Opinion

NDO Pushed Through, Without a Real Conversation

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

Buncombe County – I recently received an email to the editor, not for publication. Part of the email was about my commentaries found here, usually each week. In a nutshell, the longtime reader said while they didn’t often agree with me. they did always find my commentaries “interesting and sometimes enlightening.” A statement I find humbling for sure. However, they did point out that my latest pieces have not held the same for them, going to to say they “…seem more like rants from a blogger not the informed opinion of an editor” and that “…the use of sarcasm is painful and detracts from the central message.” This week, I am going to try and do better.

With that said, I am drawing on the meeting held by some of the Buncombe County Commissioners on the new non-discrimination ordinance (NDO) for this week’s commentary (Be sure to read the article on page 4  before the rest of this commentary).

About 50 people attended the “community conversation” about Buncombe County’s new NDO last Thursday, April 15th.  Hardly a drop in the bucket compared to the entire population of the county. A few people dominated the meeting, with more than 50 percent of the time being devoted to those commissioners and backers of the NDO, leaving very little time to address concerns from residents suspicious of the law.

Concerns voiced by county residents range from not understanding why this ordinance was necessary to how burdensome the NDO could be to small and medium business owners having to defend their businesses’ reputations against accusations both real and false. The call from residents for local statistical data to prove the need for such a law was met with Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, a gay minister herself, saying the ordinance needed to be passed to document such discrimination to get the data the public was requesting. A statement that sounds eerily similar to one made by Nancy Pelosi several years ago when she said the healthcare bill needed to be passed to find out what was in it.  

Asked what kind of discrimination was going on, Beach-Ferrara listed many harassments which most seem like they could be addressed by laws already on the books. Such as being fired. It seems like that one could go to the labor board, but with this being a right-to-work state, it might be hard for anyone to prove since employees can be hired and fired for cause or no cause. The same goes for being passed over for promotions. Locked in a freezer at work looks like wrongful imprisonment or a kidnapping charge to me. And being “called names?” Well, if that’s the case, it seems like the commissioners might need to include more categories for protection, such as the obese, who are usually called “fatty or lard ass.” Those hygiene-challenged who might be called “stinky.” Like the list of “genders,” one can develop when people deny science, the list of classes on the NDO might never end.

Beach-Ferrara said complying with the ordinance is simple, saying, “You will not treat people differently based on who they are or who they love and what their family is like.” It sounds like love your neighbor as yourself, as a minister, she should have thought of that ordinance herself. Most would say that’s simple enough, but make no mistake, this isn’t an NDO this is an LGBTQ ordinance meant to bring anyone who would refuse to “bake the cake” into line with political correctness. Your faith-based beliefs are ok in church but not in the business world. 

Residents also spoke of the NDO being “intrusive and burdensome” to business owners, even prying into people’s social media. People would be guilty until proven innocent under this new law.  Your name and the name of your business will be publicized to point out your sins until you are deemed clean by the priests of political correctness.

Supposed victims have a year to file a complaint, but a business owner only has 10 days to respond. I hope to God you’ve kept all your records from a year ago, along with the little details surrounding the event. 

There was a rush to push this NDO through without a thorough conversation on the issue. Please make no mistake that Beach-Ferrara is no neutral commissioner, but neither were the other commissioners who voted for it.

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