Gordon Smith's blog

It's Not Every Day

Next Thursday, March 27th, I'll be one of the panelists asking questions of the three Republican candidates for NC-11's Congressional seat. The debate will take place at Asheville's URTV studios. There will be two other panelists, both, I assume of the Republican persuasion. The 90 minute debate duration means I'll get to ask three, maybe four, questions. I've got a couple cooked up already, and I'm looking for more good ideas.

That's where you come in.

Step Into My Parlor...

debatetitle.jpgAn Asheville conservative contacted me last week to ask if I'd be interested in a unique opportunity. City Councilman and Congressional candidate Carl Mumpower had the idea that he'd like to have this Hooligan on the moderators' panel at the next Republican Congressional Candidate debate. People talked to people, and candidates John Armor and Spence Campbell agreed to take the plunge. After I spoke with the newly elected Buncombe County Republican Party Chair to ensure there weren't any hidden rules or restrictions, I said I'd do it.

The debate will take place in the URTV (public access) studio in Asheville on March 27th from 2pm to 3:30pm. There will be three or four panelists asking questions of the candidates. I'll be one of them. It will be recorded then played on URTV and available at Google Video.

It's a good political move for Mumpower to invite me. He's running as the straight-answers to tough questions candidate, so inviting a liberal blogger bolsters his tough guy cred. Armor isn't afraid to answer any questions either, so we'll see if he can swipe some of Carl's patina. Spence, I imagine, had no choice but to say yes (after saying, "Gordon who?") once the other two were on board.

In addition to being good for Carl, inviting someone from the opposite end of the political spectrum is good for democracy. I hope this move will encourage broader debates in all future contests. I realize that, to some extent, I'm serving as a useful fool for the Republicans, but their aims don't bother me and can be part of strengthening and adding integrity to this Congressional race.

Lawsuit Says Cliffside Will Violate Clean Air Act

Looks like the pro-Cliffside crowd want Duke energy to break our Clean Air Law. Fortunately the SELC would rather them not.

Mountain Xpress: This morning, the Southern Environmental Law Center and 18 other environmental organizations from across the state issued a petition to the state Division of Air Quality, urging the agency to revoke or modify an air permit issued to Duke Energy for its new Cliffside facility.

In a letter to Keith Overcash, director of the division, the SELC charges that the permit, which was issued to Duke on Jan. 29, violates the Clean Air Act because it does not require Duke to use the best available controls for mercury emissions.

Everything Old Is New Again

Adam Searing at Progressive Pulse uses a 1966 NC mental health plan as a mirror and jumping off point. Go read the whole thing, but here's the money quote:

"Local governments and the state should band together and create staffed, professional, and, yes, government-run, mental health clinics to serve people who need care. Sure they could contract with other professionals, but core services would always be available in the community."

Without the safety net, no reform will be able to take root. Kudos to Adam for finding this 42 year old lens through which to view a solution to our current crisis.

Avram Friedman For House District 116

canary.jpgThe amazing and legendary Avram Friedman filed to run against Phil Haire in the 119th district - right next door to the ginormous Cliffside Power Plant in Rutherford County. Friedman has been creating, advocating, marketing, and innovating alternative energies for decades. Founder of the Canary Coalition, Friedman is perhaps the most environmentally progressive candidate ever to run for statehouse. From the press release:

"His opponent is incumbent Phil Haire who supports Duke Energy's decision to build Cliffside Unit 6, an 800 megawatt coalburning power plant in Rutherford County, a short distance from his district. Friedman opposes the plant as an unnecessary danger to public health and the environment.

Haire also voted for Senate Bill 3 in the 2007 legislative session, which Friedman promises to make into a campaign issue. This bill lifted a 25-year ban that prohibited the practice of charging electric ratepayers for construction-work-in-progress on new polluting coal and nuclear power plants.

In contrast to Haire, Friedman also promises to advocate strongly for comprehensive public transportation in North Carolina, major wind and solar energy development, utility rate-restructing to reward conservation and efficiency efforts, and a moratorium on the construction of new coal and nuclear power plants."

Larry Kissell, Presumptive Nominee

Jim Morrill at the Charlotte Observer lets us know that Larry Kissell's path through primary season has opened up like the Red Sea. I'm not sure who plays the part of Moses in all this, but it means that Larry's resources will be leveled against Robin Hayes and no one else.

"Charlotte lawyer Chris Kouri called Kissell and told him he won't run against him this year. Kouri ran against Hayes as the Democratic nominee in 2002. "I don't think it's any secret that I've looked at running in the 8th District," says Kouri, adding that he's now fully behind Kissell. He wouldn't elaborate on why he changed his mind.

Another Democrat who planned to run this year is John Autry, a liberal activist who lost to Kissell in 2006. After campaigning for much of the past year, he says he's sitting this race out for health reasons.

More from Morrill's post about national support for Larry - after the jump ---->

Sunday Morning: Elizabeth Dole and Zombie Reagan

Elizabeth Dole came to Asheville yesterday to meet with the who's who of western NC politics. I was unable to attend due to my lenten vow - Don't end up in the same room with Elizabeth Dole and Carl Mumpower.

Senator Dole, who claims she's a relevant candidate for Senate this November, presented her stances on taxes, national defense, immigrations, and economic stimulus. She did this by rhetorically fellating the gipper:

AC-T: “No question about it, I mean, he [Ronald Reagan] would want to make the tax cuts permanent, and they should be made permanent,” Dole said. “He would certainly want to continue efforts on deregulation ... and he’d also be urging us to look at the national defense. Why? Because we had a procurement holiday for a long time during the ’90s.”

Despite the skyrocketing deficit, shocking regulatory failures of the Bushies, and the largest defense budget in the history of the universe, Dole tells us that the Bush policies would have been a hit with Ronnie and Nancy.

How's your Sunday shaping up?

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