Ashvegas Political Hit List: Keeping Haywood Road pedestrian friendly, more

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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kaye_hagan__video_filing_2014By James Harrison

Wow! Following political news in North Carolina this week was like drinking from a fire hose. Time to get caught up with another Hit List.

Filing frenzy

It’s that time of year again, when the air fills with hope, possibility, pandering and political rhetoric. Yes, campaign filing season is upon us! The deadline for formally waging a bid comes to an end today, so don’t delay and get your name on that ballot. For a complete list of candidates for federal and state offices who have filed so far, click here.

Hatching plans for Haywood

With new bars and restaurants practically falling from the sky on Haywood Road, Asheville City Council members unanimously approved a plan to bring more pedestrian-friendly features to the 2.5 mile stretch. The group also supported rezoning land along Sweeten Creek Road to accommodate a new 192-unit apartment complex. Council members Chris Pelly and Gordon Smith voted against the change. For a full roundup of the meeting, see Mark Barrett’s report in the Citizen-Times.

“Thanks for nothing”-gate continues

Gov. Pat McCrory has offered his two cents on a story which rocked the state last week. Readers of the Hit List (and virtually every other news publication in North Carolina) will recall the tale of drama in the grocery store, in which an employee told McCrory “thanks for nothing,” the governor and his staff complained to management, and the worker was promptly fired. In a letter written to the Charlotte Observer this week, McCrory attempted to “set the record straight”, saying the worker gave him the finger (an accusation the worker denies). McCrory made no mention of why he and his team felt compelled to complain about the incident, but did suggest the paper focus on more important news.

Coal ash fallout mounts

How’s this for more important news—39,000 tons of toxic coal ash leaks into a river, government stumbles out the gate to respond, and the company responsible has close ties to the governor who also happened to be an employee of the company for almost 30 years? Newsy, indeed. All that and more is unfolding in the wake of this month’s Duke Energy spill on the Dan River. Newspapers across the state have put the magnifying glass on McCrory’s relationship with his former employer, which stuffed more than $748,000 in his coffer for recent campaigns. An investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office is also underway, examining how relationships between big business and Raleigh regulators may have impacted the incident. Meanwhile, McCrory has reccomended Duke Energy move its 14 operating and retired coal ash ponds away from water sources.

Hagan flees first questions of campaign

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan filed for re-election this week, and commemorated the occasion with a heartwarming video bashing the efforts of “outsiders” to unseat her. Then, something strange happened. Having invited the press to chronicle the Kodak moment of her submitting papers, the senator appeared to exit the Board of Elections without taking any questions. Videos of Hagan walking out the backdoor with reporters in tow surfaced on YouTube, igniting criticism from pundits and Republican opponents. GOP candidate Thom Tillis used the incident to take a shot at Hagan, bragging about answering “all questions” at his own filing event. “No running shoes required,” he jabbed, in a tweet.

GOP primary race for all the marbles

If you can name all the Republicans running for their party’s nomination in this year’s Senate primary, you should win a prize. The race between seven conservatives continues to get national attention, with Washington newspaper Roll Call publishing a report this week on the possibilities of a runoff election. The Washington Post also examined the prospects for a Republican victory in North Carolina, suggesting that the possibility of GOP control of the Senate could hinge on the outcome of the race.

OK! Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

James Harrison recently returned to Asheville after working as a government reporter for, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Follow him on Twitter at @jharrisonAVL.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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1 Comment

  1. FDR February 28, 2014

    Lets just move all the Coal Ash to the Air Port in Asheville and wrap it in plastic. Seems safe enough for at least a few decades before they have to dig it all up because it leached into the French Broad river that just happens to be down hill.


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