Last night, Harry Pilos explained to members of Asheville City Council that he needed $764,000 rather than the $510,000 he could get for the green points he could earn on council’s incentives scorecard with his RAD Lofts project. He said he crunched the numbers, and they just didn’t work. Mayor Esther Manheimer recalled council trying to come up with thresholds . . .

Scenes like this play out in government. It is a game of making up rules as you go along, as if people need cages, but we don’t care if they fit just yet.

One councilor, making circular motions with her hands, emotes, “I feeeeeeel like this should be $2 million.”

Following profound silence, another scratches his beard, leans back, and tapping a pencil with the other hand pronounces, haltingly, “$1.8 million . . . looks . . . more appropriate.”

A third, a novice, then observes excitedly, “I know! Let’s set it at $1.9 million!”

A bipartisan compromise is reached! Members of the press celebrate.

Then, those developers who got treated like greedy idiots for having a good idea of costs and trying to tell members of council that they would have to go in the hole to give council that many public amenities while keeping rents that low, try again to explain their dilemma.

“It’s a living document!” the regulators celebrate.