“It’s more like somebody casing a bank.”


Sen. Martin Nesbitt (Dem) spoke at the end of the League of Women Voters forum in Asheville about the fate of Asheville’s water system on March 13, 2012.

The “Dr. Mumpower” Nesbitt refers to is former Asheville city councilman and former NC-11 congressional candidate, Carl Mumpower, a Republican. The “Chuck” that Nesbitt addresses is Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), representing a House committee Rep. Tim Moffitt (R-Buncombe) set up to study whether or not the state should transfer control of the $177 million water system from the city of Asheville to a new regional commission controlled by the state. That would be the one in House Bill 488 introduced this week by Moffitt, McGrady and freshman Rep. Nathan Ramsey (R-Buncombe). Everyone opposing the deal knew the “study” was kabuki theater.

Since then, the city of Asheville was threatened for daring to put the transfer to a vote of the people in a nonbinding referendum. (Voters said no to the transfer by over 85 percent.) Nearly 50 North Carolina cities and towns from Murphy to Manteo saw the handwriting on the wall. They all passed a resolution by the nonpartisan League of Municipalities opposing the “forced taking” of municipal infrastructure.

Since then, state legislators – including players from the original water study committee – sponsored bills for the forced transfer of the Asheville Regional Airport from the city of Asheville, Charlotte-Douglas Airport from the city of Charlotte (citing the Asheville transfer as precedent), and the Dorthea Dix property from the city of Raleigh.

Matthews Republican, Rep. Bill Brawley, a principal sponsor of the Charlotte airport bill, explains why Republican leaders feel they must take control from locally elected officials, “We are changing the management of publicly owned assets from people who use them for the benefit of a few to protect the rights of the many.”

You may now replay the Nesbitt video above.

Slamming North Carolina’s cities, Brawley continued, “They want to have the right to do whatever they want. ‘Arrogant’ is a word I would use.”

Since last year, resident along I-77 north of Charlotte have opposed Brawley’s plan to install High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes to I-77 north of downtown Charlotte. The all-Republican Iredell County Board of Commissioners voted to oppose him.

Arrogant counties.

(Cross-posted from BlueNC.)


  1. andrewdahm says:

    Bill Brawley’s also pushing “express” lanes in Charlotte, which Tom Sullivan mentioned in another post – privatizing public infrastructure over the objections of the people who paid for it and use it. Paying to drive fast hasn’t been that popular in Atlanta:

  2. “Arrogant” is what Bill Brawley would call cities not wanting to have their assets stripped away?

    Here’s Bill Brawley in 1994, begging Charlotte City Council to deliver subsidized sewer service to his neighborhood because their private sewer company went bankrupt and they had raw s*** flowing down the streets:

    Then-Councilman Pat McCrory agreed that Charlotte should look into bailing them out of their own bad choices & subsidizing their sewer service, on the backs of Charlotte-Mecklenberg customers. No idea if the City finally paid the $330,000 cost of extending service to Bill Brawley and friends, but he sure sounded grateful back then that a strong municipal-owned public utility might come to his rescue.

    Coincidentally enough, you’ll see at the top of this document that this was also Doug Bean’s first day on the job as director of Charlotte-Mecklenberg Utilities. Doug had been unceremoniously fired from his position as Asheville City Manager by the CIBO City Council earlier that year. They then hired none other than Tim Moffitt to look for his replacement, and he delivered Jim Westbrook, the one man on whom the collapse of the Water Agreement in 2004 can be laid.

    Is this a great town or what?

  3. andrewdahm says:

    Barry, that is the funniest Council minute I’ve ever read.

  4. Yeah, the guy talking about “gushers” of raw sewage coming up out of the ground was particularly hilarious.

    Pat McCrory moved to have Staff look into it & put it on the next Council agenda, but there is no mention of it in that meeting minutes or the next. And I have spoken to Doug Bean, but not surprisingly he doesn’t recall whether they went ahead & extended service to Brawley’s neighborhood. It was 20 years ago…

  5. andrewdahm says:

    Speaking of banks.

    There was a kerfuffle in 08 about putting the City’s finances in the hands of local banks rather than too-big-to-fail casinos. Much was made of pulling cash out of big banks and putting them into locally-owned institutions. More could have happened than did.

    The fact of the matter is this: Publicly-administered insurance and banking make a lot of sense, mainly because of not-insane executive compensation and conservative, risk-averse management strategies.

    The fact that we have to listen to people foaming at the mouth about teachers’ salaries while incompetent boobs fly their private enterprises into the ocean is proof to me that our country is either stupid or insane.

  6. Tom Sullivan says:

    They’re not much in the mood for listening to North Carolinians in Raleigh, are they? Whether Democrat, Republican or unaffiliated — unless affiliated with the investor class. Last weekend the Mecklenburg County GOP convention passed a resolution regarding the HOT lanes proposal:

    The HOT Lanes resolution was held until the end partly due to the expectation that it would be somewhat contentious. The edited resolution was read from the podium and then the floor was opened for debate.

    What happened next will be hard to ignore.

    There was no debate. Nobody spoke against the resolution. Nobody spoke for it. It stood on its own.

    Then it was time to vote.

    By a unanimous voice vote, the MeckGOP County Convention passed the resolution opposing the current plan for HOT Lanes on I-77 without further study.

