Asheville Water Crisis: Lack of Leadership Where it's Needed - TribPapers

Asheville Water Crisis: Lack of Leadership Where it’s Needed

Classic art of Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Image produced by DALL-E.

Buncombe County – It’s said that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. The question is, what did the leadership of Asheville do while nearly 40,000 went without water over the holidays?

Of course, the notion that Nero fiddled is just that, a notion, as the fiddle was not invented until the 11th century. If Nero played any instrument, it would probably have been the cithara. However, the question still remains: what was the leadership of Asheville doing while nearly 40,000 residents and businesses had no water?

Were they on vacation? One might think so, as it took over a week to restore water to all customers. Most of the city council doesn’t live in south Asheville or Candler, where the majority of residents were affected by the water outage, so they didn’t need to go on vacation to escape the results of the outage or an expedition to find water.

What was Sage Turner doing? Maybe she was chairing her Housing & Community Development Committee or attending a Planning & Economic Development Council Committee meeting or an Equity & Engagement Council Committee meeting? She did find time to pass out some water to the victims of the city’s incompetence.

What was Maggie Ullman doing? Chairing an Environment & Safety Committee meeting? Attending a Policy, Finance, & Human Resources Committee meeting or an Equity & Engagement Council Committee meeting?

How about Vice Mayor Sheneika Smith? Was she off chairing her Equity & Engagement Committee or doing administrative work for the Environment & Safety Council Committee or the Housing & Community Development Council Committee?

Kim Roney joined Turner on the goodwill tour, visiting their victims and passing out water. Still, maybe the countless hours she served on her committees could have been better spent overseeing the city’s infrastructure, on which the city’s citizens and much of the county rely. Antanette Mosley, Sandra Kilgore, and, of course, Mayor Esther Manheimer, the fearless leader of “the incompetents,” are all in the same boat.

You can go through the list of boards and committees these “fearless” city leaders sit on, and you’d be hard-pressed to find one that has anything to do with water. In Asheville, it appears that there is a board or committee for everything a justice warrior progressive could want, until they run out of water.

I heard that the water department sent off for a part they needed to Texas, which took three days to get here, only to find out a local plumbing company had five of those parts. Incompetence!

One thing is for sure: These leaders have their heads so far up their butts that they never have to worry about getting colon cancer because they’ll see that coming long before it becomes cancer. What they don’t see is the importance of what people need to live and what the city has told these people they’ll supply if they live here: water, the simple but life-changing thing that provides things like businesses for jobs and money, or water for bathing and flushing toilets.

We know that Mayor Manheimer was present for a photo op, a press briefing to notify citizens that the water was still off. Thanks, Captain Obvious. But the statement I heard repeatedly is “we’re not getting information about what’s going on” and “when we can expect to get water restored.”

These leaders seem to find funding for all their progressive schemes like reparations and equality committees or non-profits they started and are about to funnel money into because of their position of power. But what does it mean for the average person who can’t go to work because their employer doesn’t have water or they can’t get a shower or flush the crapper? 

Just imagine that the Town of Weaverville wanted to connect its water system to the City of Asheville’s system. The thought should be sobering to the citizens of that small town. What are the leaders in Weaverville thinking? I would warn other towns in Buncombe County that if they are considering entering into any agreement with Asheville, they should think again.

Well, Asheville voters, you get what you vote for, and this is it. There will be a fall guy for this fiasco, but it won’t be one of the city council gals. Most likely, it will be Water Director David Melton, but until voters change this elected bunch of blundering bosses, don’t expect much change.

Editor’s Note: See publisher’s commentary on page 3.