Man, a lot can happen in two weeks. In the days since our latest installment, a judge ruled in favor of Asheville in the dispute over its pristine watershed, Rep. Tim Moffitt suggested repealing the Cultural and Recreation Authority, and Gov. Pat McCrory swung through town for a fundraiser and was promptly met with protest.
Those are a just a few of last week’s offerings (oh yeah, did you see the one about McCrory trying to sell that helicopter?). Alas, time marches on, so we’ll move to this week’s headlines. But if any news is missed, don’t hesitate to mention it in comments below!
Evidence enigma exposed
Years in the making, a 2011 audit pertaining to the Asheville Police Department evidence scandal was made public Thursday. The 3,000 page review was handed over to reporters by outgoing District Attorney Ron Moore, who had stonewalled multiple media requests for the records until William “Lee” Smith, a former manager for the room, was sentenced this week to 10 months in prison for embezzling government property. Ex-Mountain Xpress reporter David Forbes detailed Moore’s release of the audit in a report for Carolina Public Press. A more in-depth look is on the way.
Buncombe budget on back burner
It was supposed to be approved this month, but County Commissioners opted to put their annual financial plan on hold this week pending developments in the General Assembly. The main issues slowing things down pertain to funding for teacher raises, and Moffitt’s proposal to repeal the Cultural Authority. Anticipating the state-mandated raises, superintendents requested additional monies to the $67.9 million marked for next year. But without a state budget passed, commissioners can’t account for exactly how much more the school system might need. The group briefly met Thursday to pass a continuation budget, allowing county operations to continue being funded during the interim period. Mountain Xpress reporter Jake Frankel has all the details in thisreport.
Dogfight develops in District 116
How many more days till November 4? You’d think the election was right around the corner by the way campaigns for Brian Turner and Rep. Tim Moffitt were slamming each other this week. The Buncombe County Republican Party went after both Turner and his donor base, suggesting the addresses of his campaign contributors indicate his ties to a progressive Democratic agenda (they even made a handy map which might have your neighbor on it!). The GOP specifically pointed to the amount of donors who technically live outside the District (Moffitt takes money from outside district lines too).Later in the week, Turnerblasted Moffitt over taking time off to go backpacking with his son. Moffitt broke his own news in a press release, announcing his plans to hike “more than 76 miles” this summer n New Mexico with his son’s Boy Scout Troop. Despite Moffitt’s explanation of the trip being within the bounds of General Assembly rules, Turner said Moffitt should be in Raleigh, representing constituents in the hyper-Republican legislature.
Politicians pressed for popularity
Speaking of the legislature, a new Public Policy Poll suggests you aren’t that happy with them. According to the new survey, only 18 percent of North Carolina respondents offered a favorable opinion of their General Assembly. McCrory didn’t fare much better, scoring 39 percent approval with voters across the state. No matter though, as both chambers sent bills to McCrory’s desk as he was signing others into law this week. Meanwhile, wrangling over the state budget between the House, Senate and McCrory continues. Expect a theme continually heated negotiations over the plan this week.
Congressmen cast criticism
Up in Washington, lawmakers from Western North Carolina railed against agencies headed by members of the Obama administration. In an op-ed written for The Hill, Rep. Mark Meadows lambasted news of missing emails pertaining to the IRS targeting scandal. In a similar vein, Rep. Patrick McHenry grilled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray over management of the agency in a subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill (you can watch video of McHenry’s questioning here). And here’s a weird bit—Meadows made the news this week not because of his actions, but because of some goofball lawmaker from Alaska who clowned around on the House Floor while Meadows was proposing to name a post office after a fallen soldier.
Senate saga soldiers on
Who has the upper hand this week? Looks like it’s U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. The same Public Policy Poll which found objection to McCrory and the General Assembly showed Hagan with her “largest lead for re-election since September.” The group suggests the margin—a whopping five percent—is linked to the low approval of of lawmakers in Raleigh, where Tillis serves as House Speaker. Still, 46 percent the same poll respondents disapproved of Hagan, a greater number than the 42 percent which expressed approval for the incumbent. Meanwhile, Tillis drew headlines on the trail this week after comments he made seemed to suggest “traditional” North Carolinians did not include the state’s minority populations. Hagan denounced Tillis’ “offensive remarks” in a news release.
Thanks for reading! Who knows what next week will bring?