Archive for North Carolina
Because Friday night’s not too bad for fighting, either.
NC Legislators & Governor: We Oppose the Forced Taking of Municipal Water Systems!
By Kathie Kline (Contact)
To be delivered to: The North Carolina State House, The North Carolina State Senate, and Governor Beverly Perdue
2) I am opposed to any mandated takeover as it sets a bad precedent for the future of all cities owning and operating municipal assets and undermines the confidence of municipalities to move forward to invest in their systems.
3) I am opposed to any mandated takeover as it calls into question the authority of state legislatures to arbitrarily transfer assets from one local government entity to another.
North Carolina’s General Assembly is about to take the unprecedented step of seizing a municipal-run water system from a City, which in this case has owned & operated it for over 100 years. Members of the NCGA have signaled their intention to introduce legislation in early 2013 that would force the City of Asheville to turn over not only its water distribution system, but control of its pristine 20,000 acre watershed, to the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County (MSD). Indications are that the City of Asheville will likely receive no compensation for the taking of these assets.
You may have heard Councilman Bothwell’s pronouncement on New Years’ Day, but in case you didn’t:
City officials will consider whether a ban on firearms on city property could bar gun shows like one planned at the WNC Agricultural Center this weekend.
Councilman Cecil Bothwell made the call Tuesday for enforcement of the gun ordinance in the wake a shooting that killed 26 people at a Connecticut school.
Asheville for years has had an ordinance prohibiting the possession of firearms on city-owned property, while gun shows have regularly been held at the city-owned Agricultural Center on Airport Road and U.S. Cellular Center downtown.
“I don’t understand why that law is not being enforced,” Bothwell said.
This conversation comes just after the city government announced that we’ll be installing a metal detector and other security protocols at Asheville City Hall, a decision that was made in advance of the Sandy Hook Massacre but which is indicative of a shift to defend innocent people from the growing specter of gun violence. The ordinance that restricts guns on city property can be read here. It seems very clear.
More information is held within NCGS 14-409.40 (Thanks to Matt Mittan for locating this):
§ 14?409.40. Statewide uniformity of local regulation.
For those of you paying attention to the changes in our NC state executive offices, here’s another brick in the wall:
Veteran lawmaker Rep. Mitch Gillespie – who in 2011 literally drew a bulls-eye target on his legislative office window aimed at the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources – will resign next month to become an assistant secretary of the agency.
Gillespie spearheaded a slew of environmental regulatory reforms in last year’s session, and said he felt he had good relations with environmental advocates. But Gillespie comes from the business side of the equation, having worked in surveying, civil engineering and land development.
He has been supported by the state’s energy company PACs.
Skipping around the internets, I found these delectables:
Turns out gerrymandering did the GOP a lot of favors nationwide this year, and the coup de grace was what they pulled off in North Carolina. The top line in the graphic below represents the popular vote, and the bottom line represents number of seats won. Read all about it at Mother Jones.
Asheville’s water customers are the ones who stand to get soaked in next year’s water merger legislation, says the News & Record of Greensboro.
… The measure, pushed by Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, and Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, was seen as a prelude to a merger. But some critics suspect the ultimate goal is to privatize water services in Asheville. Moffitt and McGrady deny it, but much of this story seems to lie beneath the surface.
Asheville’s objections aren’t unreasonable. Like Greensboro, High Point and most other sizable cities in North Carolina, it has made huge investments in water collection, treatment and delivery. At the very least, its customers and taxpayers deserve fair compensation for what they’ve spent. They are the ones who stand to get a soaking.
Or is that a ducking, Messrs. Moffitt and McGrady?
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 GOPSaturday, 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.
Austerity. Just what you wanted for Christmas. From McClatchy:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A group co-founded by Charlottean Erskine Bowles brings its campaign to reduce the federal debt to North Carolina next week, making the state the latest front in the battle to avert the “fiscal cliff.”
Two former governors – Democrat Jim Hunt and Republican Jim Holshouser – will launch Fix the Debt’s N.C. chapter at a news conference Tuesday in Raleigh.
Fix the Debt was founded by Bowles and Alan Simpson, a former U.S. senator from Wyoming. They chaired the so-called Bowles-Simpson commission that two years ago proposed a package of spending cuts and tax hikes to begin reducing the federal debt, now estimated at over $16 trillion.
If you didn’t see Lloyd Blankfein’s CBS interview a few days ago, it gets better. From Huffington Post, “CEO Council Demands Cuts To Poor, Elderly While Reaping Billions In Government Contracts, Tax Breaks”:
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:
Congratulations to President Barack Obama on his re-election. He won Buncombe County by over 25,000 votes though we weren’t enough to hold North Carolina for him. That huge Buncombe County Democratic advantage didn’t show up in our local races due, in no small part, to recent redistricting that boxed Buncombe’s Democrats.
I’ll be outside a voting precinct today advocating for the candidates I support. Over 40% of Buncombe County’s eligible voters already cast a ballot during early voting. The weather today is cool to cold and a threat of rain all day. Americans for Prosperity (a.k.a. Koch Bros.) are paying people to work the polls, even here in Buncombe. Democrats, meanwhile, have volunteers out helping.
If you have any time today, help out at your polling place. An hour or two can make an enormous difference. Here’s a handy list of Democratic candidates if you need it. It tends to be the case that a lot of Election Day voters come in not necessarily knowing about downticket races like Register of Deeds, County Commission, or the referendum. That’s where your presence makes a big, big difference.
Whether or not you work a poll, here are some other things you can do today to help:
1) Email all of your contacts urging them to vote.
2) Text all of your contacts urging them to vote.
3) Call the slackers in your life and urge them to vote.
4) Offer rides to the polls to people who need them.
5) If you’re using social media like Facebook and Twitter, be sure to link people to the above list of candidates.
It’s gonna be a nail biter, folks. No matter what happens, we’ll get through it together.