Archive for Local

Jun
24

News For A Change

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Making Progress: News for a Change streams online Mondays from 6-7 p.m. as AshevilleFM awaits installation of its broadcast equipment. Local activist Barry Summers hosts. Barry is familiar to ScruHoo readers as commenter theOtherBarry.

Last night’s broadcast featured community activist Valerie Ho and Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell. You can stream the show here.

In the digital age, why just complain about the media when you can be the media?

Categories : Cecil Bothwell, Local, Media, News
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Jun
10

Asheville Wins Water Lawsuit

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Photo by Gordon Smith.

Photo by Gordon Smith.

Wake County Superior Court ruled Monday in favor of the City of Asheville in its lawsuit opposing a state law transferring control of the city’s water system to a regional authority.
Asheville officials said Monday that Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. ruled state lawmakers last year violated the state constitution and failed to compensate for the cost of building the water system.

The Asheville Citizen-Times cites the mayor on the court ruling:

Mayor Esther Manheimer said that by taking the city’s position on four of the six legal points at issue, Manning’s ruling would be more difficult for the Court of Appeals to overturn. The decision does not address the two other points the city raised, that the law was an unlawful interference with the city’s contract with bondholders.

Manheimer called the ruling “great for Asheville.”

City legal staff certainly deserves a nod for all the hard work. But nobody worked longer hours and more doggedly on this fight — including all the round trips to Raleigh for hearings — than local activist Barry Summers.

But Summers and other opponents of a regionalized system had better be ready for the next round. The state will likely appeal the ruling. The law’s sponsor, Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, called the court ruling “the first step in a very long journey.” And should the ruling stand, Moffitt might legislate again if he can find support among his colleagues for a more broadly written bill that puts more of their cities’ infrastructure in the crosshairs.

Unless Moffitt loses his House District 116 reelection bid this fall. A recent poll PPP poll released by his opponent, Brian Turner, showed Turner with a slight lead and 49 percent of voter with an unfavorable view of Moffitt.

Jun
03

Moffitt’s Media Makes Headlines

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Carolina Public Press scrutinizes Rep. Tim Moffitt’s Media. Moffitt started InTouchNC in December 2012 because he feels conservatives don’t get fair treatment in the media. So in an unusual move, he proceeded to buy up 170 domain names and sell websites to his colleagues in the legislature.

Shortly after Moffitt founded InTouchNC, NC Insider, a news service that covers the General Assembly and the governor’s office, published a report on the company.

The article quoted Moffitt as saying he had “thoroughly vetted” the concept of the business with the State Ethics Commission before launching it. Among the commission’s functions is advising legislators on questions regarding potential conflicts of interest.

However, Moffitt told CPP he did not take that step. “No, I didn’t run it by the Ethics Commission,” he said. Instead, “I reviewed the ethics laws to make sure that I wasn’t going to violate any.”

Contradiction? Misdirection? No.

Acting!

Genius!

Thank you!

Categories : Tim Moffitt
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May
25

Over It

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Hot Shot Cafe, courtesy zen Southerland

Gordon’s FB page linked to a post by Jonathan Ammons at The Dirty Spoon: Asheville: Land of the Discontent.

The post spun out of comments from people complaining about being so “over Asheville.” You know the type: people who just have to be the hippist in the room. That once the hip thing they “discovered” first is discovered and enjoyed by others, it’s not hip anymore. Ammons writes,

Several folks saw need to respond, many very graciously, but some in very disparaging terms about Asheville. Many blamed tourism, one man simply said, in the most valleygirl statement of the late oughties, “I’m over Asheville.” And it all really stuck in my craw. You see it all the time on social media now, “this place is just here for tourists”, or my favorite “the Asheville food scene is so overrated”. No, it isn’t you nitwit, you’ve just been in the bubble too long.

Since I just made it to WALK last night for the first time for a late dinner — and really enjoyed my huevos rancheros special, BTW — and since we were the oldest customers in the place, I’m sure we killed it off as a hip place to eat.

Still, overrated compared to what? I remember an Asheville when Chinese food was the Paradise and the hip, late-night place to eat was the Hot Shot. Excuse me if my standards aren’t so rarefied.

Categories : Local, Popular Culture
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Another day in Wake County Superior Court yesterday in the case of “Moffitt v. Asheville,” Judge Howard Manning Jr. presiding. Rep. Tim Moffitt and Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson were on hand for the hearing in the lawsuit challenging Moffitt’s “Regionalization of Public Utilities” law that forcibly transfers control of Asheville’s water system to a new regional authority.

