Hat’s off to Mountain Xpress and Citizen-Times reporters Jake Frankel and Romando Dixson, for quickly posting recaps of Thursday night’s candidate forum at the League of Women Voters. Candidates for District Attorney, Sheriff, School Board and County Commission attended—but most action was between DA candidates Todd Williams andBen Scales, along with Sheriff Van Duncan and his opponent Mike Bustle. Reports on the forum can be read on both Mountain Xpress and Citizen-Times websites (careful, one’s paywalled).
Backing off busking
Well that was fast. In less than a week, proposals for regulating Asheville’s street buskers were floated, more than1,200 signatures were gathered opposing the changes, and a Public Safety Committee instructed city staff to rejectpursuing new policy options. Of course, there was a lot more to it than that, which you can read about in this Citizen-Times report here.
City continues combating graffiti
In other city news, members of Asheville City Council opted Tuesday to grant a continuation of the recent program implanted to help business owners curb graffiti on their buildings. The initiative, which kicked off this summer, was set to expire Oct. 1. So far, the city has spent only $41,700 of $300,000 allotted for graffiti removal, the Citizen-Timesreports.
In other council news, the group OK’d $250,000 for burying power lines on S. Lexington Ave. in order to accommodate a proposed block of apartments behind the Aloft Hotel. What’s more, Councilman Cecil Bothwell said he was “totally ticked” at reports of police officers filming last month’s Mountain Moral Monday protest. Details here, in this Mountain Xpress report.
Television watchers were treated to not one, but two ads this week in the District 116 State House race! Things kicked off with a new ad from Democrat Brian Turner, who took aim at Republican state Rep. Tim Moffitt for shifting blame on “everyone but himself for Raleigh’s failed polices.” Turner wrapped the 30-second spot with a vow to “always put the families of Buncombe County first.” Moffitt quickly responded, dropping a response ad the day after, criticizing Turner’s family business for accepting government funds and laying off workers. The representative then touted his own business chops, and aligned himself with “job creation the right way, the Buncombe way.” In a statement later made to Mountain Xpress, Turner said Moffitt’s ad “misrepresents the facts.”
Here’s some good news—U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry and his wife welcomed their first child, a girl, into the world last month. The Gaston Gazette has a story on the Asheville congressman’s newest addition to his family. No word on if she has political aspirations, yet.
Meadows measure on messaging
In the wake of last year’s IRS scandal, U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows introduced a bill this week that would make deleting emails and text messages for official business a fireable offense for employees of government agencies. The bill passed a voice vote in the House, and was sent to the Senate.
The annual “50 Richest” list from Washington, D.C. newspaper Roll Call dropped this week, and only one Tar Heel lawmaker made the cut. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan came in at No. 41, with a net worth of approximately $9.1 million (give or take a few hundred thousand, but hey, who’s counting). Since winning her seat six years ago, Hagan has “been among the best-off lawmakers” due to a mix of real estate investments and stocks.
Tales of the trail
In this week’s edition of the greatest battle of our time—did you see the New York Times piece on “North Carolina, in Political Flux“? The post contains little that would be of news to local state politics enthusiasts, but it’s still well worth a read. Asheville only gets one mention—described as a “new age boutique”—one of several cities contributing to the “deep shade of dixie purple” which summarizes our state in 2014.
In other news, the Charlotte Observer took an in-depth look at Hagan’s work on Capitol Hill during her first term, as accusations of her being an “ineffective” Senator shoot off from the Tillis camp daily. If you’ve found yourself asking the question “what has Hagan done?” this election season, the article may provide you with a few starting points.
There was another interesting piece this week from Charlotte news station WCNC, which closely examined links between supporters of proposed toll lanes on I-77 and GOP candidate Thom Tills. According to the report, a group of Tillis campaign donors could “make millions” from tax dollars tied to toll lanes.
And finally, what big shot Republican isn’t stumping in North Carolina for Tillis these days? Last week it was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and this week saw found both Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham appearing alongside the state House Speaker. Next week, Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul plans to grace our state with his presence, in support of Tillis. This begs the question—are these visits more about winningU.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s seat, or are these guys testing the waters for a possible White House run in 2016? And why aren’t any of them venturing up to Asheville to stump for Tillis? And do you think there’s any chance we might see a high-profile Democrat come rolling through Western North Carolina in support of Hagan in the coming weeks? I’ll bet you can answer all those questions.
See you next week.