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Good morning!

This is the weekly DKos Asheville open thread series that randallt and I try to deliver every Saturday morning. We would like this series to reinvigorate us locally and regionally here on Daily Kos, building on the sense of community that's grown through our online engagement. DKos Asheville can give us all a better sense of connection, a better understanding of who these people are that we stand with, work with, and share with in the political process. We hope, through this community, that we can do a better job of leveraging our orange passion for progressive politics to help elect more and better Democrats.

Yesterday, BruinKid posted a diary letting us know about an incident he found on ThinkProgress where a committee chair in the North Carolina legislature passed a bill without actually counting the votes.  I followed the links to learn more about what happened.

Here is video of the "vote"; the clip is two minutes long.

The first part of the video is testimony from a hog farm operator who opposes the bill.  The NC Pork Council and NC Farm Bureau opposed the legislation since they support and profit from renewable energy.  Then the video shows the "vote".  It is a voice vote with no show of hands.  Listening to the video, it would appear that the "no" votes where louder than the "aye" votes; but the chair, Bill Rabon, simply states that the "aye"s have it and that the bill is passed; and then he quickly adjourns the meeting.

The bill would end North Carolina's renewable energy program.  The current law requires that 12.5 percent of energy provided by utilities be from renewable sources by 2021.  The new bill would cap the requirement at 3%, and would eliminate it in 2023.

ThinkProgress states that even utilities ...

... support the standard: Duke Energy has found that the clean energy promoted by the standard helps with peak load, is reliable, and makes a profit.
According to the Charlotte Observer, at least six Republicans voted with Democrats against the bill.  The Observer also had this to say about the bill ...
The bill, which is closely watched by 16 national and state conservative organizations, has become a measure of party discipline. The American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform and The Heartland Institute are among the organizations pushing to make North Carolina a testing ground for rolling back policies that favor renewable energy.
So a bill that would gut and eliminate current renewable energy standards, standards that are supported by utilities and farmers among many others, is passed by voice vote with no show of hands, when it is clear from all accounts that the vote, had it actually been counted, would have been very close.

Just another sign, in the long list of signs, of the damage that our legislature is doing to our state.  2014 is of course an off-year election when turnout is low.  But it does seem to me that the more information we can get out to our fellow citizens about this legislature, the more motivated they will be to show up and vote.  Picking up even a few seats will help; and perhaps focusing our efforts on the most winnable districts might be a good idea.  But in the face of what they are doing to our state, 2014 seems exceedingly important.

Enjoy your Saturday,


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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks (8+ / 0-)

    Thank you for the thread from a fellow Kosack in Wilmington. NC has become a laughingstock since the Rs took over in Raleigh, from double-downing with the anti gay marriage amendment to undoing laws to prevent judicial discrimination to establishing our own religion. I know some of these people personally. I didn't think they were THAT weird.

    •  Your welcome; and hello Wilmington! (5+ / 0-)

      And yes, the turnaround our state is undergoing is disturbing.

      Love one another

      by davehouck on Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:48:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you think (7+ / 0-)

        it will re-turn around? Being in the red belt of the state, I don't think I have a good handle on the overall mood. But I do know that my congressman, Mike McIntyre - one of the last remaining blue dogs - might finally be getting someone from his left challenging him in the next primary. Word has it long-time County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield is eyeing the race. Gads, I hope so.

        •  Yes; I think we can turn it around (6+ / 0-)

          I think it requires an effort on the part of all of us to educate the wider public about everything that the legislature has been doing; but that is not an easy task.  I guess it requires facebook and twitter and letters to the editor, and talking to coworkers in the breakroom at work, and with neighbors over the fence, and with friends we meet on the weekends.  We need to get our fellow citizens to make the connection between the bizarre legislation being introduced in Raleigh, and the fact that their Republican representative in Raleigh is part of the problem.  Then we need to get people to the polls.

          I don't think it will be easy; but I do think it can be done.  Even rural folks who never attended college tend to look upon NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill with a sense of pride.  The Republicans in Raleigh may toe the ALEC line, but the voters have no allegiance to ALEC.  They are, to a significant degree, and in the broader sense of the name, Tar Heels first.

          We might not be able to win back both or even one chamber in 2014, but we can, and must, make progress toward that goal.

          Love one another

          by davehouck on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:38:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sometimes people can be SO (6+ / 0-)

          stupid and/or apathetic that you just have to shake your head. In that vein, it's good to remember that here in Amerika (and in No'Cackalackie) we get exactly the government we deserve. Here, ever since the Civil War, NC has been unapologetically Democratic in its state government. Even when the Helms machine dominated the national vote, we stayed Democratic in-state.

          The inability since 2000 to trust that our votes actually count coincides almost exactly with what Dave highlighted in the diary. It demonstrates once again that votes no longer count for anything much. So long as they can keep it reasonably close, they can do whatever the hell they want - don't even have to count. If it gets bad enough - and it is very quickly getting bad enough - the people will have to get off their apathetic duffs and overwhelm them at the polls so there's no "nearly tied" reasonable doubt they can use to steamroll the democratic process.

