Archive for Charles Taylor

Our waitress the other night was shocked that Raleigh is still planning legislation to seize the city’s water system. With 86% of citizens voting No in the November referendum on the transfer, she thought the matter was settled. Nope. Now Raleigh needs the city and MSD to strike some kind of agreement to give the appearance that they had any choice in the matter. And to improve the optics for Raleigh and provide legal cover. So, no, that issue is not at all settled. From the in-box:

‘Defending Our Water’ Action:
Taking It to the GOP
Saturday, Dec. 8 starting at 4:30 pm

Last month on Election Day, 86% of Asheville voters said ‘No’ to the idea of selling or leasing the Asheville water system. In fact, as AC-T op-ed writer John Miall commented after the election, “I can’t remember a time when 86% of Asheville voters agreed on anything. Talk about a mandate.”

In spite of these results, the NC legislature is sharpening knives in anticipation of carving up the water system come January.  If allowed to happen, this would be an unprecedented state government action that should send fear statewide into every community.

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From a press release. Read all the names, and you’ll see some very familiar ones:

Governor-Elect McCrory Announces Transition Leadership Team

Raleigh, N.C. – Today, Governor-Elect Pat McCrory announced the following members of his transition team:

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Regulators! …And the Bad Loans.

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Former NC-11 Congressman Charles Taylor was in the news this week, as his bank, Blue Ridge Savings, went belly-up.

Former Rep. Charles Taylor blamed increased federal regulations and a bad economy for Blue Ridge Savings Bank closing last Friday.

But regulators said Blue Ridge Savings Bank had failed to keep enough capital last year after being cited in late 2008 for poor management and a large number of bad loans.

The bank was declared insolvent last week, as its assets and deposits were taken over by the Thomasville-based Bank of North Carolina. Blue Ridge’s 11 branch offices opened Monday for business under new ownership.

It’s not surprising that Mr. Taylor would deflect responsibility for the management of his company. What’s surprising to me is that Taylor and managers failed to save the bank even after warnings from regulators about their dire financial situation.

Taylor placed $2 million into capital in September 2010, but failed to place a scheduled $3.7 million into capital at the end of the year.

He claims that regulations kept him from putting the money away, but no amount of avoiding responsibility can protect you from simple truths. If you put all your eggs in the construction/development basket, then you’re going to be in trouble when the market heads south.

To his credit (or perhaps because he didn’t want to deal with the additional associated scrutiny), Taylor and his bank did not ask for a TARP bailout. Also, it’s good to know that everyone with money in the bank was protected by the federal government, the real safety net when financial institutions fail.

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Wednesday Potpourri

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10.0405_JackoftheWoodThere’s exciting doings all over the place, and this Councilman/Counselor can’t find time to properly blog about it all.  Who wants to pay me to do this stuff full time?

The irascible ThunderPig reports that Dan Eichenbaum (R-Tetley), founder of the area’s 9/12 group, won another straw poll of Republicans, this time in Cherokee County. Dr. Dan hopes to face Heath Shuler this November.

Speaking of Heath Shuler, he closed the deal on the North Shore Road. That means Swain County will receive $52 million in compensation for a road never completed.  Somehow Charles Taylor, who was an Appropriations Committee member for years, couldn’t ever get it done. Kudos, Congressman Shuler.

In other Congressional race news, Virginia Foxx, the woman who always has one eye on the kookier wing of the GOP, has drawn a challenger in NC-05. “Billy Kennedy, a Watauga County talk radio host and community leader, will formally announce his candidacy on February 8 for the U.S. House of Representatives, 5th District of North Carolina. The “Billy Kennedy Caravan” will stretch from Boone to Raleigh that day, with stops in Wilkesboro and Winston-Salem.”

Ellie Johnston attended the Copenhagen climate conference and has a thorough narrative of her experience there. Excerpt:

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The Return of Ol’ Lumpy – Charles Taylor on WCQS

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The notoriously press-wary Disgraced Former Congressman Charles Taylor was interviewed (by phone – why leave your mansion on the hill when you don’t have to?) by WCQS‘ Steve Plever, where he sounds as if the last eight and a half years never happened and quotes Ronald Reagan as if the last thirty years never happened. You can normally listen to WCQS’ local stories here, but until they fix the typo in the M3U file, click below to listen.

