Last night’s meeting of the Buncombe County Commissioners featured two main events. The first was a swimming marathon. Folks organized to save the Zeugner pool. The county has decreed it unfit, but swimmers are fine with it. They said county staff has exaggerated the pool’s problems in the past. The meeting room had about 150 people in it. Many wore swimming goggles, and it felt like a third of them spoke. It seemed a waste of time. Each high school kid took the mike and told, for the most part, about how they would be on the streets, friendless, and getting worse grades without the magic pool. Consistently, they wanted the county to keep the pool open at least until the county found a suitable replacement. Some just wanted any competitive pool; others wanted a big aquatic center that would be an economic engine for the local tourism industry. After the third or fourth speaker, I got the point, and I began fidgeting, feeling guilty that life was passing me by. The kids did have a lot of personality, but I’m a workaholic, always running behind, and never in the mood for a chumfest. Couldn’t they have presented the commish with an online petition? Only two folks played mom and dad and urged the county to put needs, as in feeding the hungry, before wants. Later, Don Yelton addressed the commissioners and said he regretted he didn’t make enough copies, as he, too, was short on cash.

The equestrian event was trickier. It was actually delightful to listen to the horse sense of the horse people. They challenged the new animal ordinance that requires horses to have a three-walled shelter. Members from the NC Horse Council asked why nobody had consulted experts. They argued horses are not companion animals. The state lists them as livestock. They are outdoor animals, naturally equipped to handle cold and rain. They kick and get mean when humans try to put them in manmade shelters. One lady asked where this new wave of legislation would stop. Would people have to put blankets on sheep after shearing them? Worst of all, farmers are poor, horses are expensive, and the county’s animal rescue services will probably see its great euthanasia rate spike if it does not alter the ordinance.