Congress. She will never use her office for personal gain or to help friends at the expense of the people of North Carolina.

We need someone in Congress who will protect the interests of the working people of North Carolina. This is especially true for the upcoming Congress, because there is a move, cosponsored by Rep. Taylor, to replace the income tax with a national sales tax.

While no one likes paying taxes, essential government services must be paid for. A graduated income tax is based on your income as a percentage. The higher your income, the higher your taxes. This is fair, because the wealthy can better afford higher taxes and still have money to live on. Also, the wealthy have more access to the government and its benefits.

The “Fair Tax Act” cosponsored by Taylor would replace the graduated income tax, estate and gift taxes and employment taxes with a national sales tax on all transactions from doctor’s visits, medicines, the purchase of food, clothing, homes, automobile, etc. This is in addition to the existing state taxes. Significantly, it does not tax the purchase of stocks and bonds. This so-called “Fair Tax Act” would be a massive shift of taxes from the wealthy to the middle class and the poor, who can least afford them.

Isn’t it time we had someone in Washington who represents us? Vote for Patsy Keever!

— Nancy and Ronald Kuykendall

Will Asheville population drop soon?

A UNC-Chapel Hill student recently wrote [in] an article in his school paper that if George W. Bush were reelected president, suicide rates would increase dramatically on campus. If this event reflects the attitude of Bush-haters in general, on Nov. 3, Asheville will become a ghost town, and there will be a substantial increase of employment opportunities at the Mountain Xpress.

— Keith Buckner

Give “FairTax” a fair reading

Regarding recent letters here and elsewhere about the proposed national sales tax, H.R. 25, and www.fairtax.org, I am amazed, annoyed and appalled at the lack of knowledge being spouted by the naysayers and the refusal of issue clarification by liberal Democrats like Patsy Keever, who never saw a tax increase she didn’t like. They all deny the huge benefits that would be gained by hard-working people who are totally oppressed by the current, inequitable tax system.

Why do they continue to deny the positive facts? Because these are the plundered dollars they depend on to subsidize extravagant and unnecessary government programs.

FairTax’s major point, withheld from you by Democrats, is that under this replacement tax system, all employees would keep all of their paycheck. There would be no withholding taxes kept by the government … and the IRS would be abolished. Everyone would pay their fair share of taxes when they purchase goods and services.

Millions who don’t pay income taxes would now pay their fair share. Families would receive vouchers for necessities, and the mortgage interest deduction would remain in effect (as I understand it). It would not hurt the “less fortunate,” but would put more spendable dollars in their pockets. What a huge economic boom this would be! It’s a no brainer!

Don’t let silly, oppressive “democracks” deny your understanding of this issue, which is gaining phenomenal support across the country. Log on to: www.fairtax.org, read all the facts, and learn why “democracks” don’t want you to understand it.

Remember: Patsy Keever has reasons to keep you from supporting this important issue. And also remember: Don’t ever vote for “democracks” — they keep us all oppressed! Strive to be smarter than a “democrack”!

— Fisher Caudle
West Asheville

Deficit indicates no fiscal compass

Rep. Charles Taylor attacked Mrs. [Patsy] Keever’s criticizing his cosponsoring H.R. 25 (Asheville Citizen-Times, Sept. 24). This Republican-sponsored tax “reform” [would] eliminate the current income tax. In its place, on top of all current sales taxes, an additional 23 percent federal sales tax [would be] added to the price of all goods and services. The wealthy would be taxed only that portion of income which they choose to spend. Those who must spend all that they make every month are taxed on all their income.

Rep. Taylor demeans Mrs. Keever’s position as Democratic “cookie cutter” policy. Let’s look at Republican-versus-Democratic overall presidential fiscal success. Government data for recent decades shows the following for each president’s final fiscal year:

• 1968, Johnson: deficit — $25.161 billion

• 1976, Nixon/Ford: deficit (tripled) — $73.732 billion

• 1980, Carter: deficit (unchanged) — $73.830 billion

• 1988, Reagan: deficit (doubled) — $155.152 billion

• 1992, Bush-I: deficit (doubled) — $290.376 billion

• 2000, Clinton: surplus — +$236.445 billion ($526 billion gain)

• 2004, Bush: deficit — $307.400 billion

If I had to entrust my household finances to either party’s presidential candidates, my choice is clear.

— John S. Waldo

Bush is gifted leader, not orator

I would rather have as president a man who has proven what he can do and has helped this country, but maybe is not the world’s most gifted orator, than have a man who is a gifted speaker but whose record from Vietnam through the Senate proves he is a tax-and-spend liberal, and that he is not really sincere in his beliefs.

Sen. [John] Kerry will say and do anything to get elected, but if the citizens of this country would only compare the records of President Bush and Sen. Kerry, there would be no doubt who to vote for. It actually scares me to think that John Kerry may be president.

— Renee Riedl

Try the European view

After working 70-80 hours a week just to make ends meet, I wised up when I had a quadruple bypass. I remarried a wonderful woman, retired from my business, sold the house, paid off the credit cards and … moved to Europe. What an eye-opener….

