by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
The Henderson County Commissioners considered refusing almost $600,000 in state and federal funds for transit. County Manager Steve Wyatt smelled foreshadowing for the unionization of transit workers in conditions the county was being asked to approve. Unfortunately, Henderson County has gotten itself addicted to the revenue stream, which would account for about 2/3 of the transit budget. On top of that, staff expected the City of Asheville, the pass-through entity for the funding, would sue if the county tried to drop out of the entangling alliance. Referring to the chains, Wyatt remarked:
There’s an old saying that he who has the gold makes the rules.
Vice Chair Bill O’Connor, who is no stranger to protesting state and federal funds, echoed:
One couldn’t ask for a better demonstration of the tragedy of dealing with federal government and its rules. We have a situation where the U.S. Department of Labor is using this leverage to come in and attempt to change our labor relationships with our employees. . . .
The other board members acknowledged the predicament, but were too attached to the monkey on their backs. O’Connor was the only board member to try to fight the addiction cold turkey and:
forget about dealing with these people who do nothing but bend us to their will in ways that we can’t possibly foresee. We’ve put ourselves in a position where we need this transit subsidy, but I disagree with the idea that there are some things that we can’t do. We can do anything that we set our mind to; we can oppose the federal government just as the men of 1776 opposed the king. You can’t win if you don’t fight. You’ve got to take a stand.