Under the Dome

Conservative blogger accuses legislature of stealing Asheville water system

Carl Mumpower, a conservative blogger from Asheville, clinical psychologist, former Asheville City Councilman and former GOP congressional candidate, accuses the legislature of the "theft" of the Asheville water system.

My party's Republican majority in Raleigh, under the local leadership of State

"Representatives Tim Moffitt, Nathan Ramsey, and Chuck McGrady are a few days away from commandeering Asheville's water system. Asheville's City Council is to be commended for their decision to fight back with one of the few cards remaining in their deck. Taking legal action merits support and enthusiasm by all citizens - especially those with a firm interest in fair play. Much repeated misassumptions merit challenge-

1. "This is a waste of money" - No, just the opposite. Spending several hundred thousand dollars in the attempt to salvage a billion dollar plus asset is a smart .

investment. Surrender will result in a lifetime burden for city residents and taxpayers.

2. "They haven't cooperated" - When a stranger begins their relationship with you by kicking down your door and announcing their intention to rob you, cooperative potentials are dramatically impaired. In view of the dollars involved, isolated use of imminent domain to seize the city water system, and unprincipled abuse of powers by the Republican majority in Raleigh - our elected officials should be passionately resistant and everything but cooperative.

3. "Asheville deserves what they're getting." - City residents and neighbors with a conservative take on the issues have every right to resent and resist Asheville's liberal propensity for special interests, spending other people's money, social reengineering, and "anyway you like it" values. In America, people of principle fight those misbehaviors with engagement, voting, active protest, and other responsible means. Revenge politics whereby core principles are betrayed, truth is manipulated, and theft is validated represent power politics - not leadership. It is not possible to get to good places through bad means.

4. "The water is owned by everyone." - No, it is not. The majority of our state's distributed water is managed and sold as a commodity through municipalities run by elected officials. The much ignored foundation for making Asheville a lone exception is found in Sullivan Acts II and III which were passed by an unprincipled abuse of powers by the then Democratic majority in Raleigh. Asheville's founders were smart enough to purchase the two watersheds that represent the heart of Asheville's water system. Proof that the city owns the system and profiteers do not want them too is found in (1) the necessity of Sullivan Acts II & III to effectively seize control and (2) the recent legislative action to seize ownership. The much disguised bi-partisan nature of this one-two punch holds no small irony - and raises questions on who's behind it.

5. "County residents helped pay for the water system." Sure they did - just like county residents surrounding every other city owned water system in NC do - including Woodfin, Hendersonville, and Weaverville. It means something that none of these water systems are being forced to join this "regional" effort. It means something that Raleigh and Charlotte, cities essentially filling their county boundaries, are being granted exemption. It means something that a billion dollar plus asset is being taken from city residents with no meaningful compensation. It means something that city residents, year after year, carry roughly twice the tax burden of county neighbors. It means something for the same reason that if I buy cokes from your machine, that does not give me the right to take that machine because I helped pay for it.

Congratulations are due Asheville's Council for this act of courage. Comments by the judge in an earlier equally well advised city law suit against Sullivan Acts II & III are relevant - "Though the state has the right to do what they have done, that doesn't make it right." No matter how much spin our three unprincipled Republican representatives attempt, their effort comes down to one sharp point of action - stealing. That's a behavior meriting reasoned resistance by this council, Asheville citizens, and all others who believe right and wrong matters.


Carl Mumpower


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