Get over the fear and say it: ZONING is GOOD

Note to all candidates seeking office in Western North Carolina, and all their constituents: repeat these words, over and over — zoning, land use, high-impact ordinances, long-range planning, master planning. Say them again, and try to get over the fear they seem to inspire in local politicians. These aren’t bad words, using them won’t deter growth, and advocating for them does not violate any principles of our American way of life. Those who argue they do are simply trying to dupe you through fear into letting them do as they please, which, in the worst case, means make money from raping the land.

Forging a wise immigration bill

Amnesty? In the immigration controversy that is dividing Congress and the nation, this has become the most misused term in the politician’s vernacular. It’s being used as wedge by those who favor a policy that is heavy on relentless enforcement and deportation. This policy, instead of celebrating the spirit of hard work that is the backbone of this country’s success, would have us rely instead on the twin weaknesses of insecurity and insularity. That’s not the America I want for our future.

Media consolidation just ain’t good

It happened months back, but the request was typical of what we hear everyday in this business: will you do a story about us?

That’s a request I like to get. We are, after all, in the business of telling stories, whether it’s about your government or your neighbor.

Savoring the coming political season

When the political season cranks up, as it’s about to, this business gets a lot more fun.

I’m one of those who believe newspapers are the best place to learn about candidates’ positions. We, along with the other print journalists in this region and those across the country, work hard to make these people who want your votes stake out their positions on the important issues. And we’ll try to provide some perspective and background, to put the issue into some kind of context. Most of us view it as a challenge each election season to prove newspapers provide better, more in-depth coverage of candidates that television and even the Internet.

Small towns make for different news

I remember the specific moment in my journalism career when I sealed my future as a small-town newspaperman. I was at my third newspaper job out of college, had moved up to successively larger publications, and an offer came to take over the editor’s job at a small-town daily.

Living in fear of ... everything

It started over a discussion about the merits of that sanitizing gel that is now so often found in restrooms, grocery stores, gyms and elsewhere, the stuff that’s supposed to kill germs and stem the spread of colds and other minor illnesses. After a huge bottle showed up in our workplace, one of my co-workers kind of snickered when we were discussing its merits. His comment went something like this: “God, people work too hard to try and protect themselves against everything. It’s like living life in fear.”

A long history culminates in one tumultuous day

When Haywood County Manager Jack Horton was asked to resign or be fired last week, it was, potentially, a watershed political event for Haywood County. This upheaval probably won’t have a long-term impact on the prosperity of Haywood County, but it will help shape the political landscape in the near future.

Newspapers in need of iPod moment

We in the newspaper business are supposed to be having the bejesus scared out of us because of the power of the Internet. And right now, as people are spending billions making Internet purchases for Christmas, this fact is hitting home. Soon, we who put out traditional newspapers will be forgotten, quaint relics from the past.

Things change, and sometimes not for the best

I’m not sure where home is, but my children know. They’re first-generation mountaineers, which means, should they stay, they’ve got a lot riding on their shoulders. I hope they’re up to it.

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