Voting rights curtailed

House Bill 451, filed with the state legislature on March 27, will cut a full week of early voting and abolish voting on Sunday. While conservative politicians claim that this will save a large sum of tax dollars, little consideration has been given to the impact this bill would have on impoverished and working-class voters. […]

Emotions high as Asheville City Council raises specter of sharp service cuts

To hear Asheville City Council and city staff tell it, a manageable budget gap is now a potential crisis, thanks to proposed state legislation affecting areas from the water system to business licenses. To close the $5.9 million gap, staff have proposed sharp cuts in everything from public safety to transit to parks and recreation. At a special town hall meeting today, city residents exhorted Council against certain cuts and criticized state legislators (and occasionally the city too).

Old disputes at heart of bill that transfers water system to MSD

About seven years ago, the Regional Water Authority of Asheville, Buncombe and Henderson County fell apart. The creation of what had been an historic agreement involving the three governments, ongoing disputes and frustrations led Asheville officials to end the partnership in 2005. Fast-forward to the March 28 filing of House Bill 488, which transfers the Asheville water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Moffitt proposes ban on public female toplessness-attachment0

Moffitt proposes ban on public female toplessnes­s

Buncombe Rep. Tim Moffitt has introduced legislation to add female toplessness to the state’s indecent exposure prohibitions. Except for breastfeeding, revealing “the nipple, or any portion of the areola, of the human female breast” would be illegal. Before last year’s Go Topless rally, Asheville City Council signed a letter condemning it and calling for state legislation. Photo by Max Cooper

Opposition to seizure of Asheville’­s water system gains statewide momentum

The local fight over the legislative push to forcibly transfer the city of Asheville’s water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District has helped spur a larger statewide reaction. Last week, the League of Municipalities adopted the defense of local utilities as one of its top priorities, and 40 cities and towns across North Carolina have passed resolutions against state government taking municipal infrastructure.

Ending gun shows on city property faces legal complicati­ons

An assertion by Asheville City Council member Cecil Bothwell that the city’s ordinance banning firearms on city property should mean an end to gun shows here is unlikely to hinder this weekend’s show at the WNC Agricultural Center. State law restricts localities’ ability to regulate or prohibit gun shows, and city staff are currently looking into the implications of those rules.

City releases water merger report, finds local agreement best option

The city of Asheville has released a report by the Raftellis consulting firm on a possible merger with the Metropolitan Sewerage District. The report claims that an “inter-local agreement” between the two would have the greatest benefit while avoiding the cost of a merger. MSD taking over the city system will, according to the report, cost the city around $3.75 million a year.

Use taxes for citizens, not enticement­s

It appears that our governmental organizations within North Carolina have decided that they must become a provider to the wealthy at the expense of the average citizen. It appears that more and more governmental units are abandoning their central role of protector of our citizens. We have more and more governmental units at all levels […]