Q&A with Liz Harper, city of Asheville public records officer

Asheville city government’s decision-making should happen in the sunlight. At least, that’s the principle Liz Harper brings to her work as the city’s public records officer. Anyone who has asked for public information about permit violations, purchase orders or police reports since October 2020 has been assisted by Harper. Until recently, Harper kept track of […]

Buncombe County seal

Fee increases on county commission­ers’ Sept. 17 agenda

Building permits and inspections, birth control through county Health and Human Services and disposal of solid waste are all slated to become more expensive in Buncombe County’s newly proposed fee schedule. The Board of Commissioners will vote on the new fees during its regular meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, in room 326 at 200 College St.

The Xpress Files

Spend 14 years in the newspaper business, as Xpress has, and the paper starts to pile up. Over time, our reporters have collected mountains of memos, reams of reports, and enough official studies to keep a paper shredder humming 24/7. And don’t even get us started about the megabytes of e-mail correspondence clogging our hard […]

Secrecy nation

Many critics have argued that secrecy, at the federal level, has skyrocketed during the Bush administration. But what, exactly, does that mean? And how can citizens gauge the degree of secrecy their government practices? One relatively new measuring stick designed to answer both questions is OpenTheGovernment.org, a broad, Web-based coalition of public-interest and professional organizations […]

Look homeward, Big Brother

Thomas Wolfe, Carl Sandburg, Terry Sanford, Charles Kuralt. Most North Carolinians probably wouldn’t find anything sinister in this list of some of the state’s favorite sons. Yet the FBI investigated and maintained secret files on all of these prominent people, whose names are written into both state and national history. These and similar files, declassified […]