Ashvegas: The City You Love. The News You Want.By James Harrison

After a healthy week off, the Hit List is back!

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 HillRep. 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?

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

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25 Comments

  1. Where is the Bothwell DUI article?

    • Look. Don’t go starting trouble here. Cecil is a wonderful atheist and commun…, I mean progressive, and therefore he is well loved in downtown Asheville. Plus, he accepted full responsibility for getting drunk and selfishly endangering the lives of everyone on the road while driving a car with no tag. His apology is good enough for us. There’s no story! Forget it and move on.

  2. Tim Peck posting in the comments section of a Moffitt article?! Whaaat?!

  3. “Moffitt takes money from outside district lines too”

    I think the point is not just that Turner’s contributions come from outside the district, but that so many come from downtown Asheville.

    https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=z0zA0YmP2hGs.kE9MVXvsSYJg

    You see, word has it, people in the 116th district don’t like Asheville very much. In fact, if Representative Moffitt ripped up the City of Asheville’s charter, set it on fire, pissed on it to put it out, and put the remains in a coal ash lagoon, the voters in the 116th would probably put up a statue of him with an annual celebration.

    • You see, word has it, people in the 116th district don’t like Asheville very much.

      And do they support the notion of abolishing the City and forcing County residents to take on responsibility for the costs and the debt etc. of a consolidated City/County government, like Reps. Moffitt and Ramsey keep talking about? I think we all know the answer to that is “No.” Do they support continuing to bash away at the City like it’s a blood sport, making a harmonious City/County relationship impossible for another generation or two? Well, maybe the really mean and short-sighted ones, but not many other than that.

      …if Representative Moffitt ripped up the City of Asheville’s charter, set it on fire, pissed on it to put it out, and put the remains in a coal ash lagoon…

      Thanks for dispelling the image of Rep. Moffitt as a vindictive bully. That really did the trick.

      You’re an employee of his, right? Is this the type of thing that he talks about around the office?

      …the voters in the 116th would probably put up a statue of him with an annual celebration.

      Well, not all of them, certainly – or even most of them. Brian Turner is leading in the polls. And I can tell you from personal experience, there are conservatives in the district that are eager to vote for “Anyone But Moffitt”.

      More complete list of Rep. Moffitt’s recent PAC monies here:

      bit.ly/T0u5Qf

      But don’t worry – I’m sure the dozens of Raleigh-based and out-of-state PACs listed here, who gave somewhere around $65,000 to his campaign in just the past 6 – 8 months, only have the best interests of Arden, Leicester, and Candler in their hearts.

    • In grammar school I always figured the bullies were working out ‘issues at home’ and tended to approach their antisocial behavior with as much compassion as I could muster.

      I always detested their hangers-on though. Yellow through and through.

    • I think the point is not just that Turner’s contributions come from outside the district, but that so many come from downtown Asheville.

      Rep. Moffitt appears to have taken contributions from one Asheville donor outside the district, that total $21,000. Can we assume that you will demand he return it all, so as not to be infected by its sticky liberalism?

      (Copy into your browser): bit.ly/1ntIWLh

      And it looks like Chuck & Nathan have taken quite the large contributions from them too…

    • That must be why so many people from the district donate to Moffitt, huh Peck?

      *84 people who live in the district gave to Turner this year alone, which is six more people than have donated to Moffitt in 6 YEARS combined.

      *More than half of all Moffitt’s fundraising since 2008 has come from political action committees and special interest groups.

    • Funny thing about phoney internal polls: they’re often designed to support a predetermined conclusion.

      Pete Kaliner debunked the myth about Turner being ahead in “the polls” quite handily the other week on his show. It starts at the 07:00 minute mark:

      http://www.wwnc.com/media/podcast-the-pete-kaliner-show-ThePeteKalinerShow/a-skewed-political-poll-petes-fear-24857854/

      A pretty good take down. Now, back to reality.