Interesting timing on Taylor’s part, granting an interview where he states that he hasn’t “thought about the election as a candidate” shortly after Congressman Heath Shuler emphatically denied that he was running for Senate. If this does indicate a political comeback on his part, at least bitching about Nancy Pelosi and Shuler’s voting “for the unis… to, uh… have, um, dictoral elections without… the right… the right of, a, a… ballot…” is a safe and non-controversial way to do it.

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Bellamy Bringing the Broadband?

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Hunter Goosmann, the management mastermind behind the ERC’s regional broadband service, twittered a link to stimulus money dedicated to expanding broadband access:

Schedule and Milestones

Procurement for Grants Program Assistance Services March – June 2009
Award Contract for Grants Program Support June 2009
Preparation for Initial Solicitation for Proposals April – June 2009
Publish Notice of Funds Availability June 2009*
Initial Proposal Processing and Review Sept – Dec. 2009
Initial Grant Awards Made December 2009
Second Solicitation for Proposals Oct – Dec 2009
Third Solicitation for Proposals April – June 2010
All Awards to Be Made September 2010

Milestone Completion Date
Award Contract for Grants Program Support 06/30/2009
Initial Grant Awards Made 12/31/2009
All Awards to Be Made 09/30/2010

picture-22Mayor Bellamy’s had her eye on it. Mtn. X:

The push to expand broadband Internet access in and around Asheville may be building steam, thanks to federal stimulus money. Mayor Terry Bellamy is meeting with state representatives and looking for ways to use money made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help make it happen.

In April, Bellamy was invited to attend Innovation Generation, a policy summit in Washington, D.C., whose guest list featured industry leaders, federal representatives and other mayors, touting broadband’s importance in leveling the field in education, technology and industry. Cheaper than laying new cables and other infrastructure, it also has a broader reach.

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Just a note to let y’all know that I’ve not been much in the mood for blogging.  It’s my occasional attack of bloggui, and it comes around every several months.  Maybe Doug, Arratik, or Uptown will roll in to keep this virtual page fresh.  Or maybe not.  Either way, I’ll try to keep some fresh threads up for you until the blog bug bites me in the ass yet again.  It always does.

Is it correct that Carl Mumpower wasn’t invited to Charles Taylor’s annual Christmas dinner?

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NC-11 GOP: Names emerge amid weasel words

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Catching up with items that have been sitting in my RSS feeds since Election Day, I got the impression that the 2010 NC-11 congressional primary race has already begun.

I found a story from last week on the Hendersonville Times-News’ website (like I said, I’m way behind) that, among other things, details the local Republican Party’s efforts to regroup and look toward 2010. Toward the end of the article, a group of potential candidates are thrown at the wall; it’s up to the voters (and the potential candidates, of course) to see what sticks.

Some names being discussed as potential Republican candidates to oppose Shuler in 2010 are Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chairman Nathan Ramsey, state Sen. Tom Apodaca, Henderson County District Attorney Jeff Hunt, former Henderson County Republican Party Chairman Spence Campbell and former Henderson County Sheriff George Erwin.

Many of these names will be familiar to regular readers, and an article that appeared on the T-N’s website this morning expanded on the idea of a possible George Erwin candidacy:

Erwin said a lot of Republican activists and friends have contacted him since the election, encouraging him to run for Congress in two years.

“They really want me to run and seek the seat,” Erwin said. “I am seriously looking at it, but have not made a decision.”
“If I get in, I am in to win,” Erwin said.

And, of course, one more name was tossed off in the previously mentioned article:

Also, some Republicans say it is not out of the question that former Congressman Charles Taylor would try for a re-match against Shuler.

[S]ome Republicans? Umm…

Weasel words are usually expressed with deliberate imprecision with the intention to mislead the listeners or readers into believing statements for which sources are not readily available.
The expression weasel word derives from the egg-eating habits of weasels. An egg that a weasel has sucked will look intact to the casual observer, while actually being empty. Similarly, words or claims that turn out to be empty upon analysis are known as “weasel words”. The expression first appeared in Stewart Chaplin’s short story Stained Glass Political Platform (published in 1900 in The Century Magazine), in which they were referred to as “words that suck the life out of the words next to them, just as a weasel sucks the egg and leaves the shell.”

