Buncombe County 1; Freedom of Speech 0

If I come over to your house tonight and fall asleep with a lit cigarette, your house might burn down. If I come over to your house tonight with a lighter and a can of gas, your house might burn down. It won’t make much difference to you which way destroys your home – the end result is the same.

Pretty similar thing is going on with Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. They’re strangling FREEDOM OF SPEECH here in Asheville. Doesn’t matter if they’re doing it through deliberate fraud or just being inept – the end result is the same. They’re making it next to impossible for a venue of free speech to continue to operate.

Here’s an email I got today from Diane Price, Budget Manager for the County. She wrote me in response to a request for information that I had. In her email she says:

I understand you are looking for some information on URTV funding? Buncombe County currently receives $8,695.64 on a quarterly basis from the NC Department of Revenue for “Supplemental PEG Channel Support”. Since we have 2 certified channels within the county, one-half of that amount goes to URTV. That gives them annual funding of $17,391.28.

Please feel free to contact me if you have additional questions.

Diane

Diane M. Price, MBA
Budget Manager

She’s saying that the County is giving URTV $17.3K a year. Well, for starters, that’s a lot lower than what they’re supposed to be paying. But let’s disregard what they’re SUPPOSED to be doing for a minute.

If you click on the image with this blog, you’ll see a copy of a check that the county gave URTV as payment for the 1st quarter. MMmm…looks like it’s a little over $3K. Far cry from the $17K that Ms. Price said they’re sending.

By the way…when I was in the 3rd grade, I learned that the word “supplemental” means IN ADDITION TO something else. So where’s the rest of the money?

Yep…FREEDOM OF SPEECH is on it’s way out here in Asheville and Buncombe County.

Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist living in Asheville, North Carolina. He has traveled the world documenting the tears, joys, laughter and lives of people everywhere. He currently focuses his camera on the same topics in America. His work has appeared in such diverse publications as USAToday, CNN, Upsurge, Dream Row and others. A portion of his income from each photo shoot is donated to organizations that help the homeless in the communities in which he works. You can see more of his photography by clicking here.

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