Sep
08

Asheville City Council Agenda 9.11.12

By

Your Asheville City Council reconvenes on Tuesday night to deliberate and make decisions regarding the future of this beloved city. Nearly everyone I met at the Democratic National Convention had heard of Asheville and gushed about how much they love it. We all know that their love from afar doesn’t hold a candle to the the esteem that residents share for our mountain metropolis.

You can click into ReadMoreLand to see this week’s agenda, or you can click here to see it at the city’s website with all supporting documentation.

The centerpiece of this week’s meeting is the public discussion regarding the future of the Haywood Street site. This is a City-owned property that was included in a list of sites to be used for redevelopment in order to support affordable housing needs. There are a lot of varied opinions about how this parcel ought to be developed, and nothing gets people excited like downtown development issues. I got an email recently that included a physical threat! There has been a lot of misinformation and disinformation coming out about the issue, so I hope you will take the time to read this material to supplement your existing knowledge before drawing your conclusions. One very important point that hasn’t been mentioned enough is that any future buildings in downtown Asheville will have to comply with our new Downtown Development Guidelines which include much stricter rules about setbacks, building materials, design, caps, etc.

Please share your thoughts in the comments!


Pledge of Allegiance

Invocation to be given by Councilman Hunt.

I. PROCLAMATIONS:
– September 15 – October 15, 2012, as “Hispanic Heritage Month”
– September 17-21, 2012, as “Minority Enterprise Development Week”
– September 21, 2012, as “International Day of Peace”

II. CONSENT AGENDA:
A. Approval of the minutes of the formal meeting held on August 28, 2012.

B. Resolution to fund local organizations with 2011 and 2012 Emergency Solutions Grant funds.

C. Resolution endorsing the Buncombe County Greenways and Trails Master Plan.

D. Resolution authorizing the City Manager, and/or his or her designees, to electronically sign City disbursements by check, draft, pre-audit statement, purchase order or any other means on behalf of the City and the finance officer or some other bonded officer or employee maintain the custody of the necessary devices to process such disbursements in accordance to N.C. Gen. Stat. 159-28.1.

E. Resolution authorizing the City Manager to sign an agreement with Motorola Inc. to provide maintenance coverage for the City’s radio system.

F. Budget amendments:
1. In the amount of $45,900, to authorize the use of North Carolina State Drug Seizure Funds to fund the purchase of Emergency Response Team ballistic vests and a donation to the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial.

2. In the amount of $59,000 to authorize the use of Federal Drug Seizure Funds to purchase equipment and Community Policing training for the Asheville Police Department.

3. In the amount of $15,000, to authorize the use of Federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Funds to provide overtime for members of the Asheville HIDTA for domestic highway enforcement.

4. In the amount of $15,803, to appropriate donated funds received from citizens, for procurement of supplies for firefighter recognition.

III. PRESENTATIONS AND REPORTS:
A. Water Resources Update

IV. PUBLIC HEARINGS:
A. Public hearing on the question of approving the sale of property located at Haywood Street and Page Avenue in downtown Asheville to McKibbon Hotel Group for economic development purposes.

V. UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

VI. NEW BUSINESS:
A. Boards & Commissions (Council to determine who, if any, to interview):
– HUB Community Economic Development Alliance
– Noise Ordinance Appeals Board (Alternate)

VII. INFORMAL DISCUSSION AND PUBLIC COMMENT:

VIII. ADJOURNMENT.

Comments

  1. Tom Sullivan says:

    Even from behind the stage, the hall has the feel of a revival meeting.

  2. Wiley says:

    Councilman,

    Welcome back. Glad you had a great time in Charlotte.

    To finish our previous conversation, did the City Attorney offer any further or clarifying remarks on the water referendum? I believe you said they were forthcoming. I’m curious to know what he said, if anything.

  3. Gordon Smith says:

    Wiley,

    He spoke in closed session about it, so I can’t legally recount that conversation. However, he sent me this via email, as I’d asked him for something to let folks know if they were curious about it:

    The outcome of the vote on the sale or lease of the water system would only affect the City’s ability to sell or lease the system. It would not affect the City’s ability to seek compensation if the transfer occurs in other ways.

  4. Ascend of Asheville says:

    Thanks for the follow through. That’s good information.

  5. Brash says:

    Gordon, The consent agenda F 1. indicates a budget amendment for $45,900 for ballistic vests and a donation to the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Fund. In the City documentation there is no indication of how much the donation is vs. how much is being spent on the vests. Do you know or can you request the detail of the two amounts?

    I fully support our police force, but it seems odd to use money that could be going to keep them alive (the vests) or other worthy local use of the dollars and send it to a Washington DC based non-profit.

    Further, I support the NLEOMF’s cause, but after reviewing their latest i990 on Guidestar, they spend a lot on fundraising and pay their executive a lot (in Asheville standards). It would seem a better idea to ‘pass the hat’ and let individual officers, citizens and elected representatives individually donate to the cause, rather than a donation coming from the City of Asheville coffers. Unless there is an unknown value to the City from this donation (are they providing anything back?).

    Taking into consideration what a local non-profit has to do to get City funds, it seems like a change of policy to give a donation to a non-local non-profit without them going through the same process. Even if the money originates from NC Drug Seizure Funds.

  6. Leland Edwards says:

    I M a Asheville. Native of 48 years, I am for a hotel. Please do not let the church slug our growth!

  7. Tim Peck says:

    Wiley,

    “Public bodies .. exist solely to conduct the people’s business .. Every public body shall keep full and accurate minutes of all official meetings, including any closed sessions .. Such minutes and accounts shall be public records .. [However, ] minutes .. of a closed session .. may be withheld from public inspection so long as public inspection would frustrate the purpose of a closed session. ”
    http://snipr.com/24pupuc

    NC law mandates that accurate minutes be kept of closed sessions. “When a public body meets in closed session, it shall keep a general account of the closed session so that a person not in attendance would have a reasonable understanding of what transpired.”

    Once a matter discussed in closed session is resolved, such as a lawsuit or settelement, the records of any proceeding of a public body must be disclosed to the owners of those proceedings: the public. Therefore, after the special election in November, publication of the minutes of the closed session on referendum language would no longer frustrate the purpose of the closed session and can be made public.

    Council took up the matter of a water system referendum on August 14th. They deliberated, sought legal counsel and offered up variations on the wording. They settled on language for the referendum at that time and took a vote.

    Why is this matter being revisited on August 30th?

    Why did city attorney feel that he needed to further advise city council on referendum language that had already been approved by a unanimous vote more than two weeks ago? And why in closed session?

    Clearly a change in the language was being contemplated.

    Who suggested changing the referendum language?

    How did they want the referendum to be differently worded?

    What triggered consideration of a change in the language?

    The law states, “A motion based on [attorney/client privilege] shall identify the parties in each existing lawsuit concerning which the public body expects to receive advice during the closed session.

    What was the lawsuit connected with reconsideration of the language of the water referendum?