  4. The day after losing the lawsuit, Rep. Moffitt says that if it’s upheld, his Asheville water-seizure law can be used “equally as involuntary” elsewhere in the State:

    bit.ly/1iLu35I

    (WWNC clip)

    This will come as a great surprise to his fellow GOPers who insisted both in the House and the Senate, that it be amended to only ever affect Asheville.

  5. Rep. Moffitt’s corporate/PAC contributions just in the last few months (much of it during the period he claimed he was not fundraising due to the pending Ethics Board complaint):

    Anesthesiologists PAC $5000

    AT&T PAC $1000

    Physicians Advocacy Comm. $1000

    Carolina Mtn. Emergency Med. PAC $2000

    Carolinas General Contractors PAC $750

    Coca Cola Employees PAC $500

    Honeywell PAC $1000

    McGuire Woods (pro-privatization lobbyists) $2000

    Merck PAC $500

    NC Bail Agents PAC $1000

    NC Chiropractic PAC $250

    NC Farm Bureau PAC $3000

    NC Hospital Assoc. $3000

    NC Merchants PAC $750

    NC Orthopedic PAC $500

    NC Pork Council $500

    State Farm PAC $2000

    NC Bank PAC $1500

    NC Medical Society PAC $3000

    Pfizer PAC $750

    Rural Electric PAC $1000

    Time Warner PAC $1000

    Waste Management PAC $500

    Windstream PAC $500

    Carolina Asphalt Pavement PAC $1000

    Wells Fargo PAC $3750

    NC Auto Dealers PAC $2000

    Tim Moffitt himself: $24,723.63

    And then there’s the other politicians:

    Rep. Dollar $2000

    Rep. Mitch Setzer $5000

    Rep. Bill Brawley $5000

    Again, this is all just in the last few months. How many of those contributions do you suppose came from inside the District?

  6. “Pro Tip: You really shouldn’t draw attention to something that your own candidate is actually worse at.”

    Very solid advice.

    Unfortunately, for Republicans, spewing hypocrisy is like breathing. It is something they are simply incapable of not doing.

  7. Not a big fan of Moffitt, but he should be commended for taking quality time out with his son while the boy’s out of school. More dads need to do the same thing. Its important to the kids growth and maturity, and its also time that you can never get back. Some things are more important than work and politics.

    • That’s all well & good. But Rep. Moffitt knows when the short session begins and ends. He couldn’t schedule time with his son other than the crucial last two weeks of the 2014 legislative session? I’m certainly not a fan, and wouldn’t mind if he took a permanent vacation from the legislature.

      But cutting out for this long during the time the sausage is really being made is just weird. If I had voted for him, I’d be especially weirded out by it.

      • Pretty sure the trip was scheduled by the Scouts and not BY Moffitt. His priorities are in the right order on this one IMO.

        • The trip may have been scheduled by the Scouts, but he decided on his own to ditch his legislative responsibilities.

          If anyone else, God forbid a Democrat, had done this, you people would be setting your hair on fire.

          • Obama hasn’t been on the job since he was inaugurated the first time. Sorry POS has been absentee.

        • Politics Watcher says:

          Even pro-Turner folks might question his (or his handlers’) decision to slam Moffet for going on a Boy Scout trip with his son. A bit tin-eared for Turner, who has children.

          • luther blissett says:

            Yeah, I’m sure those working parents who support their families while getting little or no vacation time are going to applaud somebody who bunks off from work.

            What’s that saying? “You had one job.”

            I also feel sorry for the other kids. [Ha ha, that was a joke! I am so funny – © Tim Moffitt]

          • My guess is that Luther is either not a parent, or a very poor one.

      • Barry makes a good point.

        Tim should have had the Boy Scouts reschedule their camping trip to fit his schedule.

  8. I find it hilarious that the BCGOP went after Turner in regards to fundraising you when consider these facts:

    *84 people who live in the district gave to Turner this year alone, which is six more people than have donated to Moffitt in 6 YEARS combined.

    *More than half of all Moffitt’s fundraising since 2008 has come from political action committees and special interest groups.

    Pro Tip: You really shouldn’t draw attention to something that your own candidate is actually worse at.

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