Archive for Buncombe County
by Gordon Smith
Are you excited about the victories we celebrated in November? Brian Turner defeated Tim Moffitt. John Ager defeated Nathan Ramsey. Todd Williams is our new District Attorney. Buncombe Democrats won every local race we ran, and now it’s time to gear up for next year’s big elections for President, County Commission, and more. That’s where you come in. Are you a Buncombe County resident? Are you a registered Democrat? We want you and need you!
When we know that the Koch Brothers intend to spend nearly a billion dollars in 2016 to elect people who want to make the rich richer at the expense of the rest of us, then it’s clear we need to begin organizing now. The battle for North Carolina will be front and center next year, and Democrats will have to organize like never before in order to combat conservative efforts to buy our democracy.
The county is made up of voting precincts. You know which one you’re in? If not, check here: http://www.ncsbe.gov/webapps/pollingplace_search/
On the morning of February 28th, Democrats from across the county will come together to lay the foundation for victory in 2016. You’re invited. We need your energy, ideas, and effort. Glenda Overbeck is a volunteer who’s marshaling Buncombe Dems’ precinct organizing this year, and I asked her “what’s this all about?”
Glenda told me, “Organizing at the precinct level is the best way to counter the money in politics. It also gives people a chance to get acquainted with their neighbors who share the same concerns. You can not have a voice if you don’t participate.”
Every precinct elects a chair and vice chair at the meeting on the 28th. If you want to lead your precinct, you can! If you’d rather not be an officer, but you want to contribute your time and brains, then come and meet your neighbors. Want to learn where/when your precinct meeting will be held? Check here: http://www.buncombedems.org/events_calendar
Buncombe County’s own Patsy Keever was just elected Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, and she reminded us that “it matters what happens in North Carolina, so it matters what each of us does.”
We lost Ms. Minnie Jones’ bright light recently. Minnie was always there at our annual precinct meetings, advocating for the less fortunate, wondering out loud why more people didn’t get involved. “Don’t they know how important this is?”, I remember her asking me.
Whether you show up to celebrate Patsy Keever, to honor Minnie Jones, to fight the Koch Brothers, to support the candidate of your choice, or just to meet like-minded Democrats – Show Up. This is important work, and it’s going to take all of us coming together to accomplish it.
On Asheville FM’s Making Progress Monday, Asheville city councilman, Cecil Bothwell commented on the future of the city’s lawsuit over control of the Asheville water system. McGrady had joined Moffitt and Ramsey in passing the bill stripping the city of control of its water system and transferring control to a regional commission. McGrady delivered what Bothwell describes as “a very unsubtle threat” [timestamp 37:50] to the city and the county’s new, all-Democrat House delegation, essentially, to play ball if they expect to get anything from the GOP-controlled legislature [timestamp 37:50]:
Depending on how that lawsuit occurs will really determine what happens next. But I will tell you — I want to very clear, I’ve talked to again Senator Apodaka about this — if the lawsuit is decided adverse to the position the General Assembly took last time, he and I do anticipate filing legislation to correct whatever the mistake might be. … I’m quite prepared to come back with a different approach to the same issue.
A word or two about fairness and common sense. Maybe more than two.
There’s been a stink this week about an Asheville city councilman using his parking pass to unjam a traffic jam in a county parking deck caused, he said, by a malfunctioning exit gate.
WLOS-TV asked drivers what they thought about the councilman waving through others without paying. One said, “Wow, that doesn’t seem fair.”
We have some strange ideas about what’s fair. (View image before continuing.)
Suppose she parked in the lot on Friday and paid the $8 day rate then parked in the lot on Saturday and paid the $5 flat rate. Was her Friday self treated unfairly because she paid more than her Saturday self? Or did her Saturday self cheat her Friday self by paying less? If her Friday self parked for an hour and paid $1 and her Saturday self parked for an hour and paid $5, who was treated unfairly? And when the county opens decks and allows anyone to park for free?
Don’t even go there.
Does Ron Moore finally get the heave-ho?
Here’s some thinking music:
It’s been years since I last posted to this blog. Decided to do so today because there’s an important issue that needs to be discussed within the Buncombe Democratic Party … and I don’t have another vehicle to start the conversation.
As you may know, I support Todd Williams in the current District Attorney race. But what y’all may not know is why.
What I didn’t write in the LTTE, because I didn’t want to be confrontational before more information became publicly available, is that Ron Moore had possession of evidence that would have cleared the names of 5 people for murder – and didn’t turn it over to their defense attorneys.
This is upsetting enough. What’s salt-in-the-wound is that this serious miscarriage of justice is not being discussed intelligently within the establishment of the local Buncombe Democratic Party during this year’s DA primary race. “Moore’s a good man” is the common mantra when faced with facts around this issue, or pretty much every other scandal concerning Moore.
Ron Moore may very well be a good man. Fine. It really depends on which side of the prison-bars you’re sitting on – I guess.
The Asheville Citizen times has full coverage of the story here. But the highlights are:
1) Ron Moore ignored DNA evidence.
2) Another person admitted to the crime in 2003, but Moore didn’t re-open the case for investigation.
3) Videotape evidence corroborating the 2003 confession was ignored.
I know Moore is a Democrat. He might even be a great guy in-person. But 5 people spent years in jail because Moore didn’t want to do his job properly. Frankly, if it had been 5 white middle-class kids – it is my humble option he would have been disbarred over this by now. In the coming years this issue is going to develop into a major scandal, putting the already tarnished credibility of the DA’s office in serious jeopardy.
The local Democratic party has a choice this year: During the primary y’all can put forth a 24-year incumbent with a history of opaqueness, sweeping serious issues such as the evidence-room scandal under the rug, and preventing justice; or you can submit someone who will focus on doing the right thing.