    David Lawrence of the UNC School of Government states in his book ‘County and Municipal Government in North Carolina,’ that “the public body [city council] may give instructions to the attorney about handling or settling claims, litigation or other proceedings.” http://sogpubs.unc.edu/cmg/cmg08.pdf

    The referendum does not involve any claims, litigation or any other legal or court proceedings. And the advice was being given BY the attorney TO city council, not the other way around. It was Bob Oast who started the reconvened meeting by recommending that council go directly into closed session without discussion to hear his advice on the agenda item. Upon ending the closed session, council unanimously chose to take no further action on reconsideration of the language of the water system referendum.

    Bob Oast states, “The outcome of the vote on the sale or lease of the water system would only affect the City’s ability to sell or lease the system. It would not affect the City’s ability to seek compensation if the transfer occurs in other ways.”

    This tells me that the purpose of the closed session was to discuss the issue of compensation. It also tells me that the city fully acknowledges that a transfer of the system will occur in other ways and that the referendum is being conducted soley as a political survey, which is not the intended function of the referendum process. The intended function is to effect the law. Council member Manheimer is on record stating that she favors the referendum because it will gauge the mood of the public.

    The Legislative Research Commission’s Metropolitan Sewerage/Water System Committee did not recommend that Asheville sell or lease a public enterprise that they do not own. This is the recommendation:

    “The Committee recommends that the 2013 Session of the North Carolina General Assembly consolidate the Public Utility Water System with the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County. Should the interested governments craft their own solution for consolidation, which achieves all the objectives of the Committee, before the 2013 North Carolina General Assembly convenes, due consideration would be given to the local plan. Action will not be taken if the parties are engaged in good-faith negotiations on this matter.”
    http://snipr.com/24rjj4k

    Additionally, since the city has already taken $100M out of the water system for their general fund, it’s unclear at this time whether or not Asheville will actually owe money after the merger.
    ………………………………………..

  8. Tom Sullivan says:

    Why does the porridge bird lay his eggs in the air?

  9. Wiley says:

    Councilman Smith,

    Thanks for the information, and my apologies for my delayed response.

    However, since this is such a complicated matter, I’d really like to make sure everyone understands all of the facts so that there isn’t any misinformation out there.

    I don’t believe, as you say, there are any legal barriers to your sharing what was said in closed session. The attorney cannot share any information under attorney-client privilege, which is essentially what the closed session meeting was, because the law protects the interest of the client. However, the law does not sequester the client, which is you; the client remains free to tell whomever he/she chooses, or to keep the information a secret from the public.

    Secondly, if the U.S. Senate goes into closed session, they are sworn to secrecy. I don’t believe Asheville City Council members are sworn to such secrecy – state law only requires silence for personnel matters or lawsuits if I’m correct.

    So, if you want you, you can share what other helpful information you may have learned during the discussion. Please correct me if I’ve gone astray anywhere.

    I certainly look forward to you maintaining your pledge from your campaign.

    “I’ve been an advocate of government transparency throughout my political life, and that will not change when I’m a Council member.” – Candidate Gordon Smith
    http://gordonforasheville.com/transparency.html

  10. Gordon Smith says:

    Wiley,

    We have different understandings of the law. If it’s discussed in closed session, you won’t find me breaking that confidence. Show me any elected official who’s been more transparent and accessible, and I’ll buy you a donut. Take care.

  11. Wiley says:

    Councilman,

    I read the link you provided, and it doesn’t say that you are legally barred from sharing the information; it says you have the choice to, but I don’t see the language making it illegal for you to share the info.

    Could you please point it out, surely I’m missing it. Thanks.

  12. Wiley says:

    Councilman,

    In addition to looking at the link you provided, I also looked up the law itself, NCGS 143-318.11. Nothing in that section that I see, or the chapter, seems to prohibit you from sharing what went on in the latest closed session.

    Could you please point out where your claim of “legal prohibition” comes from? I’m afraid I just don’t understand at this point and I’d like to. Thanks in advance for explaining this to me.

  13. Ascend of Asheville says:

    Seems to me the trolls are forgetting the essential fact that as part of a council, the actions of any one member of that council must take in consideration the opinions, and confidences of the other members of the council. It’s more than a two-person conversation.
    But go on and whine about it if you want. I’m sure you would feel differently were you ever to actually achieve any similar position of responsibility.

  14. Ascend of Asheville says:

    And it looks like the munchkins are at the comment ratings again.

  15. TJ says:

    Now, Jeff…ssshhhh! We won’t tell the rest of council, will we? We can keep a secret on the ‘net…

    And, stop besmirching the name of Munchkins-I mean, little people. At least they were funny.

    But, at 2:30am, after watching my daughter on a NC State Fair induced sugar rush, pretty much anything can seem funny, even without a drink.

  16. Andrew Dahm says:

    It’s quite true that – if arrested – I could share the thoughts of my defense attorney with the prosecuting attorney, but I wouldn’t.

    Wiley would like Councilman Smith to surrender Council’s attorney-client privilege, which is specifically afforded to the City under law.

    The City was rolling along, running a water system, not doing things it was legally prohibited from doing. If Wiley would like to question the motivations and strategies of public officials, the instigator of this whole sorry water-expropriation episode would be a good place to start. Mr Moffitt really hasn’t done a lot of ‘splainin’.

  17. GOP Troll for Hire says:

    That confidentiality only applies to lawsuits and personnel matters, Andrew. Not policy, which was presumably what was discussed. No reason for the attorney-client privilege was stated, anyway, that involved a lawsuit or a personnel matter (which is required under state law) so that’s what we must assume.

    This amounts to nothing more than good-old boy and girl city politicians behind closed doors covering their butts. Business as usual, despite promises to the contrary — it’s just Gordon and his people this time. And his friends making excuses for him.

    At least that what it smells like from here.

    MM

    P.S. The city was doing things it was legally prohibited from doing. It robbed $100 million of water revenues from the system.

  18. TJ says:

    “The city was doing things it was legally prohibited from doing. It robbed $100 million of water revenues from the system”

    Michael,

    I’ve always been the first to admit, I am new to all the clockwork pieces of politics, local and national. I HAVE had a chance to hear from a LOT of folks, from extremely conservative to the “dirty, homeless, jobless hippies” I proudly count myself one of. Above ALL innuendos, rumors, and armchair mutterings, I am most interested in the ethics and example our leaders show, and, that I can leave a better legacy for my children.

    All that said, I am wondering where you get that information. I genuinely want to know why (if all the illegalities are true) our council members are not either being investigated by the gov’t or, in prison? That’s a massive amount of money for anyone to acquire illegally without it being recorded somewhere, I would think.

    If this is too detailed to respond, feel free to send me an email, or, just say it is requires too much of your well-spent time. I REALLy want to know, tho’, and I feel it is unfair for you to say all of Gordon’s friends are making excuses for him, until there is something solid to substantiate your claim.

  19. Davyne Dial says:

    I agree with TJ,…….. when, and by whose authority was $100,000,000 skimmed off the water revenues? Who has the evidence? That amount should surely have gone for improvements to they system, and we might not be stuck with leaking, deteriorated clay and concrete pipes. My understanding is that many sewer pipes were concrete and have corroded due to the caustic nature of human waste.

