Spread the light

All five incumbent Buncombe County commissioners voted to approve the sale of a piece of Asheville’s central park to developer Stewart Coleman. Subsequent explanations run from not knowing what they were selling (i.e. blame the county staff) to “We screwed up” (David Gantt). One commissioner has no excuse: Bill Stanley is a former owner of the Hayes & Hopson Building, which is directly adjacent to the parcel in question. How could Stanley not know what the county was selling? He owed it to his fellow commissioners and the citizens of Buncombe County to make clear what was at stake.

But the story doesn’t end there. Stanley’s former, long-time partner in Hayes & Hopson Associates, Wallace Hyde, sold the H&H building to Coleman as well. Not long ago, Hyde raised $60,000 for Commissioner David Young’s campaign for state treasurer (according to The News & Observer). The county sold the parkland to Coleman for about half its assessed value. And on and on and on.

This smells a lot like the Woodfin lease to Progress Energy. Government in the backroom. It reminds me that I told each sitting commissioner, individually, about demonstrable payroll fraud and other misprision in Bobby Medford’s Sheriff’s Department. In 2005. No response. I exposed beatings in the jail and denial of medication to inmates in Medford’s detention center as well. Nothing happened. We have seen crimes and cover-ups and a lack of accountability to the people of Buncombe County.

I know we need rain, but it sure seems like we could use a little more sunshine in local government. Such failure of accountability will never happen on my watch.

— Cecil Bothwell
Candidate for Buncombe County Board of Commissioners


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About Cecil Bothwell
A writer for Mountain Xpress since three years before there WAS an MX--back in the days of GreenLine. Former managing editor of the paper, founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal, Heartstone, member of the national editorial board of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, publisher of Brave Ulysses Books, radio host of "Blows Against the Empire" on WPVM-LP 103.5 FM, co-author of the best selling guide Finding your way in Asheville. Lives with three cats, macs and cacti. His other car is a canoe. Paints, plays music and for the past five years has been researching and soon to publish a critical biography--Billy Graham: Prince of War:

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8 thoughts on “Spread the light

  1. Eli Cohen

    Look here Cecil, these people have a right to make a profit. This is just “how it’s done”. Don’t be so naive. And by the way, no one cares about prisoners. They are just a drain on the economy.

  2. “This is just “how it’s done”.”

    This is how it’s done in an un-free market; that is, one in which a mischievous government, acting as a key player and arbiter (and in secret), plays favorites, abuse its office, and manipulates the marketplace in contravention of the law and fairness to the benefit of a few elites and at the expense of the many citizens.

    It is this government corruption and interference that Mr. Bothwell is highlighting. Bravo.

  3. Eli Cohen

    That is the way it’s done! America has always been a kleptocracy. This country was founded on theft, sustained by theft, and continues this proud tradition today with war profiteering, another savings and loan type scandal, and rampant jingoism.

  4. “America has always been a kleptocracy.”

    Yes. You’re right. The government steals your money and gives it to someone to whom it does not belong.

  5. Rob Close

    Eli, you’re a cynic. Cecil is not naive – he’s a journalist telling it like it is.

    If you just want us to roll over and play dead, take your defeatist attitude and play dead with that.

    And these people do not have a RIGHT to make a profit when it’s done in a shady way. They have the ability. And we have ability to hold them accountable. Of course, if we don’t know that it’s going on, we can’t stop it.

    Pessimism is pointless. If that’s all you’ve got to contribute to the conversation, then why are you bothering?

  6. Eli Cohen

    Rob, I have nothing but respect for Cecil, I was being ironic…Furthermore, I think he will do a great job when he’s elected! As far as being a cynic, it’s hard not to be when our government is corrupt top to bottom.

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