Last night, Asheville City Council held a fifth-Tuesday meeting (1, 2). They solicited input on their SOP, which document former councils had traditionally adopted way, way earlier in the fiscal year. Unfortunately, only 14 members of the public bothered to show up. About twice as many members of city staff were present, so they got to participate in shaping their governing principles for the next year.

Cause for heaven and earth to rejoice was council’s goal of having people of all income levels improve their economic conditions. It is a tall order, with little horned men in red Spandex in the details, but it is so good that council has evolved to where they don’t want to redistribute to this bunch by punishing that. Council wants to see not only the poor, but rich, the middle-class, and the ascending poor improve their lots while in this life. This is only the second time in twenty years I’ve had cause to want to kiss a politician.

On the downside, I stopped short of launching into an argument with leadership. Things got silent, so I piped up and requested the city keep its economic development efforts focused on first-order public purposes. I like and respect the intelligence of those with whom I disagreed, and so I will write off the misunderstanding to my poor skills of articulation. That said, I was aghast that a particular semi-hero of mine would consider it a crock that in a fair tax (not capitalized) system revenues should rise commensurately with demands for service. Said person knew of no study, and further cracked if there were a study, a Republican legislature would surely have tried to run with the concept. (Ya think?)

What’s more, I don’t like the way the city continues to count opportunity costs and pros and cons. If I’m not mistaken, the problem is similar to keeping debits and credits straight for givers and takers. I would suggest sorting things out using a Punnett square with “city does this” and “city doesn’t do this” on one axis and “advantages” and “disadvantages” on the other.

I’m going to stop there with the hope that somebody will listen.