Showing posts from October, 2016

Guest Editorial from Ken Michalove

NOTE: This was submitted to the Citizen-Times by Ken Michalove.  We  share it here.
Guest Editorial:
Vote “NO” on the Asheville $74 Million in Bond Issues
I vote “no” on the $74,000,000 bond issues until there is appropriate spending balance and protection against 4 votes changing an entire capital spending plan at any Council meeting.
The City desperately needs infrastructure improvements.  However, those needs have been supplanted by excessive funding of: affordable housing; greenways; the river arts district; and, the Asheville Art Museum, as compared to the overall needs of the City.
As an Asheville taxpayer, I am not willing to write a blank check to future office holders that I don’t know that may have the types of special interests that are currently funded disproportionately; or, in the future, the latest social need, as they see it.  Are you?
Why did the Council wait more than 5 years to consider a bond issue?  Interest rates have been at an all-time low for years…we are advised th…

Bothwell, Black leaders oppose housing bond

“Cooked up too quickly”; “We’ve seen it all before” By Roger McCredie (Second in a series of articles examining the proposed city bonds up for approval in the general election) The City of Asheville, which prides itself on fostering diversity, may have gotten an unexpected dose of it in promoting its “affordable housing” bond. Both Cecil Bothwell, who is possibly the most vocally progressive member of Asheville City Council, and leaders of Asheville’s black community have now gone on record opposing the $25 million bond, one of a trio of bonds totaling $74 million that are up for approval in the November 8 general election. The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s website illustrates its pitch for the bonds with a photograph of a mother and her two daughters smiling proudly next to the front door of a new home.  The inference is clear:  a vote for the $25 million bond is a vote for helping people realize the American dream. In fact, the bond offers no clear pathway to relief of Asheville’s…

How important is a single word?

Very, says one attorney, if it’s in a bond question on a ballot By Roger McCredie
“Shallvb.  Used in laws, regulations or directives to express what is mandatory
“May, vb … have permission to … be in some degree likely to … have liberty to” Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary
One verb is imperative, one is conditional.  And the difference is enough to have caught retired Asheville attorney Sidney Bach’s attention when he read the public notice of the November 8 bond referendum, and then read the wording of the bond question on the actual ballot.
City Published Notice
The law (in this case NCGS 159-61) requires that matters to be voted on by public referendum must be published, in print, in advance of the vote.  Hence, the city’s orders for the proposed issue of each of three general obligation bonds, to be voted on November 8, appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times on October 10.  
The order for each bond, as published, concludes:
“A tax sufficient to pay the principal of and inter…

Asheville’s Transportation Bond Examined

Greenways vs. Public Transportation By Roger McCredie
This is the first of a series of articles examining each of the city’s three proposed bonds.
The largest of the three bonds Asheville residents will be asked to approve on November 8 is theoretically devoted to transportation system improvements. But analysts say the $32 million allocated for transportation purposes consists of work the city should have been doing all along, plus a generous dollop of cash for greenways, which they say should not even be included under the transportation heading.
The city’s breakdown of proposed transportation bond financing is as follows:  Road resurfacing: $15,680,000Sidewalk improvements: $3,500,000 New sidewalk projects: $6,320,000 Transportation safety: $1,900,000 Greenways: $4,600,000 Bus shelters $500,000What you really get - patch jobThe sidewalk improvement projects comprise eight miles of sidewalk maintenance (on 13 different roads), twelve new sidewalk linkages, and four miles of new sidewalks…


By Carl Mumpower 1)    It’s a slush fund – not a plan. City Council can spend the money as they wish.
2)    We will pay as much as 36 million in interest on this bond.
3)    Property owners pay for this bond – not tourists or anybody else.
4)    Don't be fooled - most of the money is going to neglected maintenance caused by diverting tax dollars to special interest groups.
5)    Tellingly, public safety is left out of this spending spree.
6)    Special interests and nice over necessary projects dominate expenditures.
7)    Individual resident debt will go from $250 in 2015 to $1750.
8)    Asheville has a track-record of wasting millions on political boondoggles.
9)    The world economy makes the timingof this bond potentially disastrous.
10) This elitist bond makes Asheville even more unaffordable for normal people.  Rents will go up, making it even more difficult to find any "affordable housing".

Opposition to city bonds crystallizes

With slightly more than a month to go before it’s voted on, the city’s proposal to issue $74 million worth of general obligation bonds is finally running into organized opposition. Mountain Area Citizens’ Political Action Committee (MACPAC) has erected a webpage titled “Protect Our Future,” which contains an e-letter that can be signed and sent, petition-like, to Asheville City Council. The letter itself, which can be found at reads:
“Letter to the City of Asheville Please change your mind about your proposed bond. Dear Mayor and Council-members of Asheville, As a concerned taxpayer and citizen of the City of Asheville, I respectfully request that you withdraw your current bond proposal. Our city already has a substantial amount of debt and is not in good financial standing. Adding such an overwhelming amount of debt to this current total is not only worrisome but irresponsible to our future generations. I ask that you not indenture the children, the future of our great ci…

Mayor ends up playing defense At first ‘Bond Expo’ presentation

By Roger McCredie The auditorium at Ira B. Jones Elementary School can seat several hundred persons.  But fewer than a dozen were in it Monday evening to hear Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer make the city’s pitch for voting “yes” on the upcoming $74 million bond referendum. That may have been a mixed blessing for Manheimer, who had to deal with some hardball questions and scathing criticism following a Powerpoint presentation that was designed to explain to the public why the city needs all that money, and why it should borrow it now. Monday’s event was the first in a series of four such meetings to be held in various parts of town this month, leading up to voting on the bonds issue, which will be included on the November 8 general election ballot. The mayor began with an overview of the three proposed bond purposes – transportation, affordable housing, and parks and recreation – with photos showing projects in each category that the city has completed.  She then said now is an ideal tim…