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The Daily Planet’s Opinion: April 2015
Monday, 13 April 2015 15:18

Asheville was wise in recently passing an ordinance that bans the use of e-cigarettes in places where regular cigarette smoking is also banned.

While e-cigarettes use a mechanical heating element, battery or electronic circuit to heat and vaporize a liquid solution in a cartridge usually containing nicotine, it is not known whether they are less addictive than cigarettes and their health affects.

E-cigarettes have been on the market for only a decade, explaining the lack of exhaustive testing necessary to establish whether they are safe for those who use them, or those near those who use them. 

“There is no consistency with what is in them, so they haven’t gotten a real take on their safety,” City Councilman Cecil Bothwell said during a March 10 council meeting at which the ban was passed as a noncontroversial item.

Deputy City Attorney Martha McGlohon told council that the Food and Drug Administration had conducted a study on two leading e-cigarette brands and found “evidence of toxic chemicals in both.” 

Some studies have shown the release of measurable amounts of carcinogens from exhaled vapors, she added. “Finally, in the last six months, there have been battery explosions either during charging of the e-cigarette or while in use,” McGlohon noted.

The ban does not affect private restaurants or other establishments, but it — thankfully — prohibits e-cigarette use from city buses, parks and greenways, along with the Asheville Regional Airport, the U.S. Cellular Center and Pack Place Education, Arts and Science Center, except in designated smoking areas.

The Candid Conservative: Where normal isn’t normal
Monday, 13 April 2015 15:10
Special to the Daily Planet

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”
— Leonardo da Vinci

The Problem

sheville is a slippery hotspot for normal people. Too many struggle to pay the bills, raise kids, secure a decent job, and maintain an upright moral compass.

This gap between the real world and Asheville’s fantasy world is easily measured – just scan our “best of” tributes. There’s absolutely no connection between normal and the best place to drink beer, party, celebrate weirdness, date your own sex, and tweet space on a Monopoly board. Clarity arrives with our unmentioned credits.  


Drug City

Cool green Asheville is a not-so-cool drug haven. Hardly a neighborhood exists without seemingly immune chemistry merchants. Whether sold at the curb in public housing; delivered door-to-door by courier; passed hand-to-hand in hip restaurants; or shilled legally by our V.A. Hospital and sorted pain clinics, drugs are a broken Asheville mainspring stopping the clock of a phenomenal number of people.

Those advocating drug legalization overlook the hitch – addicts don’t quietly fade into oblivion. On the way down they pillage their families, friends, neighbors and employers.

When those fountains run dry, they dive into the ever more indulgent public safety net. Free housing, disability dough, food stamps, healthcare without skin in the game, and fire engines and ambulances on command are just some of the perks of being a social predator cloaked as a victim.  

If you doubt their harm, take a look at the millions Mission Hospital silently invests in a never-ending procession of recovery avoidance addicts.

When these folks exhaust their street options, Mission’s emergency room is “Plan B.” Most know the passwords – phantom chest pains or suicidal thoughts. Per paralyzing and unchallenged laws, character deficient addicts are thus able to pinch “time out” for multiple days and thousands of dollars – repeatedly.

Want to know why Mission is overwhelmed? Look to defensive medicine protocols and government bureaucracy strangling efficiency potentials. Chronic staff shortages are undeclared policy.

Then consider a community mass producing damaged, deranged and dependent drug addicts who, like Humpty-Dumpty, expect to be magically put back together again.

It’s going to get worse. Our mental health system can barely get out of its own way, much less clean-up a drowning pool of drug aficionados. Asheville’s widespread addict reality is a toxic booby-prize you won’t read about in travel magazines.

Power and Money 

Good-old-boy elitism remains local bedrock. We’ve recently been exposed to the finest example of bipartisan politics in our city’s history – the systematic theft of Asheville’s water system. 

It started with Democrats Martin Nesbitt, Susan Fisher, and Bruce Goforth partnering with Republicans Wilma Sherill and Nathan Ramsey to champion Sullivan Acts II & III. Their success grounded former state rep Tim Moffitt’s spirited effort to finalize the rip-off. The city may yet prevail in court, but don’t hold your breath. When that many red and blue politicians pimp eminent domain on a billion dollar asset, there’s power, money and intrigue in the background.