Much hinges on whether or not Moffitt’s bill was deliberately written to evade the state’s constitutional ban in Article 2, Sec. 24 on enacting local legislation “relating to health, sanitation, and the abatement of nuisances.” Asheville activist Barry Summers was there to remind attendees — graphically — not of the water system’s history, but of the legislation’s.

While both McGrady and Moffitt watched the proceedings in court, Asheville’s attorney Dan Clodfelter disagreed with the state’s assertion that the bill was not local in nature. An attorney with the Charlotte-based law firm Moore and Van Allen, Clodfelter himself served as a state senator until last month, when he was named the mayor of Charlotte.

The bill does not specifically name the city of Asheville. But Clodfelter said it was clear that was lawmakers’ intent, rather than creating a statewide bill with a general set of principles to administer.

“Our constitution says what it says,” Manning said, indicating that the constitutional question was the crux of the case. Expect an appeal, however Manning rules.

Moffitt v. Asheville is a style of legal shenanigans we have seen emerge over the last decade from Wall Street to Jones Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. That is, to push the limits of the law to the breaking point and beyond, to knowingly step over the line and — using the law itself for cover — to arrogantly dare anyone to push back. If no one does, or if they do and fail, those who twist the law to their own ends succeed, and the boundary between the legal and the criminal moves again, and not in the direction of the public good. Rinse, repeat. Thus, torture becomes “enhanced interrogation,” fraudulent securities become top-rated investments, and public investments in schools, water systems, highways and airports slowly become the private wealth of oligarchs. Like watching an accident in which everything goes into slow motion, it is happening before our very eyes. Because it transpires in remote meeting rooms under color of law, we the people are not supposed to notice.

(Original post has been corrected. Rep. Nathan Ramsey was not in attendance Friday, but was cited in reporting as an original sponsor of the water bill.)

At a Democratic campaign rally back in 2008, an established Buncombe politician began a halfhearted stump speech with, “Well, y’all know me.”

Looking at all the new North Carolinians in the crowd both young and old who had lived in the area only a few years, it was clear many did not.

Decades of marketing efforts inviting Ausländers to vacation and retire in western North Carolina had succeeded beyond local officials’ wildest dreams — and in spite of some of their efforts. Asheville landed on top ten list after top ten list. Now, for local power brokers that dream was becoming a nightmare. Their marketing success had shifted the political landscape under their feet.

Mr. “Ya’ll know me” was going to have to do more to win votes than have a D behind his name or hope voters had known him since childhood. Luckily, that year several local officials rode Barack Obama’s coattails.

Not so for District Attorney Ron Moore in 2014. John Boyle’s Asheville Citizen-Times commentary on Sunday chalked up Moore’s May 6 primary loss to Todd Williams to running into a progressive “machine.” What he ran into was the 21st century.

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May
07

Attention! Your presence is requested:

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Asheville Free Media Holds Garden Party at Christopher’s Garden

Asheville Free Media is raising funds to get on the airwaves at 103.3FM, and in order to provide this service to the Asheville community, we need Asheville to help us Power the Tower!

On Saturday, May 10th, we are hosting a social & benefit at Christopher’s Garden from 1-6pm at 307 Waynesville Avenue in West Asheville. That’s right, it’s the colorful garden behind The Walk, where Westwood and Waynesville Avenues intersect!

Asheville Free Media volunteers will be on site to talk about what we’re broadcasting now, and to hear what you’re interested in listening to on the radio! We’re hosting a silent auction featuring pieces by local artists, there will be artisan coffee by Aesthetic Coffee, and Sow True Seed has donated seed packets for our party favors!

Our friends at The Mothlight are continuing the party on Saturday night! Starting May 10th at 5pm, the entire sale of the New Belgium Brewing Ranger IPA draft sales at The Mothlight will go towards getting Asheville Free Media on the airwaves!

Stop by our Garden Party at Christopher’s Garden on Saturday afternoon between 1-6pm, then swing by The Mothlight to refresh!

For more information, email info@ashevillefm.org.

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May
06

Election day Open Thread

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Does Ron Moore finally get the heave-ho?

Here’s some thinking music:

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Buncombe County, North Carolina residents who filed suit after finding their well water contaminated by chemicals from a CTS Corp. facility shuttered in 1986 will argue their case before the Supreme Court on April 23 (video clip from March 18). The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of 23 local citizens last year. CTS appealed.

At issue is whether the suit should be dismissed because of the lateness in filing the case. The pollution dates back decades. Community activist, Tate MacQueen, is among those leading the fight.

Because of the way North Carolina law is written, the Asheville residents may have no legal recourse. CTS shut down that plant and sold the property in 1987. A state statute cuts off a company’s liability 10 years after its last contaminating act, meaning the deadline for filing claims came and went in 1997. MacQueen’s heads-up letter arrived in 2008.

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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

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