We were living outside Amsterdam, in the country, when 9/11 happened. It was a real experience to speak to our son in Manhattan and our friends in America, and then listen to the views of the incident and the following reprisals by President Bush [via] the BBC and foreign presses. The American people don’t get it — even now! But the Europeans did.

America (Bush senior), in a cold war with Russia, built those regimes and sold them their arms, only to have them turn against us. I spent 10 years in the Middle East, installing surveillance systems. We were supplying Arabic countries with arms, and sending their people to our colleges. We were training their people and sending in our companies to build their infrastructures.

When the Russians were [no longer] a factor, the governments wanted their countries back…. However, their economies were based on war. So, in the ’70s & ’80s they fought with themselves. America was happy to participate as the supplier of weapons. I would go over there to install closed-circuit television systems in water purification plants, only to have them bombed by a neighboring army, and I would go back over again and again and again.

From 1975-1985, the attitude changed towards America. The young boys were now men, having lived through constant war. A new radical Islam religion was taking hold … based on the destruction of the Infidel (outsider). The Infidel was the Americans, because they knew that we were there to take their only resource, oil. So they preached that if they killed an American, their souls would go to Heaven.

I stopped going over there when I feared [for] my life. I hated to leave The Netherlands, but I needed to come back to take care of health matters…. The result: Asheville, North Carolina. I am glad to be here.

So what do I think of these candidates and American politics after viewing the politics of Europe? The Americans still don’t get it! Bush and Kerry do not answer the questions posted to them, and they continue to spit rhetoric at each other about Iraq. When all of the media is controlled by a few big companies, the media is controlled and we don’t even get the right questions asked…. Kerry is a weak candidate, and Bush may lead us to world war.

We need to be out of Iraq. The United States will always be the Infidel if we threaten to take their only resource. We need to quickly develop good alternatives for powering our vehicles … develop and promote mass transit … tax gas until no one wants to use it…. When we do not buy Middle East oil, their control weakens….

[The] money [saved] will be a big assist in funding Social Security. Tax the very rich, who grab most of the money anyway. Use that money to fund health programs. Take away tax incentives for pharmaceutical companies, and fund health programs with that money….

So there. My view from the outside looking in. When you see the whole picture, you get a whole new view.

— Winston LaCroix

Taylor’s ad is a waste

The recent TV commercial put out by Charles Taylor, which attempts to illustrate Patsy Keever’s supposed “flip-flopping” on certain issues, is so thoroughly confusing (I couldn’t even tell what the issues were), that I can only conclude its real aim is to get the voter to associate Keever’s name with a rapid barrage of meaningless gibberish completely removed from any context it might have originally had. It’s an interesting idea, especially when you consider that Taylor usually uses it to promote himself.

My fellow citizens of Western North Carolina, you already know Patsy Keever is a better choice, so go take advantage of early voing and make Taylor’s shrill bleating a waste of the vast sums of money he is spending on it.

— Willliam F. Stephens

Maybe Taylor can afford it, but not me

I’ve always figured that Charles Taylor’s extreme views on issues such as the environment were out of step with those of most citizens in Western North Carolina. Now that he is promoting a flat sales tax of 23 percent on nearly everything we purchase, I’m absolutely sure of it.

Taylor is a cosponsor of H.R. 25, a bill which would replace the present tax code with a national consumption tax of 23 percent on just about everything you buy…. As one of the richest men in Congress (Roll Call estimated Taylor’s net worth at $35 million in 2002, sixth highest in the House), I guess Taylor can afford it, but I can’t.

It’s bad enough that Taylor has one of the worst environmental voting records in Congress. Now he’s working to replace the present tax system, imperfect as it is, with one that’s even worse. It really is a time for a change — not in the tax code, but in Congress.

— Lan Sluder

Republicans use terror to manipulate press, voters

Actions by the Republican Party during this campaign season highlight how the current administration uses the war on terror, and military issues, to influence voters.

Immediately after the completion of the Democratic Party Convention, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge announced that recently uncovered evidence indicated a new terrorist threat that targeted specific financial institutions in the country. Once again, the country was saturated with repeated warnings about terrorist attacks. It was only several days after the announcement that it was revealed that this new evidence was actually believed to be at least three years old! Therefore, it was even prior to 9/11….

In a subsequent Republican campaign ad, a group of retired military personnel attacked presidential candidate John Kerry’s military record, claiming he did not deserve some of the medals he was awarded. What the group and ad failed to say was that several of the retirees were previously on the record supporting Kerry and his medals when he was running for the U.S. Senate, and that none of them actually served with him on the patrol boat he commanded.

Then, according to articles in The New York Times and The Washington Post, intelligence uncovered the week of Aug. 9 suggested that Al Qaeda was planning attacks on prominent world leaders, including U.S. leaders. An anonymous source within the White House leaked additional information that indicated Al Qaeda will do anything to prevent President Bush from being reelected…. The statements from this anonymous source echo President Bush’s rhetoric of fear: The evildoers and terrorists will win if you don’t support me.

What else will this administration do? Watch out for an “October Surprise” (an escalation of war rhetoric with Iran or North Korea, a code-red terrorist alert, or even the capture of Osama bin Laden) prior to the elections.

— Jeff Trudrung

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