  20. Wiley says:

    Ascend,

    That’s an eloquent answer, and normally I can agree with you.

    Let’s take New Belgium for instance. That makes sense for the city to come up with the financial aid package in closed session. We don’t want the teetotalers making claims that everyone’s taxes may have gone up because of the aid package, or something similar. Ultimately, that was a decision made by City Council, and they deserved due deference to make the best decision possible.

    This is difference here. The residents of Asheville will be making the decision for the referendum, not City Council. Because of that, I think we, the residents, are entitled to all of the facts.

    Gordon is alleging that he is legally prohibited from divulging the information. To be quite blunt, I think Gordon’s wrong. I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he has yet to show me where it says “members may not disclose was was discussed in a closed session…” or anything similar. It looks more like a choice, not a legal barrier

    Maybe he has a good reason for not wanting to share the information – but I feel we should know what that is too.

  21. Wiley says:

    Andrew,

    No one would want you to give up your confidentiality during a criminal prosecution, but that’s not what this is. It’s not even a trial.

    This is a decision that will be made by the voters, not by City Council. If we’re the ones voting on this, why shouldn’t we know all of the facts and repercussions of the referendum?

  22. Gordon Smith says:

    Wiley,

    I have always appreciated the measured civility with which you conduct yourself in this forum and everywhere else I’ve had the opportunity to read your words. Thank you. As a pro forma matter of full disclosure, I’m going to mention that you are the Membership and Youth Outreach Director for the Buncombe County Republican Party.

    Again, thank you for your consistently civil attitude here and elsewhere. While we may disagree on a number of issues, I’ve got a special place in my heart for the way you approach politics.

  23. Paid GOP Troll says:

    TJ and Davyne: I have substantive references and am happy to explain them to you both face-to-face.

    Let’s keep this on Wiley’s question of Gordon’s transparency and his refusal to recognize the law and follow-through on his promise — much less his unwillingness to address Wiley’s question at all. That’s much more interesting.

    By the way, the water is issue is over. It was months ago.

    MM

  24. Davyne Dial says:

    I’m capable of multi-subject thread…discussion.
    You mentioned the $100,000,000
    tidbit (which to me is much more intregueing that Gordon’s closed mouthi-ness), I’d prefer this be hashed out here in the open.

  25. Paid GOP Troll says:

    You may be, Davyne. Others are not 😉

    For background however, read the Study Committee’s report and the associated court decisions:

    http://www.ncleg.net/documentsites/committees/lrc/2012%20Committee%20Reports%20to%20LRC/Metropolitan%20Sewerage-Water%20System%20Committee.pdf

    MM

  26. Ascend of Asheville says:

    What I see is a multidimensional straw man argument that seeks to focus on the mechanism of the question, syntax, instead of the question being asked by the referendum. That and the hundred million dollars are both presented as pertinent, relevant and contemporary, when in fact the are not.
    It is an old and tired Repoutlican tactic, and quite transparent.

  27. Paid GOP Troll says:

    What is the question being asked by the referendum, Ascend?

    And how is all that going, by the way, Gordon?

  28. Paid GOP Troll says:

    I din’t mean to brush you off, Davyne — here’s a specific reference:

    From the Superior Court’s ruling of

    CITY OF ASHEVILLE v. STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA and COUNTY OF BUNCOMBE, et al.

    (page 9):

    “From 1957 through fiscal year 2005, the City of Asheville did not put any funds into the water system. In fact, in addition to the net operating revenue for that period of time of almost $114,000,000 (income less expenses), there were a number of payments made from the “water fund” as part of the “operating expenses.” (February, 2007)

    Now back, to Gordon’s subterfuge.

  29. Tim Peck says:

    Davyne, trolls, munchkins and ineffectual name-callers,

    The matter of the misappropriated funds will be cleared up in due time in a thorough audit process. Perhaps this will all be hashed out at such time as the city seeks “compensation” for our water system.

    Bob Oast: “The outcome of the vote .. would not affect the City’s ability to seek compensation if the transfer occurs in other ways.”

    http://scrutinyhooligans.us/2012/09/08/asheville-city-council-agenda-9-11-12/comment-page-1/#comment-78591

    At that time, we can fully determine how much money was expropriated from the system by Asheville and how much they might deserve in compensation, if anything. Or whether or not, in fact, they owe a bundle.

    The questions raised by me and others above pertains to the propriety of holding an unauthorized closed-door session to discuss the language of an irrelevant referendum. This deliberate opacity casts a troubling shadow on the city’s supposed commitment to good faith negotiations, which is explicitly required by the legislative study committee to avoid a top-down resolution to their recommendations. A resolution that could very well redound to their misfortune.

    LRC: “Should the interested governments craft their own solution for consolidation, which achieves all the objectives of the Committee, before the 2013 North Carolina General Assembly convenes, due consideration would be given to the local plan. Action will not be taken if the parties are engaged in good-faith negotiations on this matter.”

    Anyone wishing to hear what council has to say about their “good faith negotiations,” missing funds, the phony referendum-as-survey or its conflicted secrecy/transparency in conducting the public’s business can join us at the legislative meeting on September 18th.

    (Which, by the way, was schedule at a time when Rep. Moffitt will be in committee.)
    http://www.ncleg.net/LegislativeCalendar/

    At that meeting, city staff will discuss current state of their compliance with the LRC mandates. Some will be interested to know, others, not so much, why the referendum is completely omitted from the agenda and staff report as a purported necessary step in the furtherance of the merger.

    Staff Report:
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxB95jb4WcgFYWpiNDFyMThPeEE/edit

    As of this writing, the only thing transparent in Mr. Smith’s responses to our legitimate questions is his obfuscation.

  30. Paid GOP Troll says:

    “LRC: “Should the interested governments craft their own solution for consolidation, which achieves all the objectives of the Committee, before the 2013 North Carolina General Assembly convenes, due consideration would be given to the local plan. Action will not be taken if the parties are engaged in good-faith negotiations on this matter.”

    That’s 137 days, by my count.

  31. Tim Peck says:

    “As a pro forma matter of full disclosure, I’m going to mention that you are the Membership and Youth Outreach Director for the Buncombe County Republican Party.”

    This is not a matter of full disclosure in the least. It is an attempt to discredit an argument by attempting to cast doubt on the character of the person making it. As I’m sure most can recognize, this is Mr. Smith’s oft-used silly way of imputing ill motives on the part of the questioner. It is an argument directed to the questioner rather than to the question itself. This type of argument is called “ad hominem” and it is a logical fallacy.

    Another more legitimate approach would be to address the question with valid argument.
    ………………………………….

  32. trifecta says:

    In full disclosure, I once worked for Meals on Wheels. I also have donated money to the Symbionese Liberation Army, or the Salvation Army, whichever is the one with the bell ringers.

  33. Dixiegirlz says:

    In full disclosure , I have a warped sense of humor.

  34. TJ says:

    “This type of argument is called “ad hominem” and it is a logical fallacy.”

    And, you certainly would be one to know that, no?

