Students of North Carolina history may know we have an official state motto. First adopted in 1893, "Esse quam videri – To be, rather than to seem," offers a stark contrast between the North Carolina formed in 1775 and the 2009 version.
A search for the difference might easily land on Asheville's $1 billion water system. Manipulating a dusty document from the '30s, our local legislative delegation successfully conned their Raleigh colleagues into passing new laws to steal control of this city-owned asset. The media got lost in a deception that has found about every elected official in Asheville, Buncombe and Henderson counties swapping integrity for power. Seldom has thievery worn such a noble mask.
The issue of illegal immigration mirrors the image of a turtle flipped onto its own shell. A disturbing percentage of the motels, restaurants, manufacturers and contractors in town continue to wink at counterfeit credentials for non-English-speaking labor. The wage suppression, transferred education, health-care and social-service costs, and lost jobs for legal [residents] impact us all.
West of Asheville rests the Cherokee Reservation. It is worth noting that isolation, as in reservation, is a fast ticket to cultural self-destruction, regardless of the richness of a people's heritage. Adding further insult to this upside-down, government-sponsored injury, some time back, our leaders in Raleigh skipped over Reality 101 with another white-man's mission to uplift the Cherokee. Echoing the absurdities of history, gambling was defined as the ticket to a better day.
When Asheville's Council addressed a new ordinance governing animal control, the chamber and halls were filled with chicken, dog, bee, bear and bird advocates. I am all for chickens, but where were all these people when we debated stopping our busy open-air drug markets in public housing and other vulnerable neighborhoods?
Literally thousands of Asheville's children and elderly live under the constant threat of drug thugs and their customers. I like eggs and would never chain my dog, but I am baffled by the enthusiasm for chickens and the evident detachment from equally vulnerable human beings.
Reality is quietly knocking on the door – telling us that all is not as it seems in Asheville. It is in our collective interest to pay attention. A re-acquaintance with North Carolina's state motto might be a good place to start.
— Carl Mumpower, member
Asheville City Council