Finger Pointing (Literally) at Last Eve’s WABA Candidate Forum


What’s that saying about never going full on something or other?
(Video courtesy of dixiegirlz.)

Video streaming by Ustream


  1. Gordon Smith says:

    Glad I missed this. I had to leave the forum about 90 minutes in, and this exchange must have happened right after I exited.

    On another note: Early voting is open now. Cast your ballots for Asheville’s future.

  2. RHS says:

    Where was the moderator during this temper tantrum?

  3. Andrew Dahm says:

    My lack of social graces has restrained me from entering politics. Until now.

  4. TJ Amos says:

    Moderator observing. It was like Jerry Springer comes to the country.

  5. Doug Gibson says:

    Single malt scotch?

  6. Andrew Dahm says:

    But seriously, folks, I doubt anyone’s surprised when a secretive process overseen by unelected people that awards public funds leads to a few people yelling their heads off.

    I would hope that our Council will pursue an incentives process that is a lot more transparent and assists folks who’ve already got skin in the game in our economy. It’s good for almost everyone, and probably can generate jobs faster.

    I’ve reviewed public meeting records (Council) about incentives, and haven’t seen the kind of disclosure I think the community deserves. Who’s the owner of the piece of land? When did they buy it and for how much? Any trusts, LLC’s or other aggregators of land involved? Who are the living, breathing people behind these legal entities? How soon will jobs be delivered?

    There’s a whiff of paranoia in these and many other questions, I know. Blame me if you like, but I blame a closed, secretive process overseen by people I didn’t vote for.

    And, please, please, please, let’s drop the polite fiction that EDC funding isn’t spending. Whether it’s a deduction from assessed basis or a disbursement in the form of a rebate, it’s spending.

  7. Andrew Dahm says:

    I gave up distilled spirits decades ago. I kept losing things: cars, houses, you know.

  8. Jason Bugg says:

    Johnny Waistcoat’s hair is infuriorating.

  9. Jason Bugg says:

    As are my spelling skills at times.

  10. Chad says:

    Andrew, if I understand what you’re asking, a bunch of the info you’re asking about can be found using the GIS service.


    The New Belgium site it what this is all about, right? Copy/paste the parcel number in the search box. Also, click the “PROPERTY CARD” link to see more public info.

    Parcel #: 963887370700000
    Owner: New Belgium Brewing from Fort Collins, CO
    (actual names would be those owning shares of the business, but as you probably know, LLC or other corp. creates a wall of separation between person/business)

    Land value: $5,649,500
    Acreage: 18.99
    Deed date(closing date): 8/14/2012

    I thought the closing price was listed on the property tax card, too(mine is), but I guess not for commercial? Sorry if this wasn’t what you were writing about or requesting. GIS is a very handy tool to use along with other forms of public records.

  11. Seriously. Who was supposedly ‘moderating’ this fiasco?

  12. shadmarsh says:

    I was supposed to be me, but I got stuck in traffic or something.

  13. Your mom.

    My mom is dead.

  14. Jim Shura says:

    This is getting spooky.

  15. No, seriously. Who was supposed to be moderating this event? You create a platform for a council debate, you have some measure of responsibility to keep it from devolving into chaos.

  16. D.Dial says:

    It would have been lovely if Scrutiny Hooligans had ask permission or given credit for the video. That said:

    I have reviewed the footage of all but the Get There Asheville forums, and find no examples of Jonathan Wainscott lying about “the ability to sell water,” or “lying to the people, at forum after forum you have told the people we can make millions.” Bothwell finalizes his remarks with at “forum after forum Wainscott has promised the people that we can make millions of dollars selling our city water in the commercial market.” Wainscott has never in “forum after forum, promised” to make millions, he HAS said we need to look into the “potential of establishing a partnership to sell our water.” And that ” we (I) just need to find a way to navigate through the channels of our legal system to participate in the processing, distribution, and sale of this commodity.”

    Get there Asheville written review in Mountain Express of the forum makes no mention of Wainscott promising the people millions.

    So there is not evidence on the raw video of Wainscott, at “forum after forum lying to the people about making millions” on H2o.
    Here are links to previous forums and minutes in the timeline where H2o is discussed:
    28:00 H20
    48:29 H20
    1:23:00 H20

    I find it dis-heartening that the reporter failed to review easily available raw footage to verify if Bothwell’s accusations of lying in forum after forum.

    Innovative or outside the box thinking usually flows from the younger folk, and instead of attempting to dismiss Wainscott’s ideas of possibly harnessing our natural resources into much needed revenue, Bothwell might consider that the plan is a possibility to actually consider. Perhaps Cecil is uncomfortable with innovative or outside the box, thinking.