    Straight-forward answers are most preferable. I think one thing I have learned about political happenings since I signed on to learn more for my own benefit as a citizen interesting in effecting change for a better future is this:

    I have seen ALL parties involved use “ad hominem” comments for their own benefit, yet, somehow, are critical when others do it. This seems to occur wih folks, from the lowest positions to the top levels.

    EVERYONE has an agenda, and, as any honest researcher will tell you, even those “blind studies,” are not truly “blind.” We see the world according to our own visions and experiences. It just so happens we group together with those who match ours, or, we try to convince others that our vision is the right one.

    For anyone on this thread to claim to have a FULLY unbiased and open disclosure and processing ability, would be hard pressed to convince me (not that my convictions are the goal-but, perhaps, as a part of the whole).

    I wish we could all agree that our societal and governmental structure is messed up on so many levels, we cannot honestly pick out one or two people and say it is all there is to the issue. I would say that’s true, even for King Moffit’s ridiculous assumption that he is the savior of this region, and, that he will save us all from what he perceives to be our foolish choices. He is like the old-school idea of parenting Alice Miller left 26 years of being a psychoanalyst to bring to our awareness of the “for your own good,” causes more damage than we usually realize. He is one of those she would say is carrying out his parents’ legacy, and he may never recognize that his choices today may well be based in a wish to differentiate himself from the will of his parents and become his own person-all the while, dragging us through his psychological angst and truly believing he is doing this “for NC’s own good.”

    I would rather pay his bill for a few years of analysis, than for others to have to pay by their loss of choices at his whim. I’ll gladly give him a few names of great therapist’s I know.

    It sort of reminds me of the reason I don’t stay in church for the sermon. I told my pastor that in the first 5 minutes, I get the point, and I don’t need another 25 minutes to dig deeper to repeat the same point.

  35. TJ says:

    “full disclosure.” Cool, confessional time!

    Trifecta: the question that REALLY needs answering is 1: did you ever speed while delivering the meals? 2)did you ever eat a meal meant for someone else, or, at least the dessert?

    Davyne: HOW warped, and, has it affected your ability to be snarky?

  36. TJ says:

    Okay, I’m trying to figure out how twice now, my editing my comments say “sucessfully saved,” but the change doesn’t show up.

    Michael, is that your new tag name? Paid troll? It seems honest and is pretty funny. 😉

  37. Paid GOP Troll says:

    No, TJ — that’s just poor Shad with too much time on his hands trying to be clever. I expect those sorts of things. He doesn’t have much else, you see 😉

    Anyhoo, back to Gordon now and his unwillingness to be transparent.

  38. shadmarsh says:

    Well, Mr. Muller, You seem to be crossing into the territory that Mr. Peck warned us all of above. Not that that is new territory for you, but alas, I cannot claim to be the originator of the attempted chicanery. However, if you feel that it is falsely applied– and are able to offer evidence to support that claim– I will look into the matter.

  39. Paid GOP Troll says:

    I’m being oppressed!

    Toughen up, buttercup.

  40. TJ says:

    I see.

    Is it time to kiss and make up?

    What happened to our happy-go-lucky disfunctional family?

    Are elections THAT powerful?

    It seems so.

    Time to go to the Occupy event Monday. Guess it’s time to add electoral reform to the 99 second soapbox.

  41. Dixiegirlz says:

    ” Are elections that powerful?”
    Coupled with primitive level tribal instincts, and folks protecting their turf…you get this……..hardball.

  42. Gordon Smith says:

    You guys are hilarious.

  43. TJ says:

    Davyne:

    That must be the same instinct that leaves my 15yo man-child competing with his 10 yo sister over anything from who gets the last Reece’s Cup ice cream treat to whether she gets to hang out in my room when I’m out.
    I can’t seem to convince him there are more important things to “win,” such as respectful attitudes and lowering the toilet seat lid.

    Good to see here all the examples of how he can mature when he figures out his harmone level.

    Interesting how this thread started on 9/11 for the council meeting agenda, and, now, we have our own little civility war happening here, over differing agendas.

    See? Wars DO create jobs!

    :::yawn:::

  44. Can anyone explain why a “libertarian” knows so much about parliamentary procedure? Isn’t that like an anarchist who votes?

  45. Wiley says:

    Councilman,

    Political labels aside, you are still my elected representative, and I your constituent. That alone entitles me to an answer for my question.

    I hope I can look forward to an answer, Councilman.

    Thanks.

  46. Davyne Dial says:

    I see that ABLWV’s Board opinion [pg 24-25] on the formation of a regional entity, is used prominently in this report, with only the C of C’s recommendation as the other outside entity mentioned, as part of the justification for removing the H2º power from City of Asheville.

    So the LWV and the Chamber must have spend some time going through the convoluted history. Would be interesting to see those studies.

    (All joking aside, In full disclosure I am on the Board of the LWV.) But this is the first I was aware of the Board decision, based on their studies, back in 2005.

  47. TJ says:

    Davyne,

    Can you post or send me a link to what you are referring. My mini-laptop suffers a breakdown if I google more than two pages at a time. But, I’m curious.

    What do you mean “convoluted” (and, I’m not asking for the literal dictionary definition)? {in full disclosure, I AM a college graduate, but, my major was psychology, not political science…thus, the fascination with process, and slow learning curve in political games}

  48. Michael Muller says:

    You are correct, Davyne. Both the Asheville-Buncombe League of Women Voters and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce support removing the political stranglehold that the City of Asheville has maintained over our water — and they did so over five years ago. From the section you are referring to:

    In early Spring of 2005, a League of Women Voters board member, Mr. Andrew Reed, submitted a guest editorial regarding the results if their study. Although the League does not take an official position, the League board concurs with the opinions expressed:

    “A truly independent Regional Water Authority is (the) best route out of this mess.”

    “Clean, affordable water is integral to our region’s physical and economic health, an the Water Authority exists for the sole purpose of providing it. The League of Women Voters of Asheville and Buncombe County proposes a simple, straightforward and nonpartisan approach to fulfill that purpose.”

    “The Water Authority, is simply, a public infrastructure that exists to serve its users. It collects rainfall and runoff from far outside the city limits. It operates treatment plants in Buncombe and Henderson Counties, and serves both Asheville residents and tens of thousands who live outside the city. Our water system is already a regional operation, and to carry out its mission it must be truly independent.”

    The fact that you weren’t aware of their well-established position (as a League of Women Voters Board member yourself) tells me that there’s another side of the story that Gordon and his goons aren’t telling you.

    Could he have another agenda by playing politics with the water system? Imagine that.

  49. We all know you don’t have an agenda, Michael. You are purely and only interested in the good of the people. God Bless You.

  50. Davyne Dial says:

    Michael, I’m sure there are agendas in play on BOTH sides. That said, as a longtime registered independent, I’d like to see both sides get their agendas out of our water system and have it finally be for the public good of the entire region it serves.

    Fascinating information about the 2007 Superior Court decision, in the last two paragraphs on page 21.

  51. TJ says:

    “The League of Women Voters of Asheville and Buncombe County proposes a simple, straightforward and nonpartisan approach to fulfill that purpose.”

