Ashvegas Political Hit List: N.C. lawmakers get back to business in Raleigh, more

Jason Sandford

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

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

They’re baaaaaack! Yes, the wait is over. At long last, members of the General Assembly have descended upon Raleigh for the short session. There’s plenty of news to digest from the Capitol in this week’s Hit List, but we’ll start first with some of the latest headlines closer to home.

Council clears course for Cambria

It won’t be long before construction is in high gear at the corner of Battery Park and Page Avenue. City Council members uphelda plan Tuesday for development of a new 12-story hotel on the site, called Cambria Suites. Debate on the issue lasted more than three hours, with the bulk of opposition coming from local attorney Gary Davis. Mayor Esther Manheimer abstained from the vote, due to a conflict of interest with a client at Van Winkle Law Firm. It was her first time to do so since taking office last year.

Commission OKs BorgWarner incentives

With a promise of new hires and additional investments in its Arden facility, Buncombe County Commissioners unanimously backed a proposal to grant $1.9 million in economic incentives to BorgWarner, a company, which specializes in turbocharging engines. In exchange BorgWarner committed to plans for hiring 154 local workers and investing $55 million in its Arden space over the next five years.

Will Williams shed light on APD audit?

One week after pulverizing Ron Moore in the primary race for District Attorney, Todd Williams is being pressed to state his position on a still under-wraps audit pertaining to the 2011 Asheville Police evidence room scandal. Carolina Public Press reporter Jon Elliston writes Williams isn’t ready to state his plans for the audit, because he has yet to be declared winner in November’s general election or review the document for himself. City taxpayers footed the bill for the $175,000 review. Along with Ben Scales, Williams could face another write-in challenger this fallRebecca Knight, a former District Court judge.

Moffitt ethics complaint dismissed

Remember that weird meeting between Brian Turner and state Rep. Tim Moffitt a couple months back? Remember how Moffitt asked Turner to drop out of the race, and supposedly said some other things?Remember how big a deal it seemed, and how Turner filed ethics complaints against Moffitt and it all blew up for a few days? Well, at least one of those complaints was thrown out this week. The state Ethics Commission dismissed Turner’s complaint after finding no evidence to support it. The state Board of Elections has yet to offer its take, but Moffitt is already back to raising money, says the Citizen-Times. 

Short session screeches ahead

Members of the General Assembly returned to their old stomping grounds Monday, for a fast and furious legislative session. Business, which includes considering and passing Gov. Pat McCrory‘s $21 million budget, addressing a $450 million funding shortfall, boosting teacher salaries and addressing a host of coal ash facilities is expected to be completed in four-to-six weeks. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts! The gang was greeted by “spoons clanging on pots, singing protestors, NASCAR legends, teams of teachers and a bomb-sniffing dog named Carly,” according to the epic lede of this News & Observer report.

What to watch for in Asheville

A number of items being addressed in this year’s session stand to have direct impact on Asheville. The possibility of funding changes to the I-26 connector is on Asheville’s agenda, as is a law which would allow AB-Tech to sell beer made in its brewery training program. Lawmakers are also considering paring back incentives for film production in the state—an effort which Moffitt has expressed support for. In addition, McCrory’s plan for coal ash facilities involves closing Duke Energy’s Asheville pond, located at Lake Julian. For a broader roundup on what’s expected, check this report in Carolina Public Press.

Tillis welcomes new scrutiny

Not everyone can be state House Speaker and a candidate for U.S. Senate at the same time, but Thom Tillis can. Fresh of last week’s primary win, Tillis began the week in Raleigh, dismissing calls for him to abdicate his speakership in anticipation of November’s general election. The Speaker-candidate told reporters he welcomed the scrutiny that would inevitably come his way, and hoped it would shed light on policies he’s helped advance during his tenure leading the House. Tillis won’t be leading the House session scheduled for Monday though, as he’s scheduled to be attending a fundraiser in Washington, D.C.

That’s all for this week! Back for another round come Friday.

Jason Sandford

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

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