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Topless rally stages march in handcuffs
Thursday, 04 September 2014 16:18
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The fourth annual Go Topless rally on Aug. 24 featured roughly a dozen women who bared their breasts durng a gathering that drew several hundred, mostly admiring and camera-pointing male onlookers to downtown Asheville’s Pritchard Park.

Later, the group marched from the park, stunning some passersby along the way, en route to the Asheville Police Department, where they stood in protest for a while. The police looked on and made no arrests. The rally turnout was about the same as last year’s event.

For the march, about six of the topless women voluntarily handcuffed their hands behind their backs to symbolize what they said was the oppression they feel in going topless in today’s society, even though it is a legal act for a woman in North Carolina.

The event began with a speech by organizer Jeff Johnson, who stresssed that the major emphasis of the annual rally was to promote women’s equality and to end the stigma in Asheville — and elsewhere — for topless women wandering about the city.  

In his 20-minute speech to the crowd to launch this year’s event, Johnson, using a bullhorn, warned the gathering that state officials are planning to pass a law soon that will ban female toplessness.“There’s never been any harm from a breast,” said Johnson, who plans to return to Asheville again next summer.

After his speech and before the march, Johnson told the Daily Planet that he was happy with the event, which, for the first time was being held in the new location of Pritchard Park. The previous three events were held in Pack Square.

Johnson acknowledged that parking was more difficult around Pritchard Park than at Pack Square. However, he said the rally was successful in its effort to promote women’s equality. The reactions from passersby ranged from disgust to nonchalance.

The Asheville Go Topless rally was among about 50 across the United States on Go Topless Day, which is held annually on the Sunday that falls closest to Aug. 26, which is Women’s Equality Day.The rallies in Asheville have shown a decline in both participants and spectators over the years.

The first event in 2011 attracted an estimated 2,000 people and featured several dozen topless women.The 2012 and 2013 events drew several hundred people, most of them male spectators with cameras, with about a dozen women baring their breasts.

Asheville rally spokeswoman LaDonna Allison, an actress and model from Atlanta, said the aim is to promote women’s equality. Her group claims that laws and stigmas against women being topless in public are unfair.“What reason do they have for saying it’s OK for a man but not a woman?” she asked. “I just want to be treated equally.”

Officials, conservative activists voice strong opposition to rally 

The annual Go Topless rally, held Aug. 24 in downtown Asheville, was denounced in advance by Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and all members of City Council. Both the mayor and council are widely considered to be left-leaning poltically.

From the opposite side of the political divide, Dr. Carl Mumpower and Chad Nesbitt, two local conservative activists, once again led a citizens grassroots group that voiced opposition — on moral grounds — to the Asheville topless rally, which was for a third consecutive year, headed by Jeff Johnson, who lives in Huntsville, Ala.

Mumpower even got a writeup in the Huntsville Times, expressing  his anger and frustration with Johnson.

BCGOP challenges register of deeds
Thursday, 04 September 2014 16:09

From Staff Reports

The Buncombe County Republican Party on Aug. 5 filed a public records request through the Freedom of Information Act with Buncombe County government to obtain expense reports and travel records filed by Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger.

The records are being sought, the BCGOP said, because Reisinger appears to be engaging in a continuing pattern of preferential treatment, at a significant cost to Buncombe County taxpayers, by the Democrats within the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.

 “It has been noted that Mr. Reisinger has taken several trips to destinations unknown and for reasons that are unknown. Well, we want to know” BCGOP Chairman Henry Mitchell  said. “Again, on the surface, it seems Mr. Reisinger may be abusing one of the most important offices in the county, and we are going to dig and get the answers our community deserves.”

 A recent FIOA filed by the BCGOP on July 24 — for information regarding a snow day taken by the register of deeds — has not been fulfilled, and they have added an additional inquiry in the hopes answers can be found, the BCGOP said.

“Our original request for documents pertaining to the $500,000 snow day seems to be taking much longer than expected,” BCGOP Communications Director Nathan West said, “Now we hear of possible abuses in travel and expense reports, and we feel an obligation to make additional requests on behalf of the community.”

West added, “There was a lot of discussion after tonight’s (Aug. 5th’s) County Commission meeting — and some things just aren’t adding up. We promised to make additional inquiries if necessary and we believe it is.”

When contacted for a response, Kathy Sinclair, chair of the Buncombe County Democratic Party, said in an email to the Daily Planet, “It’s typical that the BCGOP wants to spend their time talking about FOI requests rather then defending their party’s disastrous record in the legislature.

“And who could blame them?  They have continued to attack public education by giving the bait and switch to public school teachers on their pay raises and introducing more cuts to our community colleges and universities,” Sinclair asserted.


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