ON EDIT: Grammar & spelling
Voter Integrity Project: Sitting in a darkened kitchen wearing night-vision goggles to protect their crackers from Bigfoot. ——->
The Voter Integrity Project and the Asheville Tea Party are coming to the Buncombe County Board of Elections on Woodfin St. in Asheville for a hearing set for 5:30 p.m. tonight in Room 330 in the William H. Stanley Building, 35 Woodfin St. The preliminary hearing will consider the 182 voter registration challenges filed earlier this month. The PBS program Frontline was there to cover the story according to accounts.
Perhaps tonight there will be fireworks of the sort VIP-NC director Jay Delancy is known for. After a set of his Wake County challenges was rejected by the local board in 2012, DeLancy “snatched his microphone off the board’s table mid-meeting, kicking glass doors open in front of him as he stormed out of the meeting room in the Public Safety Center. He slowed down once he realized news cameras were chasing him.”
When VIP-NC held a “boot camp” in Asheville last fall, they emphasized the need for getting dead and inactive voters off the rolls because of the possibility of widespread voter fraud — or was it a widespread possibility? — for which they never seem to produce evidence. Basically, T-partiers are convinced that if they lose an election it must be because their opponents cheated. What else could it be? Zombies? Bigfoot?!
VIP-NC also warned the Asheville T-party to avoid vote caging, which they had to have defined. It’s illegal. The T-party sent letters to suspect voters that got returned; they knocked on those doors to see if voters still lived where five or more voters were registered.
So, where would they look for the fraudulently dead in Asheville? Well, here’s a list of the precincts (out of 80) in which they looked, ranked by approximate number of challenges:
11.1- ASHEVILLE SENIOR OPPORTUNITY CTR – Grove St- includes Aston Park Towers and South French Broad
3.1 ST MARKS LUTHERAN CH – Montford
2.1 ISAAC DICKSON ELEMENTARY – includes Klondyke Apts and Hillcrest, Montford
10.1 DR WESLEY GRANT SR-SOUTHSIDE CENTER – includes South French Broad, Lee Walker Heights and Livingston
14.3 ELIADA HOME – Compton Dr
15.1 VANCE ELEMENTARY
12.1 HALL FLETCHER SCHOOL
62.1 GRASSY BRANCH BAPTIST
17.1 BETH ISRAEL SYNAGOGUE
14.2 ASHEVILLE CITY PRE-SCHOOL – Haywood Rd- Burton Street Community
8.2 SHILOH COMMUNITY CENTER
As with promoting voter identity cards, much time and effort expended to prevent ineligible people from voting. At the VIP-NC training last fall, not once (in seven hours?) did anyone suggest opening up the franchise to greater participation, registering new voters and encouraging them to exercise their right to vote.
Be there tonight by 5:30.
From the press release at his website:
Williams Announces Bid to Restore Integrity to District Attorney Office
Attorney Todd M. Williams of Asheville announced that he has filed as a Democrat running for election to the Office of District Attorney for the 28th Judicial District. The Primary is May 6.
“The Office of District Attorney should be renowned for its fairness and integrity in pursuit of justice. In seeking justice, the office must safeguard the rights and reputations of the innocent,” Williams said. “To regain this reputation and trust, we need new leadership that will demonstrate the highest degree of integrity and professionalism. I offer to provide that leadership.”
Williams believes transparency will be essential to renewing public trust in the Office of the District Attorney.
Local and national media have documented the Office’s lack of transparency. Documents in the public interest were suppressed. Innocence Commission hearings resulted in overturning murder convictions that had kept young men in jail for years.
“These events have tarnished the public perception of the openness of the Office of District Attorney,” Williams said. “That perception harms our criminal justice system.”
Williams has nearly 15 years of experience as a defense attorney. He has served as Assistant Capital Defender, Assistant Senior Public Defender, and Assistant Public Defender for nine years in Buncombe County. Williams said he is ready to transition from defense to prosecution within the criminal justice system.
“Defense attorneys and prosecutors are united in seeking justice. The players are different, but, in a well-run system, we are all on the same team,” Williams said. “The most pressing need in our criminal justice system is the need for new leadership in the Office of District Attorney. We need to rebuild public trust, increase consistency, and increase professionalism. I am ready to step up and deliver that new leadership.”
Williams, 45, is a North Carolina native and long-time Buncombe County resident. He and his wife Catherine have a 14-month old daughter. Williams serves on the board of Green Opportunities. He is also an investor in a local business, Wedge Brewing Company.
“I am committed to making our community an even safer place to live and raise a family,” Williams said.
“It will be my honor to bring a fresh, measured approach to the Office of District Attorney, which will be efficient, responsive to law enforcement, and fair to defendants that are brought before the court for prosecution,” Williams said.
Williams earned his undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and his J.D. from Northeastern Law School. Williams has been practicing law in North Carolina since 2000. In addition to serving on the board of Green Opportunities, Williams volunteers on Democratic campaigns and is a past Commissioner of the Historic Resources Commission of Asheville and Buncombe County.
For more information about the District Attorney Race in Buncombe County NC visit www.WilliamsforDA.com
I’ve known Todd Williams for years, and I know him to be trustworthy, hardworking, intelligent, and fair. He’s also got guts. It takes a lot of guts to take on a long-time incumbent, so I hope you’ll take some time to get to know the candidates and make your decision based on your values.
Your Buncombe County Democratic Party needs you. We’re getting organized to make some change in 2014 elections, and every registered Democrat is invited to be a part of it. After the jump please find the time and location of your precinct meeting. Not sure which precinct you’re in? Use this handy tool.