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LETTERS / On Possible Parking Solutions for ASU and Downtown Boone

Dear Editor,

Well, the decisions of the past are coming back to haunt Boone town residents and their civic and business organizations.  

The decision to allow transient college students to vote in local elections and even run for local offices had some serious repercussions for longtime townspeople as well as rural communities.  Also, local people soon realized that college officials and professors would be vying to run the town, and also, try to influence the entire county, if not run the county, too.  

Oh, yes, town businesses have made plenty of money from the thousands of college students, instructors, profs, and it was not long til’ the Chamber of Commerce influenced the town businesses to hire the students instead of the local people.  As I would shop in Boone, especially after my husband passed away, I became more aware of that reality. Sometimes, I would ask the owners or the managers of local and chain stores about that practice. Some years ago while in a chain tech store, where I bought some of my computer supplies, I asked the manager about who their employees were.  I continued, ‘It looks to me like your employees are mostly college kids, huh, if not all.’  He had to admit it; yes, they were. I asked him about local people. Do you hire any local people ? He did not answer and looked a little squeamish. When I left with my purchases and walked to my car, a young man, well, he was younger than me, came up to me and started talking. He said, ‘Ma’am, I could not help but overhear your questions you were asking the manager here.’ He said, ‘He was native here, and he had worked at this store for some years; he was the only native Boone area person working here. He said, ‘I know for a fact, that their hiring practices here are discriminatory against local people in favor of college kids.’ He continued, ‘ I’ve seen many, many good prospects for employment, all local people, come in looking for jobs, gave good references and resumes, would have made excellent employees, but they were passed over in favor of the young college students.’  I agreed with him, and thanked him for this info, said ‘that many people are aware of this favoritism, and more and more local people have to go outside the county to find any kind of meaningful employment.’ After a few more moments of conversation, we went our separate ways. I called the regional offices of this tech store and asked about their employee preferences of the franchises.  He said they highly recommended that their franchises hire local people over college kids; it was their experiences that local people are far more reliable, more mature than college kids. I informed the spokesman that in Boone, NC that policy was not the case.  
Back in the late ’70s  when I was in Louisiana trying to finish up college, my mother in a phone conversation, complained that the local authorities here were allowing college kids to vote in local elections, which could easily affect outcomes. I just exclaimed,  ‘Are they crazy !?’   Mom laughed and said, ‘Yes, it’s incredible!’  
As the university grew, its officials and arrogant profs began to influence or tried to, how and what people should think, both historically and in the present, and how issues and decisions should be made by local officials. They began to affect County as well as Town policies. And eventually, these ASU people did largely take over, especially the Town.  
In recent years, as you well know, we have the Town of Boone, at a huge expense, reaching out several miles into the rural areas and taking water from a rather modest fork of a celebrated river. This action is not only arrogant but hypocritical. The Town leaders, especially those from the ASU campus, believe they have the authority, the superior knowledge, to make these decisions that affect people in rural areas, too.   And the Boone citizenry allowed the Town to do it.  While simultaneously Boone has been experiencing flooding problems, which has coincided with the tremendous building increases in and near the ASU campus.  This problem is not coincidental. 
You feel sorry for them ?  Well, it’s difficult for me to do so, to put it mildly.  The limited tourism and second home, retirement home economy, along with ‘give-everything-and-all-control-to-ASU’ and ‘ASU-is-so-much-smarter-than-we-are’ attitudes, are increasingly affecting this town and county adversely. 
All I can say as someone who grew up here in this county, these local Boone people of several generations are realizing too late that they are being outvoted and replaced with urban and suburban people who have no background here, and they have an agenda that is not in the best interests of most people in this county.  
All I can say to the Boone town locals, especially those dating back generations:
 “You, your parents and grandparents kowtowed to that college, and you and the Chambers of Commerce agreed with the limited economic plans.” 
“That’s what you and your predecessors asked for !”  
You have benefited from these policies and decisions made decades ago, yet, at everyone else’s expense.  
Now, you are beginning to experience the not-so-pleasant ramifications of such transforming policies yourselves. 
Will your mayor and this bizarre Town Council hear and understand you ?  ‘Not a chance. 
Karen Carter