Ashvegas Political Hit List: Reshaping of Lee Walker Heights, RAD Lofts approval, 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

Council OKs RAD rent plan

Hoping to keep the rent down at a new development in the fast-changing River Arts District, Asheville City Council members voted 5-2 Tuesday night to grant $765,000 in incentives to RAD Lofts. The project, a 209-unit, $52 million complex to be built on the old Dave Steel property near the “five points” intersection, will also include office and retail space. Mountain Xpress reporter Jake Frankel has a recap of the meeting, which found council members Gordon Smith and Gwen Wisler casting the two “no” votes against the incentives deal.

Wish list on the way to Raleigh

“Rosy” wouldn’t be the best word to describe the relationship between City Council members and their representatives in Raleigh in recent years. But that didn’t stop the group from making desires known to the General Assembly, as they submitted their annual wish list to lawmakers this week. Among the requests—combating graffiti, boosting education funding, stamping out toplessness and restoring film incentive programs. And of course, keeping their hands off Asheville’s water system. For more context, read this Xpress report.

Reshaping of Lee Walker Heights?

Asheville’s oldest public housing development could have some major upgrades on the way. According to this Carolina Public Press report from David Forbes, the city’s Housing Authority has requested proposals from potential developers for overhauling the 96-unit project, which is tucked away near Mission Hospital just below downtown’s booming South Slope. If the ball gets rolling, the changes could be the first among many for Asheville’s 1,500-plus public housing units.

Moffitt-Turner meetup

Surveying the landscape for news between political foes Brian Turner and state Rep. Tim Moffitt, this week has been relatively quiet. Expect that to change today, as the candidates for N.C. District 116 share the stage for what will likely be their “only event before election day”—a breakfast sponsored by the Council for Independent Business Owners. In addition to Turner and Moffitt, candidates for District 115 state Rep. Nathan Ramsey and Democrat John Ager will also be in attendance. And oh yeah, some guy named Thom Tillis. 

Meadows at the fair

This week readers of the Smoky Mountain News were treated to one of the most disorienting interviews they may ever see—a sit down with U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows on the “Paratrooper” ride at the Haywood County Fair. The video is dizzying, might wanna take a dramamine before you watch.

Second thoughts on shutdown

In other Meadows news, the representative made some interesting comments this week in an editorial interview with theAsheville Citizen-Times. While addressing a slew of topics,  congressman admitted his role in last year’s government shutdown wasn’t his greatest idea. “Should I have maybe gotten another strategy to address that? I think history shows us the answer to that is yes,” Meadows is quoted saying. If you recall, a letter circulated by Meadows prior to the event iswidely credited for helping kickstart the sixteen-day shutdown.

Off-and-on again with Obama

President Barack Obama was a couple hours from Asheville on Tuesday, addressing the American Legion’s 96th National Convention. And if you follow U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, you’ll know she wasn’t too happy about it (except she really didn’t mind). Hagan, who is locked in a dead-head with GOP candidate Thom Tillistook a jab at the president before his arrival, for his administration’s handling of the recent VA scandal. But by the time she greeted Obama on the tarmac at Douglas International Airport, everything was fine. There’s not much else to the story—except that it’s a great example of the fine line Hagan must walk as a Democrat up for re-election at the same time Obama has a 45 percent approval rate among state voters. Of course, the Tillis campaign took no hesitation in bashing the senator for standing next to the president. Expect to see this photo replayed continually in weeks ahead.

Campaign math

One week after the adjournment of this year’s short session, Thom Tillis is out with an ad championing the recently passed pay raise for teachers across the state. The spot, titled “Math” features Tillis in a classroom praising his work in the legislature and criticizing his opponent, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, for supporting the president’s agenda and measures which increased the national debt (he doesn’t cite any specific bills). In a fact check by Raleigh news station WRAL, an analysis of the ad’s claims raised questions. In response, Hagan’s camp issued a statement reminding Tillis of her work on previous state budgets. The ad is part of a $1.4 million buy for the month of September. Who knows what’s in store for October and November? We’ll see.

See ya next week.

Jason Sandford

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

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  1. theOtherBarry September 2, 2014

    Rep. Moffitt clearly took a body blow in front of the usually-supportive CIBO crowd, by giving the impression that he was in favor of toll lanes for I-26. (115th District candidate John Ager referred to them as “Lexus Lanes”, meaning that the tolls tend to be so high, only the wealthy can afford to use them on a regular basis). The privatized toll lanes on I-77, which are being contracted out to a Spanish company, have been a political disaster for Thom Tillis.

    Both Tillis and Moffitt are on the Board of ALEC, which is strongly in favor of privatizing our highways. That plank of the ALEC platform was put there partly at the behest of member company Cintra, which as it turns out, is that same foreign-owned company that received the fat 50 year contract to privatize the new lanes on I-77. Whatta coincidence…

    Rep. Moffitt went from explaining and justifying toll lanes, to sadly hoping we wouldn’t “need” to use them, to later issuing a “clarification” via email to the press that he didn’t support them at all. By then the damage was done, and I think everyone understands that if he’s re-elected, we’ll by paying tolls to use at least a part of I-26, once the widening project is completed.

    1. theOtherBarry September 2, 2014

      Should have mentioned the ‘disclaimer’ at the end of Rep. Moffitts statement:

      “… it would be premature to predict what our needs will be or what additional solutions, if any, would be required.”

      So don’t hold him to anything he said previously, is what that means. Privatized “Lexus Lanes” are coming, folks – thanks to Tim Moffitt, Thom Tillis, and ALEC.

      1. roo September 2, 2014

        I haven’t said anything I’ve said or haven’t said, and would or would not expect anything I’ve said to in any way reify or disqualify any future actions related or unrelated to anything I may or may not have said.


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