  7. Tom Sullivan says:

    By Wednesday, Tillis & Co. had circled the wagons:

    When the activists arrived, they went to the Speaker’s office and then were directed to an adjacent building. Upon arriving there were about 40 people from various levels of state and local government as well as consultants from Parsons Brinckerhoff and NCDOT officials waiting for them. Then a bridge line was opened revealing another dozen or so people on the phone.

    Some officials were apparently in Raleigh for “Town Hall Day”, but apparently they found time to break away to head to this meeting. (For those keeping score here in Davidson, Town Manager Leamon Brice was there in person along with Commissioners Brian Jenest and Rodney Graham. Mayor woods was on the phone.)

    The media outlets linked above somehow made the cut on knowing this event was coming as they had the conference bridge information. Several other media outlets were contacted this afternoon and evening, and to a one, they had not heard about this giant confab.

    So, instead of a sit-down meeting with their representative – something that should be available to any citizen – the activists of were treated to a press conference of sorts where they were allowed to ask one question each among comments by literally dozens of HOT supporters.

    An overwhelming display of force, is that what passes as our new example of responsive government?

  8. MsSpentyouth says:

    Brilliantly written. It is virtually impossible for us to figure out where these robber barons are taking us. But wherever they’re going, it’s fast and it’s furious and it’s vengeful and it’s punitive. Yet who are their victims? Whom are they punishing? It’s wrong and it’s going to hurt real people, and we’ve got to stop of much of this as we can.

  9. Davyne Dial says:

    The above clip of Sen. Nesbitt’s is shortened and the critical issue of the City wanting the charge differential rates is edited out. Nesbitt’s says we fight over differential rates “EVERY TEN YEARS.” The breakdown in 2005 happened over differential …period. He also says, “we got to be careful how we play with our neighbors.”

    People need to hold their officials feet to the fire for bringing this debacle upon us. I suggest you who are hating on me, to look at the bigger picture here. There is a reason for so much obfuscation on this issue. Bottom line (from my point of view playing politics with water needs to stop.

    Here’s the link to the appeals court decision Nesbett mentions…

    Here’s the full version of Martin Nesbitt’s comments.

  10. Gordon Smith says:

    People just disagree with you, Davyne. They think your position is wrong. I’m one of those people. It’s ok.

    It’s bad policy that seeks to settle old scores rather than solve today’s real problems.

  11. Davyne Dial says:

    Bottom line (from my point) of view playing politics with water needs to stop.

  12. Davyne Dial says:

    Disagree aal you need to, but Martin Nesbett appears to give a true accounting of the history. Which I have stressed here, many times.

    Bottom line (from my point) of view playing politics with water needs to stop. Frankly the continued obfuscation appears to be nothing more than cya-ism by anyone local that’s been involved.

  13. Tom Sullivan says:

    I just addressed this here.

  14. OK Davyne, I’ve been mostly quiet, but c’mon:

    “The breakdown in 2005 happened over differential …period.”

    That’s simply false. A major factor was that in 2003 Buncombe County refused to go along with the City on rate increases to fund water system maintenance. The independent Smutko report on the breakup and the failed mediation confirms this. It also comes to the solid conclusion that the mediation had a good chance of succeeding, but that Buncombe County and the gun that it brought to the negotiating table (Sullivan II & III), ruined any chance of that. I posted all that days ago, (and it’s been posted in these threads multiple times over the past two years) but I don’t see this factored into your rants. Funny how folks who want the City to be the bad guy, like you or Nathan or Nelda Holder, never even acknowledge the existence of this report or it’s conclusions.

    “People need to hold their officials feet to the fire for bringing this debacle upon us.”

    And it’s clear to me that you’ve chosen to make this just one more undeserved jab in your pogrom on the City (like when you blamed Gary Jackson for those two innocent men rotting in prison – as if a City Manager has any role in capital crime prosecutions). You don’t seem to want to hold Buncombe County officials or Henderson County officials or State legislators to the same fire you apply to Asheville.

    I’ve been soaking in this issue for the past 18 months, and I’ve talked to just about every major player in the current frenzy, and gotten the perspectives of people who were involved in the various fights going back 40 years.

    I have a 10 – 15 year record of holding City officials “feet to the fire” when they deserve it, so trust me when I say this: the City of Asheville isn’t blameless in this long tortuous history that got us here. But much of their attitude has stemmed from the fact that we are surrounded by people who both dislike the political and cultural nature of Asheville, and look at it’s economic vitality with avarice. Surrounding political entities have quite often sought to find ways to make Asheville pay for their infrastructure and other costs over the decades. This breeds a certain “circle the wagons” mentality in City officials, and all it needed was an aggressive, conservative street-fighter of a City Manager like Jim Westbrook to turn up the confrontationality, which he did in 2004. (Thanks again, CIBO and Tim Moffitt!)

    Since the water system intertwines throughout two counties, and has abundant clean water thanks to the foresight and investments of the City of Asheville, this will be an irresistible target for acquisition by unscrupulous people who want to profit both financially and politically from sprawl, and yes eventually privatization. The current attempt to wrest all the assets from the City of Asheville isn’t justifiably rooted in righting actual past wrongs or the intent to create a fair and sustainable regional system, it’s rooted in the desire to inflict pain on Asheville, and profit from it’s demise. Don’t forget that both Nathan and Tim have advocated totally getting rid of the City of Asheville, and putting all it’s assets under control of the County.