    So, my question is this: How can Moffitt leading and pushing this happening seem “nonpartisan” in any sense of the word? And, how can the image of the “takeover” seem “simple” in any way? As a mom-in-chief, as M. Obama referenced, I know there are times you have to just “do it,” but, to not have it be an open process publicly is no different than Michael’s reference to Gordon and co. “playing politics.”

    Michael:

    “Gordon and his goons aren’t telling you.”

    Seriously?! All snark aside, I am interested in what you have to say…and, respect that you have posted for SH (so, you CAN’T anymore, or, you choose not to?). However, when you resort to the name game, it makes it hard to take more seriously any comment you make as meaningful or legitimate.

    I really want to REAL story. But, if this is all a political game on your part, I’d appreciate you telling my naive self, so I can know not to take it so seriously (and, I mean, beyond the normal range of games politicians play and we have to sift through).

  52. There is no such thing as a “real” story. There is merely the perception and perspective applied to events.

    It’s a myth, like objectivity, used by everyone to prop up the ridiculous notion that “we’re right and they’re wrong”.

    Knowing that, you are left free to merely choose the agenda you identify with and work from that.

    If it sounds cynical, it is – but it is exactly how paid political operatives work and how they understand the world, which is why they use the concepts of “real story” or “objectivity” to tilt the emotions of the people while appearing to be rational and intellectual about an issue.

    Don’t be fooled. When someone starts talking about “the real story” what they want to sell you is their own brand of snake oil.

    This is part and parcel of what is wrong with politics. We no longer deal with the ideals and the larger concepts behind policy – we allow the political class to cloud everything behind “facts” (which, you will note, vary from party to party – which is something facts are not supposed to do, right?) – because if, for instance, the conservatives were honest and said, “We want the water system to be privatized” then the bulk of the public would snap awake and say, “Oh, um, yea…I don’t think I like that idea.”

    So, instead, they sell this song and dance about “the facts” and “the real story” and quote long and convoluted passages from obscure legal proceedings.

    All because they know that they cannot actually tell you what they want or why. Because very few people still support their nonsense.

  53. Andrew Dahm says:

    Why can I not thumbs-up Matt more than once?

    Oh, and the strawman distribution is a tad uneven, and since we’re talking about making steep slope development in North Henderson County financially viable by expropriating Asheville/Buncombe water, it shouldn’t be hard to find one or two for the non-Moffittites.

    Buddy Greenwood?

  54. Davyne Dial says:

    “I really want to REAL story. “ ~ TJ

    I do to…which is why I sat through (and videotaped) all the forums on this earlier this year. Unfortunately I came away even more confused.

    http://www.livestream.com/ABLWV/video?clipId=pla_da877993-fe1c-40fd-9bc0-
    f7fecece4b9a&utm_source=lslibrary&utm_medium=ui-thumb

    There are two other videotaped sessions (the one at Jubilee and Ag Center) but mostly the same info came out.

  55. shadmarsh says:

    I considered closing the comments on this post after Mat’s comment, because he pretty much nails it, but I’m sure that would’ve gone over like some dense dirigible.

  56. Gordon Smith says:

    We’ve established that the paid political operative who won’t disclose his affiliations lacks any credibility. Mat nails it, indeed.

    Here’s a stack of facts for you:

    When residents, business owners and local governmental leaders throughout Buncombe County agree that the public’s water system is well-managed, it’s difficult to understand the unnecessary efforts of Rep. Tim Moffitt. Without talking to any of Buncombe’s representatives, Moffitt submitted a bill to strip the water system from Asheville and force a merger with the Metropolitan Sewerage District. After significant public outcry, Moffitt opted to move the matter into a “study committee.” Four months later, the committee returned a set of recommendations that mirrors Moffitt’s original unilateral bill.

    How many of Buncombe County’s state representatives were included on this study committee? One. His name is Rep. Tim Moffitt. Only 32 percent of the water system’s ratepayers live in his district.

    Moffitt’s study committee learned that the water system is excellently managed by the city of Asheville and that local intergovernmental relationships are better than they’ve been in recent memory. When the previous water arrangement ended, Asheville invested $40 million into the system and averages $6.2 million of additional capital investment annually. We have abundant, safe, reliable water with such quality that both Sierra Nevada and New Belgium breweries chose to locate their facilities in our area. Rep. Susan Fisher noted, “I have had thousands upon thousands of emails over the four terms I’ve been sent back to the General Assembly. … None of them have expressed concern about the way the water system was being run.”

    The study committee learned that the Asheville Brewers Alliance is happy with the system the way it is and that the Asheville Downtown Association is opposed to “the establishment of a new regional water authority.” They heard Buncombe County Commission Chairman David Gantt say, “I am convinced that the city of Asheville has done their part and is the best person, the best entity to take care of the water.” They learned from Mayor Barbara Volk that Hendersonville “City Council would be unanimously opposed to becoming part of a regional water authority.”

    They learned that, with the exception of a few Henderson County commissioners, governments were happy with Asheville’s management of this precious resource.
    The study committee learned that Asheville water rates are competitive and that we had a third party come study the rate structure to determine ways to keep residential costs low. MSD and water officials provided information that indicated rates would not necessarily be lower under a merged system.

    The city of Asheville has been in complete compliance with the Sullivan Acts, and we intend to continue complying with those state laws that keep rates flat across political and geographic boundaries. The facts did not indicate any advantage to ratepayers in a blended water/sewer system.

    The study committee did not study what it would cost to mix water and sewer management. They did not study whether Buncombe County residents would have to subsidize Henderson County residents’ sewerage needs. They did not study how compensating Asheville for loss of assets might affect water and sewer rates if a merger were to occur. In short, many important financial consequences of this dictate were left unstudied.

    I feel that, determined to achieve a preconceived conclusion, Moffitt effectively disregarded the excellent management of the water system and our improved local governmental relationships. By preferring historical interpretations to present realities, the study committee used a rear-view mirror to drive public policy. The entire process has been unnecessary, and the committee’s recommendations may end up costing ratepayers a lot more in the long run.

    All of that being said, now that the ruling has come to us, Asheville City Council will approach the study committee’s findings deliberately and in good faith. We will serve as an example of good governance that seeks to solve real problems rather than simply settling old scores.

  57. Paid GOP Troll says:

    Rather than using his other Scrutiny Hooligans posts for source material as Gordon does, let’s look at something substantive.

    Here’s the reference that Davyne mentions. And while it’s a little long, it’s easy to read and tells the whole story on the water thing. It’s worth a read. Realize, too, that the following is considered a Finding of Fact and has the force of law — and what the General Assembly will be operating on moving forward.

    “Despite that history, in May 2004, the Asheville City Council voted unanimously to unilaterally terminate the Regional Water Agreement to once gain attempt to charge differential water rates, to compel voluntary annexation and to control growth outside of its corporate boundaries. The City of Asheville gave Buncombe County a one year notice that they were unilaterally terminating the agreement.

