Ashvegas Political Hit List: Reining in RAD rents, toppling toplessness, coal ash completed, 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

Reining in RAD rents

Less than a year after approving a $52 million River Arts District Lofts project, members of City Council are interested in offering the project’s developer up to $760,000 to keep rents down. The Citizen-Times reports City Council will consider an incentive grant for RAD Lofts next week. The $52 million, 209-apartment development, which is going in the old Dave Steel Property near the “five points” intersection, has some nearby residents worried about gentrification in the area.

RAD reopening requirements

Meanwhile down the street in the RAD, tenants of buildings which had their power and utilities severed by the city last month have been given an outline for how to get back on the grid. City officials denied occupancy to tenants in structures at 339 Old Lyman Street, citing repeated code violations. Now, officials would like to see the buildings occupied again—but only after certain conditions are met. To read what they are, click here.

Toppling toplessness

There’s another topless rally coming up, and city officials hope you won’t even think about going. Mayor Esther Manheimer and every member of City Council sent out an open letter this week discouraging citizens from attending the event. “We believe that [the rally] does nothing to help our community,” the letter reads.

Assembly adjourned (for now)

Can you believe it? The longest short session ever came to an end this week, with lawmakers closing up shop Wednesday. Don’t breath a sigh of relief quite yet though—odds are good Gov. Pat McCrory will call lawmakers back to Raleigh for a special session before November to address a slew of unresolved issues including Medicaid, economic incentives and film incentives.

Coal ash completed

One of the biggest items before the General Assembly this session was crossed off Wednesday, as House and Senate leaders agreed to pass a coal ash bill. The measure, which responds to this year’s spill by Duke Energy on the Dan River, implements a 15-year timeline for the provider to eliminate 33 unlined coal ash ponds across the state, including one in Buncombe County.

Also on the coal ash item, it’s worth mentioning that state Sen. Terry VanDuyn was one of only two senators in the whole state to oppose the bill. Rep. Susan Fisher also opposed the House version. Here’s the roll call.

Moffitt Mr. Effective

Looking for an effective lawmaker? State Rep. Tim Moffitt gets things done more than almost anyone serving at the state level. At least that’s the line from a new analysis by the N.C. Insider. In this year’s short session, Moffitt sponsored 8 percent of the 564 new laws. Does any of this sound familiar? Moffitt was named one of the most effective lawmakers in the General Assembly earlier this year by a state political thinktank.

Speaking of Moffitt, the representative released the second ad of his campaign this week, a 30-second piece titled “Next Generation.” The ad features Moffitt’s father, and opts to slam the policies of President Barack Obama rather that the positions of his Democratic opponent, Brian Turner. Responding to the ad, Turner described the piece as a “distraction” and attacked policies supported by Moffitt in the recent legislative session.

Tillis trashes politicians

Politicians are so out of touch! All they do these days is make a mess. That’s the message in a new ad from GOP Senate candidate Thom Tillis, who makes no mention of his most recent job—state House Speaker. Tillis mentions his time spent working in the real world as a “paper boy, short-order cook, warehouse clerk, and eventually a partner at IBM,” but one of the most powerful politicians in the state? Nah, no need to mention that.

And what do ya know? Tillis and the incumbent, Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, are neck-and-neck.

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. Tim Peck August 25, 2014

    Great to hear that after decades of inaction and Democrats letting Duke Energy off the hook, twice, we finally have a coal ash bill.

    1. theOtherBarry August 25, 2014

      …which lets Duke off the hook.

  2. Aaron Sarver August 22, 2014

    This Coal Ash bill is an election year band-aid by the GOP.

    “But this something is not much better than nothing. Essentially, Senate Bill 729 proposes to solve the coal ash problem by declaring it not a problem.”

    Much more info on why the bill is weak sauce here:

    1. theOtherBarry August 22, 2014

      And don’t forget who rushed over to sign his name to it before it even came up for debate. Yep…

      Interesting – the three House members who took credit for negotiating this deal to let Duke off the hook for polluting NC’s groundwater, are three of the sponsors of the bill to seize Asheville’s water.

      1. cwaster August 25, 2014

        Anyone surprised the GOP passed a weak bill? I mean… look at the Governor and his “Duke” connections. Color me not surprised.

      2. roo August 25, 2014

        John Cleese had to have Tim Moffitt in mind when he said, “I trust you about as far as I can throw a wet mattress up a spiral staircase.”

    2. Matt August 22, 2014

      I guess that’s why two major democrats opposed the bill, because it’s a weak sauce get out of jail free card?


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