    As much problem as I’ve had with the government of the City of Asheville, I wholeheartedly believe it’s in the best interests of everyone in the region that the water system stay in it’s hands. If that’s what you condemn as “playing politics”, so be it.

  15. Davyne Dial says:

    The video of Martin Nesbitt’s remarks(unedited) speaks for itself regarding the City’s onging attempts at imposing differential rates. It is at the heart of this ongoing political brouhaha. Stop using water as a political football.

    That said, I personally don’t object to differential rates. Especially for the folks up on town mountain. Their need for water pressure is what makes all our pipes burst.

    I’ve watched this from the beginning last year, attended all the forums, came away totally confused and it is only in reviewing the videos that things begin to become clear as a glass of water. (At least for me.)

    Feb. 2012 Water Forum part one
    Feb. 2012 Water Forum part two Sorry for the poor quality audio…I had no control of where to place a mic in this meeting.

  16. Davyne – You taped the Mountain Voices Alliance forum at Jubilee that I and Tim Moffitt & others spoke at last year. It used to be on your youtube page, but it’s not anymore. Any chance that that video can also be made available? I’ve had requests to see it.

  17. Dixiegirlz says:

    Barry, I had it on videotape, but unfortunately that got taped over.

    And the cloud account I use to store video was rapidly filling up with my BC Board of Education video. So since (for me), the endeavor was a thankless one, and I was the object of total “assholery” by an unnamed individual and that individual has never offered a public apology, I choose to replace that video.

  18. Seriously? You were entrusted with documenting and preserving a major forum on the water issue featuring 3 State legislators, City and County officials, NGO reps, activists and dozens of citizen’s questions and comments… and you deleted it forever because one person was mean to you?

    I think you’re the one who owes this entire community an apology.

  19. TJ says:

    I’m getting dizzy…

    Watching a game of ping pong between posts is gonna give me motion sickness.

    Well, I guess it’s less nauseating than what folks in Raleigh are spewing out.

    ….whatever the lack of rhyme or reason.

  20. Jeff Mclarty says:

    TJ, I fed all of your pertinent phrases into the Google time machine, just for a laugh, and this came out. I think I just had an apostrophe.

  21. TJ says:

    Hmmm… OK, well, I don’t think anyone here has seen me dance (he might be a little better than I), and, I haven’t pulled up my pants that high since I was…well, I can’t remember when… I’m silly, but, I don’t snort (do I?).

    Other than that, sure, I can see the similarities. Altho’, my skin color is a little lighter, even when I have my best tan.

    I’m impressed! LOL! If only I was that memorable! (what was his name, again?)

  22. TJ says:

    By the way, I’ll preempt any criticism of my following comment by acknowledging I am not the master of what’s what and who’s who in Asheville, BC, or, most anywhere else. I’m lucky I have a calendar on my iPhone to remember what I did specific days, since I might have detectives questioning me about my whereabouts to rule me out as a local bank robber.

    That said, I want to say here I support Barry’s concerns about the water issue, and apparent lack, delay, or loss of information that folks like me would like to have in those moments our memory fails us about public comments/debates.

    Davyne, I’ve always found you diligent about your efforts to make public the BCSB meetings, and, have admired that you are so capable at live-streaming, making the information available to anyone who bothers to care to look it up. Because of that, I am surprised/disappointed to know that you erased information that, apparently, no one else covered (whether that was poor forethought on their part, or planned b/c they thought it was already covered, I have no way to speak to). It seems it is especially important in this matter to have ALL information to back up any future claims of dishonesty, or whatever, on the part of the Raleigh thugs (I call them so, b/c bullies come in more than one form).

    I know my thoughts or opinions may be of little consequence, but, as I have constantly replied when anyone asks me why I involve my efforts with Occupy:
    “There are folks wiser than I who can answer how some issue may best play out, what the outcome should be. I am interested in the process. Without a diligent and transparent process, it doesn’t matter the outcome. Without honest discourse, and the ability for all to have a say in the process, the outcome is dishonest.”

    Erased video is not replaceable, I know. Acknowledgements of one’s shortcomings and frailties as a fellow human is. It is always the right time to accept responsibility and to commit to future efforts increasing to maintain integrity. You ask the BCSB and others to be accountable, and to be transparent. Even when they are not, it is up to us to always be that which we would ask of others.

    Lord knows, I have a million shortcomings…including political savvy. However, if anyone asks, or, if I represent myself, I will do so honestly and without reservation. Whatever my shortcomings, my integrity is not one of them.

    Peace, ya’ll.

  23. Davyne Dial says:

    TJ, I assumed there were other sources that videotaped that particular meeting. There have been at all others I’ve attended. For example the video in the post at the top was shot by ACT. That said, the videotape I shot got inadvertantly taped over. That is an easy thing to do.

    Being publicly chastised for something that you know very little about is inappropriate.

  24. Davyne Dial says:

    Let me be clearer…TJ, being chastised (by you) for something you know little about is inappropriate. How would you like it if someone publicly raked you over the coals for video you shot that got lost, misplaced, erased, or failed to record in the first place???

