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After losing Deschutes, blame cast, sparks fly
Monday, 09 May 2016 22:25

From Staff Reports

Verbal sparks are flying — along with fingerpointing — between two factions (splitting along party lines) on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners over just who is to blame for the March 22 decision by Deschutes Brewery to choose Roanoke, Va., instead of Asheville as the home for its East Coast facility. 

A key aspect of the deal, the purchase of property for Deschutes, also split down party lines, with the four Democrats on the commission favoring the move and the three Republicans opposing it.

After a seven-hour commissioners’ meeting April 5, Democratic Commissioner Holly Jones said, “I am really concerned about the (135) people in our commmunity that would have had a good job if we hadn’t of gone off half-cocked... Those people are really short-changed by folks having their own agendas.”

Moreover, Jones and her fellow Democratic commissioners charged that Republican Commissioner Miranda DeBruhl was partially — if not largely — to blame for Deschutes’ choosing Roanoke instead of Asheville for its new regional brewery site.

DeBruhl, who represents District 1 on the board and is running for commissioners’ chair, countered that the land purchase supporters were speculating with taxpayer money.  She also charged that the Democrats primarily wanted to “control” what happened with the deal’s property — and that her Democratic opponent for chair, Brownie Newman, had said “that he wanted to not allow (George Vanderbilt heir) Jack Cecil to build homes there.”

The Bend, Ore.-based brewery, offering up to 237 relatively high-paying jobs, made the decision in March after more than two years of mostly behind-the-scenes negotiations between company leaders, county officials and local economic developers connected to the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. Deschutes is the sixth-largest American craft brewery.

Asheville council calls for HB2 repeal; considers anti-bias LGBT ordinance
Monday, 09 May 2016 22:19

From Staff Reports

Asheville City Council is calling for the repeal of the state Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (commonly known as House Bill 2 or just HB2) and is working collaboratively with other local governments and plans to work within the legal system to end discrimination.

In addition, three councilmen are calling for the city to write an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance now in anticipation of the overturning of a North Carolina law forbidding such local protections. 

The trio’s move follows a ruling by a federal appeals court saying a Virginia school board discriminated against a transgender teen by forbidding him from using the boys’ restroom.

Councilmen Cecil Bothwell, Brian Haynes and Keith Young said the city should write a local ordinance modeled after Charlotte’s. That ordinance drew attention for allowing transgender people to choose which bathroom to use and led Republican lawmakers to pass HB2, negating such local ordinances.

In general, the Charlotte ordinance made it illegal for private businesses open to the public, such as hotels, to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“It is our belief that the Asheville City Council should prepare an ordinance modeled on the nondiscriminitory ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council on Feb. 22,” Bothwell said in a news release sent to the Daily Planet.

“We should be ready to move forward on that (nondisriminatory) promise when the court rules on the North Carolina law.”


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