Domestic-partner benefits would buoy Asheville’s economy

I am excited that newly elected Asheville City Council members will have an opportunity to make good on their campaign-trail promises at the Feb. 9 Council session as they address domestic-partner benefits for same-sex partners. There are a plethora of reasons I support such benefits. However, right now, the main reason is not that they are fair in a country that was founded on equality, that they advance the civil-rights movement, or even that they are just plain inevitable.

During these stressful financial times, we should be thinking practically.  When we embrace domestic-partner benefits for same-sex partners, the city of Asheville will profit economically. Studies, including those conducted by social and economic theorist Richard Florida, have resoundingly shown that gay-friendly cities are more resilient when weathering recession and more prone to economic growth. With so many of our citizens out of work or struggling from paycheck to paycheck, how can we say no to desperately needed stability and wealth-building?

— Amanda Rodriguez

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24 thoughts on “Domestic-partner benefits would buoy Asheville’s economy

  1. travelah

    How will adding these benefit costs buoy Asheville’s economy? Not that I am opposed to it but I would like to see some substantiation to that.

  2. artart

    Asheville is already known as “gay friendly.” There is no evidence provided that giving domestic partner benefits to city employees will have any financial effect outside of slightly increasing the city budget.

  3. Gordon Smith

    travelah and artart,

    Ms. Rodriguez references the works of economist Richard Florida in her letter to make her economic resilience argument.

    Click below to learn more. I use the Google, so you don’t have to.

    “Our theory is that a connection exists between a metropolitan area’s level of tolerance for a range of people, its ethnic and social diversity, and its success in attracting talented people, including high-technology workers. People in technology businesses are drawn to places known for diversity of thought and open-mindedness. These places possess what we refer to as low barriers to entry for human capital. Diverse, inclusive communities that welcome gays, immigrants, artists, and free thinking “bohemians” are ideal for nurturing creativity and innovation, both keys to success in the new technology.

    “Towns that have lots of them, Mr. Florida argues, are more likely to have creative- class workers, high-tech industry and, as a result, strong economic growth. Not because there are disproportionate numbers of gays and bohemians in high-tech jobs, he explains, but because their presence signals an open-minded and varied
    community of the sort that appeals to software engineers and entrepreneurs. (Race, he says, turns out to be less useful as a marker of tolerance because cities with great racial diversity overall are often highly segregated.)

    This, in essence, is Mr. Florida’s “creative capital theory.” As he put it during a recent interview in Manhattan, “You cannot get a technologically innovative place unless it’s open to weirdness, eccentricity and difference.”

  4. travelah

    Gordon, translate it to verifiable analysis relevant to Asheville. That is a pretty loose connection between the notion of technolocal incubation or growth and the idea that there is a causal relationship of that growth to homosexual households, not to mention the suggetion that paid benefits have anythig to do with the matter. Are homosexuals leaving Asheville over this issue? Of course not so provide some analysis supporting this loose theory.

  5. Gordon Smith

    To quote Private Joker from Full Metal Jacket, travelah, “Sir, NEGATIVE, sir! Sir, the private belives any answer he gives will be wrong and the Senior Drill Instructor will only beat him harder if he reverses himself, SIR! ”

    If you’ve already made up your mind, there’s no point in arguing, right? Thanks for putting your opinions out there.

  6. pff

    Gorden-you’re really going to take your ball and go home just cause he asked for actual evidence?

  7. JWTJr

    I wonder if that will be Gordon’s response when the topic comes up in session?

    BTW – that is a great movie. The best boot camp movie of all time.

  8. JWTJr

    Does the city have the power to allow these partnerships for anything other than city employees?

  9. travelah

    Gordon, you are at least consistent with your empty platitudes.

  10. who cares

    The gays are coming, the gays are coming – hold on to your red, white, and blue and pray to your god less you end up in a barrel with your precious freedom lost. The gays are coming, the gays are coming – the great america, taken by the gun, salute the soldiers and hold on to your wallet, cringe and shriek, for your fears will darken the sun.

  11. We Care

    “Are homosexuals leaving Asheville over this issue?”
    Well some of us are. We do look at what a city has to offer. Being “gay friendly” means nothing if we are still discriminated against and an employer can fire you because of your sexual preference. Exactly what makes Asheville “gay friendly”?

  12. travelah

    We care, when is your last day in town? Perhaps somebody will throw a parade.