    Anyone here with a smart phone needs to be using it to capture events. While there will always be glitches (taped footage lost/taped over, you think you’re recording but your not, you fail to press the save function and all gets lost that way,and any other myriad video screwup scenarios), it is becoming easier and anybody can do it. An iPhone 4 or 5 has excellent video capabilities, and past video can come in very handy. Does not require a degree in rocket science. Mitt Romeny, and now the Rutgers coach have been exposed by someone with the ability to capture what they did not want the world to know.

  25. TJ says:

    Ha! I probably know less about using my camera, than I do politics, I’ll give you that.

    Ask my computer repair pals at KT&C Computers. I can take anything simple, and make it crash. My phone memory stays so full, that I can seldom record something that doesn’t see “memory is too low.” I just emptied a bunch of nuclear plant photos into dropbox and cleared out my phone. I still can’t download “Lincoln.”
    You saw me at the meetings. I can’t figure out UStream.

    I keep telling folks, I’m all about the “process.” However, how to record events is not one of them.

    “And the cloud account I use to store video was rapidly filling up with my BC Board of Education video. So since (for me), the endeavor was a thankless one, and I was the object of total “assholery” by an unnamed individual and that individual has never offered a public apology, I choose to replace that video.”

    This is what I was responding to. THIS does not sound like an issue of an accidental erasure. I’m not saying it wasn’t, , and that you just didn’t care, because of this issue.

    However, upon surface reading, and actually, a second one this morning, it reads strangely like “I did it because I was mad.” Again, I don’t know all the ins and outs of everyone and everything _ pretty obviously. However, when your own words define this with “assholery,” by an ‘unnamed’ individual (respectful, imho, by the way…that is, to not toss names around), “public apology (which is also proper, when needed, if it was public assholery (If my kids act up, I discipline them publicly or privately, depending upon whom was present when such infraction took place), and, that you “choose” to replace the video.

    THAT is what I was responding to. Honestly, I was hesitant to do so, because I DO like you, and have no wish to “rake you over the coals.” As I also said, I have found you to be diligent with BCSB recordings, so, to read your words were a surprise. I’m sorry you feel it is “inappropriate” for me to comment, because I have seen you do no less when you note some entity or person says or does something that needs to be scrutinized.

    Should I do no less?

  26. Davyne Dial says:

    However, upon surface reading, and actually, a second one this morning, it reads strangely like “I did it because I was mad.”
    That is a big assumption.
    Again, I don’t know all the ins and outs of everyone and everything _ pretty obviously.
    Which is WHY I said you know “little about.”
    However, when your own words define this with “assholery,” by an ‘unnamed’ individual (respectful, imho, by the way…that is, to not toss names around),
    assholery has consequences….just like a long pattern City overstep has consequences. Which is being obfuscated here by the demonization.
    “public apology (which is also proper, when needed, if it was public assholery (If my kids act up, I discipline them publicly or privately, depending upon whom was present when such infraction took place), and, that you “choose” to replace the video

    Yes, an public apology for publicly made assholery was appropriate but was not forthcoming.

    As you were troubled by my response to Mr. Summers, the appropriate thing to do was ask me privately and I would tell my complete side of this. That did not happen and that is disappointing.

    There is nothing more I have to say on this particular issue.

  27. TJ says:

    I’m sorry you felt a public question was out of order. I looked at it as when you made a public comment to Barry, you opened a public dialogue. Since I also comment on ScruHoo, I also felt it appropriate to publicly share my thoughts, right or wrong, my comment is there for public perusal, and criticism, if it must be. I’m not a troll leaving rude comments, or, trying to stir up trouble. I’m sharing thoughts about an interaction on a blog where there are two people I respect, and, hold no illusion of being better than either of you. If this were sent as a private email, I would have responded in kind.

    So, now that I have voiced my thoughts, for better and worse, and, anyone can disagree, understandably, I have opened myself up to public criticism. I cannot complain that someone doesn’t privately message me. However, if anyone does, I will address that privately, as that was not openly shared.

    I feel I know you well enough to know that you will stand by your convictions, even when noone agrees with you. I would hope I am known to do the same…altho’, some of my religious friends would rather I not.

    I still have great respect for you, and, I am VERY glad you are out there recording when you can. It sounds like this needs to go beyond you, and, someone find an official source to record history and avoid future incidents/misunderstandings/confusion on ANYONE’S part (Barry, do you have any thoughts on this, considering the water is too important an issue to leave to chance).

    I hope we can just agree to disagree until, and if, I stand corrected…which, of course, you are.

  28. Davyne Dial says:

    Martin Nesbitt says a lot in this video clip from 2.13.12 and for me it has taken a long while to sink in. I believe he is saying on poly-talk, that “yes, there is a history of political power plays in regards to AVLH2o, and what HB488 is doing is “tit for tat” and eventually come back to haunt.

    From my point of view we the public deserve better leadership from both sides and we are not getting it.

  29. (Barry, do you have any thoughts on this, considering the water is too important an issue to leave to chance).

    Thanks TJ. You’re trying to navigate a thorny issue between friends, and I respect you for that.

    Should we have had more people taping that forum, given how much work we put into it & how important it was? Probably.

    Did we trust the wrong person to document & preserve that event for future use? Obviously.

    Will Davyne apologize for deliberately robbing the Asheville community of that small part of it’s history, apparently out of spite? Only time will tell…

  30. Davyne Dial says:

    TJ, for you to fully grasp the issue, I suggest you do some audio /vide setup (10 mics) for recording, videotaping , editing, uploading, and hosting….then have someone you’re doing this for (for free) be disrespectful and never even extend a “thank you” …..perhaps then you’ll understand.

