I'm quite bothered by candidate Terry Bellamy's implication that the city of Asheville might not have the ability to grant domestic-partner benefits under North Carolina law. If this is the case, then the city should respond by canceling all family benefits and paying employees additional cash (retaining the same budget limits). Not only would such a policy be fair to gay employees, but it would also be fair to single, childless and child-free employees as well, who are the most environmentally responsible and deserve equal total compensation at least.
Additionally, without a North Carolina discrimination law, Asheville can do far better than nondiscrimination. Asheville remains free to institute gay affirmative action in hiring, both to compensate for discrimination elsewhere in WNC, like Wolf Laurel, and to save money on spousal benefits.
However, neither this nor environmentally oriented contraception funding, nor any other cutting-edge or precedent-setting progressive policy can become reality in Asheville if Asheville progressives, like Gordon Smith, insist on forced annexation, which would grant Asheville votes to significant numbers of socially conservative Leicesterites. The added tax base is not worth getting if it means progressives lose majority status in Asheville, especially since the best progressive ideas are not expensive.
In 11 years here, I learned that Leicesterites are not Ashevilleans, pro or con. Attempting to assimilate them (or us, sort of), would hurt everyone. Asheville needs to learn the same lesson as Israel: Draw a line, stick to it and accept a two-state solution, even if it costs some water.
I'm for Cecil Bothwell and Gordon Smith in Asheville due to their understanding, if not clear support, of environmental contraception, and despite Smith's self-destructive position on annexation. Zoning votes are so convoluted in Asheville that I can't see a clear direction from anyone, even Mumpower, and nobody is building anymore anyway.
— Alan Ditmore