  17. shadmarsh says:


    For me, and I doubt I am alone in this, it doesn’t really matter what these two yahoos are saying, it’s that they are acting like nincompoops. I would say Cecil doesn’t come off quite as bad as Wainscott, but their behavior isn’t befitting of a City Council member, IMO.

  18. N.C.Rohan says:

    Isn’t there some question of the definition of “OUR” in regard to resources, with the answers in legal limboland for the foreseeable future? Mentioning WATER right now is like poking the hornets nest, and maybe then standing under it naked. I don’t get the impression that Wainscott’s tactics would be particularly persuasive dealing with NCGA to change the laws in Asheville’s favor.

  19. D.Dial says:

    First video link above is dead…here is the corrected link;
    28:00 H20
    48:29 H20

  20. D.Dial says:

    Andy, what you said at 2:15 is spot on!

  21. lastavlnativeleft says:

    I must admit that this is the worst batch of candidates ever ( incumbents and challenger’s), Our best, brightest and most capable city leaders are sitting at home and who would blame them for not wanting to serve.

  22. RHS says:

    “Our best, brightest and most capable city leaders are sitting at home and who would blame them for not wanting to serve.”

    What’s the point in serving when the legislature is micro managing the city and trying to run everything from Raleigh?

  23. lastavlnativeleft says:

    Last week when the candidates came before my Sorority I was stunned at their piss poor quality. The citizens still deserve better than what we currently have and what we will have shortly, How can we keep pointing the finger at Raleigh when local officials act just as bad, if we had stronger and more credible leadership at home that had the support of the citizens, Raleigh would think twice.

  24. Vote_out_incumbants says:

    Just shows that Cecil is all about the money. Let’s vote out Cecil Bothwell and Gordon Smith and get some real leadership.

  25. RHS says:

    ” How can we keep pointing the finger at Raleigh when local officials act just as bad”

    JUST as bad? That’s a stretch. I’m not defending any of the candidates running this year for City Council but to equate them, or the current Council, with a legislature (controlled by a party who long claimed to support home rule) bent on stripping the city (and others in NC) of sovereignty is going overboard. Asheville is not alone in being a target of a reactionary legislature determined to do what it can to punish cities. To say that if we had better leadership “Raleigh would think twice” is wishful thinking at best.

    Yes, it is unfortunate that there is little in the way of choice in a range of views among the crop of candidates this year. Five candidates (only three of which appear to be running viable campaigns) for three seats does not really provide much to get excited about but one can not dismiss the legislature’s actions over the past couple of years as a potential factor is discouraging “Our best, brightest and most capable city leaders” from taking pass.

  26. N.C.Rohan says:

    “To say that if we had better leadership “Raleigh would think twice” is wishful thinking at best.” They’d have to think once before they could think twice. They mindlessly do as they are told by their ALEC Overlords. They are not paid(off) to think.

  27. Andrew Dahm says:

    Open-source, transparent program aimed at stimulating entrepreneurial culture in Chile while creating domestic employment:

    CDC and EDC public funding targeting local, small and disadvantaged businesses:

    We may be shooting ourselves in the foot:

    I have actually plowed though this, and have the bleeding eyes to prove it:
    “This study finds that over the last 20 years local governments in the metropolitan St. Louis region have diverted more than $5.8 billion in public tax dollars to subsidize private development. About 80 percent of these subsidies supported the construction of big-box stores and shopping malls, mostly in affluent suburbs. Despite this large public expenditure, the region has seen virtually no economic growth. “The number of retail jobs has increased only slightly and, in real dollars, retail sales or per capita have not increased in years,” the authors conclude. The subsidies have almost exclusively benefitted large chains, the study finds, and the region’s retail sector has grown increasingly concentrated. More than 600 small retailers (under 10 employees) have closed in the last ten years.”

    I think incentives should support local businesses through a transparent process with no secrets. At all.

  28. So really – no one knows who was moderating this candidate’s forum?

  29. TJ says:

    There was a man there, but, I don’t know his name. I’ll try to see if I can link a photo from my Dropbox, so, perhaps someone can tell you the name, if you don’t know.

  30. Hazelite says:

    I’m interested in the names of our “best, brightest, and most capable” city leaders who are sitting at home not wanting to serve. Who are they?

  31. Good question Hazelite.

    TJ – never mind. I’m not out to shame anyone. I just hope people remember this event & recognize that if you bring a bunch of political candidates into a room & watch them get wound up, you have a responsibility to keep it from getting out of hand. When tempers started running hot, someone should have intervened to keep these guys from embarrassing themselves (and us) as much as they did.