  31. Davyne

    Thank you for recording the MVA forum.

    Did Tim Moffitt or Chuck McGrady thank you for erasing it?

  32. Anyway, back to real life…

    Henderson County is apparently struggling with pesticide contamination of it’s groundwater, from all the apple orchards. The EPA and NC DENR has been monitoring it for years. DENR has now told residents of one entire community to stop using their well water, due to high levels of dieldrin (a close relative of DDT) and other chemicals.

    Hendersonville and Henderson County are rushing to extend city water to the Dana community.

    They are asking for emergency grants from, you guessed it, programs which Pat McCrory, Art Pope and the NCGOP are trying to crush.

    The NC Rural Center gives among other things, infrastructure grants to poor rural counties (like Henderson County, apparently) to upgrade their water and sewer. The 2011 GOP budget, which Perdue tried to veto, slashed their funding by $20 million. And yes, Henderson County Rep. Chuck McGrady voted in favor of that budget, as did Sen. Tom Apodoca.

    The 2013 GOP budget looks like it will take another $10 million away from them. Any bets on whether Henderson’s reps will vote to grind the NC Rural Center out of existence while taking grant money for their constituents?

    And yes, I think it’s fair to ask if this slow-motion disaster has any relationship to the attempt to grab control of Asheville’s water system.

  33. Davyne Dial says:

    .then have someone you’re doing this for (for free) be disrespectful and never even extend a “thank you”

    Now that I think about it, at the Ag Center forum Tim Moffitt did indeed come over and personally thank me for videotaping.

    I think I’ve made it clear here, I’m not on either “side.”

  34. nick s says:

    Stop using water as a political football.

    we the public deserve better leadership from both sides and we are not getting it.

    That’s all a bit platitudinous. Politics means disagreeing about stuff. “Both sides do it” rhetoric is a way to excuse the greater bad.

    If you think that the local water supply should be a secure public resource, then there are set of policies that you should be advocating; if you think that its fate should be up to the whim of spite-driven Timmy M, his sad little helpers, and the herd of ignorant rubber-stampers in Raleigh, then there are another set of policies you should be advocating.

    Shit or get off the pot.

  35. Andrew Dahm says:

    Tony Judt was such a gen-ee-uss:

    It’s long, but well worth the read. Barry, the real cost of privatization is in there, just for you.

  36. Barry, the real cost of privatization is in there, just for you.

    Just for all of us, Andrew… just for all of us.

    Thanks – I had forgot about that repugnant quote of the finally late Mags Thatcher:

    There is no such thing as society.

  37. Andrew Dahm says:

    She was a timorous peckerwood, blazing trails for sociopaths everywhere.

    I’m plowing through “socialist” writings lately:
    Massimo Florio’s The Great Divestiture: Evaluating the Welfare Impact of the British Privatizations 1979-1997
    Otis Graham’s Losing Time: The Industrial Policy Debate.

    We’re doing it wrong.

  38. Hey everybody! Get up at 8:30 tomorrow (Tues.) & listen to the House Finance Committee consider House Bill 488, the “Regionalization of Public Utilities Act”.

    “Huh? Sounds kind of statewide-y. I thought this was just about seizing the assets of the City of Asheville?”

    Well, ha ha ha, Jimmy. That perspective’s for the slow. Grabbing Asheville’s stuff only takes up 2%(!) of this bill. The rest is about establishing a totally new State-chartered agency that can be set up in any County in North Carolina. Are you catching on yet, Jimmy?

    As the slow say, Yee-f***ing-haw!!!

  39. mmurrayb says:

    Three types of Asheville citizens exist: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who don’t know what happened. The majority of our citizens fall into the third category and if they don’t wake up there will no longer be a City of Asheville.

    @Davyne,if our politics and politicians are not to your liking, you can always leave.

  40. OK, in the interest of full disclosure… they have eight bills ahead of H488, and this may be another cruel joke like they played on Asheville City Finances Director Lauren Bradley during the hearing on H252

    “Gosh, we’re out of time. Can you make the ten hour round-trip again next week?”

    This time, it’s City Manager Gary Jackson who’s running to kick Lucy’s football…

  41. Interesting side note… this bill is listed as a “roll call” bill. Meaning, it won’t be an oral “aye” vs “nay” vote – they’ll call the roll, and we’ll know who voted how. Not sure how they determine that, except that the last one to hit the Finance Committee was the Charlotte Panthers stadium tax-subsidy bill. And the ultra-conservatives, like Finance Committee Chairman Mitch (“Call me Mitch”) Setzer voted against that bill…

    Never would have wanted to immerse myself in the minutia of the NCGA like this… until it started to dramatically impact my life.

  42. Gordon Smith says:

    We love you for it, Barry.

  43. H488 has passed the House Finance Comm., more or less party line, 18 – 10. There was one objection from a Republican, Rep. Paul Stam of Apex. He didn’t like the fact that H488 was a “public bill”, meaning it had a statewide effect. He didn’t want to see somebody trying to take away Apex’s stuff someday.

    Asheville, fine. Kick the hippies in the nads & rob them if that’s what you want. But don’t make it so somebody someday might come for our stuff.