One specific example of weasel words: “Some people…”

Not only does this mean nothing on the surface, but in this case it seems to indicate some sort of projection of wishful thinking. When the article’s author asserts that some Republicans say that a Shuler-Taylor rematch wouldn’t be out of the question, neither would the reader’s assumption that the author has his fingers crossed.

Well, so do I. Not only would this make 2010 one of the most entertaining off-year election seasons to date, it would be ridiculously easy to cover. All we’d have to do is link to our archives. Whether any viable Democratic primary challengers will emerge in the next several months remains to be seen.

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Taylor Was, As We Expected, Wrong

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house-of-nonsense.jpg “A vote for Heath Shuler is a vote for Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco liberalism”

Rookie Heath Shuler is following the playbook of San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi”

From ads run by disgraced former Congressman Charles Taylor.

Asheville Citizen-Times, Jan. 14, 2008: Rep. Heath Shuler ranked in the top 15 maverick Democrats in the House, according to an analysis published Monday.

The Waynesville Democrat supported President Bush 19 percent in major economic, defense and domestic-policy votes, according to CQ, a political trade publication. Shuler was 11th out of 232 House Democrats in his votes supporting Bush.

Attention 11th District Republicans. We know you’re having a hard time figuring out how to attack Heath Shuler. We know you’ve seen his approval ratings and that you’re going to grasp at whatever you can. Pretending that he’s a Nancy Pelosi acolyte isn’t going to fool anyone. If 11th District Progressives could get a Pelosi acolyte, we’d take one. But we’re aware that anyone further to the left of Heath Shuler would be trotted out of the running faster than Clyde Michael Morgan.

Shuler’s Chief of Staff said this in response to Speaker Pelosi’s “plan to make the House campus more environmentally friendly and socially progressive”:

“If we are really worried about people’s health, why are we still selling triple espressos, double bacon cheeseburgers and ice cream?” asked Hayden Rogers, chief of staff for Rep. Heath Shuler, a Democrat … “We all make serious decisions every day with real consequences, yet adults on the Hill are not allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to buy tobacco.”

Aside from whether Hayden needs to be smoking, it’s pretty clear that this isn’t a guy who’s going to tow Nancy Pelosi’s line or carry her water.

A National Review article points out:

“Republicans will need more than help at the top of the ticket to prevail. They need to be able to make the case that the Democratic congressmen are voting with their liberal leaders rather than their moderate districts. So far, the red-district congressmen are not making that easy.”
“Shuler, Ellsworth, and Donnelly all voted for an increased minimum wage, but that’s popular in their districts, as it is everywhere. Voting to raise income taxes would be unpopular, but they have not done so.”

Misguided attacks from Republicans will fall on reality-based ears like seeds strewn on a stony ground. Shuler’s no liberal, no matter how much I might wish he were.

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asunder.jpg{pic credit}

It’s been a torturous time for North Carolina’s 11th District Republicans since disgraced former Congressman Charles Taylor’s ignominious defeat in 2006. Wacky Chad Nesbitt tried to take over the Buncombe Party, forcing the end of a libertarian coup. The Henderson County webmaster resigned very publicly. A chorus of voices rose up to criticize The Lump for playing coy over whether he would run again for the Congressional seat. Taylor himself, safely bunkered at his Transylvania compound, was silent as the grave for over a year. Strong potential candidates like Jeff Hunt and Tom Apodaca withdrew their names from consideration in part because of Taylor’s intransigence.

Today there are three candidates in the running for the Republican nomination: An intellectual libertarian, a rigid ideologue, and a squishy Party man. The head of the redundantly named Henderson Republican Men’s Club wants to see more of the Party apparatus get involved in putting the candidates out before the public in the same way they did in late November.

The GOP’s district Chair, Stephen Duncan, isn’t too interested in making that sort of thing happen,

“”There are individuals who feel there are different ways of doing things,” Duncan said.

He said Stanley is doing good work in Henderson County, a Republican stronghold, but he said some of the methods might not work in other counties in the district.

“They are all marching forward in ways that they think can help the district,” Duncan said.”

Get that? The GOP District Chair says that “methods” like public debates “might not work in other counties”. Which counties might those be? It looks to me as though the District Chair is having no success in coordinating his county chairs, even so far as to help their Republican candidates raise name recognition. With the 2008 11th District Republican Party Convention approaching, I’m looking forward to seeing the Republican infighting become even more public.

Looks like Shuler will be coasting to re-election.

{cross-posted at BlueNC}