  32. shadmarsh says:

    In this case, it was only two of the candidates that had trouble remembering they were adults, I’m not going to hang that on the moderator.

  33. Andrew Dahm says:

    Thanks (way upthread) to Chad, who provided info on how to access property card for the Craven St tract.

    My rant was not specific to New Belgium viz who owns the land, etc. I’m mainly trying to make the point that the process is not transparent, and my reading about EDC’s elsewhere has yielded a wealth of shenanigans, often involving the fungible value of real estate, once incentive funding enters the picture.

    With specific reference to the New Belgium tract, perhaps someone can account for the rapid escalation of the value of Craven St tracts, and the frequency of sales of these tracts prior to announcement of incentives for New Belgium. These can be found at http://www.buncombetax.org/SearchSales.aspx by entering an address value of, say, 155 Craven St.

    And, I’ve done some research on the French Broad River Group, LLC, but would love to know more.

    Again, if I seem like a tinfoil-hat-paranoid-grand-inquisitor here, I’m neither pointing fingers at the folks who made this and other deals happen, nor am I apologizing. It’s an opaque, profoundly undemocratic process of awarding incentives that breeds mistrust and hollering at Council forums, Watson.

  34. Hazelite says:

    It is highly unlikely you will be seeing a transparent model of incentive awarding any time soon. These awards are caught up in a web of state, regional, as well as city government negotiations (with the city being the pipsqueak in this case, but also the one with the most to gain)- not to mention private business deals. Parts of the deals become public record only after they have been minted.

    Incentives: Are they worth it? Ripe for abuse? Is there a way to do them right? Can we rid ourselves of them? Big Questions: the answers are doubtful found at a city council forum.

    Beer Here: From casual observance, looks like this deal was reasonable in context. N.B. will certainly be a better cleaner of a dirty place and a better neighbor than Walmart was/is for the bleachery and Asheville. There are always residents’ concerns, NIMBY etc. but this is no lead smelting factory. It seems retail enough that once it’s built people will settle down and property values will continue their climb (for better and worse).

  35. Andrew Dahm says:

    I realize that there are other parties to these negotiations than just the City. And, I think the topic went New Belgium-ward due to the precipitating incident for this thread and the fact that we do, in fact, know where their brewery may be built.

    Project X, on the other hand, is a poser for someone with limited research talents like me. The County’s going to pay $15 million for a piece of property and hand it over to GE. Who owns the property? What’s the current tax assessment? When did the current owner buy the property, from whom, and for how much?

    Again, Hazelite, your points are all well-taken. I would just say that I’d prefer to live in a community that had its own homegrown, transparent approach to economic development and leave the Realpolitik to others. Better angels and all.

  36. D.Dial says:

    Cecil has gone delusional. Wainscott has never made promises Cecil accuses him of, at “forum after forum.” I’ve been to most and videotaped them . All the video is available for anyone who wants facts instead of bull dinky to view.
    This video is concentrated for expediency, but a fuller version is located below this one if you click on the link and go to my ustream channel. This clip is 1.5 minutes and the other is 8 minutes.

  37. Mim Toffitt says:

    So, if you have advance knowledge of a pending deal, you go buy a couple of tracts under the guise of a handy LLC, turning it over at a quick profit and an increased tax value to another cohort, who then gets to sell the land to the government agency in charge of handouts to rich corporations who value the land based on the last few artificially inflated transactions. If you also happen to be part of that government it is easy to see how over time it could get to be sort of a mainstay of your economic planning.

    I like it. I could get behind a plan like that.

    Also, I’d like to point out that I got a lot of flack in this two-bit town for trying to set up a partnership to sell our water on the open market. The only difference in my plan was that I wasn’t going to share the proceeds with the citizens of Asheville. I’d bet hipster-boy supercuts is much more entrepreneurial (read: self-interested and ambitious) than most people suspect. In fact, I’d like to officially endorse this kid for whatever office he appears to be running for. Not that I’m real clear on what that is.

  38. D.Dial says:

    Deadlink…sorry. Hopefully this one works.

    If it doesn’t go to Ustream and key in http://www.ustream.tv/channel/buncombe-politics

  39. Andrew Dahm says:

    Oh Mimsy, such savoir faire! I am just a clod who doesn’t know a thing about French Broad River Group LLC or Ferikes and Bleynat PLLC.


  40. In this case, it was only two of the candidates that had trouble remembering they were adults, I’m not going to hang that on the moderator.