    So, they were scrambling to create some sort of amendment to satisfy his concerns that cities elsewhere in the rest of the state might be victimized by some crazy vindictive hyperpartisan legislator someday in the future…

    No referral to another committee, so it looks like it goes back to the full House.

  44. Rep. Moffitt spent several minutes introducing and explaining the new statewide entity created by H488, and answering questions from other legislators, and never once mentioned Asheville or the fact that the primary intent of the bill was to seize the water system of Asheville. It wasn’t until six minutes into the discussion that someone thought to mention Asheville, and then it was only because City Manager Gary Jackson got up to speak.

    Rep. Paul Stam’s comment almost made me barf.

    “I’m happy to make you guys happy, in the spirit of fellowship and fraternity (pause for guffaws to subside), but I’m not willing to transfer all the assets of Apex and Cary to Raleigh, so that Raleigh decides where we can put our subdivisions. Do you understand my problem?”

    So, they are crafting an amendment to the bill, to be brought up on the floor when it comes up in the full House, to make sure that HIS town doesn’t suffer the same fate as Asheville. Then he’ll vote for it…

    Listen to the 38 min. discussion here.

  45. TJ says:

    Wow! Everyone should hear this!

    So many questioning the logic, etc., but, it’ll go through?! Reminds me of a death penalty case where “well, we’re pretty sure, don’t confuse us,” leads to an innocent person being executed.

    When are we riding there in a van?

  46. Mim Toffitt says:

    Yep, it’s been a pretty good day for me. I gotta say though, that Damn Stam (once you start calling him “Damn Stam” you really can’t stop) almost made me put a vise-grips on his teeth when he started whining about exempting his district. But, it will all work out. We’ll narrow the scope, for now.

    I’d say my crazy, vindictive hyperpartisan legislation plan is going swimmingly well, wouldn’t you?

  47. Davyne Dial says:

    It’s really like an immature divorced couple (City/County) lusting after the assets made by a child movie star (AVLH2o) and never, ever coming to a mutually beneficial agreement, so the Court (NCLEG)steps in and appoints a Guardian ad Litum for the child/AVLH2o).

  48. TJ says:

    Meanwhile, closer to home, an Asheville High student was found, yesterday, to have two loaded handguns and a loaded shotgun in his car on campus.

    Somehow, someone stated he did not pose a threat to students or the school. I sure hope they were just referring to the fact they were discovered before anything happened.

    Now, back to your regularly scheduled commentary.

  49. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if this Mim character really is Tim Moffitt? Ha.

    So, “Mim” (if that is your real name…) – the really interesting thing about that Stam interlude, is that he wasn’t just saying that he didn’t want this to happen to his hometown, he was making the point that taking what is really a “local bill” and deceptively tarting it up as a “public bill” is in fact unconstitutional. That has been settled in court, apparently, and it seemed like Stam was sounding the alarm that the intended effect of the bill could be legally struck down on that basis…

    OK, just got off the phone with someone who was there. The description of what happened in the room is hilarious. Apparently it was all going according to plan, until Paul Stam got up & said what he said (“the way you’re doing this thing is unconstitutional and oh by the way, don’t take my town’s assets”), after which the room then “exploded into chaos.” Moffitt McGrady & Ramsey looked like they had seen a ghost & went over to Stam & brought the staff over & huddled around him for 5 minutes, while the rest of the room collapsed into disorder.

    Eventually, they came out & claimed to have cobbled together some amendment that takes care of his concerns, but basically nobody in the room knew what they were actually voting for when the Chair asked them to hold their hands up & be counted. Nobody counting hands could agree on what the count was, & so the Chair just threw out “18 to 10”, and then gavelled the whole mess to a close. It’s not at all clear what actually got voted out of the Finance Committee – it was supposed to be a “Proposed Committee Substitute” (PCS), but that version of the bill wasn’t distributed to them before they voted, and it isn’t on the website yet either.

    Sounds like a giant load of Buncombe. Our geniuses in Raleigh, in action. We’re so proud…

  50. Davyne Dial says:

    Asheville mayor calls for prayer, fasting

    Perhaps the Mayor could recruit Bro. Christopher to join her fast. Maybe even conjure up some help for the City at the drum circle, with a snake handling seance. ….


  51. TJ says:

    Well, Davyne, it worked for Gandhi, right?

    I’m sure she has God’s ear. Somehow, I think Moffitt has his fingers in his.

  52. Finally just now got the PCS (“proposed committee substitute”) that the House Finance Committee voted on today. It looks like the only change was that they added an “effective date”:

    May 15th, 2013

    H488 is now on the House calendar for tomorrow, April 10th.

  53. TJ says:

    I wish then of another day of chaos.

    There SHOULD be chaos when proper process is thrown out the window, and, people plug their ears when valid questions, which have no sensible answers, arise.

  54. Nope, there was one other change made in the “PCS” they voted on today, from the original version. A brand new section:

    SECTION 1.(c) All assets, real and personal, tangible and intangible, and all outstanding debts of any public sewer system operated by the metropolitan sewerage district receiving assets pursuant to Sections 1.(a) and 1.(b) of this act, shall be transferred to, and be operated as, a Metropolitan Water and Sewerage District, as established pursuant to this act.

    In their zeal to grab Asheville’s water system & convey it to the new “MWSD”, they almost forgot to first convey MSD’s sewer system to the new “MWSD”.