    Additionally, the leadership of the City of Asheville has long claimed that the Public Water Utility System had fallen into disrepair (which was true). Therefore, since the members of the Regional Authority could not agree on a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to fund maintenance and repairs, the City of Asheville felt it appropriate to unilaterally take over the Public Water Utility System. Those most knowledgable of the matter, point out that “[f]rom 1957 through fiscal year 2005, the City of Asheville did not put any funds into the water system. In fact, in addition to the net operating revenue for that period of time of almost $114,000,000 (income less expenses), there were a number of payments made from the “water fund” as part of the “operating expenses.”

    Essentially, the City of Asheville had taken (diverted) so much revenue from the water system to subsidize the City of Asheville’s general fund, the City of Asheville itself was primarily (not solely) at fault for the system disrepair by not having dedicated the water funds for said maintenance and repair. Thus, the City of Asheville created the basis for its own complaint. Also, with the termination of the Regional Authority Agreement, the City of Asheville made determination that it would be able to successfully challenge the Sullivan Acts in Court and have them overturned…

    …with the Sullivan acts out of the way, the City of Asheville could then pursue their long held desire to charge differential rates to ratepayers in unincorporated areas, increase the price for its wholesale customers, control growth on its perimeter an coerce men non-City of Asheville rate-payers to agree to voluntary annexation in exchange for water connection, and consumption.”

    —From The Metropolitan Sewerage/Water System Committee report to the North Carolina General Assembly: http://bit.ly/Pu2EdU

    All the other chatter by Shad, mat, and Andrew Dahm here or anywhere else is irrelevant.

    MM

  58. Paid GOP Troll says:

    You’re still not answering Wiley’s question, Gordon. You’re such a disappointment, my old friend.

  59. Paid GOP Troll says:

    mat said:

    There is no such thing as a “real” story. There is merely the perception and perspective applied to events…knowing that, you are left free to merely choose the agenda you identify with and work from that.”

    Of course there is. It’s called the truth. Maybe in your worldview, mat, there is no such thing as objective truth, but in mine there is. And our job is to cut through the bullshit and to find it.

  60. Gordon Smith says:

    These ‘Paid GOP Troll’ messages are sponsored by Republican candidates who would rather not be publicly associated with the messenger.

    Were the truth to emerge, they would have to answer for his behavior.

  61. Paid GOP Troll says:

    Attacking the messenger now, Gordon? That’s been anticipated, by the way.

    It’s how you roll.

  62. Davyne Dial says:

    I disagree with Mat that there is no “real story.” There is a decades long paper trail and some court case decisions. Those decisions would be somewhat close to the “real story,” if not spot on.

  63. Paid GOP Troll says:

    Here’s a list of the supporting documentation from the Study Committee report, Davyne. It contains all those court decisions you mentioned (and formed the basis of the House Committee’s report to the General Assembly). I’ll give you a hard copy of it all next time I see you.

    From Page 49:

    The following supporting documents are located in the Legislative Library with the Committee minutes:

    Email from City of Asheville Attomey, Bob Oast to House Committee on Finance, March 23.2011.

    Candler v. City of Asheville, 247 N.C. 398, 101 S.E. 2d 470 (1958).

    Regional Water Supply and Water Service Agreement.

    Asheville City Council Minutes May 25,2004.

    Asheville v. State, No. 05 CVS 10743 (Super. Ct. Wake Co Feb. 2,2}07)(memorandum of decision and order re: summary judgment).

    Letter from Mayor Worley, dated June24,2005 to Chairman Ramsey, Buncombe County Commissioners.

    Asheville City Council Minutes, Monday, June 12, 2006.

    City of Asheville v. State, 192 N.C. App 1, 665 S.E.2d 103 (2008) , appeal dismissed, disc. rev. denied, 672 S.E.2d 685 (2009).

    Letter, City of Asheville with attachment, May 16, 2006.

    Letter, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, June 22,2006.

    City of Asheville, Staff Report, Legislative Agenda for 2007 .

    City Council minutes April 25, 2006.

    Report From Water Agreement Task Force, Asheville Chamber of Commerce, April 28, 2005.

    Asheville Citizen-Times, March 25, 2005, Editorial, Page 9.

  64. Paid GOP Troll says:

    mat said:

    “…because if, for instance, the conservatives were honest and said, “We want the water system to be privatized” then the bulk of the public would snap awake and say, “Oh, um, yea…I don’t think I like that idea.”

    And that forms the basis of your argument, I know. It’s poor strategy, by the way — because it’s not true, mat.

    The fact that you have trouble recognizing there’s an objective truth at all is troubling, mat. But the extent to which you refuse to recognize the fact privatization is not a factor reveals your own ignorance about the issue. Or, perhaps — more charitably — a lack of a sense of strategy.

    MM

  65. RHS says:

    “Keep the company of those who have found the truth. Run from those who have found it.” — Vaclav Havel

  66. RHS says:

    Opps. The above is supposed to read:

    “Keep the company of those who have seek the truth. Run from those who have found it.” — Vaclav Havel

  67. Davyne Dial says:

    RHS…right, and I would say those of us researching all the papers &decisions, City and County minutes are indeed “seeking.”

    I must again stress, that in sitting in on hours of forums on this issue, I came away even more confused….vs. enlightened. That is why I think it’s necessary to stick to the decisions, and records of minutes and court decisions. Otherwise there is so much partisan flotsam and jetsam swirling about that it’s impossible to get a glimmer of the facts.

    Michael, it’d be swell if these were digital copies. I could then easily post them on the JRD blog.

  68. shadmarsh says:

    While we’re discussing Truth, any chance Mr. Muller would like to shed some light on whether or not the BCGOP is under investigation for misappropriation of campaign funds? That’s what I’ve heard, and I haven’t gotten a denial from anyone yet, so…is there any Truth to this? I’m assuming you’re in a position to know.

  69. Paid GOP Troll says:

    Still trotting out the same documents and talking points again, Gordon? Seems lame. And why won’t you answer the transparency question Wiley asked?

    Shad — are you still trying to remain relevant? Because you’re going about it entirely the wrong way.

  70. shadmarsh says:

    I was just asking a question, whether or not I am relevant (to what I ask?) is entirely in consequential to the question I asked, and which you seem unwilling or unable to answer. Are you already out of the loop? I would’ve assumed they would wait until Nov. 7th to toss you aside again, but perhaps they are already running damage control? Or should we just let your inability/unwillingness to answer the question speak for itself?

  71. Michael Muller says:

    Davyne and RHS:

    We have a system of finding out the truth (and I have enormous faith in it). It’s called our Republic — and it’s why we elect our representatives in the first place. They represent us to do the people’s business. It’s how the system works. Through this committee and that.

    We send our representatives to Raleigh to sort all this out for us so we can live our lives — that’s what we pay them to do, in fact. And in the case of the water system, a political clusterfuck for 60 years, that’s what they’ve done. That’s how the law works in North Carolina.

    Councilman Smith’s objections notwithstanding.

  72. shadmarsh says:

    We are you using “we?” You haven’t even bothered to become a citizen.

  73. TJ says:

    “We send our representatives to Raleigh to sort all this out for us so we can live our lives — that’s what we pay them to do, in fact”

    Yes, Michael, it is. Unfortunately, it is also what corporate sponsors pay them for, as well.