  13. Pitchforks & Torches

    Gordon, The creative class has NEVER taken off here. Too many people in the creative class moved here, and guess what, NAME ONE high tech firm that said ” Asheville is the place to move our HQ to”, where are the big paying jobs, heck you have more web wannabe, software companies here than you do decent doctors. Go ahead cite your thin sources for which you make these assumptions. You are so misguided. Richard Florida enjoys his laurels, book sales, and public appearances for people like you who would rather beleive in theories and assumptions. Tell me, how many recessions have their been for either RF or yourself to state your assumed facts?! BTW- Companies have opened shop to cater to the weather center, but most of them are from out of state… Oh, and one more thing, the center is another government funded enterprise. Cool place, great people, and neat stuff, but not exactly IBM when it comes to hiring tons of folks.

  14. Gordon Smith

    There are a number of tech firms located in and around Asheville. NCDC yesterday announced an expansion. We have a glut of tech-savvy young professionals ready to innovate. We are on the verge of a creative class economic boom. If we are willing to embrace the power of diversity, then those companies who invest in areas like ours are much more likely to find us attractive.

  15. Curious

    What is stopping two women who are roommates but aren’t gay from saying they are ‘domestic partners’ so that they can receive the benefits? What if I live with another guy, but we aren’t gay at all, but we want to get these benefits? Hmmm… I think this is all too blurry to really take off and work.

  16. JWTJr

    Curious … you make a good point.

    Gordon … will there be big penalties for cheating? How big?

  17. who

    Good question, curious – support civil union and/or gay marriage.

  18. Pitchforks & Torches

    Wow, you really are wearing rose colored glasses Gordy. NCDC is growing because the government CLOSED many facilities around the country and centralized them here. One reason was apaprently those other areas were too expensive. The pay IS cheaper here in Asheville. Granted they are doing really good stuff there, and teh pipes thye have are impressive. The companys that are supply the workers ARE MOSTLY FROM OUT OF THE AREA. Sure some are *trying* to hire here, but there are not enough significant talent such as high level software engineers. You have a gluttony of webbie companies, far too many bloggers & mommy bloggers that assume that is tech talent. Your pay sucks around here, your schools are patheticly underfunded, you have some start-ups, but this is not silicon valley, and the creative class thing has been BEATEN to death and is what, 6+ years old and hasn’t taken off? Just ask the incredibly talented person who was running the blue ridge angels network, he left town because it was so freakin backwards here and so hard to move the rock up the hill. We lost some good folks who left for greener pastures… If you think we are a tech town ready on the verge of a boom, you should spend some time on your own couch for a reality check.

  19. Julie

    domestic partner benefits ? are you kidding? this town is such a joke already. between the upgraded milion dollar buses, and the fact that we have no conservatives on Asheville City Council anymore….YES, the answer is to attract more gays and lesbians. Why had I not thought of that before?

    Hey, one of you wizards answer these for me:
    When does the relationship begin ? At the first sexual glance or actual sexual encounter?
    When does it end? When a partner moves on to the next gay conquest?

    By whos standards does it end? What does “end” mena exactly? Is it like the beginning? Really unclear?
    What will this cost the city legally? You know, when there is a dometic GAY WAR over one getting kicked out and the other staying in the domestic rental “area”.(yeah, these foks are not tax payers… rather tax suckers… At what time do the benefits end… afew weeks after the gay affair breaks up? A month? Who decides allt his?

    What about ALL the other unmarried folk shacking up? They should get the same benefits as the gay folk, no?

    This worls of ours is clearly crashing down… right along with the US Dollar slowly but surely being de0valued…and China owning our Asses… sure Mayor Bellamy and your nut job liberals…. let’s spend more money we DON’T have, and while we are at it…. let’s get more green crap going too…becuse CLEARLY as of late, Global Warming seems so “hot”. A foot of snow, schools closed, 10 degrees… Yep.. Global Warming is a big F_cking lie too folks.
    I think I will stop payng my 28K a year in DOUBLE PROPERTY taxes over here in Biltmore Park. So will my neighbors if the idiots on Asheville City Council pass this one………….

  20. I’m in favor of doing away with all partner benefits. That is really the only fair thing to do. If your spouse wants health care, let them get a job. If you children want health care, then give them up for adoption.

    This is a tough world, people. Get tough with it.

  21. travelah

    Gordon, I’d say more but the others pretty much already shredded your reply.

  22. Julie

    Sure Gordon… A tech town on the verge of a boom… RIGHT…
    What are you smoking? There is NOTHING forward or advanced about Asheville. People come here to visit and after a look at Pritchard Park, and Brother Chris …then a few “pan handling” assaults, they high tail it out of here. With a HUGE giggle and a laugh… at what a weird place Asheville is….

    Nothing attractive about Assville. Sorry Gordo – you are out of the tech loop like a fish out of water.

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