  •  Jeez, David! (9+ / 0-)

    You show us that video, then wish us an enjoyable Saturday...? Grudging thanks, though. Some day the North Carolina wingers are going to fall hard. The question is how much damage they manage to inflict before it happens.

    Sitting in Mrs. Sham's parents backyard in Northeast Ohio just now, enjoying the warm, sunny weather. Sorry about your cool, rainy forecast. Again.

    There are no second class citizens in America, and there are no second class marriages in America. - Eleanor Holmes Norton

    by Captain Sham on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:04:16 AM PDT

  •  Is it only me? (7+ / 0-)

    Or did it sound like the vote was not even close.  The nays should seemed to significantly outweigh the ayes in that vote.

    Thanks for doing this weekly diary, Dave.  I appreciate the chance for us folks in the Asheville area to gather in cyber space once a week to discuss common issues.  

    Meanwhile, in Transylvania County, the Rethug county commission has been holding hearings for a bio mass plant to be located on the French Broad River. Apparently negotiations had been going on with the developer for over two years and the public has just found out about it. The site is located in a mostly residential area. Transylvania County has no zoning outside the the city of Brevard, so this is a permitting issue only.

    Needless to say, when your main economic engines are based upon the environment, encouraging a bio mass plant, which will be burning garbage, to be located in the midst of it makes zero sense.  Garbage is not even local, but is going to be trucked in from elsewhere to fuel it. The county commission calls it economic development.  It will bring in about 11 low paying jobs. I do not see how that is worth it.  

    Our last two outside employers to relocate to Brevard were Carmichael Training Systems (helps world class athletes, particularly cyclists, improve technique and fitness) and Oscar Blues brewery, both of which are great additions to our town. We could use more economic development like Carmichael and Oscar Blues.

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Sat May 04, 2013 at 10:38:23 AM PDT

    •  The nays sounded louder to me ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... but I suppose it could have been the location of the camera.

      Trash.  Well, I guess it's progress of a sort that they are thinking beyond landfills.  But then they probably aren't really doing that, but rather, as you suggest, just giving some company a permit to burn garbage being trucked in from elsewhere.

      Personally, I've long thought that packaging in our country needs some much more focused regulation that would significantly cut down on trash.  And I was very intrigued by the recent efforts in San Francisco to essentially eliminate household trash.

      Love one another

      by davehouck on Sat May 04, 2013 at 11:01:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Every single bit of the garbage (5+ / 0-)

        for the bio mass plant will be trucked in from elsewhere.  I have heard a minimum of 20 or more trucks a day, seven days a week. The bio mass plant is being proposed for the opposite side of the county from the landfill. It would be pretty hard to make them much further apart and still be in the same county.

        BTW, I have been to the Transylvania County landfill. And for a landfill, it is incredibly nice.  They do a lot of recycling out of the landfill too.  Paper, appliances, yard debris, and metals are sorted out from the public trash.  Inside the city, the city of Brevard regularly picks up yard debris from certain designated locations and grinds it into mulch.  Any city resident can get a mulch ticket from city hall and pick up mulch for their yards when it is available.  We picked some up recently.

        "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

        by gulfgal98 on Sat May 04, 2013 at 11:23:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh and, packaging (5+ / 0-)

          is a huge pet peeve of mine too.  Why non perishable things need to be hermetically sealed in that horrendous plastic shrink packaging is beyond me.  It is so wasteful.  Certain types of packaging serve no useful purpose and should be banned.

          I am all for mandating recycling like San Francisco is doing.  

          "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

          by gulfgal98 on Sat May 04, 2013 at 11:29:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Glad to find an AVL site on Kos (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davehouck, alicia

    What is happening in Raleigh would be laughable it didn't portend a disaster for a state that for decades seemed to be better than most south of the M-D line.  As a Yankee who has lived in the South for 30 years I am beginning to feel I had better start thinking about moving.  So sad, what is happening here.

    I'm from Wall Street and I'm here to help you.

    by djohnutk on Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:38:58 PM PDT

    •  Glad you found us (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We have a good group of folks here, and we are planning to have our second meetup in July.

      The idea of leaving North Carolina given the direction our current government is taking us, and what that infers of the voters who put them in charge, is understandable; and unfortunately it is an idea that will occur to a lot of businesses as well.

      However, my guess is that Asheville will continue to be an oasis, and will continue to attract creative and compassionate folks to the area.

      It is sad, what is happening in Raleigh; but I do think Asheville will continue to be the amazing place that it is.

      Love one another

      by davehouck on Sun May 05, 2013 at 06:04:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hi Folks! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just catching up, thanks so much for this diary David!

    Hi everyone, hope you are well. The rain hit us pretty hard, hope you are all drying out.

    Stay tuned for a July date for out next adventure. Speaking of which, remember how the tracks at The Bywater are at least ten feet above the river? The mighty French Broad was almost there. I'll try to post a pic.

    Libertarianism is something that most people grow out of, not unlike, say, hay fever or asthma. Bob Johnson

    by randallt on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:18:47 PM PDT

  •  The ByWATER (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Bywater

    Libertarianism is something that most people grow out of, not unlike, say, hay fever or asthma. Bob Johnson

    by randallt on Wed May 08, 2013 at 05:31:20 AM PDT

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