Andrew LaFiosca, a local Ashevillian and protest organizer had this to say, “Over the past week, we’ve seen our collective community rise in solidarity confronting an administration that threatens our environment, our right to equality, and our future.
While some speculation remains on the reasoning behind McCrory’s sudden absence, especially in light of all the press releases, articles, and posts in Moog’s official schedule, I think we can all be happy that a man so mired in corruption, and so out of touch with the citizens who pay his salary will no longer falsely represent our town in it’s biggest festival of the year. Whether or not someone at Moog, or through the city made a positive decision in regards to the community remains to be seen.”
The rally remains scheduled for 2:30 pm, next Wednesday, April 23 in downtown Asheville at the Vance Monument.
“We still plan to gather at the Vance monument on Wednesday. The issues we have with the governor have not dissipated, simply because his presence has. They are not reducible to one man. We look forward to having speakers from different segments of the community come out to address these topics.”
ORIGINAL POST:Gov. Pat McCrory, who had planned to attend a special, invitation-only opening reception for Moogfest in Asheville next week, has canceled his appearance. Here’s the announcement:
Due to a scheduling conflict, Governor Pat McCrory will be unable to attend the Opening Panel of Moogfest. The panel discussion will be moderated by NC State University Professor Dr. Michael Walden and will be held at Diana Wortham Theatre on Wednesday, April 23rd at 3 p.m. Panelists include Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and Moog Music President Mike Adams, among others. For more information visit Moogfest.com.
Here’s the information regarding the opening and closing receptions:
The Van Winkle Law Firm, with offices in Asheville, Charlotte and Hendersonville, will host the opening and closing receptions for Moogfest 2014. Van Winkle will kick off the festival with a welcome reception for Governor Pat McCrory and other dignitaries on Wednesday, April 23 before an opening panel on economic development. The firm will mark the festival closing on Sunday, April 27 with a final party at Moog Music. Both events are by invitation only.
Van Winkle President Phil Smith said the firm’s role with Moogfest reflects its support of economic development and job growth in Western North Carolina. “We share Moogfest’s vision to expand our region’s diversity of creative and tech businesses with Asheville serving as a center of innovation in the region,” said Smith. “This year’s event will pave the way for a much larger economic movement, and Van Winkle believes in the community-based, collaborative approach to support and expand our business community.”
Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, a partner at Van Winkle, will be one of the opening panelists along with Hickory Mayor Rudy White; Robert T. “Bob” Geolas, President and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina; Mike Adams, President, Moog Music; Representative Nathan Ramsey; and Casey Steinbacher, President and CEO of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.
And here’s the press release regarding the planned protest:
Moogfest, a five-day local festival celebrating music and technology, is kicking off next week with a special welcoming ceremony for Republican state governor Pat McCrory. This private, invite-only occasion, followed by a panel discussion on economic development in which McCrory will participate, is being sponsored by the Van Winkle Law Firm. Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer, who is also a partner in the firm, is scheduled to join the governor on the panel.
But not everyone in the city is happy with this arrangement. After the news broke about McCrory’s participation, and what appeared to some as the mayor’s de facto endorsement of his appearance, a coalition of city residents quickly organized to protest.
The protesters cite a laundry list of complaints against the governor, including accusations of corruption, cronyism, attacks on women’s health and rights, discriminatory voter restriction legislation, cutting teachers’ salaries and funds for education, defending corporate malfeasance, refusing Medicaid expansion, among others.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen McCrory endorse laws restricting the rights of the LGBT community, and absolve Duke Energy in its crimes against our environment,” says Andrew Lafiosca, a local bartender who has helped organize the protest. “McCrory has failed Asheville and subsequently all of North Carolina by both blatantly disregarding and openly attacking equality, education and our environment.”
A page on Facebook was created to promote the demonstration planned for Wednesday, Apr. 23 at 2:30pm at Vance Monument and within two days over 200 people had signed on to participate.
Among those upset about McCrory’s celebratory appearance at Moogfest is Manheimer’s recent mayoral primary opponent, Martin Ramsey.
“It’s bad enough that our elected officials are giving one of the most reactionary governors in the country political cover at a time when his administration is mired in investigation,” says Ramsey. “The people of our city have every right to ask which of their legitimate demands are negotiable in the name of vague ‘economic development’. But we won’t get to know. It’s a closed-door meeting, a glad-handing affair where our political elite, local and state level, hob-knob with corporate reps to decide the shape of our future. That just won’t do.”
Lafiosca says Moogfest represents more than just electronic music, art, and science, but also local ingenuity, vast potential revenue for downtown businesses, and, in a way, the city’s future.
“Our mayor’s law firm is endorsing a man to speak who stands against everything I’ve come to love and admire about this town,” he says. “It’s time to take a stand and tell McCrory that people matter more than corporations, that he has no right to use our town for a photo shoot while endorsing legislation designed to crush our hopes and dreams, and that we will no longer accept his corruption.”