Going back earlier this century stands another premier coup by elitists – the backdoor deal to terminate the race track. How it went down left a bad taste in the mouth of many locals and symbolizes a tipping point whereby native values are increasingly confined to the back of Asheville’s bus. Our fast-growing puddle of transplants has fondness for drugs, beer, gender swapping, eccentricity, and Obama but they don’t like racecars. Come to think of it they don’t like much of anything about our heritage except Asheville’s mountains and downtown buildings. They’ve squashed most everything else.

Another example of high-powered elitism is the manner by which the Biltmore Estate secured liquor-by-the-drink. Under almost all circumstances, this state graced opportunity would be linked to voluntary annexation into Asheville. The Biltmore Company was mysteriously able to win the former and skip the latter. That’s wrong in too many ways to count – including how it happened, why it happened, who helped it happen and why it never should have happened.

Per these well-screened activities, double-taxed city residents should be pressing hard for a “Best Backroom Deals” kudo.

Big G

Being a local mover and shaker requires the affections of politicians. That’s accomplished through campaign contributions, cocktail parties, PACs and other efforts to reward the faithful. Very, very few elected officials resist the seductions of being liked, empowered and funded by special interest groups. That’s why today’s America is pretty much dominated by an ever growing convoy of the self-serving. 

These groups and hostaged politicians liken the public coffers to a stolen credit card. It’s fun to spend other people’s money. In just one day last month, Buncombe’ s commission committed 141 million to a host of nice but not necessary construction projects.

Instead of scaled upgrades and expanded utilization to two shifts, they surrendered to Federal pressures and approved a sexy new social services structure for 48 million. The same governing elitists set sights on a project rivaling the City-owned golf course as middle-class welfare – a new swimming pool facility. According to Manna Food bank we’ve got hungry people all over the place and yet we’re in a dire need of a 38 million swimming complex?  Both are intentionally perpetuated myths, but we’re factually in the running for the “Most Indebted County” award.


Count on the fact our left-leaning political elites will take things to absurd extremes. Banning the circus, ignoring topless exhibitionism in public parks and displaying a gay pride banner on City Hall are examples of wide-eyed liberalism growing wilder – a prelude to misadventure. 

In the meantime the rest of us can serve best by enjoying Asheville’s real blessings and holding onto ordinary. As a Vatican insider once shared, “Martyrs comprised the first generation of Saints.” “The second was made up of great teachers, leaders and people of faith. The last will be those who can be normal in an abnormal world.

From personal experience, little irritates the left more than a Christian conservative with a smile – and the dawning awareness the accolades Asheville receives will fade under the pressure of the ones we don’t…

Conservative tip of the month

Liberal media bias is not fictional. The incentive for the fraud is simple – walking downhill is easier than up. Everything about the left’s policies is devoted to the equation of ease. Immorality is easier than morality. Giving the downtrodden get-out-of-jail-free entitlements is easier than seeking uplifting accountabilities and opportunities. Blaming the white culture for the black culture’s well documented regression is easier than challenging the real causes. Spending dollars borrowed on our kids’ futures is easier than balancing a budget. The media is liberal not out of principle, but because they’re rewarded for putting a happy face on the pretense an easy life is a good life. Pick up a paper or watch the news. How often will you hear someone made a bad decision? Or an addict was personally responsible for their behavior? Or those who have children they can’t support are rash? We live in a culture addicted to the idea of feeling good as job one – the media is liberal because we are. The antidote to this adult version of a pacifier is the real world’s firm link to reality, reason, responsibly, and right. That’s the condensed recipe for conservatism – and a neon marker for those more interested in truth than political comfort food.
Do you have information about a source of mischief in our community? You can safely contact us at 252-8390 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . We are offering a $500 reward for information on corruption, crime, or other harms you share in confidence and we reveal in print. Bad things grow in the dark. We have a flashlight – do you have a whistle?
Carl Mumpower is a former member of Asheville City Council.



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