    Am I the only one who thinks that maybe this whole incredibly important thing is being done a little hastily by people who don’t really know what they are doing? Oh well. What could go wrong? Vote on that sucker!!

  55. Mim Toffitt says:

    It wasn’t my fault that Damn Stam decided to put a gun to our heads in public.

    As a matter of fact, I met with him just yesterday, and he made no mention of his intent to bring this up. I think that is very rude, verging on dishonest.

    Still, we made the most of it, and found a couple of eyes we hadn’t crossed yet in the meantime. So everything is still on target as long as the whole thing doesn’t get investigated by federal agents for racketeering. I should be able to deliver the consolidated water system to the privateers before you can say “It was all McGrady’s fault”.

    I sure hope nobody files a 132-1 on my phone and text messages over the last couple of years or so. That would suck.

    The thing that really bothers me though, is that this thing with Stam is a crack in the armor. I hope this is not the beginning of a fragmentation in this wonderful Republican blitzkrieg we have going. If some of the weaker ass-holes get cold feet over this and start thinking about themselves over me the People’s agenda, we could be in real disarray by the next election cycle.

  56. TJ says:

    You’re almost not amusing anymore. You’re kind of like a bad episode of the Twilight Zone, one in which we wake up thinking it was just a dream, only to find it was just a prelude to the harsher reality.

    I’m just astounded at the audacity and the complicity of those watching the happenings. And, at my age, that’s hard to do. But, I guess it’s just that, despite a life that proved to the contrary so often, I still believe people are capable of great and wonderful things, and, that folks will help make things right, and that food, housing, health care and education will be so much the norm, that we will look back and wonder how we could have ever been so barbaric as to obstensibly “protect” folks from themselves by denying anyone the right to marriage, and, making folks choose between food and medication, and a house payment or a light bill paid.

    Of course, if we run out of time on the Twilight Zone episode, there’s always Stephen King.

  57. Speaking of weird…

    The story about Henderson County, the pesticides polluting the groundwater down there, and Henderson & Hendersonville applying for State grants to extend city water pipes to the hinterlands of the County has just made weird sense to me.

    From today’s Hendersonville newspaper, a little more detail emerges:

    “State groundwater experts say dieldrin, once used as a pesticide in row crops in the 50s, is hydrophobic in nature.”

    The substance poisoning Henderson County wells, and possibly becoming a factor in the Henderson takeover of Buncombe’s water supply can literally be referred to as… “Having a Fear of Water”.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  58. Davyne Dial says:

    “Well, Davyne, it worked for Gandhi, right?” ~TJ

    The Mayor is no “Ghandi.”

  59. mmurrayb says:

    I would advise people not to diminish the power of prayer. Prayer changes things, and I have seen Gods miracles performed each and every day. When the righteous rule good things will follow.

  60. House Bill 488, the “Regionalization of Public Utilities” Act, came up on the floor of the House today.

    For seven seconds.

    Tomorrow, 1 pm.

  61. IMO, if you want to “diminish” the power of prayer, do it in front of a crowd, or before a sporting event or public government meeting, or force little kids to do it who don’t understand why.

    Doesn’t Matthew 6:5 mean anything to these people?

  62. TJ says:

    Davyne, I agree.

    mmurrayb: I’m not criticizing prayer. What bugs me is her stance on being a devout Christian, yet, she doesn’t know the Bible, it seems:

    Matthew 6:5:

    “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”


    Matthew 6:1: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

    6:2: “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”

    So, either there’s an updated Bible translation I haven’t heard of, or, I hope the city’s water system is not at the mercy of the effectiveness of Bellamy’s prayer.

    Seems like she won’t be getting rewarded.

    (even if she was asking for FB friends to join, she could have left it at that and let the media get the info there).

    Class dismissed.

  63. mmurrayb says:

    All the mayor was asking people to voluntarily join her in prayer,in fact we all should be in prayer for each other, our community, world and especially our leaders. So I guess that praying collectively in church is useless as well, since thats a crowd.

  64. mmurrayb says:

    The only way to stop the general assembly at this point is going come from a source greater than us.

  65. TJ says:

    Nope. Twist it how you will. People can and do pray corporately, usually in times of crisis (another lesson, but, not now). However, not all of Asheville are Christians. Is she somehow rescuing those who are not, because they don’t choose to pray?

    And, we are to pray for our “enemies.” However, that usually happens after all the emotions die down, and we can remember they are people, as well.
    Her prayers, I would guess, are of the variety of asking God to do “us” a favor. I would doubt she is praying for Tim M. to experience the same success she is hoping Asheville will have regarding the water.

    And, city Council Chambers does not make a church.

  66. TJ says:

    Well, that’s odd. We’ve heard so often that Asheville is a “cesspool of sin.” Why would God want to save US?

    Obviously, Raleigh is intent on dismantling us, perhaps to help God “smite” us for the sin?

  67. mmurrayb says:

    It amazes me that so many espouse the need for tolerance and acceptance, but at the first mention of God or prayer it becomes a problem. If you don’t want to pray then don’t and that is your right. But does she not have the same right as a citizen to ask people to pray?

  68. mmurrayb says:

    Sin is everywhere and Asheville is no better or worse than any other place. We have good people and bad people and things occur that we don’t always like or agree with. I know that in spite of what we say or do, GOD is in control and he will have his way period.

  69. TJ says:

    I agree it is no worse. In fact, it is WAY better in more ways than I can list.