    You’re right. Two out of four isn’t a majority of the candidates. Merely half of them were allowed to go on a six minute tirade, embarrassing everyone involved.

  41. shadmarsh says:

    It is probably the same guy who is supposed to moderate Cecil when he emails fellow CC members.

  42. Again, you’re right. Fictional apples will always be exactly the same as actual oranges.

  43. Mim Toffitt says:

    Jonathan has minion. This is good. I can has water system once he is elected? Like the young Anakin, he will be my protege. I need a creepy hoodie.

  44. For the record, I think that Asheville getting into the bottled water business is a terrible idea.

  45. shadmarsh says:

    So we have the Bothwell bunch blaming the moderator, and the Wainscott crew thinking they won something. Excellent news for Wisler, Smith and that other guy.

  46. Mim Toffitt says:

    If Asheville gets into the bottled water business, I really will dam up the French Broad and make a reservoir where Asheville used to be. Then I will name it “Here, have some water, and fuck you very much” lake.
    I thought the whole point was that the good people of Asheville did not want “their” precious resources treated like a commodity.
    Funny how, when a hipster says it, suddenly it makes sense to other hipsters…

  47. Andrew Dahm says:

    So much for context. Who, in fact, did shoot John?

  48. Hazelite says:

    The land deals I see going on are not the product of secret- insider- government fed- info- conspiracies. I do see buying with an a, b, c plan. If you can’t make money money with plan a, go to plan b, onto c etc. And people taking chances (speculating) using information available to anyone willing to pay attention.
    Do you know something more, or are just sassing off ’cause it sounds cool?

  49. Davyne Dial says:

    Seriously, Cecil Bothwell needs to man up and apologize.

  50. Andrew Dahm says:

    Again, my point goes to the secrecy of the process, and the involvement of unelected officials in the appropriation of public funds. My apologies if that comes off as sass.

  51. So we have the Bothwell bunch blaming the moderator…

    I assume you’re talking about me, Shad, since I don’t see anyone else giving a tinkers cuss how this thing unraveled. I don’t “blame” the moderator, I “blame” Cecil and Johnathan for their behavior. But I think it’s fair to question why no one from the group that put this on, stepped up to calm things down when it collapsed into shouting and obscenity.

  52. Andrew Dahm says:

    I might add that people know who I am, and there’s no Hazelite in the phone book.

  53. We know you are, but what are we?

  54. Mim Toffitt says:

    If the Power Hipster let Andrew or Barry do his debate appearances, we wouldn’t have this problem.
    Good thing that can’t happen. I like problems.

  55. Andrew Dahm says:

    For what it’s worth, if I’m yelling, I’m probably waving a bottle in the air.

  56. You’re not doing this in the workplace, right?

  57. Andrew Dahm says:

    Ask current, not former, staff. I come off much better that way.

  58. Hazelite says:

    That was directed at Mr. Toffit, not Mr. Dahm. But your comment got in between due to timing I guess. I support your search for a more transparent process. You seem to be brimming with sincerity, with a side of sass, while Toffit revels in it. Sorry for not being more clear. But now I’m feeling a bit sentimental and old fashioned, looking someone up in the phone book, old school!

    The forum dude coulda done better but what the heck this isn’t a presidential debate.

    Cecil did something similar to Robin Cape in the last campaign. Verbally bombastic and not entirely truthful– or distorted depending on interpretation.

    If you are the opponent, what is the best way to handle a situation like that?
    1. Keep your cool (most important) 2. Get your talking points ready for the next forum 3. Do not demand an apology or harp on it. It looks petty.

  59. Andrew Dahm says:

    Mim Toffitt is a trope moonlighting as a troll. Sorry I slopped hot grease on you there, Hazelite.

    The Asheville we’re all able to market so successfully is more a result of municipally-owned infrastructure (parking garages yay!) than incentives to large companies, more a result of determined young couples than the City’s code and permitting regime.

    The enabling legislation for EDC’s includes language about “site preparation and infrastructure improvements,” and I’m frankly amazed that this City government hasn’t done more to leverage this part of the law to recruit manufacturing jobs from right here in Asheville by helping young businesses navigate City code and get open on time and under budget. I’m sad to say that my admittedly anecdotal impression is that the opposite is the case.

    The paranoid, follow-the-money carping about land deals got your back up, and I apologize. But the fact of the matter is that the next booming manufacturing segment in this town will not happen in owned real estate. It’ll be in leasehold with wiring, plumbing, and gas that needs updating. To code. On time. The first time.

    I gather the City has an EDC Task Force, which is great. Anxious to see whether they come up with anything new.