    I may not know enough politics to hold a long debate, even I know that the job we pay our officials to do is not necessarily what they do.

    I was surprised you even said that…you are so much more politically focused than I. Apparently, your confidence that your gov’t officials do the job they are paid for is limited to those you support.

  74. Michael Muller says:

    TJ said:

    Apparently, your confidence that your gov’t officials do the job they are paid for is limited to those you support.

    No, it’s limited to people I believe in. Left, right, Republican, Democrat — makes no difference to me. I myself am ill-equipped to make the kind of important and far-reaching decisions they must do in the name of my city, my state, or my nation — but I do want people of impeccable character to make them for me. Not weasels or ideological drones or officials who suck off the system.

    But to your point, they are very hard to find anymore.

  75. Michael Muller says:

    Davyne:

    The link to the electronic version of that supporting documentation from the Courts and the General Assembly Report is here: http://bit.ly/O7hibO (it’s about 20 megabytes and will take a while to load.)

    It all comes down to a “governance” issue, Davyne.

    Right now, four people (a majority of City Council) elected by a small number of voters (3,000 – 5,000 votes) subject to the whims of popularity and political change should not, in my opinion, have unilateral control over a regional water system which must endure forever for the good of our region.

    Under the current scheme, just four people could vote to say, privatize the water system (or sell it off) if they wanted to. And that doesn’t require a referendum under current law, by the way.

    On the new board (which will consist of 14 members — all the regional stakeholders, including Asheville, who will maintain its full representation) — it will now take an 8-person majority to make a system-wide decision of that nature (which would be much more unlikely, given the greater diversity of competing interests). Then, it would be actually harder to sell the water system under the new board than would be right now. They just privatized the golf course, remember?

    To be sure, this change breaks up a political stranglehold of entrenched city interests (which accounts for the viciousness of discourse and action as they protect their own power, evidenced by all the lawsuits initiated by the city over the years and costing taxpayers millions of dollars) — but everyone is still represented and, in truth, that representation is fairer, more spread out, and more diverse. Nothing more than powerful people protecting their power. It’s an age-old story.

    And that’s it. That’s all that will happen. The sky is not always falling, like some folks like want you to believe. And the only thing that you’ll notice as a water customer is a more streamlined operation, enhancing water service. That, and you’ll pay your bill to another government authority.

    We’ll all look back a year from now and wonder why Gordon and City Council made this all so difficult for everyone.

    And we’ll know.

  76. TJ says:

    Yes, Michael, they are.

    Character is good, but, too many people view ethic as a situational thing, and, when things get tough, have difficulty following through.

  77. Andrew Dahm says:

    So Mr Moffitt’s going to lower my water rates?

  78. Gordon Smith says:

    Among the many absurdities, the one that demonstrates either a complete lack of self-knowledge or a diabolical depth of deception, is the failure to acknowledge that the entire water system takeover move was initiated by one Representative. He did so without consulting any of our partners and without consulting the voters.

    It’s hilariously disingenuous to have a surrogate, who is unwilling to tell the truth about his employers, lecture the majority about the dangers of bad representation. The stones on this guy. Almost as brassy as Paul Ryan.

    You’re a hoot, sir!

  79. Michael Muller says:

    I’ll acknowledge it then, Gordon. But it doesn’t matter. Your obsession with Moffitt is showing again.

    What you fail to understand, Gordon, is that the General Assembly does not need the your permission. You are not a partner to the General Assembly, Councilman.

    Not anymore, anyway.

    MM

    P.S. You’re still not answering Wiley’s transparency question. You’re the public servant, not me.

  80. Davyne Dial says:

    ““We send our representatives to Raleigh to sort all this out for us so we can live our lives — that’s what we pay them to do, in fact” ~~MM

    Maybe this is what you believe, but I don’t. It’s quite obvious that many Legislators are bought. The system seems quite rigged for the regular folk. And I harbor no illusions that either side will change.

  81. Michael Muller says:

    Granted, Davyne. That’s more often the rule and not the exception. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Call me an optimist, but I believe in the system in the long-run.

    Now, let’s keep to the substance, people. Focus!

    The Water System! The fact that Gordon Smith is hiding something!

    Focus!

  82. TJ says:

    “the entire water system takeover move was initiated by one Representative. He did so without consulting any of our partners and without consulting the voters.”

    Lack of focus, perhaps. However, this key point Gordon made is what got me interested in the issue at all. As I am not politically savvy, I usually stick to points such as this. I am not wise enough to know whether or not a takeover would eventually be the “best” thing. However, this is the thing for me…

    I became involved with Occupy because the power structure is so tilted against those of us who are not wealthy or powerful. ANY idea of a “takeover” rubs me the wrong way.

    My kids may learn things from me, as I make decisions “for their own good,” however, for me, it is more important they become critical thinkers, than to always have a “perfect” drone life. Those lessons become more valuable, when they are involved in the process.

    As to the transparency question…I think the original “takeover” issue would make it hard for ANYONE to have the trust to share everything openly. I would agree we have the right and need for full information since it involves all us citizens, and, we are being asked for support. However, I am MUCH less disturbed about not knowing every comment made during a closed session (which I have always assumed was private, every time I am at the council meeting and we wait for it to begin again), than the lack of openness which initiated this whole mess by King Moffitt.

    I find it strange that you call Gordon obsessed, when Moffitt is the one who put himself in that position. I could care less about the man overall, but, when he unilaterally makes a decision, frames the information in a biased way – seemingly, out of his own “obsession” with the CofA, and covers it up with a bogus study…well, I don’t see where they have room to accuse anyone else of “distraction.” Since you seem to be his mouthpiece, by extension, nor you.

    You speak of “impeccable character.” I hardly find that in this whole mess. The lack of ethical behavior is more distracting me than anything else being discussed. It’s like the old-fashioned duals. I guess I have to wait and see who is left standing when the smoke clears.

    But – make no mistake – your call for genuine good character rings hollow, when, it is clear there is nothing genuine about that call (I’m not saying in your personal life, rather, that of whomever you represent).

  83. Michael Muller says:

    Perhaps you lack all the facts. Have you ever considered that, TJ?

    Anyway, it sounds like you have your mind made up already. But give ’em hell at the next Occupy meeting 😉

  84. TJ says:

    Well, Michael, I already acknowledged I am not the wisest one in this mess, AND, that politically-speaking, I would not stand up to a grand debate.

    No, my mind is not “made up” as to whether the water is best handled by whom. My mind IS made up about the issue of a unilateral decision by ANYONE. If Gordon Smith was the name behind the whole thing, instead of Moffitt, I would say the same thing. I don’t care if I have known someone my whole life, I don’t decide based upon that. Any of my friends, especially in the conservative Baptist church where I attend the Sunday School) will tell you I can strongly disagree with someone, even as a friend. There are points I do not know everything. I do know that the paradigm of ethics I hold myself to, does not include underhanded actions on the “behalf” of anyone. If I have to “sneak” something through, I already know I am outside my set of values. If sneaking is a value I hold, I cannot say my paradigm is honesty.