    As a conservative church attender…Christian, and going to many variety of denominations…LOVE the dialogue, although, it is annoying that so many will just hand over their eternal welfare to a God they know little, when they spend much longer getting to know their future spouse. In fact, they don’t like deep questions.

    Tolerance? I cannot tell you how many church folks who’ve had complaints that our rights are “taken away(even though, realistically, they are most often given away by complacency), yet, they want to rule who can marry and when certain life choices are okay or not. I find tolerance lacking on many levels.

  70. mmurrayb says:

    I would agree with you on most of your points, but it cuts both ways. My point was that an individual who happens to hold public office chose to ask fellow believers to pray and that was ridiculed by some and thats not ok. There is a difference between Christians and believers.Whether you like it are not Christians play a huge role in our city, we vote, we pay taxes,we employ people , we teach school, practice law, practice medicine and we provide many services. So don’t write us off and assume we are all a bunch of ignorant social conservatives and “haters”.

  71. TJ says:

    And tolerance?

    I have not one time “down” thumbed your comments. I respect your right to speak freely, and, I do not criticize your beliefs.

    I’ve noticed an unusually high number of thumbs down on mine, which suspiciously looks like your response. That’s okay, and, I’m fine with your disagreeing with me. I would just ask why we cannot have dialogue, without striking a mark against either of us? I know it’s a popular FB tool, which I also use. However, there are comments I just let be, because I know my reply does not make me “right,” and the other “wrong.”

  72. mmurrayb says:

    Oh Lord !! I just happen to disagree with some of the things you write, I have probably liked more of your comments than disliked. Sorry to offend you.

  73. “(even if she was asking for FB friends to join, she could have left it at that and let the media get the info there).”

    She’s barking up the wrong tree anyway. Facebook is just the latest in a long procession of names…

    author of all sin
    awful monster
    chief of the demons
    enemy of righteousness
    evil one
    evil spirit
    fallen angel
    father of all lies
    father of contention
    father of lies
    founder of murder
    Great Antichrist
    great dragon
    liar from the beginning
    little horn (ouch)
    murderer from the beginning
    old serpent
    prince of darkness
    prince of devils
    prince of the power of the air
    prince of this world
    Son of Perdition
    Son of the Morning
    wicked one
    Ronald(6) Wilson(6) Reagan(6)

  74. TJ says:


    I’m not offended. Really! Ask anyone here. It’s pretty difficult to offend me. If you’ve read prior comments, you can see that, I bet.

    I just wondered what the down thumbs were needed for. I use them when I don’t really comment (not a frequent event…), but, I want to have a “vote.” I prefer to spell it out, so I am clear about what I don’t like. In my work, we’re taught to use open-ended questions, etc., so the thumbs thing really isn’t very useful to me.

    Happy to engage in comments, and to hear your thoughts, and challenges when you disagree. If I want others to engage in difficult conversations when I challenge them, I can hardly ask less of myself.

    Disagree away! 😎

  75. TJ says:

    “My point was that an individual who happens to hold public office chose to ask fellow believers to pray and that was ridiculed by some and thats not ok.”

    I would agree it is not okay to ridicule, anyone.

    My understanding is that she asked the larger population to join her in prayer. Wrong? No. Appropriate? It depends upon who you ask. For atheists, agnostics, and folks of other traditions, probably not welcomed. So, if the water disappears, do we blame it on the folks who didn’t pray? Sounds crazy, right? I can actually introduce you to folks who believe if you are sick, it is because of sin, or lack of faith (which is sin, according to God, right?). We are told, “without a vision, the people perish.” Of course, that can go beyond religious ideology.

    Back to the Mayor.

    “AThere is a difference between Christians and believers.Whether you like it are not Christians play a huge role in our city, we vote, we pay taxes,we employ people, we teach school, practice law, practice medicine and we provide many services.”

    Yes, we do, and, I am glad for it. But, of course, others do the same.

    ” So don’t write us off and assume we are all a bunch of ignorant social conservatives and “haters”.”

    I don’t think you will find ONE comment where I do this. Far from it. Part of my frustration is that many of the “believers” whom condemn those around them who don’t share their beliefs are typically FAR from ignorant. Rather, I find most of them to be fearful. Afraid that if we keep “going down the ‘wrong path,'” it will lead us all to hell. There are consequences to our choices, but, there are many folks who could care less about my beliefs. Then, again, they’re not trying to take away my right to believe what I will. In turn, I don’t push my beliefs on them, and, only engage in discussion those who show an interest of some sort.

    One thing I can never be accused (at least with any genuine evidence)of is “writing off” anyone.

  76. Mim Toffitt says:

    Aww, I was so disappointed not to be on your list, Barry.

  77. TJ says:

    Wow, Barry!

    What exactly DID you google?? I actually left one church because they had plenty of time for the FB page they created, making announcements, chatting, etc., yet, many of them were too busy to get together for lunch. They urged me to “join them” under their equally disturbing FB name. I said I was more interested in REAL relationships. Of course, I HAVE “joined” now, but, if you look at MY page, you see infrequent posts, and more conversations with others’ posts. I also get together with some of those folks semi-frequently to often.

    I hardly think some of these places see FB as demonic.

    Of course, there’s always a few in a certain county I won’t name, who believe ANYTHING is demonic, if they can’t control it.