  60. Hazelite says:

    No back was up, just sayin’ no conspiracies that I can see. AB Tech is the best help with home grown businesses here. Yes, keeping infrastructure up and codes reasonable (balancing needs of business, residents, and owners) is the best way for the city to help jobs- along with thoughtful place making. Now we can ride peacefully off into the sunset. I will at least. Good thread people.

  61. How to get the incentives discussion going on more than a local level seems key to me. If one state or region decides to take a more sober and transparent attitude towards incentives, then opportunistic folks in other states will cheerfully take advantage. And the bigger industrial players know this.

    I hope someone is writing a damn book about the GE Aviation scam. They played five states against each other, and multiple cities in North Carolina against each other, and demanded secrecy from each of them, driving their incentive packages up from elected leaders desperate to deliver jobs to their constituents. In the end, hardly anyone lost existing jobs, but had to pay more to keep them, and pay more to bring in new ones. GE will make out like bandits, and all on the taxpayers dime.

  62. Mim Toffitt says:

    Conspiracy, like Aspergers, runs on a pretty wide spectrum. it doesn’t have to be Pynchonesque to be real.
    And yes, I’m not a troll. But I play one on the internets.

  63. Mimsikens:

    Given your stated “expertise” in South America, don’t you mean ‘Pinochesque’?

  64. Andrew Dahm says:

    Barry, a national sea change in the incentives discussion isn’t going to happen. If we lived in Gary, Indiana, I’d be all about getting that Target and its 88 $8/hr jobs in the house, raise the millage a point, and send the WIC and food stamp bills to the appropriate addresses.

    But we’re Asheville, top 100 of whatever slow food beer mecca. Yet our EDC strategy differs from the sales approach of a Wal-Mart floorwalker not at all.

    Why is that?

  65. D.Dial says:

    But we’re Asheville, top 100 of whatever slow food beer mecca. Yet our EDC strategy differs from the sales approach of a Wal-Mart floorwalker not at all.

    Why is that?
    – See more at: http://scrutinyhooligans.us/2013/10/18/finger-pointing-literally-at-last-eves-waba-candidate-forum/comment-page-1/#comment-104377
    ” ~AD

    Because like all great Cities that are unique and full of dynamic spirit…..we are much more than our politicians aspire to.

  66. Jake says:

    I am glad that Cecil and Jon got into it: right or wrong.

    This has been one of the better conversations on Scruhu in awhile. Sometimes it takes a little heat to get some light.

  67. D.Dial says:

    Jake, as I have sat through most of the excruciatingly boring forums, at least WABA ended with a bang. All (but CIBO) forums were sooooo slanted with softball questions to the incumbents, they really are a disservice and almost a “crime” to the community.

  68. Jonathan Wainscott says:

    Funny how a 43 year-old father of 3 with a mortgage and a minivan is considered a “hipster”, especially by people who have never met me. Certainly not the most important point other than to recognize the ridiculous pre-judgements by supossedly open minded folk.

    Too bad there’s no real scrutiny of the major initiatives put forth by the candidates. The Zero Energy District model that Cecil wants to follow isn’t even working in Fort Collins where wind and solar are much more effective than in Asheville. Failing in Fortt Collins only means failure here. And of course Gordon Smith thinks he can “end homelessness” and provide all the nutritional needs of all of Buncombe County with food grown in Buncombe county. Not possible.

    Now, for bottled water. This was a plan to put the power of our natural resources into the hands of the citizens. While bottled water isn’t a perfectly “green” industry, using 62,000,000 gallons of water to brew beer, throw 75% of that water away, ship in hops form the Northwest, process the beer and ship it in glass bottles all over the country is certainly much less “green”. And what does this hipster want to do with the money generated by a citizen owned activity in the bottled water industry? Fund schools. Not provide cheap art space or festival venues or bike lanes in a fundamentally non-bikeable community.

    The weirdest thing about this election was the rejection by so-called progressives of the most progressive idea out there to empower the people. For some reason, giving our water away to corporations rather than to the people is a great idea. Even folks on the right who are adamantly opposed to government involvement in the private sector could see how playing a part in bottled water would be a great opportunity for the City. When I came up with the idea it wasn’t motivated by a way to beat the other candidates. It was a way to bring much needed revenue to a town that can’t raise taxes to the level needed to keep up with its needs due to the high cost of living. We could create more control over our water, increase the level of concern for this precious resource and change everyone’s understanding about the importance of conserving water and protecting the environment that collects it. Whoa. That’s just crazy. What we really need are driverless cars.