Archive for Local
It’s an older video, but it’s very relevant tonight in Asheville.
Rep. Tim Moffitt (R-Buncombe) waves his fingers slowly in front of voters’ eyes and says softly,
“You shouldn’t be concerned about owning water systems. These aren’t the revenues you’re looking for.” [snark]
The AC-T reports:
Black Mountain aldermen have condemned a state seizure of the Asheville water system, joining a growing chorus of towns and cities hoping to derail a forced merger.
The aldermen voted unanimously at a special called Friday meeting to condemn any merger mandated by the General Assembly of the water system with Buncombe County’s public sewerage organization.
Black Mountain joins over 40 North Carolina cities and towns from Murphy to Manteo in stating for the record that the state takeover of municipal water system and public utilities sets a “dangerous precedent.” Asked for comment, Moffitt told the paper municipalities shouldn’t be concerned about owning water systems.
Republicans will regret merging water system, MSD, writes Steve Rasmussen in the new Mountain Xpress.
If Reps. Tim Moffitt, Chuck McGrady and the NC General Assembly succeed in expropriating Asheville’s water system, the mandated merger with MSD will lead to more urban sprawl, Rasmussen predicts, once control of water and sewer line extension is in the hands of a regional authority. The move will spawn a political arms race on a new battlefield for developers and smart growth supporters. Rasmussen writes,
Crowded, contentious public hearings will routinely overflow MSD’s meeting room. Green activists will accuse board members of rubber-stamping applications from greedy out-of-state developers; tea party activists will claim the board is conspiring with the U.N. to impose Agenda 21. Brutal political machinations will ensue, fueled by costly fundraising campaigns to elect city council members, town aldermen and county commissioners who’ll make the board appointments each side wants. In comparison, the intergovernmental bickering that tore apart our Regional Water Agency a decade ago will look like a backyard pool party.
Messrs. Moffitt and McGrady send their regrets.
I had the distinct honor of being invited to speak at the 32nd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast at the Grove Park Inn this morning. If you’ve never attended, I urge you to get a ticket next year. You’ll be inspired by the legends in the room, people like Oralene Simmons and other founding members of ASCORE. People who integrated our city by putting themselves on the front lines and standing up for racial justice.
I had three minutes, here’s the text of my prepared remarks:
I’m Asheville City Council Member Gordon Smith, and I want to thank Ms. Oralene Simmons and the Martin Luther King Jr. Association.
Mayor Bellamy sends her regards. She’s in Washington, D.C. representing Asheville at the National Conference of Mayors and inauguration, the reinauguration, of President Barack Obama.
I’m very honored to be here to celebrate Dr. King’s vision and our place in bringing it alive in Asheville. Dr. King famously said, “I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day, education and culture for their minds, equality and freedom for their spirits.”
Three meals a day. Three meals a day.
Today, as we come together over this fine meal there are families going hungry. And let me tell you what – you don’t have to look half a world away to find them. Right now, here in our community, there are children going without their breakfast. Others have food, but they lack the nutrition necessary for a healthy, developing mind. Too many in our community either do not have the means or the knowledge to meet their most basic of needs.
Is this acceptable? Is this acceptable??
No. This is unacceptable. We all know it’s unacceptable. Dr. King teaches us that when injustice presents itself, it is our responsibility not to turn away from it, but to address it.
We can address the issue of hunger in our community. We can do so with an audacious faith that, together, we can make a better world, right wrongs, and recognize that we are one human family – In my family, we don’t let other people go hungry.
For the last year and a half sometimes it feels like all I work on for City Council is food, water, and shelter. We’ll leave housing policy for another day, and I’d rather not talk about water…
But on food? I come today with good news and a call to action! On Tuesday, your Asheville City Council will take a historic step to reduce hunger, improve the health of our community, and strengthen our local food systems with the City of Asheville Food Action Plan.
This plan, with its five goals and fourteen initiatives will create the conditions for increased food production, processing, distribution, and education.
It will mean more people growing more food. You are going to see more gardens, more farms, more markets, more grocery stores, even food growing in our parks!
And this is the part where I ask for your help.
Folks, if we are truly committed to taking audacious steps to end hunger in Asheville and Buncombe County, then it’s time we Stop Mowing and Start Growing. Stop Mowing and Start Growing.
We can convert lawns to gardens, church fields to farms. By joining together in this mission we can come together – across generations, across cultures and across faiths to turn to lives of greater independence and better health.
We can come together to feed our community, our city, our county, our spirits.
We can ensure that every child has the nutrition they need to succeed in school and in life.
This will be justice, and it’s going to take all of us to make it a reality.
We will not shrug our shoulders at the injustice of hunger. We will aspire to justice through an audacious faith in our potential to make a better world.
Please join together in supporting the City’s Food Action Plan and in ending hunger in our community.
