In April 2020 The Blowing Rock Civic Association (BRCA) publicly stated their position to drop the 14 day quarantine in Watauga County for seasonal residents. It was early in the pandemic that ultimately killed millions and much was yet to be learned. But, those facts didn’t matter to BRCA because they weren’t convenient for their members’ desire to leave the city and reside at their mountain property; So much for what’s good for the local full-time residents.
To understand BRCA’s motives it is helpful to understand that their founders and much of their original membership are country club part-time residents who have at times in the past attempted to influence Town issues and developments usually in a way that supports their interests.
A recent BRCA video titled “Blowing Rock 28605”, gave a 2-minute plea for its seasonal members to change their voter registration status to Blowing Rock in order to have more say in Town matters. Clearly, this is an attempt to have the group’s self-interest become the direction of Town government. The speaker tells of campaigns lost by 12 or won by 50 votes implying BRCA can be instrumental in future elections. See: https://vimeo.com/721531876/d8b4571593.
In a membership drive email dated July 9, 2022 Jean Kitchen of BRCA writes in bold “…without BRCA you do not have a voice at the table to help shape and guide the important decisions that are being made. We can be your voice.”
The video pretty much says ”we’re involved in elections”.
And the email says literally BRCA will be your voice.
All of us want to trust the organizations we join and belong to.
Consider this. BRCA holds an IRS Section 501(c)(3) exemption which allows for contributions to be deductible for Federal Tax purposes.
501 (c)(3) organizations are specifically forbidden to lobby or endorse or oppose candidates for elected office at the Federal, State or Local level. Line 47 of BRCA’s 2020 Form 990 tax filing answers the question “Did the organization engage in lobbying activities…”the answer was “NO”.
During the year 2021 I believe BRCA engaged in lobbying on at least three occasions when they organized member protests at Town meetings in order to leverage their personal interests on Town officials. Their own emails evidence these organized activities.
From the two recent communications on voter registration and membership benefits it should be clear this organization exceeded the limits of their claimed tax-exempt status. And while one may not disagree with the right to change your place of voting, the morality of claiming tax exempt status and then cavalierly ignoring the mandates of the Internal Revenue Service should tell you all you need to know to decide whether this organization is worthy of your trust. If you’re a Blowing Rock voter, it seems that their aim is to dilute the value of your vote. If you’re a member of the BRCA, you have nothing to be proud of in being part of this action. Watch the video above and come to your own conclusions.
Joe Amoroso, Blowing Rock