Tax hike on the table for Asheville residents?
In an effort to close a budget gap in the annual budget, the Asheville City Council discussed raising property taxes, increasing fees, and cutting the police budget.
At a budget work session yesterday afternoon, Council also kicked around a pay increase for employees.
The City has a budget of about $120 million currently, and staff projects it will need about $123 million next year.
From the Citizen-Times:
Potential cuts to police have become part of City Council budget discussions, a month after leaked body camera footage of an officer beating a black pedestrian sparked widespread outrage.
It's not clear if a majority of the seven council members will support cuts to Asheville Police Department spending, though three expressed interest in the idea at a Tuesday special budget workshop. Councilman Brian Haynes proposed slashing $1.2 million, equal to the annual funding for a newly instituted downtown patrol or 4 percent of the current $27 million department budget.
"I'd like to say something that may not be welcome at this moment," Haynes said.
Another proposal on the table was to cut a smaller amount, $200,000, by reducing the number of recruits in the police academy from 20 to 15.
I'm trying to imagine a scenario where progressives - like Haynes - would call for a million-dollar budget reduction for schools because a teacher got caught abusing a student.
The Council will need to adopt a budget by July.
Friday Funeral procession for local fire chief
If you have the time on Friday morning, you can pay your respects to Reynolds Fire Chief Richard Sales, who died in a car crash in Iredell County last weekend.
The funeral will be held at 10 am at Biltmore Church in Arden, and then he'll be laid to rest at the cemetery at Gashes Creek Baptist Church.
I expect the procession will begin around 11 am.
According to the newspaper, it will go up Clayton Road (NC 191) -- on to the Blue Ridge Parkway -- exit on HWY 74 -- on to Gashes Creek Road.
It would mean a lot to Chief Sales' family, friends, and fellow firefighters to see the streets lined with people.
Sinclair video prompts run on fainting couch futures
By now you've heard that Sinclair-owned local TV stations ran a corporate-mandated message a few weeks ago. The reaction from liberal media personalities was instructive - if not predictable - in it's hysteria.
The message was not controversial. It simply said there are a lot of media companies and personalities who traffic in fake news, and that the local news folks would be working to give you real news.
As I said, this is not controversial. It's the equivalent of CNN's much-ridiculed "This is an apple" marketing campaign.
But, Sinclair owners give more money to Republicans, so it must be destroyed, and the message was deemed to be the greatest assault on journalism since the Alien & Sedition Acts.
Sinclair has responded with this video - posted at the top of every web site for every local TV station it owns. Including WLOS.
And, naturally, the media is going nuts again. They are utterly shocked that a media organization would push back against other media organizations attacking it.
The video, which did not run on Sinclair's television broadcasts, showed clips of Stelter warning audiences of the dangers of "fake news."
"Does CNN really think a warning about 'fake news' is Trump's rhetoric?" the narrator in the Sinclair video asks.
"For CNN to politicize Sinclair's journalistic commitment promos is hypocritical and shameful," Ronn Torossian, the president of 5W Public Relations, an outside firm hired by Sinclair Broadcasting, said in a statement. "The video we produced which highlights this dishonestly is on all of our websites."
Stelter fired back on Twitter: "There's a huge difference between my coverage and Sinclair's mandatory promos. No one tells me what to say. But these anchors were told exactly what to say."
"These promos became a story because Sinclair staffers spoke up and said they were uncomfortable," he wrote. "They said they'd never seen anything like this before."
Several Sinclair journalists interviewed by The Times on Tuesday — speaking on the condition of anonymity, for fear of being fired or sued by the company — were dismayed by the company's use of local TV news sites as a corporate attack platform.
Stelter's defense falls flat in that he doesn't NEED corporate to give him a script. He was hired precisely because he makes the commentary he does.
As Ben Shapiro noted in his appearance a few weeks ago.