Your Asheville City Council reconvenes on Tuesday to deliberate and decision-make. Have a look at the agenda below the fold, or click here to see it with all supporting documentation at the City of Asheville website. Lots of important and interesting things on the agenda this week. I’m particularly excited and proud about the City of Asheville Food Action Plan. It’s the result of a unique process led by the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council (A/B FPC). The A/B FPC recommendations came through a process involving over 350 volunteers from across sectors. Those recommendations were fleshed out and vetted by the City of Asheville’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE). The resulting plan is a historic document that will provide goals and principles upon which all of our future food security efforts will be based. So check it out!
Check out everything else as well. Harris Teeter, New Belgium Brewing, multimodal transportation, and more. Please leave me your questions, comments, suggestions, and non sequitors in the comments!
From North Carolina’s The Answer to Annexation is Confiscation Department.
The Independent Weekly of Raleigh asks whether the bill being drafted by NC state Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, to strip Asheville of its $170 million water system might have statewide implications.
Several towns in North Carolina, including Butner, have passed resolutions opposing the legislation because it “sets a dangerous precedent that will have a chilling effect on any local government investing in infrastructure.”
“It is pretty clear state government has that power,” says Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton. “They have the ultimate say over what we do. This is obviously highly concerning.”
At press time Tuesday night, the town was considering a resolution opposing the bill.
For his part, McGrady says his confiscation bill cosponsored by Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, has “no statewide implications,” but that “somebody could decide it’s what they want anywhere.” The Independent replies, “That sounds like a statewide implication to us.”
The Independent Weekly quotes somebody named Barry Waters as a source on this story. Anybody know the guy?
Read more here.
A judge has told parties involved that he will not grant Republican Christina Merrill’s request that election officials be temporarily barred from certifying Democrat Ellen Frost as a Buncombe County commissioner.
Merrill had asked for a stay preventing Frost from being certified while she pursued her legal challenge to results which showed Frost beating Merrill by 18 votes for the second seat representing District 2 on the Board of Commissioners.
Frost and her attorney, Bob Deutsch, said this afternoon that Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway contacted parties involved to tell them he will rule in Frost’s favor.
In case you missed the AC-T yesterday, I thought I would share this rather interesting tid-bit concerning the email habits of Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell (Bothwell emails create tension).
“You make me want to puke,” Bothwell wrote to his fellow Asheville City Council member following a vote on a controversial downtown hotel proposal.
“I am so totally embarrassed that I endorsed you. What a total loser on matters that concern Asheville citizens,” Bothwell wrote. “Are your ears totally plugged with developmental money?”
While I might not be a fancy big-city public servant, I have in my time had to work with other people with whom I didn’t always see eye to eye on, and in my experience insulting and belittling your colleagues rarely goes over very well– or leads to anything productive. Or course, most of you being above the age of 8, know this already.
Anyhow…what say you?
(Cross-posted from BlueNC.)
A dozen North Carolina cities and towns within the last few weeks have passed, considered or scheduled votes to approve the nonpartisan NC League of Municipalities resolution against “forced taking” of municipal infrastructure by the state.
The resolutions are in response to a N.C. House bill proposed by Rep Tim Moffitt (R, Buncombe) forcing a state takeover of the Asheville water system, transferring it to a regional water authority created and ultimately controlled by the legislature. Asheville passed its resolution December 11, after 86 percent of voters rejected the takeover in a November referendum. An online petition opposing the move has collected 1,500 signatures in under a week. All other communities listed but Concord are a fraction of Asheville’s size. You wonder why they feel vulnerable? The NC League of Municipalities resolution states, in part,
… forced taking of any local government infrastructure because such taking sets a dangerous precedent that will have a chilling effect on any local government investing in needed infrastructure in the future, thereby endangering business opportunities and economic stability in the State and resulting in job losses for our citizens here and across the State.
Hendersonville’s city council postponed its resolution vote on January 3 after Rep. Chuck McGrady (R, Henderson, author of the “takings” bill) warned that a passing resolution would “not be helpful for Hendersonville.”
Not all cities post the results of their votes, but here are the links to cities that have or will consider opposing the “forced taking” legislation.
UPDATE: ISSUE TABLED JAN 10
UPDATE: PASSED JAN 3
UPDATE: PASSED JAN 7
PASSED JAN 7
PASSED JAN 8
UPDATE: PASSED JAN 8
PASSED THIS WEEK
UPDATE: PASSED JAN 11
Scheduled JAN 15
saveourwaterwnc.com Monday hit the airwaves with a radio ad attacking the “cattle barons” behind the threatened city water system merger as Pat McCrory made his first visit to Asheville as governor. Signatures to an online petition condemning the water system seizure accelerated in number, approaching a thousand Monday night.
The AC-T reports on the McCrory visit: McCrory discusses water merger
The new governor promised to act as facilitator in the water merger dispute:
McCrory said he has not made up his mind about what should happen with the water system, though he said, “We’ve got to develop a long-term fix, and it can’t be just the state involved in discussion or your local leadership.”
McCrory neither explained who else he believes deserves a place at the table nor what water system problem needs fixing.
In other McCrory news, he made an announcement: