The world may never know what transpired in Asheville City Council’s work session today. Mayor Terry Bellamy opened the meeting asking all at the table to be polite and let bygones be bygones. The subject was partnering. All things remaining equal, the city would be faced with a shortfall of $5 million for FY 2010-2011. A flat tax of $500 per household could fix the problem, but that would be regressive and oppressive. The city is more interested in partnering, or getting people who can’t vote for or against council members to donate money to city government. Partnering can take the form of federal and state grants, contributions from local colleges and universities, differential fees charged on persons outside city limits, etc.

At the close of the meeting, the mayor asked the members of the press not to be divisive or derogatory. Members of council were acting with pure hearts in the best interest of the citizens. Sometimes, she said, members of council feel intimidated and don’t feel free to speak because they’re afraid of the way the press might spin things. She asked that everybody be fair. Since I’m not a Shakespearean witch, I believe fair means singing the praises of great ideas and disclosing errors in logic in the products of less-intense meditation. Since I’m not a real journalist, I’ll let the mayor intimidate me, and I’ll only sing the praises for the most outstanding comments of the evening.

  • Brownie Newman courageously standing up to the mayor and telling her he did not consider her pet project, a high-class performing arts center for kids to stay out of trouble after school, to be cause to raise taxes.
  • Bill Russell saying, like a dad trying to knock some sense into an incorrigible child without hurting any feelings, “$5 million. $5 million. $5 million.”
  • Jan Davis sharply telling Cecil Bothwell he would in no way support a vehicle tax on commuters as badly as downtown Asheville merchants are struggling to stay in business.
  • Esther Manheimer stating it was “silly” for the city to own a golf course.