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LETTERS / The Recent Board Of Commissioners Candidates Forum

Dear Editor,

These BOC candidates are frankly all very disappointing, to put it mildly, and all cannot refuse entreaties, especially from politically correct groups centered in Boone and ASU.

Billy Kennedy and Tim Hodges of the abused third district are virtually twins supposedly running against each other. ‘Amazing. They are pursuing the same, grossly misnamed Smart Growth and Sustainable Development agenda, which is impractical and extremely costly.
Wallin, Hodges, Sofield, and Blust are all products of ASU and are closely associated with that admittedly transforming university. All of them gladly support the rec center building, even Blust, who four years ago, in the Fall of 2014, in the dubious HCR group’s forum, which is on video, gingerly and reluctantly, agreed with the idea; however, just a couple weeks ago in the Blowing Rock forum, Blust was more outspoken and critical of the rec center’s construction and the rising costs; he quoted the YMCA’s conclusion from their in depth study of a few years ago re: the economic and operational impracticality of a rec center for this county. Even if Blust is sincere in his belated promise to cut spending for unnecessary ‘wants’ and votes against raising taxes and increased spending, and even if he and his fellow Republicans gain the BOC majority, his own GOP colleagues will not agree with his efforts, which is par for the course. But, once again, this pitiful plea for fiscal responsibility that the local GOP always publicizes is for show only in an obvious, lackadaisical attempt to appease their traditional, but continuously betrayed base.

Wallin wallows in his association with ASU and its arrogant agenda for this county. He cites the alleged plan he helped write for this county published by his doubtful group, virtually all presumptuous, self-appointed, smarter-than-everyone ASU bigwigs and profs. I remember this group’s spokesman bragging about how much he and others of ASU have improved conditions for the county people. Yet, there are many who would strongly disagree with this presumptuous and false statement. ‘Truth be told, that institution has generated many problems, directly and indirectly, for this county, and this growing monster costs the citizenry far, far more than any alleged benefits it purports. Wallin also remarks on at least two occasions that ‘we’ are going to have to make ‘sacrifices’, which should ring some alarm bells. It’s very unfortunate that not nearly enough county citizens heeded those alarm bells and warnings of decades ago.
Now, all candidates agree there are dire educational needs, which were, in fact, publicized several years ago, whether the needs are genuine or not. And not surprisingly, this continuing spending design, the educational capital improvement plan came almost on the heels of the most expensive high school construction in NC history, which was in conjunction with also very several, expensive county property purchases, and some under a cloud of impropriety.
And once again, the subject of ‘affordable housing’ reappears. This issue always brings up the incongruity of Watauga’s economic reality, and there is much hypocrisy. Because of the narrow-minded economic agenda to emphasize tourism and the second home and retirement building industry at the expense of free enterprise, these geniuses have generated a paradox and an unstable one. These candidates merely mentioned some real economic problems, but these County and Town officials, plus Chamber of Commerce types, always cite the low tax rate, but rarely if ever publicly recognize our very high cost of living, the extremely high property values, and the very low county per capita income, which are indicative of the past and present chosen economic engines, which not only do our officials continue to largely ignore, but their solutions are proven failures. But the truth re: the purpose behind ‘affordable housing’ is to benefit, once again, ASU and their more equal group than the rest of us second and third class citizens. But we are exhorted, again, by Mr. Wallin to make ‘sacrifices’ for primarily his favorite group.
Gosh, this spectacle and grim fiscal reality are enough to make common sense, practical, sensible people gag.
Karen Carter