    THAT will not change, and, yes, I do protest such things in Occupy. There are things Occupy debates that I do not agree with, nor, do I invest myself in every protest held. My work in Occupy is all about process, even to the point that the anarchists used to question my meetings with council members and police officers. However, I am not in this to be popular. I am in it to understand, and promote honesty and living a life notable for supporting all folks rights to have a choice.

    And, you?

  85. Insipid Toadie says:

    It’s not a unilateral decision, TJ. It’s the decision of the bi-partisan North Carolina General Assembly after decades of inaction and misbehavior by the City of Asheville. Just ask the Asheville-Buncombe League of Women Voters and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, who both supported this reform.

    You’re guilty of buying the talking points, I’m afraid, TJ. They just happen to have been spewed by Gordon Smith this time. You admit as much yourself.

    In my opinion, Moffitt’s been the only one with the balls to take on the water issue after 50 years of a major clusterfuck. Read my comments, especially the study committee report language.

    And if you’ve never met Moffitt yourself, then you’re simply in no position to impugn his character or question his integrity as you did. Moffitt, or anyone else for that matter.

    It’s not fair to hold such preconceived notions about people. Especially based on someone else’s political spin.

    MM

  86. Davyne Dial says:

    TJ, you’re coming along nicely.

    Think it was about a year ago when we first met and we talked about learning about all this political stuff by concentrating on the local political field. Happy anniversary.

  87. Gordon Smith says:

    Facts – they may not matter to paid GOP political operatives who won’t disclose their affiliation.

    Republican state Rep. Tim Moffitt has filed legislation that would seize Asheville’s water system, turning control over to the Metropolitan Sewerage District. Asheville City Council member Bill Russell, who also sits on the MSD board, said Moffitt didn’t inform either body before proposing the legislation.

    He later formed a “study committee”, which came up with a recommendation that mirrored Rep. Moffitt’s original unilateral seizure bill.

    It’s also helpful to mention that the forced merger hasn’t yet been voted on by the General Assembly. Presumably, should Rep. Moffitt be elected to a sophomore term, he will move this issue to the whole body for a decision. Calling it a done deal insults the other lawmakers by assuming they would simply do Rep. Moffitt’s will. It’s not like he’s king of the legislature.

    Anyway – I keep telling myself to ignore this surrogate, and then I get sucked back in by the mendacity of his comments. Good thing these football games don’t require my complete attention!

  88. Insipid Toadie says:

    Your facts are a link to a story by the Mountain Xpress, Gordon? Really? Good job, councilman. You’re quoting a soundbite.

    And no, he’s not king of the legislature.

    Not yet.

  89. TJ says:

    Thanks, Davyne. :::it seems Michael thinking I am coming along in the wrong direction, tho’::: You are in the LWV. What is your assessment of this? (I keep telling myself I want to join up, but, then procrastinate…when is their next meeting, and will they be discussing this issue?)

    Michael:

    Talking points. Perhaps, I AM biased. I form opinions based upon interactions I have with folks. If they demonstrate honesty, I trust them. If I find them to be trustworthy, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on an issue as I explore further.

    BTW, I HAVE met Moffitt. I was underwhelmed with his interest in clarification. I was not impressed with his lack of interest in talking with a “commoner,” or, in his unwillingness to take a minute to answer a clarifying question.

    Talking points. Are they bad, if they are correct?

  90. Michael Muller says:

    Then you misinterpret him. He’s extremely interested in clarification.

    He’s managed a successful firm for over 26 years, putting some of the most skilled teams together on projects of major civic interest all around the world. His business is clarification, TJ. Not theory.

    And for what I’ve seen of him, he’s very interested in clarifying all his positions. Have you seen and read http://www.nc.116.com? It’s very informative.

    To my knowledge, Moffitt has never issued a negative word about anyone — unlike his opponent, who has already sent out two negative attack mailers this cycle. And Whilden is an expert at negative mailers. Formal charges were filed against her in 2008 for forging Moffitt’s signature on one of her mailers, in fact, if I remember correctly.

  91. Davyne Dial says:

    Well reference to the LWV’s study was made upthread. I was not involved back in 2005 when the study was referenced. I am told that at that time, (what is left out of the report from Moffitt’s committee) is …. “ that was when the regional agreement was being mutually ascribedto by the entities involved.”

    Personally combining resources for water distribution, sewer treatments facilities, and maintenance of pipes would seem to be more economical if these were combined into regional instead of each small or larger city having their own. I also think those people up on the mountains surrounding Asheville should pay more getting that water pumped up to them at the expense of our in home pipes & underground delivery pipes. (But that’s my inner frugal self speaking.)

    Combining resources, facilities and equipment is just common sense..and is the way many water facilities are going, according to what I’ve read. But I’d hope it could be accomplished here without shoving it down peoples throats. That would appear to me like going from the frying pan (which we now have,) into the fire.

  92. TJ says:

    Michael:

    When I talk about responding in a way to clarify, I am speaking to my encounter with him. He may do great teamwork with “bigger fish.” But, when I met him personally, he offered no such interest or clarification. In fact, he seemed kind of annoyed I would presume upon his time, and had his gaze set elsewhere. Needless to say, I did not pursue it further, since he already demonstrated his lack of concern.

    OMG, whoever! It’s hard enough for me to make sense of all this mess…I don’t need to interpret the writing before I think about it, too!

    I have NOT read that, Michael, and I certainly will.

    BTW, if you ever really ARE interested, I would like to meet…you and your supporting documents. Of course, I would like to invite Davyne, and I doubt it would be “confidential,” like a closed session of Council. It is good to openly discuss things. There is also something to be said about face to face, rather than back and forth notes.

    Game?

    Oh, do you still post for SH? Can you do a thread with all your documents linked?

  93. Tim Peck says:

    “You’we stiww not answewing Wiwey’s question, Gowdon.”

    No, of couwrse not. I mean, No, of course not. He’s preoccupied with our collective hilarity. Ask a councilman a question, he finds us hilarious and changes the subject. After all, it seems pretty easy to do with this crowd and no one will remember the unanswered questions in all the cwaaaaazy hubub.

    I wonder who will be laughing, councilman Smith, when the minutes of the closed session will, after the election, no longer be privileged. As we all know, or know now, all proceedings of public bodies belong to the public. Right?

    It’s a transparency thing.
    ………………………………………….

  94. shadmarsh says:

    To be fair Tim, I don’t think anyone finds you funny–at least not intentionally.

  95. TJ says:

    Shad, you are right about that. But, you know, it’s so much easier to have that facade and pretend it is funny when you are on the ‘net, than when you are in person.

    I DO think it’s kind of funny that he can’t see the humor in the thread, yet, he’s trying to make it so. Besides, he’s the expert at avoidance, so I don’t see how he can blame anyone else for changing a subject… as if we don’t have the ability to re-read and comment on a prior post.

    And, we know Tim is all about transparency, right??

  96. Wiley says:

    Councilman,

    As your constituent, I was wondering when you might get around to answering my question on city matters. Thanks.